Sunday, November 16, 2014

Book review: "Amazing Hairstyles: From Easy to Elegant"

A fellow blogger, Becky Porter, at Babes in Hairland recently released a book all about hair. "Amazing Hairstyles: From Easy to Elegant" is a great addition for families with girls or for people who like to do hair. (Ahem...Christmas is coming!)

Amazing Hairstyles - From Easy to Elegant - Paperback
Image courtesy of Cedar Fort Publishing and Media
As a mom of three girls who never willingly let me do their hair, I feel like an amateur. But, with Becky's step-by-step instruction--including pictures--I was able to try out several of these styles. It looked like I totally knew what I was doing! I was pleasantly surprised.

Whether you are an expert or an amateur, you can do these styles. Becky demonstrates the basics of braids, twists and buns--which are also stand alone styles. Then, we can combine those techniques to create a more elaborate hairstyles.

French braids, fishbone braids, waterfall twists, hair chains and messy buns are just a few of the basics. Some of the more elegant styles include dutch braid and curls updo, cascading curls, double waterfall twist and 4-strand braid updo.

These are really adorable, and doable, styles!

These hairdos are appropriate for all ages. Some are great for everyday styles, while others would be perfect for prom, weddings or when professionalism is required.

I also found her description of hair products and styling tools extremely helpful (because I am pretty clueless when we get much beyond a brush and curling iron!).

You can find her book online and in several stores--on amazon.com, Deseret Book and other places.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Book Review: "Family Talk" teaches families to communicate and grow closer together

Christy Monson
One of the challenges of raising families today is cultivating a home of love, respect and good communication.

Author Christy Monson has written a guide for families to help achieve the family atmosphere they desire. "Family Talk" is full of useful suggestions on how to hold family councils and the benefits of them. She gives many examples from real people on how family councils have worked in their families to illustrate the points she makes. This gives readers an understanding of how family councils can work in their own homes.

Monson shares:

  • What family councils are.
  • How to structure these family meetings.
  • How to solve problems as a family.
  • Learning how to respect each other.
  • How to use family councils as a teaching tool.

There are many benefits of family councils, including:

  • Learning respect.
  • Learning cooperation and how to work together.
  • Children gain self-confidence.
  • Sort through family problems together.
  • A more organized family.
  • Discussions about sharing the workload of a family.
  • Planning family vacations or other activities together. 
  • Setting family goals.
  • Working to overcome struggles.

Holding family councils enables families to grow closer together and to resolve any issues that may occur. This allows each family member to express his/herself. Other family members can share insights to problems and offer solutions. Families can make decisions together.

Monson also gives suggestions on how to work around special circumstances, such as blended families, children with special needs or single-parent homes.

The wonderful thing about family councils is that there is no wrong way to do it! You can begin today to hold weekly or bi-weekly meetings and structure it however it works best for your family. Monson encourages families to start their meetings with saying nice things about each other to bring a positive atmosphere.

Families will learn to work together, trust each other, rely on each other and love each other more fully. I think this is something that all families hope for.

For more from the author, visit:
Christy Monson Books or visit her Facebook page.

For more family oriented materials from Familius, visit www.familius.com.




© Wendy 2014


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Don't give up on life

It seems that all too often we hear of or personally know someone who tries to or does commit suicide. It leaves family and friends wondering what they could have done differently to make a difference in the life of their friend or family member.

Depression, loss of hope and the feeling that you are alone are some possible reasons that a person thinks suicide is the best way to deal with life's problems. Also, the feeling that everyone would be better off without you is another strong emotion that people experience to lead them to consider suicide. I personally have felt this, when I was younger and also more recently. I now understand where these thoughts and feelings came from. But, by getting some professional help and the help of my husband and others close to me, I have been able to climb out of depression and other negatives in my life and now know how to better deal with those thoughts when they come.

This video is very poignant and touched me so much that I thought it was important to share with others.


If you are suffering from depression or thoughts of suicide, please reach out to someone you trust. Seek professional help. Pray for strength to overcome. God loves you and will help you find the way out of despair and give you hope. Do not choose to end your life. There are people who love you and need you in their lives.

If you are concerned about someone in your life that you think may be at risk of suicide or who suffers from depression, reach out to them. Let them know they can confide in you. Pray for them. Pray to know how best to help them. Extend your love to them and just be there when they need to talk.

Life is full of hope and beauty, but for those who suffer from these debilitating negative thoughts and emotions, they are blinded to all that is good and awaiting them in this life. We are surrounded by good. Look for it. Seek it. Dwell on it.

Do not give up on life. Do not allow the negatives to overtake you and drag you down. You are not alone. You have people rooting for you both on earth and in the heavens. The future is bright and you are of great worth. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you beyond comprehension. Find whatever glimmer of hope you have, and grow it into a flood of light.


Another inspirational Sunday post:
Dreaming About Someday


© Wendy 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

Meet THIS Mormon

A message from a collective group of Mormon bloggers to YOU: 

Pinable Image
We belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints otherwise known as "The Mormons". We are proud of this part of who we are! We are excited to team up with over 65+ of us strong... to extend an invitation to see a film. A film entitled "Meet The Mormons". This film is not meant to be an "in your face" - you must join our church film. It is simply designed and produced to uplift and inspire you through six stories of those of our faith who have followed promptings to follow Christ more fully in their lives. We hope you take the opportunity to enjoy this film. We hope your hearts are made light as you feel the goodness that comes from following our Christ and Savior. All proceeds from the film will be donated to The American Red Cross. So not only will you be uplifted and inspired, your money will be going to an amazing charity!!

