Friday, April 29, 2011

Heeding the Call to be Self Reliant

image source
We have been prompted by several generations of Prophets to be prepared, provident, frugal, hard working and self reliant. With each General Conference session, the same pleadings from our General Authorities are heard.

As Latter-day Saint woman, particularly those of us who are mothers, we have a sacred responsibility to teach our children and create a sanctuary in our homes. The home should be a place of refuge, peace, comfort and security from the trials of the outside world. The home is where the foundation of faith is laid. We have been given principles and teachings that, if used in our homes, can provide some protection from the spiritual attacks that we encounter each and every day. Our physical welfare is equally important to our Heavenly Father. He has provided temporal council, like the Word of Wisdom, to protect us from some of the physical challenges of this world.

So why is it that the simple council to be self reliant is so often disregarded? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that for all of these years we have not experienced the types of trials that we expect would cause need for real preparation. Our country seems to be blessed with food. Our economy, although weakening, still supports jobs and our optimistic attitude keeps us hoping that “all is well.”

Unfortunately, all is not well. Our homes, our communities, our states, our country and our world is facing moral, social, and economic challenges at a magnitude that has probably never been experienced before. The Constitution of our country hangs by a thread and governments of many other countries are near collapse. There are wars, rumors of wars, famines, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and pestilence. If we believe that our Heavenly Father is a kind and merciful God, then we must believe that he would guide us through-not prevent us from- our greatest trials. We must believe that he has a plan. But most important we must be willing to follow the council of His Prophets. We may not know the reason why the Lord continually urges the Saints to be self reliant. We may not know when we will need to use all that we have prepared, but we must never doubt that the Lord knows. There will be a reason, a time and a need. The Lord would never waste your time or your money. Have faith that, in the Lord’s time, all things will come to pass, the good and the bad. May we each have the faith to do the work He has asked of us in preparing our homes and our children to be self reliant.

Kai is the mother of 3 beautiful children. She is a flight attendant and an Independent Consultant with Shelf Reliance. Learn more about ways to be self reliant on her blog, Shelf Reliant Living.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Need to Work When Your Heart Says 'Home'

image source
Working. Mom. The two are just about synonymous to me. Show me a mom that doesn’t work and I’ll show you how I can glow in the dark. Now if you’re meaning a woman who is a mom AND an employee at the same time, we can talk. I’ve recently entered that realm, myself.

My entire life my plan was to be a stay-at-home mom. Sure I would dream of being a veterinarian, a disc jockey or a storm chaser for a while – but I knew my career would be motherhood, and it was never a question. The path wasn’t smooth, but I made it; a divorce, second marriage, two miscarriages, and nearly two and a half years of trying to conceive and I finally become a mother just a few short weeks before my 26th birthday (I always figured I’d be about on my third kid by that age). So really, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I found myself needing to go back to work full-time, right?


Dead wrong.

If you had told me two or three months ago that I would soon be working full-time, I would have told you to take a hike. I would have told you I would live under a bridge before leaving my baby. I would have told you I would never do it – no way, no how! And I would have been wrong.

My husband lost his job at the beginning of February, and a month later with no leads I was calling up my good friend, Mike, who is also a recruiting manager for my previous employer. I left on good terms with the company, having gone on maternity leave and then discontinuing my employment to stay home with my baby (forever, I’d hoped). Mike told me there was a part-time job available from 8:00 pm to 12:00 am and I could have it if I wanted. Luke and I spoke about it and decided it would be a good move: a little extra money coming in and very little time away from Porter. I decided that it would be really tough, but I could do it.

I transitioned easily back to the company. In a way it felt like leaving my regular home to spend some time at my second home. I could do this. I desperately missed putting Porter to bed at night, but I could manage. I still had the whole day with him.

A few weeks later, I started feeling like it would be prudent for our family to have benefits, as our medical coverage from Luke’s former employer ran out at the end of February, and we went through March on prayers that no one would get sick. I then embarked on a hesitant journey of exploring the option of working full-time. I couldn’t believe I was considering it. I second-guessed myself constantly. Were the benefits and extra pay worth the time away from my child? Was I being selfish in wanting that little bit of security for my family?

I considered a graveyard position, working 2:00 am to 10:00 am, thinking somehow I could be Superwoman and work full-time in the middle of the night and then come home and be an effective mother. After a lot of thought, prayer, and scratching out Pros vs. Cons lists, I realized Zombie Mom was not what my son needed.

Our bishop came by our house one evening to let Luke borrow his Bobcat to move some gravel. Bishop and I chatted on the front porch and I had told him of the graveyard shift I was considering. He told me (with the disclaimer that he was advising me not as a church leader, but just his personal opinion) that if he were in my place, he would try to find a normal day job with normal day hours and find a babysitter for Porter. At first, I was shocked – haven’t we been counseled that mothers are primarily responsible for the care and nurturing of their children? How could I be the primary caretaker if I was gone all day, five days a week? My heart hurt and mind raced, but what he said next made sense. He told me that my most important relationship was with my husband. If I was working odd hours, we would essentially become ships that pass in the night, and ships aren’t known for their excellent marriages. Bishop told me that if I could have a good relationship with my husband, things would be okay; if my relationship with him deteriorated, the rest of our family would follow.

I got back in touch with Mike, but of course by this point all of the normal, daytime positions were filled. Slightly exasperated, I said, “Mike! They just need to create an assistant position for you and then you need to interview me for it!” With a smile he replied, “Funny you should say that…”

As it turned out, he had just received approval that day from his boss to create a part-time position that would assist him in his hiring responsibilities. Of course I thought this was great, but I expressed to him that the main reason I was considering transferring from my night shift to a daytime position with the company was to have benefits for my family. The next day, he came back and let me know he could offer it to me full-time, after all.

I still didn’t jump at it. I had wanted to work with Mike just about from the time I first started with the company in the fall of 2008. It was more money per hour and the company had excellent benefits – but could I leave my child? Was I pursuing something out of self-interest? Was I looking for a way to escape the everyday mundane tasks of being a stay-at-home mom? Was I looking for a distraction from the stress at home related to job loss and financial upset? Would Porter hate me forever for leaving him? Would God hate me forever for leaving my son?

I accepted the offer, but still felt slightly unsure. I put up two pictures of Porter at my desk and set a photo of him as the wallpaper on the brand new shiny laptop the company gave me. I left my heart at home each morning when I walked out the door.

It has only been a month, but I am grateful I don’t question myself anymore. I am grateful for the most incredible, sensitive boss I could ever hope to be blessed with. I am grateful for the flexibility this full-time position has offered me. Need to work from home for a few hours because I can’t find a sitter for Porter? No problem. Need to take a few hours off because I need some Mommy time with my best little bud? Take it.

I am also grateful that the Lord prepared me for this difficult decision – one, He knew I would have been too dead set against even a couple of months ago to consider. He helped me transition to a part-time job, and then helped me transition from there to what I had always considered the unthinkable: being a full-time employee and mother.

The key for me has been to realize that I am not the first woman to have to leave her child or children to go to work; nor will I be the last. My own grandmother became a widow when she was 28 years old and was left to raise three young children on her own. Life is hard, and the sooner I get over being offended by that, the more effective I can be. I am a woman. I am a daughter of God who loves and provides for me. I can do this. I can do anything.

