“I am a mother.”

Have you seen this one?  It’s one of my new favorite profiles from the “I am a Mormon” campaign:

GCBC Week 22: Avoiding Sin and Addictions

This week we will study two general conference talks,

“Avoiding the Trap of Sin”
by Elder Jairo Mazzagardi

“We must be alert because small choices can bring great consequences . . . What may appear to be of little importance . . . will make us lose sensitivity little by little, allowing us to do worse things.”

and

“O That Cunning Plan of The Evil One”
by Elder M. Russell Ballard

“If anyone who is addicted has a desire to overcome, then there is a way to spiritual freedom—a way to escape from bondage—a way that is proven. . . . The formula for having our heart, our body, our mind, and our spirit transformed is found in the scriptures.”

What did you learn and/or understand better from these two talks?  What do you think the speakers are asking us to do?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

(If this is your first time to General Conference Book Club, click here to learn more about it.)

Find-A-Friend Friday: Meet Jaime

This week we’re meeting a friend who is new to all of us.  Jaime has kind of been one of those hiding-in-the-shadows readers, so I’m glad she made an appearance for this new feature. 🙂  I hope you enjoy meeting this talented lady as much as I did.  Here’s Jaime:
Hi, I’m Jaime, nice to “meet” you. I am thrilled that Stephanie chose me as the friend to feature this Friday. I have been following her blog for a few months now and love what I have read here so far. I hope I can live up to what she has created here.

I am a 34 year old stay at home mother to 3 amazing little men. I have been married to my best friend for a little over 13 years now. I love him more every passing year. We live in Alberta, Canada. It really is not snow covered all year long here…but it has been pretty snowy this year! (and no, I don’t have a dog sled or dog team…although that would ROCK!)

I am the oldest of 5 children. Three boys followed me out, and my sister came along 12 years after me. I was always more motherly than sisterly, and I still haven’t grown out of that. I went to “Ricks College” when it still was Ricks. I was teased and told that I would gain an “MRS” degree, but I told everyone I was actually going to learn…crazy I know! I obtained my associates degree in Landscape Horticultural Management and returned home single, but stayed that way for only a week! I met and married my dh 51/2 months after completing college! After we had our three little men we were inspired to start adoption proceedings. We are in the matching stages now and can hardly wait to meet the children the Lord has ready for us. We are also in the process of selling our house and moving to a farm. We would love to be totally self sustaining. This has been a dream of ours for many years, hopefully it comes to pass soon.

1. What’s your favorite part of motherhood?

My favorite part of motherhood really is being a part of my amazing little men’s lives. We homeschool so I get to help in lots of areas of their development. I get to be a part of so much of their lives and really hope that I can be the mother they need. One Sunday I was sitting in church and our stake president stopped to say hi and shake our hands. He said, “Wow Mom, you have three future priesthood holders with you.” This really struck me and I have tried to always be worthy of raising these amazing little men.

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

Humm…folding laundry. I love to wash and dry it, but that folding thing, not a fan! I also hate dishes. I thank my dh everyday for my dishwasher. 🙂 My dh is also wonderful and does the yucky ones that don’t fit in the dishwasher.

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

I have always wanted to travel to the “old world”. It would be wonderful to just tour all the little countries there for a year at least.

Earning my red seal would be wonderful.

I would also love to be part of my boys gaining a testimony of our Savior.

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

Well, I love the kitchen and think I do a pretty good job in there. I particularly love dessert as my hips can attest. 🙂

I also love to play with my cameras. Growing up I always wanted to be artistic, and until I bought my own camera I didn’t know I had talent in that area. I love to see things a little different through the viewfinder.

5. What are you loving lately?

Lists!

I am a big fan of lists. As we went through our adoption proceedings I found out that “structure” (as my lists were called) was a GOOD thing! Who knew?!

I love finding new ways to teach that work better. Each of my boys are different learners so I am loving the fact that I can find new things each time I need to change my methods.
I love this blogging world. I have “met” so many wonderful women and new friends this past year or so.

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

I have a passion for preparedness. This is one of the quotes that inspires me in all I do. There are so many ways to prepare for the Second Coming of the Lord, and I look forward each day to doing a little bit more.

