GCBC Week 18: “Followers of Christ” and “The Essence of Discipleship”

I’m back, so we might even have actual links this week.  🙂  I picked two talks this time because they seemed a good fit to study together.

“Followers of Christ”
by Elder Walter F. González
Of the Presidency of the Seventy

and

“The Essence of Discipleship”
by Sister Silvia H. Allred
First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency

I thought it was really interesting to read each talk’s emphasis on different characteristics of discipleship.  The two things that stood out to me (and were consistent in both talks) were covenant keeping and charitable kindness.

I’d love to hear your thoughts as you study these talks.  What were the highlights for you?  What are some practical ways you feel like you can apply these principles in your life?  Please share your ideas in the comments below.

If you’re new to GCBC, go here to learn more about it, then join us!

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Find-A-Friend Friday: Meet Lesa

This week, I have the pleasure of introducing you to Lesa.  She offers proof that there is life after the diapers stage.  🙂  She is another blog friend that I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting in real life, but I think you’ll enjoy getting to know her better as much as I did.  Here’s Lesa:

Hello, I’m Lesa. I’m a Wife, Mom, and Grandma.  I live in Utah and I’m in my mid-forties. I have one daughter, two sons, one son-in-law, one granddaughter, and one awesome husband. I grew up in Northern Utah. I graduated from USU with a degree in Business Information Systems. After we both graduated, my husband and I moved to California for nine years and then moved back to Utah where we have been for the past 11 years. My husband and I have been married for 25 years. I love being a Mom to two teenage boys! (Yes, I really typed that) I am a piano teacher. I teach piano lessons during the school year and take the summers off. Our married daughter lives in Hawaii. Her husband is starting Pharmacy school this fall. We are happy for them but we miss them dearly.

What’s your favorite part of motherhood? Everything! I love raising two teenage boys right now. (Yes, I really did type that – again)

What part of motherhood would you subcontract out if you could? The worry part. I worry too much about my kids: are they safe, happy, doing good things.

 Name 2 or 3 items on your “bucket list.”  (Some things you’d like to do before you die.) I recently put a new thing on my ‘bucket list.’ My husband and I just returned from a 10-day Church History tour. I thought I wanted to serve a mission with him one day, now I KNOW I want to serve a mission with him some day. We visited with lots of couple missionaries. I want to be just like them someday. 🙂

Brag for a minute.  Do it.  What are a few things that you’re pretty good at?  I’m pretty good at sight-reading piano music. Also, it has taken us years, but we are good at reading the Book of Mormon every night as a family.

What do you gravitate toward during your unscheduled time?  Blogging, playing the piano, and reading!

Tell us some of your best mom-tricks  (things you’ve figured out that work well for you). Communicating. It has taken me lots and lots of years because communicating is pretty tricky. I think I do a better job with it now.

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 like to talk, but I don’t like to talk negative about my husband or your husband.

 If you were in charge of a girls’ night out, what kind of activity would you love to plan? First we would go to dinner (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, or TGIF). Next we would go shopping at Target and wander around with no real purpose. After that we would go for frozen yogurt and if it wasn’t too late we would go to a girl movie.

 Friends are great for venting.  What’s been frustrating you lately? Body image: Comparing myself and being too hard on myself for all my faults. I wrote a post about my feelings regarding this HERE.

What parts of your testimony are you the most sure of? I might change my furniture around, my bank account changes (daily, sometimes hourly), my size may (does!) change, I will change purses and wallets, but the one thing I’m firm in is my testimony of Jesus Christ. I have a knowledge of its truthfulness and I am going to continue to stay on the path. You can read my testimony HERE.

Let’s say you’re dying in your sleep tonight.  What would you eat for your last meal? Cheesecake, peanut butter cups, Fried Chicken with ranch dressing to dip it in, and a large diet coke. (I know what you are thinking – that would make anyone die in his or her sleep after eating all that)

What homemaking job/task gives you the most satisfaction? Laundry! I love seeing folded stacks of clean clothes. Bathrooms on the other hand….

Give your best advice to a newlywed or expectant mom. From one woman who has been married 25 years to a newlywed: As you get older, your problems don’t ever go away they just change. Don’t wish your life away thinking, “When I don’t have little kids or when we have more money.” You will always have problems and worries. They just change over the years. You will never arrive at a point in your life when you can say, “Now life is good and everything is perfect.” [I seriously thought that for several years when we were first married] On a positive note, enjoy life because life is really, really good, problems and all.  It has taken me a long time to realize that it is okay to enjoy life. Finally, pray for a good marriage, thank Heavenly Father for the opportunity to go to church, and give your husband a pat on the back once in awhile. Even though husbands are tough and manly, they need lots of hugs.  From a Mom of 3 to a married women thinking of having children: Take a leap and have kids. It is a scary endeavor that will change your life, but do it. Don’t put off having kids.