It’s hard. Every day it is hard and I am exhausted. This change came at the right time, though. I have just finished nursing Porter for good, so I did not have to give anything up abruptly. I get to put him to bed again at night. I have a few precious hours in the evenings to enjoy his eight-tooth grin and laugh when he speaks his own version of “please” and “thank you”. I know these small things are tender mercies. I still leave my heart at home every day, but my mind is so occupied with my rewarding, busy job that I am left with little time to think of where I’m not. When I am home, though, my time there is very sweet. And best of all, I know my little boy still loves me.

Adrienne Knighton
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.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Meet the Team

Want to know who is behind Pearls? Have you wondered who you would be sending your stories to? Come Meet the Team! It takes a bunch of awesome women to keep Pearls running (relatively) smoothly, so come get to know us a little better! (Click here, or click on the link below "About" in the menu bar)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Talk to me Tuesday- Tiffany Bird

Meet Tiffany from Simply Modern Mom . She is a very talented mother of 2 beautiful (soon to be 3) little girls, that was looking for more than her motherly duties!  Check out how she shares how to make the most out of our lives by simplifying it! She shares tips on how to make crafts, how to simplify throwing a party for kids, and even how to make traveling with kids more enjoyable!  Don't forget to look into her new challenge of 2011: Glimpse into Motherhood!

Pearls: First, How did you come up with Simply Modern Mom? 

Tiffany: After adjusting to being a mother of two, I came to the realization that I spent most of my days feeding people and changing diapers. I knew that was part of being a mother, but I also knew I had more in me as a woman. I had a degree in print journalism and loved writing. So I first started Simply Modern Mom as a way to share my crafty ideas. And since there were a ton of crafty sites out there, I decided to change focus to something I was passionate about and knew could help others. So I redirected Simply Modern Mom to become a site that simplified the lives of modern moms. I never did give up the crafty stuff, I just added the mom stuff on top of it.

Easter Tutorial: Check out her weekly craft tutorial on Tiffany's blog!

Pearls: Last year you did a '52 dates' challenge, What did you learn from that experience and any tips for those that would want to try it out?

Tiffany: Project 52: Date Nights was one of the best things we've done for our marriage. It was an entire year of getting to know each other and coming up with weekly fun yet simple dates we did mostly at home. And best of all, we came out in the end with 52 wonderful date memories from last year. We learned so much about each other even though we've been married for a few years now. And it was our time to spend alone with each other, not having to worry about the kids. And my tip for those who want to try it would be to not give up. There will be weeks when both of your schedules are just insane and can't seem to fit in a date. Or you end up missing a date here or there. That's OK. Just pick it back up and keep going with it. It shows how much you value time with each other. And remember to keep it simple.

Pearls: What specials/ focuses are you doing on the blog this year?

Tiffany: I am always focused on creating posts that help simplify our busy lives with tips and lists. I am also often sharing tutorials of things I've made. This year, my big thing will be the reveal of my girls' bedroom makeover. And the Project 52 I am doing this year is a photography goal of featuring one photo a week of my Glimpse Into Motherhood.

Pearls: What do you enjoy most about blogging @ Simply Modern Mom?

Tiffany: Connecting with other mothers and getting to know my readers. I love it when people leave comments and share their ideas and stories with me. And whenever I receive personal emails from readers giving me feedback it makes my day.

Pearls: What are 3 things you like to do, 'just for you'?

Tiffany: (1) hang out with good friends (2) create and craft (3) learning and trying new things

Pearls: Do you have any tips on how to keep the spirit in your home on a daily basis?

Tiffany: Pray. Lots of praying. It's the only times when I can get my kids to be kind of reverent in our home. And I am also not afraid to talk about gospel topics with my children. This helps them to apply what they learned at church on Sunday. We would take what they learned on Sunday and bring it up here and there, without being overbearing, throughout the week.

Pearls: What are some things that you do with your girls to help them begin their testimony building?

Tiffany: I think one of the best ways for children, or anyone, to develop testimonies is to try to provide spiritual experiences. Give them opportunities to feel the spirit and then help them identify that it's the spirit they are feeling. For example, we recently had the rare opportunity to attend the open house of the newly remodeled Atlanta Temple. We took our kids there and they were able to walk through the inside of a temple. I don't think children are ever too young to create spiritual memories. 

Don't forget to visit Tiffany at Simply Modern Mom!

Monday, April 25, 2011

What I Learned About Food Storage

image source
When I got engaged 10 years ago, I honestly had no idea what Food Storage was.  I just knew that we had been told it was important.  The next day was 9/11/2001- which really stopped me in my tracks and changed things forever, especially how I thought about things.  My soon-to-be husband does construction, which is usually the first industry to halt during times of crisis and the last one to start up again after people feel comfortable.  Work comes and goes- and it looked like soon we'd be stopping for who knows how long.  This really got me interested and I wanted to read everything I could about what food storage is and how it works.

My now in-laws are experts at food storage- always experimenting with wheat and beans- these are so much more nutritious too.  My mother-in-law did a workshop for the ward and it really opened my eyes to what food storage was and what it can mean to a family.  For them it was a way of life- they never knew where that next job was coming from, and had 4 kids and their own parents to feed.

I learned that there are 4 parts to Food Storage:
1. 3-month supply of everyday foods
2. 1 year supply
3. water
4. savings

We started with water- watching for sales on jugs/containers and even some bottled.  We also know that in certain emergencies, our hot water heater can be cut off from the system and used.  The church also sells water filters and tablets- we got those for our 72-hour emergency kits.  Once we had all those, we knew we just had to keep those rotated so we do that with the General Conference schedule which is also when we do 72-hour kids updates (clothing, food, etc…).  Besides replacing bottled water, the refilling is basically the only part to worry about.

We also started to put away part of our paycheck each month- we saved $1000 for an emergency fund (and cover any deductibles that might need to be paid) and then a separate fund for an 8-month expenses savings.  If ever the emergency fund needed to be used (broken down cars, appliances, etc), then we'd rebuild that before going back to the 8-month fund.  I use an account on ING Direct- I can open a different account for each type of fund and see them all at a glance.  I can also direct deposit and put it away first before I even have to think about it- then I work with what's leftover.  But that's more with budgeting and a totally different topic!

I really didn't get into the food part until a few years ago- it hit me that I have 4 boys and in a matter of years, they are going to be eating constantly!  This is when my sister and I started learning how to coupon and save on items we needed to stock up on- 3-month supplies mostly.  Not everything on that link is what your family will use- only buy and store the things you will eat!  Make a list of your favorite recipes and the items you need- that will also give you a more personalized list.  Learn what the best prices are for those items and stock up when they are on sale.  If you can get one or two extra at a time when they are on sale, then you will soon have a good 3-month storage.  Last year we had 3-4 months where we were out of work, I was so glad we had this to live on.

There is a site I came across that really started to help me accept long-term food storage, because it was practical and taught how to use it on a daily basis- called  I started trying things out at home- I made a potato chowder completely from food storage items for my son's blessing gathering.  She also has a book that really spells out what to get and how to use it.  That lead to the bean butter cookies I recently did for my son's class- and the kids loved them, not one complaint.   Another site that is helpful and breaks it up into smaller steps is

Here in Hawai’i, we are always 1 disaster away from something big and the recent tsunami warnings have really hit this home for me.  We had a glimpse for a short while of what a dock strike would do- nothing would be coming in or out, or whenever something happens around the world it sends prices sky-high.  We can count a little on local farmers, but at that point demand would be so high that they'd hike prices as well.  I don't say this to scare you into doing Food Storage- it's just something that we have to be realistic about because we’re living in this vulnerable state.  Food prices are also increasing everywhere- so many of us will need to go back to basics.  These items are good for you and can save you money- a little more effort to prepare, such as bread, but you can do it for pennies instead of dollars.  This has been a great source of comfort to me- knowing I can feed my family if something were to happen with work or certain disasters. 

