Monday, December 29, 2008


Tyler and Jen,

Thank you so much for starting this blog for our family! These responses were so fun and emotional to read! It's fun to see everyone's perspective of our childhood and things we have learned and things we hope to learn! I love it! Thanks again!

Steve and Kjerstin

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tyler's Answers

1.  What do you know now that you wish you would have known years ago?

Not to judge others.  I usually don't know the whole story.


2.  What is the greatest lesson you learned from Mom and Dad? 

I think the greatest lesson they taught me was to be involved in activities and to be actively engaged in everything I do.  They always told me to never do anything halfway.  A close second would be that the living room isn't a jungle gym or not to jump on the furniture.


3. In what ways are you the same as Mom and Dad? 

I think I have Mom's fun lovingness, and her ability to think from anothers point of view.

I have Dad's dedication to BYU (sports and academics), and a constant urge to aspire higher.
4. What do you miss from our childhood days? 

I miss sledding and "snowboarding" down the backyard hill, my curly fro, beating up Kyle, making fires in the basement and blaming it on my siblings, going camping every month for scouts, riding my bike up and down the street all summer, pinewood derbies, playing Nintendo, winning 2nd place in a karate tournament, watching home videos as a family, playing Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters, having a pet hamster, Mom's ornately decorated birthday cakes, and wiping boogers on the wall.


5. What is one of your best Christmas memories?

I have a lot of Christmas memories, and I can't say that one is better than another, but there are definitely some that are more memorable.  

I remember one year Mom took us to Uncle Danny's apartment and we cleaned it up and put up a Christmas tree and Christmas decorations.  

Another year we were a Secret Santa for the 12 days of Christmas for a family in our ward.  That was a lot of fun because I got to run the gifts to the house and every night I had to sneak around  to make sure they didn't see who I was.  They really wanted to know who was leaving gifts every night!

A couple years ago Jen slashed her finger at Mom and Dad's house and she had to go to the emergency room to get stitches.  I remember Kyle freaking out at the sight of her blood too.

I remember one year I got a remote control car.  I was so excited!  Me and Dad played with it outside in the street for like a week straight.

I remember all the Christmas Eve talent shows Mom and Dad always made us perform in.  I had to play my baritone, Kjerstin always sang something, Dad always taught us a Swedish song that we always made fun of, I think Emily always danced, and I don't remember what Kyle and Whitney ever did.  They probably sang or something too.

Probably one of the funniest memories I have is Kyle and I racing to see who could decorate the most sugar cookies.  We just plopped chunks of icing on as many as we could.  


6. Which traditions do you want to carry on for your own family? 

Definitely the Secret Santa 12 days of Christmas, some sort of service activity for someone we know, Santa Lucia, opening a present on Christmas Eve, and acting out the Christmas story from Luke chapter 2 (if I'm not the narrator, I have to be the donkey).  

We started one of our own too.  Every year after we decorate the Christmas tree, the last ornament we hang is a white stocking.  We open the stocking and read a slip of paper that reminds us of the present we gave to Christ last year.  We then write on a new piece of paper what our gift to Christ will be for the coming year.  It's a great way to remember the reason we celebrate Christmas and to reflect on ways we can improve.


7.  Share your testimony.

I know that Christ lives, God is our Father, the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith was a prophet and restored the gospel to the earth, President Monson is the current prophet on the earth today, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true church on the face of the earth.  I know if we endure to the end and are obedient, our family can be together forever.

Jen's Answers

1. What do you know now that you wish you would have known years ago?
    How to be less shy.  

2.  What is the greatest lesson you learned from Mom and Dad? 
     That following the gospel will bring the greatest joy, the importance of saving money, and that family time should be cherished. 

3. In what ways are you the same as Mom and Dad?  Mom:  getting excited over little things, patience, and also being slightly scatterbrained about some things.  
Dad: worrying about things I can't control, working hard, and I think I get my neat freak tendencies from him too.

4. What do you miss from our childhood days? 
              Less to worry about. Being able to read whenever I want too.  Playing with sisters and brother.  Making up dances and planning family home evening lessons that were very elaborate, but I don't think really had a specific topic, they were just whatever come to our mind. Going to Disneyland all the time. My awesome bedroom in the Sandy house with my own littlecubby hole for my desk and all my "stuff." Playing games in the front yard. 

5. What is one of your best Christmas memories? 
             I remember getting my doll in a basket that I wanted SO SO bad.  I didn't think I got it, and was so excited when I opened it.  I think Mom still has the basket and used it to keep her socks in.  I also loved being able to watch all our Christmases on home video.  Those were always my favorite ones to watch.  I also loved going to Grandma's house when we were little on Christmas will all the cousins exchanging presents.  I remember going outside with Heidi and putting snow on our faces to stay awake so Christmas would last longer.  

6. Which traditions do you want to carry on for your own family? 
            Watching Its a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve, going to Disneyland whenever possible and for graduations, Saturday Easter Egg hunts, and special plates on birthday.  

7.  Share your testimony.
            I know that the gospel contains the fullness of Heavenly Father's plan and that by following it, we will gain true happiness.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that through Him, we will be lifted up in our trails, can be forgiven of our sins, and return to live with him again.  I know that families can be together forever when sealed in the temple.  I know the Book of Mormon testifies  of Christ and is a true book.  I know that President Monson guides us to become more like Christ and speaks His words.  

