Thursday, August 17, 2017

ZJ's book - our proudest parent moment!

When ZJ was a freshman, she attended the county school and there was much bullying that was taking place.  She'd told me about it a lot.  I always wondered if it was in her head or if it was really as bad as she described.  Then, she wrote me the 27 page persuasive letter about why she wanted to move to the Logan High School.  We were living in the Logan district in our new home, so, rightfully, she should have been transferred to the Logan School, but we felt so confident that she should stay in the county school district.  We fought it hard, until her letter, and we knew that she needed to make the move.  Once she made that move to Logan, she became a new person!  So happy!  So confident in who she was.  It took almost notime to see the change in her becoming herself again!  Great choice...even if it was a little late.

Fast forward to last spring.  We've been having second thoughts about Zeej going to Logan because the county has built a brand new high school that is even closer to our home than Logan is.  We would have to have special permission for Zeej to attend the new school, but I had spoken with the person who signs the dotted line and gotten that okay.  I picked up the paper for him to sign, right outside of his office but didn't feel like it was the right time to do it, so I left with the blank paper in hand.  For the next few weeks, I've stared at the paper, and not felt like it was time yet.  Although, I knew that time was getting short, I've not been able to fill out the paper.

So.  Two weeks ago, I was invited to a little morning garden party with some 80 year old ladies in our ward and had a wonderful visit with them.  I came home and the girls were waiting for us to go shopping for some girls camp needs.  I hopped out of the car long enough to say, "Let's go" and hop back in.  There was a package waiting on my doorstep with a sticky note that said, "We came by to see you, Mrs. Corbridge, and you were gone.  We hope this will help."  I had no clue what it was.

We hopped into the car and as I backed out of the driveway, I opened the envelope and saw inside a composition notebook.  It was very tired and it was filled with lots of other papers.  I had no clue what to expect.  I opened it and read the first page.  It was a letter explaining to me that this book had been passed around Logan all summer long and was filled with letters from many friends who wanted to share how Zeej had influenced them at LHS.  As I read the first letter, my thoughts were "Oh, great.  A book of "Please let ZJ stay at LHS."  However, I was quickly and most pleasantly surprised to find that this book was filled with 84 amazing stories of how Zeej had influenced their life at LHS.  Each had a title like a chapter and each story was unique and specific.  We. Were. STUNNED.  Zeej comes home every day and tells me things about school, but she's never told us these stories.

Here are a few of the stories, in brief:

  • Three different stories from people who said that "ZJ saved my life."  They were being bullied.  ZJ stopped the bullying.  One shared that some popular kids were picking on him as they walked down the hall.  Zeej turned around when she heard this and said, "HEY!  In WHAT universe is this okay!?"  She told the populars to take a chill pill and leave this kid alone.  "They have never bullied me again since that day."  One girl shared that she was Muslim and some kids were constantly teasing her because of her hajib.  Zeej called them out on it and the girl said that they'd never said a world to her about it again.
  • One non-LDS boy shared that Zeej invited him to seminary.  He said that he HATED LDS kids and the LDS faith.  He didn't want to be rude to a pretty girl, so he went to her class with her.  And then he continued to go every day from that day.  The boy is now a baptized member of the church and just received his mission call to some foreign country!
  • There were several funny stories about how Zeej refuses to gossip and whenever she hears someone gossiping, she will say, "That's unfortunate" and walk away.  Apparently, "That's unfortunate" has become a catchphrase.
  • One shared a story about Zeej walking from one building to another after one of our huge snowstorms last winter.  A branch just dumped a ton of snow on her right as she walked under it.  It was between classes when everyone was watching.  She stood there frozen and covered in snow.  Everyone stopped to see what she would do.  She froze for a sec and then said, "That's unfortunate." and everyone burst out laughing.
  • One girl asked ZJ why she always dressed so modestly.  ZJ said, quoting her dad, "The more a girl covers up, the more beautiful she is."  This girl said that she went home and cleaned out her closet and drawers of every immodest thing she owned, took them to a consignment store and got $120 for her things "and I've never dressed immodest since."
  • One parent wrote, "As mother to mother, you should know that everyone who has written in this book, joined in a fast and prayer, that your heart would be softened about her leaving LHS."
  • The story that touched my heart the most, however, was from a girl who had attended the county school with ZJ and was actually one of the bullies who had made Zee's life a living hell. She wrote that she had stood in the bathroom and watched her best friend flush ZJ's math folder down the toilet. (Zee had never told us about this.) Then, this girl transferred to LHS the year after Zee did.  She saw ZJ, so happy and with so many friends, and was shocked.  She approached Zee to ask her why she was so happy and Zee said, "Because I'm here."  This girl apologized and told me that she was so embarrassed by her actions.  Her final words were, "And Zeej forgave me."  This was more than touching.
There were funny stories, emotional stories, serious stories.  We had no clue that Zee was such a light to so many.  Eighty-four of them.  None were even close to the same and only two were "Please Don't let ZJ go to the other school where she will be bullied again."  It was hard to even read those two.  There were parents, teachers, friends, who all had written positive experiences.  Doug said, "Six kids and this is the best report card we have ever seen."  He was so so right!  We were humbled to hear these things about our daughter.

ZJ is a light.   She is fun and joyful and hysterical to be around.  She's also feisty and stands for what she believes in to whomever she wants.  It's amazing to me, the courage she has.  We were aware of the bullying she'd experienced.  BUT.  We were not aware of how much it shaped her into not being tolerant of it with others.

