Monday, October 13, 2014

Christmas Giveaway: $500 In Paypal Cash Or An Amazon Gift Card.

I have a few exciting posts coming up this week, first and foremost of which is an exciting announcement about a giveaway!

Yes, you read that right, I'm teaming up with nine other fabulous blogs to bring you a giveaway of $500 cold hard cash.

Well, cold hard cash in the form of paypal money or an amazon gift card, but let's get serious here, it's still money you can spend anywhere you want and with the looming holiday season, who doesn't want an extra $500?

Can you say only 72 days until Christmas?

I know, I panicked just typing that.

So let's tell the blogs who are behind this thank you,

And get ready to enter.  The rafflecopter will open today, Monday October 13th at midnight and will end at 11:59 pm on Sunday, October 19th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Being a solid Halloween fan, you'll have to forgive me for the next sentence.

Happy Holiday's y'all.

Let's make it a happy one.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Thankful. Faithful.

To, not only the guys in Beyond 5, but the entire team who are behind them as well:

Thank you.

I'm coming to you, right now, not as a fan, though I certainly am, and not even as a blogger, though I am that as well, but as a mom. 

I find myself in the situation where I'm the only parent my daughters have who is living the gospel.  Sometimes, when I sit back and think about that, the weight of it panics me a little bit. I know that no other parental figure in their life is teaching them the peace of the gospel.  Not by word, and not by example.

I'm it.

I'm far from perfect as a parent in general, and I know where my short-comings lie.  I think that's where my panic stems from.  With all my flaws as a parent, and let's face it, as a person in general, how can my voice alone be enough to counter all the other parental voices guiding them in their lives?

So I want to thank you.  I want to thank you for making the gospel cool in their eyes.  I want to thank you for your solid examples in the public eye, and for your kind words in private.  I want to thank you for putting music out that doesn't make me cringe, knowing my daughters are listening to it.  

And I want to thank you for your Faithful album.

The Faithful album that has been downloaded onto every single iPod in our house.  The Faithful album that is being hummed while hair is being brushed, and dishes are being washed.  The Faithful album that is pouring out of headphones and speakers at every turn I make in my home, and even in my car.  

I want to thank you for filling my daughters' lives with the spirit.

And for reaffirming that spirituality is fun, and very cool.

Because it is.

And they're getting it.

And I even want to thank you for giving me a little bit of that credit in their eyes.  The mom who first introduced them to their favorite band.  The mom who endorses such music.  The mom who gets how cool it is that these boys are putting this, this, music out.

Where ever else your lives take you, please know that you have left a solid impression on more people than you will ever know.  You once told me, in a sense, that you wanted to leave the world better than when you found it by the music you put out.

I'm here to tell you that you have done exactly that.

 And as a mom, I thank you for it.


This is not a sponsored post, but one that I genuinely feel.

If you'd like to find out more about Beyond 5's Faithful album you can find it 
HERE on Amazon 
HERE on Your LDS Music Store

It will be released tomorrow, October 10th, but you can pre-order it now if you want to.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I Am Brave And Beautiful.

Megan from Brassy Apple started her blog post yesterday by saying, "I am Brave and Beautiful – a beauty movement that is sweeping the globe. Colbie Caillat started it with her recent song and video called TRY. And I wanted to push this movement along and invited women from all over to join me and share what they looked like without make up on!! I’ve been hinting about it on social media as my “secret project”. It’s not a secret anymore! Colbie’s song says, 'Take your make up off. Let your hair down… Look into the mirror at yourself, Do you like you? Cause I like you… '"

This hit a raw spot for me.

Take a minute to read her post, if you haven't already.

I have struggled with my self-esteem for my entire life.  I can't even really tell you were it stemmed from.  Some moment or collection of moments long forgotten. 

I fought intense shyness caused by the lack of confidence I had in myself.  I tried to hide it through out High School and College.  I joined clubs and played sports and even ran for student body office (and ultimately won).  But I battled with my image in the mirror every morning.  Every date invite shocked me. Every boyfriend eventually friend-zoned because honestly, it couldn't be more.  Why would they want to?

