Monday, January 30, 2012

My first guest post!

Hello, lovely friends! I am excited to announce that I am being featured as a guest blogger over at 3 Little Men and a Mommy today! Be sure to check out my post, and don't forget to check out some of the heartwarming, entertaining, and inspirational posts on this great blog! Have a happy Monday!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Meaning of Comfort

This is day 29 of my Journaling through January series.

When you think of the word "comfort," what comes to mind?

When I think of the word comfort, I think of it in three different ways. I think the scriptures give better examples of these ways than I can, so I'll let them do the talking.

1. Noun:
2 Corinthians 7:4 "...I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation."

2. Verb:
Mosiah 18:9: "...Yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort..."

3. Mindset:
Ether 12:29 And I, Moroni, having heard these words, was comforted, and said: O Lord, thy righteous will be done, for I know that thou workest unto the children of men according to their faith.”

When I think of comfort, I think of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. They are the source of peace and comfort. Heavenly Father comforts me because I can feel His love, and see His merciful hand blessing my life. He is always there to listen and answer my prayers. Jesus comforts me because He has faced all my fears, sins, and pains, and He has overcome every single one of them. Through Him, I can overcome them as well. The Holy Ghost brings me comfort by conveying the truthfulness of what I have written above through feelings of serenity, joy, and support. Whenever I feel peaceful, calm, secure, or happy, I know I am feeling that way because the Holy Ghost is with me.

One of my favorite scriptures is John 14:27. The Savior said to his disciples: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

I just realized that this journaling prompt was given me for a purpose. It is strange and wondrous how the Lord uses coincidences to testify of Him. I have been rather anxious about something this weekend, and to be honest, I wasn't doing a very good job of seeking comfort. Now, however, I feel peace and calm growing in my heart. I needed to write about this today, and I'm thankful that my Heavenly Father knew it, even if I didn't.

Journaling through January is a series which can be found on iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Winter Escape

This is day 28 of my Journaling through January series.

If you could escape winter and go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Ahhhh...I can just picture myself soaking up the sun...



eating cinnamon buns for breakfast and pineapple for lunch...



meeting some local celebrities by day...



watching fireworks at night...



spending money on over-priced paraphenalia....


and riding my favorite rides over and over again.



Yep, you guessed it. My dream get-warm getaway would be DISNEYLAND!!!



Journaling through January is a series which can be found on iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com




Friday, January 27, 2012

Words of wisdom

Once upon a time, a very wise, judicious queen named Marie Antoinette said:



"Let them eat cake!"
She must be wise and judicious, right? I mean, look at that dress!

Why, thank you for those wise words, Madame. I think I will....



For BREAKFAST!


mmmmm....

Thursday, January 26, 2012

If I had a million dollars....

This is Day 26 of my Journaling through January series.

If you had 1 million dollars that you had to spend, but you couldn't spend it on yourself, what would you do?

Oooo, I like this one. I have a nice long list all ready. (And I hope that spending it on my family doesn't count as "myself.")

  1. Do some things for my parents that they've been wanting to do for a long time. This would take up a good chunk of money.
  2. Start college funds for my kids.
  3. Take Tyler's family on a roadtrip. It's their favorite thing to do in the world. :)
  4. Donate a chunk to that one charity that helps children with cleft pallets. You know the one I'm talking about? I can't remember their name.
  5. Donate money to the LDS Church's fund for sending families in third-world countries to the temple.
  6. Donate another chunk to the Utah Food Bank.
  7. Buy a lot of children's books for my kids.
  8. Buy a 1 year supply of freeze-dried food storage for our family, my husband's parents, and my parents.
  9. Help my husband start a business.
  10. Keep a few hundred bucks for giving to newlyweds, first-time parents, missionaries, etc.
Well, I think that just about spends my million dollars. How would you spend it?

Journaling through January is a series that can be found on iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Favorite movies

This is day 25 of my Journaling through January series.

What is your favorite movie and why? What are movies you'd like to see this year?

First, I'm changing the rules. I am not going to choose one movie. I am choosing four. Because that's just how I'm rolling today. :)

#1: Roman Holiday
It connects to my soul on so many levels. Every girl, at some point in her life, wants to be a princess. Every person wants the thrill of just "running away" every once in a while. And anyone who knows what's good for them wants to go to Rome and have adventures. In addition, I wish I could be as adorable as Audrey Hepburn.



#2: Julie and Julia
The acting in this movie is, in my opinion, phenomenal. Meryl Streep and Amy Adams are just perfect. The story is charming. The script is hilarious and clever. I just can't stop smiling when I watch this movie!



#3: Star Trek
Probably one of the only action movies I can call one of my "favorites." And I really don't know why. I mean, I love the premise of Star Trek (I am a total Next Generation nerd), but there's something else about this movie. Maybe it's the conflict between Spock and Kirk that I love--there are so many layers to it. It's one of those films that I might pop in the DVD player as I clean the house or finish a craft project, just to enjoy the overall feel of it.



#4: Together
This is a Chinese film (with subtitles) about a father and his son, a violin prodigy. This film is so heartwarming and beautiful. I love the music, the characters, the culture, and the emotions in Together. I like to watch it when I'm in the mood for feeling warm and fuzzy.



