Sunday, July 29, 2012



Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Spirit Matters Most

Today I had the opportunity to teach a Sunday School Lesson in the Teaching The Gospel Course - lesson 3, Teaching By the Spirit. I was overwhelmed with power of the Spirit in that class today. I wanted to share a few of my thoughts before they are gone.

One of the important points we talked about was the importance of bearing testimony of the truths of the gospel when teaching. Two quotations that relate to this lesson were very powerful:

President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, reflected on a lesson he learned while serving as a mission president. He wrote that his mission wasn’t progressing as it should. He didn’t know what it was that needed changing. During a testimony meeting at a zone conference, he heard the testimony of a frightened, new elder. President Packer recalled:

“The testimonies we’d heard from all the other missionaries went something like this: ‘I’m grateful to be in the mission field. I’ve learned a lot from it. I have a fine companion. I’ve learned a lot from him. I’m grateful for my parents. We had an interesting experience last week. We were out knocking on doors and. . . .’ Then the missionary would relate an experience. His conclusion would be something like this: ‘I’m grateful to be in the mission field. I have a testimony of the gospel.’ And he would conclude ‘in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.’

“This young elder was different somehow. Anxious not to spend an extra second on his feet, he said simply, in hurried, frightened words, ‘I know that God lives. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that we have a prophet of God leading the Church. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.’

“This was a testimony. It was not just an experience nor an expression of gratitude. It was a declaration, a witness!

“Most of the elders had said ‘I have a testimony,’ but they had not declared it. This young elder had, in a very few words, delivered his testimony—direct, basic, and, as it turned out, powerful.

“I then knew what was wrong in the mission. We were telling stories, expressing gratitude, admitting that we had testimonies, but we were not bearing them” (Teach Ye Diligently [1975], 275,

"A testimony is not an exhortation; a testimony is not a sermon (none of you are there to exhort the rest); it is not a travelogue. You are there to bear your own witness. It is amazing what you can say in 60 seconds by way of testimony, or 120, or 240, or whatever time you are given, if you confine yourselves to testimony. . . Every time you bear your testimony it becomes strengthened" (President Kimball Speaks Out on Testimony, by President Spencer W. Kimball [August, 1981],

I need to be more diligent in bearing my testimony so that it can be strengthened! I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. His atonement is real and he does indeed live. I can be forgiven of my sins and become better. Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of God, and I know that he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ face to face and talked with them. He translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God. I know the Book of Mormon is true. There is a power in this book like no other. I know that the priesthood of God was restored to the earth. It is real. I know that we have a living prophet on the earth today - President Thomas S. Monson. Heavenly Father loves me and is mindful of me and my family. I cannot deny these things that I know because they were made known unto me by the Holy Ghost. I want my family to know that I know these things. We can be an eternal family if we will but live according to these things that are true. I am so grateful to Heavenly Father for this knowledge he has given me through his Spirit.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A New Chapter

A new chapter in my life has begun as another has come to a close. I have just finished working at New Haven Residential Treatment Center as the Spanish Teacher. I worked there for two and a half years. Over that time period I have met and worked with many girls who struggle with things like depression, learning disabilities, harmful addictions, and other mental, emotional, and behavioral problems. I worked with girls from Australia, England, Canada, the Bahamas, Panama, New York, Illinois, Florida, Missouri, California, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Washington D.C., Arizona, Texas, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, Wyoming, Hawaii, Georgia, Colorado, Utah, and a few other places.

Many of us prejudge kids that are in a treatment center as being the rabble of the earth to avoid, thinking of them like criminals. I admit, I tended to think that way when I was growing up in Hurricane with several girls' homes nearby. I remember that girls from Crosscreek Manor in LaVerkin attended Hurricane High School, and I tended to avoid them as much as I could. I don't think I intentionally tried to judge them as bad, but in the back of my mind I thought of them as that way, even when I was asked to Sadie Hawkins dance by a girl at Crosscreek. Outwardly I tried to be nice, but I think that deep inside I held a personal judgment of them as bad. I realize now, after having worked at a treatment center for two and a half years, that these judgments were flawed. I came to enjoy and appreciate my associations with many girls, admiring the good I saw in them. And, I think that is what they needed from me. That is certainly a more Christlike approach, after all, they too are daughters of our Heavenly Father. Even if they have problems and have made some bad choices in their lives, they too deserve a second chance. They too deserve to be treated as and thought of as a child of God. That is how I now see these girls. While I am happy to move on into the new chapter in my life, I will miss the associations and friendships with, and the opportunity to teach these girls. My heart goes out to those struggling with these things in their lives. I will also miss the wonderful associations I had with co-workers there. There are some FANTASTIC people working at New Haven. I think it is one of the best treatment centers that exists, with its family approach, including the family in the treatment process. Goodbye New Haven!

