Thursday, August 10, 2017

Our Mission to Belize

One month ago today, on July 10th, we arrived in Belize to begin our 23 month mission to the El Salvador San Salvador West/Belize Mission.  We'll spend our time in the country of Belize.  You can read about our experiences by clicking onto the blog-link to the right side of this blog: Mission to the Maya under My Blog List or by clicking here.

I will post a few pictures so you can get a taste of some of our experiences.

We entered the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Provo, Utah on July 3rd.

This is our district in the MTC.  These senior missionaries are all assigned to various places throughout the world.  Our teacher is the third from the left on the back row.      
Our arrival day in Belize
We are with all the missionaries serving in the country of Belize at a Zone Conference in Belize City
 Our first training with the zone leaders
 We are with a set of missionaries and the senior missionaries serving in Belize
 With the sisters serving in Orange Walk
Having a Skype district meeting
Getting ready for a service project with the Belize City Branch President and his neighbor.  
 Visiting with a member of the branch presidency from Orange Walk
Visiting with a couple from the Belize City Branch
On our way to go to church in San Pedro

I found out  when you buy a whole chicken from the grocery store in Belize they mean the whole chicken, including the foot!
Be sure to click on the link to our mission blog to learn more about our mission experiences.  Our blog address is:

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Dr. Laura's Wisdom

For years I listened to Dr. Laura on the radio.  She has had a big influence on my life.

This morning as I was scrolling through my Facebook page I saw these three quotes from her.  Thank you Dr. Laura for your words of wisdom.  

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

"I felt His voice take the sword out of my hand"

Recently a friend was recounting to Scott and I a tragic and terrible relationship she was in. Lines from the movie Ben Hur came to mind.

A line from the movie sets the stage for the last lines.  "No water for him!" is our desire for revenge.

You can also see the video by clicking here

At the end of the movie, Judah Ben Hur describes the change that came over him when he saw the Christ and experienced a mighty change of heart. He repeats the last words of Jesus, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do", and then Ben Hur declares "I felt his voice take the sword out of my hand."

You can also see the video by clicking here

Friday, June 23, 2017

Then and Now

On Mother's Day weekend, 2015, was the last time the Scott Magnusson family were together before Sam left for his 2 year mission to Chile.  Kristine had just returned from her mission to Oregon and Sam was preparing to leave for his mission.  
In May, 2017 Sam returned from his mission.  Two months later in July Scott and Kathleen will leave for their mission Belize.

Last week we were blessed to gather together once again at Pineview Reservoir for a family reunion.
 Ogden Temple
The biggest difference is that we have more brothers!  We love that since 2015 Dave M. and Bryce have joined our family as husbands to Renee and Kristine.
We can't wait to see what changes will happen over the next two years when we'll gather again in 2019.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Great Advice from Occupational Therapist, Victoria Prooday

On my Facebook feed I saw a link to a blogpost by Victoria Prooday titled:  The silent tragedy affecting today’s children (and what to do with it).  Victoria starts out her post by saying:

Here is my new blog post. I encourage every parent who cares about the future of his/her children to read it. I know that many would choose not to hear what I say in the article, but your children need you to hear this message. Even if you disagree with my perspective, please, just follow the recommendations at the end of the article. Once you see the positive changes in your child’s life, you will understand why I say what I say!”
I was very interested in what Victoria said on her blogpost and encourage you to go read her complete post from by clicking here
  Here are the recommendations at the end of her article:  
If we want our children to grow into happy and healthy individuals, we have to wake up and go back to the basics. It is still possible! I know this because hundreds of my clients see positive changes in their kids’ emotional state within weeks (and in some cases, even days) of implementing these recommendations:
Set limits and remember that you are your child’s PARENT, not a friend