Suffice it to say, Zeej will be attending LHS this next year.  We now know why we both kept having that stupor of thought whenever it was time to fill out the papers.  Zeej needs to be where she is valued and loved.  Not to say that she won't have challenges at LHS, she's human and a teenager.  But, we feel confident that it's where she belongs, even if it's not what we wanted for her.  Sometimes, we have to forego what we want for what is best.  This is one of those times.  Way to go, Zee!  We've never been more proud!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Quayd's Hump Day! July 20, 2017

One year on a mission is a huge thing!  One year of being away from home, friends, family, freedom to do whatever you choose. And for a nineteen year old "boy", it's really big!  Living with a companion, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for months, then getting a new companion or being sent to a new area, is difficult and challenging at best. Following such strict rules, such as never being without your companion, no dating, no tv or movies or music, keeping the strict hours, the service and the rejection of doors being closed in your face, being told no day in and day out... These young missionaries learn more about themselves and grow more during this two years than they will in the next twenty.  Fact!  Add to it, the fact that it's difficult when you have your own quirkiness and issues, it's even more difficult.  Quayd has definitely struggled this past few months.  We've been so proud of him for sticking it out because, truthfully, there have been moments, when I thought that he should come home, (Although I would never admit that to him right now!)  It's been hard!

So, July 20th was his one year mark... his Hump Day.  Most missionaries celebrate that day by burning a shirt or some other trivial thing.  Parents and friends send lots of attaboys for successfully serving one full year and families begin the countdown until they come home... one last holiday, one last birthday, one last whatever.  It helps us at home pass the time.

I had prayed for almost three months about what to do for Quayd's Hump Day.  Lots of families send packages with half of everything in it... half a shirt, half a tie, one shoe, half a jar of peanut butter or box of cereal and so on.  Quayd would not have appreciated that humor.  I knew that.  And Quayd's hump day came at the time that he is struggling the most.  I felt strongly impressed that he needed more than a half a candybar!  And so... I prayed.  and I prayed... and I prayed some more for just the right thing to do for Quayd's big half way mark, almost wondering, if he indeed would make it for another full year.

His struggles are real, they are physical and emotional, and REAL.  Did I mention that they are REAL.  And there is no disgrace in coming home early for real reasons.  Coming home early because you don't like being a missionary is one thing.  Coming home because it's physically and emotionally breaking you, I totally understand and support.  We know many boys and young women who've gone off on their missions with every intent to serve for the full two years and who have come home just days or weeks or even months into their mission.   In my opinion, the fact that a nineteen year old is willing and worthy to serve for even a day is wonderful!  

SO.  With all of that in mind, I continued to pray for weeks on end and finally came to an idea that felt right for Quayd.  I wrote a letter to thirteen men who love Quayd and who I know have "Hero Status" in Quayd's eyes.  These are men who have been influences on him since he was in diapers, literally.  These are men who Quayd looks up to with the utmost respect and values their every word.  I wrote a letter to each of them, explaining my plan for Quayd's hump day package.  I asked each of them to go into their own collection of ties and choose one for Quayd and also to write a letter to go along with the tie.  I did not tell them all of Quayd's struggles.  I only spoke of his love and their influence and asked them to write words of encouragement, their testimony, whatever they felt Quayd would need to hear at this time.

Over the next few weeks, I received 13 ties for Quayd. (Actually, twelve, but he received thirteen because one came in a separate package a day later.)  Some letters were sealed and Doug and I did not get to read them.  Others were handed to us, emailed to us, along with the ties.  We heard stories of these ties, where they came from, how the man had come to own that tie, how many of these were their "Favorite" ties and they wanted Quayd to have "their very best" (because these are the kind of men that these great men are.) It was humbling.  BUT.  What meant the most were the written words of encouragement to Quayd.  We had not disclosed the details of his struggles.  We had not shared his trials.  These letters were written as if Quayd had been speaking his trials to each man who'd written.  Every single word was exactly what Quayd needed to hear!

AND so, I sent his big package early because they often do not get their mail delivered to them personally for a few weeks after it is received at the Mission Office.  I wanted him to have it on July 20th, his Hump Day.  The package arrived a week early.  It was delivered to him on the day that he sent Elder Short, his companion, home after completing his two years, and getting a new companion, Elder Bunce. We are only supposed to write on Mondays, and this was a Wednesday.  That afternoon, I received a photograph of Quayd's hands holding the package!  I was so excited for him to receive it and to finally be able to read every word of love and encouragement.  I sent him back a photo of scissors.  He responded with four words.  "I'll open it on Monday."  WHAT!?!?!?!?  Who are you and what have you done with my son? Patience is no more one of his virtues than it is one of mine!

So, I waited until Monday.  On Monday morning, he sent a short email to thank me for his package.  I wrote back, "Well?!?  Did you open it?"  He said, "I ate all of the taffy already, but I didn't open the wrapped package."  Again.  I had to wait!  Seriously!?  Since when does Quayd wait for anything?!  (And seriously, Bug?  FIVE POUNDS of taffy in one morning!?!?  THAT does sound like Quayd!)

Later that afternoon, just about at the end of his P-Day, he wrote back and sent these photos, telling me that he'd opened the package and that he was sobbing, as he read each letter.  His letter was short and sweet but it ended with, "Mom, seriously, this is the greatest gift I have ever received.  Thank you."  That's all I needed to hear!  He also sent these photos and I could see that his eyes were full of tears.

It was one week later that he wrote to me again.  I will include part of his letter now:

I am still here, still serving, trying my best to do what God wants me to do, to do the right thing and become more like Christ. I think I'm just going to forget completely about time because now is the time to serve!!!!!

My mom gave me a hump day package and I was thinking maybe it's a scrapbook of me when I was little kid or the past couple years. Well, it was a scrapbook of my time preparing and serving one year and I remember looking at those pictures and crying so hard. Well, later I decided to open this wrapped up present and I was thinking it was going to be like my dads scrapbook thing…a bunch of friends and family encouraging me to go one more year. 