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dad's Answers or "mini book"

  1. As you look back, do you have any favorite years?  Is there a time in your life that you'd like to live over again?

 I was born on October 22, 1955 in Savanna, Illinois (a small town in northwestern Illinois on the banks of the Mississippi river).  My parents were living in Hanover, Illinois at the time of my birth.  We moved (about 20 miles) to Mt. Carroll, Illinois (2,200 residents) when I was 4 years old (almost 5).  I was the youngest of four children and my father was a career civilian employee of the United States Army (expert and instructor on munitions of all kinds – conventional, nuclear, etc.).  The family had moved frequently because of his assignments.  Prior to my birth, my father had been "posted" at Tooele Army Depot (Utah), Herlong Ordnance Depot (California), the Pentagon (Washington, DC), Turkey (one full year away from the family in 1951 - 52) and Savanna Army Depot – the Army Ordnance School (Illinois).  We lived in Mt. Carroll from July 1960 through August 1966 (grades Kindergarten through 5).  During that time, my father was away on "TDY" (temporary duty assignment) numerous times.  The "TDY" varied in length, but was generally from 6 weeks to 6 months at a time.  I remember my father being gone to Germany, England, France, Taiwan (Republic of China), Japan, Korea, Pakistan, and numerous Army depots throughout the United States.  In order to make himself eligible for promotion to the civilian rank equivalent (GS-14) of "full bird" colonel in the Army, my father went to South Vietnam for one full year, beginning in October 1966 (right in the middle of the Vietnam War).  My parents wanted my mother and us children to be close to relatives while dad was in Vietnam (and in case he died), so we had moved to Tooele, Utah (my parents' hometown) in the summer of 1966.  I attended school in Tooele (grades 6, 7 and 8; and my father returned from Vietnam in October 1967), we then moved to Germany in July 1969 for a three-year assignment with the Army (grades 9, 10 and 11), and then it was another transfer to northern California (grade 12).  As a result, I attended three different high schools in four years.

 My parents (Clifford Lloyd Erickson – "Swede" or "Lloyd", and Dorothy Lenna Hiss – "Dorothy" or "Dot" or "Dottie") always spent time teaching me (and my three siblings) how to work, how to have fun, how to learn (both secular and spiritual things) and how to persevere.  They encouraged me, supported me and recognized my successes.  They gave me numerous opportunities and let me discover the things that I loved to do and the things that I was good at.

 I have LOTS of great memories.  My favorite years (as a single person) were probably those three high school years that we lived in Europe.  I traveled all over the continent with my parents, my family, my friends, my school sports teams, church groups, etc. (England, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, East Germany –Berlin, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Portugal).  Travel, lodging, souvenirs, food and other things were pretty affordable (1969 – 72).  My Freshman year was at Kaiserslautern – in southwest Germany and very near France.  My Sophomore and Junior years were at Heidelberg – in southern Germany.

 I really enjoyed those years as a child in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, too.  Dad was an instructor at the Army Ordnance School (at Savanna) and people (our military allies) came from all over the world to learn how to properly use and store munitions.  Dad would invite these foreigners into our home for dinner and evenings away from the base and school.  It was a tremendous learning experience for all of us – we learned to understand, tolerate and have fun with people of multiple ethnic, political and religious backgrounds.  When they went home to their own countries they would send us Christmas cards, pictures and gifts from their home countries.  It was always exciting to get correspondence from these people who had been in our home and to learn about their cultures and families.

 Those were years when my parents also exposed me to the fine arts.  I started taking piano lessons when I was 5 years old from Mrs. Thompson and learned to play the cornet when I was 8 years old (lessons from Mr. Behling).  Piano recitals, band concerts (and lots of marching) and solo contests followed for many years.  We had lots of music and dance at home, in town and at church.  We also attended "summer stock" theater presentations at "Timber Lake Playhouse" – actors came out from Chicago and elsewhere to hone their craft.  We saw numerous Broadway shows over the years.  It was fun this summer (2008) to take Emily to a show in that same theater as we made our way to get her to Provo to start at BYU.

 I don't think I would like to live any of my life "over" again.  I am glad for all of the things I learned along the way at each phase and place.

 All of the years that Robin and I have been married (and raised our children) brought many "favorite" times.  We also moved around the country (California, Utah, Texas and Ohio) and did lots of traveling with our children (most of the 48 states).  I do have to admit that there are some of those years that have been hard.  When LTV Steel was "wrapping" things up, I was certainly "glad" to be one of the last 8 employees (out of the 25,000 that had been on the payrolls) and grateful that the knowledge I had and the skills I possessed (regarding the company's pension plans and investment assets) were valued.  It was certainly no "picnic" to get to do the work that had previously been done by 8 or 10 or more people.  The stress, combined with the time I was serving as the Bishop of our Ward in Medina, was often extreme.  Searching for new employment, doing some consulting along the way, and living off of saved money was also a challenge emotionally and financially.

 2. What holiday traditions did you have in your home while growing up?

 Paula (my sister 3 years older than I am) and I are probably world-famous for our "trick or treating" skills and endurance.  We set new "records" each year (and the candy lasted a LONG time).  We started early and I think we hit nearly every street and house in Mt. Carroll.  That was a LOT of walking.  I think we had 2 or 3 "dumps" of our bags at the house along the plotted "course".  There was none of this "2 hour" time limit like today – I think that rule was invented by a wimp (we all know it was invented for safety for the kids, or more likely by a Democrat).

At Thanksgiving we had the traditional food preparation and feast common in the USA – lots of good turkey with the trimmings – and I think we would also eat duck that my dad had shot while hunting (my brother Allen and I accompanied dad on some of those duck hunts in the marshes and weeds).  My mother made great pumpkin and pecan pies (recipes still in the family today) and she also made mincemeat pie for my dad (he LOVED that pie and the rest of could not stand it..).

Christmas time meant a beautifully decorated tree in the front room of our house (the house was at least 80 years old at the time – I saw a mounted plaque this summer that said it was built in 1888).  We also helped dad hang the outdoor lights on the house – they were the "big" bulbs in multiple colors.  We would also wind strings of those lights through the trees.  We had two white pillars on the front porch and dad would wind red ribbon or plastic material around the pillars to make them look like candy canes.  We read the scriptures together on Christmas Eve and knew the story of the birth of the Savior.  We all wore pajamas to bed and had slippers and robes to wear in the morning.  Our bedrooms were all upstairs, so we gathered at the top of the stairs in the morning and then made the beeline dash to see what Santa Claus had brought to us.  The year I got the electric train was a very memorable one for me.  Since we lived in the "mission field", nearly every year we had two missionaries at our house for Christmas.  They spent the day with us and ate and opened their gifts.  I remember that the missionaries wore hats in those days (the early 60's).

Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day and Easter celebrations were all quite traditionally American.  I think that "May Day", though, was unique in our background.  On the first day of May, we prepared baskets of candy, flowers, art work, cutouts, and other treats that we would deliver to our neighbors and friends and leave them on the front porch as we rang the doorbell and ran away to watch their reactions.  It seems like we particularly used this day to honor and show respect for our "elders" – neighbors who were 60 years old or more.  That was a very memorable tradition.  Those neighbors commented on their feelings as they received those baskets from us for many years after we delivered them – they were grateful and thankful.

Our family was very patriotic and so were our friends and neighbors.  We flew the flag often.  All four of us children were in the bands and we marched in numerous parades.  Diane played the flute, Allen the trombone, Paula the drums and me (Ken) the cornet.  We also decorated the graves (with flags and flowers) in the cemetery, especially on Memorial Day.

 3. What historical events stick out in your mind that you lived through?

  I am from the "60's generation" and there are lots of events that I clearly remember.  There were only the three networks back in those days, so there were 3 TV channels – NBC, CBS and ABC.  There were maybe one or two "UHF" channels that came in "snowy" on the black and white TV, but the choices and programming were limited.  My father was a loyal Democrat (his father and grandfather were union members and even part of the "Workers of the World" movement early in the 20th century).  My mother was a staunch Republican (she even had a younger brother, who had died as a child, that was named Calvin; he was named after Calvin Coolidge).  Politics was a "hot" topic in our home and we learned to become conversant on the issues and how to explain and defend a "position" or an "issue".

 I am too young to remember the 1960 election campaign between Richard Nixon and John Kennedy, but I do remember seeing lots of Kennedy on television after the election and in the magazines we would get at our home.  LIFE magazine was a popular periodical – it had great pictures and articles.  I was in the 3rd grade when Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas (November 22, 1963).  He died about 1 PM in Dallas, Texas, which was the same time zone in Illinois where I lived.  I remember our teacher (Mrs. Noble) crying in front of the classroom and an announcement over the loud speaker intercom system telling us that President Kennedy was dead, we were all to go home; that school was over for the day.

 New Year's Day was a "treat" for our family because dad had a friend that lived in Savanna (he was actually an inactive church member who was originally from Heber City, Utah) who had a "color" television.  His first name was "Grant" and he had no wife or children (hence, I suppose he had more money to afford a color television).  Anyway, Grant always invited us over to watch the parades and the football games on New Year's Day in COLOR.  That was a big deal, because few people had that luxury.  Our family did NOT have a color TV until around 1968 when we were living in Tooele, Utah.

 I have strong memories of President Lyndon Baines Johnson giving talks on television.  He often talked about the Vietnam War.  He was usually contradicted by Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News.  I remember when LBJ's daughter was married at the White House and when he announced that "I will not seek, nor will I accept, my party's nomination for President of the United States" (that was in 1968).  The War was a vivid thing at our house.  When my dad went to Vietnam I was not quite 11 years old.  He wrote weekly letters to my mother and to the family.  He also spent money to buy a reel-to-reel tape recorder.  He started to send us tapes and we could hear his voice (that was quite a novelty in 1966, believe it or not).   Dad sent me a belt made from elephant hide that I treasured.  We had a reel-to-reel tape recorder (just like his) that he had sent to us and gave us instructions on how to use it.  We each took time to hold the microphone and talk to our father who was so very far away.  My brother, Allen, graduated from High School in 1968, registered for the draft, had a draft card and a very "low" selective service number (making it likely that he would be drafted).  The best options to avoid the draft were to go to college, get good grades and earn a "deferment" (but if you had bad grades of dropped out of school, you were almost certain to be drafted – unless you enlisted in the military on your own).  Allen went off to Utah State University and was not drafted.

 We were living in Germany (and had really just arrived) on July 20, 1969 when the astronauts landed on the moon.  That was amazing to watch on television – it was hard to believe we had really done that.  When we look at the "computer" power (it was less than a basic personal computer has now) and the calculations made with "slide rules" that got them there and back, it is truly hard to comprehend.  

  1. What do you love most about your life right now?

 Robin and I are enjoying the time that we are able to spend together.  The house is much quieter without our five children and the related "hubbub" that used to accompany all of their activities; the "reduced" church workload is also a nice "breather" for us, too.  The freedom to rest and relax is really nice (however, Robin REALLY misses going to the high school football game every Friday night; the choir, band and orchestra concerts; and the Show Choir competitions  -  hahahahaha….).  

I am especially grateful for my employment.  This job has been fantastic for me.  It is so nice to be appreciated and to contribute to the success of a business enterprise.  I truly enjoy my SHORT commute to work and the option to go home for lunch and to run some errands (when I need to) around town.  The trips to England have been a blast, too.  I love to travel and look forward to having Robin come with me to enjoy the foreign soil and excursions!!  Being able to visit my children, siblings, mother, friends and other relatives as I travel around the United States has also been a lot of fun and a nice "perk". 

 5. When you were dating and first married, what kind of long-term goals did you have as a couple, and which of those goals have been met?

 Robin and I were committed to live the gospel of Jesus Christ to the best of our ability.  That was true before we met each other (in our own families and on our missions) and it continued to be true as we dated, were sealed and raised all of our children.  We took our baptismal and temple covenants very seriously.  I don't know that we sat down and wrote a "mission statement" as a couple or as a family, but we set and reached "goals" that are in line with that same concept.

 We committed to total fidelity in our dating and marriage relationship.