The new chapter of my life now includes a new job at Utah Valley University as a Web Developer for the Distance Education department. I am blessed to work with some AWESOME individuals there! I don't know why I've been so blessed to have such wonderful work environments, but I have! I thoroughly enjoy this new job. I highly enjoy doing web coding all day! I don't know why I didn't find this out until later in my life. Maybe it's because of the lives Heavenly Father needed me to influence as a teacher. Maybe it was to help me grow as an individual. Maybe it was both. Whatever the reason, at least I am now getting into something I more highly enjoy! Thank you Heavenly Father for this new chapter!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Reflections on my

I am extremely grateful today for my family! As I write this, I am holding an adorable little girl of 18 months on my shoulder - she is fast asleep. She fell asleep while I was holding her, as she watched one of her favorite YouTube videos, I Am A Child of God:

How is it possible to have such a perfect little gift, such a perfect little angel of innocence from heaven sent to me? I am such an imperfect person to be the father of such a perfect little spirit, of such a beautiful little angel. It feels so good to feel her snuggled up against her daddy! I relish this moment because I know that it won't be long before this little girl is grown. I cherish the moment while it is now!

I am also grateful for my wonderful wife and eternal companion! Jill continues to serve our family and do so many things for everyone even when she doesn't feel well at all, without complaint. She is an amazing example of selfless service and strength, and that is the very essence of love. She exudes this love and this service daily! How I long to be like her in this way - filled with such compassion and caring. She truly embodies what President Eyring talks about in this YouTube video on families - joy from putting the welfare of others first. Why am I so blessed? I thank Heavenly Father daily that he allowed my closest friend to become my eternal companion. I just pray that I can live worthy to have her in the hereafter.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Refreshing Reprieve

I am sitting outside in the cool weather of late August. I don't think Summer is going to end yet, but we are getting a preview of what is soon to come. As I watch the evening clouds drifting overhead, the green trees waving in the breeze and the majestic mountains painted yellow as the lemon sun sinks toward the horizon, I am reminded that God loves me. Just as he grants a refreshing reprieve to the heat of Summer, so he grants me the chance to repent and receive the purifying reprieve of forgiveness. I am grateful for God's mercy and love. His astounding creations have the power draw me close to him once again.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Check out Hunter's new website

I just got done updating Hunter's new website. We added a bio with some photos, etc. Head on over to and see.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Wind and Children

What an amazing thing wind is! So many times we associate it with frustration, annoyance, and disdain, yet on a hot summer night how wonderful it is to have a breeze move the air, providing at least some sense of cooling. How soothing it is to sit on the porch in the evening and watch the beautiful trees swaying in the wind, and the leaves of an aspen shivering. To me the wind is a reminder that God loves us, and it is like a whisper of his spirit that can blow across our hearts. How grateful I am for wind.

I recall a passage from my grandmother's book about her life in which she describes traveling with her family in a wagon as a little girl. At night the wind was blowing and she remembered telling her mother that the wind would stop blowing if the trees would just stop fanning it. Such are the innocent ponderings of a child which can remind us of the simple things of life and help us remember what is important. I am grateful for all of my children.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I am sitting here at home with the sounds of family around me and I feel happy and truly content! What sweet noise to hear the talking, playing, and general noise of my six beautiful children. What a blessing they are in my life! With every one of them Jill and I felt the Spirit of the Lord telling us that another spirit was waiting to come down to earth, get a body, and join our family. I feel so truly grateful that Heavenly Father's love and mercy towards me is so great, even when I am imperfect as a father and husband, and I let him down. I have felt the power of his redeeming love and mercy, helping me receive forgiveness of my sins and helping me know that he will give me the strength to carry on and keep trying, no matter how hard it gets.