Well, I opened the box and I just remember looking at what was in that box. I looked at the first and there was a tie from my father behind it was a letter. I set that aside, and another one and another one. I received ties from men who I have looked up to so much! I cannot express how grateful I am for what I felt that day, from what I felt from each of those letters.  The ties were awesome, but the letters, the words expressed in each one of them was incredible!  They didn't know what I was going through, but you could feel the power of the Holy Ghost. There were ties from young men leaders, bishops, friends, and family, that have been a part of my life and have helped me and have shaped me.

I guess you could sing I hope the call me on a mission and call this growing a  foot or two.  Each one of those and more have helped me so I could go on a mission So that I could share the gospel, so I could bring others unto Christ and not only that but bring myself unto Christ.

Again, I cannot express the thoughts penetrating my mind, the love, the feelings they shared with me and the expressions created from their hearts and from the Holy Ghost.  Each one of those men are examples to me! Because they hold the priesthood, the power of God given to man to act for his will, These men have honored and served the lord for most, if not, all of their lives. And not only that, but, men who love and cherish and serve their kids and their wives and want to do everything in their power to keep them safe, to keep them together, out of harm’s way and to hold fast to the iron rod.  I'm grateful for men like that, who fear God. And I hope that one day I become like them… examples to my children and a man who loves my eternal companion… haha, if I get one. But I want to serve God like they have done and like so many others have done.

And P.S. I'm grateful that us men do know how to cry and do know how to write a spiritual letter coming from their hearts.  This is a gift I will treasure and cherish forever.  Love, 

Elder Corbridge

I was so touched reading Quayd's letter.  He also shared that many of the other Elders had begged for a few of the ties.  Quayd wrote, "I told them that they can have any tie that I own, but not one of these!"  He also wrote that he wears a tie each day and reads the letter that goes along with it that morning as his inspiration.  He is so thankful!  As are Doug and I.  We are so so thankful for each and every great man who has touched Quayd and helped him become the man that he is today!

A few other thoughts on the package... the one letter that arrived a day later.  I'd written that man, who lives back east and asked him, not realizing that he would be in Utah at the time.  On the day before I mailed the package, I wrote a quick, "Did you mail it?" because it was the only one not received and he'd said that he would do it.  However, in the process of his own travels, he'd not gotten it done, so he said that he'd mail it directly to the mission office himself.  Quayd wrote that, as he opened the package and read the letter that I'd shared to explain what this package was, he anticipated every man who would have sent a tie. 

 In his list, he included this man and his Uncle Alan, neither of which had a tie in the box.  He tried to justify in his mind why they would not have sent him one.  I explained in his next week's letter, after he'd shared this with me, that Uncle Alan had been out of state all summer long and I'd not asked him simply because he was unavailable at the time.  He said that he was also surprised that there was no tie from the other man who lived back east, but figured that they'd not seen each other in three years, so it might have been why.  When he got the delivery the next day, he was thrilled because he truly felt that this list of men was complete!  I was so happy that I'd known just who to ask and even more so,  that these men all were more than willing to help!

Also, Quayd mentioned the scrapbook that I sent.  I had put this book together and worked hard collecting every photo that he's sent home since he left, as well as photos of the day that we took him to the MTC.  I had the book all put together to send and for some reason, I felt impressed on the day before I was sending the package to get up out of bed, turn on my computer and iPad and pull more photos.  I felt that I needed to send him photos of his entire mission journey, starting with APTC, his missionary training camp experience, and then his mini-mission, him filling out his papers, sending them in, receiving his call, his ordinations and setting apart, his farewell Sunday, as well as his good-byes, and then the mission itself.  I printed another 100 photos and got them in order, starting over on the book, working all of the 4th of July to complete it.  When Quayd wrote that he loved his whole journey, I knew why I had had this impression!  It was he needed!

He sent some more tie photos in his last letter.  Here are a few.  I think this was truly what Quayd needed!  He loves it!

This is his dad's favorite tie... his cowboy tie.  We quite often refer to a family motto, "Ride for the Brand", meaning we follow Christ, we fight for truth.  It's "the cowboy way."  That's something that our children have learned their entire lives.  Quayd's letter to Doug was touching and personal, so I won't share it, but what a joy to see this father and son share such love and devotion and to feel Quayd's respect for his dad's great example!

We are so thankful for these good men in his life.  We are thankful for his willingness and worthiness to serve.  We are thankful for the support that he's received in every way!  Doug and I express gratitude to Heavenly Father every single day for those blessings!  What a joy to be his parents!  What a joy to watch him grow, as hard as it may be.  We are so thankful for every prayer said in his behalf!  Life is good... often hard, but always good!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

And then it was August...

This summer!  I can't believe it but, for me, personally, as in my own personal summer... BEGINS TODAY!  Three bridal showers, two family reunions, being wedding planner for one wedding and then girls camp... it's done!  And School begins week after next.  So!  I'm going to begin relaxing and chilling for the rest of my summer... all ten days of it!

To begin with, I'm going to do some serious catching up on my blog because it's really and truly been an awesome summer... so awesome that I've not had an hour a day to blog about it.  I'm also going to do some serious dejunking as I unpack and put away girls camp!  I've been waiting for fall for that big job!  

I'm also going to enjoy just chilling with my girls for a few days because they both will be getting jobs now and going back to school and I want some time for just us to chill.  Not that we have not loved chilling with family and friends for the past twelve weeks but we are ready for some "just us" time.  And most of all, I  am ready for some "just us" time with Doug!  It's been one fun and exciting summer and we are all ready to just have some downtime for a few days at home.

We have special company coming for dinner and the afternoon and then, I think we'll watch a movie, eat some popcorn and relax!  Blogging has waited all summer.  It will wait till tomorrow morning! I also realize that I have not posted Quayd's letters for a few weeks.  That is a tomorrow goal, as well!   HAPPINESS!!!  LIFE IS GOOD!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Where is July already!?!?

