Susan Layton

Film Producer - ASL Performer - Life Learner

Tag: LDS

Blessings In Unexpected Ways!

Sometimes, the blessings we ask for come in ways we don’t expect.

I was driving to pick up my daughter from a birthday party yesterday and I received a text from my husband.  It said:

Totaled car.

We are ok.

Ryan and my oldest daughter were on their way to the Temple to do baptisms for the dead (proxy work for those who have passed on … for more info, see the end of this post).  This text “Totaled car. We are ok.” was shocking. How? Where? What does ‘OK’ mean?  Of course, I said a prayer, to ask that they would, in fact, be okay.  I knew nothing else.  But I picked up my youngest daughter from the birthday party and started driving the direction they were headed.

About 5 minutes later, my friend, Merri called me and said both were okay but the car was not.  We arrived to the scene about 40 minutes later.

This is what I saw:

Pix Car1

Right before this all happened, the rains became very heavy.  Ryan tried to slow down (without using the brakes – afraid of hydroplaning out of control) but the rains were just too heavy and the car was carried away, anyways.  The car hit the side of the hill and began to roll.  They finally came to a stand still.

A few minutes later, an off-duty paramedic arrived at the scene.  (She later told me that seeing the entire incident right before her eyes, she was afraid of what she would find once inside the car.  She was pretty sure it would be a sad situation.)  The paramedic found one door that could be opened.   She called out to the passengers, “I am a paramedic. IMG_2268We’ve already called 911.  Who is in the car?”  My daughter responded, “Me and my dad”.  Merri heard my daughter and recognized her voice and said, “Oh  my goodness! It’s me, Merri!”  What a beautiful blessing and miracle to have Merri, an incredible paramedic, a dear friend and my daughter’s Young Women’s leader, there at the scene to assist them in this catastrophic accident, just moments after it all happened.  Still buckled in, upside down, my daughter told Ryan that Merri was there and she was going to help them.  Once they were in a secure position, Merri pushed their seatbelt buttons and they fell to IMG_2273the ground.  Then they crawled out through the back of the car.   They were, indeed, protected and I am so grateful to the Lord for preserving their lives!

When we arrived to the scene, I was grateful to find them both doing so well.  Ryan walked away with only sore hands from white-knuckling the steering wheel.  My daughter had a small scratch/bump on her forehead but that was it.  Of course, they were shook up but doing very well, under the circumstances.  What … a … blessing!

After we did what needed to be done with the police and tow truck, we all agreed that we still wanted to go to the Temple and serve.  Merri took our younger ones to her babysitter’s house and then we met at the Temple.  Serving in the house of the Lord brought us much needed peace and comfort.

As we were traveling to the Temple, my daughter called my mom.  (I had called my mom the moment I heard about the accident. So, I knew she would be sitting anxiously by the phone, awaiting some reassurance that all were okay.)   The conversation was tender.  I could hear the trembling voice of my mother.  I could hear her as she began to cry.  She told my daughter, as she wept, that cars can be replaced but there is no replacing the ones we love!  That is true!

After our time at the Temple, my daughter shared with me her experience of this accident.  She had already submitted 5 names to the Temple (a week ago) so they would be ready for her when she got there but really felt there were a couple more she wanted to do.  So she was using my husbands iPad to find the names as they were driving.  It took her a little while but she finally found two of them and felt those were what she needed.  She put the iPad down on the middle console.  Then she grabbed her scriptures and began reading in Mosiah chapter 5.  She finished the chapter and realized the rains were coming down really hard and the car began veering off the road.  She grabbed on to Ryan’s arm and said “Heavenly Father…” and then the car began to tumble.   This morning, she opened up the scriptures she was reading to remind herself of what she read.  With tears in her eyes, she shared with me what she learned from this passage: If you keep the commandments, love, serve others and put God first, He will bless you and protect you.  My testimony was strengthened.  God IMG_9342knows us.  He loves us.  He will bless us.  As my daughter shared this experience with another dear friend of ours, Toni, said, “I’m sure those family members, who you were searching for while traveling in the car and those you had found earlier in the week, were there protecting you and your dad. They needed you to finish their work.”  When she said that, I could feel such power and peace come over me.