"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear" (D&C 38:30) is a scripture that comes to mind and there is also a talk from 1995 by Elder L. Tom Perry, who talks about four ways to be prepared, and Food Storage is one of them.

Lindsay Pierce

Lindsey is a wife to her high school sweetheart (soon to be 10 years) and mom to 4 boys ages 8, 5, 3 and 20 months.  She enjoys all things Disney and helps families plan their trips as a Disney vacation planner and sharing with others how to live providently by using coupons and budgeting wisely.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Why We Celebrate Easter Sunday

Amidst the hustle, bustle, egg dying and hunting, bunnies and baby chicks…

…Remember our Savior, Jesus Christ. Teach your children, grandchildren and any who you may have influence on, the real meaning of the Easter Holiday. Our Savior was resurrected! He lives! And because of that, we too will be resurrected! What a miracle! A miracle I will eternally be grateful for.

Take the time to read this wonderful message from President Thomas S. Monson from the April Ensign.

And here are two short videos to help us remember the Divine calling of our Savior.

Enjoy your family and yummy treats, but make sure your remember and that your children know why it is so important! =)

Happy Easter!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Traveling Husband

image source
Ever since my husband first started working, he’s had to travel for a week or two at a time at least every month, sometimes more. It has been a challenge for us as a couple and as a family. Most of the time we haven’t lived near extended family members, so we have had to learn to rely on each other and the Lord.

For a long time I found myself feeling like I was “getting through” the times he was out of town. When I really sat down and calculated the time that we were apart, I realized I didn’t want to spend that amount of my life just “getting through”. I wanted to enjoy my blessings and family, and live life to its fullest. Over the years, we’ve figured out how to make this time in our lives enjoyable, to look at the positive side, and to be grateful for the time we have together as a family. Here are some things that have helped us (and me!) find the joy in this part of our journey.

-Use Technology: We bought a webcam for my computer and my husband’s laptop. This enables us to gather around the computer almost every night my husband is gone and talk as a family. We’ve had family home evenings this way; the kids can show their Dad a school assignment or a new dance move they learned; he can tell them their bedtime story. Even our baby starts smiling and reaching for the screen when she sees her Daddy. This small investment has really been a great way to feel more in touch.

-My Mom (who faced this same situation many times as a young mother) told me to treat myself during these long weeks. She said it was cheaper than a shrink, and I think she’s right. I don’t try to expect too much out of myself during these weeks. The house isn’t always spotless (not that it is when my husband’s home!) We will sometimes eat out, have an easy dinner at home (my kids will tell you that they’ve even eaten cold cereal for dinner, but I will deny this), or go get a treat together. I rent chick-flicks to watch after the kids go to bed. This is fun for me, and I know my husband doesn’t miss seeing those at all! I will start fun projects: once, when my husband left for China, our family room wall was white; when he came home it was red (ok, maybe it was actually a scary salmon pink color, but eventually it ended up red).

-During the summer, I’ve planned weeks of fun with the kids where we visit museums, the zoo, and the pool. Then we pick their favorite thing we did to do with Dad when he returns.

-Carry on traditions: I still try and hold family home evening, family prayer, and family scripture study, as well as any other routines we have when Dad is home. They aren’t fancy, or long, but the kids seem to do the best with their routines and they know what to expect no matter who is home.

-Safety: My husband has set up rules for himself as he travels, to help him avoid temptations. He doesn’t turn the tv on after certain hours and is careful to pick only channels he knows aren’t going to have anything indecent on. He doesn’t turn the tv on at all in foreign countries. He takes his scriptures to read, keeps busy working, exercising, and trying to eat healthy. This helps us trust each other when we are apart.

I’m grateful for a husband who works hard for our family, and for the fact that he has a good job, even if it means time apart. For the time being I know we can work together to make this an opportunity to grow together as a family and couple, and start enjoying the journey of our life together.

I also found these articles in the Ensign really helpful:
Business Travelers: Return With Honor
Road Warriors


Melissa is a stay at home Mom with 4 kids that keep her happily busy. She is in the process of moving her family from Utah to Colorado. She loves photography, dancing, and all things messy and fun with her kids.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I’ll Forever Be Grateful I “Hearkened”

Melissa Olivia Since the birth of my baby I would nurse her at night in bed. One night last week I had fallen asleep while feeding her and was in a deep sleep. I was dreaming and remember smelling the sweetest smell I have ever known.  And in a split second that sweet smell was changed to a burning smell. Almost as if someone was holding smelling salts to my nose. It abruptly woke me out of my sleep and I noticed I was smothering my baby and her arm was under me so she couldn't move. I panicked and picked her up and started moving her around to make sure she was breathing. She moved and awoke. Then I knew she was okay. I burst into tears with the guilt of what I could have done within just minutes or even seconds. I know without a doubt it was the Holy Ghost working his wonders to wake me to protect my infant.
I was so shaken I went to the living room to rock my baby and I just sobbed.

While sitting there I said a thankful pray in my heart to my Heavenly Father for the Holy Ghost and the wondrous ways He works. As I sat there, I remembered the talk I had just listened to during General Conference that previous Sunday by Dieter F. Uchtdorf. This quote stood out in my mind. "Let us learn to hearken to the promptings of the Spirit and then be eager to heed them."

It is estimated that an average of 64 babies under two years old die each year while sleeping with parents. Since that night I get out of bed to nurse my baby. Us busy mom's especially with more than one child do all we can to get sleep. But this experience taught me sleep is not worth the risk of my baby's life. I will always be thankful I was able to hearken and heed to the Spirit’s command.

Melissa F

Melissa is a mother of six, with only one son, ages 17 to 4 months old. She grew up in Roy UT and moved to Eagle Mountain when she married her sweet husband 4 years ago. She enjoys doing crafts of any kind and photography. She currently does not hold a calling in her ward but gives service any time she can.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Talk to me Tuesday, Naomi Masina

Meet Naomi Masina! She is an incredibly successful woman – beautiful children, healthy marriage, talented photographer, and an inspiration to all who meet her! We are thrilled that she agreed to be interrogated interviewed for Pearls! Enjoy!

Pearls: How long have you been in the Photography industry?
Naomi: Since I can remember I have been drawn to art and photography.  About 3 years ago, I finally got the nerve to seriously try to make a go of photography.  It went from an enjoyable interest to an intense obsession.  Making the decision to take that first step was the hardest part.  Once you know what you want in life, everything else seems to fall into place.  Not that it hasn't been a ton of work.  I've just enjoyed every moment of it. 

Pearls: What do you love most about being a photographer?

Naomi: Everything.  Anything.  The people are truly the best part of being a  photographer.  I love people watching, and HRblog4photography is just another form of people watching for me...a more personal and involved method.  I photograph many people I know, but many more that I have never laid eyes on before the day of the shoot.  Within a few minutes I get to be apart of their lives, relationships, and talents.  Photography for me is very personal, and the best experiences are always with someone who can open up and relax.  I love authenticity.  I love faces and expressions.  I love stories, and connections.  I pay close attention to relationships and interactions and try to photograph people as they really are.  If you can strip away all the things that can get in the way of real expressions, like our shyness, awkwardness, nervousness, you really start seeing a persons true self and that is always beautiful.