Wow, this month is flying by!  So much has happened and I've not had time to sit down at my computer for anything but serious business.  A few little updates.  And I hope to post a few of these in their own entry....

  • July 4th festivities with Doug's family was a hit, as usual!
  • Speaking at a YW camp in Idaho was one of the most awesome experiences I've had in years!
  • Preparing for girls camp, and more preparing and more preparing!
  • Quayd's Hump Day Package and excitement was perfection!!!
  • My Uncle Jerry passed away.  Thought about him to come when I have time to upload some pix.
  • Summer has been insane!  I've spoken, taught, planned and prepared for more things that I can keep straight!
  • Liza and Buddy are all moved to Arizona.  My heart aches but to hear my sweet girl so happy to be back... I can't be anything but happy for them!
  • My calendar has been so crazy and I've gotten my weeks out of sync and my days out of sync.  I showed up for my annual physical a day early... legs shaved, all primped and proud.  Oh my.
  • And that's just the big stuff.... life has been just plain crazy.  I don't know if being one-armed is part of my problem or what but, I'm blessed to be keeping up and doing great at almost everything but blogging!
Now, to backtrack and try to blog a few of these happenings in detail... I'll post date them so that they go back through the month of July just for my own sanity.  Liza, if you are reading, read backwards!  Life is good!!!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Elder C - Week 52

The letter that we received last week was exactly three sentences long.  It was transfer week and we never get much of a letter on transfer week because the missionaries are too busy packing and saying goodbyes to take time to write on that last day before the transfers happen.  Quayd was losing a companion, as Elder Short was returning home after serving two years, to his home in Arizona, right close to Liza and Buddy.  So, we got a few sentences and that was it.  Today, he writes another "epistle" in the form of the Book of Mormon.  This boy is so amazing to me.   I'm sending it tonight, unedited, as written because I am taking an hour to do some blog catch-up and it's either edit Quayd or catch up.  This is Quayd's week for Hump Day, which means he is half way done with his two year mission!  I have a whole post about that but, first, this letter!  Unedited, Quayd, 100% raw and lonnnng. I love this boy!

The Christ within us 

I Quayd Corbridge do make another abridgment of my days in the mission and I look back on them with gladness.

Therefore I remember somewhat of my crazy adventure, as well as my hard labors to teach this people about my god and his son Jesus Christ. 
yea even the same, Jesus that has taken upon himself our sins and has died for our suffering challenges and trials. like my brother Alma said and I make some of his words known unto you.

for he said behold I have labored even from the commencement of the reign of the judges until now, with mine own hands for my support, notwithstanding my many travels round about the land to declare the word of God unto my people.

And notwithstanding the many labors which I have performed in the church, I have never received so much as even one senine for my labor; neither has any of my brethren, save it were in the judgment-seat; and then we have received only according to law for our time.
And now, if we do not receive anything for our labors in the church, what doth it profit us to labor in the church save it were to declare the truth, that we may have rejoicings in the joy of our brethren? 

Therefore like alma I am a servant of my god, who has labored and sacrificed my life for the good of this people. And it profiteth me nothing. But I am grateful for the experience and  the understanding of my fathers eternal love and mercy upon my fellow men in this wicked city of Redlands California.

Therefore I want to take a moment to reflect, And I do write these things that have made my heart soften and doth cause me to testify and boast in my god and his goodness and his mercy for all who will come and follow him and his son Jesus Christ.

 And I Elder Corbridge do remember the days I left my mother and my father and my two sisters their names being  Gracie and Zj and so many others, including my older sister Liza.

therefore I remember somewhat of the agony and fear, leaving them behind for two years and traveling far to some distant land. And after this I remember hugging them and saying goodbye.

 And it came to pass that I found myself amongst others who  like me were dressed in white shirts and black pants. And they did carry scriptures with them. And did speak many things. but only the things concerning this Christ and his Restored gospel. And  This same message was taught to me as a young boy. 

for I was born of parents, yea even goodly parents and there names were Doug and Sophia and I was there fourth child. and they did teach me the ways of the lord. That I might have a clear understanding of this truth and knowledge and that I might wax strong in confidence And be proud and bold in sharing it's goodness with others.

And it came to pass that I had many others who taught me the same. 

And behold after these many things that I did learn as young man. I had found myself in the gated walls of a unknown great and spacious building called the MTC.

yea I was surrounded by these young men and also women. who in reality ,like me had no idea what they were doing, or what there full purpose was or what they were called to do. But I learned quickly. And I and this young but willing people where lead by the spirit of the lord.

And the building thereof was like a fortress against all the temptation and destruction of the outside world. And next to these gated walls, was a temple. Yea A place of refuge safety and a renuel of spirit, where we could learn and grow and become mighty instruments in the lords hands. 

And thus being lead by the spirit, we did learn the teachings of this restored gospel, yea even the teachings of Jesus Christ, that in some time I would have to teach and testify for the welfare of gods children and there souls. 

Now let me tell you somewhat concerning this Christ and what I knew of him. 
I knew that he was the beloved son of god. And I also knew  that he would come to earth and teach this gospel or this goodness, that would bring good tidings to my people, including myself. And I also knew concerning what the prophets of old had spake unto us, of this man and they spoke highly of him, including the prophets in mine days. I also knew that he did in reality atone for the sins of the world. And I knew somewhat that the only way we could be saved was by following him and his gospel and useing his atonement in our lives. But I had little knowledge of his atonement. Save it be Until Now.

And it came to pass as I learned these things in 3 weeks. I was sent into this large metal bird in which it was called a plane and  it roared like the sound of thunder. and in this large metal bird there were people young and old and there were some that were called missionaries and thus we did enter this large bird  and were lifted into the sky that yea even my beloved land Utah was gone.

