Find-A-Friend Friday: The Finale

It has been so fun to get to know the wonderful women that are floating around out there in the blogosphere.  Can you believe that we’ve met over forty amazing women? I have been impressed, uplifted, and inspired as I’ve read about your families, your testimonies, and your trials.  I can sincerely say that many times, getting to know you has helped restore my faith in humanity because you are evidence that God’s work and priorities are still rolling forth even when we see headlines every day of the moral decline of our society.  That reassurance has strengthened me.  Thank you.

This will be the last week of the Find-A-Friend Friday feature here on Diapers and Divinity because even though it has been such a satisfying run, I’m just a little burnt out.  I think there may be a handful of people left who had indicated interest in participating, and I hope you can forgive me if you still had not been picked by random.org.  I’ve found myself having so much less time at home than I enjoyed during the summer months or in the years before my children started going to three different schools and I became their bus.  I’m just struggling to get everything done, so I need to let some things go.  I’ll still be around, but with the exception of General Conference Book Club, I’ll just be a lot less structured.

So, I have one last friend I want to talk about before FFF officially signs off.  In fact, he’s part of the reason I need to make more time for myself.  His name is Jesus Christ.  He’s my brother, my Savior, and my very best friend.  No one knows me better than he does, which makes it all the more miraculous how much he loves me.  You probably know him too, and that’s one of the coolest things about him– his ability to love each of us with infinite intimacy.  One of my favorite classic talks that I’ve returned to often is the first conference talk given by Elder James E. Faust when he was called into the Quorum of the Seventy.  It is called “A Personal Relationship with the Savior.”

“We should earnestly seek not just to know about the Master, but to strive, as He invited, to be one with Him (see John 17:21), to “be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man” (Eph. 3:16). We may not feel a closeness with Him because we think of Him as being far away, or our relationship may not be sanctifying because we do not think of Him as a real person.”

He then goes on to speak of five simple things that we can do to grow closer to the Savior:

First: A daily communion involving prayer.

Second: A daily selfless service to another.

Third: A daily striving for an increased obedience and perfection in our lives.

Fourth: A daily acknowledgment of His divinity.

Fifth: A daily study of the scriptures.

The common thread in each ingredient is the word “daily.” I’m ashamed to admit that in all my busy-ness, I’ve let some of these things slide, and I can feel it start to wear on me.  I need to regain the strength that comes from putting Him first, my truest friend.  President Faust declared it so beautifully:

“It is my testimony that we are facing difficult times. We must be courageously obedient. My witness is that we will be called upon to prove our spiritual stamina, for the days ahead will be filled with affliction and difficulty. But with the assuring comfort of a personal relationship with the Savior, we will be given a calming courage. . . .  I know and I testify with an absolute awareness in every fiber and innermost recess of my being that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Divine Redeemer, and the Son of God. May we be obedient to His wish, ‘Come unto me thy Savior’ (D&C 19:41), I pray humbly in His holy and sacred name. Amen.”

I feel confident that if I can put these steps more fully into practice, I’ll never have wait for Fridays to find a friend.  This finale post is an invitation to join me in getting to know the most perfect Friend a little better every day of the week.  We all need Him.

Find-A-Friend Friday: Starring You!

I had a gap in my scheduling today, so I think it’s your turn to be spotlighted.

Write a Find-a-Friend Friday post all about you on your own blog and then come put the link to the post in the comments below.  It’s like a super-blast, friend-finding Friday.

Instructions below:  Cut and paste on your blog.  Copy the little graphic above if you want, too.

Hi! Paragraph:  Basic Stats– name, age, location, family, etc. …. as much as you’re comfortable sharing.

History paragraph:  Name a few key elements of your background…. Where from, family you grew up in, education, (past) career, mission, etc.

***Questions: There are 20 random questions listed below.  Pick at least five, but up to twelve you’d like the answer the most.  (I prefer that you include #4 and #12, but I’m not the boss of you.  :))  You can do it in any order.

1.     What’s your favorite part of motherhood?

2.     What part of motherhood would you subcontract out if you could?

3.     Name 2 or 3 items on your “bucket list.”  (Some things you’d like to do before you die.)

4.     Brag for a minute.  Do it.  What are a few things that you’re pretty good at?

5.     What are you loving lately?

6.     Do you have a favorite scripture or quote?  Why?

7.     What do you gravitate toward during your unscheduled time?

8.     Tell us some of your best mom-tricks  (things you’ve figured out that work well for you).

9.     What’s something you don’t usually want people to know about you, but that they need to know if they’re going to be your friend?