We also would like to take a moment and share our personal testimonies, stories of our own personal conversions, and our own stories of how following our Savior, Jesus Christ has changed our lives. The light of the gospel of Jesus Christ offers a joy and hope that only following him can provide. We hope as you click through and read our stories and testimonies of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, you will feel uplifted and encouraged. We are by you! We love connecting with our readers, that is why many of us do what we do! Please be kind and considerate in your comments. It takes great bravery for us to open our hearts and our mouths to share with you such a tender and personal part of who we are. We share because we feel strongly the need to share the peace and the hope that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I'm A Mormon #1
Anita | Live Like You Are Rich, Landee | Landee Lu , Tara & Devin | Salt & Pepper Moms , Mallory & Savannah | Classy Clutter Kelli & Kristi| Lolly Jane
McKenzie | Girl Loves Glam , Pam & Lisa | Over The Big Moon , Melanie | Forty Eighteen , Sky | Capital B Adell | Baked in Arizona
I'm a Mormon #2
Andie | Maybe I Will , Shatzi | Love and Laundry , Robyn | Create it Go , Rachel | R & R Workshop
Tiffany | Feel Great In 8 , Katelyn | What Up Fagens? , Brittany | BrittanyBullen , Ginger | Ginger Snap Crafts , Stephanie | Crafting In The Rain
Chelsey | Cee Me Be , Amber | Crazy Little Projects , Kallie | Smitten By, Elyse, Kristen, Lauren, Steph, Kendra & Camille | Six Sisters Stuff Annette | Tips From A Typical Mom
Kierste | Simply Kierste , Tayler | The Morrell Tale, Jennifer | My Daylights , Cambria | Live To Be Inspired, Danielle | Today's The Best Day
I'm a Mormon #3
Nat & Holly | My Sister's Suitcase, Britni| Play.Party.Pin , Montserrat | Cranial Hiccups , Heidi | A Lively Hope , Ashley & Meegan | Flats to Flip Flops

I'm glad you're still reading.... :) Here is my personal message to you.

As stated before, a new movie is coming out to give a little more exposure to the normal lives of LDS members across the world--"Meet the Mormons." The proceeds of the film will be donated to charity. Here's the trailer for a preview: 



In case you didn't already know from knowing me personally or by reading my blog posts, I am a Mormon--or rather, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Not only has the teaching of this religion shaped my life, but also helps me through my personal struggles--both great and small.

Am I perfect? No way! But, I do strive to live in a way that would be in harmony with Christ's teachings. I make mistakes--lots of them! I do dumb things and I try to recognize my errors and rectify them with apologies and asking for forgiveness as well as making necessary changes. I try to love everyone, regardless of whether or not I agree with their personal choices. I try to be kind to everyone.

We all have to find our own way and make our own choices in this life, but we are not alone! God has given us scriptures, prophets, apostles and other people in our lives to help us and guide us. I believe that after Christ's church was taken from the earth due to unbelief, it was restored again through the prophet Joseph Smith. We do not worship Joseph Smith, yet we do believe that he spoke for God and was the tool used to bring back His gospel to the earth. Amos 3:7 states, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but [or, more accurately--"until"] he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."And, of course, we can pray to Him to receive our own answers, seek help, guidance and comfort. He will answer us, gives us comfort and help us find peace and understanding. The world is full of differing directions and messages, yet, if we follow Him, we will not get lost in the constant changing worldly whirlwinds.

Perhaps you've never desired religion or are looking for some answers about life. I invite you to do some soul searching, pray, meditate and study it our in your mind and in your heart. As Moroni 10:3-6 (from the Book of Mormon) states:
"Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is."
Whether you feel something good from what I have said, or something strikes you as important while watching "Meet the Mormons," or you have a desire to know more or read the Book of Mormon to find out for yourself, act on it! It's not that I'm trying to "recruit" you into my church or like there is some advantage for me to convince people to join, it is just that this is something that makes me so happy, fulfilled and feel a purpose in my life that I want to share it with anyone who is searching, needing or longing for something more in this life.

There is something more...so much more.

What I believe:
www.mormon.org
www.lds.org
Why are your favorite bloggers Mormon?


© Wendy 2014



Saturday, October 4, 2014

God Speaks Today

Christians believe that God spoke through prophets throughout history. Much of this is recorded in the Bible.

Yet, what about today? Does He still speak to us?

YES!!!

I am a Christian--a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--and we believe that Christ's church has been restored to the earth after it had been taken away for a time. This was done through one of God's prophets, Joseph Smith. I know there seems to be a lot of controversy about Joseph Smith, but, I know for myself that he was used an an instrument to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ in the world. He even died for his convictions and his unwillingness to deny what he knew to be true.

Since that time, the Lord has called more prophets to teach His word. Every 6 months, they address members, and others who are interested, during what is called General Conference. There are both female and male leaders who speak to us, beautiful music and inspiring messages that help answer personal questions (usually something we have been praying about) and inspire and motivate us to improve our lives and overcome shortcomings.

