Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Review: Walking With The Women of the New Testament

“The greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus the Christ.” ~ James E. Talmage

I have been following Heather Farrell’s blog “” for years, and when I read that she would be coming out with a book about the women in the New Testament, my heart filled with joy.

When I got home from work on my birthday at the end of October, the package with this book in it was sitting on my porch!  It was the perfect coincidental birthday gift.  When I opened the package, I let out an audible gasp because the book is visually stunning.  Just by running my fingers across the pages I could feel that it’s a special book.  I was so excited to delve into it and discover the treasures hidden it its pages. 

I am a newly called Young Women’s president in my ward, and I have already been able to use this book on 2 teaching occasions.  The book brings these women to life and helped me to realize that the issues they faced aren’t so very different from the issues I face today.

One time I was able to use the book to teach was when we were having our Young Women’s Presidency meeting.  I showed the book to the other 3 women and they all were very impressed and had no idea that there are so many women in the New Testament.  I read them part of Heather’s beautiful words about Jesus’s Sisters.  We talked about how we are all sisters to the Savior, and that as a Young Women’s Presidency we have a special calling to make sure the precious young women in our program know that simple, yet profound truth.  Like it says in Matthew 13:56, “and his sisters, are they not all with us?”  I applied that to my life and our Young Women’s Program in a way I never had before, thanks to Heather’s book and the insights she shares.

Another time, we were doing a Personal Progress activity with all of the Young Women in our ward.  We were talking about what “divine qualities” are.  I shared the story of the "Daughter of Jarius” and shared some of Heather’s words that were so perfect.  There are a few young women in my ward who are really struggling spiritually right now, and these words hit home, “…often we lose our faith in people much too quickly.  We get bogged down by watching the consequences of their choices and feeling disappointment in their actions.  We lose sight of the eternal picture.  We forget that to God, who sees the beginning and the end, these wayward children need, and some day, in His own time and in His own way, those souls will have the opportunity to be awakened.”

This book definitely fits my criteria for a good religious book:  it makes me think of things in a way I haven’t before, and it makes me feel something.  I have already read several of the chapters, and feel as though I’ve only scratched the surface since there are 60 chapters in this book.  It is definitely worth the $27.78 price tag, because the 291 pages are full of amazing artwork and incredible insights.

Please consider buying this as a present for yourself, your Mom, your sister, a friend, etc.  This book is such a wonderful gift that is truly a labor of love.

Click on the links below:

Buy the book on Amazon
Watch the trailer
Download the free study guide for the book


Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book in exchange for reviewing it, but all opinions expressed here are my own.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mockingjay: Part 1 Movie

P1120369 It was SO NICE to not have cheer practice tonight, since the season is over!  I was able to stop at Costco on the way home and get some toilet paper (we’re almost out), milk, eggs, and a big combo pizza for dinner.  Autumn & I were able to eat dinner, relax, and not be rushed at all.  It was wonderful.  After dinner we came home, I got Autumn to bed, and then watched Parenthood.  I missed the last 20 minutes, b/c I left as soon as Nick got home and went to the theater.  Karri and her girls had gone early & saved seats for us to see the new Hunger Games movie.  Don’t ask me what I’m doing w/ my hands in this pic. LOL!  We had a pretty big group (Tristan, Charlie, Melanie, Mary, Me, Sofia, Riannon, Jake, Nate, Jessie, Kylie, Kenzie, Karri, & Christine).

P1120376We saw a lot of other Mormons there too and were joking that it must be Mormon’s Night Out.  The movie was REALLY good, and I’m glad that we watched the first and 2nd movies last week so I was up to date as to what was going on in this one.  The last 10-15 minutes were INTENSE to say the least!  YAY for a fun night out at the Hunger Games Movie, and especially for great friends.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Postcards & Sweet Notes

IMG_5164Poor Autumn woke up w/ a cough that sounded like she had crud down in her lungs.  So, she did a breathing treatment before school.  She’s reading a postcard from Papa & Mimi that came in the mail from when they were on their cruise & stopped in Honduras!  I love it that they send us postcards from cool places.  I have a feeling we’ll be getting some postcards from Johannesburg, South Africa next year.

