Thursday, March 31, 2011
We all lounge around in the living room together (pillows and blanket spread everywhere)… Kids have things to color and activities to keep them occupied, the teenagers have their packets with crossword puzzles, random trivia and places to take notes… I’ve got my journal and Cam snacks on his Red Vines and Junior Mints, and helps keep the peace and all the boys in line so I can enjoy it. =)
I am especially looking forward to listening to Sis. Beck speak! I was privileged to listen to let her speak a few weeks ago at our local tabernacle and it was incredible! She is incredible.
There are tons of printables for General Conference around the Blogosphere, but I thought I would share my favorites that I’ve found, in hopes that it makes your weekend a little less stressful and a little more enjoyable!
Sugardoodle has some great packets for all ages! You can print the whole thing, or just the pages you think your kids would like. I especially love the Youth Packets they have. We used them in October, and they kept the teenagers (my brother-in-laws ages 15 & 17) busy enough.
The best “Bingo” printable I’ve found are the “Conference Squares” on the Official LDS site. There are other activities for children there, too!
Somewhat Simple has a cute, printable, “My General Conference Journal” for kids that can read, or at least write.
Visiting Teaching.net has a great printable for adults to take notes on. You can print as many as you need. I especially like the different places to organize the thoughts you may have during the talk.
What else do you do in preparation for General Conference?
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Well, I started telling my friends on a Saturday morning, and on Sunday I started bleeding. My first check-up was scheduled for that Monday, and there wasn’t anything they could do for me until I had my ultrasound. I still remember the complete silence during the ultrasound, as the nurse checked for signs of a thriving life growing in my womb, and found none. I was shocked, devastated, and overwhelmed.
To make matters even more complicated, my husband had left two weeks earlier for a summer job half-away across the country. I was supposed to leave that week on a road trip to meet him at his new job and then attend his sister’s wedding a few days later.
That week was probably the most difficult of my life. I was in and out of doctors offices for 3 or 4 days. After a day in the hospital, I started a cross-country road trip with my mother and my two-year-old son. Every day something went wrong. One day I took my medicines on an empty stomach and ended up so sick that we were delayed 3 hours just waiting for me to get better. One day I lost my wallet in the middle of Iowa. One day my mother and I both had bad headaches and we had to stop driving early. Every day was a roller-coaster of emotions and a serious test of my faith.
What I remember about that week more than anything else, though, is the series of miracles that got me through. The first miracle came while I was scheduling my doctor’s appointment. When I had called to schedule my appointment weeks earlier, the only person I knew at the entire hospital just “happened” to be answering the phones, which was not her usual job. She was able to schedule me for my registration appointment and my ultrasound on the same day, only because she was my friend and she knew I was leaving town right after that. Without the ultrasound, I could have been bleeding for days or weeks, and I could have had some pretty serious complications.
The next miracle was that my mother flew into town at the very time I needed her. My husband was out of town, I was an emotional wreck, and without my mother to watch my son and comfort me, I would have been completely broken. I run a home day care and I’m very used to taking care of other people. This time, I needed someone to take care of me, and Heavenly Father sent my mother.
Another miracle was all the generous love and support I found in my ward family during those few days. A great many people came to my aid, and I will always remember their kindness to me. Most importantly, they helped me make an important decision to have a simple surgery done that I wasn’t sure I needed. A week later, while I was half-way across the country, the doctors office called to tell me that I had tested positive for abnormal cells, and if I hadn’t had the surgery, there was a chance that those cells would have grown into a tumor.
Yet another miracle came when I lost my wallet during my road trip. We stopped at a restaurant for dinner, and we were on the phone trying to make arrangements to get me to my sister-in-laws wedding. When I needed to look at my license, I realized my entire wallet was missing. What a devastating moment! I starting crying, told my husband that there just wasn’t any way I was going to make it to the wedding, and hung up the phone. And yet, after a quick and heartfelt prayer, I remembered exactly where I had left my wallet. And even though I had left it in a library which was closed for the weekend, someone had taken my wallet to the local police station. Heavenly Father had preserved my wallet for me, had made sure that nothing bad had happened to it, and prepared a way for me to retrieve it and continue on my journey.
These are some of the most memorable moments of the week, although there are many more. When I look back on it, I am filled with gratitude to my Father in Heaven. I join with the prophet Nephi in sharing my testimony that “the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance”(1 Nephi 1: 20). The Lord delivered me from disease, from guilt, from depression, and from many other things that week. I know that I am a daughter of God, who loves me, and I love Him.
Jenni has a wonderful almost 3-year-old who keeps her very busy. She runs a small home day care. She loves to cook, read, sing, and learn new things. Her husband is almost done with graduate school, and they are excited for new adventures in their future.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Meet April, of April Showers Design Studio! We were going to save this interview until the month of April, for kicks, but we just couldn’t wait! April is a ridiculously talented web/blog designer who even offers workshops where she generously shares her knowledge! She’s brilliant, funny and super cute to boot! know you’re gonna like this… enjoy!
Pearls: Your blog designs are stunning, where/how did you learn to create such amazing layouts?
April: Awh, thanks! I am pretty much just self-taught! I create my layouts in Photoshop and Googled the rest of my way through everything I needed to know! LOL!
Pearls: There is so much to know about blog design and html... if someone were just starting to dabble in it, which of your workshops would you recommend?
April: Oh, I think "How to Design Your Own Blog" for either Blogger or Wordpress is perfect! Sometimes I forget that bloggers really are newbies when it comes to design, so I tend to cover a lot of material and go fast. Luckily the video is available after class, ha, ha!
Pearls: What is one thing (or two or three) every blogger should know?
