Sunday, August 4, 2013

I'm a Believer

Why I believe in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Belief: Families can be together forever
We believe that through the gospel of Jesus Christ, families can be together forever. One of the best things about this gospel is the focus on families. We all have a family, whether it is us with our parents, our siblings, or our own husbands and children. We each have a family and a posterity. In the LDS church we believe that we can live with our families forever. When Mike and I were married in the temple we were sealed for eternity which means that in this life and after we will always be together. Always. Forever. Also, our children and their children and so on will be sealed to us as well. Likewise, we are sealed to our parents through their eternal marriages. And so it goes, in one big happy web of family, as long as we are faithful and stay true to the promises we made to each other and the Lord in the temple, we will all live together with God after this life.

Why I believe:
In looking at my family and at my love for Mike and my future children, I don't understand how it could last for any less than forever. When death comes it isn't the end. This life can't be it or else why would we be here? We came from somewhere and we are going somewhere after we die. Through the plan of happiness, Jesus Christ has made it possible to live with our families forever. My family is the most important thing to me. This short life is not enough time with them and that is why I believe. This church teaches us how to live with our families forever.

Belief: God created the Universe
We believe that this world was created by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. He created the sun, moon, and stars. He created all the land and all the water. He created all the living animals. And he created each of us. All of us were made with a purpose and a plan. And God doesn't make mistakes.

Why I believe:
I believe this because I live on a beautiful earth. I am surrounded by beauty every day. I believe this because the sun is shining outside. I believe this because of the miracle of just one tree. It starts as a tiny seed and grows to a giant, thick tree that can make food for itself and make clean air for us. It's a miracle. I believe this because I've learned about the brain and the heart and each part of my body and I believe that without a perfect creator, the body would not function how it does. An explosion in a printing shop could not produce a dictionary.

Belief: God Lives
We believe that Jesus Christ lived on the Earth and that He died as a remission for all of our sins. We believe that He was resurrected and that He lives. We believe that he provides guidance to us through scriptures, the Holy Ghost, and through living prophets on the Earth.

Why I believe:
If we are to return to our Heavenly Father to live with Him through eternity, we must be able to be forgiven of our sins. Jesus Christ paid for our sins so that we can be fully forgiven. Jesus Christ suffered every pain and affliction so that there will always, ALWAYS be someone to turn to in times of despair and sickness. He will always know what we are going through because he suffered everything. We cannot fully forsake our sins without His help. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we CAN return to live with Him again and we CAN be forgiven of our sins. I know that God lives because I believe that after creating such a well-thought out plan and a detailed world and people, He could not forsake us. He could not send us here and allow us to fend for ourselves without guiding us back to Him and providing a way that we might return. We are His children and He loves us with an unconditional love. We are all His children and He wants us to choose Him. He wants us to return to Him someday. Every person on that has ever and will ever live on this earth was created by a loving and all-knowing Heavenly Father and He wants to see us succeed.

Belief: Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet
We believe that Thomas S. Monson was called by God to lead His people in the right way. President Monson receives revelation from Jesus Christ in how to lead the people of the world.

Why I believe:
I believe this because I know that Jesus Christ must give us guidance. I am always thankful for the guidance in my life because I don't know how I would live my life if I didn't have a way to do it that makes me happy. I believe this because we have to make choices every day. Where do we want to go to school, what do we want to study, who should we marry, when should we have children, how do we help our children be happy and choose the right. Big decisions come in our life every day and I believe in revelation and prayer because I wouldn't be able to make these decisions on my own. The world is a confusing place with different opinions and beliefs coming from all over. I believe that there must be a person we can turn to for the truth and I believe that this person on the earth is Thomas S. Monson.

Belief: The Book of Mormon is real. It is another testament of Jesus Christ
We believe in scripture. We believe that the Bible is the word of God and we believe that the Book of Mormon is also the word of God. We believe that the Book of Mormon was written by the prophets that lived in the Americas in times of old and we believe that Joseph Smith was led to the gold plates where the record was kept by an angel. We believe that he translated this book for our day and that the scriptures and wisdom found there help us daily.

Why I believe:
In reading the Book of Mormon I have had many times of comfort and guidance. The feeling that comes to me while reading it and that stays with me throughout the day can only come of God. I know that one man couldn't have written this book.

