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Monday, May 17, 2010

This cute face needs your votes!

I don't mean mine, but thanks. ;)

My adorable nephew, Jakey (or as his sister still refers to him: Baby Jacob), was selected as Parents Magazine Photo Fave for the week!

Couldn't you just give in to anything he wants?

Like voting for him to become one of 10 finalists that could possibly be on the cover on Parents Magazine.

I don't normally do stuff like this, but hey, this is family. Cute, cuddly, happy, lovable, make you melt inside family. How does one resist? I'll ask his parents.

For now, if you would like to put in a vote for him, you can click on the picture (taken by his mommy of Bella's Image Photography, she's amazing), or click here.

Thanks Ya'll.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Time Out for Women - Spokane, WA 2010

I hope you enjoyed the stories and lessons from each of the speakers.  As well as including my own little blurbs.  I've really enjoyed writing it all down.  Not every story was shared because I only included the ones I could remember (as I remember them) and that meant the most to me.

Which one was your favorite?

Has anyone else gone to a Time Out for Women event?
What was your experience?

If you have gone to an event, make sure you "Share Your Experience" by going to the Time Out for Women website and clicking on the event you went to and take the survey or leave a review.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Time Out for Women - Spokane, WA 2010 - Emily Freeman


Emily told a story of one Christmas (it may have even been this last one, I can't remember) where her husband was called to work and had to go to China.  To add to the disappointment, he would leave the 26th and be gone for all the rest of Christmas break.  They had made plans, but all those plans wouldn't work if he wasn't there.  So, Emily decided that she would go with the rest of her family to her parents cabin in the mountains and go skiing.

She bought ski passes for them for three days, which she found not to be the best idea, because after two days she was wiped out.  Muscles she had not used in a very long time were sore and tired.  So, after it all, she wanted to get comfy and put on her new pj's.  She described them as cute and sort of matching and loved them as they were brand new and a gift from Christmas.  When she came into the kitchen she saw her mom was making White Chicken Chili.  Now, I've never had White Chicken Chili, but she said that she knew her kids would never eat it and decided that she would go into town and get chicken nuggets and fries for her kids.  Before leaving, she asked her sisters-in-law if they thought it would be okay for her to go into town wearing her pj's.  They told her that she would be fine.  (*Haha.  I personally found this hilarious because I, from time to time, will be found lazy enough to go to the Safeway, a block away, in my comfortable attire [aka: my pj's] with no shame.)

So, she goes to the store and they have a Redbox and there is NO line in front of it, and apparently this pretty much never happens.  She thinks, "Oh this is great!"  She had a few movies she needed to return anyway.  While she does this she is on the phone with a lady who is trying to make an order and is having trouble with it and she is trying to walk her through it.  Once she returns her movies, she looks behind her and there is a line and she thinks, "Oh good.  I'm at the beginning of the line and I can get another movie and I'll be the BEST MOM EVER."  So, she proceeds to go through the process of a movie.  I've never used Redbox before, but she said that the thing is really slow and she's on the phone and entering in the information.  Then, a lady comes up to her and says, "Are you on the phone while using the Redbox?"  Emily winks and waves at her thinking the woman is sort of teasing her.  Finally, when she gets done she goes on to the store, when the lady, again, comes up to her and says, "You can't use your cellphone when using Redbox.  You are Rude!  And you're wearing your pajamas!"

This started and internal conflict within her and she started saying to herself, "I'm so rude for being on my cellphone while using the Redbox."  Then, kept on progressing, "I shouldn't have used the Redbox."  By the time she got out to the car she was saying to herself, "I'm a horrible mother for not teaching my kids to like White Chicken Chili and then I wouldn't have had to come out here."

She got back to the cabin and told her sisters-in-law, "The pajamas were a bad idea."  Emily then started to put the food on the oven trays and the ladies finally asked her what happened.  She told them the story and they just thought it was hilarious.  One sister-in-law said, "You should have told her, 'I know I'm wearing pajamas.  I dressed myself.'"  Haha. I like her already.

Emily said, "Isn't it interesting how you can go from being on top of the world and feeling great about yourself and one person can turn it all around and make you feel horrible?"