10. If you were in charge of a girls’ night out, what kind of activity would you love to plan?

11. Friends are great for venting.  What’s been frustrating you lately?

12. What parts of your testimony are you the most sure of?

13.  Desert Island Question.  If you were stranded on a desert island (most moms would actually crave this) and could only take 3 items with you, what would they be?

14.  If you were awarded an “honorary degree” in something, what should it be and why?

15.  Let’s say you’re dying in your sleep tonight.  What would you eat for your last meal?

16.  What homemaking job/task gives you the most satisfaction?

17.  Give your best advice to a newlywed or expectant mom.

18.  What’s something unexpected in your life, and how have you dealt with it?

19.  If your life had a theme song, what would it be and why?

20.  If you could make a pie chart (graph) of your thoughts during the last week or so, what would take up most of the space?

Write away.  Remember to come leave a link to the post in the comments. I’ll read every one for sure.  Looking forward to it.  Ready? Set. Go!

Find-A-Friend Friday: Meet Kim

Is it still Friday?  Ack, I’m sorry to be so slow to get this posted.  I was away from my computer today and wasn’t able to get enough signal on my “smart” phone to get this post up and running.  Luckily, Kim is family, so she’ll have to forgive me.

Kim is really great person, and someone I’m happy to introduce you to.  She has a lot of amazing skills and talents, most of which fall into categories of things I’m really not good at, so that makes me really admire what she’s able to accomplish.  Anyway, I’ll let her tell you more about herself.  Meet Kim:

Introduction

Hello my name is Kim.  I’m 32 years old.  I’ve been married almost 12 years now…and Stephanie has known my husband longer than I have because they are cousins.  Does that make us cousins-in-law?!  Anyways, we have 3 beautiful little girls: Kaiya- age 8 (shy & reserved), Emiko- age 5 (loud & dramatic), and Mina- age 3 (stubborn & independent).  We have been living overseas in Perth, Australia since January 2010.  Being overseas is a great, unique experience- I highly recommend it!  It makes me so much more appreciative of the freedom & luxuries of America…I really miss college football, drive-thru banking, garbage disposals, thick milkshakes…but I digress.

I lived in Pennsylvania, Washington, and Virginia growing up.  I’m the oldest of 4 kids- 2 girls, 2 boys.  I went to school at BYU and after changing my major several times finally settled on social work.  After graduating with my master’s degree I worked for 4 years as a clinical social worker in a local mental health agency- doing individual, group, couple/family therapy.  It was a tough job.  I loved it.  After my husband graduated law school we moved to Houston.  (I miss Texas.)  By then I had just given birth to our 2nd baby and I was ready to start my journey as a stay-at-home mom.  It’s a tough job.  I love it.

What’s your favorite part of motherhood?

Yikes, I really don’t have a favorite part- I love it all.  My youngest had a bout of diarrhea this week and when she couldn’t make it to the toilet in time…well, I ended up in the shower with her scrubbing it all off.  Obviously I was thinking “ugh this is disgusting- breathe through the mouth.”  And then I remember thinking, “isn’t it amazing how much I love this little girl that I’m willing to do this?!”  I love the unconditional love I have for my children (does that make sense?)- through the good times and the crappy (literally) times…the love doesn’t ever change.

What part of motherhood would you subcontract out if you could?

If you would’ve asked me this even just a few months ago I would have said potty training.  Cleaning up after accidents, cleaning poop out of the little potty- it’s disgusting and I hate it.  But now that my youngest is toilet trained…definitely the cooking!  I hate cooking.  But someone has to feed the kids (my hubby can fend for himself) and so I cook.  Don’t worry I let the hubby eat too.  Believe me, I’ve tried to cooking.  I mean, I love eating…and you would think that translate into a love of cooking.  No.  It doesn’t.

Name 2 or 3 items on your “bucket list.” 

Live somewhere in the UK or Europe, swim with whalesharks, learn to play another instrument (I already play the piano), and go on an African safari with my family.

Brag for a minute.  Do it.  What are a few things that you’re pretty good at?

I’m pretty smart.  I was the BYU School of Social Work valedictorian the year I graduated with my bachelor degree.  Then I graduated w/my master’s degree at age 22 with a 4.0 GPA.  I’m also friendly and outgoing.  We have friends over often and invite new families over for dinner several times a month.  Since moving to our current ward, I’ve made a conscious effort to invite every new family over to our home to welcome them.  Oh, and I’m really good at celebrating non-holidays…like National Frozen Food Day, National Root Beer Float Day, half-birthdays, un-birthdays, and our made up family holiday- Dibb Saltwater Crocodile Day.