“As we live the commandments of God, we can look forward with joyful anticipation to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and know that through our efforts we are worth, with our loved ones, to dwell in His presence for all eternity. Surely nothing is too hard to gain this great goal. We cannot let down for a moment. We must prove, every day or our lives, that we are willing to do the will of the Lord – to spread the restored gospel, to bear testimony to the world, to share the gospel with others.” (The teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [1988], 341).
I often fear for my children in this day of “instant gratification”. We try so hard to instill in them a great work ethic and hope that the values we teach them will be beneficial.

In our day, many children grow up with distorted values because we as parents overindulge them. Whether you are well-to-do or, like most of us, of more modest means, we as parents often attempt to provide children with almost everything they want thus taking away from them the blessing of anticipating, of longing for something they do not have. One of the most important things we can teach our children is to deny themselves. Instant gratification generally makes for weak people. How many truly great individuals do you know who never had to struggle? ~Joe J. Christensen, “Greed, Selfishness, and Overindulgence,” Ensign, May 1999

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

Unscheduled time? What’s that?! Just kidding.

I love to read. I am currently loving YA books. I also enjoy taking “photography field trips”. Just me and my camera. (and sometimes my Dad and oldest little man) I love to create in the kitchen. When I have a break, playing with different ingredients to make something new is amazing.

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

Taking a break.

For a long time I honestly thought that I needed to always be on a schedule. Now I know that sometimes all we need is a break. Our favorite break time is to take school outside. When the weather is nicer, we love to hike in the coulee behind our home. Sometimes our break is just trying something new. Just because something worked for one child, it won’t necessarily work for all of them. (believe it or not, this was a hard lesson to learn)

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?

I don’t do well in crowds. I grew up shy and have struggled with it for many years. As a result I often come across as mean or intimidating. I just like to sit back and watch. I take a while to “warm up” to people, but I really do want to get to know you. (Internet is wonderful for me in this way!)

I also am a very “active” listener. I interrupt when I am excited. I also tell long rambling stories. My dh is a wonderful story teller, but not I, I have way too much detail and I love to talk.

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

I love to just go out and visit. Eating good food is also a plus! If I can work Starbucks White Hot Chocolate in there somehow, it would be perfect! 🙂

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

Having patience. I need to learn that everything happens on the Lords time, but doing that is so tricky. There are a few things we are in the middle of, we have done all we can, the rest is up to the Lord, but waiting is really hard for me. When a decision is made, I like to move forward and do. Living in a state of uncertainty is frustrating for me. (it has to follow my list!)

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

I am a daughter of God. He knows and loves me. He cares about me and watches me. The church is true. We have a living prophet who receives revelation for our day, specific for us. The priesthood power is real. It can be used on our behalf and is a real blessing. Families can be together for all Eternity if we live worthy. The temple is the house of the Lord.

Tell us about your blog:

I blog at Welcome to the Madness (rovinroberts.blogspot.com). I blog about a little of everything. I started blogging as a way to journal about my life for my family and friends. It has evolved to be a bit more, but the roots are still there. I use the things we do in our life, as it says just under my title, “…a little crafting, a little photography, a little homeschooling, a little family, a little fun, a little bunch of boys, a little faith, a little bit of crazy…all mixed up to create this…” I am pretty random, so pretty much everything goes. I just hope that those who come to my little space in blogland will feel comfortable and feel like they have made a friend.

Thanks, Jaime.  It’s been a pleasure to get to know you.

En boca cerrada, no entran moscas.

(photo credit)

Translation: In a shut mouth, flies cannot get in.
Interpretation: Sometimes silence is the best option.

Even though my mind has been really busy, none of it has seemed very blog-worthy, and no one wants to bore others on purpose.  So here’s a brief report of the happenings around here lately:

  • Matt is on his way home right now from finishing day two of the Bar exam.  It was hard.  He feels nervous.  I gave him a hard time about “You’d better pass or I’m getting a nanny and going to Hawaii for two weeks to recover,” (because I’ve been single-parenting for so long while he’s done law school and studied for the test, and because I’m so supportive like that), but I know he really did his best and we just have to wait for fate to play itself out.  I really am proud of him, regardless of the outcome.
  • When it’s a school holiday and you are trying to keep your children under control so your husband can study, might I suggest driving an hour and a half to an indoor swimming place and letting them swim for FIVE hours?  They will be so tired that they can’t even speak on the way home and then you simply have to tuck them into bed on arrival.  Plus you get to sit in a chair and read books while you “supervise” them.  (I fully admit that I have entered a new stage of life where my children are big enough to need minimal supervision.  This would have never been possible in the last 8 years.  I acknowledge the new-found blessing, and I embrace it.)
  • I have been using MyJobChart.com for a few weeks and it has worked so well with my kids.  I just want to mention how much it warmed my heart when Grant — the child I have been butting heads with lately– spent his very first hard-earned job points on “Mom time.”  I still can’t believe it.
  • Have you ever noticed that even though you complain a lot about something and even have small-scale tantrums about it, as soon as you make it a matter of prayer, progress is made, and then you feel like an idiot for complaining so much in the first place?  Cases in point:  1.  Boo hoo, poor me, I’m new and it’s hard to make friends. –> More people than I ever imagined signed up for my girls’ night out and made me feel like a rock star, plus some little doors cracked open and I’ve felt some positive opportunities for new friendships.  2.  I’m annoyed with the school situation here. I wish I could find some better options for my boys. –> I got a phone call saying that they had both (literally) won the lottery and were accepted into a well-reputed charter school.  3.  I feel a little “underwhelmed in the kingdom.”  I miss teaching. –>  I got an invitation to substitute for an Institute class at BYU and some random emails with loose invitations for possible speaking assignments.  Common ingredient in all three “solutions”: prayer.
  • I think I might have been marked in the pre-existence as “the one who will always have library fines.” I’m just faithful at fulfilling my destiny, that’s all.
  • I am so sick of filling out medical history forms.  Shouldn’t there be some big database out there for that?  Kind of like ancestry.com, except it’s more like diseasesofyourancestors.com.  I should really market that.
  • Clark just came into the room singing about how happy he is.  When I asked him why, he replied, “Grant said he’s going to run away because he hates me.”  I’m so proud of the loving family I’ve raised. *shaking head*

See?  Sometimes silence is the best option.

Find-a-Friend Friday: Meet Allison (and me)

Find-a-Friend Friday is fast becoming one of my favorite things about blogging.  I am so impressed with these women who see themselves as totally ordinary, but don’t they just shine in their interviews?  Today we are going to meet Allison, who emailed me back and asked me if I would answer all the questions too.  So I did, and she has posted *my* interview over at her blog today.  So stick around here to get to know Allison, and then hop over there to learn a little bit more about me.

It didn’t take me very many visits over at her blog to decide that Allison was a quality mother and woman.  She is the real deal.  She takes beautiful photos, and her posts are simple, yet like her blog title claims, inspirational.  Here’s a link to one of my favorites of her recent posts.  I think once you read a little bit more about her, you’ll see she really didn’t need much of an introduction from me.  Blog world, meet Allison.

One thing I love about Stephanie is that she can say the things I am feeling in my heart.  She can put to words what ends up as babbling when I try to express the same thing. Thanks Stephanie, I’m honored to be a friend.  [I just have to say that all these participants so far have said the nicest things about me, which is so sweet, but I swear that it is not a condition of being a Friday friend.  Please don’t think one of the question items is:  “Now talk about how cool I am.”  Thanks though, Allison.  You and the others have been beyond kind to me.]

My name is Allison Kimball and my introduction is much like my life: scattered, bouncing to and fro.  I’m a 37-year-old mother to 9 children and wife to one amazing and patient man (John).  I have 5 daughters and 4 sons.  My 4 oldest (daughters) are biological and my 5 youngest (4 sons and 1 daughter) are adopted.  I did not name my daughter Fred, my children all have lovely names but have chosen to have pseudonyms online {which you can see here: (the boys and the girls).}

I am left-handed as are all of my boys.  John is right-handed as are all the girls (well almost we don’t know about Loafie yet.)  I have yet to decide what I want to be when I grow up, so I have not graduated from a university yet.  I think I might have the most hours for a senior ever.  Before children 7, 8, and 9 I worked as a freelance artist in the scrapbooking industry both with manufacturers and magazines.  I am currently exploring and designing digitally.

I am the oldest of 5 children and according to my siblings I’m still bossy. I can’t wait to serve a mission again, this time with my darling John.  In fact I have asked every bishop we’ve ever had if he will accept our family as missionaries.  We have been rejected every time.  I love God more than I love my family, which is saying a great deal. I’ve told my children that if they are ever in a situation where they are commanded to deny God to save my life they better choose God.