First of all, wearing pajamas to the grocery store is really not that big of a deal.  Maybe that's just me, but honestly, who even cares? 
Secondly, this lady must have been having a really bad day to call someone else rude, while being quite rude herself.

Emily then talk to about perspective.  How two people can be having the same experience, but can have completely different perspectives.  She gave the example of Nephi and Laman and Lemuel. 
This is what Nephi said of their journeying:
1 Nephi 17:1-2  "And it came to pass that we did again take our journey in the wilderness; and we did travel nearly eastward from that time forth.  And we did travel and wade through much affliction in the wilderness; and our women did  bear children in the wilderness.

And so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us..."

This is what Laman and Lemuel had to say:
1 Nephi 17:20-21  "And thou art like unto our father, led away by the foolish imaginations of his heart; yea, he hath led us out of the land of Jerusalem, and we have wandered in the wilderness for these many years; and our women have toiled, being big with child; and they have borne children in the wilderness and suffered all things, save it were death; and it would have been better that they had died before they came out of Jerusalem than to have suffered these afflictions.

Behold, these many years we have suffered in the wilderness, which time we might have enjoyed our possessions and the land of our inheritance; yea, and we might have been happy."
 
I think it's hilarious that they say "might".  THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW FOR SURE?!  Really guys?  The city was going to be destroyed and you "might" have been happy?  I highly doubt it.  Anyway, getting back on point.  It's all in our perspective.  Nephi CHOSE to look at the blessing the Lord had given them.  While his brothers only focused on how hard everything was.  Nephi acknowledged that they had it rough, but even so the Lord was watching over them.  I think Laman and Lemuel were thinking the way we do sometimes.  If we are following the Lord's word and His plan, He will make everything smooth sailing.  It's only fair right?  We forget that we actually have put in some of our own work.

My advice:
Life's rough.  Say a prayer.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Time Out for Women - Spokane, WA 2010 - Wendy Ulrich


Wendy Ulrich:  She is a psychologist and in her introduction she said that she would be talking about 7 things that will give us hope.
1)  Stop worrying about your weaknesses.
2)  Don't try to get motivated to exercise.
3)  Stop trying to find friends.
4)  Don't try to feel happy.
5)  Celebrate failure.
6) Don't practice resisting temptation.
7)  Don't endure to the end.

When she finished off her list I thought, "This is a lady I could get along with."  Haha.  She even joked that now we were all thinking, "This is the church for me."

I should have known she would have put a twist on it.  She's a psychologist for goodness sakes.

1)  Stop Worrying About Your Weaknesses.

Wendy told us of how she was called on a mission when she was 21 and how she struggled.  She said that they were the worst 18 months of her life.  (A commonly known statement for missionaries is that it's the best years of your life.  There is even a LDS movie called "The Best Two Years".)  She felt as though her own weaknesses made it difficult for her to do the work and felt she barely made it through.  Years later, her husband was called to be the President of the Canada Montreal Mission.  She thought, "This is my chance.  This is my chance to do things right and be better."  That apparently lasted for about 10 minutes, until she realized that she still had some of the same weaknesses that she did the last time.

Then, in a "moment of absolute clarity", she felt a voice say to her, "I did not call you on a mission for your weaknesses.  I called you for your strengths.  Serve with your strengths."

"Wow!", I thought.  All this time, I've been so focused on how I can't do things because of my weaknesses and it's totally the opposite.  I shouldn't focus on the things that are my weak areas, but the strong points.  My talents.  After all, isn't that what the Lord told us to do?  Develop our talents.  Brilliant!

2)  Don't Try To Get Motivated To Exercise.

Get in motion and the motivation will follow.

She told us about an article she read in a Runners magazine on this man and how he sort of tricked himself into running every day.
He would start by putting on his workout clothes. Not because he was going running. Because they were comfortable.  Then, he would go to the door.  Not because he was going running.  Because he wanted to see what it was like outside.  Then, he would start walking down the street.  Not because he was going running.  Because he wanted to see if his neighbor was out, or something like that.  Once he was out there it was like, "Oh alright."

