Tender Moments

Today we celebrated the life of my great aunt Norma May Gutke Ellis. She was born in 1921 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Carl Frederick and Laura May Jones Gutke. She was the youngest child of eight. Norma was a cheerful, bright, and lovely woman. She joined her family after her mother had already lost two daughters: one was murdered by a jealous boyfriend at 17 and the other was a golden haired, adorable four year old taken by a combination of whooping cough/pneumonia. Norma was a blessing sent to Laura Gutke from a caring and loving Heavenly Father.

Norma was adored by her five older brothers one of them nick-named her Nooksie. Whenever he went out, he always brought a present home with him for his little sister. One day he was on a date, he told his date he needed to stop and buy a little something for “dear little Nooskie.” She was a bit confused!

Norma was so beautiful, so tender, so gracious, and so kind. I loved meeting her a few years ago when I went with my sister. She became so precious to me as my sister and I took on the project of interviewing her about her life and her experiences.

I learned more from her about the Gutke name and heritage than I had  known before. Although she was telling me stories, I learned so much from her. One of my favorite stories was about how she was going with a young man she met when she went to a dance with the local soldiers at the military base in Kearns, Utah. She really liked him and they would talk on the phone and write letters and they were getting quite serious. She knew he was going to propose, but she knew that he could not give her the life that she wanted. She wanted to be married in the temple and this young man, although he was good man could not give her what she wanted. He was not a member of the Church. She called him and broke it off. It was a very hard, but such a brave thing to do, to stand up for what was really important to her. Later she met Uncle Dan Ellis and they became the most lovely couple and were married for 67 years! They raised three boys and a lovely girl they named Laura.

I always had a great time hearing their banter when I was at their home. I would ask Aunt Norma a question and hear her answer, and Uncle Dan would call out from the other room and tell her she got the story all wrong.

I love this woman! Her funeral was just a celebration of her life, of her goodness, of her love for others. I want mine to be like that. The Bishop closed by saying, “She had received His (Jesus Christ’s) image in her contenance.” Then he challenged us to become like her.” I accept the challenge.

I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?” Alma 5:19

I know my Aunt Norma was not perfect, but she tried every day to be loving, kind, and be the best woman she would be. She did have a pure heart and clean hands. I want to be like her when I am 91.

I will miss you Aunt Norma!



Fifty Shades of Real Love

It was a bright, clear August morning. I woke up at the crack of dawn exhausted because my excitement had kept me up long into the night, but I could not keep myself in bed. I was in a mediocre hotel in a small town

with my parents and had shared a queen bed with my white-haired grandmother. To anyone else it may have seemed like we were just passing through and grabbed the hotel because we were so tired and needed a rest, but I had longed for this day since I was twelve years old. Today was my wedding day. I was marrying not only the man of my dreams, but also my best friend and I was marrying him in the most beautiful place to me in the world.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching and many people anticipating the release of the film adaptation of the book “Fifty Shades of Grey,” I wanted to write my own thoughts about this. If you are unfamiliar with the story it is about how a young  reporter interviews a very wealthy man about his company and success for her college newspaper. One thing leads to another and he asks her out, showering her with expensive gifts and treatment, then comes the big moment when he asks her to become his “dominate” or to have a contract where she will be basically his sex slave. He does all kinds of dominating things to her and she absolutely enjoys it, falls in love with him, and hopes that he will love her back and just not use her for sex anymore.

Are you kidding me? People are going to be lining up to see this movie! I just don’t understand it. It is pornography for women. I too was once a young reporter covering stories for my college newspaper and would have been frilled if a rich, powerful man was interested in me–until he tried to take me bed. I would have slapped him right in the face and kicked him straight in the balls. Call me “old-fashioned” or “close-minded” or whatever you like, but I would not have stood for it. My parents taught me about the fifty ways to show real love–to be happy in this life and the next and I will always, always be grateful to them.

Here is my list of the fifty ways to really love, not just satisfy your sexual wants and strange desires, use someone else and then walk away.

1) Real love is selfless. “Greater love have no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13. When you truly love someone you want their happiness more than you want your own. I know my parents sacrificed a lot for all five of my siblings and myself in order for us to play sports, have music lessons, a roof over our heads, etc.  I also know that when I think of my husband’s happiness, more than my own our relationship is so much better. I feel so much more love for him than I knew I could even have.  As a parent now of three boys, I would do anything for them. I would give them my kidney, I would give them my blood, I would do anything they would need in order for them to be happy.