A marriage to a man who was supposed to love me more than anyone else, but tore me apart instead.  My hair wasn't right.  My clothes weren't right.  I wasn't tan enough.  My boobs weren't big enough.  I did everything wrong.  I did everything at the wrong time.  I was boring to talk to.  I was boring to hang out with.  He didn't want to come home to be with me.

I just wasn't right.

After my divorce I tanned up and toned up with a personal trainer.  I visited a hairstylist regularly.  I removed hair with lasers that wasn't even visible, but surely it's what I needed to do.  I was desperate to be that beautiful woman that any man would want.  I needed to be the full package.

I wish I could go back and tell myself a few things.  Save myself some heartache and depression.  And painful laser treatments.

I see teenage girls, and even adult women doing to same things I did.  Primping on the outward appearance to gain what they hope will be a meaningful connection with someone.  In hopes that someone will validate their worth for them.

And I want to tell them.

It doesn't matter what anyone else says or does.  The battle that is being fought is in your own head, in your own heart, and you need to give yourself a break.

This life is hard.  It's full of challenges and heartaches and headaches and every other ache imaginable all on it's own.  Why do we compound it by tearing ourselves apart flaw by flaw?

I want you to write this statement on every mirror you own:


I'm not even joking.  Do it.

Remind yourself of what you need to be thinking about yourself.

I used makeup as a safety blanket.  I believe absolutely that you should get up in the morning and get fully ready for the day.  Even if you have nowhere to go and no one to see.  For me this consists of showering and shaving, doing my hair and makeup, and wearing real clothes.  Not yoga pants.  Not sweats.  If I'm working, obviously I'm putting on nicer clothes, but even when I'm not, I'm wearing good jeans and some sort of necklace with that t-shirt and those flip flops. 

When I had Lasik done a few months ago I had to go without makeup for a week and a half after the procedure was done.

I have not gone a day without makeup for... I can't even tell you.  Probably Jr. High.

And there I was facing a week and a half of it.

I had to go to work with a bare face.  I had to go to church with a bare face.  I had to face my husband with a bare face.

I would do my hair and put on my best clothes and remember the words of my Grandma Martin, "if you're smiling no one will notice anything else about you."

So I smiled, even while I was dying inside, knowing as I walked into my office, or through the church doors, that people would be shocked by how washed out and pale I looked without makeup.  

And then I heard it.

"Wow, I don't know what it is, but you look so pretty today."
"You have such pretty eyes."
"Your skin is perfect."

And I blushed.  Shocked.  Surprised.  Taken totally off guard.  And I would confess to not being allowed to wear makeup and found myself even apologizing for not having it on.  And they would look at me confused and say, "oh, I didn't even notice you weren't wearing any."

To all of you who hide behind the makeup and the clothes.  Who cling to the imaginary expectations of society of what a beautiful woman should look like.  You.  Are. Wrong.

Give yourself the credit you deserve.

You are beautiful!  You are brave!

And so am I.

With that I join Megan's campaign and post my picture of myself with no makeup. And no filter.

This last weekend The Man and I took The Circus to Moab for camping, hiking, and riding.  We woke up at 4:30 Thursday morning, jumped in the car and headed off for an adventure.  I hadn't washed my face and still had my makeup on from work the day before.


But Thursday night, after a hot day of hiking, I sat down with my makeup remover and wiped my face clean.

And it stayed that way for the next three days.

And I was okay with it.

I was good.

Even while shopping and eating out for dinner one night.

Because The Man doesn't love me for my mascara.  And my kids don't love me for my eyeliner.  And I'm no longer defined by my mask of foundation.

I am beautiful.  Just as I am.

I hope it doesn't take you as long as it took me to realize that about yourself.

Join the movement.  Post your pictures sans makeup on your social media and tag it #IAmBraveAndBeautiful and #ColbieTry

And show the world what the definition of beauty really is.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Watchers Book 1: Knight of Light.