Offer kids well-balanced lifestyle filled with what kids NEED, not just what they WANT. Don’t be afraid to say “No!” to your kids if what they want is not what they need.
  • Provide nutritious food and limits snacks.
  • Spend one hour a day in green space: biking, hiking, fishing, watching birds/insects
  • Have a daily technology-free family dinner.
  • Play one board game a day. 
  • Involve your child in one chore a day (folding laundry, tidying up toys, hanging clothes, unpacking groceries, setting the table etc)
  • Implement consistent sleep routine to ensure that your child gets lots of sleep in a technology-free bedroom
Teach responsibility and independence. Don’t over-protect them from small failures. It trains them the skills needed to overcome greater life’s challenges:
  • Don’t pack your child’s backpack, don’t carry her backpack, don’t bring to school his forgotten lunch box/agenda, and don’t peel a banana for a 5-year-old child. Teach them the skills rather than do it for them.
Teach delayed gratification and provide opportunities for “boredom” as boredom is the time when creativity awakens:
  • Don’t feel responsible for being your child’s entertainment crew.
  • Do not use technology as a cure for boredom.
  • Avoid using technology during meals, in cars, restaurants, malls. Use these moments as opportunities to train their brains to function under “boredom”
  • Help them create a “boredom first aid kit” with activity ideas for “I am bored” times.
Be emotionally available to connect with kids and teach them self-regulation and social skills:
  • Turn off your phones until kids are in bed to avoid digital distraction.
  • Become your child’s emotional coach. Teach them to recognize and deal with frustration and anger.
  • Teach greeting, turn taking, sharing, empathy, table manners, conversation skills,
  • Connect emotionally - Smile, hug, kiss, tickle, read, dance, jump, or crawl with your child.
We must make changes in our kids’ lives before this entire generation of children will be medicated! It is not too late yet, but soon it will be…

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Picture Perfect?

My niece, Liesel, shared this video this on her Facebook wall with this comment:

I love this. We never know what's going behind the scenes of "picture perfect". Life is tough and everyone's got their junk to deal with.  "Comparison is the thief of joy." (T. Roosevelt)

The above clip was taken from a talk Elder Stevenson delivered at the BYU 2017 Woman's Conference.  You can view Elder Stevenson's whole talk below or by clicking here and going to 17:48

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The project, "Removed"

I first read Erin Stewart's article titled: "Learning and failing to put down my phone and pay attention to my kids" on Deseret New's FB page.  Erin's article lead me to read this story from where I got the material to do this post.

American photographer Eric Pickersgill removed the smartphones and digital devices from his portraits of everyday life. The project “Removed” aims to show our addiction to technology and hyper-connectivity, and Pickersgill knows that he’s also amongst the addicted.

The photographer was inspired by a chance encounter in a New York cafe. Family sitting next to me at Illium cafĂ© in Troy, NY is so disconnected from one another,” Pickersgill writes in his notes from that day. “Not much talking. Father and two daughters have their own phones out. Mom doesn’t have one or chooses to leave it put away. She stares out the window, sad and alone in the company of her closest family. Dad looks up every so often to announce some obscure piece of info he found online.”
He achieved the surreal effect in his photos by asking strangers and friends to remain in position, removing their cellphones, and then taking the shot.

Click on this link to see more photos from Eric Pinkersgill's project called, "Removed".

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Find Lasting Peace through Jesus Christ

Sam’s two year mission is almost over.  He comes home May 2nd.  Every Monday for the past two years, we have enjoyed reading about his experiences through his weekly emails.   Todays email was especially touching as he described teaching a family who was receptive to the message he and his companion shared.   He described how the message brought them peace:
we found a family to teach.  they really want to listen to us because a couple of years ago their 3 month old baby died. they basically told us that they haven’t had peace in their lives since. we watched the church’s new video, Prince of Peace, and we had a super good visit with them as we introduced the Plan of Salvation.  the best part of the lesson was when a friend of theirs (who was also listening) told them that their child died as a punishment. we were then able to testify to them that that wasn’t true. that God would never do that as a punishment and that they would one day have the chance to raise their son. the spirit was so strong in that moment. we have a lesson with them on tuesday and so we are way excited for this week. 

This is the video that they shared with the family.
As you watch the video, you, too, will feel peace.  