April: Content is key. No matter how great your design is, the blog posts should be interesting, intriguing, or at least grammatically correct! Also, de-clutter your blog like you would de-clutter your home. (Decrease sidebar widgets, blinking thing, crazy fonts, etc...) Last tip - keep it fun. If you end up getting sponsors or getting paid to blog, the most important thing is that you LIKE what you do. So never make it a chore!
Pearls: Besides designing blogs, what else do you enjoy doing?
April: Oh, before I started working from home I had "hobbies." LOL! The hubbs and I love to play tennis and workout at the gym. On a day (or few hours) off you can find me shopping for cute clothes and accessories, going to the movies, going out to dinner... But if I could take a vacation, we would use our SCUBA certs and go dive somewhere! (We really need to move somewhere with an ocean!)
Pearls:Do you have a ward calling? What is it? What is one suggestion you have for anyone else who may ever get that calling?
April: I actually don't right now! I'm in a pretty new ward! Even if I got one though, my schedule is so overwhelming right now I'd fail epically! LOL! I used to be a Young Women's advisor, and my suggestion for anyone else who gets that calling is to ENJOY it! It's probably one of the most fun callings you could have - and when you go over to the nursery instead....you'll know why :P
Pearls:How do you find balance between work, being a wife and having a social life?
April: I'm not very good at balancing, but luckily those three things are all I really have to deal with. I can't imagine throwing KIDS in there yet! (Though I would still LOVE IT!) I just have to tell myself that no matter HOW much work I have, my husband and everything in the "real world" (i.e. not online) is more important than cyber space.
Pearls:Do you have any suggestions for a healthy marriage?
April: Forgiveness and compassion are overly used words, but honestly have saved our marriage amidst many horrible things that have happened in our lives. Always meet your spouse with compassion and kindness, rather than hostility - and remember that there is nothing that can't be forgiven. Marriage means falling in love over and over again with the same person! Oh, and read "The Love Dare." It's GOOD.
Pearls: Where would your dream vacation be?
April: We have both been a lot of places - Paris, Hawaii, Belize, etc... but I think our favorite destinations are always tropical. Like I said, we haven't had a chance to use our SCUBA gear yet!
Pearls: One thing we love about you is that not only are you ridiculously good-looking, but you know it. How can women develop a higher self esteem and not allow media to dictate how they should look?
April: *hairflip* LOL! Well, hopefully my readers know that I'm not 100% serious when I say things like that! I feel like women are afraid of being too "vain" or "narcissistic" especially in this age where everything online is "ME! ME! ME!" (i.e. Facebook) - but I think all women should embrace their OWN unique beauty and display it in a way that THEY see fit. Because in the end, our blogs and our Facebook, and everything we are online IS the media. So if we can portray beauty in different lights, then future generations will see that it's okay to be comfortable in your own skin and celebrate how different we all are.
Pearls: How do you maintain your relationship with Heavenly Father?
April: I think the only way to do that is through Prayer. Whether your faith is faltering, or is perfectly strong - prayer is the one thing that connect you to Him personally. I've had many times where my faith has wavered, or I got "mad" at the struggles in my life... The only way I made it through was to pray - especially when I didn't want to!
Join April over at April Showers Design Studio and learn a thing or two (or 20!)
Monday, March 28, 2011
I was getting my hair done and when I finished, I walked out to my car on the street... which was, to my shock, still there. If a policemen were to have rolled by with a ruler, he could have given me a ticket because my bumper was about half a foot over the red mark for sidewalk parking... anyway. That's totally like me to get on a tangent :)
I walk out of the Salon, a huge gust of wind blew my hair all over my face (attractive, I know.) I put on my $1 stunnah shades and walk straight for my car. As I flip my hair out of my face, I notice this woman to my left... she is just standing there looking as if she needs something... to do something, to say something... but she's not sure what it is she needs. Her face looks like she's been out in the sun a lot- sad, tired eyes, lines on her forehead and cheeks from long years of working.
I learned her name was Mary after asking her to get into my car. Where did she need to go? To the mall she told me. We made small talk. I was trying to get to know someone I'd only seen for 2 minutes of my life. She wore pants up to her belly button, an old shirt, and a coat because it was a little chilly out. Her posture was a little bent over, and she seemed to be about 60 years old. She barely spoke English, but I still talked to her. I wasn't sure if she was Native American or Latin... her skin was weathered, and I could just tell that she had been through a lot.
While we were in the car, she seemed a little embarrassed, yet grateful. We drove and I said, "Wow, this would have been a long walk."
She smiled sheepishly and said, "I usually have a ride, but my friend was busy today." I just nodded. When was the last time I didn't have transportation and had to rely on someone? I realized then that we were both embarrassed. She for taking a ride, and me for being spoiled.
After I had dropped her off at the mall, she told me, "God bless you. Thank you so much." in her hesitant English, and I felt right then and there, that this is our mission on Earth - to help those who don't have the resources we do. I have a car. I have a cell phone. I'd just about die if I had to catch the bus... yet here was this humble woman who didn't speak English very well, probably didn't have electronic access to the bus schedule, didn't have a car, didn't have a cell phone... and may not have had shelter.
This sweet sister showed me that I have a lot, even at times when I feel like I don't. There is always going to be someone better, or worst off than me. For those that don't have their basic needs, I need to help them. Even though someone is different from me, it is so important to remember that even though at times it may be hard, we need to remind ourselves that the worth of every soul is GREAT in the eyes of God.