Whether you are LDS or not, curious about "Mormon" beliefs or are just looking for something in your life that is missing, please, accept my invitation to watch, listen to or read with me and more than 15 million other believers around the world.



And, as always, if you're interested in receiving a copy of the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ--which includes an account of Christ's visit to the Americas, feel free to contact me, or visit this post for more information.


Other inspirational Sunday posts:
Sugar Bee Crafts
Dreaming about Someday



© Wendy 2014

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Book review: "The Turning" seeks to strengthen families

Have you wondered why the world is in turmoil? Why there are so many wars, so much poverty, so much abuse and so many things wrong with society today? Accomplished authors and speakers (and parents of NINE children!) Richard and Linda Eyre explain in their book, "The Turning: Why the State of the Family Matters and What the World Can Do About It," that many of society's problems stem from the most basic unit of society: the family.

While the breakdown of the family is the problem--single parent homes, both parents working and kids home alone or at daycare, neglect and abuse or cohabitation--society, government and other organizations are trying to become the answer to these issues, but are turning more and more away from the family.. 

The Eyres explain that government programs, schools and other entities have tried to make up the difference by creating programs to "help." Sex education is taught in schools. There are government programs in place that appear to assist, but really create a circle of dependency, and ultimately assist in destroying the family. 

However, the Eyres suggest that if families, schools, governments, churches, businesses and other entities focused on bettering the family, the problems would solve themselves. For example:
  • Instead of schools taking some of the roles of the parents (like sex ed.), the schools could instead teach parents ways they could teach their own children. Also, parenting classes could be offered.
  • Work places could insist on more family time instead of requiring more and more hours away from home and family.
  • Work places could also help expectant mothers by giving them enough maternity leave without negative repercussions.
  • Churches can help families to learn values to support their family in a positive way.
  • Governments could make legislation that is more family-centered.
  • Movies, television, music, books and other media could focus more on positive messages and family examples rather than the constant onslaught of sex, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, dysfunctional families or other value-less entertainment. This negative programming causes families--especially children and teens--to think that "everyone is doing it" and if they're not, they must be an outcast or weird when that is simply not true.
"The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only - and that is to support the ultimate career." — C.S. Lewis.
If all parts of society understood C.S. Lewis' quote, they'd understand their role in helping families.

So, what can families do?

The Eyres suggest writing your legislator. Become involved in schools and encourage them to hold more family-centered activities and parent classes. Take a stand when it comes to media. They shared an example of writing a letter to the heads of Disney about sharing more light, rather than darkness in their movies--i.e. good overcoming evil.

Within your own family, the Eyres suggest coming up with a family mission statement, teaching values and bonding with your children to raise them as strong individuals that can, in turn, raise strong families.

To fix society, we must stop treating the symptoms and fight to cure the cause: the family.
"The most important work you ever do will be within the walls of your own home." -- Harold B. Lee
To read the Eyre's book or other family-focused materials/books, visit www.familius.com

Other helpful family-oriented sites from the Eyres:
Teaching your kids values ideas: http://www.valuesparenting.com/
Free books! http://www.eyresfreebooks.com/


© Wendy 2014

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Striving for Consistency

Yesterday, my oldest daughter and I attended the General Women's Meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For those that don't know, every 6 months, our Church holds a conference where we receive instructions and messages from the prophet, apostles and other leaders of this worldwide church. There's 4 sessions for everyone, plus a women's one which is now for girls and women 8 years old and up, as well as the Priesthood session for boys and men 12 years old and up.

The talks seemed to follow a pattern of making and keeping covenants and doing the things we need to in everyday life. With the world constantly changing and, more often than not, straying further and further from the ways of God, it is important that we consistently stay focused on our goal--eternal life and returning to our Father in Heaven..

No one can do it for us. In the parable of the 10 virgins, 5 virgins were prepared and had enough oil for their journey to meet the bridegroom, 5 did not have enough oil. Yet, the oil of the prepared could not be shared with those who had not carefully prepared. So it is with us. The "oil" of spiritual preparedness is added to our lamps drop by drop by consistently doing the "little" things like praying, reading scriptures, attending church, visiting the temple, taking care of those in need and doing other things that help keep us focused.

It is so easy to become distracted. We're busy. Life is so full of things we can do every minute of the day. If we don't plan to read scriptures, say prayers, have family home evenings, attend church and go to the temple, we can easily "forget" to do these things on a regular and consistent basis. This is dangerous because we can then more easily lose our focus.

Being consistent helps us to not forget what we need to be doing, even if you miss a day. Here are some ideas to help implement consistency in our everyday spiritual necessities:

  • Find a time to pray and read scriptures. Our family tried to do this at night, but it didn't work out. We have decided that we need to get up a little earlier in the morning to read scriptures and have prayer. This has improved out consistency tremendously!
  • Plan family home evenings weekly. If Mondays (the church-designated day for FHE) does not work, try Sunday or a different day that fits in you family's schedule. (We still struggle with this one, but we're trying to get consistent!)
  • Write it on a calendar or set an alarm in your phone or other device. When it's time to read or pray, having a reminder set in your phone will help with consistency.
  • If you miss a day, don't give up. Just pick up where you left off tomorrow!
  • Choose a day and time at least once a month to go to the temple with your spouse or loved one. 
  • Take the sacrament weekly. Yes, this also means you need to attend your Sunday meetings weekly. Both of these acts not only remind up of covenants we made at baptism, but can allow time to reflect on the past week and see where we did well and where improvements are needed. During speakers and lessons, we can listen to/feel the quiet nudging of the Spirit helping us know what we can or should do to improve our life and our family life.