You can also view the video by clicking here

We are blessed that Sam has been able to serve his brothers and Sisters in Chile for the past 2 years.  We’ll see you in 3 weeks, Elder Magnusson!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

"Cancer is a Disease of Love"

It seems as if we will all have be touched by cancer sometime in our lives.  Either ourselves, a family member, or a friend will fight this disease.  Over the past 30 years my mother has battled breast, colon, and skin, cancer.  She eventually died of Parkinson's last year.
In 2007 I remember hearing a talk given by Steven Snow as he talked of his own mother's battle with cancer.  His statement, "...cancer is a disease of love" intrigued me.  His next sentence explains the opportunities that come our way as we face cancer.

"A few years before my mother passed away, she was diagnosed with cancer, a disease she fought with great courage. As a family we learned, strangely enough, that cancer is a disease of love. It provides opportunities to mend fences, say goodbyes, and express love.”
Steven E. Snow
Oct. 2007 LDS General Conference

I am grateful for the many different opportunities that have come my way to mend fences, say goodbyes, and express love.

The quote was taken from this talk by Steven E. Snow.  
You can also see the video by clicking here.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Marion Harris Family

I spent most of the day scanning family pictures.  These are pictures of my Dad's family.

From left to right:  Joe, Marion, Elaine, Marguerite, and my dad, Kiefer

Elaine, Kiefer, Joe

This is a picture of my dad with his siblings years later at a family picnic in Utah.  
I have happy memories with my Uncle Joe and Aunt Elaine.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Everything you ever wanted to know about kidney stones

One month ago I had a pain in my gut and blood in my urine.  After a trip to urgent care, I was told that I had a kidney stone and to go home and drink lots of water and wait for the stone to pass.  One month later and after a CAT scan, ureteroscopy, ureteral stent placement and removal, and a lot of pain, I am kidney stone free and as good as new.   Now I will be drinking lots of water , I will not be salting my oatmeal, I'll eat less protein, and I'll be buying more citrus for the rest of my life because I don't want to go through that pain ever again.  People say the pain is worse that labor pain.  It is true.

This post might be TMI (too much information) but i decided to write about what I learned from my experience for my posterity or anyone else who will have the bad fortune of dealing with kidney stones.  My father and two of my brothers have had kidney stones and I'm thinking it might be in our Harris genes.  All I can say to my youngest brother is:  Watch out!

I found the best website that simply explains everything that I needed to know about kidney stones.  It is found on the Intermountain Healthcare webpage.  They posted a pamphlet on the subject that you can get to it by clicking here.

Here are a copy of a few pages that I found helpful:

This page explains what a kidney stone is.
My kidney stone did not pass on it's own.  After a CAT scan I found out that it was 6mm in size.  It was lodged in my ureter.  After my stone was removed, it was tested and determined that it was a calcium oxalate crystal.  
After 3 weeks of not budging, my urologist advised me to have an ureteroscopy and have that stone taken out using a tiny snare or "basket" which is explained below:  
After the kidney stone was removed, the doctor put in a ureteral stent.  More pain:(
At my last doctor visit I was given guidelines on how to prevent future kidney stones.  
Please pass the water.  :)

Friday, January 13, 2017

Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet

The Mormon Channel made part of Elder Holland's April 2015 General Conference talk to a video.
You can also see the video by clicking here.  

Without safety ropes, harnesses, or climbing gear of any kind, two brothers—Jimmy, age 14, and John, age 19 (though those aren’t their real names)—attempted to scale a sheer canyon wall in Snow Canyon State Park in my native southern Utah. Near the top of their laborious climb, they discovered that a protruding ledge denied them their final few feet of ascent. They could not get over it, but neither could they now retreat from it. They were stranded. After careful maneuvering, John found enough footing to boost his younger brother to safety on top of the ledge. But there was no way to lift himself. The more he strained to find finger or foot leverage, the more his muscles began to cramp. Panic started to sweep over him, and he began to fear for his life.

Unable to hold on much longer, John decided his only option was to try to jump vertically in an effort to grab the top of the overhanging ledge. If successful, he might, by his considerable arm strength, pull himself to safety.