 We committed to striving for excellence in all things (that would include parenting skills, education and employment; obtaining the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to adequately provide for, support, teach and sustain a family), keeping in mind that all things are "spiritual" (as explained in the scriptures).

 We committed to regular scripture study, prayers, family home evening, church attendance and temple attendance.  We were willing to serve when and where we were called.

 We committed to loving, teaching and sustaining each of our children.  We knew that we could help them become independent, intelligent and well-versed in the gospel as they developed their talents, abilities and skills.  We were willing to attend (and/or be part of) their activities and encourage them along the way.

 I think that Robin and I have been true to the goals and commitments that we made.  I also think that each child has been true to the gospel of Jesus Christ and each one is definitely independent, for which we are very grateful.

 6. As a child, what did you do with your spare time?  What were your favorite pastimes?

 I remember chasing "fireflies" when we lived in Hanover, Illinois (I was probably 3 or 4 years old).  We actually put them in glass jars when we caught them and then made "necklaces" by squeezing them as they lit up (Robin certainly won't approve of this "poor treatment" I inflicted on these bugs) and stringing them together.  Our family would regularly stop at the delicious outdoor water fountains at the "Palisades Park" along the banks of the Mississippi River (certainly the EPA has "turned off the faucet" on them by now).  These were nice stone structures that I assume were built during the Great Depression by Civilian Conservation Corps workers.  We built snowmen in Hanover and my mother read to me and played with me.  My father loved "balls" and was a very good baseball player and taught my brother Allen and I how to play baseball and golf when we were very young (Dad was also a very good tennis player).  I remember riding (standing) on my dad's "pullcart" (for his golf clubs) as we went around several golf courses when I was very little.  Dad even took us with him to professional golf events (tournaments) in Chicago.  We watched Arnold Palmer, Julius Boros, Jack Nicklaus, Billy Casper and others when they were just getting famous.  As we got older, we were very competitive on the golf course because Dad, Allen and I were all about "equal" in ability (shooting around 84 for 18 holes, on average).

 When I started Kindergarten in Mt. Carroll, the birthday "cutoff" date was October 31st.  Accordingly, wherever we lived, I was always one of the "youngest" in age in my school class.  I was also a voracious reader and loved to learn, so I was always one of the "smartest" in my school class (they even called me "the professor" in 7th and 8th grades).  I learned to ride a bike on Clay Street in Mt. Carroll (along the sidewalk in front of our house) and spent a lot of time as a child riding bikes (we only had one-speed bikes!!!).  Mt. Carroll was a hilly town and my friends lived quite a ways away from our house, so exercise was a good thing.  I rode to sports practices (baseball, football, basketball, etc.), to Cub Scouts (my mother was my Den Leader) and to the library (most often with my sister Paula).  Paula and I were "regular" customers at the Carnegie Free Library.  The librarian knew us well and I think we read most all of the books that they had on the shelves (mysteries, histories, biographies, fiction, non-fiction, etc.).  Paula and I got lots of certificates at school for the HIGH number of books that we had read.  For some reason or another, our teachers had us maintain lists of the books that we read over the summer and throughout the school year.

 My friends and I had active imaginations.  We were also from the era when it was still "OK" (politically correct) to play "war" or "army".  We would split into "armies" and essentially do "search" missions to "track down and find" the "enemy" (usually 3 against 3).  We had toy guns, binoculars, knives, hand grenades, etc.  Of course, this led to the inevitable fights over whether or not we were really "dead" yet after "ambushing" or "capturing" the enemy.  My friend Rick Schaut and I spent a lot of time hiking and exploring in "Point Rock Park".  We also spent a fair amount of time shooting and killing birds with our BB guns.  I think it was the Waukarusa River that went through the park.  We would ford the river, find and explore caves, climb trees, build "forts" and "lean-tos", climb the rocks and cliffs and generally have a great time (very "Tom Sawyer" and "Huck Finn" like).  I still have some authentic stone Indian Arrowheads that I found in the woods deep into and behind that park. 

We played a lot of board games when I grew up (Sorry, Monopoly, Parchesi, Battleship, etc), we did lots of sledding down very steep hills, I rode my "red wagon" or my bike, and my mother took time every week to teach each of us four children.  She and dad got the primary or mutual manuals from Salt Lake City and mom taught us at home.  This was mainly because we lived 30 miles from the chapel and could not attend Primary (it was held on weekday afternoons in those days) or Mutual.  We also worked together to plant and tend our gardens – vegetables and flowers.  We played a lot of croquet and badminton in the back yard.  We played a lot of Ping Pong (table tennis) in the basement on the board that my dad built for us.  Under the Ping Pong table was the board that had the electric train sets that Allen and I played with.  My sister Paula must have wanted a sister instead of me because she would get me to play "dress up" with her in our basement (this was NOT the start of any cross-dressing or homosexual behavior on my part, but maybe she did damage me for life – who knows;  Whitney the psychologist will have to evaluate me and weigh in on this one).  Paula and I were also VERY big into preparing and putting on "Puppet Shows" for our friends and family.  We built our own "theaters" out of cardboard boxes and made our own puppets out of cloth remnants.

It wasn't all play time, because my mother and father were big believers in chores, assignments and following up on those assignments.  We helped to set the table, clean the table, do the dishes (by hand – there were no automatic dishwashers), dust, vacuum, sweep, pick vegetables from the garden, can vegetables, weed the garden, mow the grass (by hand – there were no power mowers), make our beds, clean our rooms, straighten the attic, straighten the basement, wash the car, wax the car, raking leaves, and my favorite – burn the garbage (can you believe it – the EPA would have a heart attack now).  We looked forward to tossing the aerosol cans in the fire and waiting for them to explode like missiles (it was great fun and I am glad I still have two eyes to see with).

