Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best of 2013

Here we are at the end of the year.  It's hard to believe that 2013 is over! 

Here are our highlights from this year:

Grig and Emma both graduated from college.  Finally!

Kevin turned one!

We got our first family dog (albeit I owned her before)!

Grig got a full-time job after graduating.  It wasn't in his field, but it was still a definite answer to prayer.  We know we are where we are supposed to be right now, and we have faith that Heavenly Father will continue to guide us.

We got our first apartment (that wasn't owned by family).

We started a youtube channel and a blog.

Emma nearly completed her NaNoWriMo challenge.

We had Havelock come and live with us.

 The end.

I also wanted to post links to my five favorite blogs I've written this year.  I've done 112 of them now, so it was hard to choose, but as I skimmed, I ended up picking the eight (instead of five) that stuck out.  My most popular are to the right if you want to read those as well, but these are my favorite.

Walking with My Husband
The tale of my engagement.  Walking is a habit we hope to continue.

First Night with an Indoor Dog
I wrote a poem.  I rather liked it.  It was a fun experience.

When Did My Younger Siblings get so Old?
I made my parents cry with this one.  So, I thought I'd post it again.

Work is Meant to be Hard
This was my vent of frustration.  However, I think it turned out well.

Why Do Fireflies Die So Soon?
This is possibly the most beautiful post that I have written so far.  It was the only one that got shared a couple of times.

Top Ten Injuries in My Life
My own injuries amuse me.

What Do You Do When Your Snake Gets Loose?
This was a huge miracle.  We are still very grateful for that night.

Are Big Families Crazy?
We think not.

New Year begins tomorrow!  I'll have to make a new set of goals for the month of January and the year to follow!

Thank you for reading, commenting, liking, and sharing our blogs and videos.  It means a lot that you want to stay in touch with our lives!

We love you!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Mormon Monday: What Do Mormons Believe About the Bible?

Often, people seem to have a misconception about LDS members and the Bible.  They seem to think that just because we have the Book of Mormon (Mormon Monday blog about that here) that we don't think we need the Bible anymore.  They think we have REPLACED the Bible with the Book of Mormon. 

This is simply not true. 

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believe the Bible to be the word of God as long as it is translated correctly.  In the last couple centuries, the Bible has undergone a lot of editing.  Translators often changed things that didn't agree with their personal beliefs and that has caused a lot of confusion amongst the different religious sects.  In one site I found, it lists 121 different English version of the Bible.  It's in interesting site.  If you want to look at it.  It shows when the different versions or translations were created.

In the process of translating, some errors are expected.  Some are accidental, some are purposeful.  Regardless, we are humans and we err.  This is why the wording can be so different from Bible to Bible and why we become so confused.  Which translation is correct? 

We believe you can not possibly replace the Bible.  It is the record of Christ's life among the Jews.  His words are sacred and we are so grateful that his followers were able to preserve his words and deeds. 

The Old Testament is equally important to us.  We don't believe the stories in there are symbolic.  We believe they truly occurred.  God can do all things, and we believe there truly was a flood.  We believe that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived and did the things that the Old Testaments says they did.  We love the Bible stories and doctrine.

Currently, we read the King James version.  However, due to many of the translation errors, the version that our church distributes also has a Joseph Smith translation section were Joseph Smith cleared up some of the confusing mistakes that are prevalent through that version of the Bible.  We believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Lord communicated through him to help us more fully understand the Bible.

Many people use the argument, "You can't have more scripture (talking about the Book of Mormon), because The Book of Revelation says that (Revelation 22:18-19) if anyone adds or takes away from this book, they shall be cursed."  Many Christians assume those words are talking about the entire Bible.  What they don't understand, is that originally, the Bible wasn't put together.  It was originally just different books.  The word Bible actually means "the books."  It is only (relatively) recently that al these books were put together in one volume.  If you look at John's actual words, he says:

18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

John says, "book of this prophecy," meaning only The Revelation of St. John.  In other words, if anyone changes the words purposefully, that is when the curse that he prophesies would come upon them.

We believe that the Bible and Book of Mormon together teach us about our Savior and clarify the confusing bits of the Bible.  We love the Bible, but if you knew that the Savior had talked to someone else and they had written down the words that He said, wouldn't you want to read those words as well?

That is why we read the Book of Mormon.  It is more of Christ's words to people on a different continent.  God loves all his children, not just the Jews.  He wants all of them to receive eternal life, and Christ is the Savior of all mankind.  Thus, he has more for us to hear, if we will only listen.

As I read the Bible and Book of Mormon together, they both make more sense.  The gospel becomes clear and I realize that God has not left us alone.  He still is trying to speak to us today if only we have ears to hear. 

We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Love of a Mother

My mother has made a lot of sacrifices for her children in her life, but this may be the greatest one I've seen yet.

Since I was small, my mother has never allowed pets (like cats or dogs) inside of her house unless they are sick or recently returned from surgery.  Then, they were allowed to stay in the playroom until they could walk straight. As soon as they recovered sufficiently they were sent outside.

We had other pets inside of the house, like gerbils, lizards, snakes, birds, and hedgehogs, and though my mother has tolerated these smaller pets that can't survive outside, she hasn't allowed larger pets in the house.

This week, we brought Dakota with us when we went to visit my mother.  We recently gave her a hair cut again and she's lost all of her undercoat since she's been living in the house, so her coat is too thin for her to be outside in the negative degree temperatures. We couldn't leave her at the apartment because Havelock has to work.

So, my mother has made maybe her greatest sacrifice ever.  She has allowed a dog inside of her home.  Dakota isn't allowed to come into the kitchen or dining room, but she can go into the playroom and downstairs to sleep with us in the bedroom.

Dakota has enjoyed being back.  She lived in the backyard for years at this house, and old habits die hard.  She has a hard time coming inside, and she still goes to the bathroom in the same corner of the yard, which means I have to trek through lots of snow to clean up after her, but it's okay.

Dakota has been very good.  I really appreciate the fact that my mother loves me enough for her to let us bring the dog inside.  She is a wonderful person who really cares about her children.  Due to her love, she sometimes allows things that otherwise would never occur.

My father's mother has made a similar sacrifice.  All growing up, they didn't have dogs in their home either.  However, when my aunt was grown, she got a little Shih Tzu.  His name is Teddy and he is a really sweet dog, but he wouldn't do so well out in the winter if he was left outside.  He is an indoor dog, and my grandmother has allowed him to come into her home because she loves her daughter.  I think she has come to love the dog as well, but it began with love for her child. 

Mothers are wonderful.  I hope I can be as selfless and giving as my mother. 

Thank you for letting Dakota in the house.