What are you loving lately?

Aussie beaches.  Aboriginal art.  Designer fabric.  The Kindle app.  America.

Do you have a favorite scripture or quote?  Why?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson (Nelson Mandela also used this quote in his inaugural speech)

I love it- it’s so powerful.  It reminds me of my infinite worth & that I have a great work to accomplish on this earth.

What do you gravitate toward during your unscheduled time?

Reading.  Sewing.  Crocheting.   I realize this makes me appear nerdy…or grandma-ish.  Oh well.  It can’t be helped.

Tell us some of your best mom-tricks  (things you’ve figured out that work well for you).

When your kids are going through that “why” stage- asking all of those questions that you don’t have an answer to- I find that replying “because Heavenly Father made it that way” works really well.

What’s something you don’t usually want people to know about you, but that they need to know if they’re going to be your friend?

I greatly dislike when people are late…especially when I’m normally on time.

Friends are great for venting.  What’s been frustrating you lately?

Moths.  Seriously.  They have invaded my bedroom.  We (when I say we, I mean my husband) killed 7 just the other night.  I realize moths are harmless but I swear these guys have superhero strength.  We flushed one down the toilet and it swam back up and I found it flying around my toilet when I lifted the toilet seat up a few minutes later.  They always start flying around when I’m about to fall asleep (are moths nocturnal?) and b/c these moths are big I can easily hear them buzzing around, running into my walls (they’re strong, but still stupid).  Anyways, I want these moths gone.  Gone, I say!

What parts of your testimony are you the most sure of?

I know that my Heavenly Father knows me and is mindful of my needs/wants.  It doesn’t matter what the world thinks, if it’s important to me then it’s important to Him…and He will always be there. I also have a strong testimony of families- we have families so that we can support one another.  Lately when someone in our family has been struggling we’ve made an effort to pray as a family for that person.  It is amazing how unified our family has become just by simply praying for each other.

Let’s say you’re dying in your sleep tonight.  What would you eat for your last meal?

Probably food I crave that I can’t find here: a yummy bagel w/cream cheese or a Tex-mex meal washed down with some diet root beer…then Samoa Girl Scout cookies for dessert.

Give your best advice to a newlywed or expectant mom.

Newlywed: The adage “don’t go to bed angry” is hogwash.  I think the later you stay up arguing, the more likely you are to say things you’ll regret b/c your brain is turning to mush from lack of sleep.  Most of the time I go to bed angry I wake up the next morning realizing it’s really not that big of a deal and we can work out a solution really quickly.  And sometimes I wake up not even remembering why I was mad (yeah, this happens more than I’d like to admit).

What’s something unexpected in your life, and how have you dealt with it?

Moving to Australia was very unexpected.  I’m generally an optimistic person but I got into quite a funk the first 6 months of living in Australia.  I wasn’t depressed but was more in that feeling-sorry-for-myself mood.  I won’t go into all the details of why…but my husband finally pointed out that I was focusing on all of the bad things about living in Australia rather than the good.  I had to choose to look for the good. So with a little help from Heavenly Father and an attitude adjustment I finally started enjoying life here.

Tell us about your blog.

I have 2 blogs.  The first one is my family blog so that friends/family can see what we’ve been up to down under.  www.dibbsdownunder.blogspot.com

The other one is my random, crafty blog.  I’m embarrassed to admit this blog is rather neglected at times.  www.igotdibbs.blogspot.com

 

Hooray, Kim!  Thank you.  I really hope my family (at least Matt and I) can come visit you soon.

Please visit Kim’s blog or give her a quick hello in the comments here. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Find-A-Friend Friday: Meet Becca

I love this girl.  I’m so excited for you to meet her.  I met Becca several years ago when she moved to North Carolina, where Matt and I were living at the time.  She spoke in Stake Conference and I just knew I liked her.  We got to know each other, and I was right.  She’s awesome.  Blog friends, meet Becca (I stole this picture from Facebook):

Hey there. This would be Becca, and we’re here to talk about Stephanie. Oh wait. Shoot. No. I’m supposed to… say something… about myself. Let’s see. Well, I’m 31 years old. I grew up in Salem, Utah, famous for the freakish carp in it’s pond and not much else.  I spent most of my growing up years gazing over distant horizons and dreaming of being somewhere, anywhere far away. As soon as humanly possible.

