Friday, March 30, 2012

Five Things for Friday, 36th Edition

- 1-

I can tell Spring is coming soon

because the woodpecker has started pecking on our chimney pipe again.

Several times a day I hear a drumming rattling noise coming from the roof...

and that sound is the best indicator
that winter is almost over and Spring is just around the corner.

And

That there is a very confused

woodpecker up on our roof trying to make his nest in a iron pipe.

Good luck tragically mixed up little bird...

welcome back...

but try not to give yourself too big a headache.


-2-

One of our chickens laid the tiniest egg this week. Can you believe this? It is the size of a quarter.


We've gotten an egg this small one time before, but it was when our hens were young. We just figured it was someone's first try at laying an egg and that is why it was small.


This time though all our ladies are experienced egg layers and so I don't know why one laid this tiny egg. Asher really wants me to make him a small fried egg out of it!

-3-


Can I just say "Amen" to this.
She basically wrote the post that has been floating around in my head for the last few months.



-4-

I got this book in the mail last week.


I have been reading it and loving it. It is about the women that Christ interacted with and performed miracles for when He was on the earth. I will write a full review of it sometime soon but I just had to let you know about it. I LOVE it that there are so many women bearing their testimonies of all the amazing women in the scriptures!

Also, here is a great video by the authors talking about the book. It will get you excited to read it, I promise.



-5-

General Conference starts tomorrow woo hoo, woo hoo, woo hoo!

I love General Conference.

In the comments in my last post on ideas for LDS religious holiday's someone commented that General Conference is sort of an LDS holiday. I thought that was a really good observation. I know that to me it always feels like a holiday, and I remember in college it was something that people always "went home" for to be with their family if they could. I also know that lots of families have traditional foods and activities they do on General Conference weekend... so I think it is pretty accurate to call it a religious "holiday". And really... we are a young church, give us another 2,000+ years like the Catholics, Jews and Muslims have had and we might just have some pretty good religious/historical holidays going!

I hope you take advantage of the spiritual feast and have an awesome weekend!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Purim Katan, A Little Purim

I have been trying to find time to sit down and write this post all month. Life has just been so busy, so sorry this is a bit late ;)

I wrote last year about how our family likes to celebrate Purim, the Jewish holiday celebrating Esther and the Jew's miraculous deliverance. Cocoa shared this great Purim video with me and I just have to share it because I think it does a good job of showing what Purim celebrations look like. My kids and I listened to it about a thousand times (we also loved their Hanukkah one). You just can't beat cute (orthodox) boys in skull caps making fun of pop songs.



This year as I was planning our festivities I came across a book in our local library that talked more in depth about the history of Purim. As I was reading I was surprised to discover that not only do Jews celebrate Purim but they also have a holiday they call Purim Katan, which literally means " little Purim". While Purim Katan refers to a specific day the term is often used by communities to describe the anniversary of the times when they saw the hand of God intervene on their behalf and delivered them from catastrophe, destruction, or evil. Some families even celebrate their own "Purim Katan's" to commemorate significant events or miracles that happened in their family.

The idea of giving thanks to God for the "Purim Katan's" , or the little deliverances, in my life really touched me. As I talked with my husband about it we realized that God has worked some incredible miracles in our lives and that, while he and I remember them, we don't have a formal way of recognizing them or expressing our gratitude for them. We realized that if we want our children, or even our great-grandchildren, to remember them we need to have our own little "Purim Katan" celebrations. Jon and I haven't really decided what our own "Purim Katan's" will look like yet, but I really love the idea of having family celebrations, events that perhaps might get passed down to our posterity just like Esther's story was.

The other thing I have been thinking about is how it is kind of sad that as Latter-day Saints we don't have very many formal celebrations of the many miracles and deliverances we have experienced as a people. I have always envied the Jews (and the Muslims for that matter) for having some really wonderful celebrations that honor their religious history. I think that it wouldn't hurt Latter-day Saints to celebrate our history a bit more. I mean we do celebrate the 24th of July, the day the first pioneers entered the Utah Valley, but other than that I can't think of any other events in LDS history that we acknowledge formally or with specific traditions.

My husband and I were chatting about this and came up with a few significant days that might be worth remembering and celebrating:
  • May 15th- Restoration of the Priesthood Day. This was the day that John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith and restored the Aaronic priesthood to the earth.
  • September 21st-- Angel Moroni Day. This was the day that the Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith and gave him direction concerning the Gold plates. I actually had a professor at BYU whose family celebrated this day, I thought it was a great idea.
  • It would also be neat for people in each country to celebrate the day when their land was first set apart for the preaching of the gospel, or some other day specific to their country.
Any ideas about what other LDS "little deliverances" might be worth remembering and how we'd observe them?