What’s something unexpected in your life, and how have you dealt with it? Wow, I know just the post to tell you about a very hard experience in my life. It came about 3-4 months after we were married. It would take a lot of room to type it here but I did write a post about it, that you can read HERE.

My blogs: I sometimes hate to admit it, but I have three blogs. I know, how many blogs does a girl need? I’ve had several personal blogs that have come and gone, but I currently post on a regular schedule at Journey of the EveryDay. Last year I started a music blog. I hope you will stop by and visit. You are welcome to submit a guest post. Notes about Music Notes is all about enjoying good music. Finally, a couple months ago my daughter moved to Hawaii and we started Mailbox Moments as a way to write letters back and forth between Utah and Hawaii. Come by and read a letter or two. All three blogs are comment and follower friendly. I’d love to meet you. I enjoy getting to know people better in real life and in blogland. I’ve learned so many good things, from lots of great women, through blogging.

Thanks, Stephanie, for letting me post here on your blog! You are one of those great women. (Yes, you need to leave this in my post!)

Have a great day, enjoy some good music today, and write a nice letter to your son/daughter/husband/friend.

Your new friend,
Lesa
Personal blog / Music blog / Mailbox Moments 

Thanks so much Lesa.  Thanks for your participation and your perspective.

Tell Lesa hello, or share some common ground with her in the comments below or over at her blogs.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Find-A-Friend Friday: Meet Carrie

Today I’m happy to introduce you to Carrie.  We’ve never met in real life, but it seems like our paths have crossed many times.  In fact, if I remember correctly, she lives in the same town in North Carolina where I lived as a newlywed, and where my first two children were born. Isn’t that cool? We know a lot of the same people, which is a common phenomenon with us LDS bloggers.  I think you’ll enjoy meeting her.  Here’s Carrie:

Hey! That’s southern for “Hi!” in case you aren’t familiar with southern speak.  My name is Carrie Harmon and live in a small town outside of Charlotte, NC.  I am 35-year-old almost stay-at-home  (I work less than part-time at a local grocery store to stay on the payroll in case I really do need to work. ..) , new homeschooling mom to one sweet boy (Jake) who will be turning a decade old the end of August.  I am married to the most amazing man in the world (Aaron) who is currently going to school full-time during the day and working 3rd shift (10pm-6am)  full-time to pay the bills.  We also have one very sweet and crazy lab mix puppy (who as I am typing this figured out how to turn on the hose, that was laying in her little kiddie pool to fill it up…Seriously….) named Sadie May — yes I totally include my dog as part of the family. J  I also have to mention that this family picture is from Feb. of 2010…I love to take pictures but apparently we haven’t taken any good ones of the 3 of us for a while…I am going to have to work on that…

We are currently living in my parents home, taking care of it while they are on a mission in Seattle Washington.  They will be released from their mission on August 6th after 18 months of serving the Lord in the mission office.  The timing for their mission was perfect for all of us.  Aaron was working in the home building business and the company he worked for was slowly letting everyone go.  We decided it was the perfect opportunity for Aaron to finish up school back at UNC-Charlotte [hey, editor’s interruption– I used to teach Spanish there!] (where back when we were young and dumb he left as a 2nd semester junior for a great job opportunity…Let this be a lesson to all you young people: finish school the first time around…) and my parents were about to put their home on the market, something they really didn’t want to do.  It worked out perfectly for us to take care of their house instead of them selling it in the middle of a really bad housing market.  Fast forward almost 18 months and Aaron is going to graduate (with a major in Math-what a geek) in December and we will be on to our next adventure wherever that will take us!   Aaron is originally from Spartanburg SC and I am from New Hampshire.  I consider myself a converted Southerner, but Aaron says it doesn’t work that way.  Once a Yankee, always a Yankee.  He claims I still break out my Yankee accent when I get mad but I really wish I talked like Paula Dean…Maybe some day.  A girl can dream right?  Jake is a native Charlottean, which I think gives further proof that I am a converted Southerner.   J

What’s your favorite part of motherhood?

My favorite part of motherhood is all the firsts. The first smile. The first steps.  The first time you realize your child really feels the Spirit. The first time your see yourself in your child and think do I really sound like that when I am mad?… I love them all good and bad.