There you have it! My top four favorite movies! As for what I'm excited to see this year, that's another long list. Hunger Games, the new Batman movie, The Bourne Legacy, The Hobbit, and Life of Pi, to name a few. It's a good excuse to have regular date nights! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

To My Children

This is day 24 of my Journaling through January series.

You choose: a. write a letter to your children or someday children telling them what you hope for their lives. or b. write a letter to your younger self telling her of what to look forward to.

I pick option a. Though I only have one child right now, we'll have more in the future. This letter is for all of them.

Dear children,
It's me, your mom. I'm supposed to write a letter about what I hope for you. That list is very, very long, so I'll try to include only the most important things.
I hope your days are filled with laughter. There will be grouchy days, but I hope you won't remember them so much. When you look back on your childhood, I hope you can say that it was filled with happiness, security, and love.
I hope you let me share your heartaches and sad days. I'll always be there to kiss it better, no matter how old you are.
I hope you love to read as much as I do. I have this idyllic picture in my mind of us sprawled all over the living room, each absorbed in a really good book. Every once in a while, one of you will laugh out loud at a funny part. One of you might ask me to define a hard word. I will hand you a dictionary. If you need help, we will look it up together, and my heart will just burst with love and pride and joy. (If you don't really like to read, that's ok, too. There are many other idyllic family scenes I have in my head.)
I hope you know your Heavenly Father and Jesus love you. We, your daddy and I, will do everything in our power to surround you with their love. I pray that the Lord will bless our efforts, because we will probably fall short more than once.  
I hope that, when you fly the nest to strike out on your own, you will leave knowing the right things. How to say please and thank you. How to choose matching clothes. How to say sorry and how to forgive. How to maintain a close relationship with us and with your Heavenly Father. I really, really hope you will learn these things, because to be honest, your Dad and I are guessing a lot of the time. We're not always quite sure that we are saying the right things or teaching the right lessons. So I'm crossing my fingers and praying that your brains will be smart enough to filter out all the stupid things I do or say, and just keep the good ones. The stupid ones are good for laughing at later, but the good ones will help you be happy.
I guess that's really my final, most important hope for you. I hope you will be happy. I hope you will know where to go to find true happiness. It's not in cool cars, or candy, or television shows, or the perfect body, or expensive clothes. It's in doing the right things, and it's in loving and being loved.
Love, 
Mommy 
Journaling through January is a series which can be found on iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Quiet Moment

It was 2:00 in the afternoon. My little baby's second tooth is coming in, and we've had some rough patches today. He was in an ok mood though, so I set some toys out on the floor of my bedroom. I hoped that chewing on his favorite toys would sufficiently distract him from the pain in his mouth, and grabbed the computer to do some browsing while he plays. We sat on the floor together in the grey light of a cloudy day.

As time passed on, he became more wiggly and discontented. He leaned over my legs, waiting for me to pick him up. I picked him up, but he wiggled right out of my arms again; clearly, my lap was not as fun as he thought.

We repeated this process for the next twenty minutes. Wiggle. Fuss. Pick up. Squirm away. Repeat. I tried to continue my oh-so-important internet browsing over his wriggling baby legs.

A few minutes later, I realized that he was in my arms again. I almost didn't notice, because all the wiggles were gone. He was just quietly sucking his thumb and watching me click on link after link.

I knew I couldn't let this moment go. Everything was so quiet. The house was silent. The neighbors' dog stopped barking. And my son, who was so impatient and busy a moment ago, was gently falling asleep in my arms. This rarely happens these days.


Cheeky little bugger.


He's stolen my heart yet again.

Amazing Grace

This is day 23 of my Journaling through January series.

Looking back, is there a time when you can see how God's grace and favor was upon your life?

Oh, there are many times when I can see this. So many. I've received help for big things and little things. Even silly things. Heavenly Father has always been there for me, and I am so grateful for it!


One particular time comes to mind. When my husband and I were engaged, I felt so nervous about getting married. No, it was more than nervous. I felt like Satan was trying as hard as he could to make me feel terrible about getting married, by filling my mind with doubt and fear. It took such a toll on my mind and body that I started to get sick. But I knew that when I prayed about marrying Tyler, Heavenly Father gave me a definite yes, and I couldn't forget that.


So we went forward with the wedding preparations, while I tried to surround myself with every good and uplifting influence that might bring me peace. And though I felt awful much of the time, Heavenly Father was there to help and guide me, manifesting Himself in the things that happened during this important and stressful time.
Preparing for the wedding couldn't have been easier. It seemed like all of the things we needed--my dress, veil, shoes, the flowers, reception hall, photography, hair stylist--were simply waiting for us to find them, always in the first or second place we looked. Everything was at the right price, in the right size, from the right places.


I also felt blessed by the uplifting and comforting experiences so carefully placed around me. For example, just at a time when office politics were making my job as a secretary particularly stressful and hellish, I got to escape for a week while I filled in for another secretary in a different office upstairs. That office was much quieter and easier to manage, and I sensed that the Lord knew I needed a break during this difficult time.

Heavenly Father didn't have to give these gifts to me. But He did. By letting me know, through these signs, that I was doing the right thing in marrying Tyler, I found the courage I needed to take the biggest, happiest step of my life.


Journaling through January is a series which can be found on iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com



Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Very Bountiful Basket!

