Friday, February 19, 2016


As all two of you know, Scott and I married at 37 and 30 years old respectively. Scott had a Master's degree, a six bedroom rambler in suburbia and was co-owner of Alta Technology. (Scott and a buddy started their own computer company and worked out of his friends basement for a year. During that first year, Scott took no pay.) What I brought to our marriage was a bit less in monetary value, I had a MFA, a hand-me-down Ford Festiva and two suitcases.

I was thrilled at the thought of not having to put a husband through school and living hand to mouth. I shouldn't have put that thought out into the universe. Because... fast forward ten years into our marriage, we were unemployed for about the fifth time, sold our 3,000 square foot, crown-molding-galore home in Boise and moved into 950 square foot institutional, steel door, indoor/outdoor carpeted student family basement apartment (Two years later, we moved our family of seven into 750 square feet!) and Scott entered a PhD program in Computer Science. So much for not having to put a husband through school and living hand to mouth!

Six years after Scott started the three year PhD program, he finished and landed a job, in you guessed it---Nor Cal at Lawrence Livermore National Labortory.  And like other families having experienced the bare essential living of graduate school, we thought we were going to have so. much. money! Wrong.

First of all, we moved to the Bay area. As of August 2015, the average price of a home was $661,000. Yep. Might as well be a bazillion dollars!

Second, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Scott's employer's principal sponsor is the National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy.  Meaning, Scott works for the government. AKA: NOT a "Google" salary.

Third, We have five ever increasing expensive children. Sarah is serving a mission for our church $. Anna is starting Utah State University in the fall $$.  And Max, Natalie and Sadie keep growing out of their shoes $$$!

What all of this means is: we are driving the same cars since Sarah was born. We are renting a house and we're seriously entertaining binding our children's feet so they can wear the same shoes for 3 more years. jk. sort of.

Yet, I've learned a few things. Beginning with, the promise made by the ancient prophet Malachi is true:
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
 We have always aimed to pay our tithing. (In our faith, we pay a tithe; one tenth of all of our increase is donated to the church.) One of the many blessing I have notice as a result of paying our tithing is: our cars have lasted! One might think, that a "windows of heaven blessing" would be two brand new cars. That would be nice but- I've noticed and believe the windows of heaven blessings are what E. David A. Bednar calls "subtle but significant".
For example, a subtle but significant blessing we receive is the spiritual gift of gratitude that enables our appreciation for what we have to constrain desires for what we want. A grateful person is rich in contentment. An ungrateful person suffers in the poverty of endless discontentment.
Throughout these post-graduate years, it is confirmed: we clearly don't have a whole lot of money, but we are rich.
Machines O' Wonder
This is the ceiling upholstery in the Prizm. Notice the upholstery is gone. This is styrofoam. It falls into your eyes.

Odometer reading on the van

The floor mats in the van. The van doubles as a horse trailer. Not really, but Anna brings home half of the barn floor.


  1. Susan, we live such "rich" lives here in the Bay Area! I love you always and forever, my friend. I recently cleaned out my box of treasures from 17+ years ago and found one, two, three, four, five, and many more treasure letters from YOU! Thank you for being my friend in "$$$" and in heart. ~Cherlynn

    1. Cherlynn! It is SO true, we ARE rich here in the Bay Area. And what makes me feel rich beyond any 2,500 square foot house with crown molding is... YOU! I believe our paths crossed and will continue to cross because God wants us to feel His love through relationships/friendships. I truly love you and we ARE forever friends. All my love, Susan