What are somethings your mother has done for you because she loves you?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Update on Goal

For those of you wondering how my December goal went, I accomplished it!  I was able to read the entire Book of Mormon before the end of Christmas. In fact, I finished reading it at 11:20 p.m. on December 25th!

This is a short blog today because we were traveling all day to visit the family, so I wasn't able to get onto the computer until now.  Our trip was pretty awful.  Kevin screamed the whole way.  We pulled over a couple times to feed him and see if he would go to sleep, but he refused.  He is a very stubborn kid.  I feel like most babies cry themselves to sleep after more than an hour, but he was screaming for almost three.

It was a relief to reach our destination. 

Thank you for your continual support and love.  We wish you the best!

Thursday, December 26, 2013


As you all know, yesterday was Christmas!

Stocking picture
We went to bed pretty late Christmas Eve.  We were over at my grandparent's home for a while to do a nativity and eat dinner.  Then, when we came home we took customary stocking pictures, and then after Kevin went to bed, Havelock, Grig, and I stayed up late to play games and enjoy their night off. 

Then, Christmas morning, we woke up at the early hour of 9:30 a.m. Kevin was a little bit sad when he woke up, but before he started to cry, I said, "Look!  Daddy!"

Kevin saw his dad sleeping in the bed, and he instantly became the happiest boy you've ever seen.  Most mornings, Grig wakes up long before Kevin, so it was very unusual for Grig to still be in the bed when Kevin woke up.  It made Kevin so excited!  We got dressed, took the dog out, changed Kevin's diaper, and then we went out to see what Santa had brought us.

Dakota's presents, including a new bed!
Kevin received some toy dinosaurs, a stuffed cow, and some candy.  He really enjoyed pulling things out of his stocking one at a time.  We'll try to post a video this weekend, but we're going to be out of town, so it may not happen.
Kevin enjoying his Christmas candy

After that, we talked to Grig's family over Skype until Havelock woke up.  Then we made breakfast.  We had eggs, pancakes, bacon, and sausage.  Oh, yeah!  And eggnog.  You can't forget the eggnog.

It was delicious.  Then, after breakfast, we opened presents.  We got some fantastic gifts.  Some of the presents I received were House of Hades and Man of Steel!  I also got a new saucepan and some River Monster videos.

Grig received a few books, some dvds (including John Carter!) and a knife sharpener.
Kevin's presents

Kevin got some of those huge legos, some wood blocks, a puzzle, a nativity set, a pop-up book with sounds, and the complete Walking with Dinosaurs series.  He also got a singing key chain and refrigerator magnets.

We then went to lunch with my grandparents and opened a few more gifts. 

Kevin was so tired.  He didn't take a nap all day until we came home at 4:30.  He went to straight to a late nap.

We had a great day! Kevin loves unwrapping presents. We enjoyed ourselves immensely.

We hope you had a Merry Christmas too!     

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Grinch

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (featuring Boris Karloff) was always one of my favorite cartoons when I was a kid.  However, I really, strongly DISLIKED the Jim Carrey version.  I found it extremely obnoxious. So, when I show my son The Grinch he will be watching the cartoon version. 


That's not really the point of this post however.  This post is about us. You and me.

Lately, I've been thinking about the Grinch a bit.  Two different people quoted the poem at church this last Sunday.  The moral usually seems to be the same, that Christmas is about more than presents, more than food, and more than commercialism.  If someone came and took all that away, Christmas would still exist and it would be joyful.

However, what if someone really did take all that away?

How would I have reacted Christmas morning if I came out and all the presents were gone?  What if someone had stolen our Christmas tree?  What if someone had taken all of our food?

I would have cried.  I wouldn't have held hands with my family (at least not at first) and sang Christmas songs about "Fahoo Fores Dahoo Dores", I would have probably cried my eyes out.  With me, The Grinch would have heard the sadness he so desperately sought. 

I'm sure eventually my parents would have helped me see the joy behind Christmas anyway, but for a few moments, I would have been broken-hearted.  Then, after having a wonderful talk with my family, we probably would have joined hands and sang.

If you've never seen Jimmy Kimmel's Halloween prank on youtube, it can be quite hilarious.  Basically, the day after Halloween, the parents take all the Halloween candy and hide it.  When the children wake up, the parents tell them that they became hungry during the night and ate all of the candy.  It is interesting to see some of the kids' reactions.  Some cry, some forgive, and some turn into screaming monsters. 

And that's just Halloween candy. 

What about you?  How would you react if they really did take away all the commercialism and it became a simple family ceremony with songs and Christ?

It definitely wouldn't be terrible.  I do, however, really enjoy Christmas traditions.  I feel like traditions bring families together and give children something to look forward to.  I'm sure we could replace the expensive gifts with other wonderful traditions of service and love, but I really like giving gifts to others.  I wouldn't want that tradition to go away.  Maybe it should just be simplified. 

Christmas is wonderful, and I'm thrilled that it's tomorrow!  I probably won't blog on Christmas.  Hopefully none of you will miss me too much. 

I'm sure you'll be okay. 

Have a Merry Christmas!  Keep the spirit of Christ alive in your hearts during this holiday season, and may we all be as happy as the Whos with whatever gifts others may give us. 

Don't let The Grinch win.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Mormon Monday: When Do Mormons Believe Christ Was Born?

With Christmas Day fast approaching, I have been thinking a lot about our Savior's birth. 


Some people don't celebrate Christmas, because they either believe that it originally began as a pagan holiday or they believe that it has become too commercialized and that we should celebrate Christ every day, not just once a year. 

The history of Christmas is actually very convoluted.  I thought I understood vaguely where it came from, but when I checked out the wikipedia article on it (link here), I realized that it didn't necessarily begin as a pagan holidays and many religions do actually believe that Christ was born on Christmas.  According to one source, "The date of Christmas may have initially been chosen to correspond with the day exactly nine months after early Christians believed Jesus to have been conceived."  Basically, the traditional Christmas has had a confusing and mixed history.

Nowadays, according to Wikipedia, "the exact month and day of his birth are unknown."  Christmas is seen as a commemoration (to honor the memory of by some observance) of Christ.  In general, it doesn't really matter WHAT day Christ was born, the important thing is that He WAS born and He DID live.

However, what do Mormons believe?  

We believe that we do know when Christ was born.  We believe in modern revelation, which means that God still talks to His servants in these days.  (See other blog about that here.)  The Lord still lives.  He has always talked to prophets and had prophets to guide his children in what he wanted him to do.  God doesn't change, so if He has always had prophets, shouldn't he always have prophets?  

We believe that our prophets have been told when Christ was born.  Read the following excerpt from a Student Manuel.

D&C 20:1. Why Was the Church Organized on 6 April?

