Monday, March 31, 2008

Kind of cool.....

Dusty saw this on the BYU Library Catalog online. He sent them information on ordering his book and they did :-) That's one way to leave your legacy at your school....forget good grades lol

Monday, March 24, 2008

Serpent Obsessed Student Writes Snake Book

This is the title of Dusty's news article that just came out in the BYU newspaper. Their circulation is about 19,000 and we were so excited to have him in the paper. I wrote a press release about his new book coming out and sent it out to a few places and BYU picked up the story.

The newspaper director said that he has so impressed that a student would take so much time to do something that wasn't required for school that he wanted to do a profile story about Dusty and have the book be a part of it. We think the article was very well written! Here is the online version of the story.

Serpent Obsessed Student Writes Snake Book

- 21 Mar 2008
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Photo by Amy Rhoads
Dustin Rhoads pulls out a Trans-Pecos Ratsnake from one of his cages.


She agreed to marry him on one condition: the snakes had to go. And they did, for a few weeks.

Now three snakes have turned into 105, but Dustin and Amy Rhoads are still happily married.

"Where I grew up, if you saw a snake you killed it," Amy Rhoads said. "I never thought I would become the snake keeper's wife."

Dustin Rhoads, an integrative biology major from Texas City, Texas, has loved snakes since he was four years old. His first experience came when his dad found a small snake in the yard while mowing the lawn, he said.

"I ran outside in my he-man underwear, and took the shiny earth snake from my dad's hands," Rhoads said. "Wow, I thought, and I have been hooked ever since."

During the summer, Rhoads would spend long days sitting in the aisles of the pet store or library reading about reptiles and amphibians, he said. His mom would drop him off when she went shopping and pick him up again on her way home.

Other hobbies including football and baseball were activities, but not passions. At only one point in his life were the snakes neglected; when he was 16, Rhoads was more interested in the electric guitar than in his reptiles. His dad was the one to get him back on track.

"Dad's opinion was that there is not a need for herpetologists in the world, so I was surprised when he told me to stop neglecting my pets," Rhoads said. "Parents always want you to be a doctor or a lawyer."

Getting back on track included Rhoads writing out eight pages of life goals. One of these goals was to write a book about a snake species, and this goal, No. 52 on his list, is now completed.

Fittingly, the book's title, "The Complete Suboc: A Comprehensive Guide to the Natural History, Care, and Breeding of the Trans-Pecos Ratsnake," is about as long as the snake itself.

His book is the newest edition of ECO Publishing's famous "Complete" series, and is the first book to be published about this species.

"I was researching information about this snake for a Web site, and I realized that someone needed to compile it into a book," Rhoads said. "I thought, it might as well be me."

Rhoads used his own funds to research and write this book. He was already breeding the snakes as a hobby so it didn't cost much more except for travel expenses to Texas to study the snakes in the wild, he said. And he knew he would get paid when the book was published.

"I did not believe that it was necessary for me to have a degree before I made a name for myself," Rhoads said. "Your grades in school are not a forecast for how successful you will be in life."

Those who assisted Rhoads in researching and writing of the book think highly of this snake-loving BYU student.

"Dusty is very energetic and eager to learn," said Michael Price, executive director of the San Angelo Nature Center. "He is also very passionate about this particular species of reptile and the detailed information that he presents in his book are a testament to that."

"I have not known him for long, but he could not have been easier to work with," said David Barker, snake expert and owner of Vida Preciosa International, an enterprise primarily involved in the captive propagation of snakes. "He is the greatest guy in the world."

Rhoads sold his snakes before serving in the Chile Santiago mission, but a Trans-Pecos Ratsnake was the first pet he bought when he returned.

Snakes are no longer a bone of contention in the Rhoads' marriage, and Dustin is excited that he found a way to make money with a hobby he loves.

"If you love what you do, the money will follow," Rhoads said. "A life dream should make you crazy, out of your mind excited. If it doesn't, it is not worth going for."