Holy Hannah. Standing in line outside in freezing, windy weather was NO FUN on Saturday morning. But I felt duly rewarded when I saw the amazing bounty awaiting me in my Bountiful Basket! Check out all this great produce!

4 oranges
4 Bosc pears
6 kiwis
2 lbs bananas
2 pomegranates
1 lb. brussels sprouts
2 3-lb bags of apples
4 ears of corn
1 head of broccoli
1 head of cauliflower
7 tomatoes
1 bunch of red lettuce




I didn't even find all the things that I got at WalMart, so I didn't do such a good job of pricing everything like I did last week. However, according to the calculations with what was there, I estimate that I got $25-30 worth of produce for $15! That's quite a steal, yes?

 


I was quite ecstatic about the pomegranates. I've never bought one before in my life. In fact, I think I've only tasted one once. They are quite expensive, and I'm too cheap to pay $1 or more for one piece of fruit at the regular supermarket. But with Bountiful Baskets, I can enjoy this luxurious, mysterious piece of beauty without guilting myself over the price! Happiness!

So now I get to plan my family's dinner and lunch menu around these great ingredients. If you had my Bountiful Basket to cook with this week, what would you make? I'd love to hear some of your great ideas!

Friendship

This is day 22 of my Journaling through January series.

Write about what friendship means to you. Make a plan for how you can strengthen your friendships this year.

I do have a "plan," of sorts, for how I want to strengthen my friendships this year. There are so many incredible women in my neighborhood that I would like to make friends with. We are starting a book group, and I feel like that will be the perfect way for me to strengthen my friendship with them.
Surprisingly, none of my attempts to write about what friendship means to me have worked. I've been sitting here writing and erasing, writing and erasing, for nearly an hour now. Words like kindness, patience, and selflessness come to mind, but I don't know what to do with those words. There are also two phrases in my mind, and their proper placement and expression eludes me. They are:
  1. Friendship makes life beautiful, like flowers in a garden.
  2. Offering someone my friendship is like offering them a piece of my heart.
My inspiration stops there. Would you like to help me write the meaning of friendship? What does friendship mean to you? What are the ways you like to strengthen your friendships?

Journaling through January is a series which can be found at iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Currently, I'm...(Part 2)

This is day 21 of my Journaling through January series

Make another list of "currently's." Currently listening to, wearing, feeling, wanting, needing, thinking, enjoying, praying.

Listening to: The heater running. My baby chewing on a toy--it's squeaking against his gums! The winds outside howling and rattling our windows and walls.  :)

Wearing: A green-and-white striped sweater, blue jeans, slippers. Nice and comfy for Saturday morning.

Feeling: Hungry. Breakfast is still in the works.

Wanting: A Jamba Juice. Peanut Butter Moo'd with strawberries instead of bananas. Can you say perfectly delightful?! Too bad we live 30 miles away from Jamba!

Needing: To eat more vegetables and to exercise. I've been woefully delinquent in these necessary obligations this week!

Thinking: About George Washington. I just finished reading a great biography on him. Man, he was a cool guy!

Enjoying: The weekend. Aaaaahhhh, so nice...

Praying: That I can learn to be less argumentative. My words and my voice need a kindness makeover.

There's your snapshot of my life right now! I'd love to hear your currently's! Do leave comments!

Journaling through January is a series which can be found on iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com

Friday, January 20, 2012

Blogging goals for 2012

This is day 20 of my Jounaling through January series.

Write down a list of goals for your blog this year. Try using the S.M.A.R.T. goal model, making sure goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.

How funny. I was actually thinking about making some blogging goals the other day. It seems I was on the right track!

Gain 100 followers by the end of the summer

Find 3 sponsors to feature my blog

Find someone who can help me make a tabby menu under my banner

Find a mentor, someone to advise me on making my blog more appealing (content, style, layout)

Keep my posts as short and simple as possible. I want my posts to be enjoyable, thoughtful, and easy to read and process. I have a tendency to write novels sometimes.

Write some tutorials. I'm afraid this is going to take some bravery...I always get scared whenever I think of doing one!

If anyone wants to help me get a headstart on these goals, please leave a comment, and I will love you forever!

Journaling through January is a series which can be found on iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bucket List for 2012

(This is Day 19 of my Journaling through January series)

Begin a 2012 "bucket list." What are those special things you want to do this winter, spring, summer, and fall?

Ooooh, I like how she divides it up into seasons!

Winter (as in right now)
Go ice skating on a date with my honey
Deep-clean my house (walls, furniture, windows, cupboards, vents--the works!)
Convince/Bribe/Coerce my younger brothers to assist in said deep-cleaning
Get rid of this awful, sad old couch I'm sitting on right now
Buy a new, happy, wonderful couch (at a screamin' good price) to replace the sad one

Spring
Clean the carpets
See my husband graduate with his BA
Take a vacation to Zions National Park in honor of said graduation
Take Noah to the zoo
Redecorate our family room (hooray!)
Take outdoor family pictures

Summer
Spend lots of time outside with Noah
Get a mini pool for Noah to splash around in on hot summer days
Redecorate the downstairs bathroom
Start a new family scrapbook
Go on lots of hikes!
Take the "31 days of nothing challenge" (Found on fakeitfrugal.blogspot.com)

Fall
Finish Book Project
Redecorate the master bedroom (I'm really excited for this one!!)
Drive up the canyon to enjoy the fall colors
Make a Thanksgiving book


Winter (as in Christmas 2012)
Start Nativity tradition
Buy more Christmas story books and read them to Noah
Make a Christ book
Get ready to go back to school (Winter 2013 semester, here I come!!!)