And it came to pass as we did travel I did look out the window. and I did not see popcorn popping off the apricots trees. Instead I saw thick clouds covering what I once knew to be my home. nevertheless it was gone and as far as I knew, I would soon be somewhere else. 
And after this manner of traveling. I found a large city filled with many inhabitants and this plane landed on the wicked land called Redlands California and did kick us out. That even it did soar into the sky and I and this young people where left there and wondered what do we do now.

Therefore let me tell you what I have done for 365 days.

And it came to pass that I did teach this people the gospel yea even the gospel of Jesus Christ.
And I did labored with this people, and did cry, and did rejoice with this people. And I did meet many who did indeed soften my heart and did help me to understand or gain a testimony, yea even a strong testimony of the exact thing that I had been teaching them, concerning this Christ.

And in the coarse of my 365 days. I had never seen so much faith in the land of this my people and I have never seen so much pain and strife and Never did I see so much destruction wrought upon the souls of them that I had or will labor with because of th sin and regret. therefore I am not done teaching and serving this people, I have not yet finished the work I was called to do and I am grateful that I will have more opportunities, thus more time to share this restored gospel, yea even the teaching s of Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice, that causeth us to have great joy in our lives especially in these... our last days. 

And I do end this abridgment for now. But I must ask how could this work stop? how could there be an everlasting apostasy? It sturreth my mind and grieveth my soul to see such a wonderful people struggle with the explanation of the only given truth. The truth being this Christ. who in reality atoned for the sins and weaknesses of the world. As well as myself and my weaknesses and sins that do bring me down with chains even unto my destruction. 

And it sorroweth my heart to see and ponder How this people can reject the truth and the truths of the prophets and there words yea even there dieing words, written in the scriptures for our day. including that book which is called the Book of Mormon testifying to the four corners of the earth, that Christ lives. that his church is once again established on the earth and that there is indeed a prophet called of him to testify and lead this people unto righteousness. 

And how does a people like us leave the lamb of god to suffer, bleed and die and then leave him on a tree or an alter. Where his blood spilleth on the ground in vanity. it was meant for us to have life, yea even eternal life. to be fruitful and not dead in spirit or progression to make it back to our father in heaven. and yet so many have either forgotten him and have forsaken him. Leaving the son of god and his atoning sacrifice lifeless and in vain. 

When he is the ONE, who can LIFT us HIGHER, MAKE us STRONGER, LOVE  us BETTER than anyone else. When he can LIFT our BURDENS. When HE GIVES US ANOTHER DAY to BECOME and PROGRESS in spirit. when he CHANGES REGRETS  and MISTAKES into HOPE and FAITH and another day to LIVE and follow him. Where he makes WEAKNESS turn into STRENGTH. it's BECAUSE OF HIM, we LIVE and PROGRESS and CHANGE into the children we were meant and PREORDAINED to BECOME from the very begin.

I am fortunate to have the gospel in my life and a loving savior who only yearns for our happiness and who went through it all so we could COWBOY UP!!!!!!! and KEEP GOING!!!!!!  and I am grateful for parents. who willingly like the savior sacrificed there life for me and my sisters, where we could learn of the gospel and see the richness of his blessing brought upon the face of this earth. And I'm grateful I get to share it with others. And I'm so grateful for the friends and family and leaders who have taught me the same and have helped me to become as a stripping warrior, who will not go down without a fight. Like rocky says It's not about how hard you hit, it's about how hard you get hit and keep going, that's how winners are made.

 And because of my savior Jesus Christ we are all Winners and we are all warriors and Kings and queens in the eternal kingdom of our loving father.

But it makes me ponder.  what more can I do. What more can I share about this beloved son of our eternal heavenly father. what more can I do to share his love and peace, that I myself have expireicened in the days of my life. So really how can I bring Christ to life for this blind and stiff-necked people. For my spirit is willing but mine flesh is weak. but what can i do. What can we do. for the word called Christ and planting that word in us and in this lost people.

which leads me to this question is Christ within us are we doing everything to plant the Christ in us plant the seed where Christ can grow in our heart. are we doing everything we can to grow into him. and give place for him to grow into  us.

Listen maybe this is what I have needed to learn and have learned this year and it's taken me this long to realize it. but we can't do anything save it to  be truly happy we can't truly be happy or even live without Christ, his gospel and his atonement. It's impossible!!!!!! I have looked into the lives of so many I have seen people terrified of repentence I have seen people holding on to the past including myself and it destroys lives it destroys self worth progression and beauty in each individual which is what Satan wants I have seen people with regrets with losses and I have seen the suffering of many people scared terrified lost but I have also seen the joy of Christ and his atonement he suffered everything and because this message has been shared. I have seen lives fixed. I have seen the miracles of repentance. I have seen the joy of following the savior. And in myself I have seen a powerful growth, a stronger love for the children of men and a relationship with my god and his eternal son Jesus Christ. And I know that he is the Christ the savior and redeemer of the world.

 this may be the hardest year I have ever faced in my life time. but I know this. This has been one year I will never forget and wouldn't trade for anything. All the pain and fear and inadequacies I faced and continue to face and we face in our life time. it can be transformed by hope by faith by love and patience and so far what I have experienced I have grained most of. I have gained a better understanding of the gospel of my savior Jesus Christ and his atonement and I will continue to learn his gospel I could go on about the blessings but I will share a couple of my experiences from this year.