Once you start moving, the motivation will follow.

3)  Stop Trying To Find Friends.

I don't know about any of you, but I felt really encouraged by this.  In normal settings, I'm extroverted and I love to be around people.  However, no one really warns you that when you get married there's no more Single's Ward-like activities to help you meet people.  At least not if you don't live in a university town where there are married student wards and other things like that.  As for myself, when I'm in "unfamiliar territory", I become really introverted and reserved.  Of course, I want to make friends, but quite frankly that's scary.  Especially, when we moved here.  I'm still getting used to our ward and trying to remember people's names.  It's not like Moses Lake, where even if I didn't know them, they knew my dad/mom/brothers so then there was some kind of a connection.  I don't really have that here.  Needless to say, I'm struggling to find friends.  Especially friends that I have things in common with.

Wendy's advice:
Stop trying to find friends.
Start trying to learn how to be a friendlier person.

-Have 1 meaningful conversation daily.

While this is good advice, I'm also a lonely little housewife with no kids, who doesn't go anywhere.  Maybe that's my problem.  My visiting teaching could definitely use a boost.
Either way, what I've decided is to shoot for one meaningful conversation on Sundays.  It will be a good motivator for me to meet and get to know more people in my ward and hopefully form some friendships.  If anyone from my ward reads this, spread the word!  I'm comin' at cha'.  Haha.

4)  Don't Try To Feel Happy.

-Try to Feel Grateful
Wendy had us to an "exercise" where we closed our eyes and thought of a difficulty or stressful issue in our lives right now.  We had to think of how it made us feel.  Get that emotion.  Then, we had to think of the feeling of being grateful.  How that made us feel.  Once we had that for a bit.  She had us open our eyes and said, from the time we started out stressed, it took us ONE minute to be happy by being grateful.  AMAZING!

Wendy suggested that we write down three good things that have happened today and why did that happened.  Once you realize why they happened, you become grateful for those things.  In turn, becoming happy.  Anyone remember the "Thankful" posts I did in November?  I was so happy all the time doing those.  I thought it was because I was writing every day.  Now, I realize it's because I recognized the things my Heavenly Father gave me.

5)  Celebrate Failure.

If a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing badly.
That's when we learn how to do it better.

-What is a difficulty you faced?
-How did you feel?
-What did you learn?
-How did you overcome that problem?

6)  Don't Practice Resisting Temptation.

Yes!  Finally an excuse to eat chocolate!
Or so I thought...

-Distract yourself.
If you are placing a temptation in front of yourself (or placing yourself in front of a temptation...like going to the candy section of the grocery store...don't lie you've all done it), and "trying" to practice resisting, it's not going to work.  We are weak people!  It's not a good idea.  Get away from the temptation.  Run and don't look back.
Feed your real hunger and get away from the temptation.
With things like scripture study or learning a new skill or habit.

7)  Don't Endure To The End.

"Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured."  President Gordon B. Hinckley

There are so many things to live for and live to do.  This reminds me of Mariama's story.  During the war, she and her family had to endure to the end.  Just waiting for the next day.  What's our excuse?  Are our circumstances so incredible and challenging that we all we can do is endure?  Enjoy life.  Enjoy the trees, the weather (yes, even if it's windy....I'm a work in progress), our families, bubble baths.  This life isn't all about work all the time.  It's also about enjoying the world our Heavenly Father gave us.

Wendy suggested:
Savor delight in 10 tiny changes.

Maybe we could make little changes to our daily routine and switch things up a bit.  You know make things interesting.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Time Out for Women - Spokane, WA 2010 - Mariama Kallon



First, I should tell you that I hadn't heard of this woman before, but after hearing her speak and tell her story, I would love to become her friend.  It was because of her and her story that this year's theme for Time Out for Women is Infinite Hope and the Hope Kits that were being put together.

She was raised in Sierra Leone during the civil war.  Did you ever watch "Blood Diamond"?  If not and you don't know about the war, you can read about it here on wikipedia.  