The Prophet Joseph Smith recorded that the Lord commanded them to organize the Church on 6 April 1830 (see History of the Church, 1:64). The importance of 6 April was explained by President Harold B. Lee: “April 6, 1973, is a particularly significant date because it commemorates not only the anniversary of the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in this dispensation, but also the anniversary of the birth of the Savior, our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1973, p. 4; or Ensign, Apr. 1973, p. 2).

President Spencer W. Kimball commented that “the name Jesus Christ and what it represents has been plowed deep into the history of the world, never to be uprooted. Christ was born on the sixth of April. Being one of the sons of God and His Only Begotten, his birth is of supreme importance.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1975, pp. 3–4; or Ensign, May 1975, p. 4.)
So, though we don't believe that Christ was born on the 25th of December, we love the Christmas season and most of us do participate in it (everyone has their own personal choice of how they celebrate the season).  As a commemoration, it is a wonderful celebration.  A lot of miraculous and wonderful things happen when people do their best to remember Christ, regardless of what day it is.  Christmas, for some people, is the only time of the year that they really contemplate the Savior's birth.
Christmas has a wonderful spirit about it, and it is a great time to reflect on Christ's life and His ministry.  Whatever day you celebrate the birth of our Savior, may you feel the joy of his love and remember the glad tidings that were sung of by angels. 

Merry Christmas to you all.  Let us remember Christ each day, and not just on Christmas.  I know that as we do that, that we will find peace in our personal lives and guidance in this hectic world.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Kevin, the Boy Wonder

This morning, Kevin was playing around the heating vent when I heard him start giggling.  Interested on what he was getting into, I walked around the table to take a look.  To my surprise, he had figured out that if he picked up some scraps of fabric and put them against the vent, they would stick to it.  He thought it was awesome!

I videotaped a few minutes of it.  The vent is on the wall, so the cloth was sticking to it like a magnet, as long as the furnace was on. 

Kevin is quite clever.  We then had a long discussion where he would point to something and ask, "Is it?" 

I would tell him the name and he would laugh and say, "Whooaa!  Whooaa!"  He is very excited right now about everything. 

He also says, "Uh-oh!"  It's pretty funny usually.  Usually it's just because he dropped something, and not because something serious happened.

Kevin can run and climb.  He has four teeth and he sometimes likes to grind them, which drives us nuts. 

He loves the dog.  His favorite game is to grab her tail and have her pull him around.  She doesn't really mind, and she's very patient with him.  He also likes to try and ride her, but I usually rescue her before he gets to far.  When people come over, he goes over to the dog and puts an arm over her back to show that she belongs to him.  First thing in the morning, when he wakes up, he starts panting like a dog and looks over the edge of the bed to see if she's there.  She's old, so she doesn't play much, but he still thinks she is awesome.

Kevin loves his dad.  When Grig comes home from work, Kevin will laugh and say, "Dah?  Dah?"  If Grig ever stops paying attention to him, he says, "Dah?  Dah?  Dahdy?" until Grig looks at him or responds.  Then, once he does, Kevin laughs and is okay to go about his business again. 
 Kevin usually only says "Mom," when he is tired or grumpy, but I know it's my name.  He's very clever and seems very advanced for his age.  However, like one of my teachers said, walking early doesn't really put you ahead in life.  It just brings pride (or aggravation, sometimes both) to your parents. 

We love our son, and we are so excited to celebrate Christmas with him.  He's the best little guy we could ask for, and I know he was meant for us to raise.  We're trying our best and sometimes we make mistakes, but it's a learning process for all of us. 

He's definitely worth it.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Thoughts on the Santa Claus Thing *Age Restricted to Unbelieving Adults*

I'm writing this post with the knowledge that this is every individual's choice to make, and it's none of my business what you decided to do with your Christmas holiday.  

Having said that, I love the tradition of Santa Claus.  More and more of my peers nowadays are deciding not to have Santa Claus as a tradition in their homes.  One particular person I know has decided not to because they don't want to lie to their kids, so they have told them from the get go that Santa Claus doesn't come visit them on Christmas Eve.

Personally, I can understand, but I don't fully agree.  Again, it is every parent's choice, but I loved Santa Claus when I was a kid!  I loved the excitement and magic Christmas morning when presents appeared and it was fun to pretend that a big man in a red suit had brought them to our house.

I believed in Santa until I was eleven.  I'm sure there were kids at school who told me he wasn't real, but I didn't care.  I didn't really believe he came down the chimney, but I had a personal theory that he was like a catalog.  The parents ordered what they wanted from him, and Christmas Eve he drove around and brought the presents to all the houses, delivering them via the front door.  My Santa was unconventional and somewhat practical, but I still loved him.

When I was eleven, my parents pulled me into their room and told me that he didn't exist.

I cried.  I really did.

And then I got over it.  I enjoyed helping my parents stuff stockings for the younger kids after that and helping to make it magical for them.  The excitement of BEING Santa replaced the excitement of BELIEVING in Santa.  That kept him alive for me.

I love pretending, and in that sense, Santa is real. Santa is the joy of surprising your children and increasing anticipation.  It is the fun of imagination and trying to figure out a holiday tradition. Santa was a real person.  He once existed and the tradition of giving makes him very much alive in our homes today.  Santa definitely shouldn't replace Christ, but as a fun Christmas tradition, I don't have a problem with him.  

Finding out that Santa didn't really come to our house on Christmas didn't cause me to question everything else my parents had ever taught me.  Instead, it simply turned into a fun Christmas tradition for me.  It reemphasized the point that Christmas was about the REAL Savior, not a man from the North Pole.

For me personally, it was just a lot of fun.

However, I understand that for others, the realization that Santa wasn't real had a different impact on them, and I understand that.  Due to that, many parents have decided that they're not going to lie and pretend to their children.  They are going to be honest with them and tell them straight. 

However, before you tell your children that Santa isn't real, remember one thing.  There are a lot of other children that your child is going to make cry.  They may not do it on purpose, but a lot of other children out there are going to be believing in Santa, and your child is going to tell them that he is not real.  They will probably argue about it and it will probably cause a lot of hurt feelings.  Your child may also be hurt because their peers don't believe what they know to be true.  Other children will be hurt because it is fun to believe in Santa, and your child is removing some of the magic from their childhood.

I don't know what the right answer is.  Again, it's a very personal decision.  All I know is that what you decide does affect other children besides your own. Personally, I want my kids to enjoy Santa, at least for as long as they can. That's part of what made Christmas magical for me when I was a kid, and I want my kids to enjoy that too.  Maybe I'm wrong, but isn't it up to me and Grig to decide what we want for our children?  Just like it's up to you?

Do what you think is right for your family.