Fast forward 14 years, an associates degree and bachelor’s degree later, and you can now find me living in Charlotte, North Carolina. Very glad to be a returned missionary (Zurich, Switzerland mission). Married to the man I adore more than anything (3,049 days into our ever after). We have 3 Kids. I love planning trips, taking trips, taking naps, dabbling in graphic design, planning weddings, homeschooling, reading multiple books at a time, and trying to keep up with Steph’s Conference Book Club. Oh. And I teach 14 ten year olds in primary. So, factor that in.

What’s your favorite part of motherhood?
Um, my kids are? I mean, really. Subtract the messes and the whining and you have these people who are just the most amazing people in the world. If I sit back and watch them, I can’t believe that I get to live with these children. And I see their weaknesses and their flaws (which makes me realize that they certainly see mine), but it’s also such a party to watch them come into their own. We laugh a lot. Plus, we have dance parties with our kids all the time and they are our favorite thing ever. You haven’t lived until you’ve danced to Shakira on New Year’s Eve with your 6 year old.

My favorite completed goals…
I. Drinking hot chocolate in the Alps, in January.
II. Seeing the sun rise over the Atlantic and set over the Pacific on the same day.
III. Getting married in the temple.
The thing I regret not doing the most? Going to BYU Jerusalem. (It was cancelled the semester I was supposed to go, but just the same.)
The goal that I’m currently working on: Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro (tentative 2013 climb)

Brag for a minute.  Do it.  What are a few things that you’re pretty good at?
Dreaming. I am a dreamer. And a planner, when it comes to events, holidays, birthdays, etc. I’m not particularly “crafty”, but I love anything that’s beautiful, and I find that the beauty of any special day is in the loving details. I love teaching Relief Society, and public speaking is fun. I can be pretty laid back which, with homeschooling, is a really good thing. I really try not to take life too seriously. And I’m finally good at making my own bed, so that’s a big accomplishment.

What are you loving lately?
Cinderella pumpkins. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Mosiah. Milk chocolate chips (normally, I like dark chocolate.) Cinnamon Chex. Birthdays. The book Johnstown Flood by David McCullough. NPR. My youngest when she says “UGH” to herself. Pinterest. Lists, apparently.

What do you gravitate toward during your unscheduled time?
Oh lawsie—SLEEP. I wonder if there will EVER BE A TIME when I’m not exhausted. I tell my spouse, on a fairly regular basis, that when I die he is not to disturb me for 1,000 years. My idea of heaven is a big huge bed with a down comforter, fluffy pillows, and a cool breeze.

Tell us some of your best mom-tricks  (things you’ve figured out that work well for you).
*A  package of new bandaids will keep a toddler really busy on long car trips.
*Celebrate Thanksgiving. Really. Make it a whole month of real, honest service and gratitude. Your Christmas will be a million times better.
*Use the phrase “In our family…” I find that it works better than just “Don’t hit!” If I say “In our family, we are kind to each other. That means we don’t hit” it seems to work better. (I can’t remember where I read that. Somewhere.)
*Get out, alone, one night a week, for at least two hours. Recommended by my ob/gyn for postpartum depression and I swear by it.

If you were in charge of a girls’ night out, what kind of activity would you love to plan?
Now, I’m an event planner, so this is going to sound odd, but really? Some of my most meaningful “night out” moments have happened just chatting in a car as I’m being dropped off. Those really incredible, heart-connecting talks where both people feel really understood and loved. In an Ensign article in 2001, Elder Maxwell said “How wonderful it is (and we’ve all had these experiences) when we can gather in circles of friendship large or small with shared gospel values. Sharing is like gathering around conversational bonfires that grow warm and bright against the horizon. You will find the memories of those bonfires achieve a lastingness—not because of what you wore or what the menu was, but rather because of the shared expression of love and testimony.” I have found that I crave that. So, as impossible as it would be, if I could plan a night out, it would be filled with *real* conversation.

What parts of your testimony are you the most sure of?
This year, after some real soul searching, I have gained an incredible testimony of the sacrament. I never realized before how INCREDIBLE it was, or what power it could have in my life if I’d let it. So that’s been a big, defining thing that’s pretty recent.  I have a testimony of Heavenly Father, and that He has a plan for my life. Interestingly, some of my greatest gospel struggles have to do with being a woman and a mother, but it is my past experiences with Him that help me to have faith through those struggles. I love the Book of Mormon, and find great motivation in it to do better and be better. I’m currently working to deepen my understanding and build a better testimony about charity.

