Thursday, November 20, 2014

DIY Fall Wreath for $5

All I used was my pool noodle wreath form/base. Then I picked up four bunches of flowers/fall foliage from the dollar store (sorry for the poor quality images. I also took these while my camera battery was missing).

I plucked, or used wire cutters to take off individual flowers. I also trimmed the leaves off the bunches of flowers.

Then I placed them around the uncovered pool noodle to get an idea about where I wanted to place them.

Then, I started gluing them with a hot glue gun, added some pine cones my kids picked up for me, and I was done!

I didn't know if I'd be a fan of the plastic flowers, but I really love it. I especially love how the magenta flowers add a burst of color. So there you have it. My first wreath made for $5. It definitely makes me happy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Stamping with a Pool Noodle

Remember how I said you'd want to hang on to the excess piece of your pool noodles when making your wreath form? Just add paint...

and you have a fun little stamp. This works best with the pool noodles that are shaped like a flower, but I'm sure kids would enjoy stamping with a circle shape as well.

My youngest two kids are still learning about colors, so we had fun mixing primary colors. Red and yellow makes orange etc. It's a great way to mix things up and use a fun activity as a teaching opportunity.

Here's the results:

The kids were super proud of their art.

I should have a post up showing my wreath tomorrow. Till then, happy stamping!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

DIY: Make a Wreath Base/Form for $1!

We've had a blast this Fall doing all sorts of crafts like this one. Besides finger painting with the kids, I also was able to make my first wreath! The best part is that I made it all for $5! I'll show the results in another post. Before I get some pictures of the wreath I made, I wanted to share how to make a wreath form for only $1. I learned how to do it when I happened upon this post, and I couldn't be more excited! All you need is a pool noodle from the dollar store and a dowel, or you can be more creative and improvise by trying to use a marker, or hoola hoop...maybe just some duct tape...

Before we move on, I apologize for the crappy quality of pictures. These were taken on my iPod because I couldn't use my camera since the battery was missing.

First, I decided how big I wanted my wreath to be and then I cut off part of the pool noodle I didn't need (By the way, If your pool noodle isn't completely round, save the piece you cut off for another fun craft you can do with your kids. I'll write another post on it soon) :

Then, I'm pretty sure you could just duct tape the edges together and call it good, or you could try to make it a little more secure. I wanted to make mine extra secure so I used a broken piece of hoola hoop. Snap off a good sized piece like this:

Then, put the hoola hoop piece (or marker) in both ends to see how long it should be. Adjust the size accordingly. Then, wrap and glue (with a glue gun) a piece of felt around it to make it a bit wider. After your felt is on, put more hot glue on the felt and glue it to the inside of the noodle. As a heads up, the glue will melt the pool noodle a bit if you squeeze the glue directly on it. Here's what the felt looked like:

After I'd glued the felt covered hoola hoop piece to both ends of the noodle it looked like this:

Normally, you could just secure edges with duct tape, but I skipped this part because I was already planning to wrap fabric around the whole form. So, I just bound the edges with fabric. Here's what it looks like so far.

And that my friends, is how you can make your own wreath base for a dollar!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Why Do Mormons Believe in Joseph Smith?

picture found here

Joseph Smith is a central figure in Mormon's beliefs. There are many interesting rumors mixed with truth about Joseph Smith that have caused many people to question his character.  Those outside (as well as member of) our faith might have misconceptions about our belief in him. Some claim that we believe he was/is Jesus, or an equal to Christ. That idea can easily be proved wrong. However, there are other doubts many have about Joseph Smith that cannot be explained as easily. As I stated earlier, there have been a lot of half truths mixed in with hearsay that have spread false information about Joseph Smith, much of which can't be confirmed, or denied. There are also a lot of mysterious and curious things from Joseph Smith's, and our church's, history: polygamy, treasure digging, free-masonry etc. It's natural for doubts to come up since so many people question Joseph Smith and our history. You either believe he was called as a prophet of God, or you likely think he was a genius fraud or delusional man.

While we were in New York we had the opportunity to visit Palmyra. We visited Hill Cumorah where Mormons believe Joseph Smith found the golden plates which he later translated in three months time into the Book of Mormon. We went to the printing shop where the Book of Mormon was printed. We explored Joseph's Smith's old homes, and the farm he'd worked on. We also visited the Sacred Grove where Joseph Smith's journey as a prophet really began. It was there that, as a fourteen year old boy, he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. It was there that he prayed (about what church to join), and it was in the Sacred Grove that his prayer was answered.

picture found here

As we walked through the beautiful Sacred Grove, I couldn't help but feel moved. I thought back to different doubts I'd personally had about Joseph Smith. There were a couple of times I'd heard, or read a well articulated argument against Joseph Smith. I remember those articles caused doubts to creep in and I started to feel a little worried or confused. Whenever I'd start to have questions about whether or not my religion had really all been a sham, I'd go to the Lord in prayer and would let him know just how I felt. Every single time those feelings or doubts were eased as I would "coincidentally" happen upon another article or a discussion that had answers to my questions or concerns.

While I still have questions and there is plenty that I don't understand, I've come to realize that any concern I've had has always led me back to whether or not I believe Joseph Smith truly experienced what he said he had in that grove of trees.

In his own words he describes what happened in the Sacred Grove:

"I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me... 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!"
If Joseph Smith truly did see God the Father and Jesus Christ, and if he was called as a prophet of God, then the Book of Mormon is from God. Likewise, if we come to know that the Book of Mormon is true, we can know Joseph Smith was called as a prophet and that the church of Jesus Christ (with all it's keys and authority from God) has been restored.

