Saturday, April 13, 2013

New and Improved!

Dear Friends and Family,

We've missed you! Forgive us for the silence!

But much has happened since our last post, including the miraculous birth of our identical twin girls, Adelynn and Sarah!

So we just began a new and improved blog and vlog to celebrate the miracle of family online with you!

Meet us there at! or even better see our youtube channel Thx! Love! and see you there!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I'm Back! Rejoicing in more blessings than ever! (don't miss bottom for the big news)

Hi My Friends! So glad to be back on blogger tonight! Waiting for Isaac to get home from Prom and the rest the house is asleep. With the long nap my husband gave me today and the fact that we went our for dinner tonight and morning (or all day) sickness is a little abated right now, I'll take the opportunity to write. Life's been wonderfully full the past few months. (leaving very few minutes to write about it!-please forgive my not staying in touch!) It got much fuller in February when we welcomed Paige to the family. Adding a ninth child, even at age 17, added a lot to the schedule. It's been a fantastic experience for us to have her and she's added a lot of fun, ideas, happy helping and growing to our fam. We've felt the blessings pour down before in dramatic, historic weeks but may I tell you about our last one? It's that time of year, March through May, when I buckle down and hold on tight, hoping to survive the exciting, but turbulent ride each spring - 7 girls bdays (added Paige's to that this year), Easter, the play, end of school year projects, concerts, trips and tests, the annual stake service project and stake conference, just generally, overall, more than I can keep up with. Though with experience and age, and my baby girl turning 4 I've handled it with near perfect tranquility this year...until the climax last week! All anticipation for big bday week this year - Emily and Anna turning 16, Esther turning 8, getting BAPTIZED! My Mom and brother and family would be arriving at the beginning of the week for all the festivities, Kara coming in Wednesday and my sister and fam with us and other sister and fam coming up for the weekend baptism. SO SPECIAL! But wow, I had no idea what a week it would be! Imagine the delight of my twins turning 16. I must admit, in all the joy and excitement of their births 16 years ago, I never could have imagined how delightful, gorgeous, shining, amazing, talented, and truly loving my girls would be now. I am SO PROUD of them!!! I love them more than I could have imagined when the nurse laid them in my arms for the first time - oh! and HOW I LOVED them THEN!!! So Mike and I were proud and excited for these two to be reaching the long-awaited milestones of 16 in our home - dating and driving permits. Mike took each of them individually on their first date, and then they were immediately booked - out for a first date with guys they really liked and having all the fun they'd been waiting for! Esther had been anticipating her baptism for months - palpable excitement. Such a joy to see that beaming testimony of Christ, His church and the sheer joy and enthusiasm to make her baptismal promises and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. We planned carefully and that special event was everything and more than I thought it would or could be. Such a sacred memory for me already. The dates and wonderful baptism event were seperate from the nights we celebrated with parties - a pony came as a gift for Esther's birthday(which in and of itself was enough excitement for several months!) and a big barn dance was the celebration for the 16 year olds. Such a joyful week! It reminded me of the Sunday that I had 3 girls in white, Emily and Anna baptized and confirmed and Esther blessed the same weekend. That had been remarkable to me. I remember it in reverent thankfulness. I thought it could not be topped. But then there was the couple months of amazement - Mike put in as bishop, our sweet Clara 'delivered', Mike put in as stake president and to top it all off a surprise foal born to our new and favorite horse - one noone had been expecting! That was really quite the amazing time in the family history books, but... As Mike and I and my Mom and sister Kristi entered the ultrasound room Friday morning of this same delightful week of counting our blessings and immediately beheld 2 babies on the screen as he scanned my ONE belly, we topped the charts again for 'most amazing weeks ever'!!! I am still overcome by the news. TWINS!!! Unbelievable. I was overcome with the loving kindness and tender mercy of the Lord in the abundance with which He pours out His blessings. (I know we each go through difficult times of loss and sorrow, we all hit our great challenges in the road and have important choices to make, but it seems as we continue to strive to follow our God the best we can, to keep His commandments, do our best, He simply pours out blessings. There is always an amazingly beautiful rainbow after the storm and our world is new and more beautiful than before. He has promises ahead we cannot imagine if we put our trust in Him, do our best to follow Him.) We are thrilled for this little finale to our family! We are thrilled these two little ones will have each other - as Clara will be nearly 5 when they are born and in this fam one cannot IMAGINE being that isolated from one's siblings! LOL! I truly feared for a moment the news would just be too much for my girls -thought their hearts might really burst with the joy of it!- wish you all could have seen it - screams, tears, hugging and hugging and hugging, falling to the ground and hugging some more as more tears of joy overflowed! What a joyful moment!!! How even more exceptional to get to share that with some of our family and friends. As I lay here right now I can feel the soft tumbling of the babies within - keeping me company already. Isaac just came in and reported on a gloriously beautiful prom night - he went with someone he really likes too, so everythings a lot of fun around here that way these days! ;) Our days (and nights too sometimes!) are full, rich with blessings (and challenges!) I am soooo grateful for all of it! Great to catch up a little! Our LOVE to you and yours!!!! Watch for those amazing rainbows!! Lv, CaMarie