Let’s say you’re dying in your sleep tonight.  What would you eat for your last meal?
I would have real Swiss food. Zopf (braided bread) with some of their hard cheese from the Alps. A real salad made by a Swiss mom—it knows no comparison. And Lindt’s Christmas chocolate: cinnamon coriander. You can’t buy it here.

What homemaking job/task gives you the most satisfaction?
Creating traditions and holidays, which includes how I decorate my house. The chance to make things magical for my kids brings me a lot of joy. Along with that, I love creating a Sabbath atmosphere in my home on Sundays. My Mom always put a nice tablecloth on the table with a picture of the Savior, then turned on soft music. That was what I remember waking up to, every Sunday of my life. I’m working to find my own way to provide that experience in my home, and feel really happy when I’m able to have a good Sabbath with my kids.

What’s something unexpected in your life, and how have you dealt with it?
So many parts of motherhood have been unexpected for me, but my biggest trials have all had to do with pregnancy. To date, I have had one text-book pregnancy, one very complicated bed-rest pregnancy, one second trimester miscarriage, and a baby who came so fast she was born on the couch and then spent 2 weeks in the NICU, all of them followed 6 months later by post-partum depression. Awesome. As I’ve tried to make some sense of the “WHY” to all of that, and dig deep for the faith to have the two more kids we feel we’re supposed to have, the temple has been absolutely crucial for me in holding on to a bigger picture perspective. I know Heavenly Father loves me, but He is also asking me to make some real sacrifices. I will admit that there have been moments and even months when I have had to struggle and wrestle with that. Times of anger and sorrow—even times when I just plain told heaven that I didn’t want to hear it, thankyouverymuch. But there have also been great blessings. I’m not through this yet. It is definitely a work in progress. But, yes. The temple is what has helped me to make the most sense of it.

If your life had a theme song, what would it be and why?
Would it be really bad to admit that I think the song “When Will My Life Begin?” from Tangled is every stay-at-home mom’s theme song??? For real. Go listen to it and tell me I’m wrong.

Tell us about your blog.

Oh man. Well, my blog is a real work in progress, but I try to keep it real. www.fairanddelightsome.blogspot.com. I named it “Come What May and Love It” before Elder Wirthlin’s talk ever became a vinyl saying to stick on your wall. *grin* I just try to share the funny little things that happen that no mom dares admit. I feel like, if nothing else, my purpose in life can be to show other people that at least their life isn’t as redneck as mine.

I told you she was cool. Thank you, Becca.  Please say hi to her here either here or on her blog.

Find-A-Friend Friday: Meet Rachel

Thanks to all of you who have patiently survived the wave of General Conference posts. I promise we’re heading back into more calm (a.k.a. boring) waters.  By the way, all the talks are now online to read.  Yay.

This whole meeting new people is just as fun for me as it is for you.  Some of them, like Rachel, are names I’ve seen pop up in comments threads, and it is so fun to meet the real people behind those hyperlinked personas.  And now that I’ve had the chance to learn more about her, just like I have with so many of you, I’m so glad that I get the chance to cross paths– even Internet paths–  with such cool people.  Meet Rachel:

Hey everyone!  I’m excited to tell you a little about myself and my family.

So here’s my life story in a nutshell:  My name is Rachel.  I’m 33 years old.  Often people will ask me where I’m from.  I usually respond everywhere and nowhere.  My Mom is Canadian (she lived all over Canada) and my Dad grew up in Idaho.  They met at BYU.  After they married they moved to Delaware where I was born.  My Dad was working for a company that transferred us often.  Our first transfer moved us to Texas.  After that we moved to the mountains of North Carolina.  (Honestly if I could move back there I would.)  Then we moved back to Delaware.  Next was upstate New York (20 minutes from Palmyra!) and finally we settled near Nashville, Tennessee.  After 4 different high schools in 3 different states I graduated and headed off to BYU.  Four years later I graduated there and moved back home.  I had plans to continue school and get a teaching certificate.  Thankfully the Holy Ghost convinced me to scrap my plans.  Shortly thereafter I met my fantastic husband, John, at an institute Halloween party held in the basement of my parent’s home.  We were married one year and 2 days after the day we met in the Nashville Temple.  This November we will celebrate our 10 year anniversary!  Since that day we have had 3 children – Karena and Hannah (7), identical twin girls and Tyler (6), our extremely energetic boy.  When Tyler was almost one my husband’s father (now 84 years old) moved in with us.

