The inspiration for the title of my book came from Thelma “Granny” Geer’s Mormonism, Mama, and Me, published in 1983 by Moody Press.

It’s a Biblical imperative to give honor where it’s due. There isn’t enough room to list all the individuals who have made a difference in my life, so I’ll name but a few.

I want to thank all the bishops I’ve had over the years: Bishop Aylesworth, Sagers, Folsum, Hall, Green, Nelson, Dinsmoore, Jepsen, Peterson, Smith, Herdt, and Lytle. There’s probably half a dozen whose name’s I’ve forgotten, but for whom I had respect. Each of them was a man of good character and integrity. They taught me what it means to be a leader, to reach out to others, to serve tirelessly. Well, I’m sure they were very tired, but they served nonetheless.

To all the Relief Society presidents I ever had: Thank you for showing me what it’s like to have compassion, charity, care, and concern for others. The countless meals you provided for ward members in need, the homemade bread and cookies you welcomed new families with, and the lessons you taught were inspirational examples to me. You helped me learn the importance of home and family, of being a wife and mother. You’re amazing women whose shoes were too big for me to fill when I became Relief Society president.

To the many outstanding Latter-day Saints I’ve known in the Canoga Park 2nd, Pleasant View 2nd, University, 10th, Curtis Park, and San Miguel wards: I admire and respect you in so many ways. Thanks for special memories and fun times.

To the Crookston family, I give my unconditional love and gratitude. You taught me what family life is all about. Your examples of honesty, integrity, hard work, and commitment have been instrumental in shaping my life. You showed me (intentionally or not) that “mediocrity” is a dirty word; none of you was lukewarm about anything, especially matters of faith.

To Scott: Thank you for teaching me five new vocabulary words a week, a new joke every day, and how to have a sense of humor even in the direst of circumstances. God knows you taught me patience. Well, maybe not so much, seeing how things turned out Innocent. Thank you for your willingness to have lots of children. We almost made our “baker’s dozen.”

To my eight sons and two daughters: Thank you for being the awesome individuals you are! You have made my life exciting, rich, fulfilling, and fun. There has never been a dull moment being your mother. I love you so much, and am proud of you beyond measure.

Special thanks to my mother, dad, Grammy, and Grampy (God rest their souls), and Aunt Al. You loved me, believed in me, supported me, and spoiled me rotten (as if that were possible), and taught me what it means to be passionately devoted to family.

Profuse gratitude goes to my husband Greg. You got more than you bargained for. Thank you for loving me and my children, for taking care of us, for meeting our needs, for being a devoted husband and father to some pretty strange people. I respect your desire to know God and His word, and your commitment to doing what is right and honorable. Thank you for putting up with me and my idiosyncrasies (which are aggravating at worst and endearing at best).

My gratitude to the many wonderful Christians who helped me after I left Mormonism. You encouraged me, taught me, befriended me, and demonstrated the love of God to me.

My Messianic Jewish friends and teachers; you have been mentors to me, and I’m so grateful that you showed me the beauty and value of the Torah. You deepened my love, knowledge, and understanding of G-d and His ways.

Most of all, I thank HaShem (Hebrew title of respect for God, meaning “The Name”) for His guiding hand that sustains me from day to day, and for giving me Shalom—the peace that passes all understanding.

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