I'd like to think of one that acknowledges LDS women (like the Esther story does) but I am getting tired and my mind is going blank. Any ideas?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Five Things for Friday, Evidence that I Might Have Children Living in My House Edition

As I mentioned last week I've been having to keep our house in a state of unusual tidiness in order to have it ready to show at the drop of hat. My kids have actually been doing a great job of keeping things clean and helping me tidy up. I've been really impressed with how patient they have been with me. Whenever we have a house showing Jon has been taking the kids for walk or on some sort of outing while I show the house. After they leave I always do a last walk through to make sure there aren't any unusual evidences that three children live in my house. Often times what I find makes me smile and remember just how much I love these little ragamuffins. I thought I'd just share a few of my favorite discoveries-- things that are invaluable and precious to me-- but which I am sure might not be quite as charming to potential buyers.

Evidence #1



Poor beanie baby snake. Looks like someone set you up to guard the snack cupboard and then forgot about you. Thanks for doing your job so well. I know I was frightened away.

Evidence #2


A sopping wet page torn out of the phone book and ingeniously slapped onto the fridge. Only a two-year-old would be so creative. I'm just impressed she only did one page and not the whole phone book!

Evidence # 3


A pirate rescue mission, which was abandoned in favor of bedtime stories with Dad. Luckily mom came and untangled the unfortunate pirates from the pull chord or they would have been hanging there all night. One of them most certainly would have fallen into the grasp of the evil black dude below. Dun, dun, dun.


Evidence #4

Abandoned fairy wings. But don't worry you can rest assured that when the little fairy wakes up from her nap she will put them right back on and flutter around the house tweeting "I hongry, I hongry."

Evidence #5


Pacifiers in unusual places, like this nice collection on the bookshelf. Which of course I found when I wasn't looking for them. If had been looking for them I doubt I could have found any-- pacifiers are kind of sneaky like that.

With all this evidence I think it would be pretty safe for a casual observer to guess that I might have just a few of these lying around the house...


Which I don't mind a bit.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Claudia


2 Timothy 4:21

Background:

Paul was imprisoned in Rome, for the second time, and was awaiting his trial before Nero. While in prison Paul wrote to Timothy (who was serving as the bishop in Ephesus) telling him how much he loved him, encouraging him to "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord"(2 Tim. 1:8) , and giving him guidance concerning his stewardship over the saints in Ephesus. Timothy must have been planning on traveling to be with Paul in Rome because Paul asked him to, "...take Mark and bring him with thee" (2 Tim. 4: 11) as well as to bring "the cloke that I left at Troas... and the books, but especially the parchments." (2 Tim. 4: 13) Paul also took the time to inquire after several friends in Ephesus and to send greetings to Timothy from several Roman saints (2 Tim. 4:19-21). Not long after this epistle was written Paul was martyred.

Facts About Her:
  • She was with Paul in Rome;
  • At the end of his epistle Paul sent Timothy greetings from several of the saints who were with him in Rome and she was included among them. Paul wrote, "... Eubulus greeth thee and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren." (2 Tim. 4: 21);
  • She had not deserted Paul like so many of his close friends and followers had at this time (2 Tim. 4: 10-11);
  • She was well known enough to Timothy that Paul thought he would be interested to know that she was with him and that she sent her greetings.
Speculations About Her:
  • She was most likely a Roman woman. Her name "Claudia" is not only a Roman name but is a high born Roman name. The "gens Claudia" was an aristocratic Roman family and every female member of that family was given the name "Claudia" and so it is probable that she may have been associated with them (source).
  • Many scholars also think she may have been the wife of Pontius Pilate (who I have written about here) because traditionally the name of Pilate's wife has always been Claudia.
  • Some scholars also think that she may have been married to Pudens, whose name is also listed in 2 Timothy 4:21, because in 90 AD there was a well documented woman named "Claudia Rufina" living in Rome who was associated with a "Pudens" (a common Roman name). Yet the name "Linus" in between their names seems to indicate that they were not married, though some speculate that Linus may have been their son. Source
My Thoughts:

Even though all we really know about Claudia is her name I can't help but wonder what her story was and what she gave up in order to follow Christ. It is very likely that she had been born into wealth and privilege and that by choosing to become a Christian she forfeited this material wealth and position. It is beautiful to me to think of her giving up the treasures of this earth because she realized that Christ offered her treasures in heaven, "where neither moth and rust doth corrupt." (Matt. 6:20)

Claudia, and all the early Christian women converts, are so inspiring to me because they had the courage to live the gospel in some very difficult circumstances. Claudia was living in Rome at a time when many of the stalwart saints were falling away from the church. In 2 Tim. 4: 10-11 Paul tells Timothy that "... Demas hath forsaken me, having loved the present world and is departed unto Thessalonica, Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me..." This was not an easy time to be a Christian, especially not in Rome, and so it is impressive that she stood firm and unmovable in her support of Paul and of the Church. I think that sometimes the greatest trial of our faith comes when what we believe is not popular and we are perceived as being "old fashioned" or "radical" to the rest of the world. It is at those times that we have to search inside ourselves and choose, like Claudia did, to stand firm in our testimony of Christ, no matter what. If we don't then it becomes easy to fall away, like the Demas that Paul wrote to Timothy about, because we " loved the present world." I love Claudia's story because it reminds me that as alluring as the wealth and philosophies of the world are they can not bring us true happiness and joy. The only one who offers true joy and happiness is Jesus Christ and obtaining it means that we must stand firm in our testimonies-- even when when it is hard or when it means we will be standing alone.