What’s your favorite part of motherhood?

Teaching my children.  We made the decision to homeschool about a year and a half ago.  We began as the girls were starting first grade and my son was entering kindergarten.  It was scary and overwhelming but we jumped right in.  It’s difficult at times but I wouldn’t pass this job off to anyone.  I love sharing what I love with them and encouraging them to try new and hard things.  Seeing those light bulb moments, especially as we teach the gospel, are times that I cherish.

What part of motherhood would you subcontract out if you could?

Dealing with the fighting and the whining.  There is nothing that makes me more crazy than whining.  They even whine when there’s nothing to whine about. Anyone have any tips for getting rid of the whining?

Brag for a minute.  Do it.  What are a few things that you’re pretty good at?

  • Cooking.
  • Reading really fast.  I can read a long book (300-400 pages) that I like in a day to a day and a half.
  • Making digital art.  The rest of my family seemed to get all the regular art skills (drawing, painting, etc.).  I did not.  I do well to color in a coloring book.  I love to use my computer to create art.
  • Using Microsoft Word and Excel to make charts, schedules, list, etc.  This may not be something to brag about but it’s something I’ve been doing a lot of lately trying to plan our school year.  Plus I kind of enjoy doing it.

What homemaking job/task gives you the most satisfaction?

Cooking or creating something for my family.  To me those two things are similar.  Whether it is a meal or a piece of clothing I sewed I love seeing the joy that comes to my family from something I made.

What are you loving lately?

Pinterest – Unfortunately its addicting but I love, love, love it.  I’ve really found some amazing things through that website and connected with a lot of new people.  Plus there’s no drama like other social sites!

Crocheting – I’m slowly working with a lady from church and trying to teach myself.  I like it but I keep trying to tackle projects I’m just not ready for.  Patience is not one of my strengths.

Do you have a favorite scripture or quote?  Why?

1 Nephi 21: 14-16 – There is also a similar scripture in Isaiah 49.

“But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me – but he will show that he hath not.

For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.

Behold I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.”

When times get difficult I know on many occasions I have been as faithless as Zion and asked the Savior if He had forgotten me. I have been assured each time that he cannot and will not forget me. He has “graven [me] upon the palms of [His] hands.” His atonement, death and resurrection weren’t done for all of us as a collective whole. They were done just for me. Not only did he do those amazing, miraculous works just for us he is continually helping each of us.

And my new favorite quote is from Pres. Uchtdorf: “I do know now I was never forgotten. And I know something else and as an apostle of our master Jesus Christ, I proclaim with all the certainty and conviction of my heart and soul, neither are you. You are not forgotten! Sisters, wherever you are, whatever the circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love. Just think of it! You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful and glorious Being in the universe. You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time. He who created and knows the stars knows you and your name. You are the daughters of His kingdom!”

What parts of your testimony are you the most sure of?

I know Joseph Smith saw our Father in Heaven and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I know the scriptures are true.  Reading them daily brings a peace to my life that I can’t find anywhere else.  I know our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ, know us as individuals and that there is a plan for us.

Name 2 or 3 items on your “bucket list.”  (Some things you’d like to do before you die.)

1.  Travel more, especially with my family.

2. Attend a cooking school.  I LOVE to cook.  I can follow most any recipe but I have a desire to understand the principles behind cooking.  I’ve attended a few classes and have come away with so much knowledge.

3.  Live on a farm.  I used to be a self-proclaimed city girl.  I needed stuff to do, people to see and places to go.  I even contemplated applying for some NYC universities.  Since then I’ve married a man born and raised on a farm.  We were so different, it was funny.  We settled into the suburbs together, but I could always tell it made him a little claustrophobic.  Over the past few years I have moved closer and closer to his way of thinking.  I want my kids to learn how to work.  I want fresh milk and eggs every day.  I want to know where my food is coming from.

Deserted Island Question.  If you were stranded on a deserted island (most moms would actually crave this) and could only take 3 items with you, what would they be?

  • Plenty of turtle related desserts.
  • An iPad with internet access – I’d have access to almost any book that way plus I’d have my scriptures available still.
  • My great-uncle’s cabin he built in Island Park, Idaho with an added indoor toilet.  Actually I could just skip the deserted island and go there by myself.

Give your best advice to a newlywed or expectant mom.

Newlywed – Say “I love you” a lot.  Do go to bed angry.  That’s not a typo.  The morning will often bring a fresh perspective than the night before when you were tired and not thinking straight.  Forgive and then forget.