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Best Benefits of Scripture Study! (also see Seminary 100 yrs post)

Through seminary we also get the benefits of consistent scripture study. The students are challenged to read on their own at home but we spend our hour at 6 am together studying the scriptures also and WOW!- the results are real and more desirable than anything else. They let us feel the Love of God. Here are some of those benefits we found as we studied this week: "Power to Prosper! (Josh 1:8),Power to overcome evil (1 Nephi 15:24), Power to live righteously (Alma 4:18), Power to teach convincingly (Alma 17:2-3), Power to call down the powers of heaven (Jacob 4:6), Power to change the heart and disposition (Helaman 15:7), Increased hope and joy (Romans 15:4), Increased spirituality (Alma 31:5) Increased knowledge and understanding (2 Nephi 32:3), Increased power of discernment (Helaman 3:29) Increased testimony (D&C 18:36), and a light to see clearly our way(Ps 119:105). The list goes on and on!

Book of Mormon Benefits!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

He uses 'weak' things...

I've felt so especially 'weak' lately, my faults seeming magnified in front of me. I've ached over my mistakes, the tasks I've left undone, or visits I haven't been able to make (2 friends in the hospital last week) and my heart has only hoped for Heaven's pardon.

Sunday afternoon when I got frustrated with one of my children, my own faults and shortcomings seemed more than I could bear and a literal weight set in on top of me. Now how to accomplish my tasks? It seemed my strength was sapped. Completely.

Thankfully a kind Lord knows and sent a friend to visit the next day. By the end of our fun and stimulating conversation I was lifted again - felt fresh and renewed like the flowers she had brought me. But of course by late night, when all my responsibilities were not done and exhaustion was setting in so did my feelings of 'weakness'.

My husband came to my rescue and said he would teach the seminary lesson this morning. And through the things he taught, as I quietly made the breakfast he usually provides for our family and the students, I learned the lesson I needed to remember.

"The Lord can use the 'weak things of the earth' to accomplish His great works." We studied Gideon whose 'family was poor in Manasseh', who said he was 'the least in [his] father's house'. He only had 300 men, but their hearts were right, and with the help of the Lord, they defeated the armies of the Midianites.

After class I sat down to type a quote from the seminary manual for the students to keep. As I reread it, I recommitted myself to remembering and believing it. "The Lord can do remarkable miracles with a person of ordinary ability who is humble, faithful, and diligent in serving the Lord and seeks to improve himself. This is because God is the ultimate source of power."

I do believe it. With all my heart. "The Lord is my strength" has become our family's familiar saying when we have to arise at 4 am to accomplish the days work, or when my husband is called to operate late into the night after an already overfull and exhausting day, or when we do not know which of the 5 most pressing needs of the hour we should try to accomplish first.

We have come to know that turning to the Lord for help, strength, and wisdom beyond our own yields great and real rewards. Somehow He always parts our own personal 'Red Sea' and and sees us through.

Thankful to remember that this morning.

Love, CaMarie

Thursday, January 19, 2012

SEMINARY is AWESOME!!! Happy 100 years!!!

It never ceases to amaze me what a WONDERFUL blessing and opportunity seminary is EVERY DAY!!!! I am in awe of the whole thing. It is such a powerful force for good in each of our lives - students and teachers! I am overwhelmed so many times with admiration for these 17 or so youth (ages 14-18) that wake up earlier than 5 am to be to class at 6 am.
So many days & nights I do not know how I will have the material prepared for the next day, but through the miraculous blessings of the Lord, His completely inspired program, the support of my wonderful husband & literally relying on the Lord's power to make my weak offering enough, I come away uplifted and grateful every single morning! Hoping the students do too! ;)