This testimony of mine is the result of asking questions, praying, recognizing promptings, and pondering the things I have been taught. It comes from feeling a witness through the spirit, which comes to me as a burning in my heart and tears in my eyes. My testimony is one of many. There are many people who share these beliefs with me, but for YOU to believe you must ask, you must pray, you must LISTEN, you must welcome the warm feelings of the spirit telling you that it is true.

It is true. I KNOW this. I know that you can know this too. It has brought many blessings to my life and I cannot imagine where I would be without this knowledge.

Feel free to ask me any questions about these beliefs or visit to find out more of what we believe.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Fight the New Drug

Last Saturday we went to a conference put on by the Utah Coalition Against Pornography called "Protecting Children and Families from Pornography and other Harmful Material".
It was really good information that I think everyone should know so I am going to share what I got from the conference with you!

First, let me start by saying that pornography is becoming a real problem and, whether you like it or not, your family will be affected by it at one time or another. It is important to get educated about the effects it can have and also the profound effects that it is having on people young and old every day and take action to do something about it. Talking about pornography is awkward and hard but it is better than letting it silently and secretly destroy families and people that you love. This post is rather long but it is a very important subject so please read it.

Keynote Speaker: Mark Shurtleff - former Utah Attorney General
Here is a little bit about the work that he did while attorney general that I took from his Bio on
In his first 8 years in office, the number of meth labs in Utah was reduced by 98% and he has talked to thousands of students and parents about the dangers of drugs and led the effort to obtain millions of dollars in funding for education and rehabilitation.  His Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force has received national recognition and since Shurtleff has been in office, over 500 internet predators and child pornographers have been arrested and convicted (with a 99% conviction rate.) The number of sex offenders in Utah prisons has increased by more than 50%. In addition, Attorney General Shurtleff has toured the state and helped develop technology to teach parents and children how to be safe online.  "

Of all those internet predators and child molesters that he arrested said that they started by looking at soft porn (which I think is like Playboy magazine). And these predators that he arrested were everyday people: teachers, fathers with young children, the mailman, the checker at the grocery store, your neighbor, people who you knew and trusted and loved. He talked to cops who have made many hard calls in their lives, including informing parents that their child had died, but nothing was harder than the calls that they made to inform a mother with young children that they had just arrested her husband for child molestation. 

In his address he informed of the dangers of pornography and the outcomes that it can lead to but he also gave a way for us to combat it. 

Be prepared.
Ephesians 6:11 - Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Loins girt about with truth - tell the truth about sex, don't tell the lies that the world tells
Breastplate of righteousness - protect the heart, sex is about love, porn is not love, keep people involved and active in service doing things for other people and helping others
Helmet of salvation - protect the mind
your mind can only occupy one thing at a time, have something that can push bad thoughts out (a song or hymn), have a belief in something higher than ourselves, have faith that we can overcome evil
The sword - the word and spirit

After the keynote address there were several different breakout sessions to choose from and we only got to see two of the sessions. Here are my notes from the two sessions we went to.

Breakout session #1: Turning the Table on Pornographers 
Patrick Trueman and Dawn Hawkins from Morality in Media 

Harms of Pornography
  • Men, women, and children are becoming addicted
  • destroys families - one law firm reports that 58% of the divorces that it represented cited online pornography as a cause
  • early exposure among children affects psychological, physical, and social development
  • exploits women and children
  • performers are often coerced and forced
  • increases demand for children pornography
  • increases demand for trafficking women and children 
The Brain Science
  • harder to overcome than drug addictions
  • disrupts normal release of chemicals in the brain -- dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin, and seratonin. These are the chemicals that are released when you are feeling love for a spouse or an intimate partner but they excite you and images don't satisfy the way that the love of the partner does. 
  • there is something called a reward pathway - the chemicals are released when you do something you enjoy
  • when viewing porn, your brain is flooded and you brain actually changes so things that you used to enjoy, you don't enjoy anymore
  • our brains are plastic - they change! The brain is rewired which makes it hard for addicts (of all kinds) to change behavior
Online pornographers are targeting kids by making domain names for hardcore porn sites innocent keywords and misspelled versions of the domains for popular kids sites. They also use expired domain names or replace a .org for a .com so that young kids can accidentally stumble upon it. 