In the future Rhoads plans to continue work in the field of keeping and breeding animals.

"If I could take anyone's job, I would take over for Steve Irwin being the crocodile hunter," Rhoads said. "I never thought he was out of his mind; I want to be jumping on crocodiles and saving them too."

Funny Movie!!

We just saw Enchanted at the Dollar Movies the other day and it is freaking hilarious! Anyone who hasn't seen it needs to. We just bought it at Wal-Mart for like $14.

Mom, Melissa and Charla.....I'll just bring it with me if (or when) I come home next month!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Janice Kapp Perry, Susan Easton Black and Elder Richard G. Scott

Last Saturday the Relief Society in our stake celebrated the Relief Society's Birthday. Sister Janice Kapp Perry and her husband had been serving in our Stake as service missionaries for the past 3 years. This was sort of their farewell too. It was such a wonderful night I only wish that men and women both could have been there but it was such a sweet experience to have just women there.

Our stake has a deaf ward, Spanish ward, native American ward and "regular" wards in it. It is really neat to attend any kind of stake event because if someone deaf gives a talk there is a English speaking person on another microphone with someone else doing Spanish translations and vice versa for a Spanish talk. I remember attending the stake event and feeling that Heavenly Father truly does love all of His children and that we were all daughters of God. It was so neat to see so many different people from such diverse histories and cultures.

Sister Perry did a AMAZING program for us. She even wrote some songs just for our stake! She wrote one about Relief Society, a special native American song, one that she sang in Spanish etc. She talked about her journey in discovering her talents and testimony in writing the Children's Hymns. She is the lady who has written most of the Children Hymns we know today. She had said that her ultimate goal was to have a group of Primary kids sing one of her songs during a Church meeting. LOL Look at her know. Her songs are what bring the Spirit and personal testimony and revelation to people around the world! She is an amazing woman with a kind, gentle and positive spirit.

She spoke of conquering personal fears. It took her years before she had the courage to speak at firesides, Church activities and Sacrament about her songs because she was terrified. She spoke of a book that I just got done reading, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, and how that helped her overcome her challenges. To think that she was terrified to speak and to see her up in front of us singing solos and just having a great time was absolutely wonderful.

She encouraged us to discover our talents and to reach for our dreams and to not let fear hold us back from our potential. Look at her as a perfect example. If she would have given in to her fears and let her fear take control of her we wouldn't have so many of the beautiful primary songs that we have today!! What a tragedy that would have been.

It was a lovely night that gave me the encouragement and love that I needed on that very night.

A few weeks ago we had another fireside from Susan Easton Black. She is an LDS Author and prominent genealogist. She too spoke of discovering yourself and your talents and conquering fear. She shared personal experiences and struggles she had to face to get where she is at today. She shared stories of two boys who knew Joseph Smith and how their courage and testimonies give her encouragement when she needs it. She shared their amazing story of faith and how they are heroes to her. She also shared another pioneer story of a woman whose story has etched in her heart courage and power and a feeling that she can do anything.

Susan is wonderful to hear speak. Her personality is so fun and her knowledge is almost unbelievable of how much she knows of the lives of the pioneer Saints and especially of Joseph Smith. She has dedicated much of her life to studying his life and doing temple work for the early Saints.

She is the lady I had an opportunity (through work) to go and stay at her house in Nauvoo, IL last May and get a personal tour of Nauvoo and learn in tremendous detail stories of Joseph Smith and the Saints. What an experience!

Last Tuesday I had another opportunity to go to a BYU devotional to hear the Apostle, Elder Richard G. Scott!! He spoke much of the Savior and how if we study and truly come to know of the Savior's Atonement and what it means to us personally how much more productive and happy our lives can be! I LOVE to hear him speak. His voice is so kind and genuine. You feel so much love from him as he speaks. You really do feel like he is speaking just to you. If anyone is looking for an amazing book to read I recommend Elder Scott's book Finding Peace Happiness and Joy. It takes a little while to get through because there is so many things to ponder and re-read and take note with etc. but it is a book with a great experience tied to it.