1. What’s your favorite part of motherhood?

Hugs, kisses, “I love you”, reading together, snuggling, more kisses, working together, smiles and thank you’s, hugs from children who don’t like to give hugs, kisses on each cheek, talking and late nights, singing in the car (50’s songs are our favorites… we sing a mean “Wild Thing”), more hugs, more kisses, watching my children play and hearing their laughter.

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

All the cleaning.

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

1. Seeing all my children remain faithful in their testimonies of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
2. I would love to travel.  Meet new people and see the beauty of the world.

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

I’m very good at procrastination.  I’m great at avoidance (check out my laundry room for proof). I’m amazing at self-deprecation (who needs enemies) and I excel in the art of guilt.

I’ve also been blessed with artistic talents, which I thoroughly enjoy and to quote Mrs. Elton (Emma), “I don’t say so, my friends say I certainly know how to make a sandwich.”

5. What are you loving lately?

1. wacom tablet
2. black and gray clothing
3. sushi (learning to make my own)
4. hearing my children practice the piano
5. my mop (lovely lime green microfiber beauty)
6. lists
7. cars with brakes that work
8. fresh chicken eggs (they are pretty)
9. black and white photography
10. fabric

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

Favorites are hard to choose because, depending on my life, a new verse will have meaning. That being said I’m very certain D&C section 6 was written for me. It’s my go to section and far to wonderful to quote, but I often hear verse 23 in my mind:

“Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?  What greater witness can you have than from God?”  D&C 6:23

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

Reading, quilting, cooking, photography, more quilting, learning something new.

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

I have none.  Really, just when I think I’ve figured something out with one child it suddenly stops working and it rarely works for another child.  Wait, I just remembered something. If we don’t have scripture study as a family we fall apart.  I’m not joking about this, especially if I make significant time in my personal study everything goes so smoothly.  I think that the children were learning subconsciously because most are not awake during scripture study, but it still makes a difference.

“Our reading the scriptures, even one verse at a time, does penetrate into their hearts the words of our Heavenly Father. The faith it takes as a parent to simply do it will invite the Spirit of the Holy Ghost to permeate their hearts and our homes. Reading the scriptures with children is like learning a foreign language. In time the natural rhythm of the words and the interpretation become clear. Alma compared the word unto a seed. Even among children the word “beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me” (Alma 32:28).”  General Primary Presidency

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?

I don’t think there is anything. I’m an open book. I will open the front door and invite you in even if I’m still in my pajamas.

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

Girls night includes my four favorite girls: Munch, Arnold, Gus, and Fred (Loafie can start coming when she gets bigger).  We love to get sushi (some of us more than others) or great Italian (never Mexican, we know authentic and it’s hard to duplicate).  We often go to a movie or play.  When I asked Arnold what we do (because I couldn’t remember) she said, “We mostly talk. That’s the most important part.”

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

Anything that comes out of the body that doesn’t land where it should (ie. vomit). Toilets, don’t like cleaning toilets.  I also have a thing about emptying the dishwasher, not sure why.

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

God lives. Jesus is the Christ. Faith, not fear. I am nothing with out a merciful Father in Heaven.

Tell us about your blog:

I blog at allisonkimball.com, (“simple inspirations”). I blog:
*to remember the silly moments in our lives.
*so my children will have a visual record of who they are and what we believe no matter where they are in the world.
*to express myself artistically.
*to share the talents the Lord has given.
*for our birth mothers
*for parents who faithfully serve missions.
*because it challenges me to be a better writer (still working on this one).
*to have another excuse to take more photographs
*to stay connected to friends and family.
*to remember how much I love my children on the difficult days.
*because I love hearing my children talk about what I have posted.
*to help me see the Lord’s hand in our lives.

I love it.  Thank you, Allison.

My anthem.

I listen to Christian radio in the car. You should try it some time. It really makes you feel better, especially if you crank it up really loud so you can’t hear your children.  Anyway, this is my new favorite song. Let it say what it will about my life.

Here’s a link if you can’t see the video.

(p.s.  Today is the last call for girls’ night out.  See here for more info.  If you said yes, you should have received and replied to an email from me so I know to buy you a ticket for sure.)