Pearls: What suggestions do you have for those getting their photos taken? What can they do to look nice and natural in their photos?

Naomi: Ignore the camera!  I know that's next to impossible, but think of the  person behind the camera and not ldsp1just the large black square pointed at you.  If you can find a way to connect with something: a thought, a person, a conversation while you are being photographed it will show in the image.  Life and energy come through the interactions we are making.  If you aren't thinking anything it will show on your face.  If you are thinking....OH..this is awful, and I can't wait for it to be's going to show on your face.  If you are thinking...I'm fabulous.  My fiance is HOT.  I love glazed donuts.  The energy will show in your eyes...and that's always more interesting and you're guaranteed to like those pictures 100% better. 

Pearls: How do you balance your professional life and your home life as a mother and wife?

Naomi: It's not always been easy to balance my work.  It is my single biggest challenge.  I'm sure it's like this for most of us.  We love our children and we love our husbands.  We try to find something to define our individuality and yet there isn't a part of us that isn't tied to our families.  I stopped trying to separate my  professional life and my personal life.  I am a wife and a mother first.  I've learned it's the job that I love the most, and makes me the happiest.  Photography is such a gift in my life, and I make sacrifices to continue to develop and grow.  I do all that I can to make sure those sacrifices are not at the expense of my kids and my husband.  There is always give and take.  I used to get very little sleep, and I've stopped doing that.  I out source some of my work flow.  I have wonderful assistants, and I do not keep a perfect house.  It's a personal thing for all of us, and the best advice I can give is to follow your heart.  You know when things are out of balance.  It's always going to happen.  If you feel unhappy, you can make adjustments.  Trust yourself and listen. 

Pearls: What do you feel is the most important thing to teach your children in this world of chaos?

Naomi: Children need to know they have a loving Heavenly Father who knows andmasinafam cares about them as an individual, that they are capable of great things and we all make mistakes.  When they are young and we are in control of most of of the things that go on in their lives, we can and should teach them the great power of natural consequences.  If they can learn to feel the results of their own choices for good or for bad then the biggest lesson in life has already hit home. 

Pearls: Do you have any tips for a healthy marriage?

Naomi: I'm married to my best friend.  Respect each other.  Support one another.  Laugh a lot.  Go on dates.  Say sorry.  Forgive quickly.  Hold hands.  Let them always know how lucky you feel to have them.  It's not like you have to be gushing love all the time, but everyone likes to feel appreciated. 

Pearls: How do you maintain a relationship with Heavenly Father?

Naomi: I have to work at it.  I know that when there is a distance felt between me and Heavenly's my fault.  I guess that never makes me feel better in the beginning, but I try to remember that he is waiting for me, not begrudging my weakness.  Prayer is essential and nothing makes me feel more connected than quiet scripture study.  This year I've tried to make it to the temple at least twice a month and it's been such a great experience for me.

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?

Naomi: I don't have a ward calling right now, but I do serve on the Stake Primary Presidency Board.  I oversee all of the Nurseries in our Stake.  It is the best calling I have had in years.   I know how challenging and sometimes overwhelming nursery can be.  I have learned so much from the wonderful teachers who work with us.  We are building the foundation to a child's church education.  It's not daycare.  It's so much more than play time.   Understanding that your setting the stage for their primary experience is a really special thing.  Love the kids, get to know each of them individually, and I promise you will find joy in your calling.  Nursery Teachers ROCK!  I love you ALL!!

Pearls: You are obviously a successful photographer, you’ve done shoots with celebrities, and have had your work in various magazines like DanceSPIRIT and LatterDay Bride, what are a few suggestions you have for those who may be aspiring to be a photographer by profession? 

ldsp2Naomi: Learn your craft.  If you want to be called a professional then approach it with pride and always strive to do your best.  Improve in any way you can.  It may seem overwhelming, but day by day your skill will improve and your knowledge will grow.  Don't be afraid to ask for help and don't let fear stop you from trying.  Treat each client like they are your only client and provide the best service possible.  Strive to develop and give your own unique view on life.  Everyone's path is different and you're experience is going to be custom fit for you and your dreams.  Try not to look too much at other peoples paths to define your own!  Yours will be so much better, because it is yours.

You can find more stunning work by Naomi at and

Monday, April 18, 2011

Simple Promptings

Do you ever have those experiences? Those ones that make you pause and wonder how many promptings you really do receive during the day?  And how many you actually listen to? And how many you do listen to that you might never even realize that you were inspired?

Well, I’d like to share a special one that happened to me. A few years ago, when my first baby was about 5 months old, it was a regular ol’ Sunday and we were in a rush to get to early morning church. You know, 9 o’clock can be rough, right?

This particular day, my husband had to give a talk, and I had to participate in a musical number with the primary. We both wanted to be there a little early to feel prepared, so we were getting ready as fast as we could. At the church, I stopped in the primary room to practice my song, and my husband ran to sit on the stand before the meeting started. My song practice was over just as sacrament meeting was about to begin. I hurried into the chapel and suddenly realized that I had not arranged for someone to take care of my baby while I went up for the musical number. I supposed I could give him to my husband, who would be sitting on the stand, but I was worried about him being fussy.

I quickly spotted a young couple sitting on a side row. An empty bench was open in front of them, so I hurried and sat down. They did not have any children, and we were only acquaintances, but I felt like I could ask her to hold my baby.  I turned around and whispered of my favor to her just as the meeting started. She responded with, "I'd love to."

As the meeting progressed, I noticed that her husband's arm was around her and she was crying. I felt bad. She seemed to be sad. Maybe she wasn’t feeling well or maybe she was having a bad day. I wondered about my request and if it was appropriate, but I felt like everything would be okay.

The time for the musical number came and she reached out for my baby. She and her husband played and laughed with him throughout the song as he smiled up at them. I watched as I was singing. When I returned to my seat, they continued to hold him, cuddle him, and play until it was time for him to eat. She had a big smile on her face when she handed him back. 

I then went to the Mothers’ Lounge for the rest of Sacrament meeting, so I did not see her immediately afterwards to officially thank her for her help. Finally, after the block was over, I ran into her and was able to thank her for holding him during Sacrament meeting.

She told me, with tears brimming in her eyes, that she was very grateful that I had asked her. She said that she had been struggling with fertility issues for a couple of years and how she longed to be a Mother. She just started working with a fertility specialist, and without going into details, explained that they were now hopeful about getting pregnant. Things were going well, and all signs were pointing toward success with this last go-around. They were pretty sure that she had been able to become pregnant.

The doctor told her that if she was pregnant, that a pregnancy test this very morning would be able to tell her if she really was.  So she took the test before church, and sadly received a negative result that shattered their hopes. To make things worse, it was Mother’s Day. She said she was extremely emotional and almost did not come to church. She had a strong feeling though, that something would happen to let her know that God loved her and was mindful of her sorrow.

She then told me that holding my baby was exactly what she needed and was the comfort that the Lord provided to her. How grateful she was that I had asked her for that simple favor. It filled her heart with love and peace and she knew that the Lord would provide a child when the time was right. We both hugged and cried. I was amazed and grateful that something so simple was actually a prompting.  It was such a neat experience and such a tender mercy for the both of us to realize how much the Lord loves us and is mindful of us. I’m grateful for a loving Father in Heaven and for His trust in me that day.  I’m so grateful for the power of the Holy Ghost. I was so humbled at what I learned from this sweet sister and her faith in receiving an answer and her faith in God's love. I felt like I too, was blessed from this experience.