 7. After 30+ years of marriage, what are some of your favorite bits of advice for a happy marriage?

I read recently that we (as humans) often wonder: "What makes some people rebound from defeats and go on to greatness while others throw in the towel?"  Psychologists call it "self-efficacy", the unshakable belief some people have that they have what it takes to succeed.  I am a firm believer that my mother and dad cultivated that "inner belief" to succeed and "nourished the seed" as described so well in chapter 32 of Alma in the Book of Mormon (I also testify that the "knowledge" of who we are – and what we can become - comes with us when we come to the earth as spirit children of our heavenly parents).

Let me quote from an article (found in the Wall Street Journal, by the way):  "First described by Stanford University psychologist Albert Bandura in the 1970's, self-efficacy has become a key concept in educational circles, and is being applied to health care, management, sports and seemingly intractable social problems like AIDS in developing countries.  It's also a hallmark of the "positive psychology" movement now sweeping the mental-health field, which focuses on developing character strengths rather than alleviating pathologies.  Self-efficacy differs from self-esteem in that it's a judgment of specific capabilities rather than a general feeling of self-worth.  "It's easy to have high self-esteem – just aim low", says Professor Bandura, who is still teaching at Stanford at age 82.  On the other hand, he notes, there are people with high self-efficacy who "drive themselves hard but have low self-esteem because their performance always falls short of their high standards."  Still, such people succeed because they believe that persistent effort will let them beat the odds.  Sometimes, the rest of the world just hasn't caught up with an innovator's genius.  One of the original Warner Brothers said of sound films, "Who wants to hear actors talk?"  Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were rebuffed by Atari and Hewlett Packard when they tried to sell an early Apple computer.  Sometimes genius itself needs time.  It took Thomas Edison 1,000 tries before he invented the light bulb. ("I didn't fail 1,000 times," he told a reporter.  "The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.")"

"Where does such determination come from?  In some cases it is in-born optimism – akin to the kind of resilience that enables some children to emerge unscathed from extreme poverty, tragedy or abuse.  Self-efficacy can also be built by mastering a task; by modeling the behavior of others who have succeeded; and from what Prof. Bandura calls "verbal persuasion" – getting effective encouragement, distinct from empty praise.  One thing we teach teachers is how to build up children who have been told they aren't competent.  It's not too late to recover.  You can develop a resilient mind-set at any age.  One key is to avoid self-defeating assumptions.  If you are fired or dumped by a girlfriend, don't magnify the rejection and assume you'll never get another job or another date.  And don't allow a rejection to derail your dreams.  One of the greatest impediments to life is the fear of humiliation.  People often spend years of their lives not taking any risks because they are afraid of making mistakes.  In the words of Henry Ford, "Whether you think that you can or you can't, you're usually right."

Remember:  Julie Andrews was told at age 12 that, "She's not photogenic enough for film."  J. K. Rowling's book about a boy wizard was rejected by 12 publishers before a small London house picked up "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone".  Decca Records turned down a contract with the Beatles, saying "We don't like their sound."  Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor who said he "lacked imagination".  Michael Jordan was cut from his high-school varsity basketball team his sophomore year. 

For some more on my "bits of advice", see Item # 5 above.

  1. What do you remember about your wedding day?

A song that was popular when Robin and I dated became "Our Song".  I would sing it to her (when we dated and after our marriage) and I think the lyrics express very well how I felt on our wedding day (June 7, 1978).  I still have these feelings for Robin – her smile lights up her eyes and her face.  The song is "Beautiful" by Gordon Lightfoot:

"At times I just don't know – How you could be anything but beautiful.  I think that I was made for you, And you were made for me.  And I know that I will never change, "Cause we've been friends through rain or shine, For such a long, long time.

"Laughing eyes and smiling face, It seems so lucky just to have the right – Of telling you with all my might – You're beautiful tonight.

"And I know that you will never stray, "Cause you've been that way from day to day – For such a long, long time.

"And when you hold me tight, How could life be anything but beautiful?  I think that I was made for you,  And you were made for me.   And I know that I will never change, "Cause we've been friends through rain or shine for such a long, long time. 

And I must say,  that it means so much to me.

"Just to be the one who's telling you, I'm telling you – That you're beautiful".

My sister Diane, her husband Tom and their girls spent the night before the wedding at my parents' home in Tooele.  My sister Paula, her husband Kim and their children also spent that night at the house in Tooele.  I spent the night there, too, and it was kind of "noisy" with children and babies, etc.  I didn't get a whole lot of sleep, but was up early to shower and get ready for the big day.  We drove the 30 miles into Salt Lake City and arrived at the temple.  It was fun to walk in and see Robin and go with her to the desks on the lower level of the administration building (where the chapel is, too) to sign the paperwork and take care of those "last details".  Robin was smiling and was "relieved" to see me (she still maintains that I was "late" and that she "wasn't sure" I was coming…; we haven't argued about that for quite some time now…).

I changed into my temple clothing and Robin and I went to the Celestial Room, where she gave me some "important information" that I needed to know.  She and I chuckled, because we did "know" the procedures and what we were doing, but some of the temple workers were kind of "in the way" (but we knew they were just doing their jobs to make sure everything was correct).  When we entered the sealing room with family and friends it was an uplifting experience.  We were fortunate to have Ned Winder (an old family friend of the Goodmans from their Stake) as our sealer – ours was the FIRST sealing that he performed after being given that authority.  He instructed us well for about 15 minutes, I think, and we listened carefully (we later wrote down in a journal the things he had told us; that's good advice to remember for anyone getting married).

Robin and I kneeled at the altar and when Brother Winder asked me for my response to his questions (one is supposed to say "Yes"), I said "Yes".  However, Wilma Goodman (Robin's mother) thought I said "I Guess".  Her face was a little "alarmed".  Everything proceeded as outlined and we kissed over the altar (not our first kiss, by the way – who does that??!!??).  I am so glad that my mother and father and Robin's mother and father were all there with us in the temple on that day.  We greeted and hugged our guests, changed our clothes and took lots of pictures on the temple grounds.