IMG_5166Tonight for Young Women’s, the Mia Maids combined w/ the Laurels and we had the Sister Missionaries meet with us.  I had come up w/ a bunch of questions the girls could ask them, or they could come up with their own.  I had to get onto a few of the girls that were being rude and making snarky comments about one of the leaders.  SIGH!  But, I think for those who listened and participated it was a good activity.  We also stopped half way through and had some brownie & ice cream sundaes.  One of the Elders in our stake is Polynesian, and he happened to be walking by so we asked him and his companion if they wanted some brownies.  I told that Elder that he needed to let me know if he has any older brothers or uncles or cousins who are not married.  LOL!  I told him I am divorced, 35 years old, I have a daughter, I have a job, a car, I can cook, I can clean, I go to the temple all the time, etc.  He and the Young Women were laughing that I was being so bold.  Hey, you never know if you don’t ask, right?  It was funny!

When I got home tonight, Autumn had this little note sitting on my night stand.  She had written it on a copy of this poem that Mom used with her Activity Day girls.  This note just made me smile from ear to ear.  I wrote my own option “of course” and circled it.  Then I wrote, “I love you too, Autumn.  You are my greatest blessing.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Little Miss Cute Curly Q

IMG_5150 Here is how Autumn’s hair turned out after being in foam rollers overnight.  I call her my “cute curly Q.”

IMG_5155Olivia really liked Autumn’s curls and kept trying to pull on them.  It’s funny to see their heads next to each other, b/c it seems like just yesterday that Autumn was as small as Olivia and had no hair.  And, Olivia is able to wear Autumn’s baby clothes that I had saved, so it’s fun to see her in outfits that I remember Autumn wearing.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Dad was called to be a Stake High Councilor 2 weeks ago!  Pres. Jones knows he’ll only be here for another 4 months, but still felt like he needed to issue the call.  Aleina was going to come over tonight for another play date w/ Autumn, but she had to cancel b/c she had too much homework.  That was ok, b/c that meant Autumn & I got to watch Olivia while Nate & Riannon ran some errands.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sleeping Sweetie & A Powerful Message

IMG_5147 I am so thankful that we didn’t have anything going on tonight.  After work/school we were able to just eat dinner and relax and not be in a rush.  After dinner we had FHE and then Autumn and I came home.  She took a shower and had me put curlers in her hair.  She looks so sweet & innocent & precious when she’s asleep.  I just love her so incredibly much!!!

IMG_5148I was reading the conference edition of the Ensign tonight before going to bed, and I was blown away by this talk by Elder Jorg Klebingat entitled “Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence.”  It is such a direct, timely, and powerful message!  It is DEFINITELY worth the few minutes it takes to read through it or listen to it HERE.  I think I’ll try and use this as a lesson in Young Women’s the next time I get to teach all of them together.  Here are his 6 suggestions for how to “dissipate these evil voices and restore to you the kind of peaceful assurance and spiritual confidence that is yours to have if you only want it.”

  1. Take responsibility for your own spiritual well-being.
  2. Take responsibility for your own physical well-being.
  3. Embrace voluntary, wholehearted obedience as part of your life.
  4. Become really, really good at repenting thoroughly and quickly.
  5. Become really, really good at forgiving.
  6. Accept trials, setbacks, and “surprises” as part of your mortal experience.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Rainbow Looms & Meetings & Snow

IMG_5144 Today was one of those crazy busy Sundays that felt like it was non-stop.  Thankfully we have church in the afternoon, so at least Autumn & I get to spend the morning together.  Mom gave her 4 bags of these rainbow loom bands as a gift for doing so well in the cheer competition.  Autumn wanted to sort them out by color, b/c she’s a girl after my own organizing heart.  After playing a little bit this morning it was time to get ready for church.  We both got ready, scarfed down some lunch, and I dropped her off at Liz & Lib’s.  Usually she goes to Shannon’s, but Shannon’s Mom is in town visiting and I don’t want her to have to worry about Autumn while she has company.  I went to my ward council meeting, and then we had our 3 hours of church.  In Young Women’s, Ashley taught the Laurel’s class lesson and she did a GREAT job.  I LOVE it when the YW teach.