Studying the Old Testament this year has been an amazing eye opener for me. I've been so surprised, again and again, to find the roots and reasons of everything our religion practices - it's all in there - from temple worship (which begins with Adam building an alter and offering prayer, to Jacob's temple in the wilderness "Beth-el", to the tabernacle used by the children of Israel in the wilderness those 40 years, and continues on to Solomon's Temple and to the Temples of the New Testament, to the Temples of our day -about 150 worldwide and counting!) All for the same purpose & all with the same reminders of who we are, why we came, where we are going, all with the same opportunity to make sacred covenants with the Lord! - to the call of the Seventy (the Lord directed Moses to call the Seventy when his responsibilities became to great, in the New Testament Jesus refers to the Seventy of His day and today the Seventy in our church have the same role - to do what the first presidency and twelve apostles need them to do in order to fulfill their great, even overwhelming responsibilities). Our prophets and apostles and bishops are all called in the same way Joshua was called when Moses' mission was complete - the same way Christ called and set apart the apostles of His day -by revelation from God and by the laying on of hands the Lord 'gives him of that same spirit'. So neat to see the patterns of the Lord's dealings with the children of men from the beginning of the Bible to the Book of Mormon of our day. I LOVE it!!!

Through seminary we also get the benefits of consistent scripture study. The students are challenged to read on their own at home but we spend our hour at 6 am together studying the scriptures also and WOW!- the results are real and more desirable than anything else. They let us feel the Love of God. Here are some of those benefits we found as we studied this week: "Power to Prosper! (Josh 1:8),Power to overcome evil (1 Nephi 15:24), Power to live righteously (Alma 4:18), Power to teach convincingly (Alma 17:2-3), Power to call down the powers of heaven (Jacob 4:6), Power to change the heart and disposition (Helaman 15:7), Increased hope and joy (Romans 15:4), Increased spirituality (Alma 31:5) Increased knowledge and understanding (2 Nephi 32:3), Increased power of discernment (Helaman 3:29) Increased testimony (D&C 18:36), and a light to see clearly our way(Ps 119:105). The list goes on and on!

I've been reading "Fire in His Bones" by Michael Wilcox thanks to my sister who shared it with me over New Years. It has left me even more in awe of the wonderful work of God. I am grateful beyond words for the men and women who were willing to put everything else, including their lives, at stake (many times literally burned there) so that we can have the word of God in front of us to study, use, REMEMBER, drink from daily.

The blessing of strength, joy, guidance and refuge that studying the scriptures in seminary is for our teenagers now is AWESOME. I stand all amazed! We are lovin' seminary every day! Happy 100 years to the seminary program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!!!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Happy 50th anniversary to Mike's parents this August! A night, year, OK, 50 years NEVER TO BE FORGOTTEN!!!!

To celebrate 50 years together we:

*Had a couples dinner at the Lion House with Mom and Dad and their 8 children and spouses. What an amazing dinner occasion. The entertainment was our love and odes to Mom and Dad complete with great rounds of laughter and many happy tears. How amazing to have 8 children with 8 spouses around them, each couple sealed in the Holy Temple of the Lord, at the dinner table that night. What a reason to celebrate!

*We did 50 hours of service as a family, doing baptisms in the temple and tying quilts at Carla's house (thank you Gary and Brooke for arranging).

*And we hosted a reception in their honor for friends and family alike to come and rejoice in such a legacy and union!!!

Laura,Lyle, Shanti and James decorated gorgeously with black and gold, red roses! Black and white pics of our parents newlywed days were centerpieces for the tables along with sayings to keep and remember.

Carla and Karie and fams had been busy putting together the list and mailing out the invites and we were thrilled with those that were willing to come celebrate with us this night! THANKYOU!!

Mike&I (&Shanti!) grabbed food and many hands made light work of setting up for the event.

All in all, the best part was Mom & Dad dancing (teenagers&Lyle got the music going with help from CD Earl and Taunna provided), visiting& LOVING the night away!!

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!!!!

Grandpa and Grandma's, Mom&Dad's 50th!!!

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!!!!

First Stop, Martin's Cove at Devil's Gate

After driving for a few days and many, many miles we pulled up to our destination.

We had left green behind long ago. Little by little, the lush trees, rivers and lakes became bushes and green grass with streams and small ponds, eventually becoming only sandy brown sage brush with no water in sight as we followed I-80 west.

As we turned toward 'camp' there lay a dusty dirt road in front of us that seemed to stretch to nowhere. Civilization had all but disappeared. None in sight anyway.

