Jo Jo gets baptized


Easter Weekend 2012 was also the weekend that Joseph was baptized…by his daddy. In our religion, a child can be baptized at the age of eight. Joseph turned eight in March and decided that he would like to be baptized. He received a warm fuzzy blanket (papa penning) and a teddy bear (mary anne thomas) from different people who spoke to him about the Holy Spirit.


another forever…


Growth. Family. Grace. Forever.
Isn’t this the best picture ever? We had a blast at our ‘after party.’ Thanks to everyone who made the effort to attend the sealing. The children felt very special and safe and loved. And that makes me smile! We sure love our family and friends. We are so blessed to have such amazingness all around us. :)




victoria’s baptism


We drove up to Washington in March for Victoria’s baptism. I try to make it to as many special events as I can. After all, that’s what a Penning does. That’s what my parents taught me to do. And I enjoy doing it. I really really like my family…especially my nieces and nephews! I suppose that being Anutie for so many years before getting married helped solidify their places in my heart. :)


for our good

I am thinking tonight about all the people that I know who are struggling right now. Friends and family members who are processing such trials as:

The loss of a child

A miscarriage

Marital separation

Chronic pain and illness

Various addictions

Gossip in the cruelest form

And when I ponder on these different experiences and afflictions, the same thought comes into my mind…

“…if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of Hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son ( or daughter), that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” (D&C 122:7)

I really believe this. In fact, I know it to be true. I have had many a dark moment in my adult life. Some of which I brought on myself, but most were pushed on my by others’ free agency, and given by God. I am better for the low moments. Even if the trials are not desirable, the lessons learned are! They truly are for our good.

infections and other recent afflictions

I have been fighting an infection in my body for about six weeks now. In fact, I’ve been to the doctor six times in six weeks. It is annoying, It is inconvenient. But mostly, it is humbling. Recently, other more serious afflictions have befallen our Little McFamily. I think that being sick, however frustrating, has helped humble me physically…preparing me to draw from the only spiritual source that is powerful enough to not only heal my physical body, but also my wounded spirit.

What I have learned this week:

1. No one is perfect. Duh, right? Although we have perfection as our long-term goal, for now our goal is continuous progress in that direct. (which is only possible through the Atonement)

2. My ability to Love, as a daughter of God and as a wife, is far greater than I thought possible.

3.The capacity we all have for compassion can only be enlarged through humility. And as I continue to humble myself, the compassion I feel helps my Love to grow exponentially.

4. Squaring shoulders and standing together takes true courage.

5. My husband is the best man I know. And my children are so very–even eternally–blessed to have him as the head of our Little McHome.

conference pledge, fall 2010

“In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time. Taking time for each other is the key for harmony at home. We talk with, rather than about, each other…We establish a divine bond with each other as we approach God together through family prayer, gospel study, and Sunday worship.”

–President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Saturday Morning Session

General Conference, 2010

In an effort to walk The Path a little straighter, we pledge to:

1. Watch less TV

Although this might seem a little silly coming from us who have no TV. We still have a TV, and access to the internet where we download our faves like: NCIS, The Mentalist, V, The Biggest Loser. Lately, we have been watching two, three, four episodes after the kiddos are in bed. So, specifically, we have pledged to turn the TV off by ten on weeknights, and to keep the TV off completely on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.


Hopefully, we will develop enough self-mastery to eventually keep it off entirely during the week. We set no hard and fast limits for the weekend. There is just so much more we can be doing with the precious time we have been given.

“Every day, every hour, every minute of your span of mortal years must sometime be accounted for. And it is in this life that you walk by faith and prove yourself able to choose good over evil, right over wrong, enduring happiness over mere amusement. And your eternal reward will be according to your choosing.”

–Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Saturday Morning Session

2. Text, iphone, and laptop less

I pledge to not text during direct school time. I feel like this is one small thing I can do to show the children how much I value their education and their presence in my life…you know, that whole leading by example thing. It is only be example that I can teach them to not be beholden to electronic tools. They are useful, and I love my super cute pink flip phone with full touch pad. I LOVE IT! Which is why I should probably  limit my usage of it.


Adam and I both pledge to be better at staying completely unplugged between dinner time and the kids’ bed time. We do a pretty good job of it most nights, but we also mindlessly surf or fiddle with the phones while playing/talking with the children, and each other…more than we probably realize. We pledge to be better. To unplug a little more. To be a little more purposeful. To utilize that valuable hour of precious daddy time that we anticipate all day long for good.

We are raising Children of God, and they watch every single thing we do. We set the patterns that they will follow. And time-wasting activities is not a habit I ever want to be guilty of passing to my children.

“We must be alert not to let sin grow around us. Forms of sin are everywhere—even, for example, in a computer or cell phone. These technologies are useful and can bring great benefits to us. But their inappropriate use—such as involvement in time-wasting games, programs that would drive you to carnal pleasure…is destructive.”

–Elder Jairo Mazzagardi, Sunday Afternoon Session

3. Buy a Modest Home

…And pay it off quickly! Since we live in Las Vegas, we have the pick of the litter right now, if you will. There are so many amazing homes on the market at very low prices, which is good for us (bad for others ). But as we look at what we can buy, it is easy to lose sight of what we should buy. It goes back to the age-old debate of our needs vs. wants. But we are resolved, remembering are long-term family financial goals that we have set, and are diligently working toward.

“To those of you who are not yet to the season of life when you might serve a couples mission, I urge you to prepare now for the day when you and your spouse might do so…There are few times in your lives when you will enjoy the sweet spirit and satisfaction that come from giving full-time service together in the work of the Master.”

–President Thomas S. Monson, Saturday Morning Session

We  have very specific long-term goals that require mucho dinero (as Adam would say), and freedom of time. So the more we sacrifice now, the more we can serve and give back in the future. (As if buying the $150K home over the $400K home is much of a sacrifice in most of the world. Being where I’ve been and seeing what I’ve seen makes me ashamed to even write this phrase)

We find shiny new houses posted in our housing search with gourmet kitchens and pools with caves and “huge” backyards, and we totally salivate. But we don’t need any of it to be happy. That is the exact trap we are trying to avoid. I am more excited about the prospect of having a paid for house in a few years. That makes me most happy because that will mean that we are one step closer to full-time service in the work of the Master.


My heart is full this week as I try to “go and do” what I have heard and learned. Until the Spring!

You show your trust in Him when you listen with the intent to learn and repent and then you go and do whatever He asks…And if you then go and do what He would have you do, your power to trust Him will grow, and in time you will be overwhelmed with gratitude to find that He has come to trust you.

–President Henry B. Eyring,  Sunday Morning Session

diggin’ up roots

The best way to dig out the root of a tree is by cutting off the branches first.
Unless you want the tree to fall on top of you!!!

Yay, for chainsaws!

baptism de nikki

27 March 2010: Logan, Utah8057We are so proud of you, Nikki! You have grown so much over the past 20 months, physically and spiritually. You definitively know who the Savior is, and that he loves you. We love how excited you are to learn about Jesus. You LOVE primary right now. You get excited about paying your tithing, participating in the Sacrament, and you try your very best to do what is right. Our family would not be the same without you, Maria Daniela.

You with mommy’s sisters, Tia Jaimee and Tia Lindsey:8072
You with Grandma and Grandpa Penning:8066