Merry Christmas to all those who decide to be Santa and for those who decide not to be.  Either way, it doesn't change the magic of the season.  As we celebrate and remember the Christ child, there is a magic to that to, and it is a magic that never goes away.

In fact, it only increases as you get older.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Buying Christmas Presents and Meeting Santa

I love getting people presents.  It is so exciting for me, and one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season.  I don't particularly like going shopping (except for books and other fun stuff, and even then, I can only take so much), but online shopping is easy and doesn't require me to leave my house. 

Ignoring Santa
This year we've been on a budget for Christmas.  We've actually done pretty well, but we're still learning.  We need to do some last minute shopping, but we're currently 90% done.

It's fun to have kids, because then you can buy them stuff that you like to play with.  I think Kevin will love his presents, but for a while, we might love them more.

We even got the dog a few presents.  She desperately needs a new bed, so we found one on sale at Petsmart the other day.  Poor girl has been sleeping in a cardboard box on some blankets.  Usually, she actually just sleeps on the carpet, but I think she'll like her new bed.

We were shopping at Petsmart when we found that you could take pictures with Santa there.  Kevin is usually very friendly, and he loves other people.  However, when Santa picked him up, Kevin didn't know what to think.  At first, his lower lip began to quiver, but he never quite cried.  He just studiously avoided looking at the bearded man and did his best to get away.

After the pictures were taken and Santa put him back in the cart he began to smile at him, but it took him a few minutes to feel entirely comfortable with the man.  Then they were friends.  Here are the pictures from Kevin's first encounter with Santa Clause.

At our church Christmas party, they wanted to make the program more about the Savior, so they did a live Nativity and Santa didn't come.  Which is great, but I missed having my son pose with Santa. I was glad that I had another opportunity to do so.

Trying to Escape

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Announcement and Our Review of Disney's Frozen

Yesterday, without realizing it, I wrote my 100th post!

Congratulations to me!

Last weekend, Grig and I went to see Disney's Frozen.  Three years ago, I remember that when Tangled came out, I was not very excited about it.  The trailers looked stupid and generally I had been disappointed in Disney movies lately.

However, as some of you might remember, I came out of that theater with a new love.  I watched Tangled four times in theater and pre-ordered it online.  It was pretty much my favorite Disney movie since Emperor's New Groove.

So, I had high hopes going to see Frozen.  I loved Tangled and Wreck-It-Ralph, and both had surprised and impressed me.

Frozen was no different.  It had wonderful twists and an amazing plot.  The characters were well-developed with problems that were easy to relate to.  Grig came up with a wonderful comparison to mental-illness.  I don't really want to say more, because I don't want to spoil anything.

The songs were equally wonderful.  Our greatest fear going into the movie (after watching the trailers) was that the annoying snowman was going to ruin the show.  To our surprise, he wasn't really that annoying after all. He actually was kind of funny! 

We would like to go see it again.

Kevin didn't go with us, he went and played with some cousins (which I'm sure he enjoyed much more), but there are several parts we think he would really enjoy.  We watched it in 2-D, but I don't think 3-D would make it that much better, because it was already a fantastic movie with a great plot and moral.

There is one mildly crude joke, but other than that, it was very clean and family friendly.

We highly recommend it.

Did I like it as much as Tangled?  No, but it was very close.  I REALLY like Tangled, and I really like Frozen.

I think the Frozen songs may be better.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mormon Monday: Are Mormons Christian?

Often, Mormons are asked if we are Christian.  There seems to be some sources out there that state that Mormonisms is not a form of Christianity, but is, in fact, a cult.

Really, it kind of comes down to semantics.

According to http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Christian, Christianity is defined as:

1. One who professes belief in Jesus as Christ or follows the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
2. One who lives according to the teachings of Jesus.
If you believe in this definition of Christianity, then YES, the Mormons are Christian.

Mormons worship and believe in Jesus as the Christ, and we try to live our lives based upon the teachings of Jesus.

The reason there is a bit of confusion out there is simply because of the Trinity.  Though the word Trinity is never found in the bible, many religions believe that God, his Son, and the Holy Ghost are all part of the Trinity.  According to http://christianity.about.com/od/glossary/g/trinitydoctrine.htm the trinity is defined as:

The word "Trinity" comes from the Latin noun "trinitas" meaning "three are one." The Trinity expresses the belief that God is one Being made up of three distinct Persons who exist in co-equal essence and co-eternal communion as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The idea of the trinity comes from the scriptures when Christ states that in John 10:30 "I and my Father are one."  This has been a confusing point of doctrine for all Christians.

The idea of the Trinity was established during the Nicene Creed, which according to Wikipedia,
The Nicene Creed is the profession of faith or creed that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It forms the mainstream definition of Christianity for most Christians.
In the year 325, (three hundred and 25 years after Christ's birth) there was so much confusion and conflict throughout the different Christian sects that it was decided there needed to be some kind of decision.  So a council of men met together and decided to accept the belief that God is one being.

The reason a lot of Christian faiths do not believe that Mormons are Christian, is because of this difference in our beliefs.  Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints do not believe in the Nicene Creed or the doctrine of the trinity.  We believe that God, his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate beings.  We believe that all that confusion in the early Christian church was because the apostles were killed off, and there was no longer a direct communication with God.  Men began to decide what they believed and the church became a church of men's philosophies mingled with the teachings of Christ.

We believe this is why there were so many terrible things done by the church in those days.  The true church of God couldn't have possibly killed and tortured so many people.

We believe that a restoration of the church of God had to come through God himself.  We believe that this was the only way that the perfect doctrine of God could once more be upon the earth.  When Joseph Smith had his first vision (read my Mormon Monday about that here), he was visited by God the Father and his Son and saw that they had two distinct separate bodies. 

In John 17:11 it says:
11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the aworld, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be bone, as we are.

The apostles couldn't possibly hope to become a co-equal essence or reach co-eternal communion with God, but they could become one in purpose.  Unity is a sign of God's church on earth.  

Are Mormons Christian?  Yes, I believe we are.  However, if your definition of Christian includes faith in the Trinity and a concept of Christ as a vague, formless being, than no.  We are not believers in that Christ. We believe in the living being that came to live among the Jews and was resurrected with a body that could be touched by his disciples.  We believe in a Christ that is still alive today and expects us to live our lives after his example.  

We are followers of Christ, whatever your definition of Him may be.  We try to be respectful of other's beliefs and feelings, and to treat them as He would.  Even though we may not always agree with other churches on doctrine, we can empathize and share our faith in the redemptive power of our Savior's love.  As Christ showed love to all who tried to have faith in him and even to those who didn't, we try to show love to all our brothers and sisters, regardless of who they are, where they live, and what they believe.  