Even when things don't go according to plan, we should never give up! Just restart, reevaluate and adjust to get back on course. Being consistent will help us stay focused and stay on course, regardless of the distractions or the way the world seems to be going.

Also remember that God loves you even with shortcomings, mistakes and our fears or doubts. He really wants us to succeed.

As we do as He has asked us to do (keeping commandments and striving to become closer to Him), we will more readily be able to receive blessings from a Father who loves us without conditions.

Lastly, I'd love to share this video from last night. It is so touching as we hear the testimonies of women throughout the world about the blessings of the temple.  Take a minute to watch and feel the spirit of this message.




© Wendy 2014

Sunday, September 7, 2014

God is With You, Always

Have you ever thought of God being with you as literal? I think it is more literal than we might think. I recently watched this video I saw floating around on Facebook that depicts just that.

Whether we are going through happy and good times, or through sad moments or our darkest hours, He IS with us always. If we listen with our hearts, we can feel His presence. Feel His influence, His approval, His gentle corrections when we need it and feel of His love that is unfailing.

Would you act differently if Christ were next to you? What would you change? Would you feel comfortable in His presence based on the way you act and think?




We all have room for improvement and need to rely on His Atonement and grace to truly change and become healed. Work on becoming who our Savior knows you are.


Some more uplifting blog posts: 



© Wendy 2014

Sunday, August 3, 2014

What is Your Legacy?

It's been almost a month since my last post. I guess summer will do that to you when the kids are all home and life is chaotic. :)

I've been thinking about something the last few weeks. It's about how our choices can affect generations of our posterity.

Have you ever thought that the choices you make could trickle down generation after generation? Or that the choices your ancestors have made affect you today?

Well, they can and do.

What are you doing today that could hurt your family? Are you abusive (emotionally, sexually or physically) to your spouse, children or others? Are you mean? Do you have addictions? What if 200 years from now, your family is echoing exactly what you do today? Is that what you want your legacy to be? 

What if such a legacy was passed down to you? I encourage you to break the cycle, make amends and create a brand new legacy for your family from now on. Your family depends on it! Legacies of courage, of prayer, of righteousness and of anything good will bless your family for generations to come. It will bring happiness, peace and joy.

Make sure your choices are good ones. Bad choices can poison your posterity. If you are affected by bad choices of your ancestors, break the cycle. Make the choice to be the fresh start and bless your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and so on.

Be the valiant spirit God sent you here to be and stop the wickedness and start a new cycle of righteousness.

Another inspirational post:
Dreaming About Someday


© Wendy 2014

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Miracle

I know that people sometimes like to dismiss miracles as a coincidence or "luck," but I see them for what they are: when God intervenes in human lives. I believe it happens more often than not. I've witnessed so many in my life--so many big or little ways God has worked in my life to accomplish good and to help me.

This weekend, my husband had some of his family visiting, so we all did some outdoor recreation together. As we were at Toquerville Falls yesterday afternoon, we witnessed a miracle.

This is a fun spot to play with water falls, a place where you can jump off, and more shallow areas where children can play.



The jumping spot





The kids were also fascinated to see tadpoles in one of the pools.




We were all enjoying our time together as a family, when things took a frightening turn. Some other visitors to this same spot had a recreational vehicle they had been driving around. I'm not sure what made us all look up to the top of one of the cliffs, but when we did, we saw the side-by-side heading toward the edge--without a driver--while one of the owners ran to attempt to stop it. We all screamed in horror as we saw it go over the edge toward our little ones playing in the water.

My 3 youngest children (pictured above, playing near the same spot they were in when the vehicle crashed) as well as two of my nieces were in immediate danger. One of my nieces was able to hear it coming and stepped further away. It crashed down on the nose and came to rest on its side without harming anyone. The children were playing in pools on either side of the vehicle.





Here's a view from the top where it rolled from starting near the white trucks.



 If the vehicle had bounced or rolled or had gone any further, it likely would have killed some precious little children. They were probably within 5 feet of the landing spot, just to the bottom side of the side-by-side in this picture.

Without a doubt, angels from Heaven were shielding these precious babies while other unseen beings guided the vehicle down to its resting place without harming anyone. Well, except for the nerves of the parents and grandparents, of course! There is no fear or horrible feeling worse that that of a parent who can do nothing to rescue their children.

My thoughts following that moment quickly recalled my prayer from that morning asking for safety as we went about our day. God does answer prayers and is keenly and individually aware of us and our needs and circumstances.

Tears and feelings of terror come as I think of what could have been. I couldn't imagine the pain of losing a child. Hug your children and loved ones. And pray for them, always. He listens and protects and creates miracles.



Another first Sunday inspirational blogger post:
Dreaming About Someday



© Wendy 2014


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Stop Judging and Just Be Kind

Largely because of social media--comments on blogs or articles, text messages or status updates--it's so easy to be rude, mean or hurtful to others. Not only is it easy, but people also sometimes go out of their way to hurt someone. 