I Remember my first days in Fontana and I remember a family that helped me in so many ways this being krista and joe and Joseph I remember the many struggles they faced but what I couldn't understand was the basic principle the doctrine of Christ and having faith in him leading them to repentance. but I remember that one experience that changed the outlook of my mission. the tears from this woman called krista was remarkable and I am greatful for her faith. because she strengthened my testimony when I was struggling when I was attacked when I thought I was a worthless missionary waiting my time. She changed me when she wanted to repent. the tears of this woman is undescrible and it was fulfilling. they were sincere and they were of truth this woman wanted the gospel. she still does. she wanted to be forgiven. she still is. my faith in Christ grew and I would not have had that experience. that moment of truth if I was not here on a mission with that person who in that day strengthened my testimony.
 despite everything I've gone through all the trials and struggles of living to a name on a tag. that name becomes something of value something you would not want ripped from you and it grows continually. Christ has grown in me and it has grown in this people of Redlands California. not all but those who have accepted it and acted upon him. his word. For he is the word. he is the word to our salvation, he is the word to bringing peace and life. his word has grown in me and overtime it will be firm. that even the storms and winds of Satan can not overtake it and throw it down into the dust of the earth. But it will stand tall and be unmovable. And one day i pray and I know it will be for those that I have met in these 12 months and they will be firm in it. because I know there were many who needed the help of the savior, through the young men and woman called missionaries and I know that there were families struggling being torn apart, but the blessings of the gospel the peace and hope it brings has left them in a better place. And I feel that his work was accomplished in the hands of those called prophets missionaries members of this church we all are doing the work of the lord both elders and sisters and everyone else. And I know that he is the Christ the savior and redeemer of the world I have seen his light and his life touch the lives of others. his atonement is not dead or in vain, his gospel is not blotted out of existence. it still lives and it lives through the prophets and the scriptures that testify of him and his goodness. he still lives. he is not dead. and neither is the father. They both know who we are and they both love us 

And I am greatful for that young man who took the time to kneel down and offer a prayer of faith. Jospeh smith was a prophet he was called to bring the work once again on the table to living a better life gaining a stronger relationship with those who fought and planned for our happiness because my god makes no mistakes and he knows who wins and we can know who wins because Christ did it. he accomplished it. he has already won and as a representative of him. I will also win. I will conquer the army of Satan and if I fall. I know Christ will be with me to pick me up so I can keep going. So I can cowboy up and continue riding for his name.

I'm greatful for the gospel and I'm greatful I have a chance to give it my all one last time. I'm greatful for all those who have been with me so far in this experience. I'm greatful for all of you who have given me strength and encouragement. I know that your prayers and fasting have helped me so much and i know that you are with me, behind me, supporting me, praying for my suscees, fasting for me and the success for this mission and all of gods army. I love you!!! 

Id like to close with this.

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. 
The die has been cast out. I have steeped over the line. The decision has been made. I'm a disciple of his and I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I'm done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap loving and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotion, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised ,or rewarded. I live by faith, lean on his presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by priesthood power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road may be narrow. my way rough. my companions few, but my guide is reliable, and my mission is clear.

I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, dulled or delayed

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, or hesitate in the presence of the adversary. I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, pander at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I am a disciple of Christ. I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until he comes. And when he does come for his own, he'll have no problems recognizing me. Because My colors will be clear.

It's been one incredible year. And I'm grateful I get to ride for the brand. 

For the brand of Christ.

-Elder Corbridge 

Friday, July 14, 2017


A few weeks ago, I was invited to speak to a Young Women Girls Camp group from Idaho.  It was a total fluke how I came to be asked.  Long story short,  I'd never met the camp director but in trying to answer a question on a FB group, I ended up being asked to be the guest speaker.  It was pretty awesome how it all came to be. I felt blessed and humbled to be asked because of the circumstances.  It had gone from a woman posting a random question on a Facebook group about Soda Springs, Idaho to me being the guest speaker.

I spent every spare moment and every planned moment that I could squeeze in preparing this forty-five minute talk to a group of young women that I'd never met.  I was humbled, I was focused, I was concerned because I felt that, under the circumstances, there must be a reason that I'd been asked to speak.  And then, I was blessed.  As I prepared the talk, I would think of stories to share and I would know, almost instantly, yes or no, share that, don't share this.  I stayed away from tv for days, I listened to great music and really tried to stay in tune with the Spirit, as I prepared.

Three days before, I still felt like there was one thing that I needed to share.  I wasn't done.  I knew it. But, I had no clue what it was that I was supposed to add.  I read books, I read old blog entries, I looked through scrapbooks, I did everything I could to recall whatever it was that I was supposed to share. And I prayed.  A lot.  Nada.  Then, on the night before, I was sitting staring at the laptop screen, reading the talk to myself for the fiftieth time and the story just popped into my head and I knew that it was the last thing that I was supposed to share!

The night came and we packed up for the cabin since we were less than 40 miles away.  The girls and Doug joined me, which made me happier than words could say.  We arrived at the camp and were greeted with hugs and loves and lots of welcoming smiles!  What a wonderful reception!  These girls were so enthusiastic but that took no time to see why because of their awesome leaders.  A man comes to girlscamp every year to lead them in some fun campsongs, which absolutely blew me away!  He was so full of energy and made more funny faces than Quayd!  WOW!  There was just instant love with everyone there.  Our girls couldn't get over the warm welcome and just fit right in immediately with them all.

Shortly after a wonderful dinner with the group and  lots of introductions, the girls gathered together around the campfire.  They sang a beautiful song which I was unfamiliar with and the time was turned over to me.  I spoke for 45 minutes about choice.  I shared stories about the forks in my life's journey and how I never realized at the time, that that very day would be the day that would change my life forever and that very decision would be the decision that would change my destiny.  I was blessed to feel the Spirit guide me as I shared stories and thoughts, which I'd spent weeks preparing and some that came to me at that moment, causing me to eliminate a few that I'd prepared.  It was just an incredible experience.