2) Real love is being patient.  In this world of fast-food, Netflix, and high-speed Internet we have a hard time waiting for things. I waited to have sex before I was married. I was a virgin? How can that possibly be? You may think I am an idiot or crazy, but you are certainly entitled to your opinion. Then you might say, “Well, your husband could certainly wasn’t a virgin then! Men just can’t control their urges. They just need to have sex or they won’t survive!” Believe it or not, my husband was a virgin too. We waited to have sex and it was so worth it. We were both novices and have learned and grown together to find out what we like and what we don’t like. However, we are completely committed to each other.

3) Pornography is not love. Not only was my husband a virgin, but he somehow in this media age where you can view porn whenever or wherever you want, he chooses not to look at it.  Of course he was exposed to pornography, but he choose to look away. He chose to keep himself away from it because he knew it would destroy him. I was exposed when I was 8 years old and struggled for years not to look or watch things, but as I grew older I was able to keep myself busy and I developed other hobbies and interests . I was able to remain chaste until we were married.

Couple 1

4) Love is more than sex. You care about the person, not just what parts on their body can satisfy yours. If more people understood this, there would be children who lived in “unbroken” homes.

5) Love is not jealous. If you are truly in love with someone, you will be happy for them and for their successes. You will also be confident in yourself to know that if your partner truly cares about you then they will not seek for pleasure somewhere else, if they do, then it is their problem not yours.

6) Love is kind. It is hard to feel romantic or sexual feelings for someone when they are constantly treating you like you are a piece of garbage that could easily be disposed of. It is also hard to feel good about yourself when you are constantly being controlled by someone else.

7) Love is not easily provoked. I say I love my children and my husband but if I am constantly arguing with them or losing my temper, then I am not showing love. My actions are speaking much louder than my words. I have to constantly tell myself, “I am kind, patient and loving” especially when it comes to my three-year old.

8) Love thinks no evil.  It is so easy to say and so hard to do! it is so easy to blame others for our reactions to things. “You made me mad!” We do have control of our reactions and have control of our attitudes and our words. it is also so easy to find faults in others. Truly loving someone (and ourselves) is seeing the good in them.

9) Love is being honest. It is hard to tell your partner that you have made a mistake or that you don’t like something they have gone. But open, honest (but said in a kind way) communication goes a very long way. I know that I am trying to be more honest. When we pick a restaurant for a date, I have been standing up and saying I want to go certain places. My husband knows where I stand. I know we would all like our spouses to be like Edward Cullen, but guess what? They really can’t read our minds.

10. Love is not giving up when things get hard. There are times when things can be so hard in life that we think if we could just run away the things would go away. But they don’t. My husband has stuck by me even when I have told him that I was so downhearted that I didn’t to ultimately give up and take my own life. He truly loves me despite my weaknesses.

11. Love is having faith. You treat your partner as if they are already the most amazing person they could be and they will strive for it. In our relationship, we both believe in a Heavenly Father that loves us personally. If we are struggling, we know that we can pray and ask for his faith and he will help us endure our troubles.  He is there for me and he is there for my husband. He is also there for my children.

12. Love is having hope. I have forgotten this the last year as I have allowed despair to overwhelm me and take over my life. No longer! I have must embrace hope for the future of my relationship with my husband and also for the hope of the great futures ahead of my children.

13. Love is white and pure, like the dress of a glowing bride. 

14. Love is holding your newborn baby in your arms. 

15. Love is seeing your husband hold your newborn baby in his arms. 


16. Love is helping a neighbor.

17. Love is playing a game with your child. 

18. Love is laughing with a friend.

19. Love can be a smile. 

20. Love is dancing like no one is watching. 

21. Love is anything that is full of light.

22. Love uplifts, does not bring down. 

23. Love is sweet, not harsh. 

24. Love is making love not just dominating someone into compliance.

25. Love is holding hands even when you are 70. 

26. Love is feeding your child who cannot feed themselves. 

27. Love is simple and does not need to be extravagant. 

28. Love is writing a few words of encouragement. 

29. Love is being a friend to the friendless.

30. Love is being valued and not treated like a possession.

31. Love is eating something your wife cooked even when it doesn’t taste very good.

32. Love is forgiving others even if it is to let the burden of holding grudges go.

33. Love is your husband putting the little one to bed because he knows you are exhausted.

34. Love is taking care of an aging parent. 

35. Love is choosing your down syndrome child over the woman who once was your wife.  (

36. Love is reading one more story even if you are tired. 

37. “Love is patience, kindness and understanding even when you don’t want to show any of it.” from my friend Amie

38. “Love is mutual respect.” from my mother in law

39. “Love is sacrifice.” from my life long friend who has struggled in her marriage but has worked hard to keep it together.

