Before I celebrated my sixteenth birthday, I had lived in fourteen different homes! My father was a homebuilder, and every home he built was for sale—including the ones we lived in. Because we moved so often, we did not collect a lot of possessions. Every home I lived in was full of the spirit of love, friendship, humor, fun, and laughter. These priceless things always moved with us. The things we didn’t take with us were given to Deseret Industries.
A few things, however, were never discarded, including books, scriptures, family histories and photos, and music. Those material items were handled with care every time we moved, and I learned to value deeply what they stood for. My father and mother carefully wrapped and boxed these items, and I sensed even as a very young child that they were extremely important. As I grew older, this sense developed into a great love for the scriptures and also for family history and for our ancestors who sacrificed so much for us.
These moving adventures shaped me into the person I am today. I am not attached to material possessions. Instead, I place the highest value on relationships with people, including written records of these relationships, such as the ones you find in the scriptures or in family histories. I love to meet new people and look forward to getting to know others and making new friends.
As a young girl, I developed a strong imagination and sense of humor. Listening to music was one of my favorite pastimes. I often pulled out our old record player and listened to the music from popular plays and movies such as Carousel, Oklahoma, and the Music Man. I had never actually seen them, so I created my own plots and story lines based on the words from the songs. I also made up all the dances and acted out many of the roles. It didn’t take much to make me happy. A few dress-up clothes from my parents’ closet, a record, an empty room, and I was off on an adventure.
In my mind, I traveled to many faraway places and experienced many marvelous things. In fact, later in my life, when I was able to travel, I discovered that the places I visited in my imagination were almost more fun and exciting than trips I actually took.
The scriptures were also a source of wonderful stories and adventures for me. As I mentioned, my parents carefully packed our scriptures with every move, and even today I have a sense of reverence for the scriptures. My father had entire chapters of scripture memorized, and our family could have a scriptural discussion without even having any scriptures nearby, because Dad recited them by heart. The scriptures were always with him, and I wanted that, too. I wanted the scriptures to be inside of me, to be a part of me like they were a part of my father.
One of my favorite scriptures is in 3 Nephi when Jesus Christ visits the Nephites. While He is visiting them, He teaches them how to pray. One of the things He tells them to pray for is to not enter into temptation (see 3 Ne. 13:12, including footnote a). Heavenly Father hears our prayers and wants us to be strong and make good decisions about our choices. He can help us make these decisions when we are obedient and pray for His help.
Looking back, I realize that many people might have thought my childhood was hard. Moving so often and having to make new friends might have seemed very hard. In addition, we didn’t have a lot of money for toys and other things. But I never felt that it was hard. It’s important to not feel sorry for ourselves and to not focus on the things we don’t have or the things we can’t do. Instead, we should be grateful for what we do have and be happy and positive. It will make our lives much richer and rewarding.
I love meeting children all over the world. The scriptures say that “little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned” (Alma 32:23). As a schoolteacher, I have taught many children. I have also taught children in Primary. Even though I’m supposed to be the teacher, sometimes I learn more from children than they learn from me! You children are curious. You love to learn. Your hearts are pure. Heavenly Father loves you dearly, and I’m thrilled to be sharing the message of His love with Primary children all over the world.
I love our world. It has so many undiscovered beauties! How grateful I am that Heavenly Father created it for us. I love all the different people and languages and cultures that create such an interesting and exciting world for us to live in. I also love new adventures, and the one I am on right now—to love and work with the children of the world and their great families—could not be more exciting or fulfilling.