First protect yourself and family and then speak up about porn. You can visit and participate in whatever projects and action alerts they have going on on their site. 

Safe schools, safe libraries - Many schools and public libraries have either no or inadequate filtering software in place on their computers, allowing children and adults access to hardcore pornography and leading to many other dangers at these supposedly safe places.

I wish that everyone could have attended this conference because I feel that I am not conveying the information as adequately as they did.

Breakout session #2: What teens wish their parents knew when addressing the issue of pornography 

Clay Olsen from Fight the New Drug

1. They wish you knew that porn can lead to an actual addiction  
"just stop" isn't an option
teens subscribe to the mentality "if it wasn't said, then it isn't wrong"
see Brain science above
When it comes to the brain, addiction is addiction
2. They wish you knew that porn is different today than it was when you were growing up
today it is more available - they call it porn in the pocket, everybody has a device that they can view porn on and there is more free porn available. Before today, in order to view porn you had to go down the street and buy it from the adult store and everyone saw you doing it. 

Four As of Porn
Affordable - for teens its free because there are free samples and those are enough
Anonymous - if teens smoke or drink there are physical signs (smell like smoke)

All the people that have talked to this particular program said that they all started viewing porn regularly as kids (as young as 6 years old) 
The average age of exposure is 9 years old
with 79% of exposure happening in the home

Also, this might surprise you but 30% of the addicts are females.

3. They wish you knew that they are being targeted
Teens are targeted because they will be addicted longer than adults
5 marketing strategies for teens
1. free teaser images
2. innocent word searches
3. cartoon characters and child icons illustrated in inappropriate ways
4. pop-ups and banner ads
5. free flash games

4. They wish you knew to talk to them about it
tell them why and how it affects them
some people have the mindset that if they talk to them about porn it will lead their child to the problem - just don't show them porn! haha

When should you talk to them?
earlier than you think

Be a good example of true love and intimacy with your spouse.

How to bring it up
1. Get educated
2. take time to talk
3. find the right place
4. make it one-on-one
5. stay calm
6. don't judge

What should I say?
1. ask questions - listen!
2. teach them the facts
3. share your family values
4. repeat

*Layer the conversation*

5. They wish you knew that you are part of the recovery
They need your help!

- Be prepared
- pay attention
- set a standard with your family
- help protect
- be an example of healthy sexuality, of what intimacy looks like

and fight the new drug

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Week-ish of Vitamix meals

I go through kicks of hating meal planning and dinner making and kicks where I plan a whole week of meals and I love it. I am currently in a hate-kick. It is in those kicks where I spend hours looking through meals on Pinterest and wishing that I could find something that I could make in 5 minutes with all the ingredients in my kitchen. I just spent an hour doing just that and now there is a frozen pizza in the oven.. hmmm.. It's a work in progress.

But a week or two ago I decided that I was going to make all our breakfasts and dinners in the Vitamix for a whole week. It was so hard to find dinner ideas to make in the Vitamix so I spent a long time planning what i was going to make. I went to Sprouts on Thursday because I get 15% off with my student ID and I bought a bunch of stuff. It was exhausting because I also had to go to Smiths to get a few things that I didn't want to pay an arm and a leg for. The produce at Sprouts is better/cheaper so it's good for green smoothies.

Dinner Thursday: Tortilla Soup (click the links for the recipes)

This is what is awesome about the Vitamix. You throw everything in there without cutting it up - a stalk of celery, a hunk of cheese, a carrot, half a pepper (seeds and stem still attached), etc. - then you turn it on and blend it for maybe 7 minutes and not only does everything get ground up nice and small, it heats it up too! In no time at all you have a piping hot, healthy soup!

My attempt at a food bloggish picture.. haha
The soup was pretty good. The flavor was a little bit off. But it suggested putting some solids in there like beans, rice, chicken, etc. which I didn't do. With some extra cheese and sour cream it would have been pretty delicious. 

Breakfast Friday: Emerald Ecstasy Smoothie and Energy Bars
Oh man. It was delicious. I made this for breakfast probably 3 times throughout the week. It has pineapple, green grapes, banana, apple, and spinach. SO good. And check out that beautiful green color. You just know that is healthy. 