Questions to Think About:
  • I am curious to know why it appears that, even though Paul was imprisoned, she still had contact with him. Could it have been that she, along with some of the other Roman saints, administered to his physical needs while he was in prison?
  • What do you think her relationship was with Paul and Timothy? Why would Paul specifically mention her to Timothy?
  • This time period in early Christian history reminds me a lot of a similar time period in early Latter-day Saint history when many of the most stalwart members and leaders of the church began to fall away and persecute the church. What early Latter-day Saint women does Claudia remind you of? How is her situation similar or different from theirs?
  • How do you think Paul's death affected her?
  • Have you ever had a time when you had to take a firm stand on your faith but it left you standing alone? What did you learn from that experience?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Five Things For Friday, 35th Edition

-1-

This week has gone by in a blur. I can't even believe that it is already Friday again. I have been so busy this week with selling our house that I haven't had time for much of anything else. We got two offers on it this week! It has been pretty exciting, but since we are selling it by owner it has been a lot of work. Luckily my aunt is a real estate agent and has been walking me through all the paperwork. We are just praying now that at least one of the offers actually comes through. I've heard so many horror stories from people and keep getting told that you can't start celebrating until you have the money in your hand. I am just trusting that whatever is suppose to work out works out. But it would be so nice if things work out soon-- because keeping my house clean is TORTURE!

-2-

I have a confession to make.

I am mildly addicted to the Christian Rock station.

I've gone from being totally weirded out by it to having it be the only thing (besides NPR) that I listen to in the car. It is just SO positive and encouraging-- as KLOVE always likes to say-- and the music is just so good. I have to admit that some of the songs are a bit "evangelical" for me but most of the time I find myself singing at the tops of my lungs-- with Rose singing along in the back seat. Really, I love it. So much better than anything else on the radio.

One of my all time favorite Christian Rock songs is by a band called "Sanctus Real" ( I get such a kick out of the clever rock and roll religious names that bands come up with). It is called "Whatever You're Doing" and the first time I heard it I had to pull over to the side of the road because I was crying so hard. It captures SO perfectly the feelings I had two and half years ago when I wrestled with God. The chorus is:

Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos, but somehow there's peace
And it's hard to surrender, to what I can't see
But I'm giving in to something heavenly



I was so worried that after Abe was born that all the fear and the anxiety that I had during my wrestle with God would come back. It is has been incredible to me that, except for a few little episodes of doubt, I still feel rock solid about my leap of faith. I feel like the bands on my heart have burst open and the amount of love I feel for God's children, especially those waiting for their mortal experience, is overwhelming. I now understand what Enoch felt when after seeing all of God's creations the scriptures say:

"Enoch knew, and looked... and stretched forth his arms, and his heart swelled wide as eternity; and his bowels yearned; and all eternity shook." (Moses 7:41)

I feel like my heart is swelling as wide as eternity and the amount of love I feel is incredible. I know, and it has changed everything. Perfect love does indeed cast out all fear. I can bear testimony of that.

-3-

My Father-in-law sent me this article "Saint Patrick: Worthy to be Called a Saint" by Michael Wilcox, and I thought it was an appropriate thing to share this time of year. I know it might sound really shallow, but until I read this article the idea never crossed my mind that St. Patrick's day was about a Saint named Patrick. I only associated the holiday with leprechauns, wearing green, and pinching people. I had no conception that there might be a spiritual dimension to the day. It was really interesting to read a little more about St. Patrick's life. Here is a snippet from the article:
"Patrick was born on the west coast of England in the early years of the fifth century. He was a Roman Christian, “a simple countryman . . . a beardless boy,” as he described himself. This was a dangerous time to be alive. Rome was falling and the legions that once protected the civilized life in Britain were leaving, exposing the island to a never ending series of raids. One such attack took the teenaged Patrick from family and friends across the Irish Sea where he pastured flocks on Ireland’s hills in the cold rains and wind of the northern winters. Now the boy, who by his own admission, “did not know the true God . . . did not keep his precepts” found his only solace in prayer.

After escaping from slavery and returning home, Patrick later felt called by God to return to Ireland.

"...Patrick came to Ireland as a boy, a slave, he returned with a forgiving heart, with the love of Christ—and God worked his miracle with this youth, for when he died many years later the voices of the children had been answered. They and their own children for generations, into the last edges of time, would know the gentle God who walked the shores of Galilee, would know that they too held a place in his heart. He sent them Patrick—God’s gift to the Irish and to all of us. In time Irish monks, inspired by the example of their patron saint would spread throughout Western Europe teaching the barbaric tribes who had invaded the old boundaries of the Roman Empire. They, like Patrick, would bring goodness and light, the civilizing force of their knowledge, into a world on the brink of darkness.