We proceeded to Millcreek Canyon where my parents were kind enough to host our Wedding Breakfast/Luncheon at "Log Haven" – it was a beautiful location and a lovely day.  Each guest shared their words of wisdom and advice for us as we enjoyed some really good food.  When we were done, Robin and I departed in our "decorated" car and drove to Park City for a 3 or 4 day honeymoon (our 2-week honeymoon trip came later on – in August – after Summer Term was over at BYU).  As we drove up Parley's Canyon, my car started to overheat a bit, so we pulled into a "viewpoint" for a few minutes.  We got out of the car, hugged and kissed each other and I remember feeling so happy that she was "mine" – Robin was so beautiful.

We checked into our accommodations – it was a condominium on the golf course – and later we went to the store to get some food for the few days we would be there.  We were shopping and the clerk asked us why we were in Park City.  We told him that we had just been married and we were on our honeymoon.  He told us to go through the store and take as much groceries as we wanted – they would all be "on him" (free!!).  We took a few things and were ready to check out.  He said, "That's not enough!  Go get some more!"  We did, he smiled and we left!

Of course, there's more, but this is a "family" publication……

  1. Please share your testimony.

  I know that our Father in Heaven lives, He loves us and He wants us to be happy.  I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior of the World and our elder brother.  I know that our Heavenly Father's Plan will make us happy.  Jesus Christ established His church in each dispensation of time and spoke to prophets who recorded and heeded his words – those are the scriptures for our benefit.  He came to the earth, learned by experience and diligent study, was tested, fulfilled his mission, was crucified and was resurrected.  He restored that Church, in its fullness, through the prophet Joseph Smith.  Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon with the authority and gifts given to him and it is a true book – it is the word of God.  I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God today who speaks for and with the Savior.

Mom's Answers

1.  As you look back, do you have any favorite years?  Is there a time in your life that you'd like to live over again? 

I have several periods of time that were my favorite.  The first would be the very young years; when innocence reigned supreme!  The ages between 2-5 when I was uninhibited and able to be myself without fear of judgment, disciplin or scorn.  The age before the burdens of the world or challenges and trials.  If I could live my courtship and marriage to Ken over again I would.  It was such a special and fun time!  Also, I would love to live over again the times when our family was young.  When my kidlets would gather on the bed and we would just have fun and giggle.  I would like to go back to that time and better appreciate the time spent together as a family.  I would like to live my mission over again to see if I could have been a little bit more effective.

2.  What holiday traditions did you have in your home while growing up?

Homemade valentines, making our own easter baskets out of lunch sacks, and straws, easter egg hunts in the yard, having Thanksgiving at my Grandpa Goodmans house with all my cousins, a talent show on christmas night along with enacting the birth of the Savior with towels on our heads and robes on our bodies.

3.  What historical events stick out in your mind that you lived through? 

 The death of President John F. Kennedy.  I remember being at school and having the teacher somberly telling us that the president had been killed and the total silence from the faculty, and my parents glued to the television watching the events.  The killing of his brother Bobby Kennedy and the confusion and disbelief of another death.  The attempted shooting of Ronald Reagan ( I was in the hospital having Kjerstin), Watergate with President Nixon and not really understanding what was going on.

4.  What do you love most about your life right now?

Being able to spend time with my husband Ken, being able to nurture our relationship after 30 years of raising our children.

5.  When you were dating and first married, what kind of long-term goals did you have as a couple, and which of those goals have been met?

The most important long term goal I had as a mother was to have children and raise them in an environment where they knew they were loved, to teach them the gospel and have those principals be internalized by them so that they could have a testimony, and be protected from the world by their testimony and be able to help build the kingdom of God on the earth.  To teach them to be independent and self reliant so that they could live a successful life.  I believe that goal has been met.  Another goal was for Ken and I to serve a mission as a married couple.  That is still in the future.

6.  As a child, what did you do with your spare time?  What were your favorite pastimes?

Oh, the carefree days of youth!  Summers were spent running carefree and barefoot through the neighborhood playing with friends, playing "kick the can", "Ollie Ollie Over" , sleeping outside in my sleeping bag, making rafts out of boards and trying to stay on it in a pond.  As a teenager I loved music and spent alot of time just improving my dance skills.

7.  After 29+ years of marriage, what are some of your favorite bits of advice for a happy marriage?

Not to take life too seriously.  Enjoy the simple times, enjoy each other, have a sense of humor, go on dates, express your love for your partner through word and deed, serve them. Enrich your marriage through studying the scriptures together and learning a new hobby or past time to share with the other.  Be patient with each other.

8.  What do you remember about your wedding day?

I remember that Ken was late coming to the temple.  I knew he was on his way and I teased him that he was having second thoughts.  I remember the confirmation and peace I felt when we were at the veil that our decision to marry was right.  I remember the confirmation of the spirit when I gave my name to Ken in the temple.  I remember being surrounded by loving family and friends.  I remember the car getting broken on the way to Park City (our honeymoon spot) and grease getting on my dress.  It was a beautiful day.

9.  Please share your testimony.

I have a testimony of the restored gospel.  The gospel of Jesus Christ has been literally restored to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith.  I am grateful that I have been blessed to have the gospel in my life without having to search for it.    I love the scriptures, they are true.  I have had the opportunity to really study them in the last 12 or so years of my life.  They bring me such joy and peace.  Reading the scriptures is better than reading a novel!   I am grateful for the second witness of my Savior Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon.  I know that it was written for our time, and that we can learn from its principles.  I am grateful for a living prophet, President Monson, and for a loving Heavenly Father.  I am grateful for faith and prayers.  We must have the faith to understand how the Lord answers our prayers.  I have learned that sometimes the answers to our prayers is asking that we will be able to understand and endure the answer he has for us. 

Kjerstin's and Steve's Answers

Kjerstin’s answers

Steve’s answers 

1.  What do you know now that you wish you would have known years ago? 

       I wish that I would have learned to manage my money better. I don’t necessarily think that I’m a money waster, but with all of my health problems, those bills add up to between $5-6,000/year. We really need to listen to the prophets when they tell us to stay out of debt.  