Expectant Mom – Have patience.  Say “I love you” a lot.  Give out compliments more often than criticism.  Apologize when you are wrong.

What’s something you don’t usually want people to know about you, but that they need to know if they’re going to be your friend?

I am really good at bottling up my feelings.  I may complain about whiny kids or a messy home but I’m not going to tell you what is truly troubling my heart.  I have perfected the “Sunday face.”  You know the one we see on most people at church on Sunday that doesn’t show what is really going on in their lives.  I want to share what I’m feeling but I can’t seem to.  I am slowly working on getting better at this.  My poor husband gets to be my guinea pig.

What’s something unexpected in your life, and how have you dealt with it?

When my son was a year old and my daughters were two and a half my father-in-law came to live with us.  He was 79 and I was 27 years old.  When I was younger (like 25) I never once considered having to be a permanent caregiver.  So to say this was unexpected is an understatement.  In some ways it’s like being a mom to a teenager.  It has been an incredibly challenging few years.  It has been hard to help someone who in many ways does not want to be helped.  BUT, there have been blessings.  I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching to see what things I need to change.  That sounds like a weird blessing but it has been.  This has also brought my husband and me closer together.  We are continually having to readjust and daily deal with the situations that come.

Blog paragraph:  My blog is called “You Are My Sunshine.”  It’s really just a way for family and friends far away to see what we are doing.  I used to post very inconsistently but recently have made it a goal to give my blog some priority.  Also, in an effort to confront my fear I’ve started sharing my feelings on different topics.

Thank you, Rachel.  As always, it has been a pleasure.

Please visit Rachel’s blog or give her a quick hello in the comments here. Have a great weekend!

Find-A-Friend Friday: Meet Mary

It has been a really busy week on this blog. I think I’ve blogged more than I had in the previous month, total. Since posts are going up so quickly, I don’t want you to miss anything, so head back to the homepage and scroll a bit so you can catch all of the General Conference festivities, including last night’s announcement about trivia and photo contests. Okay, back to the business at hand.

I really didn’t know very much at all about Mary until I read her answers to my “interview” questions.  By the time I finished, I decided I wish I lived next door to Mary.  I love people who can give great advice and make me think more deeply.  I’m excited for you to get to know her, too.  Meet Mary:

Hello! Iʼm Mary Jarman, and I live in Sandy, Utah. Stephanie recently posted about living in
Utah, and her honesty made my day. I replied that I was a transplant to Utah, and said in my life there are several things I said I would never do. Living in Utah made that list, as did and never driving a Suburban. God has a sense of humor, and Iʼve learned to never say never because I do live in Utah (which has grown to feel like home) and even though I still donʼt drive a Suburban, our 5 children (3 teen-sized) more than fill up our Durango, so itʼs probably time for an upgrade. It certainly would make carpooling and road trips a lot easier!

I grew up on a farm in Juniper, Idaho, and moved away when I was 18 years old for
college. I attended BYU Idaho (back when it was Ricks College) and earned an Associateʼs
Degree. After a stint at Boise State University, I left on a mission to the Marshall Islands
(Micronesia Guam Mission, which has also changed names and boundaries…are there hints of my age in all of these change?). I attended BYU (Provo) after my mission. I donʼt want to hurt any feelings, but BYU was my last choice. It took God knocking me over the head to get me there, and in my ultimate act of rebellion, I actually wore my husbandʼs University of Utah sweatshirt to classes on the last day. Ten years later, after my youngest children were in school, I redeemed myself by graduating from the University of Utah with a masterʼs degree in Continue reading

Find-A-Friend Friday: Meet Erika

[Quick announcement first:  Congratulations to Lisaway, who won the giveaway for Melanie's new book.  To anyone else who wants a copy for yourself, you can buy Not My Type at Amazon or Deseret Book.]

Today we meet Erika.  She is a blog friend I was lucky enough to meet in real life when she came to Utah one time and graciously took family pictures for me.  See what a great job she did?

She is very kind and super talented and I’m excited for you to meet her.  Here’s Erika:


[I stole this from her blog.  Isn't she lovely?]

My name is Erika.  I’m shockingly close to 30 and I live just outside of Portland, OR.  I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for 9 years and we have 2 girls (6 and 4) and a boy(2).