I don't know if her name was really Mary. Maybe she just told me that because I had asked and she wanted to give a name... and I don't know if I'll ever see her again... but this was the first time I have given a stranger a ride, and it has left me feeling nothing but joy and compassion for my sister. I'm yearning to be better and not letting my fear of the unknown (race, religion, places, people) keep me from doing the right thing. :)
*Story republished with permission.
Jocie is from Oahu, Hawai'i. She is a rockin' Zumba instructor, plays the guitar and sings. She's recently become a regular at El Mexsal and she LOVES Pupusas. She is almost done with her Masters in Social Work.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
I really hope you’re enjoying Pearls, and all the wonderful stories that have been shared! We still need more, so when you find a minute to spare, jot down an uplifting/inspiring experience you had… then send it to us! You never know how sharing your stories can lift someone else or give them the answers or encouragement they need! We need more positive and inspiration in this world – so don’t be shy! And if you have any questions about submitting your stories after reading the guidelines, just zap us an email! Someone will get back to you ASAP. You can always ask questions on our Facebook page, too! Whatever is easiest for you!
According to the poll two weeks ago, about half of you don’t know where to start with your emergency preparedness… so we’re working on getting some great content from women who know a thing or two, and sharing some experiences that will, hopefully, inspire you to get going on it! Like, for real.
If any of you are interested in doing Book Reviews, let me know. Also, I’m curious how many of you would be interested in an art competition of sorts (poems, photography, drawings/paintings, music, interior designing, fashion, cakes, floral arrangements –yes, I consider all of that art!-… etc). If you are, leave a comment here or on Facebook. I think it would be a really fun way to encourage you all to CREATE!
Last but not least, please send us your suggestions on how you think we can improve Pearls! We really want to hear from you and know what your thoughts are! A huge part of Pearls’ success depends on your participation! So if you love it, let us know, and if you’re able to - get involved! I know you have something incredible to offer!
K. Now go and have a great day!
Friday, March 25, 2011
I asked my kids where it was. They were saying it was lost down the bathtub drain, and they were quite sure. I was so scared that I would have to tell my husband it was gone forever so we kept searching. Mind you, this was no pleasant search for the children. I was ranting and raving because I was so nervous. We were searching frantically, but the kids and I couldn’t find it.
At one point, I was so upset and was in the middle of swinging my hand down to spank my daughter when I strongly felt this wasn't the right thing to do, so I stopped and said, “We are going to pray.”
We knelt down, and I asked my daughter to say the prayer. After the prayer, my daughter was inspired to walk down the hall to her room and there she found the ring on her night stand. It was in plain sight! It turns out that she was truly inspired and guided by her faith, not mine. I felt so blessed that we resorted to prayer instead of spanking.
Michelle is the mother of 6 amazing children. She was raised a member of The Church. She has a wonderful husband. She believes in prayer and in miracles.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
I had a true love once, and forever we’ll be one,
Now he is waiting for the race I must run,
Alone I stride through wind and storm and rain,
Each step filled with sorrow, each mile laced with pain.
Everyday I’m stronger; at least I used to think,
But now the burden’s heavy, it causes me to shrink.
I lean upon the savior; it’s the peace that gets me through,
In my head I chant, “I will go and do”
I focus on the kingdom, my Father and His love,
Through service of my fellow men, I’ll reach his courts above.
The uphill climb is scary, lonely and so steep,
Every time I fall “help me Father” I weep.
The cuts and bruises that now shape my very being,
Each has a painful story full of hurt and sting.
As the road winds on, slopes and hills alike,
I find myself thankful for the chance to take the hike.
For the body that sustains me, and song that gets me through,
For every day I have to spend becoming closer to you.
The cuts and bruises heal and quickly fade away,
Leaving scars of remembrance that I carry day to day.
All lessons from the path that will lead me to his grace,
He’ll hold me once again when I finish my race.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Simply put, some people are just more easily spiritual by nature. The rest of us have to roll up our sleeves and put some elbow grease into it in order to see results. Well worth the effort though, I must say.
Often I forget to have Family Home Evening; partially because I now work at nights, partially because my stepson is only here on the weekends, and - if we’re being honest here - mostly because I am just not in the habit. I can, however, tell myself I am somewhat spiritually redeemed because I do read my scriptures and write in my journal every day. I do this because it causes me to 1.) reflect on my daily life and record wonderful little happenings that would otherwise get lost in the fray, and 2.) make sure I don’t miss any of Moroni’s epic secret ops missions. The other reason I maintain this nightly ritual is because of the record I have going – I have written in my journal every single day since January 1, 2008. I have also read my scriptures every single day since May 2007 (I have missed three days total since June 2005). Part of me feels like the fabric of the Universe may be ripped asunder should I miss a night of reading and writing. I’m only half joking – it really does worry me a little bit.
Making spiritual habits a part of my everyday life has been critical in helping me keep a grasp on what sometimes feels like a Crisco-coated sanity. Amongst the raging battles and family drama in the Book of Mormon are words that are written precisely for me to help me precisely deal with precisely what I am going through. Reading through previous journal entries I see time and time again how God has lead my family easily through what I felt were rigged labyrinths and supernatural practical jokes.
Perhaps the most vital and most intimate of my everyday spirituality habits is keeping a running dialog with God. I basically have an open door policy when it comes to my inner workings. I really believe God has an interest in, and a right to be privy to, all of my thoughts and feelings throughout the course of a single day. I express my frustrations over finances, my sappy love for my husband, my joys in motherhood, my disappointments in my personal struggles, and my gratitude for blessings great and small. I love speaking to Him almost constantly, as He is an excellent listener.
Sometimes, He even speaks back to me. When He does, whether it’s catching me in my sassiness or answering the question of a broken heart, I know that my efforts to be in tune spiritually each day are worth it. It’s also a relief to know the stability of the Universe doesn’t rest squarely on my shoulders.