Blythe is playing scales on her flute. Tate is singing at the top of his lungs in the shower. I also hear Hunter and Gavin downstairs talking. Grace is in Blythe's room getting fussy. Ah, I am truly cherishing this "noise." Heavenly Father has truly blessed me.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I really would like to blog more. The problem comes from lack of time. When I am in school (I'm going back to school at UVU to make a career change into computer network engineering and administration) I have classes full-time and I work part-time. This, along with the church calling I have as the Elders Quorum 1st Counselor, leaves me very little time, which I usually try to spend with my family. Thus, I hardly ever blog and hardly ever get on Facebook any more.

Today, on this beautiful white and snowy Easter day, I wanted to finally blog about a highlight in my life I have not yet blogged about - the birth of our wonderful baby girl Grace Lolene Gifford on December 3rd, 2009. This new addition to our family has been so wonderful! It has been over six years since we've had a baby, so it's like we'd kind of forgotten what it was like. Every day I look forward to arriving home just to take this darling baby in my arms and give her hugs, kisses, squeezes and smiles. Yesterday she turned 4 months old. She is so responsive and mild mannered. I'm not saying she never cries, but I'm saying that she just seems to handle her hunger pains and uncomfortableness with stoicism. She stays happy for so long, when other babies would already be crying. Her smiles are just so adorable!!!

Here's a picture of her:

Isn't she just a doll?!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Too Late!

I was running late. I hit the gas to accelerate, but to no avail. The line of cars seemed to grow longer the longer I looked at it. Everything came to a standstill and I appeared to be at the end of the line. ARRRRRRGGGHHHH!!!!

I turned on the radio to calm my nerves. It worked as usual, but the second I started getting into the NPR news-radio story the line began to move. Unfortunately it was only a crawl. The headway I gained was nominal compared with the ground left to cover. I was in for a LONG haul! I focused back on the story on the radio and was able to forget my frustration again.

When I finally pulled into the parking lot I knew I was cutting it close. I pulled into an empty stall and turned off the van. I opened the door and ran. The handles to the double glass doors were coming near. I reached up to grab one as I skidded to a halt under the canopy over the little porch. I yanked and slipped inside, but I was too late. Their clock already showed seven minutes past my appointment.

"Your not within five minutes of your appointment," the girl at the counter said, "we'll have to put you on standby."

"But I was held up by traffic. It was out of my control," I retorted.

"I'm sorry. That's our policy."

RATS!!! All that worry and hurry for nothing!!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Weird Things in the Sky?

Date: May 25, 2009
Time: 4:40 p.m.
Place: Provo, Utah
Location: 200 North and 900 East - Bus stop
Setup: Waiting for a bus home (at bus stop)

This is the strangest thing I've ever seen! It was a beautiful clear, sunny day in Provo, Utah. The air was clear, with very few clouds, and the temperature was probably in the upper 70's (not too bad). I was waiting at the bus stop on Memorial Day, before I realized that bus service was limited on the holiday. I glanced up at the mountains to the east.

Suddenly something caught my eye - movement. I saw a streak of bright lime green trailing behind something that streaked down behind the mountains, as if it were a meteor falling to the earth, but very large and bright green. The width of whatever it was I saw was about as wide as the moon would be if it were full and up high in the middle of the sky. The bright green that streaked behind whatever it was appeared almost like a green version of northern lights trailing behind some object shooting across the sky, disappearing almost as quickly as it appeared. It all came and went within a matter of a few seconds.

Wow! I sat there trying to figure out what I had seen, but everything I had previously had experience with or knew about evaded me. Only yesterday did I finally find something that described occurrences similar to mine - on Wikipedia:

I've never been one to believe in UFOs in the alien sense of the word, and I still don't! I think that what I saw must have been some natural phenomenon, and I'd like to find out what it was. Weird, huh?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Sabbath Day

What a beautiful day it was today! I enjoyed the meetings at church, soaking in the Spirit and feeling truly renewed. I am glad that the Lord has set aside this day to draw near unto him. How would we do it otherwise.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday at the Gifford home

Hello world! No, this is not a computer program I'm writing here, nor is it a web page. Well, okay, I guess it is sort of a web page, but in no way did that "Hello world!" imply that I was doing my very first post. On the contrary I was merely trying to say hello to any and all who may read this.

