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:


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.

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


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!

Can of Worms: A Mormon Woman’s View on Womanhood

Occasionally, I wake up in the middle of the night with something in my head that my brain starts blogging about.  After I mental draft for 30 minutes or so, I give in, get up, and get on the computer.  So, it’s 4:18 a.m., and you’ve been warned.  🙂

Facts:  I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The church has been spotlighted quite a bit in the media lately.  Such attention leads to a lot of online “chatter,” including long comment threads on national media sites.  Even though my better judgment tells me not to read those threads because they are crawling with trolls, I sometimes do, and good grief, people are ignorant.

Anyway, people sometimes use these forums to voice their concerns about “Mormons” and what they believe.  An informal calculation in my head tells me that about 75% of these critics are just dead wrong, and about 25% almost have it right, but they’ve severely misunderstood some point of our doctrine.  Simply stated, they are simultaneously misinformed and sure they’re not.  It’s frustrating.

One of the common threads I’ve seen running through these “discussions” is that Mormons are oppressive to certain populations (women, blacks, homosexuals, etc…).  All of these claims make my brain rattle and I want to yell at the universe, “Come on!  Have you ever met a Mormon?  Have you been to a worship service?  Or watched a faithful Mormon family in action?  Or read our scriptures (including the Bible)?  It would not take long at all to figure out that those claims are preposterous!!!”  But, you know how the universe ignores all that fist shaking and pointless yelling, so here I am venting on my blog.  I could not even pretend to tackle all those “issues,” but I’ve just got to address the women one.  I probably won’t do it justice (and frankly, internet trolls scare me to death), but it is with a small dose of trepidation and a large dose of fire in my bones that I must express what womanhood means to me, and what I believe it means to my church, and in short:  to God.

Let’s start with an anecdote, shall we?  Approximately one hour ago, my daughter woke me up to tell me she peed in her bed.  Her sheets were wet, her clothes were wet, and she was cold.  I helped her change out of her clothes, washed her body with a warm washcloth, stripped the sheets, started the laundry, and tucked her into a new bed.  She asked me to wrap her in the blankets “like a burrito,” and I did.  I kissed her on the head, she snuggled down into the mattress, smiled, and said “good night.”  As I walked out of the room, I turned off all the lights, and in the dark journey back to my bed, I was given some thoughts.  (Sometimes thoughts are given, not just thought.)  I reflected on Continue reading

GCBC Week 3: “Personal Revelation and Testimony” by Sister Barbara Thompson

In April 2011, Sister Julie Beck said, “The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life.”  This is a theme that Sister Barbara Thompson builds upon in her talk.

Personal Revelation and Testimony by Sister Barbara Thompson

I really enjoyed going back and reading her talk; I found it deeper than I had remembered it.  I liked her emphasis that revelation can come in many different ways and really depends upon our willingness to recieve it and live worthy of it.  I also loved this important reminder after the story about the WWII sister whose “testimony kept [her]”:

“Because we have a strong testimony doesn’t mean it will always remain that way. We must nourish and strengthen it in order that it will have sufficient power to sustain us.”

What are your thoughts after studying this talk?  Please share your insights in the comments.

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.”  If you want more information about how it works, go here.  And then join us.

[image credit]

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. 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.

Are Mormons Christians?

In response to the recent media attention, I just wanted to share a glimpse into the basic beliefs of a Mormon family regarding Jesus Christ.  I wrote down a few questions, called Grant into the office, and gave him a quick interview.  Grant is 8 years old and was recently baptized as a member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He shared his own views about Jesus Christ and what Christianity means to him.  His answers are sincere and spontaneous, and I hope they can share some insight into what a Mormon family teaches, believes, and strives to live.

(if video is not working on this site, you can find it at

Glossary of terms:

Mormon:  a nickname often used to refer to a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Friend magazine:  a monthly publication by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that is for children. It shares teachings from the Bible and Book of Mormon, tells stories of children trying to follow the example of Jesus Christ, and communicates lessons recently taught by living prophets and apostles.  You can see current and past editions  here.


I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  He is my Savior and He is my friend.  He alone has made it possible for me to overcome sin and death and gain eternal life.  I know that He lives, and I know that He loves me. I believe that the surest path to joy, both in this life and after death, comes from following His example, keeping His commandments, and repenting of my sins.  Jesus Christ is Lord and King.  I believe in Him.  I am a Christian.

Please visit if you have any other questions about the doctrines, practices or members of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[image credit: Jesus the Christ, painting by Heinrich Hofmann (1824-1911)]