Yet, we can just as easily be kind, uplift and build others. We can even go out of our way to do it. And, we should. 

Though both are easy, there are BIG differences in the results.

The first, can hurt--deeply. It can cause another person to feel "less-than," make them feel more self-doubt than they likely already did, cause contention, and basically help fill the world with more negativity. Why do you suppose there are so many wars? Why is there so much suicide? Why are depression, eating disorders and sorrow so prevalent? How much of it could be wiped away if everyone sought to be kind rather than to be mean? Obviously, there are circumstances that cause some of these issues besides a lack of kindness, but how much of it could be averted?

Conversely, being kind, giving compliments and uplifting others can change a person--and the world. It's easy to do and often leaves both people feeling better. It inspires more kindness. More happiness. More love. Even if you don't agree with something the other person says, does or thinks, you can STILL be kind.

Stop judging and give people the benefit of the doubt!

I recently had an article become quite popular. It was written in fun and sarcasm with some snark. While I did receive a little bit of positive feedback, there was a lot more negative criticism and personal attacks--where people sought me out to deliberately say something critical and unkind. Even though these comments are from strangers, they still hurt. They still caused me to question myself and what I do as a writer. The intent of my article was for people in similar situations to laugh, yet, those who chose to contact me were mostly those spreading negativity. Just because you don't know me and can't see me face-to-face, doesn't mean I don't exist and have feelings.

I think people sometimes say hurtful things without realizing there is another person on the receiving end--or how they would feel to be on that end.

Whatever happened to "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all?" Or how about the Golden Rule? Why people go out of their way to bully or be mean is beyond me. If you don't agree with something someone says or does, you don't have to respond nastily. Just stop reading. Ignore it. Change the subject. Un-friend or "hide" the content you'd rather not see. Or try to understand or realize you probably don't know/understand their situation. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Just consider this cartoon:

 

No matter what you do some people will tell you you're wrong, criticize and judge you. What is so difficult about just finding the positive? 

No one is perfect, but that is no excuse for being mean. Apologize and make amends if you have hurt someone--whether purposefully or accidentally. You never know what another person is going through or has gone through in their life which has influenced who they are and what they do. Or, what influence for good or bad your comments can have on someone else. 

Seek to be kind, even when others are mean to you. Seek to find the good, even when you disagree. Try to uplift, compliment and build everyone around you. Make the world a better place by spreading positive love and kindness. You will never regret being too kind


© Wendy 2014

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Longing for a Father

It's Father's Day--a day where many are celebrating their dads or other men in their lives. It can be a difficult day for some that have dads already in Heaven, or some from broken homes or others who don't have a father in their life for whatever reason. It can be painful and confusing to sort through the feelings surrounding not really having a dad. I understand some of these feelings of abandonment, being unsupported or otherwise fatherless.

However, I have been blessed to marry a man who is a true father and great support and friend. My children adore their dad. To that, I am grateful.

Additionally, I have tried to understand, forgive and let go of hurts in my life. I have realized that I have a PERFECT Heavenly Father who loves, understands and protects me the way no earthly father could.

Our Heavenly Father along with Jesus Christ are
kind
patient
loving
gentle teachers
healers
aware of our needs
fair
waiting to help if we just ask
want us to become like Him
protectors
My_child_framed
courtesy of www.deseretbook.com
comforters
and, most of all, the true example of what we each should be striving to be.

I look forward to the day when I am reunited with my Father. I don't know what it will be like, but I imagine it will be indescribable. I think that His perfect love will be felt and all unfairness, disadvantages and sorrow will be corrected with His blessings. I love the verse in Doctrine and Covenants 6 that says, "...I will encircle thee in the arms of my love."

As I long for a father, it comforts me to know that I have One. He is there for me anytime and is only a prayer away.

I hope this comforts those that feel alone, abandoned or in need of someone to lean on. Your Father is always there.


© Wendy 2014

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Finding Hope

At times we may become despondent due to the trials, struggles and hardships we all face. Whether it's an internal struggle or something more obvious to those around us, finding hope is something we do to make it through the rough spots.

I recently saw this hope-inspiring quote:

 Photo

The big thing that keeps getting reaffirmed to me often as I go through my life is that our hope is in Christ. Because of Him, wrongs will be made right, we can make changes in our life, we can be comforted, we can find strength, we can be healed and we can find hope. Christ is the ultimate source of hope. Without Him, all would be lost. 

I'm a firm believer in miracles, every day miracles that some may dismiss as mere coincidence or luck. But, how could so many things occur just when you need it the most? How could a friend know to call you when you're really down and need someone? I've noticed recently many times where He has extended His hand to show love, to strengthen my hope and to let me know He is aware of my circumstances. 

Look at your life and try to notice where he has lifted, inspired, comforted or you could just feel "something" there to give you hope. He is there for us regardless of our situation. We just need to notice.

Other inspiring posts:
Dreaming About Someday
Our Fairy Tale


© Wendy 2014

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Do we know who we are?

I recently finished reading the story of Elizabeth Smart, "My Story." Smart was taken from her home at knife-point when she was only 14-years-old, raped daily, sexually abused, threatened, starved, dehydrated and manipulated for 9 months at the hands of her captors. Yet, through it all, she not only experienced many miracles, she also kept a strong sense of self, had strength and wisdom beyond her years and had faith in Heavenly Father. She was able to get through her horrific experience with her head held high.