IMG_5143After church, Autumn wanted to just hang out at our house instead of going over to Mom & Dad’s house.  So, we had a little pizza picnic and chatted while we ate.  Then it was time for me to go to my meetings.  So, I took her over to Mom & Dad’s at 5:30 so I could make it to my 6:00 Laurel Class Presidency meeting.  We decided to meet 1 hour before BYD since we would be there already.  That worked out pretty good.  Then we had BYD and we had a panel of 3 people from the ward (2 women and 1 man) talk to us about how the “standard Mormon answers” of prayer, scripture study, church attendance & seminary have blessed their lives.  It was a great BYD.  I finally got home at 8:30 and it started to snow around 9:30!  Even though it didn’t stick to the roads and make them scary to drive on, I’m glad I was home in my warm and cozy house.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cheer Competition

IMG_2973 Autumn was so excited about cheer competition today, that she woke up at 6:12 am! UGH!  I tried to get her to go back to sleep, but it was useless.  So, we got up and started getting ready.  She wanted me to curl her hair, so I used my flat iron.  We had to be to the middle school by 9:00 am, and we made it in plenty of time.  All the girls got some fancy glitter spray in their hair.

IMG_2985 One of the Moms on the team made these super cute megaphones that were all decked out in team colors and personalized w/ the girls’ names.  What a great lookin’ team!

061 We had an hour to kill before they were ready for the girls to practice in the gym on the mats.  So, they warmed up and did stretches out in the hall.  This is my favorite picture of their warm up, b/c Coach Gayle told them to show her their “sassy pose/faces.”

IMG_3009 I am SO PROUD of my Autumn girl and how much she’s grown and changed for the better through participating in cheer again this year.

063 There were opportunities for all sorts of photo ops while we waited for them to call the girls back to the practice mats.  One girl sat down on the table w/ her legs crossed, and pretty soon they were ALL doing that same pose.

064 I think they were starting to get a little nervous at this point.  That, or else they were just tired of having to smile for so long with all the pictures we were taking.

IMG_3020 The girls were called back to the practice mats, so us parents gathered up all their stuff and headed to the competition gym to wait for them.  We got to see the Division 4 cheer offs and it’s amazing what those 4th grade girls could do!  Pretty soon, it was time for the Division 2 cheer off.  We all started cheering and clapping when our girls walked into the gym!

066 They had them sit in a line just like they did last year.  In this pic everyone is watching the Irish cheerleaders perform.  They are the team to beat, since they’ve won it the past 2 years and their coach used to be on our super competitive high school cheerleading squad a few years ago.

IMG_3048 Autumn had a lot of crowd support, and that sign I made for her did turn out pretty cute if I do say so myself.  I’m so thankful to our family for showing up to support her and make her feel special.  Nick & Nate would have been there, too, but they were both at work.

068 The girls did a GREAT job on their cheer part of the performance.  Autumn ROCKED.IT.OUT. on her cartwheels!  She looked like she has been doing them for years and you would never know that she just learned how this season.  What a PRO, and we owe that to Coach Gayle for working w/ her one and one and to Autumn for practicing them over and over and over.

IMG_3037 However, after the cheer part they got down into this position and waited and waited and waited for the dance music to start.  But, it didn’t start for a LONG time!  I guess there was an issue w/ the CD so Coach Gayle had to run and get her cell phone out of her bag so they could play the music off of that!  I was so proud of our girls for not moving, even though it took a few minutes (which felt like an eternity) to get the music working.  It started really unexpectedly, so they were off on their beats almost the whole thing.  Darn it!

IMG_3057 The girls did a great job, but we placed last (5th place) in our division.  The girls didn’t care though, b/c they all got a participation trophy.  The best part of the whole thing was that Coach Gayle got the “Coach Of The Year” Award for our division!  WOOT WOOT!  She 110% deserves it.  I wrote a GLOWING recommendation for her b/c she truly went way above & beyond as a coach this year.

070 All of us parents were SO PROUD of our girls and all the hard work they put in this year.  Autumn & I were super happy that her team from last year (the Eagles) took first place!!!  We went up and gave her coaches from last year a big hug and told them congratulations.