“I was like a stone lying in deep mire,” Patrick wrote, “and he that is mighty came, and in his mercy raised me up and, indeed, lifted me high and placed me on the top of the wall. And from there I ought to shout out in gratitude to the Lord for his great favors in this world and forever that the mind of man cannot measure.”

Incredible huh? I had no idea about this aspect of St. Patrick's day. My husband's family is all from Ireland and so his family always has big festivities on March 17th. I am excited to incorporate St. Patrick into our St. Patrick's day celebration from now on. Just another amazing dimension of my children's family history!

-4-

I was really looking forward to attending the BYU Women's Conference this year. I have never been before and have been planning on it all year. Yesterday though I found out that they don't allow nursing babies to attend the conference! I was so disappointed. I understand that they don't want to have 50 women with crying babies distracting the speakers and the audience but really you think that at a WOMEN'S conference (especially an LDS women's conference) they would try to find a way to accommodate women with little babies. I just find it hard to believe that in a big group of women you wouldn't find compassion and understanding for women who also want to be spiritually enriched and uplifted, but who happen to have a baby. Couldn't they work something out, so that young mothers don't feel "punished" for having a little nursling who sometimes cries, fusses, or drinks loudly? I don't mean to vent, but this just really bothers me.. a lot. I guess maybe if I went with a group of women we might be able to work out some sort of baby watching/nursing rotation... but ugg. I REALLY wanted to go this year!

Okay, vent over.

-5-

Speaking of nurslings.

Here is my little one.


He just turned 4 months old. I can't believe how fast he is growing up. He has started to laugh and I don't think there is anything better in the world. He just brings so much joy in to our home. Don't those cheeks just have "Kiss Me" written all over them?!

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Latter-day Saint Women Around the World: Soyolmaa from Mongolia

I was very excited to receive another submission for my series on Latter-day Saint Women Around the World (keep them coming!). This post is from Soyolmaa from Mongolia. I have heard from people who have been to Mongolia that the LDS Church is growing really quickly in that country and that they are some of the strongest saints in the world. After hearing Soyolmaa's testimony I sure can see why!

1. What is the dominate belief system in your country?

In 1921 Mongolia became a communist country. So, up until 1990 we were taught there was no God. If people were found believing in anything but a PARTY, they usually got in trouble. So, many people hid their beliefs. However, with the rise of a democracy in 1990 Mongolia became open to "foreign" religion. Mongolians consider Buddhism as the dominant and traditional religion of Mongolia. Christianity is very new, however it is taking its place among people nowadays. Many evangelical groups have established their centers throughout Mongolia. Catholics, Adventists and LDS are among newly established religions. LDS Church was officially registered in 1994 and has become one of the prominent Christian religions in Mongolia.

2. How long have you been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? If you are a convert please tell us a little about your conversion. If you were born in the church tell us a bit about your family and who was the first in your family to join the church.

I joined the Church in 1994. I have attached an article that summarizes my conversion. :-) It was published in Ensign Magazine. (Here is the story the Ensign article shares)

“I was a hard kid,” U. Soyolmaa says, looking back on the period in high school after her parents died. She became involved in drinking and partying while at a university in Russia. After returning to Mongolia, she was surprised when a friend from those party days invited her to visit a church. Her friend seemed so changed.

Soyolmaa was not unfamiliar with teachings of Christianity, but at first she resisted her friend’s invitation. When she finally said yes, she felt excited but did not understand why. At the Church meetings, she was captivated immediately by feelings of peace, of belonging, of knowing where her life should go. Soyolmaa joined her friend’s church, and in 1995 they were the first two missionaries called from Mongolia. Soyolmaa served in Utah.

Currently, she is director of Materials Management for the Church in Mongolia. She is also public affairs director for the country, a counselor in the district Relief Society presidency, and a Gospel Doctrine teacher in her branch.

“It is a privilege to be a member of the Church,” she says. “Because I am in the Church, my life keeps climbing upward.”

The Church is not well-known in Mongolia, and there is more negative information available about Latter-day Saints than positive. There must be constant efforts to spread truth.

Members are the best ambassadors for the Church. They stand out, she explains, because of “that light, that happiness” seen in their faces. They feel a confidence, a joy through the gospel that many others do not have.

Like Latter-day Saints elsewhere, she says, Church members in Mongolia “have the same beliefs, so in the gospel we belong to one big family.”


3. What is the LDS church attendance like in your area?

We have about 10,000 members. Every Sunday about 3,500 people attend sacrament meetings that are held throughout Mongolia. We have 1 stake, 1 mission and 2 districts. There are 6 wards in a stake, 12 branches in 2 districts and 3 mission branches. Majority of members are women. But we have many families and older members as well.

4. How far away is the nearest temple? When was it built? How busy is it? Do most people in your country know about it? What are their feelings about it?