How is this possible? How could she keep so strong?

Because she knows who she is.

She was raised knowing and was also taught in church that she is a daughter of God. How would this change things if we all truly believed and knew this fundamental truth?

Sheri Dew, in a 2001 address to women said:
"Our spirits long for us to remember the truth about who we are, because the way we see ourselves, our sense of identity, affects everything we do. It affects the way we behave, the way we respond to uncertainty, the way we see others, the way we feel about ourselves, and the way we make choices. It affects the very way we live our lives."
This surely influenced Smart in her heroism in a terrible situation. The knowledge of who we really are can do the same for us in our life's trials. This knowledge can change the way we think, act, feel and treat others--all of us children of God.

When we know who we are, we become an unstoppable force for righteousness. Dew continues:
"Satan's all-out attempt to prevent us from understanding how the Lord sees us, because the more clearly we understand our divine destiny, the more immune we become to Satan."
The world is full of confusion, especially when it comes to our identities. We feel inferior, we don't know the paths to take, we feel purposeless. We believe the lies the world (Satan) tells us--we're ugly, fat, weak, unsuccessful, bad moms, friendless and alone. But, the opposite is true.

We are created in the image of a perfect God. We are children of God. We are far more amazing than we can imagine. We can do more than we ever thought possible. We are so precious as individuals that God sent His only son to pay the price for us, an ultimate sacrifice of a perfect life, to save us in our imperfect lives.

If you don't know who you are yet, or you don't believe it, find out. Ponder, pray, search so you can fully come to know and understand who you are--who you have always been.


Other suggested blog posts: 



© Wendy 2014 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Because of Him...

I recently watched this touching video depicting how we can do so many things "Because of Him." It is beautiful and amazing to think about and realize.


The magnitude of what can be done because of the Atonement and Resurrection are insurmountable. No one has done as much for mankind as our Savior Jesus Christ. It is through Him that we can become who He knows we can become. 

This Easter day, my thoughts are turned to his Atoning Sacrifice and Resurrection. Death is not the end, we will live again. What we do today matters because we are all eternal beings with eternal destinies. It's a beautiful doctrine that families are eternal. So many lose their way while enduring this mortal experience, but, because of Him, we can all return to our Heavenly Parents and find joy and peace and happiness. 

Along the same lines as my previous post, we can do so many things TODAY because of Him. What will you do? 

Because of Him...

There is hope.
There is healing.
There is repentance.
There is a tomorrow. 
Happily ever after is eternal.
Families are forever.
We can take a better path. 
We do not have to suffer alone. 
Our sins are paid for in full.
We will live again.


© Wendy 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Starting Today I Will...

I had the opportunity to watch a really wonderful inspiring video for an article and it's now officially released to the public. Rather than describe it, you can watch it here: 


Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can start over today. We can right wrongs, we can say sorry. We can change our lives for the better because of Jesus Christ. Join in this week, as we reflect on the Resurrection of Christ, on what YOU can do today. Use the hashtag #StartingToday on social media and share what you will do today because of what happened 2000 years ago. 

Starting today we can...

Let go of anger.
Become better friends.
Heal from wrongs against me.
Forgive.
Repent.
Say sorry.
Be positive.
Serve another person.
Spend time with family.
Stop bad habits.
Become more like Christ.
Say I love you.
Love more.
Be kind.
Start over.


© Wendy 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014

What is LDS General Conference?

Every 6 months, the world-wide Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds a conference where we hear inspired messages from Church leaders. We believe these messages are from God. Each speakers spends months in preparation--praying, fasting, writing, re-writing, and praying and fasting some more so that they will be able to receive inspiration from God on messages he wants His children to hear.

Topics often include families, marriage, temples, family history, overcoming adversity, prayer, repentance, grace, baptism and other covenants, raising children, strengthening testimonies and being examples to others around us. There are four general sessions, one for the Priesthood holders of the church and one for the women ages 8 and up--which is new and happened for the first time this last weekend.

For me, it is a time to receive answers to my prayers, be uplifted, receive inspiration and recommit myself to the gospel once again. You can feel the love the leaders have for all of the people in the world. The love of God shines through them.

Just like in ancient times, God has Prophets and Apostles to lead and guide His church. He did not end his speaking to the people with the Holy Bible. The Book of Mormon is "another testament of Jesus Christ" and is a record of the people in the Americas before, during and after the time of Christ. Here's a personal invitation for YOU:


I invite you whether you are LDS or not to watch, listen to, or read the messages shared her. I am happy to try to answer any question you may have. Also, I have a standing offer to send any who want one, a Book of Mormon (see this post).

You never know...you may hear or feel something that is specifically an answer to your prayers.



© Wendy 2014

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Are you a Bully?

I just watched this anti-bullying video. It is perfectly depicted. I think people who bully, often brush it off as being "funny" or "teasing." The reality of it is, it usually hurts someone. No one likes to be rejected, alone, made fun of or otherwise seemingly not accepted by their peers or others around them. The message is clear: Be kind to everyone.



If you have been a bully, stop it. Make amends and help others to change their bad behavior into kindness. The thrill of being kind is much better than bullying.