I am so grateful that they were protected.  I’m not gonna lie, I loved that car.  But it served it’s purpose.  Blessings do come in ways that we don’t expect sometimes.  It’s humbling, it’s inspiring, it’s just really beautiful!

I’m grateful for the blessing of the Temples.  Within those walls, sacred work is performed.  We learn. We serve.  Great peace is found there. The blessings of eternal families are realized within.  I’m grateful that I am sealed to my family for time and for all eternity.  The Temples are the House of the Lord!


I guess, another few things I learned from this accident was to always express your love to your loved ones.  You never know when something will happen and you won’t have them anymore.  The second thing I learned was to recognize the blessings big and small and thank the good Lord for each of them.  It makes terrifying experiences more bearable.  Third, slow waaaaay down in the rain, best to do that while on a slope.  🙂  In any case, better safe than sorry.  And lastly, in any circumstance we are faced with, saying a prayer, even if it’s “Heavenly Father …”, will help us through the good and the bad.  Comfort, peace, guidance, protection and understanding can fill our lives, as we call upon Him.

To learn more about Temples, click here.

A Special Day in 2000!

April 14, 2000. The day I wed my 10259767_10203718534903686_4519034621021399761_nlove, Ryan Layton.  I am so grateful for the blessing of being married for time and all eternity to the man I have grown to really love, appreciate and admire.  We were married and sealed in the Las Vegas LDS Temple on April 14, 2000.

Oh, this date has a story.  Since I was a very young girl, I wanted to be married on April 15th.  Sure, that sounded like a beautiful spring day.  A day with beautiful flowers10154024_10203718778389773_2019260875160657156_n blooming all over and pretty white fluffy clouds in the blue sky.  That was the day for me! … And then I grew up and realized that April 15th wasn’t the funnest of days, for this was the day your taxes would be due and blah for that.  Ha.  But I still wanted April and I realized a prettier looking day would be April 14th.  Just the numbers rang beautiful to me!  The year 2000 was the year I really wanted to be married!  I wanted a number that was easy to remember how many years I was married, every year.  I didn’t want to have to subtract, add, borrow, discuss, figure out, look at journals or anything else 1957644_10203718399380298_4581695779963541763_oto figure out how many years it had been.  So the day I wanted to marry was April 14, 2000!  😀

In 1999, my good friends from Phoenix (where I had served part of my mission) were going to attend a Deaf Expo in San Diego.  I wanted to go and be with them.  I packed up and headed to beautiful San Diego for a sure-to-be fun time.  That is where I met Ryan.  He was hanging out with all of my Phoenix friends (he knew them from his time living in the area a few months past).  It was a wonderful weekend.  But, it ended all too soon.  We exchanged email addresses and pretty much said, “have a good life” as he lived in California and 906122_10203718767709506_6641045466722837953_oI lived in Vegas.  Several months later, I received an email from him.  His company had decided to relocate to LV and that very weekend he would be in town to check out apartments.  Drats!  That weekend was New Years Eve and I already had plans to go to an old high school friend’s home for a little party.  All of my friends would be there. So Ryan and I agreed to visit the next day, if we could work out our schedules.

New Years Eve:  I arrived to my friends party.  I was greeted with hugs from many of my old alumni friends, catching up as we worked our way to the kitchen.  I stepped into the kitchen, and there was 1540286_10203718761149342_4771756794473657824_oRyan!  WHAT???  Why, how, HUH?? He was there in MY friend’s kitchen!  As we exchanged the “Huh? How do you know Lauren?”‘s, we soon learned that Lauren was my friend AND Ryan’s cousin!!!  What a small world!  Needless to say, Ryan and I hung out all weekend!  Looking back, I remember Lauren, in high school, telling me about her Deaf cousin who was at Gallaudet University.  How cool I thought that was, but I was a sophomore in high school! … And that meant he was old!  Ha.