Mongolians are in Hong Kong Temple area.

Announcement: 3 October 1992
Groundbreaking and Site Dedication: 22 January 1994 by John K. Carmack
Public Open House: 7–21 May 1996
Dedication: 26–27 May 1996 by Gordon B. Hinckley

It takes about 3 days by train to get to Hong Kong. Everyone dreams about going to the Temple. We have around 4 temple groups every year and there are about 20-30 people in one group.

5. What sort of reaction do you get from most people when they find out you are Mormon? Are people familiar with the church? Do you often have to defend or explain your beliefs?

There is a general prejudice against Christians. People do not differentiate between any Christian denominations and many people also have heard anti-Mormon propaganda. There are many Korean evangelical groups in Mongolia whose sole purpose seems to preach against Mormons. :-) So, the first reaction we get from people when they learn we are Mormons is negative. Even people who know me well still ask if we are engaged in activities anti-Mormon literature says we do. I believe the best answer to their questions is the life style we lead. Often me asking "have you seen us do things like that" is a better answer than trying to explain that they are mistaken. However, people are becoming more aware of the Church and its activities as the Church grows and many Latter-day Saints serve as witnesses of our faith.

6. How is missionary work in your country? Would you say that it is difficult or easy for missionaries to find people to teach? How often do you have a new baptism? What are the greatest barriers to missionary work in your country?

Foreign missionaries are not allowed to proselyte. However, local missionaries can do almost anything to promote their religion except for knocking on doors. Many people come in because they see the example of other Latter-day Saints, many people come because they are fascinated by the meetinghouses we built, and many others still come in because they are searching for the truth. A few walk in because they are curious about the things others tell them about Mormons. The baptism rate is quite high. Last year we had about 380 baptisms.

7. How many families do you know (LDS or not) who have more than two children? If a family with four children moved to your area, would their family size seem unusual? What about a family with six children?

Mongolians do believe in big families. However, the younger generation is not willing to have more than 2 children. In a church culture it is quite normal when a young family has three children. There are very few young families with 6 children. Older folks like us (heheh) usually come from bigger families. My husband has 7 brothers and sisters. My mom also has 7 siblings. Usually when you see a young family with more than 4 children, it does catch an attention. :-)

8. How many sisters do you visit teach? Do you have to travel far to reach them? What have been some of your best visiting teaching experiences?

I visit teach 2 sisters. They do not live very far away. One of them is a completely inactive young woman. There were instances when my husband and I had to go fetch her from the hotel, absolutely drunk. :-) It is challenging, but deep down I believe she will come back one day. I remember a time I used to visit teach a young sister. Her husband was not a member; however I felt a very deep connection to her. When I visited her just after she had her second child, I spend some time with them. It was quite challenging because the baby cried non-stop. However, when I picked him up and held him for about 30 minutes he was quiet. Both father and the mother were very surprised. Apparently he always cried because of some medical challenges. They still talk about it. The boy is three now and he has a younger brother. The father joined the Church and they are quite active. I guess as long as we are visiting our sisters we experience special moments.

9. What are the greatest challenges the sisters in your Relief Society are facing?

I am a Stake Relief Society president. It breaks my heart when I see faithful sisters who are abused by their drunken husbands, when I see them miss the Church because they have to work on Sundays to provide for their families. There is a great pressure to be a member of the Church. Everywhere you go you are tempted by your family members, friends, co-workers and strangers. It breaks my heart when I see sisters fall away because they gave in to those temptations.

10. What is the greatest blessing that the gospel of Jesus Christ has brought into your life?

Everything I have in my life is a blessing of the gospel. My husband, my life, my work. I am so much happier because I have the Gospel. There is no uncertainty. Things are clear. Even when I am faced with challenges I feel a sense of gratitude because I believe it is for my own good. I know that if I am true and faithful, the Lord will always help me. This is a sure knowledge, so I do not have any fear of what the life might present me with. I am grateful because the gospel changes me inside out. I am a better person because of it.

The opinions expressed in this are mine only and might nor represent the real situation in Mongolia. It is more my feelings than facts. :-)

Soyolmaa thank you so much for sharing your testimony. You have really inspired me to do a little better. I was espeically touched by your dedication as a visiting teacher, what incredible experiences you have had!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Five Things for Friday, 34th Edition

-1-


We put our house up on the market last week. Wow, crazy, scary. If buying a house made me feel like a grown up, selling a house makes me feel like a grown grown up... almost. My husband starts his new job in a few months and we are hoping to move to Salt Lake City sometime in the next little while. Life is sort of whirlwind around here right now. It makes my heart ache to think about leaving this house. Jon and I have put so much work into it to change it from a house that really was uninhabitable (honestly, it was disgusting) to something that we love and feels like home. I just have to keep reminding myself that a house is just a box to store your stuff in and that in the long run none of it really matters... what matters is going where the Lord wants us to go. Just look at Abraham and Sarah, or Lehi and Sariah they wandered around in tents for most of their married lives and they sure turned out some great kids. Though I sure hope that living in tent for an extended period of time is not in our future, even though my husband would love it. Remind me some time to tell you the story about how he lived in a tent in Provo Canyon for three months while we were engaged... it is a good one.