Adrienne is the stepmom of 10 year old Austin, the regular mom of 1 year old Porter, and the BFF of Lucas since 2005. She is from Virginia but is currently enjoying life in Provo, Utah. She loves writing, singing, playing video games and making others laugh.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
When I first found out I just sat there staring at the computer screen. My mind reeled as I took it all in. What did this mean? Surely it was just a mistake…but what if it isn’t? I can’t describe the pain I felt in my heart. Truly, it was breaking.
After I got over the shock I went into planning mode. What was I going to do? Did this mean divorce? Separation? Counseling at the very least? I informed my husband that we would be going to see the Bishop as soon as possible to sort things out. My husband very willingly made the appointment, and spent the ensuing days walking on eggshells.
Here I am thinking this is a big enough deal to even consider using the “D” word, as we walk into our Bishop’s office. As I sit there I am amazed to hear words like, “oh, it’s not that bad.” “It could be a lot worse” “I’m proud of you.” Did I really just hear the word proud? I was in complete shock. Our Bishop told my husband to keep on trying to do his best, feel free to partake of the sacrament and attend the temple, and then gave me a little nod and let me know how great it was that I was being supportive.
Five minutes later on the short walk home from the church I decided I had completely overreacted and that it wasn’t that big of a deal.
Fast forward almost 2 years later to a sketchy phone call from my bank about cancelling our cards because of some fraud use. Something just didn’t feel right about it. I knew the spirit was prompting me to do some checking out myself. Sure enough, that measly $2.38 that was suspicious was to a pornography site. My husband actually came to me before I could get to him and let me know what he had done. I packed my bags. How could I live with this? Didn’t he understand what he was doing to me? I had never felt uglier, more undesirable, or just plain slimy in my life. How come he didn’t love me enough? How come I wasn’t enough for him?
“Aside from abuse, I know of no other marital issue that affects the very soul of women more than pornography consumption by a spouse.” -Jill C. Manning, PhD, LMFT
That night was the longest night of my life. I yelled, and cried, and begged. I went through every emotion in the book, finally settling on numb. I called my aunt to let her know I would be there tomorrow with the kids and I didn’t know how long we would stay. It was the middle of winter, and a horrible storm was coming that night. She didn’t think that the 7 hour drive was a good idea, and started prodding about the reasoning behind the trip. I broke down and told her everything. She listened and gave words of encouragement. After I got it off my chest she said, “You know he is a good man. You know he loves you. You know he wants to be better. So you need to stay and figure things out.”
She was right. I owed it to myself to work on things, and that would be impossible from 7 hours away.
Again my husband willingly made the appointment to see the Bishop, and we said very little to each other through the day as we waited for our evening appointment. As I sat in the same Bishop’s office, I had a great confirmation from Heavenly Father letting me know that our Bishop is called of Him. That he knows what he is doing, that he loves us, and wants only the best for us, and that all counsel he would give us was truly from Heavenly Father.
This appointment was different than the last. Only because I made sure to stress to him just how serious our situation had become. Our poor Bishop had no idea what I was feeling the last time we talked because I didn’t tell him. As we discussed the situation, his advice was much the same only this time I knew he was right. My husband needed the sacrament and the temple to get through this. He really was doing “pretty good” compared to some other situations the Bishop made us aware of. What was different was the support he provided for me. He set up some counseling at LDS Family Services, and strongly encouraged us to attend the 12 step meetings provided through them as well. For my husband there was the group for the addicted, but for me there was the support group for the spouse of an addicted loved one.
I can’t express what this particular addiction did to my self-worth. As I sat in my first support group meeting I realized that I was surrounded by strong, courageous, beautiful women. All of whom were experiencing the same thing as me. Through these meetings I have come to understand who I am, and that my husband’s addiction has absolutely nothing to do with me. I have come to think of this trial as an opportunity to grow in ways I never thought possible. My relationship with my Heavenly Father is better than it’s ever been, and it’s only going to get better. I have come to truly believe in the atonement of Jesus Christ, and to know that I can find hope and healing.
Are things perfect now? No. Is my husband 100% recovered? No. Do I still have days that I feel utterly lost and hopeless? Yes. But those days are getting fewer and farther between as I come to understand the power of addiction, and the infinite beauty of the atonement.
Due to the sensitive nature of the subject and to protect their privacy, we are publishing this anonymously. However, she really feels that sharing this story is something she needs to do.
“I feel strongly that this is a story that needs to be told. When starting this journey I really thought I was alone so I was naturally very surprised to realize that I'm not. This is happening in more homes than we know. I heard that on average 11 families in each ward are dealing with pornography addiction, and the very sad part is that most of the wives in those homes are in the dark. This subject needs to find it's way to the light. Satan's greatest tool is keeping things hidden and secret, so I think one of the best things we can do to protect ourselves is to get it out in the open.”
For more information and statistics on pornography, visit this website.
For resources on combating pornography visit www.combatingpornography.org or call your local LDS Family Services to find a support group near you.*Edited to Add. I came across this message and thought it was appropriate to include with this story. -Alicia
Friday, March 18, 2011
I really hope that each one of you that comes to this site today will watch this beautiful video of the song "Come to Jesus", sung by Kenneth Cope. The lyrics of this song are so meaningful to me in many ways. First off, it shows that we are all sinners. We all have weaknesses that we need to improve on, but the wonderful thing is, we are not lost! The beauty of His plan for us is that we can be saved if we will come unto Him and repent of our sins. I am not trying to preach to anyone. I am the last person that can/will do that. I am just eternally grateful that Jesus died for me so that I can repent and live with him again someday! I love that in times of sorrow, pain, sickness and JOY, I can come to the Lord and express how I am feeling. I also love the comfort and peace that I feel when I pray and strive to do what is right.