If you have been a victim of bullying, or are currently, know that you are loved by many, and above all by your Heavenly Father and your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is aware of your pains, sorrows and hurts and will comfort you and give you peace if you ask. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Power of Music

I love music, but not usually the stuff you hear on the radio. Because I am trying to become a better person, you'll find my car CD player full of uplifting, often religious, music. Some may think that is so boring, but I love it--I need it.

I think music is healing, therapeutic, inspiring, energizing and uplifting. Because the words are put to music, it is easier to recall the words and the messages given. When I am going through hard times, I am often comforted through music. The Holy Ghost can speak to us when we strive to listen to good music that is conducive to the Spirit.

Recently, I had the opportunity to review a CD of my favorite group, Mercy River (incidentally, they just changed their website, and it is gorgeous! I literally just spent 20 minutes perusing it. I'm kind of a huge fan/non-dangerous stalker). I was grateful for the opportunity of course, but I soon realized how it was an answer to my aching heart. So many of the lyrics were reminders of who I am, a visual of what I need to do and a feeling of peace and love from God.

One of these is "Holy Ground"
(David Osmond, Aaron Edson)
© 2010 One South Publishing

I guess my life has somehow been like the woman caught in sin
She sat there broken at His feet she knew the law
But heard let he who’s without sin cast the first stone
And not a single one was thrown
With no man left there to accuse, she left behind her tattered shoes

I’m on Holy Ground now and I don’t ever want to leave
Hold me here now and keep my feet planted down in what I’ve found
Upon this holy ground

I know I didn’t have to leave to find this feeling inside me
But I left it all the same I broke the rules to win the game
And now its clear from where I stand, I could’ve always felt His Hand
And though His touch I did refuse, I’m laying down these tattered shoes

With every moment standing here I can feel Him drawing near
And if I could stay in this place I’m sure that I could see His face
And yet I know life must go on, so let this memory linger on inside
Become a part of me

I’m on Holy Ground now and I don’t ever want to leave
Hold me here now and keep my feet planted down in what I’ve found
Upon this holy ground

For me, this song is a beautiful illustration of how we leave not only our sins at the feet of our Savior, but also leaving behind our hurts, pains, sufferings and the wrongs done to us. We don't need to carry any of this around with us as our Savior has already done it for us. We can become clean, be healed, and become whole through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 

Whether it's a CD in your car, at church or wherever else, there can be inspiration and special messages just for you conveyed through the Holy Ghost. I say no to the music of the world because it does not make me feel good inside (though you can find  some on the radio that are good!). I fill my life and the lives of my kids with good music. It is powerful. It can change and shape lives. The same goes for bad music, but in a negative way. The influence of music in our lives is far reaching, so choose wisely! 


© Wendy 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

Greater Love....

It's Valentine's Day...a day where love is celebrated by couples and often despised by those who may be currently single. Regardless of how you celebrate, here's something to always remember, or at least consider:
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
 Think about what each of these images mean and represent:

Christ prayed and suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane for our sins, our pains, our sorrows, our infirmities. He felt every pain we have ever and ever will suffer. He is the only One who really knows exactly what we are going through and can thus perfectly pay the price for us. We are saved only through His grace, His sacrifice, which is greater than any humanly possible love.
"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people." (Alma 7:11, The Book of Mormon)



In the midst of this suffering, he was being sought after to be put to death. He could have stopped this, but physical death was another part of the Atonement.   

"And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people." (Mosiah 15:5)
"16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.
17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:
18 Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.
19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
" (John 19:16-19)


Because of the resurrection, the bands of deaths will not hold us. All mankind will be resurrected--wicked or righteous--another essential part of the Atonement.
"And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again." (Mark 10:34)
"And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord." (John 20:20)




At some point, a time that no one knows, except the Father, Jesus Christ will come again. A day I look forward to, a day for rejoicing and gladness. At which point, a Millennium will follow where Satan will be bound and peace will reign on the earth with Jesus as our King.

"29 For in mine own due time will I come upon the earth in judgment, and my people shall be redeemed and shall reign with me on earth.

30 For the great Millennium, of which I have spoken by the mouth of my servants, shall come.

31 For Satan shall be bound, and when he is loosed again he shall only reign for a little season, and then cometh the end of the earth.
" (Doctrine and Covenants 43:29-31)



Regardless of who you are, where you live, your race, economic status or what you have done wrong, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of mankind loves you. He wants to help you. He wants you to use His Atonement to be cleansed and healed from sins, sorrows and all other pain. We can be made whole through Him. Just do it. We only have to open the door, as he is always there, knocking, waiting for you to let Him in.
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20)

Remember that you are loved by the Greatest One of all, and His love never fails.

*Pictures courtesy of www.lds.org.







© Wendy 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

More Patience With Ourselves

I've been thinking lately about being patient with myself. It's hard to do--and I often want patience NOW, not on the Lord's timetable. I think we often hand out harsher judgments on ourselves than we do for others. Perhaps that is one of the hardest things in this life--self criticism. We often let go of the wrongs of others so much more easily, but hold ourselves accountable to a higher standard. Maybe it's just me.

I love this song by Michael McLean entitled, "Gentle." I first heard it when I was a freshman in college. We were having an activity and a singing/dancing group from the college performed many songs, including this one, but this is the only one that stuck with me.