Natalie Permann
Natalie is a wife of a handsome farmer, a mother to two adorable boys, and expecting another baby in September. She is passionate about the roles of women and is currently living her dream job as a Doula - In her spare time, she attends births (humans, cows, and cats), teaches dance in her small town, and loves to sing.

Friday, April 15, 2011

You Know Better Than I-Part 3

Note: This is part 3 of a 3 part story. Find part 1 HERE and part 2 HERE.

A quote from President James E. Faust helped us to realize that there was a purpose in us going through the loss of that baby. We were strengthened more than we ever could have been if we hadn’t experienced it.

“Into every life there come the painful, despairing days of adversity and buffeting. There seems to be a full measure of anguish, sorrow, and often heartbreak for everyone, including those who earnestly seek to do right and be faithful. The thorns that prick, that stick in the flesh, that hurt, often change lives which seem robbed of significance and hope. This change comes about through a refining process which often seems cruel and hard. In this way the soul can become like soft clay in the hands of the Master in building lives of faith, usefulness, beauty, and strength. For some, the refiner's fire causes a loss of belief and faith in God, but those with eternal perspective understand that such refining is part of the perfection process.”

“Out of the refiner's fire can come a glorious deliverance. It can be a noble and lasting rebirth. The price to become acquainted with God will have been paid. There can come a sacred peace. There will be a reawakening of dormant, inner resources. A comfortable cloak of righteousness will be drawn around us to protect us and to keep us warm spiritually. Self-pity will vanish as our blessings are counted.”

It’s been just over a year, and I won’t lie…the year of “firsts” was probably the worst to go through. Knowing that soon she would be rolling over, sitting up, crawling and walking; wondering how she was doing, what her smile looked like and if she had gotten any more hair; thinking at every family get together (especially Christmas ‘09) that she should have been celebrating with us. Watching as my four siblings each delivered baby girls within the year, and thinking that we should have been first. But, with time, your heart does start to heal.

A few months ago I received a text from N wondering how we were doing. After texting back and forth for a little bit I asked if she would send me a photo of P because I wanted to see what she looked like now (she was 8 and half months at the time). I was sad, my heart hurt…but that is when I also realized I had started to heal. I could look at her photo and while my heart ached to be with her, I knew that she was where she belonged. I could start looking forward to the day when we would bring our own baby home and maybe, someday, our baby and P could meet. We have a good relationship with N still. It’s not a talk everyday or even every month sort of deal, but we love her and sometime down the road, when we feel that the healing is greater we will meet up with her and P for lunch and just hang out. That little girl may just never realize how many lives she has affected or how loved she really is.

Love is not a bad thing, and the more a child is loved, even from unexpected places like a family who has no relation to her at all, just goes to show that there are just special spirits in the world meant to change the lives of others. Birth parents say this often of the child they place. That the child had “changed” them and they want to live better lives. Well, P has changed us…her being born, her life, has single-handedly changed the life of our family in an amazing way. The “failed placement” was hard, and sometimes still is, but we know that it was something we needed to go through. It was our Refiner’s Fire. There is definitely Someone greater than us molding us into who we should become and showing us His plan.

" ‘For I know the plans I have for you', says the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope.' "
"Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of our on-the-job training. These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are precisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understanding, build our character, and increase our compassion for others.
The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude."-Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

We may not be able to see the outcome, but our Heavenly Father does, and everything we experience in this life is meant for our greater good. We hope to one day bring our little one home and say that “All is Well”.

Alicia has been married for 10 years (in August) to her high school sweetheart. They have 2 amazing little boys and have been in the adoption process for about 4 years, hoping that Heavenly Father will bless them with a little one soon. In her free time she loves to create; photography, art, name it and she'll try it at least once.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

You know Better Than I- Part 2

Note: This is part 2 of a 3 part story. Find Part 1 HERE. Part 3 will be published tomorrow.

We got together with N pretty much every week after that for the next 3 months of her pregnancy. We went to dinner, to the zoo (we had to find fun things for the kids to do), we went bowling and to the pumpkin patch, and, with her permission, we also had a baby shower. We got to know and love her and her family so much. We also grew to love that little princess she was carrying not doubting for a second that little girl was meant to come to our family.

Throughout the whole time we knew N, I was never worried about her changing her mind. We knew it was always a possibility for birth moms to change their minds, but it was NEVER a big fear of ours.

Fast forward to November 17th (2009) when N called to tell us she was being induced. This was it, the day we had been waiting for for so long, the day our daughter would be born. We drove the hour to the hospital where she was delivering and got there just as she was getting her epidural. It was about 6pm. She wasn’t dilating very fast, so we just chilled in her room talking, watching TV, and “trying” to get what little sleep we could on the hard chairs (we were too excited to sleep anyways).

At 5:57am on November 18th, 2009, we were just outside the room when we heard P’s first cries. It was such an amazing sound. Shawn and I both cried. (well, he “teared up” lol).

Two hours later, after they had moved N to recovery, we were able to see her. She was beautiful…there is no other way to describe her. Watching Shawn hold her was me falling in love with him all over again. All daddies should have daughters. I can’t describe the joy we had. We gave P her first bath, helped change diapers while we were there, and fed her. To us, she was “ours” and it was like she always had been.

During that time of excitement and drooling over our daughter, we didn’t know that N was starting to have second thoughts. We made plans with N and her mom to bring P to a late Thanksgiving dinner at their place so she could meet all the birth family. We were talking pacifiers, blankets and formulas, not once thinking that we weren’t going to be leaving the hospital with her. Two days later, as we waited for the phone call about the time we needed to be back at the hospital, instead, we got a phone call from a caseworker we didn’t even know (ours was out of town) that N had changed her mind and that she was going to parent. That’s when it all came crashing down.

I wish I could say that we endured this trial gracefully. I wish I could say that I was an example to all on how to remain strong and hopeful during those dark times of life. I wish it hadn’t hurt so much.

The thing with failed placements, especially ones where you have gotten to know the baby and were just hours away from bringing her home, to your home, is that now, this sweet precious little girl (or boy), has no ties to you and you have no claim on them. You are not their birth mother, you are not their adoptive mother, you’re not even “family”, and yet, you loved them as if they were your own. That doesn’t go away. Friends and family would always tell me, “You’ll have another chance to adopt”, or “You’ll find YOUR baby soon”, and while I appreciated their support so much, it was hard to get them to realize the bond we had with THIS baby girl. I didn’t carry her in me for nine months, but I still had a love and connection with her that is like that of a mothers. Fathers never carry their children, or give birth, and yet, you know that the love they have for their child is beyond anything that words can express. When we got the phone called that N had changed her mind, it felt like a part of us had died. In fact, Shawn even mentioned that it was like we had a daughter, but she died at the hospital. Those were my feelings exactly. The last time we saw her she was two days old. She never came home. Or, more appropriately, she never came home to “us”.

During the first week after the birth and the failed placement, (man, that just doesn’t seem like a good enough way to describe what happens when you lose a baby) although we were devastated, we were still holding out hope that N would change her mind again and that we would get a call telling us to come get our baby. The first day, we had taken everything that was set up (the swing, the bouncers, bottles, etc) and just threw them in the nursery and closed the door. That didn’t stop us, or at least me, from praying that N would change her mind. As the weeks passed though, we had to come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t going to happen. We withdrew from the world and spent our days focusing more on each other and the children we do have at home. Some might have said that we were anti-social or may have worried when we didn’t call or answer our phones, but it was just what we needed at that moment. To begin healing. Shawn brought home a dog one day, and although he didn’t say it, I knew that it was something to kind of replace what we had lost. I didn’t have the heart to tell him to take her back. That was just the beginning of our journey. When caseworkers and counselors tell you that you will experience every stage of grief, sometimes more than once, they couldn’t be more right.