Music has a way of speaking to my soul in ways that nothing else can. In fact, most of my ipod is full of songs from LDS and christian artists because it is what lifts me up the most. This song makes me want to be a better person and I hope it speaks to each of you in its own way.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
I had 4 kids. My youngest was born when my oldest one was eight. So you can imagine that our house was very chaotic, and messy! The following is some of the best advice that I received as I was raising my children.
Remember to pray. During chaotic and stressful times, remember to take some time to yourself and say a prayer. When my oldest was only three, I remember locking myself in my room to say a prayer. When she would knock on the door, I would tell her that I am saying my prayers. She understood this even at age 3, and left me alone for a few minutes.
Whenever possible, have a Calgon moment. You younger girls won’t remember this, but there is a bubble bath called Calgon, and the commercial’s slogan was, “Calgon, take me away.” Take a bubble bath when your husband or someone can watch the kids, or after they have gone to bed. Relax and visualize a peaceful place.
Do something during the week that is just for you. That might be taking a class, enjoying a sport, a book club, etc. My sister gave me this advice. She liked to play Volleyball once a week. I took a choral conducting class. This led to me getting an Associate’s Degree in Choral Conducting, which led to a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. It took me 10 years to finish, but I enjoyed the process.
Play. I would rather go to the park, library, zoo and play with my kids than clean the house.
Don’t stress about having a spotless house. We all know that kids are going to make messes, so if you stress about having a spotless house, you are only adding more stress, due to the fact that the kids will just mess it up again after you clean. Then you end up yelling at the kids for messing up the house, and then you feel guilty for yelling at your kids when they were just being kids. When my kids were little, we usually had a messy house. Yes, we had chore charts, which they hated and every one had to do their part. One thing that worked well on occasion would be for me to give the kids a list of jobs to do. Their motivation for finishing the jobs in a timely manner was that I would give them money for their jobs and then we would go to the mall for them to spend their money.
Laugh. Try to find the humor in the little mishaps of life. I love Marie Osmond’s saying, “You’re going to laugh about it later, might as well laugh now.”
Our children are our most precious gift from Heavenly Father. We have been given charge over them for a very short time. If we make the most of this time, and teach them by example, they will give us a lifetime of joy that will continue in the hereafter.
Lori is the mother of 4 children and the grandmother of 2. She is a junior high choir teacher who loves to sing, shop, spend time with her family and listen to Harry Potter books on tape.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
The Power of Priesthood Blessings
During my fourth year, I set out with the other girls my age for a few days of “real” camping. This was almost a rite of passage for girls in our stake. We were away from the rest of the camp, sleeping in tents (as opposed to cement slabs) by the lake, and cooking all our own meals. This was also a great opportunity to rehearse the program we would put on at the end of the week. And I had a lead role in the program. I was to portray Sariah and how she was an example of knowledge. As a budding actress (I would later go on to teach high school drama) I couldn't have been more excited about the opportunity to perform.
After about a day and half of camping and rehearsing, though, I realized I was not quite feeling up to par. I started feeling shaky and sick sometime in the afternoon and by the evening it was determined that I had to be taken to the nurse at the main camp. My temperature had risen to 103 degrees. I was feeling sicker by the minute. To be perfectly honest I can’t even remember some things from the evening because I was so sick. The nurse informed me that if my temperature did not drop by the morning, I would have to go home. Needless to say I was devastated. I felt like I would be letting down my group if I could not perform. No one else knew the lines and we only had a couple more days of rehearsal. Girls camp was also so special to me and I didn’t want to miss a minute of it. This was the place where I had first gained my own testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel.
The Priesthood holders were called to the nurse’s office. They gave me a blessing promising I would feel better. When I went to bed that night in the cold (it was the only air conditioned room at camp) cramped room, I want to say that I had complete faith that I would not be going home, but I didn’t. I was so afraid that I would have to go home that I forgot to focus on the blessing I had been given by the Lord.
The next morning I woke up completely healed. My fever was gone and I had stopped shaking. The nurse said that I was doing so well that I was even allowed to return to the fourth year camp, though I did have to stay away from water skiing that day. I know that by the power of a priesthood blessing I was healed. I have never once doubted a blessing since that time.
The Power of Prayer
A couple of years later I was in my sixth year. By that time we did not have near the responsibilities as the years before. Our main focus was a spiritual program we put on midweek. The program took place in the evening and since we weren’t blessed with night vision, we used electric spotlights to light the stage. Rehearsals for the show had gone on without a hitch. We were ready to perform. I believe I was even singing a solo. For the show we had decided we would dress all in white. As we were getting ready that afternoon, one of our leaders came to our slab. Imagine our devastation when she informed us that the electricity had gone out in the camp and that we most likely would not be putting on our show. They didn’t know what was wrong and therefore didn’t know how to fix it. As our leader walked off another girl spoke up and suggested we pray. We decided to go down to the creek where we would be secluded and could focus on the Spirit. So there we were, all dressed in white, kneeling in earnest prayer on the creek bank. One of our leaders later described the scene as a group of angels in prayer. As we knelt in prayer, that leader approached us quietly and informed us that while we had been kneeling in prayer, the electricity had been restored. They never knew what had happened, or how it came back on. But we knew. We knew that by our faith, our prayers had been answered.
The lessons I learned those years spent outside in the hot Texas heat are lessons that will be with me for a lifetime. I’m grateful for the Gospel and the opportunities it provides me to learn and grow and become closer to our Heavenly Father.