Today is Saturday, a hectic day at the Gifford home. Today was the day that was scheduled to clean out our garage, rearrange it, take a load to the dump, and a load to Deseret Industries. In other words, it was a day to really muck out the garage and get it so that we actually have space to park our van in it. Not that we didn't before, but we would barely have enough room to squeeze into the van around all the stuff on the sides in the garage. Hallelujah! We now have room to spare on the sides, but it took a lot of work, and a lot of time (all day).

Well, I'm going to be going now. I'll have to post more later.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


I am sitting here this evening very grateful for the myriad of blessings that have been showered upon me. First and foremost for my family. I have a loving and caring wife who loves me for who I am and sees the potential in me for the future. She believes in me. I have five children who also love me and who excel, each in their own way. I have just accepted a new job that will allow me to continue attending school to effect the career change I desire. I have supportive parents, siblings, in-laws, and church family. I have a Savior who loves me and paid the price to allow me to repent and improve myself each day. I have the knowledge of the truth which has been restored to the earth. What more could I ask. I am so rich in blessings. I am extremely grateful to my Father in Heaven!

Friday, October 24, 2008


Wow! I really feel swamped with homework! I don't think I've ever been kept as busy as I have within the last few months after starting back to school. Of course, things are different now, what with being a father of five children, spouse, trying to provide for the family, serving in a church calling, etc. Anyway, now add on top of that the fact that I recently got laid off from my job. Job searching is a lot more demanding than actually working on a job. Holy cow! How can I fit all this stuff in? I am falling behind, not finding many opportunities for work, and just feeling frustrated right now! But, something will happen! The Lord is mindful of us. We'll just keep plugging away.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Excited and Scared

Here I am, both excited and scared at the same time. Why? Because I am going to start going back to school next week at Utah Valley University in Computer Science, emphasis in Network Engineering. With transferred credits it will take me three years to complete the program. It has been a long time since I have attended school full-time, and the thought both excites me and scares me.

I will continue to work for my current employer, but on a part-time basis, working around my school schedule. I am very glad they are willing to work with me. With this, attending school full-time, serving as Elders Quorum 2nd Counselor, and being a good father (of five) and spouse, I will certainly have my hands full! This is another aspect that is kind of scary. I want to be able to properly fulfill each role that I play, especially that of spouse and father. Balancing everything is going to be pretty hard, but I can do it--with the Lord's help.

Friday, July 4, 2008

En Casa Para El Cuatro De Julio

Aqui estamos nosotros en casa de mis padres para el cuatro de julio. Llegamos ayer por la tarde, un poco mas tarde que queriamos llegar porque tuvimos unos problemas con el carro, pero con una oracion y la fe de la familia pudimos llegar.

Katie, John, Harrison, Jack y Becca vinieron a la casa esta manana, con Kendall, Aaron y Juje llegando despues. Asi que ha estado toda la familia con excepcion de Shauna, Ty y sus hijos. Ojala que pudieran haber estado aqui! No he visto a la familia de Shauna porque han vivido tan lejos de nosotros por tanto tiempo.

Durante el dia visitamos, miramos peliculas, escuchamos a Hunter tocar el piano, cocinamos hamburguesas, y esta noche vamos a comer torta con helados, ademas, vamos a mirar los fuegos artificiales (un show pirotecnico). Ha sido tan bueno tener a la mayoria de la familia aqui con nosotros.

Friday, May 2, 2008

What a concert! WOW!!!!!!!!!

Our family went to a concert tonight in place of having our usual Friday "movie night." Jill found us a steal of a deal--$15 for tickets for the whole family to go see the final season concert of the Utah Premiere Brass (see, along with the Utah Pipe Band (a Scottish bagpipe band--see and The Rhythm of Ireland (see at the Covey Center for the Arts in Provo, Utah. All I can say is WOW!