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

I have a lot of things on my bucket list so to narrow it down to 2 or 3 is hard…I would love to hike the Appalachian Trail with my family.  I would love to travel to every state in the US.  I would love to write children’s books.  I would love to live on a lake….

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

I am really great at procrastinating!…I really am, but that isn’t a good thing.  This one is tough.  I am a good (not great) painter.  I am great homemade roll maker if using a bread machine counts. I make good spaghetti and lasagna.  I am really good with kids… I asked for some help from Jake and Aaron on this one and they said: blogging, cooking, painting, sleeping (haha…), being a mom…I guess I am not good at thinking of things to brag about myself for….

What are you loving lately?

I am absolutely loving my Kindle and reading the classics.  It was a Mother’s Day/Birthday gift and I LOVE it.  The idea that I can take my own personal library everywhere I go is a good thing.  Whoever came up with this idea is a genius!  I am reading Sense and Sensibility right now and I love it.  The first book I read on my Kindle was Laddie.  It is so good!  If you haven’t read it you should.  I am the girl who in high school never actually read the books assigned so I think my English teachers would be shocked and proud that I finally found a love for the classics.

Do you have a favorite scripture or quote?  Why?

My favorite quote is by Neal A. Maxwell: “Faith in God includes faith in His timing.”  My favorite scriptures of the moment are 1 Nephi 1:20: “…I Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.” And Mosiah 24:14: “And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage: and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.”

What do you gravitate toward during your unscheduled time?

During my free time I gravitate to spending time with Jake (I’m lucky that I am still one of his favorite people to play with.) and Aaron.  This past year and a half have been a real sacrifice for all of us.  I was working out side the home 5 days a week (for the first time in Jake’s life) until school got out and we decided to rethink the game plan.  We have found that when we are home, we just want to be with each other.   I have gravitated toward researching and gathering information and supplies for homeschooling which we are just starting this year.  It has been so much fun!  I love to blog — lately that has not been the case but it is summer time so I get a pass right?  I love to read, cut coupons and figure out how cheap I can get the things I need.  I love HGTV and Fox News.

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

One of my best mom tricks is to sing.  When Jake was little I would always make up silly songs if he wasn’t listening.  It always worked like a charm and still does.  Another mom trick is to always be prepared.  We lived outside of Asheville NC in the mountains (we miss it sooo much!) and were close to fun places to play in the water.  I learned to always have towels and a change of clothes in the car so spontaneous swimming could happen.  It is a very rare occasion that we see water and don’t get in it. I have scored some cool mom points this way.  My last mom trick goes along with being prepared: I believe in the big mom purse with everything you may need on a moments notice inside.  I have been a super hero to many people with all that I carry in my big purses….

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

The part of my testimony that I am most sure about is that Heavenly Father is completely aware of each and everyone one of us.  He knows our needs, he knows our struggles, he knows our weaknesses and faults-and He loves us any way.  I know that He only gives us trials that we can bear.   I know that He thinks I am a good mother, even if I am the mother of one, not 6.  I know that he answers my prayers and that His hand guides my life on a daily basis.  I know that He wants nothing more than our happiness.  I know that He loves me.

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?

 I am going to assume that by “items” you mean “things” not people and that this is a little mom vacation…Right?   I am saying all of that so I won’t feel guilty for not taking Aaron and Jake along with me. J  1. A water-proof Kindle (that doesn’t exist but it should) with wi-fi access of course.  2.  A machine that spits out those tiny little ice cubes (…I call them rabbit turd, but I am sure there is a real name for them…) and cold water that I can drink all day long. 3.  A comfy, oversized chaise with pillows that is completely water proof and is floating in the beautiful fresh water pond, complete with small waterfall, and I am lounging on said chaise while wearing a lovely white cotton nightgown with my bathing suit underneath…That may technically be more than 3 things.

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

Something unexpected in my life is not having lots of children.  I love kids!  I always thought we would have a big family.  But Heavenly Father’s plan for our family is a little different from my own.  I have PCOS and have struggled with fertility and my weight ever since having Jake.  We used fertility drugs to have Jake and have been so blessed to have him in our family.  He is amazing!  I wish I had 4 more just like him.  It has been a roller-coaster ride of emotions.  There have been times when I have been bitter and emotional about this struggle.  I have been through the “why me” phase and depression.   The only way I have gotten through it is by turning to the Lord.  I am reminded every day that He loves me and is aware of my struggles.