In his own words, he said:

“Prior to my jump I told Jimmy to go search for a tree branch strong enough to extend down to me, although I knew there was nothing of the kind on this rocky summit. It was only a desperate ruse. If my jump failed, the least I could do was make certain my little brother did not see me falling to my death.

“Giving him enough time to be out of sight, I said my last prayer—that I wanted my family to know I loved them and that Jimmy could make it home safely on his own—then I leapt. There was enough adrenaline in my spring that the jump extended my arms above the ledge almost to my elbows. But as I slapped my hands down on the surface, I felt nothing but loose sand on flat stone. I can still remember the gritty sensation of hanging there with nothing to hold on to—no lip, no ridge, nothing to grab or grasp. I felt my fingers begin to recede slowly over the sandy surface. I knew my life was over.

“But then suddenly, like a lightning strike in a summer storm, two hands shot out from somewhere above the edge of the cliff, grabbing my wrists with a strength and determination that belied their size. My faithful little brother had not gone looking for any fictitious tree branch. Guessing exactly what I was planning to do, he had never moved an inch. He had simply waited—silently, almost breathlessly—knowing full well I would be foolish enough to try to make that jump. When I did, he grabbed me, held me, and refused to let me fall. Those strong brotherly arms saved my life that day as I dangled helplessly above what would surely have been certain death.”

My beloved brothers and sisters, today is Easter Sunday. Although we should always remember (we promise in our weekly sacramental prayers that we will), nevertheless this is the most sacred day of the year for special remembrance of brotherly hands and determined arms that reached into the abyss of death to save us from our fallings and our failings, from our sorrows and our sins. Against the background of this story reported by John and Jimmy’s family, I express my gratitude for the Atonement and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and acknowledge events in the divine plan of God that led up to and give meaning to “the love Jesus offers [us].”...

You can read his full talk here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

5 Mormon Beliefs by James the Mormon

I found this video on my Facebook page and I want to share it on this blog.  The video talks about some of the things Scott and I will be teaching the people in Belize when we are on our mission.
You can also view the video by clicking here.  

These are the words that are in this video:

People all over the world have debated back and forth about what Mormons really believe. So what draws people to a faith that is often misunderstood, and sometimes peculiar?

Like many other religions, Mormons believe that we are all spiritual children of God and that we can talk to God through prayer. But we don’t believe that this is a one-way conversation, everyone can receive answers to prayers in many different forms. The direct influence of God in our lives is called ‘personal revelation’, and we can rely on this constantly.

Mormons have a completely unpaid ministry in local congregations. Every position in the church, from the bishop to the teachers, is voluntarily filled by members who have other jobs and responsibilities the rest of the week. Missionaries travel to almost every country, for 18 months to two years, and pay out of pocket to serve the communities they are sent to. Mormons around the world actively participate in the community and church services all without compensation. We believe in trying to serve others the way that Jesus did, whether they are members of our faith or not.

As Christians, Mormons believe in the Bible written by prophets called of God to lead His people. But doesn’t God love His children just as much now as He did in the Old and New Testaments?
God has not gone silent. He still provides guidance through His prophets on the earth today. This helps us navigate the unique challenges that society faces now.

Every six months Mormons gather for a meeting, known as General Conference. The words of the Prophet and Apostles are broadcast worldwide and made available to everyone. Check out their words for yourself on, and see what you think.”

One of the most comforting doctrines of Mormonism is that we don’t believe in a “Hell” of fire and brimstone, or that God “sorts” souls into Heaven or Hell. We believe there will be a perfect combination of justice and mercy together, not eternal suffering.

We also believe the gospel will be shared beyond the grave, and those who did not get the chance to learn of Christ, or believe in Him, will be given the chance to learn. Work is done in temples across the world, in the hope that those who have passed on will choose to accept Christ. This belief instills comfort that all people may fully enjoy every blessing of our Heavenly Father’s kingdom.

Music by J. Scott Rakozy:
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