Brittany lives in Houston with her hot husband and adorable two year old daughter. She's a stay-at-home mom and also has a blog, www.mydecoupagedlife.com that keeps her plenty busy. She enjoys crafting, blogging, reading, and being a mom.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Pearls: How did you become the KUTV Weekend Meteorologist... and what does that mean?
Lindsay: A Meteorologist is someone who studies the atmosphere & then predicts what the weather will be like for the next several days. I have always had a love of weather from the time I was a little girl. In fact, I decided I was going to be a meteorologist when I was nine-years-old & never deviated from it. I really felt like it was one of my "callings" in life for some reason. Even when others told me I would never make it in the TV business, I felt a strong assurance from the Lord that it was something I was supposed to do. I went to BYU & received a degree in Broadcast Journalism & then afterward continued my education in Meteorology through USDA Graduate School in Washington DC. My first on-air job was in a little tiny town in Louisiana called Lake Charles. I worked for the Fox affiliate there as their Chief Meteorologist for three years. While I was there, I gave birth to my first son, Connor. When Connor was about 12-months-old, I was offered a job as the Weekend Meteorologist for the NBC affiliate in Reno, NV. Once there, I stated to feel the need to not only be a Meteorologist, but to be a stay-at-home mom to my son as well. I didn't know how to do both since my current work situation was forcing me to work 50+ hours a week most of the time. I had a serious heart-to-heart conversation with Heavenly Father about what I should do with my life. On one hand, I really felt like I was supposed to be a Meteorlogist. But, on the other hand, I really felt the need to be home with my son as well. I asked the Lord how I was supposed to do both. I instantly got a very strong answer. It was simply that I was to quit my job & move to Salt Lake. WHAT?!? It didn't even seem logical. I told my husband about the answer I had received & he instantly said, "Okay, let's go!" He was able to find a job in Salt Lake quickly & we made the move. When we had been here for a little more than a month, I got a call out of the blue from the News Director at KUTV. He had heard through the grapevine that I was living here & he offered me a part-time weekend job. That was almost seven years ago. I worked first as the Weekend Morning Meteorologist & then was moved to the Weekend Evening Shows a few years ago. It has been such a blessing to our family! I really feel like the Lord has made it possible for me to be both a Meteorologist & Mom at the same time.
Pearls: You’re always so cute, do you love it?
Lindsay: Thanks! Yes, I love doing it! In my opinion, it's the best job in the world! I love forecasting the weather & then being able to explain it to others. Plus, there aren't many jobs out there will allow you to be wrong & not get fired! ;)
Pearls: What are some of the difficulties of being a public figure?
Lindsay: Probably the hardest part is just knowing that you are being watched by others all the time. There have been many times when my kids have been acting up in public & I have been trying to discipline them, when someone will come up & say, "Aren't you that weathergirl from TV?" You know, after that, they went to all their friends and said, "Hey! You know that weathergirl from TV? Well, I saw her yelling at her kids the other day!"
Pearls: Besides talking about the weather, what else do you enjoy?
Lindsay: I love to just be with my family. They are a wild & crazy bunch, but we always have so much fun together. Besides that, I love to travel (but don't get to do it as much as I would like). I also enjoy blogging. Oh, and eating chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate!
Pearls: How do you balance the different aspects of your life? (i.e home life, work, church callings?)
Lindsay: I just take it one day at a time. Some days are better than others. I am a big list maker. I love to be able to cross something off a list once it is completed. But, I know that I couldn't do everything I do without a supportive husband. There are times when I have to fill in for a co-workers while they are on vacation or sick. On weeks like that, he really steps up & does many of the things I can't get done. Without him, I don't think I could do it all.
Pearls: How do you find ways to stay close to Heavenly Father?
Lindsay: I think the most important way is to pray constantly. I try to talk to Heavenly Father throughout the day, not just morning & night. You don't have to be kneeling by your bed to talk to Him. I have found myself praying while I do the dishes, drive in the car--don't close your eyes for this one though :) -- or at my desk at work.
Pearls: In such a conflicting world, what do you feel is the most important thing to teach your children?
Lindsay: To have a testimony of Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ. If they believe in & have a love for them, I hope that they will WANT to make the right choices throughout their lives...not just because I told them to.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
I wasn’t going to post today. Generally, I like to take the weekends “off” and not think about blogging or Facebook, or anything internet-related for that matter. Obviously, that doesn’t always happen.
This morning, I felt like I should share a few of my thoughts with you. I am so excited about the success of this site so far and it hasn’t even been quite 2 weeks! Can you believe it? I am also excited about some of the upcoming Talk To Me Tuesday interviews we have coming up, and about the many inspiring stories you all have sent in to share!
Just being a part of this site, receiving and responding to emails, has influenced me for good. You women are amazing! I am sure every single one of you have been through trials and hard times that have caused you to grow in ways you wouldn’t have predicted. Sharing your stories really do uplift, edify and strengthen other women! Miracles happen everyday, everywhere!
With the aftermath of the earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan, family living in Hawaii (thankfully, safely on high ground), and living in Utah only blocks away from a fault line, emergency preparedness has been pressing on my mind. We have been counseled over and over to prepare – temporally and spiritually – for difficult times. I would like to spend some time in the near future focusing on what we are doing to prepare. So, I am asking you to submit your tips and tricks for building your food storage and for emergency preparedness, as well as any experiences you may have had when you used what you had stored, or wished you had better prepared. You can send in your submissions by emailing us or filling out this form.
Also, if you are on Facebook, and haven’t “liked” our page yet, please do! We will continue to use our Facebook page to interact with you on a more “real time” basis. (The link is on the left hand side).