Her story was so powerful and personal.  She said that they would pray just to see the next day and when the day came they would pray to see the night.  When the night came they would take turns keeping watch in case the rebels came and they had to flee.  At some point they decided to go to where her parents lived, not knowing that it would be to say goodbye forever.  One day the rebels came and as her siblings and herself were fleeing, they shot and killed her parents.  She wanted to turn around, but her sister told her, "There is nothing we can do.  They are gone."  Eventually, the rebels caught up to them.  They were told by the rebels that they would rape them and then cut off their arms and legs.  When they had finished with all the girls, they lined them up against tree trunks and each women awaited her fate.  Unfortunately, her sister was among the first.  As she waited, the other women around her prayed to God to save them.  She thought to herself, "What God?  If he loves us, why would he have us suffer this?"  However, a feeling inside her prompted her to say a prayer.  She said, "God, I'm no better than any of these women, but I know that you are able to save me, the rest of the women and the two in front of me.  Please save us."  At that moment, they could hear the government soldiers coming and when the rebels heard them they took they started to run away.  Unfortunately, her sister was taken and it wasn't until Mariama was on her mission in 2001 that she learned her sister had died.

Soon after fleeing from the rebels, she stayed with friends who were LDS.  Through them, she was introduced to the gospel and became a member of the church.  She then decided that she wanted to go on a mission, but didn't know how to pay for it.  Through scripture study and prayer she knew it would be taken care of.  Then, the day she turned in her papers, she found out that she had two young cousins who were alone and she was their only known living relative.  She wasn't sure what to do and so she spoke with her bishop.  He said that his family would take care of them as long as they needed to.  She felt at peace with this, but after awhile it faded and she felt discouraged again.  While reading in D&C 31, she read verse 2, which says, "Behold you have had many afflictions because of your family nevertheless, I will bless you and your family, yea, your little ones..."  After reading this she knew that she would be able to carry out the Lord's work and her little ones would be taken care of.  To quote her,
"Heavenly Father is a God that DOES NOT lie.  He always keeps His promises."

I felt so encouraged by that.  He DOES NOT lie.  How important to remember that!

Mariama was soon called to the Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission.  Soon after serving, she was able to send for her cousins and they now live in Utah.  She also, spoke about her humanitarian kit that she received from the church.  She has kept it with her through everything.  It has become her symbol of hope in her life.  She showed it to us and explained that when the kits came so many people were going to get them and there weren't enough, so she shared with many ladies.  They had to ration everything out because they didn't know how long it would last.  Haha.  The only thing she wouldn't share was her toothbrush.  That was HERS. 

I was inspired by her and her trials.  I thought, if anything the message of her story is, no matter how hard you think your life is, it's not.  Mariama was a joy to listen to.  Many times she said, "God bless America" with a large smile on her face.  She joked about having to buy and wear knee-highs and how that was a struggle for her.  How she's still getting used to wearing shoes because she didn't get her first pair of shoes until she was 13 years old.  How she used to be skinny without doing anything.  She tells people, "You want to be skinny without the diet, go to Africa," with a large smile on her face.  How now that she lives here she's gotten chubby, "God bless America!"  How if you told her 13 years ago that she would be talking about Hope to a group of over 2,000 white women, she wouldn't have believed you.

I believe that if Mariama can get through all that she has, I can overcome my trials and come out with a smile on my face.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Time Out for Women - Spokane, WA 2010 - S. Michael Wilcox

At the beginning of the day, the presenters were introduced and I felt like someone was missing, but couldn't figure out who it was.  The pamphlet we had gave a general outline because there are different speakers in each city.

After Linda and Shawni spoke, we had a 20 minute break to stretch.  When we came back from the break, the TOFW director, Laurel, came out as she normally does and talked a little bit until everyone was in their seats.  Once it was time to get back to the program, she began telling us about why there was someone missing in the introductions.  The week before they were in Pittsburgh.  Michael had spoken and given a wonderful talk on HOPE.  Little did he know how much he would need it at that very moment.  Following the program, he found out that he would need to get home right away because of health problems his wife was now facing.  She was having seizures and other issues and found that she had a brain tumor.  They are doing (or have done) a biopsy to find out if it is Stage 3 or 4 of Brain Cancer.  Our hearts reached out to Michael and his wife during such an emotional and difficult time in their life.