We went to meet with our caseworker a few weeks later and she could see that I was just an outward mess. I knew that I was a mess, but all I wanted was to get our profile back up and running because I had felt like we had lost precious time in finding “our child”. It was hard for me to admit that I was grieving the loss of a child that was not ours. She told me it was natural to feel that way and that I should see a counselor to try and help me cope with the grief. I didn’t think that anyone would understand how I was feeling, because no one at the time seemed to grasp how much we loved that little girl. She set me up with a counselor though, and I promised that I would see her.

What our caseworker didn’t realize at the time, and what I failed to realize also, was that, although I was an outward mess of crying jags, depression, and days where I just wanted to stay in bed, I wasn’t the only one falling apart. Shawn, who had been so strong for me and for our kids, was struggling on the inside.

I guess I didn’t realize until then that everyone has their own way of grieving and coping (or not coping). What I thought was strength, was really him just bottling everything up inside. The loss of the baby burned into his soul and he started questioning his faith. I tell you this, not for judgment, but for understanding that may help someone you love who is going through the same thing. While I had a hard time getting up and going to church because I felt like it was too much work to get in the shower and get ready and I would rather just lay in bed watching ridiculously stupid Lifetime movies (enter depression), Shawn didn’t want to go because his faith had been tested so much that he wasn’t sure he believed anymore. It was an extremely emotional, faith testing experience for us losing that child…losing that dream of what could be. If we would have had someone there to tell us what they went through and give us guidance, it still would have been very hard, but we would have known what to expect and, I think as far as faith goes, it wouldn’t have been questioned as much. Of course we’ve become much stronger and more faithful as a result. I think that is one of the things you need to look for if you go through a failed placement, or any faith-trying event,…what can you learn and how can you grow?

Come back tomorrow for part 3...

Alicia has been married for 10 years (in August) to her high school sweetheart. They have 2 amazing little boys and have been in the adoption process for about 4 years, hoping that Heavenly Father will bless them with a little one soon. In her free time she loves to create; photography, art, name it and she'll try it at least once.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

You Know Better Than I- Part 1

Note: This is a 3 part story. Part 2 will be published tomorrow, and the final part of the story will be here on Friday!

Most people who have never been through the adoption process don’t understand how truly emotional and faith testing the process is…even before getting chosen. To find out you cannot have children, or have any more children, is gut wrenching. There is that long period of time when you wonder if your Heavenly Father truly loves you. How could you not be blessed with such a righteous desire?

Even after you are chosen by a birth mom, it is still a very bumpy and challenging road (I am telling this from my point of view as a potential adoptive parent…of course, there are many other heartaches involved as a birth parent). If it’s a few months away you have to wonder everyday if she will change her mind or pick someone else. You wonder if you should get the nursery ready and tell your other kids (if you have them). There is no security until that little baby is placed in your arms and the papers are signed. This is our story, which we featured on an adoption site, about how we dealt with the loss of a baby….the dreaded “Failed Placement”.

We were 2 years into the adoption process when we received our first email from our profile. Yes, the first. Many couples have at least a few before they are seriously considered or chosen. We were thrilled, and so nervous at the same time. What do we write back? What if we sound like total geeks? Could this possibly be the miracle we’ve been praying for? We had a hard time with that email, but we eventually wrote back, and after another couple of emails and a phone chat, the potential birth mom had set up a day to meet us.

When we met N for the first time, I knew her. I mean, I had never met her before, but when she walked up and sat down on the bench outside Olive Garden, I knew it was her. I could only see her face…I couldn’t tell she was pregnant (she was a very tiny girl anyways so she wasn’t really showing at 27 weeks). But in that instant, I knew it was going to be a good first meeting. We had our two boys with us, which I was kind of leery about at first, but N told us that she wanted to meet them and so we brought them and just said we were meeting a friend for dinner. I can say that there were some awkward pauses during the dinner, but overall it went really great. We learned so much about her and her life. We talked for a long time, I think the waiters probably wanted us to leave. She was the sweetest girl. I don’t know how she felt about us when we first sat down, if she was just meeting with us or if she had already made up her mind, but when she asked the boys, “do you want a baby sister or a baby brother?” I knew that she had already made up her mind. Both boys, of course, announced “baby sister”.

N went out to her car and brought back a build-a-bear box. She then had us open the box, which had a bear dressed in a pink skirt, and said “you’re going to have a daughter!” She then told the boys as she put her hands on her belly “This baby is all yours!” Shawn and I (and Blake and Cole) were more than ecstatic! Tears came to my eyes almost instantly and I hugged her. I had always felt like the baby that was waiting to come to our family was a girl.

Come back tomorrow for Part 2... 

Alicia has been married for 10 years (in August) to her high school sweetheart. They have 2 amazing little boys and have been in the adoption process for about 4 years, hoping that Heavenly Father will bless them with a little one soon. In her free time she loves to create; photography, art, name it and she'll try it at least once.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

He Makes Me Crazy.

6June 116-2 He makes me insane. Like, I want to scream or laugh out of hysteria. He doesn’t listen very well when he thinks he’s being funny, or playing his electric guitar or video games. I always get a dramatic response when I ask him to change a dirty diaper, and I swear I can never get a straight answer out of him. He doesn’t pay attention to the time, and he likes movies that I think are stupid. He makes me crazy.

But I adore him.

I think he’s cute when he’s rocking out on his guitar or jamming on his ukulele (I just know not to say anything important). I love how excited he gets when he’s telling me stories about his teenage years, when he did crazy dangerous things I hope he never tells our sons. I love the way he’s not afraid to break into dance wherever we are – grocery stores included.

He’s a good man. He takes time to play and spend time with our sons; they want to be just like him. He goes on dates with me almost every weekend, even if we have no plan. He stays up late having heart-to-heart conversations with his teenage brothers. When he has hard days and needs someone to talk to, even though I’m not always in the mood to hear about it, I’m his best friend, so I get to be the one that’s there for him – complaining and all; I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have learned to love him the way he is. I have learned to love the way the sheet on his side of the bed always seems to slip off the corner, and how he unfailingly leaves his shoes in the middle of the living room floor. His quirks and imperfections are what make him him.

Our marriage has not been easy. It hasn’t even been close to the “Happily Ever After” I imagined it would be. We have been through hard times, really hard times, easy times, sad times, fun times, trying times, wonderful times, disappointing times, frustrating times, and did I mention hard times? Of course, all the good times are in there, too… but those I expected.

Do I love him more now than I did the day we were married? Yes. Am I a better person now than I was before he was a part of my life? Absolutely! Am I becoming the woman I want to be? Yep! Even more so than I could have anticipated!

“…marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children. (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)”

Ordained of God! No wonder marriage can be so amazing, and I have found so much joy in it, despite the difficult times. I know that without my Heavenly Father, I probably wouldn’t appreciate the trials in my marriage that have brought me so much growth. I know that my marriage is ordained of God, and that gives me enough hope and strength to get through the hard (especially the really hard) times. I look forward to an eternity with my silly, handsome, imperfect husband!