I am a military brat, my dad served in the Army for 20+ years.  I was born in Germany, but we moved when I was two.  I’ve lived in all 4 corners of the US.  Having experienced many different climates and places I have decided that my two favorite places are Virginia and Washington state because of the beautiful greens.  I grew up in a family of 6 girls, no boys.  I was the 2nd oldest and did a lot of babysitting.  I met my husband in Florida when he moved into my ward.  It was pretty much love at first sight and he waited 9 months for me to turn 16 before he took my on my first date.  He was also my first kiss.  I wrote to him while he went on a mission and I went to BYU Provo. I didn’t do anything past my general electives at BYU.  Nothing interested me enough to commit.  The most interesting part of my history happens when my husband got home from his mission.  He had been challenged by his dad to beat his “dating record” of 39 girls in 1 year.  I knew that my husband had this goal, so I encouraged him to take girls out while still dating me.  But that started to get old, really fast.  He had bought my engagement ring and he was STILL DATING other girls.  I finally put my foot down and told him to choose between me and the numbers.  He made the correct choice.  Shortly after getting married I started massage school at Utah College of Massage Therapy so I am a closet massage therapist now.  I’m not currently licensed, but I would say that I am so grateful that I went to massage school because it rekindled my love of learning that I had lost.  After my husband graduated from BYU we moved up to Oregon and we plan to stay forever.  We LOVE the Pacific Northwest.  We now have 3 kids and I have discovered a passion for photography.

What’s your favorite part of motherhood? The hugs and kisses from my children.  Hearing them laughing together.  Watching how they grow and learn.

What part of motherhood would you subcontract out if you could? FEEDING my kids.  I honestly can’t STAND it when my kids come and ask me for food or tell me that they are hungry.  And if I think of something for them to eat, they don’t want it.  I wish I found satisfaction in feeding my family, but I jut don’t.

Brag for a minute.  Do it.  What are a few things that you’re pretty good at? I’m pretty good at putting things off…  hence my blog title “Erika’s Procrastination Corner.”  I am patient with projects.  I love doing things with my hands.  I am artistic and can draw fairly well.  I have been practicing and would say I’m pretty good at taking pictures, but I’m always trying to learn and improve.

What are you loving lately? Taking pictures and Pinterest.

What do you gravitate toward during your unscheduled time? The computer… I always have one project or another; editing pictures, blogging, creating Blurb books from my blog, checking Facebook/email, etc.

Tell us some of your best mom-tricks  (things you’ve figured out that work well for you).  Using one word commands when you need a child to obey you.  “Clothes”, “Teeth”, things like that.  

What’s something you don’t usually want people to know about you, but that they need to know if they’re going to be your friend?  I’m a homebody and would most likely rot at home if you don’t invite me to go somewhere.  I need friends who get me out of my comfort zone and reach out to include me.

 If you were in charge of a girls’ night out, what kind of activity would you love to plan?  If money and calories weren’t an issue- I’d do a spa night where we all got pedicures and then ate at a chocolate cafe and saw girly chick flick.

What parts of your testimony are you the most sure of?  I am most sure that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that he was telling the truth about the First Vision.  I am most sure that the power of the priesthood is real and that the Holy Ghost guides us.  I am most sure that Heavenly Father loves us and watches over us and has a hand in our lives.

 Let’s say you’re dying in your sleep tonight.  What would you eat for your last meal?  My mom’s beef enchiladas with an italian soda, followed by Snickerdoodles and Lemon Bars

What homemaking job/task gives you the most satisfaction?  Sweeping.  It’s quick and easy and you see immediate results and your house instantly feels 50% cleaner without crumbs sticking to your feet.

Give your best advice to a newlywed or expectant mom.  Stop thinking about you and think about them (husband/child).

What’s something unexpected in your life, and how have you dealt with it?  I got diagnosed with thyroid cancer when I was pregnant with my son.  That was definitely unexpected.  Getting the thyroid removed and dealing with the treatment wasn’t so bad, but trying to get my thyroid levels regulated has been hard.  Let’s just say I’m glad my husband and kids have put up with me.

If you could make a pie chart (graph) of your thoughts during the last week or so, what would take up most of the space?  A house.  I’m trying to figure out where the Lord stands on this house and my family, whether we should buy it or not.  It’s great fun.

Tell us about your blog:  My blog is Erika’s Procrastination Corner.  It is basically a family journal with LOTS of pictures.  I started blogging in 2007 or so and decided that I wanted my pictures to look better.  That’s what led me to discovering my love for photography.  

Thank you, Erika!  Please visit her blog to get to know her a little, or give her a quick hello in the comments here.

Happy weekend, everyone.