      I wish that I had more work ethic when I was younger because I would have been better prepared for adult life. I also wish that I would have known how to budge my money. 

2.  What is the greatest lesson you learned from Mom and Dad? 

      I have always been amazed at the communication skills that Mom and Dad have. For example, I remember during high school, there was an exchange student from Sweden, named Anna. I remember Dad having conversations with her, knowing where in the country she was from and making her feel welcome. During college right after I got sick (Fall 2001), Dad drove the 1990 Honda Accord out to Rexburg for me. We had the opportunity to go to a live taping of Music and the Spoken Word that morning. He came to church with me. As we were walking home, he told me that only 2-3 guys in my ward were “worthy” of me and other trivial information. That’s not what amazed me though. There were people who met Dad for 30 minutes. Those people would ask me week after week how my dad was. He had made a connection with them; he made them feel special.

      It’s typical of Mom to want to know everything about everyone’s lives. (I’ve discovered that I’m much like her). She has the ability to put anyone at ease and to comfort and love them. Still to this day on the rare occasion that I am home, and my friends are visiting, she’ll pull them aside and ask about their love lives and their families, etc. I’m amazed every time that people just “spill their guts to her”. My mom has also taught me how to be sensitive to others needs and to find the good in others. When I called hysterically after finding out I had run out of sick days (February 2007), she calmly said, “What can you do Kjerstin? We’ll make sure you’re taken care of. You need to take care of your body and listen to your body”. As an adult, I still need the tenderness of my mother.  

      I hope that I can pick up on these great communication skills. It’s a very admirable quality that both Mom and Dad possess.  

      My parents always taught me that God’s hand is in everything. That has always stuck out to me.  

3. In what ways are you the same as Mom and Dad? 

      Dad is an organizer and likes to compartmentalize everything. I do this! I am also left brained, and a very logical thinker, like my dad.

      Mom is “border-line OCD” with cleaning; so am I! I am right brained, crafty, and creative, like my mom.  

      I am like my mom because we both share a passion for family history and nature. She is also easy going, like me. I am like my dad because we are both interested in scientific things like electricity. We’re both good with our hands and enjoy fixing things.  

4. What do you miss from our childhood days?  

      I loved growing up in Texas and playing outside; climbing the trees, jumping on the trampoline and playing in the rain storms. We always had time as a family to bond and to grow and share our talents. I’m grateful that we had so many opportunities to experience so many things. We had fun family vacations, and fights which lead to us sitting on the stools and singing “Families Can Be Together Forever” until we weren’t mad at each other. I loved going to church and learning about the gospel.  

      I miss my freedom. I loved growing up in Park City because of the mountains and the yard. I planted trees there and enjoyed taking care of them and watching them grow.  

5. What is one of your best Christmas memories?  

      I don’t have any particular Christmas that sticks out. When we moved to Ohio my parents started having me participate in a Swedish tradition, Santa Lucia. It’s always fun to dress up and prepare for my family. Dad always taught us songs in Swedish at our annual Christmas talent show. I just love being home with family and that warm feeling you get. I feel like nothing can go wrong when I’m home for the holidays (except for that Christmas when we all argued about how to fix the kitchen.  

      My mom took me to West Valley City, to get my first motorcycle, a Honda CR-80 dirt bike, in 1996, when I was 15. She helped me make the first down payment. It was exciting to me because it was my first vehicle.  

6. Which traditions do you want to carry on for your own family?  

      I like all the Swedish traditions. I like decorating the tree together as a family. It seems like every year Mom would buy or make new ornaments for the tree. I like the Christmas baking and the giving to others when we’re able. It always made me feel good to give what little I had to others.  

      I liked setting our tree up the day after Thanksgiving. We would always put our stockings out on Christmas Eve, and my mom made wassail. We would always set the cookies out for Santa to eat.  

7.  Share your testimony. 

      I know that Heavenly Father gave us His son to live and die so that we might return to live with him again someday. It brings me great comfort to think of the Savior when I am in agonizing pain. I know that what I have experienced in life has only made me stronger. I am a prideful, stubborn person, so I am grateful for those times when the Lord humbles me and teaches me how to be more like him. I am grateful for modern day revelation and a prophet to lead and guide us. These apostles are truly God’s messengers; they are capable of accomplishing so much! I am grateful for Joseph Smith and for his great sacrifices to restore the Gospel back to the Earth. I am grateful for the temple and the work that takes place inside its walls. The Holy Ghost is a wonderful companion that comforts us and helps us to make good choices. The scriptures contain many great stories that teach us and testify of Jesus Christ. The gospel brings me so much happiness and I am grateful to be a member.  

      I know for a fact that the Church is true. I know that the Savior lives and that He is the Son of God. I know the scriptures are true. I know that if we pay our tithing, say our prayers and have faith in God and Jesus Christ, the Lord will bless us and provide for us.  