That is how become true Christians. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

For the Days of Frustration

Being a mother isn't always easy. 

You probably knew that already, but I feel the need to express myself. 

I've always wanted to be a mother.  That has really and honestly been the sole major goal in my life.  However, some days it is difficult. 

These last few days, I've found myself in a strange mood.  Or rather, in a large number of strange moods.  Usually, I'm pretty laid back and almost always calm.  However, for some reason I have been easily frustrated the last couple of days.  It seems like Kevin is in to everything, and no matter what I'm trying to do, he is bound and determined that I shouldn't accomplish it.  He keeps eating the mouse button off of my laptop.  He thinks it is hilarious. 

He also has been trying to electrocute himself with every single cord he can find. 

Usually, my frustration is an expression of my exhaustion with him trying to hurt himself.  It could also be the fact that I often don't get a full-night's sleep. Some days I feel like a worm trying to follow a cheetah.  I simply don't have the appendages to keep up and prevent him from doing what he wants.

My main trial is projects.  I've always been a bit single-minded when it came to accomplishing a task.  It's really hard for me to stop once I start.  Kevin is teaching me how to do just a little bit at a time.  

Now that I've expressed that side of things, let me tell you what gets me through those frustrating times.  It is Kevin himself.

Kevin can tell when I'm out of sorts and he tries his best to cheer me up.  Currently, he loves blowing raspberries on my arms and neck.  If I'm feeling a bit upset, he will do his best to clown a smile out of me.  I really appreciate that about my baby boy.

Even when he's trying to get into trouble, he is really just doing it to make me smile.  He thinks it is all a game, albeit occasionally an aggravating one for me.  Kevin loves everyone and a small smile from hm can brighten up anyone's day.

I love my baby boy more than I can express, and even when I want to go hide in a corner and let someone else watch him for a minute, I wouldn't trade him for all the sleep and all the calmness in the world.  He gives my life meaning, joy, and love.

I think my frustration lately is mostly because my husband is gone six days a week for over twelve hours.   I only get to see him for a very few hours a night, and often that time is taken up by shopping or eating dinner.  We don't have very much time together, and I haven't really had a break from being a mom for several weeks. 

I'm not trying to complain, just trying to express that being a mom 24/7 can be difficult sometimes.  My experience over the last few days, however, has really made me more sympathetic to single mothers.  Single mothers everywhere, I salute you.  I can't imagine doing what I do, and trying to earn a living all by myself as well.  I get the wonderful added blessing of knowing exactly what my son is being exposed to and what I want to teach him.

Last night, Grig was wonderful.  I was trying to sew Kevin a pair a pants, but he wouldn't let me do anything.  When Grig got home, he and his son played while I finished sewing.  It was a nice opportunity for me to accomplish a project.

As I am typing this, Kevin is trying to bite me. 

I love my boy.  He is teaching me what really matters in life, and how to use what little time I have.  Every day that I spend with him teaches me more about myself and my Heavenly Father.  Parenthood is a wonderful blessing and a joy. 

For those days that are frustrating, remember your blessings.  Remember why you are doing what you are doing.  If you don't have a reason, find one.  This life is nothing without purpose.  My purpose is now my son and my husband. They bring me joy and they make trials worth it. 

I wouldn't have my life any other way.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dakota's Foot Obsession

Ever since Dakota was a puppy, she has loved licking.  When I was younger, I enjoyed it, so I allowed her to do it at her leisure.  However, as I've gotten older, I like it far less, so in our home she is no longer allowed to lick faces or arms.

Thus, the dog has settled on licking feet.

She has an obsession with it.  In fact, I called it her foot fetish, until my brother-in-law informed me that the word "fetish" can also have a sexual meaning.  Who knew?

I sure didn't.  It can be used in a non-sexual way as well, and that was the way I intended it, but for those who would think of some other meaning, I am calling it a "foot obsession" now.

Here is our crazy dog:

If she spots a bare foot, she will run over and lick and lick and lick until your foot is a drippy mess.  It tickles, so it's kind of funny, but usually we'll eventually put a stop to it.  If I'm not really paying attention to her, she'll do it for a while.  She does it to everyone's feet: Grig's, Kevin's, and mine.  Havelock never has bare feet, so she doesn't do it to him.

As weird as it might be, for some reason it makes her happy.  I'm sure I have weird things that I do that make me happy too.  I think we all have a few weird quirks that others might not understand,

For example, I love folding laundry.  I think it is because when I was a kid, that was one of the few chores I could do while watching television.  So I have good feelings associates with it.

I know some people who really like watching Glee, and I just can't understand that.

So, before we go judging someone's (or some dog's) weird obsessions, maybe we should take a look at our own.

Or maybe we should just make her stop licking our feet.  Sometimes it really drives Grig nuts, so we quickly put a stop to it.  It's hard to be consist though, because of Kevin.

When Dakota licks Kevin's feet he laughs so hard that it's hard to make her stop, because it is so cute!  Ah, the tough decisions of life. 

To stop licking, or not to stop licking.  That is the question.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Songs

This blog is late today because Kevin and I were singing Josh Groban's "O Holy Night" with him.  We were belting it out at the top of our lungs and it was so much fun that we had to do it a couple of times.  Hopefully our neighbors (downstairs and sideways) weren't too annoyed.
I love Christmas music.  Not as much as my cousin, who plays it in the middle of May and every other month, but quite a bit.

I worked at a gas station/farm store a little while ago.  It was a really nice place to work, and I enjoyed my time there.  However, every day they played country music.  I like some country songs, but not very many.  I learned to ignore it so that I could continue to enjoy my job.  My only respite was during the Christmas season when Christmas music would be turned on.

My coworkers hated it.  They quickly became sick of the same songs being played over and over.  I told them, "Now you know how I feel the rest of the year."  There were a few others who felt the same way that I did, but not very many.

Christmas music makes the excitement of Christmas come alive for me.  It takes me back to my childhood and fills me with a familiar sense of wonder.  Some songs can even make me cry.

There are a few that I dislike and probably always will, but for the most part I find Christmas music wholesome and uplifting.  Kevin really seems to like it too.

I was talking to Grig yesterday, and we were listening to some music that was kind of depressing, and afterward I had tears in my eyes and I said, "Okay, yes I do like depressing music."  It's not because it's depressing though, it's because it makes me "feel".  I go throughout a lot of life in a happy state.  I'm not super happy or miserable; I'm content.  So, songs that help me to feel or cry can be very powerful for me.  They make me happy and refreshed.

Sometimes a little bit of cry does me good.  Christmas songs help me to feel refreshed and clean, like my emotions got a bath.

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?  Do you even like Christmas songs?  Let me know.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Kevin's First Birthday Comes with Three Parties


Newest Vlog! Celebrate Kevin's birthday with us!