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

I love this question!  The song that keeps coming to mind for some reason is Rascal Flats “God Blessed the Broken Road” or is it just called “Broken Road”?  I don’t know, but I think it fits.  When Jake was about 3 or 4 we had a whole little dance we did to it.  He would stand on our hope chest and we did our little routine.  Why didn’t I video it? I just love how the song talks about being led to exactly what we need in our life.  It makes me think of how Heavenly Father leads us on the right path if we just let him.

What homemaking job/task gives you the most satisfaction?

Aaron will laugh at this one because I never seem to get it down.  I love folding laundry (not matching socks though…).  I love smelling the clean clothes.  I love looking at Jake’s clothes and seeing how much bigger they are than last year at this time.  I love looking at the millions of Star Wars t-shirts that Jake and Aaron have and remembering how excited I was to find another one they would love on sale at Target.

Tell us about your blog:

My blog is called “One More Thing….” because I always seem to have one more thing to say.  I am a chronic rambler.  I couldn’t think of what to name my blog when I started a couple of years ago, that would give people a little insight into my brain, so I started to go through my favorite songs in my head.  “One more thing…” is a line from a John Mayer song.J  I blog to keep in touch with people, to de-clutter my brain, to journal, to vent…But mostly to document our little families crazy journey!

 Thank you Carrie.  It really was fun to get you know you better.  I love how much joy you find in motherhood.

Tell Carrie hello, or share some common ground with her in the comments below or over at her blog.  Have a great weekend everyone!

A Survival Story

Yesterday I woke up to Clark running into my room telling me that Grant was bugging him so bad that he made him drop 3 bowls of oatmeal on the floor.

Right.

By 8 a.m., I had already posted the following status on Facebook:

Goal for today: Do not sell the children. Do not harm the children.

I just want to report that despite going to the store and having the same kind of experience there that I would have had if I had rented 3 chimpanzees to accompany me …

… and listening to cackling, arguing, tattling madness everywhere I went in our van (a.k.a. parental torture chamber on wheels) …

… and asking my children over and over and over again to do their chores, and when they finally got moving in the late afternoon, I had to clean up some kind of mysterious collision that resulted in 3 large glasses shattering and scattering all over the kitchen floor …

… and trying to watch a movie together where Grant asked me every few seconds what was happening despite the fact that the movie was trying to explain what was happening if he would actually listen …

… and making a dinner that was noticeably insufficient for the starving, suffering masses,

I survived.  At Family Home Evening I bore my testimony about the scriptures, and shared a personal, uplifting story that went something like this:

I just want you children to know that if I had not read my scriptures this morning, it’s quite likely that I would have killed you today.

It was a touching moment.  You had to be there.

Carry on.

GCBC Week 16: “As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten” by Elder D. Todd Christofferson

First of all, thanks to all of you who checked in to the roll call last week.  I’m glad to know there’s still a little army marching along.  🙂

I really, really like this talk by Elder Christofferson.  Maybe it’s because the Lord teaches me often through chastening. The “naggings” of the Holy Ghost have frequently been the means by which I finally get my act together and do what I know I should be doing.  And I’m grateful for that.

“As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten” by Elder D. Todd Christofferson

Some of my favorite quotes in this talk were:

Divine chastening has at least three purposes: (1) to persuade us to repent, (2) to refine and sanctify us, and (3) at times to redirect our course in life to what God knows is a better path.

If we sincerely desire and strive to measure up to the high expectations of our Heavenly Father, He will ensure that we receive all the help we need, whether it be comforting, strengthening, or chastening.

What parts of his message stood out most to you? How do you think we can apply these lessons?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.  If this is your first visit to GCBC, visit here to learn more about it, and join the fun.

Find-A-Friend Friday: Meet Amy

This week we get to meet Amy, whom I also had the privilege of meeting in person at our girls’ night out in the Spring.  I was impressed with her happy demeanor and genuine friendliness.  I’m excited you get to meet her too.  Here’s Amy:

Hi! My name is Amy Hughes and I am a 35-year-old, married ten years last week to the most amazing man. I couldn’t have chosen a better husband than Brandon. I am the mother of two little boys that I couldn’t imagine living my life without. Kaalam (KAY-lem) is four and a half years old and he is the sweetest, kindest, most polite little whirlwind you’ve ever met. He never stops! But he’s nice, so it could be a lot worse and that makes up for a lot. Xander (Alexander) turned two last week and is the polar opposite of his big brother. He’s quiet, with a devilish sense of humor that I know is going to be dangerous in a few years and he hardly ever speaks a word. He can. He just doesn’t want to. While Kaalam is outside learning stunts on his bike, Xander is happily curled on the couch reading a book. But the two of them somehow fit together in the most beautiful way. I love to watch them be together. I am so grateful to get to be a mom! For a very long time it looked like I’d never get that chance.