-2-

I discovered something really important about myself this week. I've been cleaning my house like a madwoman (literally, just ask my kids) in order to get it ready to be shown to potential buyers. For two days I scrubbed, painted, scolded, sterilized, mopped, and threatened my though the house and I hated every minute of it. I now know WHY my house is never clean because not only do I really hate doing house work, but having a clean house is just about at the bottom of my priority list. I realized that I am willing to live with a certain amount of clutter, disorder, and dirt in my life in order to do the things that are more important to me. Though, I do have to say that having a beautifully clean and neat house for the last few days has been wonderful. It almost makes me want to re-consider my priorities and put house cleaning up a step or two-- at least above playing Angry Birds and getting sucked into Pinterest.


-3-

A few days ago of my good friends sent me an email with information about the "Spirituality & Motherhood" conference that the Museum of Motherhood (MOM) in New York City is hosting on April 2nd.

Did you know that there was such a thing as the Museum of Motherhood?

I had no idea that there was until she sent me the link. It looks awesome, a whole museum dedicated to honoring the role and history of motherhood around the world. The conference that they are hosting next month sounds incredible. Just listen to the description:
This 1-day conference on April 2, 2012 aims to highlight the largely unacknowledged spiritual dimensions of motherhood. Presenters will share their personal and professional insights into the spiritual life of mothers and the growth-producing potential of parenting. Together we will re-imagine pregnancy, childbirth, and mothering as an initiation into a new way of being— an opportunity for spiritual awakening where children are also empowered as true catalysts of transformation. Experiential exercises, lectures, discussion groups, and lunch are included in this groundbreaking all-day intensive on a unique subject. Please come and make history with us!
After reading about it and looking through the list of presenters I got so excited and started looking for plane tickets to New York. $500...ack! It probably isn't realistic for me to jump on a plane (with Abe of course) and fly to New York for a day, but I would so love to go to this. If any of you live close enough you'll have to go and take notes for me. This is a group of ladies I would love to meet. Hopefully they will do it again next year so I can save up my pennies to go.

-4-

Rose has been cracking me up lately. She is on a "princess" kick and is mildly obsessed with the color pink. My aunt gave her a pink tutu and she wears it everywhere. On Sunday she ended up wearing it over her church dress because she won the battle. I even tried to compromise with her by telling her that she could wear her tutu under her church dress instead of on top. Her response to that? "But mom, then no one can see it so pretty." What a little diva.


She is also really interested in learning her colors and at least two dozen times a day I hear something like this from her: "Ooh, mom look that (pointing to something blue) that is Cinderella" or "Mom, (pointing to the yellow spot on my shirt) you are wearing Belle!" I am glad she is learning her colors so well, but it cracks me up that she relates them all to Disney Princesses, half of which she has never seen the movies for. What a goof.

-5-

For the last few months I've been following a blog written by Janene Baadsgaard, an LDS author. I have been so touched by her writings and especially by the story of her grandson Caleb who was born without a brain. His story, the incredible testimony born by his mother, and the amount of love his family has for him, touched me deeply. I have been thinking about him for months and he reminded me that every life is valuable, no matter how you come or what you can or can not do. Each of us is on this earth for a purpose.

So my heart broke a few weeks ago when I checked Janene's blog and saw that Caleb had died.

I wept.

And then when she wrote this a few days later I wept even harder.

It is amazing how people I don't know at all could touch me so deeply. I think that is one of the most powerful things about blogging, the ability to share and receive testimonies of the beauty, pain, and joy of our mortal experience. I am so grateful that Janene shared her grandson's story, and so grateful for Caleb's life. Even though I didn't know him at all, I won't ever forget him.

Have a wonderful weekend!

If you want to link to your own "Five Things for Friday" post you can use the tool below to add your link. 1) Please link to the URL of your blog post and not your main blog and 2) Please include a link back here.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Registration is Open!


I just wanted to let you all know that the registration for the LDS Holistic Living Conference is now open!

As I mentioned before I am speaking at the conference this year and I would love it if you could come out and support me and the conference. I would love to see you there!

I am really excited--and a little terrified-- about this opportunity to speak. It is the first time I've ever gotten paid (real money) to speak before and it is really intimidating to me. The other night I actually had a dream that I showed up to the conference and had forgotten to prepare my talks! Then when I did finally make it to one of my classes no one showed up... sad. I woke up in a sweat and sat down right then to review what I had. I think sometimes God must give those types of dreams just to make sure we really ARE prepared... and I guess I can just pray that people come:)

And just in case you don't know what the word "holistic" means (don't worry I had to look it up too) it means:
... treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease or condition.
This conference offers a banquet of different holistic topics-- and there is really something for everyone-- even if you don't consider yourself to be " a granola" or interested in "alternative" ideas. God has told us that before he created everything physically he created it spiritually (D&C 29:32) and it is so incredible when you start to see how things that seem so "physical" are really spiritual at their core. I know that for me it has changed my whole perception of the world. This conference is now in its 3rd year and every year it is amazing at how the conference gets better and better every time!