January 2000: Ryan moved to Las Vegas.  We seemed to hit it off well.  Almost every night, after work ended, we were together.  I enjoyed his company very much.  Growing up learning ASL and being exposed at a young age to the Deaf community and culture, there was never a real struggle of Deaf/hearing between the two of us.  It was just a natural part of life.  I supported him, he supported me, and both our families supported us. That was, for sure, a blessing.

10259271_10203718748989038_1684461828553476432_oFebruary 14, 2000: Valentines Day, lunchtime.  I stood on the exit corner of the parking lot where Ryan worked.  I was with a very loving and trusting friend, Angela Darling, who kept rooting me on (from her car), to be brave!  Dressed up as a homeless girl, I held a sign.  My sign read, “Will work for love” … or something like that! It was corny and I loved being corny, especially for something that was worthy of it!  And to me, he was all that!  He and his working buddies went out for lunch that day.  As they were leaving the parking lot, I could see him trying to figure out what was in front of him.  It took him a minute to realize that that was me holding the sign.  I think he was in utter shock! Haha. … (He didn’t leave me standing there!  So I guess it worked!)   🙂10256893_10203718407180493_7317541851384143465_n

February 24, 2000:  It was evening.  We were overlooking the glittering lights of Las Vegas as we stood up on the Temple grounds.  We spoke of the city’s glittering beauty.  We spoke of the beauty and majesty of the Temple and its sacred purpose. And then came a question.  Yes, the question.  The kind that results in being engaged.  And we were engaged! Could it be so?  It was! And … a lucky girl I was because he was willing to marry me on my “April 14th”.  Yay for a little girl’s wishes!  Smiles. Looking back, I’m sure the folks would have liked a little more time… but of course, they were in full support. (ha)

984050_10203718740028814_15457019397428509_nApril 14, 2000:  My mother and Aunt had stayed up all night to finish sewing my bridesmaid dresses and pressing my wedding gown.  My mother was/is amazing! … It was a beautiful spring day! The flowers were in full bloom.  The white clouds were in the beautiful blue skies (kind of all over – not so fluffy, but no matter).  It was the day of my dreams.  Of course, there were hiccups.  The photographer arrived over an hour late, my bouquet and flowers never showed up (until the reception much later) and 10006435_10203718739308796_3840165559692796949_nthe beautiful glass blown cake top never came home with us.  But the day was perfect anyhow!

Our days since have come with many bumps in the road.  Through those bumps, I have been reminded time and again the answer to my prayers that I had received when considering this marriage.  And then more prayers were answered along the way.  We held on, we worked harder, 1507140_10203718414900686_3785667598740269804_nand we loved more.  15 years later, and I am so grateful for the experiences we have gone through.  I love him more than I ever imagined I could or would.  He is a handsome, strong, patient, loving, forgiving, happy, talented, and all-around, in-and-out amazing man, son, father and husband!  Sealed to him for eternity is a blessing.  A blessing I am so grateful we held on to (and continue to hold on to and work for)!  Happy Anniversary, my love! Here’s to the rest of time and all of eternity! *MWAH!*


This is a favorite picture…

All those ILYs and my sweet daddy trying his best!

He loves me and I know it, even if it’s hang-loose style!


My brothers and sisters!  I love them like crazy!

All of my siblings have a picture like this on their wedding day!  Ha!



My sister made and decorated our cake.  She is just fabulous that way!

And our beautiful cake topper. At least I have a picture of it!


My dress and veil were nothing like I initially thought I wanted but when I saw it, I knew it was the dress made for me. It was so perfect and beautiful in every way!


Oh, isn’t he so regal and handsome?


Love this picture!

Even with the “emergency” white silk flowers that I used.  They still kinda make me cringe but I had them and well, they were flowers, and I guess, that’s that!  😀

But it’s the honey beside me that I love the most!


The Layton Family

Established April 14, 2000

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