Kyle's Answers

1. What do you know now that you wish you would have known years ago? 
How girls work, it's great to be engaged, but getting to that point was an EXTREME difficulty, hahahaJ 
2. What is the greatest lesson you learned from Mom and Dad? 
The importance of independence and work ethic. From a young age, mom and dad taught how to work by giving us daily chores around the house. Then on Saturdays, we were responsible to help with the yard work outside. This work ethic helped me to succeed at school, work, and with my church responsibilities. Thanks Mom and Dad for teaching an all important skill that many adults do not possess.
3. In what ways are you the same as Mom and Dad? 
A. I am very independent. We all have opinions and can think on our feet.
B. My parents passed along their superior brain power so that I could excel in schoolJ 
C. Love for learning
D. Strong gospel testimony
E. Persistent, dedicated, patient, etc.
4. What do you miss from our childhood days? 
A. Playing with my batman, ninja turtles, and ghostbusters toys
B. Feeling of no responsibility, anything goes ( not that responsibility is bad)
C. More free time
D. Playing with all the family
5. What is one of your best Christmas memories? 
One of my favorite Christmas memories was last Christmas when Steve and Jessy came to visit. We played a Murder Mystery game and Jessy and Emily were the stars. Emily was a character who had multiple affairs and owned a lingerie store while Jessy played a character who was an aspiring actor with not much success. Jessy's character then worked as a "dancer" to make money. In our accusations Emily became Miss Lacy pants and Jessy became Miss No pants, hahaha. Kjerstin played a man and ended up being the ruthless murderer, it was a funny memoryJ Jessy's father had just passed away days before and I felt that our family helped to bring a smile to her face and make the difficult time a little more bearable.
6. Which traditions do you want to carry on for your own family? 
A. Santa Lucia
B. Rice pudding on Christmas Eve
C. Nativity on Christmas Eve
D. 12 Days of Christmas to a needy family
E. Everyone helps to put up the Christmas tree and decorations around the house
F. Open presents one at a time to savor the love
G. Multitudes of Christmas Cookies and treats
7. Share your testimony.
A. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and restored the gospel back to the earth in this the last dispensation
B. I know Jesus Christ is the Mediator and made an infinite atoning sacrifice for us. Without his love and sacrifice for us, we would be doomed to an intolerable fate. His love saves us every day, it's important for us to remember that.
C. When times are darkest, that is when we need God and Jesus Christ the most. Unfortunately, through personal experience, those are sometimes the times that we put blame on them and feel they don't care about us, essentially pushing them away when we need them most. I've learned through trials to rely on them in my times of trial and not to push them aside.
D. I have a testimony of the power of prayer, my life has been greatly shaped by it
E. I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, it is the word of God and contains the fulness of the gospel. My life is enriched as I read it.
F. I know President Monson is a prophet of God
G. I have a testimony of the power and reality of eternal marriage. I am excited for my chance to be sealed to my future wife is a few short months.
H. I love my family, you guys are the best!
I. I have a testimony of my room mates, they are the best! (Just kidding, hahaahaha)

Emily's Answers

1.  What do you know now that you wish you would have known years ago? 

 I wish i would have learned earlier how to budget my money instead of having to learn (by experience) right now in college.

2.  What is the greatest lesson you learned from Mom and Dad? 

The greatest lesson that i learned from mom and dad is to be independent and to have confidence. I would be nowhere without my parents today. They taught me to value my self-worth and always boosted my confidence. They never ever once told me anything to make me feel "down". They were very supportive of everything i was involved in and always told me "Erickson's are the BEST!" They raised all of us with the intention that we would be successful individuals and they succeeded! (so far =))  I love mom and dad and am so thankful that they have made me feel loved, appreciated, and cared for throughout my entire life.

3. In what ways are you the same as Mom and Dad? 

 Well, i think my "wild" side definitely comes from mom. =) I love to just go out and dance and party and have fun! And even though mom doesn't admit it, she was a partier in high school =) Mom has also helped me to be emotionally stable. High school was a tough time for me and i loved just being able to go to mom for anything and she gave EXCELLENT advice. She also did a wonderful job of just holding me while i cried.. =) Now, people look to me as someone they go to for advice or love or support. That comes from my momma. 

As for my dad, i think i got his confidence. Dad has always been one to say "we are the BEST" and he always wanted us to succeed as he does. He has helped bring out the confidence i have today. Dad had always been the "nagger" of the family, which sounds negative, but it actually isn't. His intentions are always good and its always to do things so that we can be our best. As i have had my first semester at BYU, i've realized that i have become somewhat of a "nag". For example, one of my roommates is somewhat irresponsible and never goes to class and always sleeps in. I have found that i am always the one to "nag" her and wake her up in the morning, like my father did for me (all throughout high school hahaha seminary was EARLY!) I also encourage her to go to class and be responsible. I definitely got that from dad...

4. What do you miss from our childhood days? 

 I miss just being with the whole family the most from my childhood days. As the baby, I lived at home with just mom and dad for four years, which was amazing! but lonely without any siblings. I appreciate and love my family so much that i don't think everyone realizes how much i love all of them. I look forward to holidays so i can be with everyone and just so we can spend time together! I truly do miss being able to see everyone everyday. Too bad the last time that happened i was like. six. 

5. What is one of your best Christmas memories? 

 When i was a little girl, all i wanted for christmas was a big Winnie the Pooh bear. I don't think i remember a time when i was more excited that when i saw that big bear sitting on the couch. 

6. Which traditions do you want to carry on for your own family? 

I definitely would like to carry on the Santa Lucia tradition. Hopefully when i get married i'll have girls! I also want to act out the christmas story and dress up on christmas. And i want to make christmas cookies as a family and leave some for santa...obviously. =) Actually, i LOVE the way our family does christmas and i don't really want to change anything about it. 

7. Share your testimony

I am so thankful for the Church and especially the opportunity I have been given to be raised in the Church. Also, i am very thankful that i was raised in Ohio. I have had many experiences where my testimony has been strengthened while living there. I would not give those experiences up for anything. I am also thankful for family. I know that with Heavenly Father's plan we can all be together again in the celestial kingdom, which is what i personally am most looking forward to. I cannot wait for the Savior to come again and when i can physically feel His love for me. I know i am a daughter of God and i'm thankful for the commandments we have been given. I'm so happy to be here at BYU where everyone is the same as i am and believes the same thing, its actually a pretty different experience...I am thankful for Joseph Smith and the Restoration and for our prophet President Monson who guides us today. I also am thankful for missionary work. It is one of my favorite parts of this Church. I love to share my beliefs and testimony with others. When i came out to BYU it was so odd because i wasn't able to talk about the Church with people who weren't members everyday. I'm like, "Where are all of the nonmembers??" =) I am so thankful for this Church and i know that it is true.