The search for a good book that's actually worth reading continues.  And as promised, when I find one I'm passing it on.  I like to sink my teeth into all sorts of books, and am even enjoy reading a book that doesn't end happy, but makes you think and reflect on life.  One of my favorite genres, though, is a solid fantasy/fairy tale.

I just love escaping into a new world.

If you're the same way then you should check out this book.

The Watchers Book 1: Knight of Light

In England, 1270 A.D., Auriella (pronounced yurr-ee-ella) flees her village after being accused of witchcraft. Pursued by nightmarish creatures, she struggles to accept the truth about her humanity. Filled with fairies, dwarves, pixies, dragons, and monsters, Knight of Light is an enthralling tale that will capture the imaginations of readers young and old.
The Watchers Series has been described as Braveheart meets Supernatural. The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Traditional Apocrypha, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Kabbalah.

“The Watchers” are supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness. Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad. Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden’s The Watchers Series is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl’s discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions.

About the Author

"My goal in writing is to saturate my books with intrigue, mystery, romance, and plot twists that will keep my readers in suspense. I want to see fingerprints on the front and back covers where readers have gripped the novel with white knuckles! Aside from writing, I enjoy jousting in arenas, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, and going on adventures."
-Deirdra Eden

Find Deirdra Eden and The Watchers Series online on AmazonDeirdra's websiteFacebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad, and Pinterest.

Want a chance to win this book?  Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I did receive a copy of the ebook in exchange for this post, but my opinion is all my own.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

There's A Hawk In Our House.

This post was originally written and posted on 12 December, 2011.

Imagine one hawk flying crazily in the kitchen with five screaming girls freaking out about it... one in tears...

but I get ahead of myself. 

I wasn't actually at home for the first half of this adventure so I'll have to tell it to you the way it was told to me.

It started with this picture text from The Man:

"I was getting into the shower when these two birds crashed into the window.  Scared the heck out of me.  One's still breathing but not moving.  Not sure what to do with it."

To which I replied via text, "Oh wow.  Is this one of those things where we have to bring it in the house with a box nest?" 

Let me interject here that I was only kidding.

"I'm going to nudge it if it doesn't move I'll have to finish it I guess."

"Ew gross."

"It's looking at me. Grrrr."

"I'm trying to pick it up but it's holding onto the ground."

"It knows you're going to kill it."

"Not yet.  I was trying to see if it could move."

"Tayler says we should call FedEx."

"I tried your box idea.  I should have closed the box."

"Maybe I should have said that the box idea only works if they're hurt and can't fly."

"I thought it couldn't.  It didn't move at all except to hold the ground when I picked it up."

"It's a hawk.  I looked it up."

"Are you serious?"

"Yep. I'm certain. The picture matched perfectly."

"Oh geez.  Is it still in the house?"


At this point The Man posts on facebook, "Does anybody have a fishing net or butterfly net I can borrow? ASAP."

Insert mental image here...

"Kaye Lynn says to call Tracy Aviary."

"I just need to get it outside."

"Right.  They can come and get it."

"It tried flying.  It wasn't successful."

I found out later that West had tried to go up and actually take his shower at that point, telling The Circus not to worry about it, it wasn't going anywhere.  As life goes, as soon as he gets upstairs it starts flying around.  And girls start screaming bloody murder. 

And there were tears.

"What the... is it breathing?"


"Man that bird is having a bad day."

After laughing hysterically about this with my co-workers I head home.
I walk into the house from the garage door to see this blocking my path:

And I have to admit that I freaked out inside just like The Circus.  What if it freaked out on me when I stepped over it?  Finally I was able to force myself to step over it, as it glared at me with it's angry hawk eye. 

I looked up the website for Tracy Aviary and found that they don't actually take wild birds because of quarantining, but was able to get the phone number for Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah, who does take them.

"Hi.  I have a hurt hawk in my house..." Followed by an "Oh!" and a burst of laughter with, "that's a first!"

So West gently picked the poor thing up,

and went to put it in the same box that brought it into the house, but realized we should probably learn the lesson that it can fly out of the box and did we really want that happening in our car?

Insert mental image here.

So we put a blanket in our dog carrier instead.