Putting Up Our Chirstmas Tree

Last night, was the first annual Setting-Up-the-Christmas-Tree-Party. 

Kevin had a ball!  Literally. He walked around saying "bah, bah, bah," which is his word for ball.  He had been pulling the ornaments out of their case the whole week, so he was getting quite good at that.  However, as we were cleaning up, I put the ornaments back where they belonged and Kevin began to help me!  It's the first time he's really understood helping me clean up.

Unfortunately, this presented another problem.  While Grig, Havelock, and I were trying to put the hooks on the ornaments, Kevin kept trying to put them away.  It was very funny and a lot of fun!

The tree we have is a fake Christmas tree.  It was a good deal at Walmart, and it came with lights already attached.  So, all we had to do was put it together, hang the ornaments, put on the star, wrap the tinsel (garland) around it, and we were good to go! 

We enjoyed working on it together and Kevin was so excited!  He was running around the room with his tongue sticking out.  I don't know why, but that seemed to accentuate how he felt.

We finished up the night eating home-made macaroni and cheese from a recipe that Grig's mother had sent us (delicious!) and then we went to bed.

I've always loved the Christmas season.  It is one of my favorite times of the year.  There's nothing like the excitement that I feel as Christmas approaches.  It has always made me want to be a better person, and I love buying gifts for people and doing service for others.

Some people think that Christmas has become too commercialized, but I don't think it matters.  If your home keeps the spirit of Christ in it, then it doesn't really matter what the rest of the world is doing.  If your home makes Christmas about family, service, love, and the Savior, then the rest of the world can make commercials until their heads pop.  It won't affect Christmas in your home and your children will grow to understand the importance of the Savior.

That's what I think anyway.

I'm so excited for Christmas.

We rigged the dog kennel and the rocking chair around the tree so that when we put presents there, Kevin won't be able to reach them until he is supposed to.  It seems to be fairly effective so far, hopefully it can keep our son away.  He's quite intelligent and loves new challenges.  It is difficult staying one step ahead of our boy, but that's one of the reasons we love him.

How have you kept your Christmas tree safe from children?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Mormon Monday: Do Mormons Worship Joseph Smith?

This is a question I have heard from people before.  The answer is simple, but often it is followed by other questions.

The answer is no.  No we don't.

We believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet and received direct revelation from Heavenly Father for his church.  However, though we respect and admire him, we recognize that he was as much a man as Moses, Peter, James, or John.  He was not perfect, nor do we pretend that he was.

He was a terrible business man.  His business often failed because he gave too much away for free and allowed people who could never pay him back to purchase things time after time.  He made mistakes, but he tried his best.  He was a good man of real integrity and virtue. 

Joseph Smith was a fourteen-year-old boy when he realized that he had a very important question.  He lived in time of great religious tumult where many churches were vying for his membership.  He attended one after another, and became more and more confused.  In his own words, he said:

During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong.
So, Joseph did what all people do who believe in God and have questions.  He turned to the scriptures.  He read James 1:5-6 which says:
 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
Joseph wanted to know which church to join.  In the scriptures, God had told him to ask if he had any questions and that he would answer them. So, after some preparation, he decided to do what James had said and ask God which church was His church on earth. 

On a bright spring morning, Joseph went into a grove of trees and began to pray.  In his own words, this is what happened:

I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.  When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! 
My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.
If you want to read the complete account, go to Joseph Smith History.

Joseph was told that none of the churches on the earth were God's church.  They preached the words of God, but they sought for their own gain.  God's church has always had a prophet and has been led by direct communication from the Lord.

Later on in his life, Joseph Smith became that prophet.  Why would God change the way that he had dealt with humanity for thousands of years?  God doesn't change and he has a prophet on earth today.  Does this sound strange to you?  Why do so many people accept this as truth?

It is because we have prayed about it and asked the Lord if it was true or not.  If Joseph Smith is a prophet, then God's church has been restored on the earth.  If Joseph Smith is a prophet, there is a place where you can go to hear the Lord's words for our day and age in this changing, tumultuous world.

If Joseph Smith is a prophet, that vision in that grove of trees was the most important event in our time. 

I know this event happened.  I have prayed and received a witness that it is true.  I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet like Abraham and Noah.  I know that President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet today.  I know this is true. 

Do we worship Joseph Smith? 

No.  However, if you know whether or not he is a prophet, you know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ still care about us today and still want to give us revelations.  Visions have not ceased, people have just stopped believing.  The focus of our church is Christ.  We only worship him and Heavenly Father.  We don't worship Joseph Smith anymore than people should worship Samuel the prophet.

However, his vision is central to our beliefs because it means that God still speaks to man today and hasn't left us with only his past words.  He still new revelation for our day and age.

And that is a message of hope.

Friday, December 6, 2013


Every night, as I try to go to bed, it begins. 

Usually, the dog falls asleep first. (Though sometimes it's Grig or Kevin).  Her breathing deepens, and she relaxes into slumber.

Next, Grig falls asleep.  As he relaxes, sometimes he twitches a little, but luckily for me, he avoids outright kicks. 

Then gradually, Kevin also passes out.  About that time, the snoring begins.

Kevin sometimes snores, but his are cute.  Their very quiet and there is just something adorable about the little grunts his nose makes.

Depending on how Grig is sleeping determines whether or not he snores.  Usually, if he is on his side or stomach, he doesn't snore too badly, but if he is on his back it can get pretty violent.  However, if it bothers me (which it rarely does), I just push him over a little and he stops.

 The dog is probably the loudest of the three.  I was taking a bath this morning after Grig had left for work and I could hear her quite clearly in the bathroom.  Again, it isn't deafening, but for some reason it amuses me.

Do I snore?  Sometimes I'm sure, but if I do, I don't hear it. 

I'm always the last one asleep, but the snoring really doesn't bother me.  In fact, I find it comforting.  It makes me feel safe. Weird, huh?  It is a sound that means that I am not alone.  I usually can go to sleep pretty quickly after that, and I never wake up to the snoring.

I'm a pretty deep sleeper after all.

If I ever have nightmares (which sometimes I still do, and let me tell you, I could write some pretty horrifying scary movies based off of my dreams) I wake up and find comfort in the sounds of those sleeping around me. Then I'll usually cuddle up to my husband's back and return to sleep with more pleasant dreams.

For some, snoring might be their curse, but for me...it's kind of a blessing.

It also helps me know when Grig falls asleep while I'm talking to him.

If Kevin could, he'd sleep like this.

Does anyone in your life snore?  How do you feel about it? 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Having a Clean Home

When I was growing up, my bedroom often became messy.  I would just throw my clothes wherever once I had worn them.  My room wasn't so much dirty as cluttered.