Alicia is a married, mother of two boys ages two and four years old and is expecting her third in May. She grew up on the island of Kaua’i where her parents still live after 22 years. She enjoys photography and meeting up with friends at the local Applebees for Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert Shooters.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Finding Joy in the Journey – Now.

*Originally published on Nov. 8, 2008, republished on Pearls with permission.
A couple days ago I read over the 4 talks President Monson gave at the most recent LDS General Conference and wrote down his words of counsel. One of his talks was about "finding joy in the journey--now" and not letting our lives pass us by without appreciating what we have. He said, "With gratitude in our hearts, may we fill our days--as much as we can--with those things which matter most. May we cherish those we hold dear and express our love to them in word and in deed."

I have found myself getting frustrated with Sydney for somehow getting in my way when I want to do something. I don't like feeling that way, and I am trying to replace those feelings with gratitude and remember that she needs me to love and care for her more than I need to run an errand or take a shower or even sleep. She is a wonderful baby, and I have no reason to get frustrated with her.

I also am taking to heart the counsel of one of my home teachers. He said to always expect your child to have sleep problems and then you won't be surprised and worried when she wakes during the night. Sydney has actually had WONDERFUL sleep habits, but every night I remember that thought and expect her to wake up. When she doesn't, I am well pleased, and if she does, I want to be okay with it.

So this morning at 4:30am when I heard Sydney struggling to sleep, I got her from her crib and snuggled with her in the glider chair. It was one of the sweetest moments I've had with her. I was tired but not at all frustrated. She was just cold and in need of a little lovin'. As we rocked in the darkness I said a prayer in my mind, thanking my Heavenly Father for my beautiful baby girl and telling him how glad I am that I am her mother and know what she needs and can soothe her cries. I love her so much. She was asleep well before I put her back in her crib, but I was just appreciating the Prophet's words of finding joy in my life now.

Remembering that taking care of Sydney is what the Lord wants of me right now really helps me every day. Thinking of it as my job makes it sound menial and rough. I try to cherish the time I have with her and enjoy how she makes me feel. I spend some time every day looking in her eyes and playing with her hands and making her laugh. I don't need to read a book every time I feed her a bottle. I can just feed her and love her.
It has taken me longer than I expected to feel so enamored with motherhood as I now feel, but I am so glad to have arrived here. I know it will not always be so blissful, but I will work on keeping the proper perspective.

Cami Evans 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.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Why Do I Feel Like This?

from flickr, by slunchitze
I had a wonderful childhood full of love and support. I was taught about my Heavenly Father and how much he loved me from the start. I never questioned if I was loved or where I belonged in this world…Yet, the first time I remember feeling “uneasy” was when I was 8 years old. I just wanted to hide from the world, and had this unexplainable sinking feeling in my gut. I felt all alone and scared. That was the day I was baptized. I hid away from all the people who came to support me, and couldn’t figure out what was happening to me.

Nothing more happened until Jr. High. From there that “feeling” seemed to follow me everywhere I went. It influenced every decision I made. It made me feel worthless, and unintelligent. It made me feel ugly, and alone. On the outside I managed to keep it all together. No one knew the pain I was going through. I truly thought I was the only one who had ever felt this way.

Fast forward a few years to the birth of our first child. I was really sick through the entire pregnancy and that “feeling” was at its worst. She came 2 weeks early and was very sick. She spent 5 days in the NICU, and came home with lots of chords and medicines to keep her healthy. That first week was the longest of my life. This adorable, perfect, absolutely beautiful creature didn’t feel like mine. I felt so disconnected. I watched my husband with her and it was so beautiful. They connected instantly.

The next few weeks were a blur. I couldn’t motivate myself to do anything and was absolutely terrified of being left alone with her. I cried every single day. Why didn’t I feel like her mother? One night when she was about 6 weeks old my husband I got in a fight because he was so sick of doing everything on his own. He got up with her at night, he changed her diapers, he cleaned the house, and still went to work every day. I wish I could’ve told him what I was going though, but I couldn’t find the words, so I left. I got in the car and drove away.

I seriously considered ending my life. My husband panicked and called my mom to watch our daughter and found me basically comatose in a parking lot and took me home. The very next day was my 6 week check up, so my husband stayed home from work to make sure I talked about everything with my doctor. Very grudgingly I started talking anti-depressants.

Over the next couple of weeks I felt this fog lifting. I was able to see the beauty in everyday life. When Mara spit up all over the place, I was glad she could get her bubbles out. When she screamed because her tummy hurt, I knew she needed me to help her feel better. I was her mother. No one could take my place.
As I got further along in my recovery from post partum depression, I realized that what I had been experiencing my entire life truly was depression. I could finally see my life for what it was: something beautiful and inspired. I had a loving Heavenly Father who sent me here to experience these trials and become a better person.

Sometimes I let myself wonder, “why me?” But that gets me nowhere. I know that is Satan trying to influence me. I can’t let him win. As the fog lifted I was able to draw closer to my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ. I could feel of their love for me, and their support as I experience this trial.
When I start feeling bad again I have to remind myself that everything has a purpose. This trial is here to teach me something. Most importantly, that Heavenly Father did not send me here without any resources to help me get through this. He has blessed us all with the Atonement, with prophets, with the scriptures, family, friends, the priesthood, modern day medicines, and so much more. He loves us. He wants us to succeed.

Brittani Evans  
Brittani is the mother of the two cutest kids on the planet (ask anyone) and married to her childhood sweetheart. She is semi-obsessed with reading, and has a bunch of hobbies like quilting.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

He Eased My Mind

expectation I was having a really difficult time with a certain person in my life. There was a huge lack of communication in our relationship and I was constantly feeling upset and frustrated because I didn’t know what I could possibly say to this person without it turning unpleasant. The mere thought of this person and all the hurt and dishonesty got my blood boiling – and I hated the way I felt. I mostly avoided this person and any chance of confrontation.

It got to a point where our lack of communication was affecting my daily life. I knew something had to change, but I could not, for the life of me, figure how this could be addressed without bringing out all the hurt and negative emotions I had been trying so hard to release.

I had been petitioning my Heavenly Father for help throughout the ordeal, and He had brought peace to my mind and soul time and time again, but in this instance I felt stuck.

As I lay in bed one night, the situation was bothering me enough that I could not find rest. I couldn’t fall asleep and my mind was reeling with possible ways to handle the situation – all of which would not end well and didn’t feel right. Again, I asked my Heavenly Father to help me know what I should do.

Immediately after, thoughts came to my mind that felt natural and as if they could be my own. A scenario played out in my mind’s eye with specific dialogue and feelings. It was an option I had not considered, but made the most sense. It wasn’t what I had originally desired, but it was clearly the right thing to do. I was amazed how much sense it all made, and I knew I would have to talk to my husband about it as soon as I could.

It wasn’t until the next morning, that I really realized that what had happened was inspiration from my Father in Heaven. The more I thought about what had been revealed to me, the more confident and peaceful I felt about approaching the situation, knowing I was doing what He would have me do under these circumstances.

I know Heavenly Father loves and listens to me, and when I desire to do His will, miracles occur. I know He loves that person as well and He is the only one who understands us both and knows what is best for a strained relationship. I am grateful I was able to receive that inspiration. I am grateful to know I can access such blessings again when I need them!