I really do miss all of my family so much but I am SO THANKFUL I have many opportunities to be here in UT to just take a lunch break, walk down the street and hear an Apostle of the Lord speak to me. Wow! I can't even comprehend that at times. Dust and I have done well at taking advantage of the opportunities that are here and we have been so blessed because of them.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New Callings

So I have talked to a few of you about my new calling last week. I am a Relief Society Teacher. I teach the forth week of every month. I give a lesson on the conference talks. I have never taught a lesson in Church before, so I am a little nervous, but I know this will help me build the confidence I have been lacking lately.

Tonight on the way home from my workout the Bishop called me at 9:15 pm asking me to come right in and see him again. I got another calling: Young Women Advisor. :-) I don't even know what they do, but I will find out tomorrow night when I go to my first meeting.

As of right now my callings are:
  • Ward Activities Chairman
  • Visiting Teacher
  • Visitng Teacher Supervisor
  • Relief Society Teacher
  • Young Women Advisor
Whew! The Bishop told me that Dusty and I will be released from the Ward Activities in a few weeks. I think these callings are a real blessing to me right now. I have been needing something. There has been a void. I am grateful for these callings and can already feel my heart turning toward the Lord more.

I am grateful also to be a memeber of this Church. I am grateful for being born into my family and having such outstanding examples of service, love and sacrifice from my parents and syblings. I am just grateful tonight!

I will let you know how my first lesson goes :-) I teach on Easter Sunday....

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Virtual Makeovers!

I almost forgot. Makayla and I did makeovers on the computer. Actually she did them both. She was so excited we did it as soon as she got home from school. You should send her a picture of yourself and see what she can do. I don't know...I am thinking about going with the look! :-)It's kind of scary how old she looks! She picked out all of the colors and styles and she really liked it!

Isaac and Jackson joined in on the fun too. We did one of Chauntel too but I don't know where it went. Maybe she deleted it so we wouldn't post it. lol

Our Dallas, Texas Trip!

Here are a few pictures from the trip. Chauntel has posted some of them too. It was great fun. I miss everyone already but I am SO thankful I was able to stay for so long. I always love going to see the kids. There is NEVER a dull moment. Jeremy and Chauntel are such great parents and I love seeing them in action :-)

This is Kayla Girl and Isaac Boy getting into dad's suitcase. Dad told them he had presents for them and they couldn't resist. I caught them in action!

This little sweet baby was really sick part of my visit but that didn't stop him from being silly and having good old time with Aunt Amy. He is just the cutest thing I have ever seen. He has such a cute sense of humor and wants to be in on the action. I love it! He is really good at playing (and saying) Hallabalou....I have NO idea how to spell that.

This is just a little sample of how we got woke up in the mornings. It was so cute to see Isaac and Makayla playing together and having so much fun like we did growing up. They would just be so silly. Every morning we would wake up to a new drawing of us. For some reason Dusty's picture always had a mustache. They thought that was so funny!

It looks like Isaac has a pretty good grip of Makayla but he was posing for a picture. He LOVED to have the camera out. He is learning to take pictures too.

This was another one of Isaac's ideas. He wanted to show me that he could do a bridge and then he told Makayla to do it with him and for me to take a picture. They did great!

I loved that I got to go to one of Makayla's swimming lessons. She did such a great job. You could really tell she was "focusing" (as she says). Like Chauntel said she has a great backstroke. She was SO excited to be in the water and to play with the other kids. I was so glad I got to go and watch.
Makayla and Isaac are regular little computer nerds. They know how to do all kinds of stuff on the computer. Makayla's favorite site is and I think that one is Isaacs's too. He likes to play the games on there. He was also on an arcade site. They are both so computer savvy and something tells me Jackson isn't too far behind...