When I was done speaking, I was in awe.  The hugs and tears that were shared were awesome, but better than any gratitude expressed was this...  Almost instantly, the YW president came up to me and said, "You don't know this but you were inspired to share this or that because did you see the gal over on that side of the fire with the yellow jacket on?  Well, your words were exactly what she needed to hear.  I'm certain that you came to speak to her."  A few minutes later the YW Camp Director came to me with tears and said, "You don't realize this, but now I know why you were supposed to speak to our girls.  Did you see the girl with the braids sitting right by you?  Well, she has grown up under similar circumstances and your stories were just what she needed to hear.  She needed to know that she can do this without family support and be strong on her own."  Then, the Bishop came up to me and said, "Sister Corbridge, thank you.  You'll never know how much your words meant.  Did you see that couple sitting over there?  Well, they have just reactivated in the church and everything you said, it was like it was directly meant for them."  This happened several times.  I was in tears.  Apparently, I had said what I was supposed to say.

I was in awe.  Literally.  I'd sincerely tried to let the Spirit guide me for two weeks. I'd truly tried to focus on listening to the still, small voice speak and encourage me on what to say.  I was thankful for that blessing that came!  It was truly one of my most humbling experiences ever, in public speaking.  All I can say is "I love it when that happens!"

We were invited to stay for the rest of the evening but we declined and headed to the cabin.  We had a great night, just visiting and relaxing until 11ish and we went to bed.  No movies.  No games.  Just visiting and hitting the hay after, what had been, a wonderful perfect day!

In the past few weeks, I've given that talk, taught two lessons in Young Womens and spoke in Sacrament Meeting.  I have loved the time spent studying and preparing for these happenings.  I love teaching the gospel.  It's selfish because I am always the one who gains the most from the preparation and study time!  Life is good!  And have I mentioned that I love being at the ranch?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Uncle Jerry

Two weeks ago, I got a call from my mom that my Uncle Jerry was not doing well.  I also got a call from my cousin, Jim, about his dad and then texts and calls from his sister, my cousin, Sherrie.  Uncle Jerry was married to my mom's older sister, Lorene.  He's been the uncle who, in a way, was the glue to our family.  I loved this man so much and have so many happy memories from my childhood because of he and Aunt Lorene and my Aunt Maxine and Uncle Bill.

Sherrie and Jim both called to tell me that they were all going down to Florida, from Ohio, to visit Uncle Jerry in the hospital, to "cheer him up" and get him back on the golf course.  However, that evening when all four of his children and several grands arrived at the hospital, they found that things would not be getting better.  Uncle Jerry was dying.  He'd not told the family how bad things were until they arrived.  What a gift for them to gather by his side and be able to say goodbye.  Uncle Jerry lived five more days.  He passed away on the day after his 84th birthday.

Uncle Jerry's 83rd birthday

Uncle Jerry and two of his cute great-grands.

They family is having a "celebration of life" for him this weekend and I will be unable to attend.  I have commitments that I can not get away from.  So, I wrote some of my memories of Uncle Jerry and sent them to Sherrie to share with the family.  I want to record them here.  I have photos of Uncle Jerry when I was a child somewhere in my mother's albums.  So, I will only share a recent pic off of Facebook but I want to record these memories on my blog.

I’ve spent the last week thinking a lot about Uncle Jerry.  We prayed for him to pass quickly and as painlessly as possible and prayers were answered.  He didn’t have to suffer a long, painful exit from this earth life.  For that, I am grateful!

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve shared many “Uncle Jerry stories” with Doug and my girls, and even friends and family.  Uncle Jerry was always larger than life to me.  I loved his deep, hearty voice and laugh!  He was just so dang fun.  He always had some fun plan for the family… an adventure, a new experience, or something tried and true to do over and over again, that simply made us all feel more connected.

Growing up away from family was difficult for me as a child.  I always wanted that family connection.  I remember the very first time we met, we flew to Ohio the summer before I turned 11. (I was literally eleven before I met my Brown cousins for the first time.) It was our first plane trip and it was our first time meeting as cousins and aunts and uncles.  That trip was truly THE highlight of my childhood.  We slept in tents on Haven Drive and had BBQs every night.  I learned to play cards around that dining room table and basically, for the first time in my life, I felt like I “belonged”. 

My mom didn’t have a close relationship with my dad’s family and so it was always just Rick, Mom and myself. (When Mom divorced Dad, I lost the Bell part of who I was and this meant even more to "belong" to her family.  Today, as an adult, I have reconnected with the Bells, as well. BUT, THIS is why family means the world to me today, I'm certain.)  I remember be so so sooooooo thankful for that sense of “belonging” and I’ve said for all of my adult life that Uncle Jerry and Aunt Lorene were the “Glue” that pulled us all together.  How grateful I am for that!

So, here are a few of my favorite Uncle Jerry memories...

There was a lake near the Haven Drive Home and we went out to that little lake for picnics and swimming.  Mom wouldn’t EVER let me do anything like swim in a lake, so I was always thrilled when Uncle Jerry would take us to that lake. For some reason, when he was around, I got to do things that I never did otherwise.  (I think that Sarah has posted pix on that same lake a few times recently on FB.  Everytime I see the pix, I remember those good times! I’d love to know if it is the same lake, because it suuuuure looks like it!) (Sherrie said that it was, indeed, the lake of my youth.  Love it!)

We went snow-tubing down the hill at Cascade Park.  We had gone all day long, down that hill over and over again.  Mom came to pick us up and the very minute that she arrived, Rick crashed into someone else (I think it was Joe), busted his lip and came up the hill, covered in blood.  It never happened until she was there making us all nervous!  Uncle Jerry said to my mom, who was FREAKING OUT, “It’s just blood, Ruby.  He’ll be fine.”   And he was.