Please continue to spread the word about Pearls! You have been amazing and the response is humbling. Feel free to share the links to your favorite stories and give other women the chance to be uplifted! We all need each other and this is just one tool to finding encouragement and hope!
Friday, March 11, 2011
Heavenly Father knows the influence of music on our minds and hearts. The instruments, the beat, the words, can make people mad, sad, contemplative, happy or excited. Sometimes I have a hard time cleaning my house. When I put on that upbeat music it gives me that extra energy to jump up and get moving. When I am feeling depressed I can put good music on and it lifts my spirit. It effects our emotions, our energy, our mind, our spirit. Music is so powerful!
Have you ever had that feeling of your heart swelling when you listen to someone sing their testimony? Anyone who sings a beautiful song with all their heart can affect me that way. I am working with some women to sing the "Woman at the Well" program. When I sing the songs at home and I am really feeling the message of the words and the emotion of the song I can't help but cry.
The moments in my life that I have felt the spirit the most involved music. I have never been the best singer in the choir, I haven't had the training other singers have, but when I sing with my heart and testimony I feel like angels sing with me and help touch the hearts of those listening. It is a blessing to me to share my testimony that way. When I listen to others sing with their hearts I always get tingles up and down my spine and tears in my eyes. Music touches my soul, really my whole being. It really is a prayer to God.
Laura is a wife and mother of 3 beautiful children ages 5, 4, and 2. She grew up in California and American Fork, Utah. Things that bring her joy: the beach, singing, swing- dancing, and reading. She is going back to school to hopefully get her Master's Degree in Speech Language Pathology.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
But a few weeks into the pregnancy I had a miscarriage. I was devastated. My husband held me as I cried. The pregnancy email updates I forgot to cancel broke my heart. There was no more pregnancy! My friends tried to comfort me but did not know how to help. Even without giving birth I truly felt the loss of my child. The depression that set in was unbearable. What if I never became a mother?
Weeks passed and I struggled to overcome the emotional pain I felt. My mind recalled a time in college when I battled adversity. A wise friend had given me a hug and told me there was nothing better she could do than to leave me alone with my Savior. And with that she left me alone in the room. I prayed fervently and received profound strength.
Once again I desperately needed the comfort that comes only through the Spirit of God. I yearned to be alone with my Savior and feel His strength. Yet I hesitated. How could God or Jesus—both men—understand what a miscarriage felt like? How could they truly feel what I was feeling?
I posed that question to my Father in Heaven in a silent prayer. I continued in pouring out my heart full of sorrow. I pleaded for strength I did not know where to gain. And as I prayed, the thought came to me that of all people, our Father knows what it is like to lose a child. At least one-third part of His creations will not make it back. And beyond that deep pain He must feel for those that choose another way, I felt the Holy Ghost witness to my spirit that I was not alone in my pain. I came to know that in some way I cannot understand at this time, Jesus felt my pain. He knew what it was like for me to have a miscarriage. He knew what I was feeling exactly, and he could take that burden and make it light.
It took some more time but with the strength of the Lord I was able to endure that trial and continue toward happiness. A year later I was blessed with a baby girl. I now have two beautiful children. I know not everyone has such a happy ending and I am grateful every day for my Savior and his redeeming love.
"Cami is a happy military wife and mother to two sweet girls, ages one (today!) and nearly 3. She has lived in Texas, Utah, and California twice each. She enjoys taking her kids on daily outings and believes every lunch and dinner should end with chocolate."
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Have you ever experienced that gut wrenching feeling of being in debt? Being so in over your head that you don’t know what direction to go? Feeling absolutely lost in a sea of endless bills that you don’t have the money to pay?
That’s where we found ourselves after only 4 short years of marriage. How did we get there? At the time all the loans were taken out it seemed completely logical. After all, how would we get around if we didn’t have a car? How could we possibly get by with only one car? How can you save money for unexpected expenses when you don’t have enough to stretch for the necessities? What do you do when those unexpected expenses arise? How does anyone go through this life debt-free? It isn’t possible…at least that’s what we kept telling ourselves until my mother-in-law introduced us to Dave Ramsay. If you haven’t heard of him and his philosophies go google him.
I have to admit that I personally did not read the book, my husband did. Everything he kept telling me made so much sense. It wasn’t like this guy was preaching anything we haven’t ever heard before. Mr. Ramsay even says that! “I’m not telling you anything your own grandmother wouldn’t tell you!”
The thing I found the most comforting is that everything he talks about goes hand-in-hand with the gospel and all the things we are taught about staying out of debt. It really is simple.
We had to stop and take a good look at our lives. Really look. My husband works full-time and also attends a local University full-time. We have 2 children under 2 and I stay home with them. I do have a few piano students, but I don’t consider it a job because I don’t really make that much money. I felt justified in our being in debt. How else could we make it work? I couldn’t possibly work because I’d have to pay practically all my salary to daycare! After all, school is a stressful time for anyone moneywise; you add 2 kids and it just gets crazy from there!
Through the promptings of the Holy Ghost, we knew something had to change. We could do it if we trusted in the Lord. We can do anything noble and good as long as we seek our Heavenly Father’s help. Isn’t that the truth? He will always be there for us, even when the mess we find ourselves in is of our own making. Slowly, we started formulating a plan to get out from under the weight of debt. We have definitely had to sacrifice a lot. Although we are very blessed and had the option of moving in with my husband’s family for a time while we work on this, I know it could have been done even if we did not have that option.