18Nov 511-5
Alicia is a married, mother of two boys ages two and four years old and is expecting her third in May. She grew up on the island of Kaua’i where her parents still live after 22 years. She enjoys photography and meeting up with friends at the local Applebees for Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert Shooters.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It Was the Right Time

Christus As a child, I saw the missionaries many times. My mom always welcomed them into our home to teach us, but when they started talking about paying tithing my mom would back down and say, "this is not for us!"

Years passed, twelve years to be exact, until I decided to talk to the missionaries.

We didn't know the name of the church, so I looked for all the churches in the yellow pages. I read each one of them to my mom, until I came to "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" and bingo! my mom said it was that one. I couldn't wait for the next day to call, so I immediately called the office of the church, and they were very amazed that somebody would call the office of the church to ask for the missionaries to come to a home and teach.

The next day, the missionaries were knocking on our door. We started listening to them, and when they asked us to kneel down and pray to Heavenly Father, so we could receive an answer about The Church and the Book of Mormon, we did! However I didn't feel a thing, I was very confused. As I walked into my mother's room to ask her if she had received an answer, I saw her sitting on her bed crying, and she said to me "I'm getting baptized!" I was happy for her, but so scared because I wasn't sure.

The next Sunday, we went to church for my mother to have her interview, as I sat on the last bench, I prayed, but this time I prayed from the heart, wanting to receive an answer, and I did! I felt the most amazing feeling in my heart, it was a warm, good feeling, like I felt peace in my heart, and it was good.

We got baptized May 4th 2002 and my sister followed our steps a year later.

As I look back I now understand that the time of the Lord is perfect. Sometimes it is not our time to do something, maybe because we are not prepared. Many years ago, we were not prepared to take the big step of becoming members of The Church, maybe we weren't spiritually mature enough to understand what an important and life changing decision it is to get baptized.

I am so happy that we chose to be baptized, and to follow Him. Today I know that Jesus lives, I know that He is my savior, my big brother, and best friend. I know that Heavenly Father loves us so much, that He gave His only son so we could be here today. His timing is perfect, and it was the right time.

Fabi is a mother, a friend, a wife, a sister and a daughter. She married her best friend when she was 20, they’ve been married for seven years and counting. She’s currently getting her BA in early childhood education. She loves to craft, and share every little thing she learns. She has a strong testimony of The Church, and she  knows that Jesus lives and is her Savior.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Talk to me Tuesday-Marie Holleman

Today, we are lucky to hear from an amazing woman, mother and author. She is also the brains behind a great site called the Mother Myths Tribe. Feel free to visit her site HERE after reading her interview.

Pearls: First off, what exactly is the "Mother Myths Tribe", and what inspired you to start it?

Marie: Mother Myths Tribe is a place where moms can come together and talk about the good things and the hard things about motherhood. Just being totally open and authentic with out any fear of judgement. What I have learned about motherhood is that it is the greatest accelerator for learning and growing. That all of the hard things about motherhood are given to us so we can learn from them and become more than we would have been with out them.

I started by writing a book called "Confessions of the Everyday Mother" which is just a collection of all my experiences as a mother. Through writing that book I started to feel what I now know as my "soul purpose". In starting a website for moms at first I thought it was just about giving moms a place to chat, but what I came to realize is that I feel deeply connected to serving those moms who feel like they are drowning in motherhood.

Not every mother feels that way, but between cleaning, cooking teaching wiping noses and trying to be everything to everyone, a lot of mothers get lost. They start to see the challenges as a sign that they are not good enough, and looking around see perfection in everyone else but themselves, and start to question whether or not they are really doing what God would want them to do or if they are just a big failure. They see the hard times as a sign of their weakness, where as I see them as a chance for us to just get stronger. Those mothers are the ones who are in my "tribe". Through the things I have learned, I hope to give other mothers the hope that they can make it through, the voice to speak their truth, the tools to learn what to do with the hard times and the knowledge that they are not alone.

Pearls: What do you think is a myth that many women have come to believe?

Marie: Oh man! There are so many....the biggest one is that there is such a thing as perfection (in this mortal life anyways and especially in motherhood). I don't believe in perfection in motherhood, and I don't believe in the word failure. Everything is just a stepping stone and a chance to learn and move forward. So many times we are striving for perfection in motherhood and when we don't make it we just decide we have failed. When in reality, we are striving for something that doesn't exist and when we decide we are a failure we miss the chance to learn what Heavenly Father is REALLY trying to teach us.

Pearls: What are 3 things you love about Texas?

Marie: I love a LOT of things about Texas, one is the weather. Some people hate how hot it gets, but I LOVE the heat and I love the winters here.

I LOVE the bluebonnets in the spring!

Most of what I love about Texas is that my life is here. My husband loves his job, we have great friends here, and we are here.

Pearls: Something you dislike about Texas?

Marie: I don't like the mosquito's! But that's not just in Texas, and I miss those who aren't here....

Pearls: What are some of your hobbies and when do you find the time to do them?

Marie: Most moms (and people in general) see their time in scarcity. I on the other hand have an ABUNDANCE of time, and I still don't know how....

I LOVE TV and movies. I know its silly, but I think in another life I would be a movie and TV producer and writer. I love watching how they lay out story lines, and the camera angles. I love critiquing them and deciding how they could make them even better. I have always wanted to start a consulting company where I tell them how to tweak their movies and TV story lines and "fix" them.

I love to go out to eat, I love girls night outs, I love photography and video editing. A lot of it I do when they are napping or sleeping at night, somethings I can do with them, like photography and video editing, and as for the rest I make sure that make a little time for me. You cant serve from an empty pitcher so I make sure mine is full....

Pearls: What are some things that you do everyday to keep the spirit in your home?

Marie: I will say I am not perfect at this, but things we do are reading scriptures at night, and praying in the car on the way to school. The best advice I ever got about this was to make sure that Jesus Christ was a part of every day conversation. Sometimes we think we have to be careful when using His name so we end up not using it often, but I add it in as we talk about bugs, and the weather, and how grateful I am that Jesus gave me them, and about kindness, and how Jesus gave them their fingers.

Pearls: What is something interesting about yourself? ( ex. quirks, things you like or dislike, clothing you like to wear)

Marie: Quirks....hmmmm.....I don't love pajamas, so 90% of the time my kids wear their clothes for the next day to bed....why make more laundry and take more time for just a few hours of sleeping right? Most people think that's weird....

I also am coaching for a company called called Paid to Play Academy for 5 hours a week which I LOVE, and started another website and piece of this puzzle called Revolution Motherhood. It is always growing and expanding, it's fun and crazy as I just keep moving forward and following this path and LIVING my life. Where as I used to just let my life live me.

Pearls: Where is your favorite spot in the whole world?

Marie: I love a lot of places and hope to see the whole world so I can really decide, but honestly, I do just LOVE my house.

Pearls: Do you have a church calling? If so, what is it?

Marie: I just got called to teach the 14 yr old kids Sunday school. I was in primary, and will really miss my class, but I'm excited to connect with this new group of kids.

Pearls: How do you balance life with 4 kids, blogging, hobbies, church, mothering, school, etc...?

Marie: I take things as they come and live in the moment. Otherwise I am so overwhelmed thinking about the past and worrying about the future. I have an amazing support group, especially my husband and kids, and I know that anything that is handed to me I can conquer with my best friend....Jesus Christ. I know it sounds cheesy and over said, but I have had experience after experience, especially lately that have just reminded me that I get to rely on Him and Him alone! motherhood is part of His plan and He has set it up so that we can become exactly who He planned us to be through it! Even and especially THROUGH the juggling and balancing act called motherhood and life!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...