When Chauntel, Makayla and I went to Kayla girl's swim lesson Jeremy, Isaac and Jackson went home and worked out. They all got on their sneakers and shorts and took their shoes off and dad showed them how to do push ups and crunches and they ran laps around the house. Jeremy said they actually worked really hard and that Isaac probably did 100 laps. Here Makayla is showing us a good back and "trunk" exercise. They all looked SO cute.

Jackson, Chauntel and I got to go and eat lunch with Makayla at school. She invited a friend to come over and sit with us too. She was excited to see us and it was really neat to get to see her school and see her with her friends. Jackson didn't need any friends, he was fine with acting like a puppy and crawling (with his tongue out) all around the cafeteria!

This was our other workout night. We all did Turbo Jam together. Makayla hung in there a lot longer than I thought she would. She was kicking, punching, jumping and she really worked up a sweat. Isaac waited until our video was over so he could put in my Turbo Jam 3T video in. He really impressed me. We put in the video and he followed the instructions and really enjoyed it. They are all so strong!

Makayla liked the bands too. This is Makayla in her workout ponytail. Aunt Amy fixed it for her and Chauntel and I had one too. It was such a fun night.
Jackson wore this basketball wristband the entire day. He looked SO cute and was just strutting his stuff. He LOVES to play hoops, watch hoops and dress like he's ready for hoops. Whenever he is shooting hoops he already has a perfect little jump at the release. I got to watch him play baseball too. I love his wind up.

Look at all of this art we got sent home with! Everyday there was a new drawing with our names on it. It was so sweet. The kids are so talented.

We had such a blast. Their house is gorgeous. Their gym rocks. Chauntel and I took a barbell class together and afterwards she gave me the grand tour. It is amazing. All of the kids are just growing up and it's a blast to be around them. Isaac is reading. Makayla is reading and Jackson does everything that they do. I love you guys. Thanks for making our trip such a great one!

NARBC Arlington, TX

For all of you who aren't "in-the-know" ;-) NARBC stands for North American Reptile Breeders Conference. That is what Dusty and I went to last week. In a last minute decision we decided to go out to the show. However, it wasn't just any show, Dusty had a table up selling
pre-orders for his book and he gave his first national presentation. He did a fantastic job! He even got more requests for him to come out and speak at other conventions. I was so proud to be there with him. He had a lot of people there wanting to speak with him and he got to do a lot of networking and met people he has been wanting to meet. It was a successful show. It was a lot of fun! Best of all we got to stay with Jeremy and Chauntel the kiddos. Even better than that I got to stay a lot longer. It was great fun! Thanks Jeremy and Chauntel for helping us make it to the show and giving us a place to stay....and lots of entertainment.

Valentines Day!

OK. It's been a while since I have blogged but judging by the looks of all the NON-comments, nobody cares or maybe even didn't even noticed!

Now that I have that out of my system :-) I wanted to tell you all about the lovely Valentines Day Dusty planned for us.

First off, he had it planned since NOVEMBER. Yes. I know this for a fact because I accidentally found the tickets like a week after he got them. I swear I am always ruining surprises. Dusty took me to a Jim Brickman concert at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake. It was PERFECT! It was the most romantic day that we have ever had besides our wedding. Even though I had been S-I-C-K all week long, I was in good spirits and so excited for the evening.

We went to Macaroni Grill and then the concert. Jim also brought vocalist Anne Cochran and violinist David Klinkenberg. It was an amazing blend of sound that just took you right into the moment and everything else was forgotten. If you are not familiar with Jim Brickman, he is the most romantic pianist I have ever heard. Everything he does revolves around romance and love and just plain old feel good stuff.

All I can say is that the night was perfect and Dusty and I had an amazing time and I wanted to thank him for being so thoughtful. It was a beautiful night. What a great way to commemorate the night he asked me to marry him!