I might use this list as a springboard for some of my blog posts. This could be fun...

Thanks for reading!

Journaling through January is a series that can be found on iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Shout it from the rooftops

(This is Day 19 of my Journaling through January series)

What is one thing you'd like to shout from the rooftops today?

This one is pretty simple, actually.


I


 LOVE


BEING


A


MOMMY!!!!


Being a mom is the hardest, messiest, silliest, most exhausting and confusing job I could have signed up for (and I only have one baby so far!). It is also the most fulfilling and joyous thing I can imagine. I never thought my heart had room for so much happiness and love!

Journaling through January is a series which can be found at iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Book Project: Nicholas Nickleby

Yes, yes, I know it's been a long time since my last BP post. I willingly allowed myself to get off-track during the holidays. Instead of reading dilligently each day, I chose to meander and putter my way through Nicholas Nickleby, and I finally finished it about two weeks ago.

I confess that I'm not as familiar with Dickens as a solid background in classic literature might demand. During my childhood Decembers, my parents fed us a steady diet of The Christmas Carol, and I loved reading A Tale of Two Cities as a teenager. I got about halfway through David Copperfield the year before I left for college, but I had to stop because I was swamped with other school assignments. I thoroughly enjoyed all of these encounters with this great 19th century author.

That said, I was surprised that I did not enjoy Nicholas Nickleby more. As always, Dickens' literary style is unmistakably and unfailingly brilliant, astounding me with his powers to describe his scenes and characters so vividly. But my enjoyment of the novel ended with that. I found the characters to be remarkably one-dimensional and unvarying. Kate is always modest and blushing; Mrs Nickleby is always annoying, too talkative and in the wrong; the Charyable brothers are always able to help and always in agreement with each other; Mr. Mantallini is always threatening suicide and punctuating every other word with "demmit." There was no depth or hidden qualities in any of the characters. I admit that I did not do very much digging, though. I read it on a very basic, surface level. I'm sure I could have found more depth than initially met my eye. Perhaps someday I will try again.

Before I go on, you might want to get an idea of what Nicholas Nickleby is about. Briefly, Nickleby is a romance in the purest, most basic sense. We have a princess, which is, in G.K. Chesterton's words, "a thing to be loved," a dragon, which is "a thing to be fought," and a St. George, "who both loves and fights." Of course, St. George fights the dragon and loves the princess, and they live happily ever after. All other points of plot revolve around these three characters and this small plot. Nicholas goes through the book fighting various dragons--wicked uncles, lecherous gentlemen, violent schoolmasters-- with always the same end--he wins, and the various princesses (which take the form of many helpless creatures--his sister, poor, starved schoolboys, and a fair young woman) are saved.

Nicholas, taking matters into his own hands, beats the cruel schoolmaster with his own cane.

The idea that interested me the most from this book is actually not from the book itself. It is from an essay analyzing Nicholas Nickleby, written by G. K. Chesterton, who was another literary giant at the turn of that century.

Chesterton is a great writer, and I'm afraid there is no possible way I could attempt to explain his ideas for him with a good conscience, because he just says it better than I can. So I'm going to include a rather lengthy quote from his article.

"Nicholas Nickleby...wanders through the world; he takes a situation as assistant to a Yorkshire schoolmaster; he sees an act of tyranny of which he strongly disapproves; he cries out "Stop!" in a voice that makes the rafters ring; he thrashes the schoolmaster within an inch of his life; he throws the schoolmaster away like an old cigar, and he goes away. The modern intellect is positively prostrated and flattened by this rapid and romantic way of righting wrongs. If a modern philanthropist came to Dotheboys Hall I fear he would not employ the simple, sacred, and truly Christian solution of beating Mr. Squeers with a stick. I fancy he would petition the Government to appoint a Royal Commission to inquire into Mr. Squeers. I think he would every now and then write letters to newspapers reminding people that, in spite of all appearances to the contrary, there was a Royal Commission to inquire into Mr. Squeers. I agree that he might even go the length of calling a crowded meeting in St. James's Hall on the subject of the best policy with regard to Mr. Squeers. At this meeting some very heated and daring speakers might even go the length of alluding sternly to Mr. Squeers... The Royal Commission would report about three years afterwards and would say that many things had happened which were certainly most regrettable; that Mr. Squeers was the victim of a bad system; that Mrs. Squeers was also the victim of a bad system; but that the man who sold Squeers his cane had really acted with great indiscretion and ought to be spoken to kindly....By that time the philanthropists would be petitioning Parliament for another Royal Commission; perhaps a Royal Commission to inquire into whether Mr. Mantalini was extravagant with his wife's money; perhaps a commission to inquire into whether Mr. Vincent Crummles kept the Infant Phenomenon short by means of gin."
 Chesterton goes on to say that Nicholas' violent, sudden way of stopping the schoolmaster in his cruelty was much more his forefathers' way of doing things, rather than his and succeeding generations (he lived in the early 20th century).