IMG_5136 After all that crazy excitement, it was time for lunch.  I was hungry and realized I hadn’t eaten breakfast.  We had to stop at Hobby Lobby to get some cheer stickers, and Autumn picked to go to Chipotle since it was close.  We drove past the clinic & Papa’s Corvette was out in the parking lot so we called him to see if he wanted us to bring him some Chipotle.  He said it was slow, so he would just walk over and eat with us.  I was planning on paying, but he insisted b/c he said that in exactly 4 months from today, he and Mom will be starting their mission and won’t be able to treat us anymore.  It almost made me cry to think that they’ll be leaving in 4 months!  It was fun to eat lunch w/ Dad, and Autumn especially liked watching the video of her cheering w/ her team that he had on his phone.  I’m so glad that Autumn & Papa have such a close relationship.

071 I had planned on using the 2 hours between the end of the cheer competition & the beginning of the cheer party to print off pics for the coach’s scrapbooks we made them.  But, I took so many pics that it wouldn’t be possible to sort through them all and have just a few printed off in time.  For the cheer party, we went to Main Event.  I guess one of the cheerleader’s Dad’s is very well to do, and he paid for the whole party even though we all offered to help.  The girls got to do laser tag, they were each given a $20 card to go play arcade games, and all the girls and adults ordered food!  The girls had such a great time.

072 Coach Gayle had this cake made for the girls.  She also had a gift bag full of goodies for each of the girls!  The girls have been really spoiled this year and I hope they know how much has been sacrificed for them in terms of money, energy, and time.

073 The girls decided to do their cheer one last time together.  It was the best I’ve seen them perform it, which is funny b/c they didn’t even have music.  They were just counting out the steps together out loud.  There was a group of Chinese businessmen behind us that were bowling and they all stopped and watched the girls (the cheer was LOUD), and after it was over all those men started clapping.  LOL!

IMG_3112Autumn was awarded the spirit stick to keep until next season!  It was a HUGE honor and one that she was so incredibly excited about.  We gave them their scrapbooks of pics from the whole season, and they appreciated it so much and were so touched.  I told them that I’d have to take them back before we left, b/c I hadn’t finished them and still needed to add pics from the cheer competition.  We have just LOVED being on this team this year and I am personally so thankful to Gayle & Marci for all they’ve done.  What great women!

We didn’t leave the party until 5:30 and by that time both Autumn & I were DONE for the day!  We had planned on going to Cowboys stadium to watch our local high school play in the playoffs.  But, that soooooooo didn’t happen.  We went back to Mom & Dad’s house and just vegged out for the rest of the night.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Marriage Advice From A 2nd Grader & Oklahoma!

class pic Autumn’s teacher is getting married this weekend and Deb went way above & beyond the normal Room Mom duties.  She had a fun games for the kids to help dress the teacher up like a bride.  This isn’t the best pic ever, b/c I got it off of someone’s Facebook page.  But, it makes me laugh b/c of how tall Autumn is in comparison to most of the other kids in her class.  Especially that boy standing right next to her … he only comes to her shoulder!  She’s for sure gonna be a tall Amazon woman like me.

IMG_5129 As a gift to the teacher, Deb sent home a little card for each of the kids to fill out.  Autumn’s answer cracked us both up.  We were trying to figure out how you can make a mistake at the store?  Maybe if you spend too much money?  Kids are just so cute!

IMG_5131 Tonight after dinner, Autumn & I went to one of the local middle schools to see their production of Oklahoma!  It was what you’d expect from a middle school performance, and they did a great job.

YW in OK play Autumn & I love going to plays, but the main reason we came  to this one was that 3 of my Young Women were in it.  We brought a little treat for all of them that said, “Don’t BREAK me off a piece of that kit kat bar.  BREAK a leg instead!”  Cassidy (the one in the red checkered dress) was Laurie and has a beautiful singing voice and did a great job being the lead in the play.  I’m so proud of all 3 of these girls for sharing their talents.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Final Cheer Practice

P1120361 Tonight was Autumn’s last cheer practice!  It was bittersweet, b/c we are SO GLAD it’s almost over, but we will miss everyone so much.  The girls practiced inside b/c it was below freezing outside tonight.  While they practiced for the last time, some of us Moms worked on the final poster board signs for the Cheer Competition on Saturday.