Laurel told us that this is a commercial business and they make no secret of that.  They value our presence and our dollar and because of that they wanted to make sure that we had someone in place of Michael to speak.  After a few attempts earlier that week at trying to find someone, she said that she felt very impressed that Michael was not to be replaced.  Instead they showed the video of his talk in Pittsburgh.  I'll be honest with you I didn't write down a whole lot because I was a little too focused on my adorable 8 month old nephew (too young for mommy not to bring with her), but I'll share what I did get from the talk.


Michael began his talk with the story of Hagar and Ishmael (Gen. 21 staring in verse 14).  Did you know that Ishmael means "God Hears"?  He told of how Hagar was expelled and she ran out of water.  So, she put her child, Ishmael, "under one of the shrubs" and went away from him and said, "Let me not see the death of the child."  Then, (in verse 17) "And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. (Verse 18) Arise, lift up the lad and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation. (Verse 19) And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink."  I love the story of HOPE that is taught here.  When you think that you are alone, God Hears and provides a way for us.  

Michael also shared that when his daughter was little, they had bought a small pink phone for her.  They would pretend to talk to her on it and she would love it.  He joked that he didn't know then that they would be prepping her for a cell phone.  Haha.  One day he came home to find his daughter talking on her phone.  He asked her who she was talking to and she pulled the phone away from her ear and gave him a look like, "Dad!  I'm on the phone!", then said, "Dad, I'm talking to Jesus."  She went back to talking on the phone and he decided to ask, "What is he saying to you?"  Again, she pulled the phone away from her ear and gave the same exasperated expression and said, "He's telling me to get married in the temple."  Michael said he was tempted to take the phone and say, "Hello?"  Haha.

Sometime after that, Michael's wife had put a glass cup on the stairs and forgot about it.  This same daughter was coming down the stairs, when she slipped and her elbow landed right into the glass.  It, of course, broke and shattered on her arm causing nerves to be severed.  There was a serious fear that she wouldn't be able to use that hand again.  Everyone was scared and feeling worried, except for his daughter.  Michael asked his daughter why she was so calm and she replied, "Because Jesus told me everything will be alright."  As it turns out everything was alright and no permanent damage remains.  She had faith because Jesus told her everything would be fine over her pink telephone.

*When you need HOPE, look beside you.*  He is always there to guide you through the darkness.
*In our time, in our season, He will come.*

I found so much comfort in those last words.  I know that my Heavenly Father is looking out for me and when I need Him, He will come.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Time Out for Women - Spokane, WA 2010 - Linda Eyre & Shawni Eyre Pothier

This last weekend I had the opportunity to go to a "LDS Women Convention" of sorts, called Time Out for Women.  It's the fourth one I've been to.  It's meant to give all of us women folk (LDS and not alike) a chance to get away for a couple of days and enjoy some spiritual upliftment.

Unfortunately, I don't know that I was as uplifted as I normally am.  It seemed like a big focus of things said was on Infertility.  It might have been just because of my own experiences.  Perhaps also due to the fact that my sister-in-law, who was there with us and is a photographer, was on call for a photo shoot with the group called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.  Either way, anytime infertility was brought up, I wanted to burst into tears.  I came away feeling discouraged and emotional drawn to my limits.  On the way home, I let go of the tears that I had been holding back.

When, I got home, I wanted to share with Ty the notes I had made from Saturday and afterward I felt like I could look back and think of something better.  I'm really glad I did take notes so that these would be the things I took away, not the negative.  I'd like to share what I learned from Saturday.  I'll be breaking it up over the space of the week since there were five speakers and I'd like to dedicate enough space and time to each of them.  I didn't get any pictures because the batteries in my camera died.  :(  All the pictures are from the Time Out for Women website.

Linda Eyre & Shawni Eyre Pothier:  A mother-daughter team who talked about success tips of motherhood they learned along the way.

1)  Be your own kind of Best Mom.