I started life as a BYU baby, but I was raised in Canada. I was the second oldest of 6 children and the first of five of us in five years (no multiples). I had one sister and four brothers and because we were all so close in age, we basically grew up in a pack. Being surrounded by so many brothers meant that I was a tom-boy then and I’m still learning about how to have girly friends now. It’s a skill that I’m trying hard to develop. I lived in Lethbridge Alberta until I graduated high school, moved away to Provo for a couple of years and I haven’t really been back since. I served a mission in Las Vegas Nevada where I learned that dry or humid, 126 degrees is just too hot for any reasonable human being to withstand. I have companions that have moved back to Vegas and I have to admit that I really don’t get it. I loved the work, I loved the people, but I was not made for that kind of heat. Give me a winter I can bundle up against any day! And I say that having experienced -70 degrees. Not that -70 is comfortable either, but if I had to choose. Educationally, I’ve had a long and random history. I worked as a veterinary technician for a couple of years before my mission. After my mission I studied Herbal Medicine for a year, ran out of money and got married. My husband then convinced me that if I couldn’t be learning how to use the plants, I could at least learn how to grow them so I got a degree in Landscape Design that upon graduating I decided I didn’t want to have to use. It was a heat thing. I don’t like doing landscaping work outside in the heat 12 hours a day. After a break from school to renovate a house, we were still childless and I wasn’t sure what else to do with myself so I went back to school again. This time for an English degree. Though I think I may have taken more psychology and history classes than English. I was halfway through this last degree when we were finally able to adopt our first son. I’ve been at home ever since. In the last 16 years I’ve lived in 2 provinces and 5 states and though we’ve recently landed in Utah, we don’t think it’s where we’ll stay. Which makes both of us sad. We never thought we’d choose Utah, but it’s felt like home faster than any other place we’ve been in the last few years. I hope we get to stay for a while.

1.     What’s your favorite part of motherhood?

My favorite part of being a mother has to be that I get to be one.

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

I really thought I was going to answer this question with housecleaning, or laundry or something but this Sunday I realized that I was wrong. If I could subcontract out just one thing, I think it would be Sacrament meeting. You know that scene in Shrek2 when they’re in the carriage on their way to Far Far Away and they can’t get Donkey to keep his mouth shut for more than 10 seconds at a time? I realized with some degree of horror this week that Donkey is my son. I’m raising Donkey. My two-year old will walk into Sacrament, sit himself down on the bench with his arms folded and listen quietly through the whole hour. But I have a feeling he’s only doing to make his brother look bad. My four-year old is physically incapable of sitting still or shutting up for more than 10 seconds at a time and if I could pay somebody to deal with him through that hour I would jump at the chance. Unfortunately it’s the Sabbath and we aren’t supposed to cause others to work so I’m stuck with him. Someone shared a quote this week about gauging your spirituality by what you think about during the sacrament. I’m sure it was a prophetically inspired quote, but I’m thinking there’s got to be some degree of leeway for mom’s with little kids. If there isn’t then I hope I don’t die until they’re grown.

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

I would love to be a published author. I went to a writing camp with Orson Scott Card a couple of years ago and I impressed him. I made him like a story in a genre than he has despised his entire life. Then he tore my work into little pieces anyway because that’s what we were there for. But it gave me the confidence to know that I really can write. If only I had the time in which to write.

I want to own chickens. I want to live on a little hobby farm somewhere and have chickens and a goat and maybe an alpaca or two for yarn. It would have to have a little orchard full of fruit trees too. I’ve wanted that life all my life and now my husband has bought into it too. Maybe if I ever publish that book. J

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

I’m good at most things I try. And I hate to say that because I know it sounds really awful, but really there are few things that I’ve wanted to try that I haven’t been able to master. My biggest problem is that I’ll try something, get really good at it, then get bored and go look for something else to do. So I’ve done nearly everything at some point of another. Right now I’m designing knitted hats to open up an Etsy shop in the fall. We spent the week at my in-laws house and apparently I’m a nervous knitter because I came home with 7 finished hats in a single week.

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

“If all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men” (Alma 48:17). First off, my little teenage heart fluttered over the Captain Moroni in the seminary video the first time I saw it. But it also reminds me Continue reading