Actually, the reason I wanted to write about it is that I was truly touched by quite a few of the numbers, and even brought to tears. They played a rendition of Amazing Grace with the combined brass band and the bagpipe band, and it was so moving that my eyes watered up. Several other numbers did the same, including renditions of Scotland The Brave, Highland Cathedral, and an arrangement of the old Irish tune "O Danny Boy." These were all done as original arrangements by members of the band. The combination of bagpipes and brass was so beautifully done that these pieces just spoke to my soul. I feel extremely grateful to my Father in Heaven for GOOD music!!!! How wonderful to be able to bring my children to enjoy such an amazing concert. I wish they had a recording of this available for purchase--I would snatch it up in a heartbeat.

The bands and the Irish dancers also held the children captivated--even Tate. The dancers were every bit as good as those in the Riverdance or Lord of the Dance companies. They were very good. They even danced to some Irish songs played by the brass band. The whole program was unbelievably coordinated, rehearsed, and prepared. WOW!!!! TRIPLE WOW!!!

Thank you Heavenly Father for good music!!! It is so nice to have a reprieve from the rotten noise that most people at my place of employment constantly have blaring (hard rock), with the vocalists not actually singing, but screaming. YUCK! I AM TIRED OF HEARING IT! This concert was such a needed thing for my soul!

Good night!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

All is going well here in Springville right now. I am still working at Rocky Mountain Composites, though I'd like to find another job with better hours, better pay, and something I enjoy much more. The job isn't that bad though, and it's close enough that I ride my bike in to work, as long as the weather is good enough. This gives me exercise as well as saving gas on getting me to work.

The rest of the family is getting along well too. The children (all except Tate, of course) have about six more weeks of school left (they've been on Spring Break this past week). Tate is about to turn 5 (this coming Thursday--April 24th), and I still cannot believe it. He'll be starting school (Kindergarten) this fall, and at the school where the kids go, it is all-day kindergarten. This fall all of our children will be in school during the day--WIERD!!!!! I feel like I'm getting old.

We are also keeping busy with Church. I was just called as the second counselor in the elders quorum presidency and I've been an instructor in the class. Jill is surviving as a nursery leader in the primary. Hunter has been enjoying Young Men's, and has been the piano player in Priesthood opening exercises for the past few months. Blythe has been progressing on her Faith In God award, always looking to pass off another requirement, and so has Gavin. Seth will turn 8 this summer, and will be baptized. And, lastly, Tate is enjoying his Sunbeam class--he loves his teachers.

On Juje's birthday, Hunter, Dan McNeece (Jill's sister's husband), and I will be flying to Georgia. We will travel to Cedartown and stay the night. Then on Monday, May 5th, we will rent a moving truck and load up all our stuff that is in storage. Then we will drive it out to our home in Springville, arriving in the evening on Wednesday, May 7th. I will be off work on Thursday, May 8th, and will unload the truck that day. We plan to take the I-80 route so that we can make a stop in Carthage, Illinois and Nauvoo, Illinois. I've never been there before. I am excited and so is Hunter. It will be nice to finally get our things out here too. We haven't had our things for about a year now--it'll be kind of like Christmas all over again.

Mom or Dad emailed me a link to a slide show with pictures of actors from a pageant in Arizona and the paintings on exhibit there all put to music. I opened it and let it load--with dial-up it takes forever to load, but it was soooooooooo worth it. Mom, that was indeed AWESOME!!! It brought tears to my eyes, and it did to Jill's too. You ALL need to watch it. Here's the link:

Monday, March 31, 2008

March 31, 2008

Here I sit at the Springville, Utah public library on my day off work looking at this screen and wondering what to write on my first BLOG entry.

I was going to work overtime today to help save up some extra money for moving our things out here to Utah from where we used to live in Cedartown, Georgia. Then, with all the snow, ice, and wind Jill asked me to stay home so she wouldn't have to drive me in to work. She did not feel comfortable driving on the roads early in the morning in this weather.

Also, our son is ill today and I had to take him in to the doctor with possible strep throat. I also went in to the doctor because I've felt fairly ill over the last month myself. I was diagnosed with a sinus infection--YUCK! No wonder I've been feeling so terrible! We've had lots of sickness in the family over the past month or two. I really want to have everyone be healthy again!!!!!