P1120362 It was Olivia’s birthday, so her Mom brought cupcakes to share w/ everyone.  Autumn decided that she doesn’t like chocolate cupcakes (since when???) and wouldn’t take one.  Once we got out to the car, she had a little meltdown and cried, and I think it’s b/c she’s so tired and ready to be done.

P1120358 This is the spirit stick that has passed between all the girls each week.  Coach Gayle would give it to the girl that had done the best that week, and each girl was supposed to add something to it.  It was so plain at the beginning of the season, so it’s fun to see how much “bling” has been added over the course of the season.  I got Autumn to bed and watched my beloved Parenthood.  I am going to be SO SAD when it’s over for good in just a few more episodes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Big Family Home Evening Activity

P1120346 Tonight for our combined YM/YW activity, we had a big Family Home Evening.  The Priests (16 & 17 year old boys) were in charge and did a great job.  We had a lesson about filling our spiritual canteens and how we can’t just wait and fill them during the big things like Girls Camp or EFY.  But, how we need to be filling them drop by drop every single day w/ prayer & scripture study & attending seminary, etc.  Some of the youth shared some neat experiences they had where their testimony had grown.  After the lesson, it was time for the activity.  We played Family Feud and it was boys vs. girls.

P1120348 The best matchup was w/ Sis. VB and Bro. B.  Sis. VB grabbed that eraser in the middle so fast, and we all cheered like crazy.  It was a really fun game w/ some hard questions.  There were 4 questions to a category.  The first 3 were worth 1 point each, and the last one was worth 10 points.

P1120353 As you can see, we beat the boys team by A LOT!  After the activity, we had refreshments (Costco cake) in the gym.  It was a great activity.  One of my Laurels who doesn’t come very often even texted me before YW and asked for a ride!  I was so thrilled to pick her up and take her home, b/c that gave us a chance to talk.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran’s Day, Aleina, & Shannon

IMG_7447 I am SO THANKFUL for ALL Veterans, but especially for these 2 outstanding gents (and Riannon) that I know and love.

IMG_5121 On the way home today I stopped by WalMart to pick up over 170 pictures that I printed off.  Most of those are for the cheerleading coach presents that I’m putting together for Autumn’s coaches.  While I was at WalMart I grabbed a Subway sandwich for Autumn & I to share b/c I knew we wouldn’t have a lot of time for dinner tonight.  We scarfed down our sandwiches in the car & then went and picked up Aleina at 6:00.  Her brother is a football player on the team that Autumn cheers for, AND they’re in our ward!  I didn’t even put two and two together until a few weeks ago!  Aleina & I bonded at one of the football games b/c we were talking about Polynesians since she’s Tongan, and she said she could help Autumn w/ her cartwheel.  So, we had her over to play tonight.  She’s 10, and Autumn’s almost 8 so they make a cute pair.

IMG_5122We took Aleina home at 7:30, and then we came home, I got Autumn to bed, and Shannon came over around 9:00.  We both felt like we needed some D&D (dessert & discussion) since she was released, and we haven’t gotten to talk like we used to.  It was SO WONDERFUL to vent to each other and just talk and share what’s going on in our lives.  She’s such a phenomenal woman & I admire her so much.  It was just what my spirit needed!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pencil Buns

IMG_5109 Tonight is the only night this week that we don’t have something going on.  It was nice to just go over to Mom & Dad’s house, have dinner, and then read with Autumn.  I was playing w/ her hair and I put it up in this bun w/ a pencil and she thought that was the coolest thing ever!  She kept reaching her hand back to touch it while she was reading.  Such small & simple things!