"...When they saw something which in their eyes, such as they were, really violated their morality, such as it was, then they did not cry "Investigate!" They did not cry "Educate!" They did not cry "Improve!" They did not cry "Evolve!" Like Nicholas Nickleby they cried "Stop!" And it did stop. This is the first mark of the purely romantic method: the swiftness and simplicity with which St. George kills the dragon."
There is something truly to admire and wish for in this swift manner of justice. It is not my purpose to examine the justice systems of our country, so I'm putting that on the shelf for another day. But what about our own personal justice systems? When is it right to kill the dragons of injustice and immorality in our lives? What dragons are present in my life right now that need killing?

That's where I'm leaving it for today. I'd love to hear your thoughts on dragon-slaying! More Book Project posts coming soon!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Biggest regret

(This is Day 16 of my Journaling through January series)

What is your biggest regret?

This is a bit personal, but I'll post it anyway. Before I left home for college and met my husband, I had a boyfriend. It was a rather casual relationship, because he was leaving to serve a two year mission that winter for our church. Naturally, I broke up with him when Tyler and I started dating seriously. I don't feel bad about that. But I do regret never contacting his family when my husband and I got engaged. A lot of dates consisted of activities with our families, and I really liked his family. During our entire engagment, I debated if it would be appropriate for me to send them an invitation to our reception, just to let them know that I was getting married. If that guy had been just a friend, I certainly would have invited them. I wanted them to know that I was happy, and to share my happiness. But I didn't know what they thought of me for breaking up with their son, so I decided to keep quiet. If I could have made the decision again, I think I would have been brave enough to send the invitation to them. I hope I'll run into them someday, so I can say this to them.

Well, the baby is in his crib, awake and ready to start the day! I'd better end here. Thanks for reading!

Journaling through January is a series which can be found on iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com



Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Favorite Bible Verse

(This is Day 15 of my Journaling through January series)
Write out your favorite Bible verse. Why is it important to you? How does it play a role in your life?

There are many scriptures from the Bible, Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price that hold great value for me. It seemed hard to choose at first, but then I remembered this scripture, which rises again and again in my life when I need guidance. It is Matthew 7:16-20:

"Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."


I absolutely love this scripture! It is so simple to understand. It is easy to look at the "trees" I have planted in my life, and determine if their fruits have been good or evil. It is easy to see the things I should be planting in my life to bring the fruits of greater happiness and progression on my spiritual journey. It is easy to see the things that harm my soul and make me wander away from the fold.

Of course, the rub is in acting upon these realizations. It is not always easy or simple to get rid of the bad trees and replace them with good ones. It is not always easy to give nourishment to the right trees. Too many good trees in my life need more water, more pruning, and better protection from the danger of withering away.

Thank you, Laura, for giving us this journal entry today. I needed to revisit this scripture more than I realized. I hope that, with a new week ahead of me, I can change some things that will help my good trees to grow and make my bad trees die and leave my soul.

Journaling through January is a series which can be found on iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com

Saturday, January 14, 2012

10 books I want to read in 2012

(This is Day 14 of my Journaling through January series)

Make a list of 10 books you would like to read this year.

Since I have two full shelves of books that I am trying to finish by this fall, I will list off some of the books I'm really excited about.

1. The Space Trilogy, C.S. Lewis (ok, that's really three books, but I'll let that slide.)


2. War and Peace, Tolstoy
3. Atlas Shrugged, Rand

4. Universe on a T-Shirt, Falk
5. The Gulag Archipelago, Solzhenitsyn
6.Roots, Haley

7. Angels and Demons, Brown

8. No Doubt About It, Dew

9. Utopia, More

10. How to Think About the Great Ideas, Adler



Thanks for reading!

Journaling through January is a series which can be found at iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com

My First Bountiful Basket!

This morning I stood in line in the January cold and claimed my first Bountiful Basket. I have been curious about this produce co-op for a long time, and it is part of my New Year's resolutions to order one every week, if possible, so that I can focus on healthier eating. The amount of info on the web from actual Bountiful Baskets customers is extremely sparse, so I had no idea what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to see what a value I got for my $15 contribution!

For those of you who haven't heard about Bountiful Baskets or who have thought about doing it but need more information to help you decide, I am going to try to post about what I get from my Bountiful Basket every week. And, just for kicks, I might post the meals that I make with all this produce.

Without further ado, here is what I received this week:




(For fun, I have also put the price of each item at our local WalMart)
4 tangerines $.48 each
1 lb. bananas $.52/lb
1 bunch lettuce $1.44
1 head cauliflower $2.68
1 head broccoli 1.88 each
3 avacados $.74 each
6 tomatoes $1.34/lb
1 pineapple $2.50 each
1 melon $3.48 each
8 oz mushrooms $1.68 each
6 kiwis (I'm guessing $.40 each because they don't carry them right now)
Brussels sprouts $1 (guessing again)
Grand total: approximately $25  (I had to guess on a few, since I don't have a produce scale at home....) Not a bad dea, eh? $15 of fresh produce without having to spend half an hour fighting the crazy Wal- Mart Crowds!

 I honestly don't know how to cook brussels sprouts, and I don't like mushrooms. But I will figure out something to do with them!