In college, my room was in a similar state.  I don't think it was ever really super dirty, but it would occasionally be cluttered.  I liked to have my things out where I could get to them easily and quickly.  It didn't bother me that things were occasionally on the floor.

The first year that Grig and I were married, we had a beautiful apartment.  It was small, but not too small.  It was just the right size for two college kids just starting out.  When Kevin came, it became a bit of a tighter squeeze, and it was pretty much constantly cluttered because there just wasn't room for all of our things.  It didn't really bother me unless we had company, then I would quickly straighten the place up because I wanted it to look as nice as it could.

When we moved to this new apartment, we suddenly had room for all of our things.  A gradual change then began occurring within me that I hadn't been aware was happening.  When we didn't have room to put things away, it didn't bother me if they were cluttering counters and desks.  However, now that there is a place for everything, I like it in its place.

Suddenly, I can't stand it anymore if the house is messy.  The other day, I was straightening things up, and Havelock came home.  He seemed confused and he asked me, "What are you doing? Is something happening tonight?"

I told him no, I just wanted the house to be clean.  He said, "Ah.  I guess you don't only have to clean when we have company." I thought it was a funny thing to say.

I've started realizing that I kind of get stressed out when my dishes aren't done or my floor is messy.  Yesterday I went on a crazy cleaning streak through the house.  I finally got my bathroom clean (which isn't easy with a 1-year-old).  My mother suggested Kevin have a bath while I cleaned the bathroom and that worked perfectly.  He happily played in the tub while I scrubbed the mirror, the sink, and the toilet.  After his bath, he fell asleep and I finished scrubbing the tub. 

I had already finished the dishes early that morning, and so I finished straightening the house quickly while he slept.  Then I wrote for a while, but having a clean house felt wonderful.

Kevin enjoys helping me clean.  When I am putting things in his bedroom, he is bringing them back out. While I put the books back on the bookshelf, he likes to pull them back out. We're working on him helping me in a more helpful way.

It turns out having a clean house feels nice and I rather like it.  I never thought that a messy house was going to bother me.  Go figure.  However, it's not a bad change and certainly makes things easier in the long run if I clean a little bit every day.  It's also more conducive to the Spirit to have clean house.

What are things that bother you?  Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Kevin's First Birthday

Last week, Kevin turned one.

It was a monumental day for me.  It is hard to believe that a year ago I was in the hospital.  If you are interested in the events of that day, click on the following link: Top Ten Injuries in My Life.  It's number four. 

Kevin obviously didn't know that anything was different on his birthday.  We ended up having three parties, which will be featured in this week's video.  The first party was a private family party.  We skyped with Grig's parents and with my parents simultaneously. It started out pretty good, except that Grig's father was on a business trip and had to be skyped seperately.  So, we ended up having one computer for my parents, one computer for Grig's mother, aunt, and siblings, and one computer for Grig's father.  It was very exciting.  At first, Grig's mother couldn't get her skype to work, but after some assistance from Havelock, they got things figured out.  We were glad they could join us.
Kevin quickly figured out how to open presents. In some ways, he enjoyed ripping off chunks of wrapping paper more than anything else.  He would rip off a piece, wave it, and laugh.  It was very cute.  However, once he saw what was inside of the wrapping paper, he was thrilled.  It took us a while to go through his presents, but when he was finished, we had a very happy little boy on our hands.  He just wanted to play for a while.
All Kevin's presents.  Family picture!
 The second party took place a different day with my local extended family.  We all had dinner at my grandmother's home.  I cooked the main course (hamburger and rice casserole) and everyone else brought a side or just showed up.  We ate dinner first, and then Kevin got to open a few more presents.  He was really excited.  He liked playing with his cousins.  I got a pretty neat present too, even though it was technically for Kevin.  I received some patterns and fabric so I can make him some clothes.  We'll have to see how that goes.  My mother recently gave me a sewing machine that she bought at a garage sale, so hopefully it works.
Kevin loved his new truck!
 After presents, we had pumpkin pie, apple pie, and some fudge.  Everything was delicious.  Kevin couldn't figure out what to do with his candle, so another cousin had to help him blow it out.  Every time we sang "Happy Birthday" to him, he looked really confused.  He enjoyed the pie, but he didn't eat it very long before he wanted to get down and play again.  We had a good time.

The third party involved a gift from Grig's parents and a friend of the family.  It was a new wagon.  Last night, Grig and I assembled it, and Kevin loved it!  While we were trying to put it together, he kept jumping on top and spinning the wheels.  Then, once we had put it all together, he wanted to get in.  We pulled him back and forth in our hallway, and the dog even joined him!  After he finished, he started pulling the wagon, which I was really impressed by, because it is not small. 

Kevin had a wonderful birthday, and we want to thank everyone who helped to make it possible.  Thank you for the birthday wishes, your love, and your support! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Hidden Blessing

So, yesterday I discovered that I had accidentally accomplished something amazing with my NaNoWriMo goal. 

It was nap time.  I put Kevin down for a nap and I quietly left the room.  I found myself automatically going to my computer and sitting down to work on my story.

I was surprised.  I realized that I had gained a hidden blessing from having a goal last month. 

I had established a habit.

There is a saying.  It goes something like this: "It takes 21 days to establish a habit, and one day to break it."  Okay, so, maybe that part about breaking it isn't part of the quote, but it sounds about right.

I became curious about where the origin of the "21 day quote" was from, and I discovered the following source:

Busting the 21 Day Habit Formation Myth

This article was very interesting.  It said that this quote originally came from a man named Dr Maxwell Maltz, who was a plastic surgeon turned psychologist.  He told his readers that it generally took 21 days for people to change their self-image in regard to their newly modified features.  Then, he said, ‘Our self-image and our habits tend to go together. Change one and you will automatically change the other.’ (p108)

Thus, the 21 day habit formation myth was born.  According to this article, they did some more research on how long establishing a habit takes and found that association with another event in your day can speed up the creation of a habit.  Some people could develop one in as few as 18 days, while it took others up to 84 days. 

Basically, it depends on you.  They said when you correlate a new habit with an already existing activity (putting the baby to bed) it is much easier to develop a habit.  So, as long as I keep working on my story while Kevin is sleeping, I will continue to make progress. 

Aren't hidden blessings wonderful?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Mormon Monday: Goals

For those of you who don't know, last month I set a goal to write 50,000 words in my novel for National Write a Novel Month (or NaNoWriMo).  I finished up the month by writing over 4,000 words the last day, but it wasn't quite good enough.  I finished my goal at only 42,643 words, leaving 7,357 to go.  Don't worry, I am going to complete my goal, and I am definitely going to try NaNoWriMo again.