40.  “Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” -my sister Julie

41. I asked my three-year old what he thought love was and he pointed at me and smiled. Then he said, “When you play with me.” 

42. Love is having a three-year old who thinks you are the definition of love even when you know you aren’t.  (tears)

43. “Love to me is being Christlike in all things. My husband shows his love to me by letting me be myself and sometimes that means being a total mess and loving me because of what makes me, me! it also is having unconditional honesty, forgiveness and respect for each other.” my friend Staci (she is amazing, miss you girl.)

44. Love is more than saying, it is doing. 

45. Love is spending your time with beggars, lepers, sinners, and other people considered “beneath” others when you are the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. 

46. “I know you love me when you make tortellini”.–my eight year old.

47. Love is being the kind of parent who sets a good example for their children. 

48. Love is being tolerant, respectful, but also willing to stand up and kick butt if needed.

49.Love is snuggling with daddy.” three year old.

50. Love is still wanting to be around me even after you have watched me dance. 

There are so many shades of love. Love is not grey at all. Love is the light that shines through in grey times. Love is what would make this world a better place if we all showed it more to each other. Please choose love!

Time to wake up!

A light bulb has finally turned on inside my head! It has taken almost a year of struggling, but I have to say. I am really ready to LIVE! I have been “in the depths of despair” for way too long! It is time to turn on the light and step out of the darkness. 

I talked about the seminar that I listened to in my last post and how I realized that I am the author of my own story! I am in charge of my own happiness, but I really do not have to do it alone! I must say that I the same renewed feelings yesterday and today. I am ready to WAKE UP! I am ready to start working for my own happiness and to “create my AMAZING life!”

I found this scripture today that I really love.

“O that ye would awake; awake from a deep sleep, yea, even from the sleep of hell, and shake off the awful chains by which ye are bound, which are the chains which bind the children of men, that they are carried away captive down to the eternal gulf of misery and woe.” (2 Nephi 1:14)

Over that last year I have listened to the wrong kind of voices. I have listened to the negative voices of the servants of Satan who are trying to drag me down. I was in a deep sleep, a place where I was not allowing the Holy Ghost to speak to me because the negative voices were screaming in my ear. But I WILL NOT listen to them ANYMORE!

I also thought of this classic scripture from seminary,

“Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” 2 Nephi 2:27

He is miserable. He is angry and he really wants me to fail. He hates me. I feel like I was numb. I had hardened my heart to the Spirit and had allowed myself to fall into the darkness.  But NO LONGER! 

I am going to “Awake, my (daughter) and put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound) 2 Nephi 1:23

On Saturday, my cute eight year old chose to follow Jesus Christ’s example and to be baptized. Now this kid has never really committed a “sin” in his life. He makes mistakes like we all do, but I know he understands the importance of opening the gate towards his own spiritual journey. He is old enough to recognize good and bad and right and wrong.  I know that he knows. He is a great example to me of love and having a fun attitude. 

It puts things into prospective for me to think how much my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love me because when I saw my father and my eldest brother in the room at the baptism, I realized that they would do anything for me. I also know that my Heavenly Father and my older Brother Jesus Christ will also do anything for me. I can have the close relationship that I want with them. They are just waiting for me to wake up and open up the door. 

I will choose happiness! I will “shake off” Satan’s bands and I will LIVE!

Baby Steps

I laugh when I think about when I set goals. I start with one and then I think “while I am at it I really need to do this and do that” and I just keep adding more and more goals. I try to do everything on my list for about five days and then I feel overwhelmed and give up. I talked with my husband and he just suggested I do one goal for one month until I’ve got it down and then I can add more things. He is an engineer and extremely sensible. He is the one that keeps me grounded in so many, many ways.

So here is my attempt at improving my life, one Baby Step at a time. My first step is to create this blog where I can write and share my feelings about my physical health, my mental health, and my desire for happiness. if you click on the page about me it says that I have struggled with depression for most of my life. 2014 was a hard year. I thought about ending my life and I do not want to do that. I have struggled since last July to get healthy, mentally, spiritually, and physically and to resurrect the vivacious, fun and creative me that I have killed in such a slow, painful way over the last eighteen years.

I love the movie “What About Bob” and I love this clip.

I really just need to take things one step at a time. Each entry will be like a baby step toward a more healthier me.

One day I will be sailing!