These are some meals that I think I'll make based off of these ingredients:
  • Cauliflower soup (using the cauliflower and some leftover carrots and celery from last week.)
  • Chicken, steamed broccoli and lemon rice
  • Asian beef (I'm feeling some mushrooms for the honey here) fried rice, and roasted brussels sprouts.
The fruit will be great for snacking and breakfasts. I'm so excited for a week of healthy eating!

Friday, January 13, 2012

My favorite book

(This is Day 18 of my Journaling through January series)

What is your favorite book? Write about the lessons you learned from it or how has is shaped who you are.

My favorite book. Hm. Something that has shaped who I am. Lots of books fit those categories. Today, however, I choose The Book Thief, by Markus Zursak.



This book is about a German family during World War II. The characters are vivid and beautiful, and sometimes when I read about them, I want them to be alive and real so much that I can scarcely breathe. Zusak uses his words so well that the emotions nearly drip off the page.

 One thing I love about this book is that no one is an angel. No one is perfect or vice-free. The little girl steals books from other people. The mother has a terrible temper and can curse up a storm. The mayor's wife stays in her bathrobe in her house all day and doesn't give the village the help it needs. Every character is flawed, but in the midst of their imperfections they bring forth beauty and love and hope in immense amounts. It gives me hope that, despite my own vices and impurities, I, too, can bring beauty and light into the world. Someday, somewhere in the eternities I will be perfect (or I hope I will be!), and then my ability to create beauty and joy will be endless. That day sure is not today, nor will it be tomorrow. Until then, I am happy to know that there is still so much good I can do, no matter how limited or unworthy I feel. This book taught me that, and many other things.


This is Tyler and I in the SUU library, when we were dating. We loved to pick favorite children's books out and read them to each other sometimes on dates. Man, my ribcage was skii-ii-ny!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gifts and Talents

(This is Day 12 of my Journaling through January series)

We are called to use our gifts and talents to fulfill the work of the Lord. What are your gifts? How can you use them this year?

Music: I have the wonderful blessing of being my ward's choir director, and I truly love this calling! I feel like this is a really good way for me to use my musical abilities in serving others.

Writing: Blogging is a really good way to use my writing skills right now.

Homemaking: I don't know if I would call myself a really talented homemaker, but I feel like I've definitely been given a gift in the time I have to do crafty things. I know life won't always be so peaceful and conducive to crafting, cooking, and cleaning as it is right now, so I'd better take advantage of it while I have the chance. You'll get to see some of these things I've been working on someday (hopefully soon!).

Teaching children: Before I quit the workforce, I taught children at an elementary school. I was pretty good at it, though I do say so myself. Someday, I want to teach homeschool classes for my community using a few of the materials and techniques I learned at the school. I have a lot of ideas that I think might be pretty good. I'm not exactly sure how or when, but I plan to do it sometime soon. Until then, I'm plenty happy with teaching my son how to crawl, how to walk, and how to give his mommy kisses.

Journaling through January is a series which can be found on iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Growing through Trials

(This is Day 11 of my Journaling through January series)

I chose not to post day 10, because the prompt said to write a thank-you note to someone who impacted you last year. It said you could either leave it in your journal or tear it out to give it to the person you were thanking. I chose the cyber "tear-it-out" version, and decided not to post it. But I did write it, and I will deliver the card today!

Here's today's prompt:

Write about an experience that was particularly tough. But more importantly, write about how that experience made you stronger.

During the first half of last year, we were living in my in-laws basement, paying a pittance for rent (thanks very much, in-laws!) an saving a lot for school and our baby that was due in June. It was a pretty sweet deal. We were hoping to have enough money saved to buy a house within a year or two. Tyler's family then began making plans to move, which meant we had to move, too. We considered renting another place, but after looking a bit at our options we decided to buy a home instead. We felt sure that we would find a good house and buy it within a month and a half. We applied for the loan and started looking for a house sometime around the end of March.

Here's where the "tough" part comes in. I really, really, really did not want the stress of moving while 8 1/2 months pregnant. It was important to us that we move before the end of May. We thought this was a highly achieveable goal. But because we had a low budget, our options were more limited than we thought. There were a few good houses that were in our price range, but once we made an offer on any of them, we would find out that someone had just barely beaten us to the chase. It felt like this happened a million times, when in reality it happened about three. Personally, I think every little inconvenience feels a bajillion times more dramatic when you're 8 months pregnant. But that could just be me. Let me just say that there were many frustrated tears and breakdowns during this process. Each time we started getting a good vibe about a house, it seemed like the Lord answered with a resounding, slam-the-door-in-your-face "no!" I did not do very well accepting these answers, especially the third time around. Deep down, I knew that we would be taken care of and the right thing would happen. But I couldn't convince my emotions, laced with crazy-pregnant-lady hormones, to accept this.


By the time we actually found our house and followed the necessary procedures to purchase it, I was--you guessed it--about 8 months pregnant. Moving so close to our due date really stressed me out as well, but it started tapering off since I knew that we'd at least have a place to set up our baby's crib. All in all, despite the difficulty and stress, we were blessed to work with great people who pulled a lot of strings to get us into our house by the end of May, leaving us just enough time to settle in a bit before our baby was born in June. Our families also did a fantastic job of moving us in and cleaning our whole house. I barely had to do anything. (Thanks, Bailey and Maloy families!!!) Looking back, I thank the Lord for His providence and wisdom in saying no all those times, because none of those other houses were really all that great compared to the one we bought.