I was a little disappointed with myself, but I do feel like I tried my best to get it done.  Yes, there were probably days I could have written more, but I did try and that was a wonderful feeling.  After having something to work on last month, I suddenly felt motivated to set more goals.  I remember how good it feels to set and aim for goals. 

When I was on my mission, we set daily goals, weekly goals, and monthly goals.  We were always working to improve ourselves and it felt wonderful!

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encourages its member to ALWAYS set and keep goals, not just on New Years.  I've done the traditional New Years Goals, where I often don't end up keeping them and then I feel bad about it the next year.  However, we shouldn't just set yearly goals. 

An article called "Pursuit of Excellence" says:

Setting goals and working toward those goals can strengthen your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ by helping you develop patterns and qualities of discipleship in your life. Pursuit of Excellence can help you to follow the Savior's example of "a more excellent way"  (1 Corinthians 12:31).

Begin by asking the Lord to help you determine what you will work on. Decide how you will evaluate and record your progress. Discover how the Spirit affirms your progress. You will find that your greatest reward will be an increase of the Spirit in your life. Your faith will grow, and your testimony will be strengthened.

Yesterday in church, a lady was saying that if we align our goals with our Father's will, there is no way that we cannot accomplish them.  He will help us where our own strength is lacking. 

We should be constantly trying to become more like the Savior.  Maybe NaNoWriMo wasn't necessarily a spiritual goal, (although I did feel inspired to try it), but it has reminded me how important it is to make and work on goals. 

This month my goal is to read the entire Book of Mormon by Christmas, starting today.  It is a challenging task, but that is the fun of a goal.  If it doesn't challenge you, how can you be growing?

I also going to try to work on making a Quiet Book for Kevin for church.  I loved mine when I was a kid, and I think he will enjoy it too.  If you have any fun quiet book ideas that you want to tell me about, please let me know!

I have a goal to set a monthly goal every month, as well as yearly and daily goals.  I know as I do this, my testimony will be strengthened, and I will become a better person. 

Thanks to all of you who encouraged me while I was working on writing.  I'm going to keep writing, and hopefully next year I can publish my first novel.

That's one of next year's goals. 

Not sure what this picture has to do with my blog, but I love it!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Gratitude Week: Mothers

Having discussed fathers, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the blessing that is mothers.

My mother is my hero.  I want to be as wonderful as she is.  She would tell me that she wants me to be better, but I have to shoot for something first.  She is so giving and selfless. 

My mother raised ten children and she did a magnificent job.  She made time for each and every one of us, and she always came to our events and supported us in what we chose to do.  She taught me about love and faith and steadfastness in adversity. 

She loves my father and treats him with respect.  They occasionally disagree, but I have never heard them argue. 

Now that she's a grandma, and she only has a couple kids left at home, she often baby-sits her grandchildren and she is always there when we need her assistance.  She'll drop anything for her children and she loves to serve others.

One time, I asked my mother what she was going to do when she didn't have any children left at home.  I imagined that she would say something like "Oh, read some books, relax, enjoy the quiet...etc."  However, what she actually said surprised me.  She told me, "I would like to serve in the community more.  I don't think I do enough."  That made me realize how far I have to go. 

Currently she has begun to help out more in the community.  She helps by playing piano for children's programs, setting up musicals, and creating costumes.  She is a homemaker to the fullest sense of the word, and though she received her degree as a nurse, she has spent her life being a mother.

My mother-in-law is also an amazing woman.  She has seven of her own children, and though there have been many difficulties in her life, she has done her best to make it work for her family.  She loves her children and adores her grandson (Kevin, he's the only one she has so far).  She has spent time and money to travel across the country to visit us and would do it more often if she could. 

She welcomed me into their family, and I've never had a "bad mother-in-law" experience.  Grig adores his mother and likes to listen to what she has to say.  She home-schooled most of her children and has tried to do what was best for them. 

I am trying to be a good mother like the wonderful women in my life.  Mothers, especially stay-at-home mothers, often don't receive any gratitude.  Single mothers also have it very difficult.  They are trying to raise their children and earn an income at the same time.  Not an easy task.

Children often simply expect the love and kindness that is so freely given, and never thank their mothers for the sacrifices that they make.  The house is cleaned, the cooking done, the dishes washed, and the laundry done and folded without any thanks.  Being a mother isn't always easy, but eventually we thank you for it.

It just takes us going through the same thing to realize all that you have done. 

We love you, mothers!  Thank you for all you do!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gratitude Week: Children

Today I'm grateful for children.

Often today, society has told us that we should do what we want to do first, and then after that, if you still have time, maybe have one child. 

I believe that is false.  Children are the greatest joy any person can have.  Kevin has brought some frustration, yes, but that is so miniscule compared to the blessings that have come from having him.  Children are a lot of work, but they are such a great joy.  I want to have vacations WITH my children, not FROM my children.

When Grig and I got married, we made the decision together to not wait to have children.  We prayed about it, and we believed that it was the right thing to do.  Every set of parents should make that decision between them and the Lord and do it when it feels right.  For us it was the right time, right away.  Kevin came just slightly over nine months after we were married. 

Things have worked out.  We had enough money to pay off our hospital bills completely, and we haven't really struggled since.  I know that was a blessing from God because we obeyed his commandment to 'multiply and replenish the earth.'  It is a commandment that has never been revoked. 

Kevin is such a joy.  He has a smile that just lights up my life.  He is so adventurous and happy.  Every day he learns new things, and sometimes I learn them with him. 

I have five wonderful, living nieces and a nephew.   Each of them is a joy to be around, and I am so happy that Kevin has wonderful cousins to play with. 

Grig and I would like more children, and we're letting it happen in the Lord's time.  Kevin will be a wonderful older brother.  He has a lot of love to give.  Sometimes, too much love for the dog and she has to go hide. 

He is intelligent and caring. He loves to make us laugh.  I'm pretty sure his purpose in this life is to bring joy to those around him.  I can't wait for him to grow up and for us to become friends, so I can get to know him as the incredible adult that he is going to be.  However, I am enjoying the time I have with him now and I don't want to miss a single moment. 

I have wanted to be a mother my whole life.  I got a college degree, but right now I am living my dream.  Kevin is all I could have hoped for, and I love him with all my heart. 

I understand that some people are unable to have children that desperately want them, and my heart breaks for these parents.  Know that we are thinking of you and praying that your dreams will come true as well. 

I'm grateful for children.  Teaching them is my profession and raising them is my dream.  Their innocence brings joy into my life, and I love the way the world becomes simple in their eyes.  May we all work to preserve their innocence and teach them to be responsible, hard-working, loving adults.
My little drummer boy