I testify that when we are striving to make good choices and follow the commandments, Heavenly Father will help us! We’ve been on this journey for 5 months now, and have only one bill left. ONE! If you had told me six months ago that I’d be standing here right now I would have laughed, but through hard work, prayer, and the loving guidance of our Father in Heaven we are here, and we are LOVING it. It is possible. You can do it. Make a plan, and ask for Heavenly Father’s help to stay committed and you will succeed.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Pearls: How do you balance the different areas of your life? (ex. mother,
wife, blogger, photographer, church callings etc.)
Heather: I always put my family FIRST. If you do that and make it your #1 priority, things fall into place. Daily schedules and routines are very important, too. Even though my life is pretty chaotic, it's scaled down if I have a schedule, especially with kids. I only schedule photo shoots when my husband is home from work to watch Cole (my two yr. old). I'm a massage therapist on the side and strictly work Saturday mornings. Blogging is a a big part of my life, but not too big that I blog when I'm supposed to be being a mom. I write my posts at night after Cole is sleeping and set them to post in the morning. If I'm not feeling up to blogging that day, I just don't. My blog will still be there the next day, whether or not I blog every day. It's very important to do what you can do, and don't go overboard or outdo yourself.
Pearls: What is your least favorite job or chore? How do you try to make it
fun or manageable?
Heather: Bathrooms, FOR SURE! Just ask my husband. Matt is pretty good about cleaning, and we clean together often. I do a lot when he's not home, but he's a tiny bit of a cleaner person than me (so embarrassing, right?), so when we're together we split up rooms and just get the job done! I'll be honest, I'd rather be a fun mom and make good memories with my children than have a perfectly clean house. If you can do both, great! My son really likes "helping", so cleaning can be an activity for him, too!
Pearls: What is your favorite article of clothing and why?
Heather: In public, my jeans because I can dress them up or down (although I'm expecting in March and they're getting a BIT tight!). At home, my old high school shirts and sweats for lounging in. So comfy!
Pearls: How do you strive to keep the spirit with you throughout your busy day?
Heather: Matt and I make it a point to say family morning prayers with our son every day. That definitely helps.
(Heather has a cute Etsy shop where she sells posters like the one above at Kantan designs.)
Pearls: What is your favorite hobby?
Heather: I have so many! It really changes quite often! I really like thinking up business ideas (is that a hobby?) and helping friends get small businesses started. One hobby that I WANT to start is knitting. I love learning new things and want to be able to sit down and knit something neat!
Pearls: Have you had any tough moments lately that you would like to share?
How did you cope through them?
Heather: Tough moments happen ALL the time. I think everyone can relate. Some are bigger than others, but you just have to push though them. Make sure you're just doing what you're supposed to be doing, i.e. going to church, making time for your family, paying your tithing (SO IMPORTANT), etc, and things will pass. You just have to have faith.
Pearls: Is there something about you that you want people to know? (ex.
habits, favorite meals, something about your
Heather: I love dirty mexican food, cooking, reading recipe books, and being a mom! Life is so good!
To read more about Heather, visit her at The Coterie Blog.
Please feel free to let us know who you would like to hear from on future Talk To Me Tuesdays and we will try to accommodate.
Monday, March 7, 2011
The baby keeps splashing in the dogs' water bowl, and his pajamas are soaked up his right arm. I take him from the kitchen and place him in the living room, where he makes a beeline (seriously, who crawls that fast?) for the computer power strip where he innately knows the precise location of the on/off switch. Before I can move, he shuts down the computer on which I had just been working on an unsaved spreadsheet calculating our impossible bills. My stepson unknowingly tracks in dog poo on the bottom of his dad's much-too-large shoes that he had to wear - instead of his own, which fit perfectly, by the way - as he comes back inside from fetching a log from the woodpile for the fireplace. The dogs are at the front window barking at intruders that don't exist, and my husband comes into the kitchen looking for one of his innumerable magically disappearing tape measures, tracking in an obscene amount of sawdust that he has brought through all the hallways from the workshop. The pot on the Only-Two-Out-Of-Four-Burners-Work stove can now commence bubbling over.
This is where I have to stop and remind myself: this is what I've always wanted. No, seriously. You know, the thing about white picket fences is that you never see the splinters in the hands of those who built them. A baby whose greatest joy is making a mess of the dogs' water means I am finally a mother. I have the blessing and responsibility of raising and molding this amazing person that Heavenly Father has seen fit to send to me, even if we did have to wait on hold with the Heavenly Babies hotline longer than most people before we could place our order. A stepson who tracks in a mess for me to clean up is that same stepson who willingly, even eagerly, accepts chores because he honestly just wants to help. Barking dogs mean warm, soft, wagging bodies that still love you even at four in the afternoon and you still haven't gotten dressed or brushed your teeth. A husband who has almost single-handedly supported the tape measure industry means I have an eternal companion. That's right, a true best friend forever.
You see, when it comes down to it, what we perceive as our greatest burdens may in actuality be our greatest blessings. It all depends on the point of view to which you choose to subscribe. Over the past few years, I have challenged myself to a great personal exercise to try and maintain an eternal perspective. What does it matter if I have to put the fifth outfit in twenty-four hours on my little boy because he decided to dump all the water out of the dog bowl, again? It doesn't, because I got some really cute pictures; pictures to freeze a moment in time where his hands are still smaller than mine and his entertainment is free. For, as sore as slivers are, and as much as paint sticks to my skin, I am working on the prettiest fence I never could have imagined.
Adrienne is the stepmom of 10 year old Austin, the regular mom of 1 year old Porter, and the BFF of Lucas since 2005. She is from Virginia but is currently enjoying life in Provo, Utah. She loves writing, singing, playing video games and making others laugh.