This challenge made me stronger because it taught me that I need to really trust God more. Sometimes I'm not very good at letting Him be in control without wanting to know just what is going to happen. I like to make plans, and I like to stick to them--which can't happen sometimes. I learned from this experience that Heavenly Father really does know what He's doing, even if I can't see it. I am grateful for His patience with me as I learn these things in my own roundabout way!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Teaching about Christ

(This is Day 9 of my Journaling through January series)

Imagine you are talking to someone who has never heard of Jesus. How would you explain Him? What would you say? more » 


Gosh, I don't even know how to begin that one. There are so many ways to start, depending on what that person already believes. Just to make things simpler for me, I'm going to assume that this person has a belief in some sort of God and some sort of pre-mortal and post-mortal life.  Otherwise, this could be a very long post!


Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is my Savior. He is your Savior, too. He came to earth thousands of years ago to erase our sins and mistakes by suffering for them. He did this because he loves us, and because we cannot do this for ourselves. When I do something wrong, I can become clean again through Christ's sacrifice for my sins. When I feel lost or unimportant, I can remember that Jesus, a perfect being, the Son of God, came to earth to take upon him my iniquities and sufferings. Because he gave his life in every way for me and for the whole human race, I can have true peace and joy at all times.

Jesus also gave us commandments that teach us how to live according to the will of God. He taught us to love God, our Eternal Father, with all our heart, mind, and strength. He taught us to love one another, even our enemies. He taught us how to have peace and joy by following his example and relying on his atonement to become clean and pure.

I have felt the cleansing power of Jesus Christ in my life. I know that I can repent of my mistakes because Christ loved me enough to redeem me. This testimony gives me such hope and joy.

Jesus Christ is the central figure in Mormon doctrine


I know that what I have written is a very sad attempt. It does not come at all close to conveying everything that Jesus is to me. But the time has come to post this, perfect or not. I have tried about four times today, and every time I ended up erasing it because it just doesn't seem good enough. It's still not really good enough, but maybe I can come back to it another day and make it better.

Journaling through January is a series which can be found on
iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com






Sunday, January 8, 2012

3 Things about Me

(This is Day 8 of my Journaling through January series)

What are three (or more) things you love about yourself? Write them down and look back at them whenever you're struggling to find self worth.

Hmmm....three things I love about myself....

1. My blue eyes.

2. The way I can turn my thoughts into written words just the way I want them.

3. When I was about 8, I realized that when I read the Great Illustrated Classics, I was not reading the "real" thing, and from then on refused to read them because the "real thing" was most likely better than a knock-off. My first choice to read the "real thing" happened to be The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I love that I actually read 95% of it, although I'm pretty sure I didn't understand very much of it. (*Note that I am in no way hating on The Great Illustrated Classics--they're great to get kids interested in classic stories! I just think my second-grade snobbery is hilarious in retrospect.)

Wow, that was much harder than I thought! Have a great Sabbath!

Journaling through January is a series which can be found on http://iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com/

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Counting my blessings

(This is Day 7 of my Journaling through January series)

What are you grateful for this new year? Make a list and considering adding to it throughout the month as you become aware of God's abundance in your life.


In no special order, I am grateful for:
  • My husband finishing school
  • being able to stay at home with my baby
  • My home
  • The talents God has given me
  • The opportunity to use and expand those talents
  • Yoga
  • The scriptures
  • Church
  • My calling as ward choir director
  • Friends
  • Family
  • Living so close to my family
  • Jesus Christ
  • Books
  • The temple
  • My baby's smile in the morning
  • My husband's cheerfulness and how much he loves to spend time with me and Noah
Thanks for reading!


Journaling through January is a series which you can find at iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com

Friday, January 6, 2012

Currently, I'm...

(This is Day 6 of my Journaling through January series)

Make a list of "currently's." Currently listening to, wearing, feeling, wanting, needing, thinking, enjoying, praying.
Currently listening to: My napping baby's lullaby music drifting out of his room and the dryer going.
Currently wearing: A pink-and-grey striped t-shirt, a pair of comfy grey sweatpants, and a pair of cozy blue slipper socks to bring the outfit together. Nothing too exciting or cute, but I'm waiting for my jeans (the victim of spit-up and baby food) to dry. Thus the dryer going.
Currently feeling: happy to have a new day and a somewhat-clean house.
Currently wanting: a do-over so that I can have my Bountiful Basket this weekend. I thought I placed my order successfully before the deadline, but I was wrong.
Currently needing: to have a date alone with my husband. Thankfully, we have that planned for tomorrow. I'm excited!
Currently thinking: that I need to get off the computer and read.
Currently enjoying: the sunshine outside my window and the scent of the room spray I just sprayed in my house.
Currently praying: that I can be a better parent and that the guest lesson I'm preparing for Sunday will go well.
I liked this one a lot! :D I hope you did, too!

Journaling through January is a series which you can find at iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Prayer

(This is Day 5 of my Journaling through January series)

Day 5: Look at what you wrote yesterday. Now write down a prayer to God asking Him to take away your fear and fill you with His peace.