We took the hour drive up to Ogden, where two ladies stayed late to wait for us, and one put on the huge leather gloves (please note that West used only paper towels in the picture above) and reached in and... the poor thing had died on the way. 

We learned that a bird's trachea is the back of their tongue, and she could see a lot of blood coming from it.  Which meant that there was significant internal bleeding.

We also learned that it was a Cooper's hawk.  They hide in the trees until a prey comes along, and then the tactic is to chase them into something to kill it, like, oh, say our house.  But this guy didn't pull out of the chase fast enough, or as West imagines it, was fighting with it mid-flight, so he hit the house too.

At least he's not hurting and West didn't have to get the shovel.

My conscience is clear.

Just As James Promised.

When Christ was on the earth He did a lot of things we should be taking note of.  In truth, His life is the very example we should be patterning our own after in every way.  One of the things He did was set up His church, complete with the priesthood and a quorum of apostles and the whole she-bang.

When Christ left the earth, He left the church established in His apostles.  But the world wasn't quite ready for what they had to say.  One by one they were killed off form the earth, taking the priesthood authority with them.

But the Old Testament was still around, and the writings and teachings of Peter and Paul and all the other apostles where still circulating and eventually they were compiled into what we now know as the Holy Bible.  And men interpreted it the best they could, and some just flat out changed the meanings to fit how they wanted it to.

Different churches arose for various reasons but the priesthood and the truths of the gospel were lost and muddied.

Enter Joseph Smith Jr.

As a 14 year old boy, listening to the great preachings of so many churches and wondering at them as so many do, even today, he felt directionless and confused and was asking questions but not finding any real answers.  Or, perhaps, finding answers but how can every church be true, as they claim, when they're all different?

One night as he was looking in the Bible he found the verse, James 1:5, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

He did just that saying, "At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to 'ask of God,' concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture." (JSH 1:13)

One day he ventured out into the woods to find a solitary place.  "After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

"But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

 "It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!" (JSH 1:15-17)

Christ created the world, under the direction of His Father.  And under the direction of our Father in Heaven, he created all things that are on the earth.  (Moses 2:1).  No unclean thing can be in the presence of God the Father.  It's through His son, Jesus Christ, that we can become clean again.  In, or through, Christ's name we pray to the Father.  And through Christ we receive direction and blessings. Christ is our intermediary.

He is our Savior.  Through Christ we can return to our Father in Heaven.  He made this possible for us.  And in return for that, He simply asks that we live His gospel. "...He has appointed the law of the gospel as the medium which must be complied with in this world or the next, as He complied with His Father's law... Hence being the mediator between God and man, He becomes by right the dictator and director on earth and in heaven for the living and for the dead, for the past, the present, and the future..." (John Taylor, Mediation and Atonement, p. 171).

Joseph Smith Jr. received a clear answer that day.  None of the churches were the true church of Christ.  But through Joseph Smith Jr., the true church was again established on this earth.  Like the apostles of old Joseph Smith learned a lot of things from Christ in a very short amount of time.  And like the apostles of old, he eventually gave his life as a sealing testimony.

In Jeffrey R. Holland's book, Broken Things To Mend, he gives a talk where he speaks of all the dispensations of time, and through all the efforts by righteous prophets to establish the gospel on the earth, it never fully took.  Prophets were killed.  Teachings were rejected.  Apostasy ensued.

Until today.

Elder Holland points out that in all of those times, those prophets who taught with their lives weren't doing it for their time.  They weren't doing it for their people at that moment.

They were doing it for us.  They were doing it for our time.  Our time, the last dispensation when the fullness of the gospel would be restored and not only stick, but spread throughout the entire world. We are the fruits of their labor.  We are who they have taught.

I hope that we can take to heart the words of President Uchtdorf, "please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." (here)  If there are questions or things that don't make sense, it's simply that we need to do as Joseph Smith did.  Study.  Pray.  I have learned in my life that when I don't understand something, the problem has been with me, and I've simply needed to learn more about it.  Always, the answers, the wisdom, comes.  Just as James promised it would.

{pic source}

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