So here’s the info:

It will be held on Saturday, June 23rd, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, at Paradigm High School, 11577 S. 3600 W. in South Jordan, Utah.

20 qualified practitioners in the holistic field will present 45 classes, so there are choices to suit everyone. (This conference is from an LDS perspective, but many topics are of general interest). There is also an incredible vendor area that is free and open to the public. It’s almost as good as the classes themselves!

Early Bird registration is $47 for the month of March. At less than $10 a class, it’s a steal!. In April and May, the price goes to $55 and in June it bumps to $65. You can also register at the door, but that’s $75, or $17 per class.

So, as you can see, the sooner the better when it comes to signing up!

AND CHECK THIS OUT: after you sign up, if you refer anyone else that signs up and they put your name in the ‘Additional Referral Source’ box at checkout, you will get sent a coupon for a free download from their past conference classes!

The website to register or view more information is: www.ldsholisticliving.com

CONFERENCE CLASSES

8:30-10:00
Jo Franks: Making Your Own Herbal Preparations
Don Tolman: Self Care and Self Education Revolution
Kristen Bowen: Intro to Foot Zoning
Terry Jacobsen, ND: Iridology: Windows of the Soul
Phil McLemore: Resurrection Meditation: Using the Body to Discover the Soul
Heather Farrell: Women's Spiritual Gifts
Joanne Smith Seal: Kefir; The Art of Culturing Milk
Junker: Starting and Saving Heirloom Seeds and Composting Basics
Dr. Sean Ulm: Biological Dentistry: An Overview

10:30-noon
Chris Schmink: Marriage Communication in 100 Words or Less
Laura Bradford: All Natural Organic Skincare
Amy Jones: Face Reading for Clinical Diagnosis
David Christopher. MH: Natural Family Health
Julia Holt: Raw Foods 101 and Demo
Cliff Dunston: Your Body Can Heal, Miracles Can Still Happen
Nicholeen Peck: CPR: Cultural Parenting Revolution
Jonell Francis: The Yeast Connection to Human Illness
Junker: Biodynamic Food; A New View of Nutrition

noon-1:00
LUNCH

1:00-2:30
Chris Schmink: Marriage Communication in 100 Words or Less
Beth Young: Rapid Eye Technology: 7 Principles of Manifestation
Phil McLemore: Contemplative Prayer for the Latter Day Saint
Yvonne Salcido, MH: Healthy Food Storage and Herbal Preparedness
Don Tolman: 7 Principles of Health
Jonelle Hughes: Essential Oils
Kristen Bowen: The Great 'I Am'
Jonell Francis: The Yeast Connection to Human Illness
Junker: Co Creator Partnerships with Nature

3:00-3:45
Carolyn Cooper: Energy Healing from a Gospel Perspective
Beth Young: EFT 101: For Self and Children
Heather Farrell: Scripture Journaling and Improving Your Scripture Study
Joann Smith Seal: Plant Protein Pilaf: Food Storage Combination of Grains, Seeds and Legumes
Dr. Sean Ulm: Kids Dental Health; From Baby Teeth to Wisdom Teeth
Julia Holt: Detoxing and Bowel Health
Jorja Leavitt: How to Energize Your Business
Nicholeen Peck: How Do You Get What You Want
Terry Jacobsen, ND: WOW! Why the Word of Wisdom is for Me; An Approach for Youth

4-4:45
Carolyn Cooper: Energy Healing from a Gospel Perspective
Beth Young: Overcoming Pornography Addiction
Cliff Dunston: The Praise Principle
Julia Holt: Green Smoothies Simplified
Don Tolman: Your Imagination is Everything
Nicholeen Peck: How to Teach Children Obedience and Respect
Laura Bradford: Choosing Healthy Ingredients in your Skincare Regime
Dr Sean Ulm: The Gateway to the Body: Oral Health and Overall Wellness
Heather Farrell: Discovering the Women in the Scriptures

8:30-6:00
Vendor Area Open

If you come PLEASE make sure to come introduce yourself. I would love to meet you.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Questions to Ask Yourself when You Come Across a Woman in the Sciptures

Originally posted July 6th, 2009


"She is Come Before Hand' by Elspeth Young (used with permission)

On Sunday I taught a lesson on Women in the Scriptures at our church. My goal with the lesson was to help the women learn how to recognize and relate to the women that are mentioned in the scriptures. Often times all we get is a name or a brief mention of a wife or daughter and nothing else about her, but by stopping and taking time to think and reflect often times I've found that I can learn much about a what she must have experienced, what her life might have been like, and what type of woman she was. I've also found that I've been able to relate or "liken" the scriptures to my own life as a woman better when I remember that almost EVERY story has a woman in it somewhere-- whether we hear about her or not. For my lesson on Sunday I made a list of the questions that I ask myself every time I come across a new woman in the scriptures and I thought they might be helpful for others in their own personal scripture study.