Our first thought: "we had driven over 1,800 miles to this?" Hee hee hee!!! And perhaps no one to welcome us. Each of our extended family had called to tell us they'd be late. How come the ones who drive the farthest always get there first?

We continued, like our pioneer ancestors, in faith.

Faith was rewarded! Pulling closer to camp we found signs of life! A neat and tidy, cozy, and small camp - empty, but for a little line of 'homes' - campers that had stayed for the summer (one could tell by the square patch of 'garden' in front). These were actually FRESH and BEAUTIFUL little motor homes and we knew immediately that our missionary couples were here.

Sure enough an Elder came out quickly to welcome us, and as Elders always do, made us happy just by being there. He gave us brief instructions and we began to set up camp, donning pioneer clothing to welcome our family in style!

And the Hoffman heritage celebration began. We were celebrating our adopted heritage, the one given to each of us who has been baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A deep, lasting, and very moving heritage of FAITH, COURAGE, DETERMINATION to FOLLOW the SAVIOR and SERVE Him, a willingness to SACRIFICE the things of this world for the greater blessings of another.

We had been reading "The Fire of the Covenant" by Gerald Lund, the story of what we were about to witness, the handcart pioneers. We read of their willingness to leave their native countries, families, and homes to board ships heading to America - for the gospel of Jesus Christ had been restored in its fullness through living prophet to the earth again!

They suffered sea sicknesses, dark and cramped quarters and lack of healthy food, lost loved ones already, but traveled on.

Next train travel, crammed again in cars - sleeping sitting or sometimes standing up.

And then they arrived to where they could finally BEGIN to prepare for their journey: building handcarts, gathering food, being toughened daily for a journey so foreign to the lives they knew in Europe.

The first 6 handcart companies, for the most part, did well but a vastly different journey awaited the last two companies coming west that year. The prophet Brigham had told no one to leave later than June - and now they were just beginning their journey in late July, I believe, torn between staying where they had no homes, no way to provide for themselves, no protection from terrible persecution or forging forward to find the Saints that would welcome them with open arms and help them in Salt Lake City.

We could sense the adventure, the vast beauty, the fun of their journey as we pulled our own handcarts for a day, walking, singing, talking, some bored already, some feet hurting already, but thrilled soon by splashing in the cool waters as we crossed Sweetwater River on a hot day - vastly different from the day the Martin Handcart company crossed over 150 years before.

This had been a place of holy suffering and sacrifice for them. Frozen ice had been theirs to cross. The horrible and hard memories of the Platt River crossing at the beginning of a terrible blizzard haunted their minds. Their physical bodies weakened from lack of food and days and days of treacherously hard journeying, they felt they could not go on. Then their rescuers, who had just found them in answer to their begging prayers, picked them up and carried them, one by one, across the river there. The ice numbed their bodies and cut their legs as they stumbled through again and again to carry their 'friends'.

I have not yet seen '17 Miracles', the latest movie about the handcart pioneers, that so many have told me I MUST see, but we read of miracle after miracle, and heard story of miracle after miracle as we walked their path and missionaries there taught us of their history. As one man, who had been part of these handcart companies later defended, "In our extremity, we came to KNOW GOD."

I feel a little closer to Him just by witnessing the works of his disciples there, sacrificing all, their very lives if necessary, to follow His prophet and obtain a 'new land' (see Hebrews 11), become Zion.

What I learned most from those little bands of handcart pioneers(500 plus in the Martin and Willie handcart companies), is that 'with God nothing is impossible'. They faced the most impossible odds, no chance at survival, it appeared they could NEVER succeed in what He had commanded them to do, gather to Zion. But through the Lord, they did indeed succeed and left behind a legacy never to be forgotten, but to be followed for generations.

I hope I can be as our pioneer ancestors, follow Him in faith, NO MATTER WHAT, face impossible odds with the confidence that the Lord is leading me along and will, indeed, prepare the way. Give everything I have for the Kingdom of God.

A celebration of our heritage. And WHAT a celebration it was. Family and fun and fine memories to fill us all! Campfire and food DELICIOUS! (Like REALLY DELICIOUS, better than a 4 star restaurant delicious - WOW! Thanks Clayton and Crew!)Handcarts, river crossings, square dancing, 'Ephraim Hanks' visiting camp, mail from the pony express, and best of all, testimonies unshakable.

Thank you, Dear Pioneers. Thank you, Dear Family!

Love, The Hoffmans


One year ago we took the 5,000 mile drive from PA to UT to NM and back. When we faced another great trek for the Hoffman Family Reunion (Wyoming), Grandpa&Grandma H.'s anniversary(UT), a visit to GrandmaGreat(Alberta, Canada) we wondered. Mike&I presented it to the children in 'kid council'. Drive or Fly? It was the question.