I remember when I got to go along on vacation with Uncle Jerry and Aunt Lorene and my cousins (three boys and one girl) to Canada.  We sat on the Canadian hillside of Niagara Falls and watched fireworks.  There were some “hippies” there, smoking pot and selling “Soup!  Soup!  American Soup!”, as they held up cans of Campbell’s soup.   Uncle Jerry laughed and laughed and pointed it out to us. (My mom would have sheltered us away from that.)

Then, when we continued on that trip, (and this is Doug’s favorite Uncle Jerry and Aunt Lorene story), at dinner time, I had set the table with pine bows and branches for a girl scout merit badge.  Then, I joined everyone at the campfire and pulled out my bottle of Bayer Aspirin.  Uncle Jerry said, “What is that?  Are you feeling bad?”  I said, “No, Mom says I have to take an aspirin every day.”  Aunt Lorene grabbed the aspirin bottle, “Gimme that!” and she tossed the bottle into the campfire.  “You don’t need aspirin!  There’s nothing wrong with you!”  I never took another one and it was the first time that I think I “rebelled” against my mother’s over-protectiveness.  Doug laughs every time he sees a bottle of aspirin!

It was also on that trip that Uncle Jerry patiently taught me to water-ski.  We went over and over and over again until I could finally get up and on top of the water. I never did get very far, but enough to know that I liked water-skiing!  I still have pix of that trip!  It was the best vacation ever!

I also remember the many times we caught fire-flies or lightning bugs, as we called them, and put them in jelly jars, then into the tents in the backyard for our lanterns at night.  I still feel bad that they were always dead in the jars the next morning.

I loved Uncle Jerry’s model train set in the basement.  It was so awesome and he let me choose the car and push the buttons to control it.  That was the most fascinating thing I’d ever seen.  I remember watching it for hours!

And that basement… with the bar and the lights. I remember so many games and fun on New Years Eve in that basement!  I can smell it in my mind!  It was a happy smell! I remember Uncle Jerry making “Shirley Temple” drinks for me everytime we would go over.  Funny thing… I have never been a drinker of alcohol, so if I were to go out on the town, I’d still order a Shirley Temple today!

He was such a great story teller!  I remember the weekend that we went to Grampa Mike’s cabin in the Pennsylvania woods.  Uncle Jerry told the greatest campfire stories and ghost stories.  That night, he told us about aliens in the woods.  After a night of strange sounds, coming from outside, the next morning, there was something green and fluorescent on the ground outside of the cabin.  We were all certain that it was the aliens!  Uncle Jerry NEVER told us the truth about it! (And I asked for YEARS!) He left us wondering. I realized years later, when I was an adult, that it was probably some sort of anti-freeze!  He also told us bear stories that weekend and I’ve never been through the woods (which is a regular activity married to Doug) that I don’t think about the bears in the woods!

When I was a sophomore, we moved to Ohio for a few months while Mom was married to Gene, her second husband.  I was ga-ga in love with a boy in Florida and I was given, literally, hours warning/notice that we were moving again. It was the day before Homecoming! I had to call him from a phone booth on the turnpike to say goodbye.  I was devastated.  Sixteen years old and having to leave my whole world.  But, I recall, sobbing as we drove up the Florida Turnpike and being so angry at the world.  When we arrived in Ohio, and the family was there to welcome us with open arms.  We stayed at your home for a few days while we got moved into our new home. Uncle Jerry teased and joked and hugged that hurt out of me a little bit. It still hurt that I had left my friends behind, but how grateful I was to have family there, as it lessened the pain of that big move immensely.  A few months later, I was told that we were going back to Florida and, while I was so excited to get back to my cute boyfriend, I was heartbroken at the thought of leaving my family again.  When I was with this awesome family, my world was complete!

I loved how Uncle Jerry said, “LorAAAANE!” instead of Lorene, as it was spelled.  I can hear his voice calling her name, everytime I think of them.  He loved Aunt Lorene and their relationship was one of fun and family, in my eyes.

One of my favorite memories of him, though, is when Doug and I were married.  They had just bought a new camping trailer.  I think that it was their first really super nice trailer, with shower, bathroom, the works.  When Doug and I drove through Ohio, on our honeymoon, I so wanted him to meet my awesome family.  Uncle Jerry and Aunt Lorene let us “Break in” the trailer, as the first guests or actually the first anyone to use it.  The plastic was still on the furniture in it.  We have always been so grateful for that few days that Doug got to get to know the family.

When Doug and I moved to Ohio, during the recession in 1980 to start a business, we loved the times that we could get together with family or just drop by to visit with Uncle Jerry and Aunt Lorene around the kitchen table.  He was genuinely interested in our kids and how they were doing, as well, as always making Doug feel like he’d been part of the family forever.  We loved that special time together.

Several years ago, Kelly needed her birth certificate, and she needed it quickly. I had called and emailed and tried by computer to get it and no one could do anything, any faster than 9-12 weeks.  I told Uncle Jerry and he went straight to the courthouse or wherever it was, got two copies, overnight mailed them and we had the package the very next day!  He was a lifesaver!  That was going above and beyond the call of duty of Uncle!

Uncle Jerry was what I imagined a “dad” would be like, so he was, in my mind, a surrogate “dad”.  I remember being, even a little jealous, that you guys had such a great dad!  My dad was fun when he was there, but he wasn’t there.  Uncle Jerry was always there for us all!

I love that he had faith in me and encouraged me to try things that I’d never had dared or “been allowed” to do on my own.  I love that my own older kids got a chance to know him when my step-dad, Bill, passed away.  Uncle Jerry kept them entertained while we waited out those last few days of Bill’s life at the hospital.  The kids still remember and speak of him!   I have always loved him dearly!  He will always hold a special place in my heart!  What a gift to have known and loved him!

He will be missed, but what a wonderful reunion, I KNOW, has just happened on the other side of the veil with Aunt Lorene and Grampa Mike their to greet him!