HAAAAAAPPPPPPPPPPPPYYYYYYYY BIRTHDAYYYYYY to the best dad in the whole wide world. your present will be coming to you in the mail relatively soon. it’s me.

actually real life side note–if anyone wants a souvenir, now is the time to put in your order. i have no idea what to get anyone.
but back to my ode to my father. dad. you are the best. and i am SO honored to be your daughter. thank you for being the kind of earthly father that teaches me about and reflects the love of my Heavenly Father. thank you for loving God and mom and us. thank you for teaching us to appreciate good music (from led zepelin to barbara streisand. gotta love barbara). thank you for coming to my soccer games and all daddy daughter activities. thank you for instilling in us incredible dance moves. thank you for playing “giant squid” with us when we were little. thank you for honoring your mother and holding grandma’s hand when we’d walk to the park. thank you for always listening. thank you for being worthy–thank you for being the patriarch of our home and teaching us about Jesus Christ. thank you for serving honorably as a missionary in bolivia. thank you for giving us priesthood blessings. thank you for holding my hand in the temple. thank you for doing your home teaching. thank you for fulfilling all of your callings. thank you for saying personal prayers–i never realized how sacred those memories would be to me now when i would walk into your room and see you kneeling by your bed. thank you for being kind and patient with mom and kissing her in front of us. i am the luckiest girl in the world to have a dad like you and i love you soooo much! 
i got your letters! mom, dad, blake and jess. dad–thank you so much for sharing stories from your mission!! why have you been holding back?! keep them coming and expect me to nag you about it everyday when i am home. i love hearing about your experiences! and your humble, simple testimony you shared when others were trying to argue helped me to be patient and calm on the phone last night when this lady wanted to tell me all the reasons i’m not really helping anyone and that what i’m doing “just isn’t right.” i wanted to pull a Hot Rod and say, “no i heard what you said, it was just really mean” but instead, i wanted to be like my dad and so i waited and at the end i just bore my simple testimony and wished her the best.
blake–your “dearelder” in response to nicole’s questions was the best!! like nicole said, you are so mature and wise and i am so proud of you! not only because you listen to fleet foxes and mumford and sons instead of katy perry, but also because you say prayers in your head when you feel tempted to make a wrong choice. you have no idea how proud of you i am!! and i read 2 nephi 32 in your honor 🙂 i’m so sorry that you are sick and i hope you feel better soon and get to spend some time with grandma! send her my love and adoration.
mama–you crack me up. i love picturing you lifting up your students over the rocks. how symbolic….
anyways, this week was sublime and conference was the icing on the cake. in between sessions, i asked my dear friend elder naylor to give me a blessing because the thought kept coming into my mind that i needed one and i know that such thoughts are not my own. i felt the power of God so strongly as Elder Naylor laid his hands on my head and spoke His words. i was flooded with comfort and reassurance and direction and revelation as to how i can be better. and i have such a strong testimony of the priesthood! i can never deny that it is the power of God restored through a prophet. these last few weeks, sister tolbert and i have been focusing on being more bold. and obviously elder naylor had no idea. and i almost laughed when half way through the blessing, he blessed me with boldness! and counseled me that such boldness needed to be through gentleness and love and charity and kindness. i thought of these words again as i listened to elder soares’ talk about meekness. I met him by the way! elder soares came to our mission and spoke to us in july and it was awesome!
ahhhh i loved conference so much and was so edified and in between sessions on sunday, we met with karina who is preparing to be baptized, and lada helped us (who was baptized the end of august). as we sat down, karina said, “i need help. this whole ‘revelation’ thing just isn’t working out for me..” i was delighted to tell her that serendipitously enough, that was what we had planned to speak about that very moment. we helped her realize that the Spirit teaches us truth so much more simply than we expect. we read in john when it talks about the Spirit teaching us truth and bringing things to our remembrance and then in galations 5 when it talks about how the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, charity, patience, etc. and then we asked if Karina felt any of those feelings as she read the Book of Mormon…we asked her if the Book of Mormon helped her develop those qualities in herself. and she said yes. and we asked her what she thinks the Spirit is telling her. she was so surprised as to how simple it really is. but the Lord delights in plainness. His plan for our happiness is so simple. We just have to listen to His Spirit and heed all that is good, and ask for Him to give us the strength to follow His Son. and that’s it! woo hooo!
i love you my family! and i hope you have a happy week!