We came home, I got her to bed, and then went over to Christine’s house to watch the first Hunger Games movie.  We’re gearing up to go see the new 3rd movie when it comes out next week.  I didn’t get home until 12:30 b/c we talked for a little bit since we all hadn’t seen each other in such a long time!  I miss our weekly get togethers!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Primary Program & Snuggles

IMG_5082 I got up this morning and made a double batch of Aunt Jeri’s taco soup.  My visiting teaching partner had a baby a few weeks ago & I got to take her family a meal today.  Since I had so much left over, I took some to Mom & Dad’s house and left it on the stove so they would all have something to eat when they got back from their church meetings.  Rufio fell straight backwards like a board yesterday while checking the mail and split her head open on the cement!  Luckily someone was driving by, saw it, stopped, and called 911.  Rufio is in ICU at the hospital b/c she had bleeding in her brain, but she will most likely be ok.  Mom wasn’t up for cooking today, so I’m really glad I could help her out.  The leaves on these trees in their neighborhood are turning vibrant fall colors and I love it!

IMG_5083 Autumn & I haven’t gotten a pic together in a long time.  Probably b/c when Nick takes them they turn out blurry like this.  Oh, well.  It’s better than nothing!

IMG_5086 Today was the Primary Program & Autumn did a FABULOUS job on her part.  She went about 12th in line and she was the first one to talk that had her lines memorized, and it made a big difference.  She got to say, “I can follow Jesus Christ by … (she chose to say being baptized).  By doing this I can return to live with Heavenly Father.”  I was so proud of her!  Abbey was there today too and before church started she came over and gave Autumn a blue horse necklace that matches her pink on and they say “Best Friends” on them.  SO STINKIN’ CUTE!!!

IMG_5091 I had to stay after church for Bishop’s Youth Council, and I made sure to bring some treats/cookies to share w/ the youth and leaders b/c we’re all so hungry by the time church is over.  I dropped the Young Women off at their homes after the meeting, and then went to pick up Autumn.  She had gone home after church w/ a family in our ward.  I’m so thankful for friends who are willing to help out!  This was the pretty sunset we got to see on our way to Papa & Mimi’s house.

IMG_5102 We had some dinner and watched some football.  Mom was in her room talking to Aunt Jana & getting an update on Rufio (who is improving).  She went in the other room for a second and we all piled into the bed.  We started laughing and said, “the family that snuggles together stays together.”  She came back in the room and just rolled her eyes and asked why we always follow her.  We told her it’s b/c she’s the heart of our home and we love being around her.

IMG_5104It had been a LONG day, but it wasn’t over yet.  Autumn & I got home and she told me she had homework that she needed to turn in tomorrow!  WHAT!?!?  So, we sat down at the kitchen table together so she could do it.  She did it all by herself and once she had her answer, she would double check her math on the calculator on my phone.  It was funny to see her say “YESSSSSSSS!” after each time she got it right.  I don’t know about y’all, but I don’t remember math problems being this hard when I was in 2nd grade!  She got it done and was 30 minutes late getting to bed, so hopefully she won’t be a bear in the morning.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Movie, Cheer Posters & A Hockey Game

IMG_5070 It was SO NICE to sleep in this morning instead of having to get up and get ready for a cheer game.  We had a relaxing morning, and then went and saw the 10:00 showing of “The Book Of Life.”  I thought it was really cute and both Autumn & I thoroughly enjoyed it.

P1120333 After that we stopped at McDonald’s to grab some lunch, and then we went over to Coach Gayle’s house to work on the posters for the cheer competition next weekend.  We made a sign for each of the girls on the team, and then some overall team ones like these.  I am so NOT talented when it comes to crafty stuff like this, but I can trace template letters and cut them out just fine.  One of the other team Mom’s & her daughter came late to help, so they took Autumn w/ them over to the assistant coach’s house to play w/ her daughters while we worked on the posters.  I was there for 3 and a half hours!!!

IMG_5076I went and got Autumn and we went to Mom & Dad’s house to grab some dinner and then we took off for the hockey game.  We got free tickets through Autumn’s daycare, so I asked for 4 so that Nate & Riannon & Olivia could come w/ us.  It was a good game, but Autumn was most excited about me splurging on nachos.  I told her we could either get popcorn at the movie, or she could wait and get something at the hockey game.  We left 2 minutes before the end of the game so we could beat traffic.  It was a long but super fun day!