"Gentle"
(Words and Music by Micheal McLean)

Like a gentle wind can blow the clouds from the sky,
Like a gentle touch can ease the pain of goodbye,
Like a gentle smile embraces empty souls in lonely places,
We should be more gentle with ourselves.

Like the friend who gently builds us up when we're down,
Like a gentle kiss can turn our world all around,
We've been hurt by others often,
We've forgiven and forgotten,
We should be more gentle with ourselves.

Life can be hard but
we need not be so hard
on ourselves,
If we will see

Like the Shepherd leads his flock with gentle commands.
With his gentle voice that only hearts understand.
One thing we can know for certain, He has borne the awful burdens
so we can be more gentle with ourselves.

One thing that I know for certain:
He will bear my every burden,
So I can be gentle with myself.

Christ's Atonement is for us. It is for our sins, but it is also for our healing. Jesus knows all of the pains we suffer, all of the trials we go through, all of our sadness, fears, hopelessness, despair....all of it. He felt it in Gethsemane, the pain of which caused him to bleed from every pore. He wants us to be patient, to be gentle, with ourselves and to use His Atonement as our healing balm. We shouldn't try to do it alone. 

I wrote this mainly for myself, but hopefully you will be personally touched as well. xo

© Wendy 2014

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

You Are Not Alone

It's interesting how often, at the worst times in our lives, we feel completely alone, abandoned, hopeless and question how we can get through the current trial. Recently, I was feeling this same way as I'm working through some difficult things.

Almost instantly, a thought came to mind that Christ will never abandon me. He says it numerous times in the scriptures:
"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." (John 14:18)
"... I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." (Joshua 1:5)
"...Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." (Joshua 1:9)
There are many times where He says "I will not leave thee" or other similar phrases that all declare that the Lord is with us no matter the circumstance; We are never alone.

Even if those around us are not able to comfort us, care for us or support us and may even abandon us when we need someone the most, The Lord is with us "withersoever thou goest." When we put out trust in the Lord, use His healing Atonement and strive to do what is right, He will be there in our time of need. It may still be quite difficult, but we will be sustained through Him.

You are not alone; You always have the Lord.

© Wendy 2014 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Words of Inspiration

It seems that there are times in our lives when certain quotes, scriptures or song lyrics will suddenly jump out at us where they hadn't before. It's like they suddenly have meaning, or we're finally ready to hear them. I think the Lord has a hand in this--placing things we need to hear in our path when we need them the most. I've been struggling with some personal matters recently, when I heard a song. Really, for the first time I actually heard the lyrics. I had sung along before, but never really listened. I wish I could find an online version of the song, but just reading the lyrics will have to suffice for now.

"I tucked the pain away
So deep that no one else could see it
I guess that I believed
If I buried it I wouldn't have to feel it

I tried to run
I tried to hide
But the shadows seemed to follow me
Lord, won't You please

Find me
In my hidden places
Come find me
Even where the shadows hide
Strike a match
Bring a torch
Illuminate this deep divide
And find me

I've tried a hundred times
To find my way out of the darkness
But every road I took
Was leading me right back where I started

A place too deep
Somewhere too far
I'm in desperate need of rescuing
Lord, won't You please

Find me
In my hidden places
Come find me
Even where the shadows hide
Strike a match
Bring a torch
Illuminate this deep divide
And find me"

~Hilary Weeks~
I had never had lyrics describe so perfectly exactly what I had been going through--or perhaps the way I had dealt with it. There's been times with scriptures or quotes here and there, but nothing has hit me this hard before. I truly believe that God and His angels are waiting to help us--whether through other people, song lyrics, a feeling in our heart or any other means we are receptive to. He knows what we need when we need it. It doesn't mean that we should try to solve or figure out our problems, but it is usually during these times that His help comes. 

Has this happened to you? 

© Wendy 2014

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Improve Yourself!

Making resolutions last year-roundThe beginning of a new year generally inspires us to make resolutions and to set goals. The purpose of this is ultimately to improve ourselves, to polish our strengths and to chip away at our weaknesses. Elder M. Russell Ballard of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said:
"We can become the masters of our own destinies by practicing self-discipline and by setting worthy goals that will lead to higher ground so that we can become what our Heavenly Father wants us to become."
Learning to master ourselves is one of the main purposes of this earth. We learn, grow, change and improve ourselves. God loves us just the way we are, but like parents, He does want us to learn to walk on our own two feet. We each have an amazing potential inside of us, we just need to discover it and work at it. As President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said:
"May I invite you to rise to the great potential within you. But don’t reach beyond your capacity. Don’t set goals beyond your capacity to achieve. Don’t feel guilty or dwell on thoughts of failure. Don’t compare yourself with others. Do the best you can, and the Lord will provide the rest. Have faith and confidence in Him, and you will see miracles happen in your life and the lives of your loved ones."
As you set goals this year, consider objectives that will make you a better person, improve your life and the lives of those around you and that will ultimately lead to joy and happiness. Maybe you want to spend more time with your family, read scriptures daily, pray several times a day, serve others, and lose bad habits like being judgmental, gossiping, negativity or other practices that are best left alone. Making improvements in yourself will lead to more happiness and satisfaction and quality of life.

For more ideas on goals and setting realistic ones, read my article on familyshare.com: "Making Resolutions Last Year-Round."

Inspirational blogs:
Dreaming About Someday
A Mouse in my Kitchen