The energy bars were really tasty too. The website I got them from had them listed under desserts. I don't know about you but I definitely don't eat energy bars for dessert. My blender really struggled with these. It kept overheating and turning off so I finally took them out and they were a little chunky but still so good. They tasted like raisinettes, which I don't remember liking but oh well. 

I didn't get a picture of this because we were in a super hurry and we ate it out of tupperware in the car haha. It was really good though. Mike said he liked it better than Kraft. I love Kraft too much to say that haha. But it is definitely healthier than Kraft. And almost just as easy! You make the cheese sauce in the blender and blend it up nice and hot and then pour it over the noodles and bake it. 

Breakfast Saturday: Whole Wheat Blender Waffles

Now these are GOOD. Be careful not to blend at too high for too long or the batter will start heating up. I read that this is not good for the wheat which I don't really understand since you cook it anyways but it makes sense that you don't really want it getting cooked in the Vitamix. 
I also made some apple cinnamon syrup but it wasn't very good. It tasted like applesauce. I mean, it was good and all but I just really like butter and sugary syrup on my waffles is that such a crime? 
I also made the Spinach Lemon Zinger smoothie and it was really, really good. I made this more than once during the week too. I think...

For dinner on Saturday and Sunday we were invited to other people's houses so I didn't make anything in the vitamix.

I didn't get a picture of this either but let's just say that this was also a bust. All I did in the Vitamix was grind up the wheat. Instead of being all creamy like it should be it was lumpy and flavorless. My very kind husband ate his whole bowl and I didn't touch mine. After he left for his church meetings I made a Banana Blueberry Orange smoothie. MUCH better :)

Breakfast Monday: I think I made one of the smoothies that I already made earlier on.

Whoops, I guess I did a bad job at taking pictures of the meals I made. This meal was pretty good. It called for half a pepper and I got lazy and threw in a whole one because they were pretty small and I didn't want to bother myself with cutting one in half (it's supposed to be easy!). That made the pasta preeeeettty spicy. But it was still good. Not sure I'll make it again though. It wasn't out-of-this-world delicious. 

I had a few more dinners planned but I didn't get to make any of them. But we did make green smoothies for breakfast the rest of the week. And I also snacked on the energy bars every morning that week. Mike even made some, although his experimental ones need some work still. 

So that was our week! I would definitely do this again without the dinners. I would totally love having green smoothies for breakfast every morning and I would even like to start drinking them at night too before dinner! They are pretty fast if you cut everything up all at once so you just have to throw it all in and blend it. Or you can even make them the night before and just grab one on your way out (am I the only one that eats breakfast on the go every morning?). It was just too hard to be creative in making different dinners in the Vitamix. There are only so many things you can do. If any of you have any favorite green smoothie recipes out there let me know!

Just one more thought on the versatility of the Vitamix, it can make soup but it can also make ice cream! This ice cream below doesn't have any dairy products in it which is why it is melting fast but it can make really thick ice cream. 
All it is is spinach, avocado, ice, agave, and chocolate chips! It tasted pretty good although I think I just didn't do a great job at making it.

If you are ever in Costco and they are doing a Vitamix show I highly recommend watching it and tasting the yummy things they make. They are expensive but SO worth it. Especially if you are into eating healthy!

Monday, April 1, 2013


I want to post a (late) Easter post because Easter is so great. I keep trying to think of how I might add my testimonies to those already shared about Easter and the resurrection and the atonement and I remembered this poem that someone in my ward shared a few weeks ago. It is beautiful and simply portrays the miracle of the atonement. Enjoy :)

Washed Clean
-Boyd K. Packer

In ancient times the cry “Unclean!”
Would warn of lepers near.
“Unclean! Unclean!” the words rang out;
Then all drew back in fear,

Lest by the touch of lepers’ hands
They, too, would lepers be.
There was no cure in ancient times,
Just hopeless agony.

No soap, no balm, no medicine
Could stay disease or pain.
There was no salve, no cleansing bath,
To make them well again.

But there was One, the record shows,
Whose touch could make them pure;
Could ease their awful suffering,
Their rotting flesh restore.

His coming long had been foretold.
Signs would precede His birth.
A Son of God to woman born,
With power to cleanse the earth.

The day He made ten lepers whole,
The day He made them clean,
Well symbolized His ministry
And what His life would mean.