Hmmm, I've never written down a prayer before. But ever since reading The Help, I like the thought of it. Many prophets in the scriptures recorded their prayers. It feels a bit strange to write it down, but if they thought it was important to write down their prayers sometimes, it is probably good for me to do it sometimes, too. So here goes:

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank Thee that our family has the opportunity and blessing to save and do good things with the resources Thou hast given us. I pray that I can approach these goals without trepidation or gloomy thoughts. Please help me remember that Thou art with us as we strive to accomplish these worthy goals, that Thou canst do all things, and that through Thee, I can be strong. Please help me to be at peace, and give no place to fear in my heart. When we review our progress each month, help me to be cheered and comforted, and to see the blessings given by Thy provident hand. In Thy Son's name I pray, Amen.

Journaling through January is a series which you can find at iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012: Resolutions, Fears, Challenges, and Simple Joys

(These are day 1-4 of my Journaling through January series)

These are the first four journaling prompts from http://iamalongfortheride.blogspot.com/. After this, I'll post each day in a separate post.

Day 1: Write down your New Year's Resolutions. How can you set yourself up for success?


I hadn't intended to blog about my New Year's Resolutions, but I will anyway.
  • Keep exercising! For the last three or four months I've been taking a yoga class twice a week, and I LOVE it! I try to do cardio twice a week, but I definitely need to be better at this. I also want to start giving some specific focus to different areas of my body (abs, glutes, etc.). Right now, my plan is to switch between upper body and lower body each month. This month I'm focusing on upper body.
  • Learn to sew. My husband bought me a great sewing machine for Christmas, and I love it! I've already done some simple projects with it, but I am stunned by how much I need to learn before I can sew with confidence! I'm hoping my mom can teach me some tricks, and I might take a class from our local craft store.
  • Go to the temple once a month. We've been horrible at this ever since I got pregnant (I didn't know what would happen if I got sick in the middle of a session. We decided to avoid that situation altogether.), and of course it didn't get easier after Noah was born, either. Now that he's a bit older, we want to start going again. We have scheduled a specific weekend out of every month to go, and I am really looking forward to it!
  • Eat healthier! I am such a sucker for unhealthy snacks and treats. I don't buy them very often, but when I go places that happen to have junk food, there's not much restraint going on. I am starting by limiting all sweets and junk food to the weekends. We are also going to make a weekly contribution to Bountiful Baskets, where we can get lots of fresh, seasonal produce and other healthy stuff.
  • Finish my Book Project by October. I got a bit off track during the holidays, so I really have to get reading now! This month I am reading The Real George Washington (a very big book!), The Bulletproof George Washington (a very little book), a collection of essays by Emerson (little, but tough content!), and Othello! Phew!

Day 2: What were some challenges you faced last year? Write about those challenges, what you learned, and how God used them to strengthen your spirit.


In 2011, I went through some huge transitions. I quit work, traded my in-laws' basement for a home, and birthed our first son. These were all very challenging. As a young stay-at-home mom, I had to learn how to balance my baby's need for mothering, my husband's need for support in his job and his last year of his undergraduate, my home's need for organization and cleanliness, and my own need for opportunities to do other things. I am far from perfect in any area, but I feel like I've come so far from my first weeks with a newborn baby.

Like the writing prompt suggests, I know God has strengthened me through these challenges, by giving me the intense joys that come from being a mother. I never thought I could love someone so dearly. I wake up every morning happy to spend another day with my baby boy. It is true, what the scriptures say: you must lose yourself to find yourself. I know more joy and love through devoting myself to my son and my husband than I ever thought possible. I think this is one thing that I need to learn from my experience as a mom in this life, and I expect it will be taught to me again and again, each time bringing a new layer of understanding, before my life is over.
Day 3: What are the top 5 things you are looking forward to in 2012?
  1. Hearing my baby's first words and seeing him take his first steps.
  2. My husband's graduation with his BA. We're planning a trip to Zion's in honor of the event!
  3. Rebuilding our savings accounts.
  4. Taking trips to the park when it gets warm and playing with Noah.
  5. My best friend having her first baby in July!
Day 4: What is the greatest fear you have going into this year?
The only fear I have is that we will not accomplish our financial goals this year. It's not so much that I'm worried that we'll have enough money for what we need--we have plenty, and I'm grateful for it! But we have made some really big goals for our savings, and when I look at those goals, I feel a little bit hopeless, mostly because there are other things that we want to do, like finishing my BA. There's a deep, dark fear inside of me that these goals, which are top priority (justly so), will always be in the way of this. I need to be more like my husband: when he looks at these goals, he is excited and optimistic. He likes a good challenge, because there is so much fulfillment in making goals into a reality. I'm very glad for his example and patience with me!

Now I'm back on track and ready for day five!

Journaling through January

This last week I've felt a bit uninspired in the hemisphere of my brain that controls creativity and writing...whichever hemisphere that is. (Yeah, that's about as scientific as I get, mostly. Maybe that will change someday!) I came across this blog, where I found this great series called "Journaling through January." She just gives a great little thought to write about each day, and I think I'm going to do it for a while to get those creative fires burning again. My plan is to write every day about each of the journaling prompts, and post them all at the end of the week.  Scratch that, I'll post every day, if I can remember to do it! I realized that seven journal entries in one post would make them really long. I'll cut them up into daily pieces to make them more palatable to you and your busy schedules!

This means I have a bit of catching up to do! I've already missed 4 days!