Linda told a story of when she was at a conference or meeting where they were talking about how to deal with children (or something like that).  There was a guy there who was, as she put it, "a city-slicker type".  Kind of upity and thought a lot of himself.  He kept making comments like, "My son, who is the valedictorian...." or "My daughter, who was the homecoming queen...." and so on.  They were getting so frustrated and were like, "Stop telling us about your perfect children."  Then there was this homelier man who was a farmer in his overalls, and he stood up and said to this guy, "God must not have thought much of you as a parent to send you all them perfect kids."

I loved that!  God must think you are a good parent if he sent you children that aren't easy.  Haha.  She suggested that if you do have kids that are easy, then maybe go to your Relief Society President and ask for a hard calling.  But isn't that thought comforting.  We've all heard the saying, "Heavenly Father doesn't give us any more than we can handle", but this just seems like more to it.  I'm not there yet, but I can imagine that if our kids (or even just the girls) are anything like me....we're in trouble.  However, our Heavenly Father knows that I'm a good parent and that I'll be able to handle it.  Yay!

2)  Have an infrastructure.

Have a family Mission Statement
-Make it simple and try to put actions to it.
Let them be secure with themselves and feel apart of something bigger.

An example was Shawni's family:

LEARN
WORK
SERVE
RESPECT

3)  Give Ownership.
-Goals:  Has to be the kids idea
-Arguments

Linda shared that with her children, they had this bench that was rickety and uncomfortable and they called it the "Repenting Bench".  When someone got in trouble they were put on the bench and they had to sit there until they could tell their mom and dad what it was that they did wrong.  Once they recognized what they did, they had to apologize to the person they wronged, asked for forgiveness, and told them they would try not to do it again (sincerely of course).  Essentially, they were teaching their children the steps to Repentance from a young age.  Shawni shared that it's still a practice that her family, as well as her siblings, carry out in their families, except they might use the stairs or something like that.

4) Formalize Family Traditions.
-They help glue the family together.

A few things they shared were birthday traditions.  Each person got to do one thing EVERY year on their birthday.  For instance, one of the girls has a birthday in the summer and so for her birthday she has a floating cake.  They take the cake to the lake or a pool and put it on a flotation device of some kind and she blows out the candles.  When she was away from home she did it the bath tub.  Simple, but it's fun and they do it every year.

Another tradition they have is Family Testimony Meeting each Fast and Testimony Sunday when they got home from church.  *Not to be done at the dinner table before or during the meal.*  They would each go around and share their testimonies, but made sure to ask them, "Please tell us how you feel about the Savior."  I love this idea and hope to try it in our family.

5)  Teach Kids to Work.

We live in a world where kids are given the things they want without much effort on their part.  Shawni gave the example of her son learning to ride a bike and her husband made sure he stayed with it until he met his goal.  She said, "Make sure kids do things that are a little bit hard, so they can understand how to work.

They also gave the 3 P's to Work:
-Print
-Patience
- Persistence

Print:  This is actually something Ty and I do.  I use a site called chorebuster.net and it will assign chores to each person each week based on what you rated the difficulty level, when it needs to be done, and an option to assign it to a specific person.  It also has the availability to assign a reward or payment to each chore.  The point of this is so they can see it and they know what chores are assigned to them.

Patience:  Kids will take time to learn work skills, so be patient.  Shawni shared that she has a daughter who is eight and one of her jobs is to clean the playroom.  Only a month ago did she finally get it all right.  Take the time to teach them what to do, but don't get frustrated if they don't do it perfect.

Persistence:  DON'T GIVE UP!  It does take time, but eventually they will learn.

The last thought I got from them was:
"Do things in Holiness/ with Holiness in mind."

When you talk or help someone (including your children),  look at them the way the Savior does.  It will change everything.

Linda shared that her mother-in-law is 88 years old and is really ready and willing to go, and anxious to get things done before then.  She will even call out to her husband to come and take her.  This is a hard thing to hear someone so anxious to leave and to go.  She decided to take on this new attitude of having Holiness in mind and it was so much different with her mother-in-law.  She helped her with Family History and that brought them closer, as well as other things.  

It just reminded me that I need to take on a better attitude when I do things.
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