However great that miracle,
This was not why He came.
He came to rescue every soul
From death, from sin, from shame.

For greater miracles, He said,
His servants yet would do,
To rescue every living soul,
Not just heal up the few.

Though we’re redeemed from mortal death,
We still can’t enter in
Unless we’re clean, cleansed every whit,
From every mortal sin.

What must be done to make us clean
We cannot do alone.
The law, to be a law, requires
A pure one must atone.

He taught that justice will be stayed
Till mercy’s claim be heard
If we repent and are baptized
And live by every word. …

If we could only understand
All we have heard and seen,
We’d know there is no greater gift
Than those two words—“Washed clean!”

--read whole talk here

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Builder or Breaker?

I went to a really awesome presentation today. There were so many great things that were said but one just really stuck out to me. I sometimes feel that I hear a lot of complaining throughout my day. And I very rarely take part in it but I have really been trying to stay positive and not complain about things that are in place to help me grow and become better (getting up early and going out in the cold, cold, cold doesn't count in my opinion:)).

John Hilton III was the presenter and he shared this poem that I think we should all hear. It is a great reminder to stay positive and to take joy in the things we do EVEN if they are hard and even if they seem meaningless. Life is not meant to be easy and no one becomes great because they have always done easy things. Challenges help to make us better and hard things help to refine us. We could all do better and we could all do well to really think about this poem. :)

I watched them tearing a building down,
A gang of men in a busy town.
With a ho, heave, ho and a lusty yell,
They swung the beam and a side wall fell.
I asked the foreman, "Are these men skilled?,
The kind you'd hire if you were to build?"
He gave a laugh and said, "No, indeed, common labor is all I need.
I can easily wreck in a day or two,
What builders have taken years to do."
And so I asked as I went my way,
Which of these roles have I tried to play?
Am I a builder with a well-made plan, lifting others the best I can?
Or am I a wrecker who walks the town,
Content with the labor of tearing down?

Let's all strive to be builders and be a little bit better today than we were yesterday.

i LOVE learning

I just love it. Ever since I switched to elementary education I've felt like I can't learn enough. There is just so much to KNOW as a teacher! Almost too much. A lot of times I feel like I am drinking from a fire hydrant and I am just trying to catch as much as I can that will help me to be a good teacher. There are just so many great ideas out there but it is also SO hard to keep them all straight. I am trying to put together a place to organize my ideas but there are literally so many that I don't know where to start. I have lists on my iPhone that I add to anytime I hear an idea that I love but I want to organize those thoughts into groups and such. ANYWAYS, that is not what this post is about.

I have 1 week left until my practicum (this is like a mini student teaching--I am doing mine this semester in 6th grade! Ah!) which will be until the end of March and then I have 2 weeks of class left. 2 weeks!! TWO. And then I will be done going to classes at BYU. Except for my one class spring semester. This thought is really sad to me. I literally love all my classes and all the people I go to class with every day. I am grateful for the good ideas I get and for the practice I get and for the help that my knowledgeable professors give me. And since I am in Elementary Education I get to learn about all subjects. It's just that much more learning! 

Good thing being a teacher means CONSTANTLY learning. I know that teaching is going to be so difficult and so different than anything I've ever done before and it is going to require me to work hard but I think back on the past 18 years and think, I may not know how to teach but I am a dang good student. I've been a student for 18 years! And a lot of teaching, especially my first year, will be being the best student and learning everything I can from my team and all the people assigned to help me become better. I am blessed because I want to be the best I can be and I love conquering difficult things and I know this quality will help me next year. 

I am really going to miss BYU so much when I am done in a few weeks. I've been here the last 5 years and I feel that it is a huge part of my life and who I am. In a way it is my home. And now that my other home in WA is being sold I consider it home even more. I am extremely grateful that I came here. Only good things have come out of this experience. But for now I need to soak it all up because it really will go fast from here.

I felt like this post needed a picture of some kind...
Some of my besties from the ELED program.

I am a teacher

I decided today that I'm 100% thinking like a teacher now. I got an email and the subject said "Integration Bee" and I thought to myself "Well that's weird... do they just give you several different objectives from different subjects and see who can integrate them the fastest? The best?" I was confused so I opened the email and realized it was from the math department at BYU (because of my minor) and it was talking about who could integrate the fastest. As in calculus. Haha