1- What is unique about this woman and her story?
2- How does she fit into the time period in which she lived?
3- What Christlike qualities does she exemplify?
4- What would I ask her if I could meet her?
5- How can I relate to her?
6- What can I (or someone else I know) learn from her experiences?

Each woman's story will mean something different to everyone and there is such power in being able to find your own answers and discoveries in the scriptures. I hope that these can help you, and other people you know, pay more attention to the women in the scriptures and not pass over a remarkable woman just because she is only mentioned as the a daughter, a widow, a wife or a child. Happy Scripture Studying!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Five Things for Friday, 33rd Edition

-1-

Last year I promised that I would remind you about Purim, the Jewish holiday that commemorates the story of Esther, so that you could hold your own Purim festivities. The date for Purim changes every year because it is based on the Jewish calender and this year the date for Purim is March 7th and 8th-- sundown on Thursday to sundown on Friday. We had so much fun celebrating it last year and I am planning on doing the same things we did last year-- making groggers, eating hamantashen, reading and re-enacting the Esther story -- but this year I am going to try to incorporate some of the other (more religious) aspects into my celebration. Fasting, to remember Esther's fast, is one thing that I'd like to try this year. Even though it is hard for me to fast when I am breastfeeding I am going to do my best. I'll probably fast something else besides food, like the Internet or looking in the mirror. The other Purim tradition I am excited about doing this year is the tradition of giving food to your neighbors and to the poor. I think I'll try to get Asher and Rose to dress up like characters from Esther's story and go around passing out goodies... unless it is snowing. And since that is a real possibility it might be that we end up taking few bags of food over to the food bank and then eat all the treats ourselves. Either way, it is just fun to celebrate a holiday totally dedicated to a woman from the scriptures.

-2-

Thank you to everyone who voted on The Great UpCycled Dress Challenge, we had over a hundred people vote! It looks like I owe Brittney dinner. Her dress won "the most improved" with 68% of the vote and "the most wearable dress" with 72% of the vote. I got creamed. Yet in my defense I did win " The ugliest dress to begin with" with 79% of the vote. There is only so much you can do with blue pleated polyester.

-3-

Our Relief Society presidency always tries to give the sisters in our Relief Society a birthday gift on their birthday. This year we had a hard time thinking of something to give that was nice, useful, and most importantly... cheap. We finally decided on this


No, it isn't a dismembered arm from Cookie Monster or a Tribble (for all you old school Star Trek fans), it is a microwave corn bag with a washable cover. I have always loved using hot corn bags for sore muscles (and they are awesome during labor) but I hate it that after lots of use the outside material gets really gross and you can't wash it because well... it is filled with corn. These corn bags have two layers and so you can take the first layer off and wash it if it gets grimy. These are super easy to make and so I am going to do a sad attempt at giving you a tutorial on how to do it.

First start with two (clean) socks. We used an athletic sock and a nice fuzzy blue sock. Like so...


Fill the athletic sock with 2 cups of this type (pictured below) of large dried corn. I think our Relief Society president bought a 50lb bag of it from a feed store.

Don't use popcorn. That would be disastrous in the microwave! You could also use rice if you wanted, but rice sweats and (I think) stinks when it is microwaved so I prefer to use corn.

After filling the athletic sock fold the top down and tuck it inside of itself and then sew it shut, using a small stitch size so that nothing falls out between the stitches.


Put the athletic sock inside the blue sock, stick it in the microwave for a minute or two, and then place it on your sore neck. Ta da! So easy.


-4-

Oh, and I have one more thing to say about the corn bags. We got rid of our microwave about a year ago and the only thing that I have missed about not having one is being able to use my corn bags. I was really sad about this until I found out that you can heat them up in the oven. Just place it on a cookie sheet and then put it in the oven for 20 minutes at 250 degrees. I was so excited to learn this and I thought I'd just pass it along in case there are other microwave-less people out there mourning the loss of their corn bags.


-5-

Did you know that today it is Dr. Seuss' 108th birthday! Last week I listed some of my favorite books and I realized that my list just wouldn't be complete with adding to it "Yertle the Turtle", "Horton Hears a Who", and "The Sneetches" by Dr. Seuss. It never fails to amaze me how brilliantly Dr. Seuss was able to address some of the most complex social issues in such a fun and imaginative way. What a great man. My kids and are going to pull out every Seuss book we own and spend the afternoon having a "Seuss-reading- ma- blanket a-thon"!

I sure hope that you have a zizzer-zazzer-zuzz , gluppity-glupp, rink-rinker-fink, fizza-ma-wizza-ma-dill weekend!

If you want to link to your own "Five Things for Friday" post you can use the tool below to add your link. 1) Please link to the URL of your blog post and not your main blog and 2) Please include a link back here.