No question for the children. They shocked us by opting immediately for another caravan across the country. Their biggest reason, once we climbed in the car we were TOGETHER ...all the way there! Oh, and the hotel swimming pools are fun ;).

So facing the challenge of packing everything up and then ON to the excursion (Heather our amazed cheerleader witnessed the wonder - we left our home before she and boys did) we loaded up and headed out.

One trick of the trade my sister-in-law had taught us a few years ago as she gave us a HUGE bag full of gifts upon our driving out of Utah toward PA. "Open one every 100 miles or so" she said. Our reward. It was so fun, exciting, a way to rejoice in our progress, it kept things fresh, engaging and interesting. Thank you!!!

Heather and I hit Walmart at 11pm the night before our trip and gathered the goods. A couple bag fulls of 'tiny treasures' and I was equipped. The children age 10 and down delighted in the surprises.

The first few hours I thought, 'when can we have the next surprise?' echoing in the backseat would cancel out the good of the goodie bag, but soon they adjusted to the schedule (and sometimes I could even pull a little more time between new toy time).

Just what we needed, these trinkets kept the kids happy and busy. (Dollar items for most.)

Even the big kids were thrilled when 1/2 way through our journey they earned one surprise each (a new book, new headphones - I thought of them.)

I couldn't believe it when we neared, finally, our PA home once again and I pulled out the last of the entertainment 3 hours away. NICE.

We had made it to Wyoming, Utah, and Canada and back and had 5,000 miles of memories to keep. HURRAY!!

Next year anyone???

P.S. Top entertainment items for travel (we found by experience)

1. Bendables (you can decorate the windows with these! Big kids got in on the action!)
2. Crayola magic paper&markers (no color unless on the paper).
3. Kid scissors, gluesticks, and paper (OK, a little messy but cleans up fast & worth it, entertains for hours)
4. Somehow still nothing beats singing silly songs for keeping kids happy on the road.
5. Walmart had plastic lap boxes one can draw on and keep tools within. ($2)

Little kids say their favorite was: squinkies.
Hottest big kid series of the summer: "The Great and Terrible"

Of course, modern day technology always helps when one gets desperate - pull out the Leapster and the laptop movies when all else fails!

Happy driving!

Our Josh, The STAR!

Isaac persuaded Josh in 8th grade to tryout with him for Beauty and the Beast, the middle school play. These two best friends landed the roles of Beast (Josh) and Gaston (Isaac)- arch enemies onstage! ;) That was beginning of a new career for Josh. He has since starred in more plays than we can name, and is a common castmember at our AMAZING Community Arts Center which hosts Broadway plays and creates Broadway quality plays with the local high school students as cast and crew. This summers: Hairspray! Josh and his friends have organized several benefit concerts as well. Way to SHINE!!!!

p.s. the lesson - peer pressure can be a good thing, eh? ;) Thanks for all the good you've brought to Isaac Josh! Love, The Hoffmans


The arrival of my BEAUTIFUL, PRECIOUS, BELOVED neice, Brielle. Here she is at her first few moments home! Which we caught because we could NOT LEAVE for our 2 week vacation without letting the children see her. We LOVE YOU BRIELLE!!! Our deepest congratulations Kristi,Calt,and Camden! From all the Hoffmans

Heather's Visit!

A remarkable 'tender mercy': my sister's husband, Jeff, started working in a new area of his company. The bad news, they told him, was that he would have to go far away for a couple of months for training. Where? Of all places, the town our parents live in. WOW! So my sister Heather packed up her family of 3 little boys and headed 'home' to Michigan (who ever thought?) with her hubby to live with Mom&Dad for a couple months.

Part of that trip? VISITING US!!!! HURRAAAAYYYYY!!!! What a wonderful blessing for the three PA sisters to have the Perry,UT sister join them for a couple weeks!!!! We tried our BEST to show them 'THE BEST TIME EVER!!!' (which included her baby boy, Davis, watching Tangled daily- he can't live without it! BEST MOVIE EVER!!!!). ;)

Here are some pics of Reptileland which comes highly recommended by my 4 youngest and HORSERIDING!!! Cooper and Landon were NATURAL cowboys! Made the Hoffman's proud!

So grateful for time with you Heather and Crew!! AND CONGRATULATIONS on finding out the Baby to come is a GIRL!!!!!