While the articles and discussions Heavenly Father led me to happen upon were helpful, and reminded me that God hears our prayers, I've come to learn how fundamental it is to have a testimony in the restoration of the gospel. As I walked through the Sacred Grove, I was also reminded of the times that I'd received a witness from the Holy Ghost that Joseph Smith's story was true...that the Book of Mormon is true. We Mormons could spend all the time in the world pointing out Bible references that confirm our beliefs, or all the scientific and all the linguistic evidence there is throughout the Book of Mormon, but all that effort would be in vain. Those who oppose the church can do likewise. There are plenty of convincing arguments on both sides. Which is why I believe, it really does come down to faith. The only way to know whether or not the restored gospel is true is through sincere study and prayer.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Temple Garments

It is common for people to think we members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka Mormons) are different. One things that many people find odd, or curious is the fact that we wear temple garments. The fact that members don't talk about their garments, or what goes on in the temple likely increases curiosity. For me personally, it's always been symbolic of commitments, promises, and beliefs I have which can be compared to why some wear a cross. I remember when I was in high school, my boyfriend (who wasn't Mormon) wasn't allowed to attend a wedding reception with me because his parents had "heard all about Mormons running around in our underwear at weddings." I had to laugh when I heard their response. I couldn't believe that intelligent people would really think that's what happens in the temple, let alone at a reception center!

I can assure you that you won't see people running around in their underwear at Mormon wedding receptions, or in the temple. Honestly, most of the temple ceremony can be read straight out of the Bible. I have to admit that the temple clothing does look different, but has a lot of symbolism behind it--just as the Jew's prayer shawl, head tefillin, or other religious clothing does. I'm excited that the church has come out with a video that shows you temple clothing and the garments we wear. Hopefully, it will help dissolve any misconceptions people have about the temple garments and clothing.

I've always found it beautiful to learn the symbolism behind different religions religious rituals and clothing. While some of the ways they worship definitely seem foreign to me, I can appreciate their rites as a way they show respect and love for God.

Here's the video Sacred Temple Clothing:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

All Things Fall

I love Fall! The colors of the leaves, apples, pumpkins, and so much more. This will most likely be the last Fall for us in the DC area. There is a chance we'll come back, but just in case we don't, the kids and I made a bucket list of all the things we wanted to do during this lovely season.

I was surprised and really happy that our oldest suggested we take family pictures. What kid tells their parent that, "We should take family pictures?" Apparently ours do. All the other kids enthusiastically agreed. Hopefully, they keep that attitude when we check it off our list. I just realized that taking pictures during the Fall season has turned into a tradition. We always take a shot near a gorgeous huge tree in our backyard with the woods as our background. We're going to miss the view of this backyard.

I'm definitely feeling nostalgic and excited about all the upcoming changes. While we haven't had our family pictures taken yet, we've had a lot of energy and have already crossed off a lot of items on our bucket list. One of them was to create a painting of a tree with the help of many hands (I guess I should say fingers):

I apologize in advance about the quality of pictures. My camera's battery was dead and we couldn't find the charger. Anyhow, I love how our craft turned out and so do the kids. I think it will help us remember of the times we spent here for the past two years. It will remind me of our beautiful tree. Here's how we made our fun painting:

First we painted the limbs and the details. I got the idea to do this project from pinterest (I'd have linked you straight to the source, but it's spam). You can see they didn't do any details on the trunk or limbs. I like both versions with and without the additional gray. Either way cover your trunk and limbs with tape. We left some parts (as seen below) uncovered so the leaves could cover parts of it. We ended up covering anything that wasn't covered with tape.

Then the kids and I rolled up our sleeves and we started getting red leaves on our canvas...

Then we added yellow, orange, green, and a little brown and tried to let it dry a bit.

Then we started to pull up our tape. By the way, we used both painters tape and duct tape and both worked just fine.

Almost done pulling off all the tape...

After we finished pulling off tape, we added leaves to the top where the one trunk was completely uncovered. We also added leaves to the sides of the canvas. After it was all dry, we hung it up. The kids were super proud and happy with their art work. If you have kids (or not) and are looking for a fun and easy craft to do this Fall, I'd definitely recommend trying this out. It's easy, fast, and a whole lot of fun!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Why are Mormons Always Inviting Me?

We'll get to that question in a moment, but first let me say, it's good to be back. Now that we're home I can connect to the internet and post on my blog again. We have been living in a cabin for the past three months. While we had the internet, the laptop we brought with us is very old making it extremely difficult to do anything on-line. Sorry if you missed me.

We got back this week. Right in time to get ready for General Conference. Twice a year our family enjoys some fun traditions to celebrate this time. First, we mimic the example of King Benjamin's people and will set up a tent and face it towards our "tower" (our computer) where the prophet and other leaders will speak during the weekend. It's also a time when we remember to restock our 72 hour kits with new food before the old stuff goes bad. We enjoy snacking and eating from our old kits as we listen to our prophets and leaders speak. It's also a time where we remember to take a personal inventory of our own lives. As we listen, we are always inspired with what we need to change, or how we can be a little better. We also leave feeling our Savior Jesus Christ's love. This is why I often invite others (including nonmembers) to join us, or to listen via the internet. It's my way of trying to share the amazing experience with others. 

I often will post an invitation to friends so they can watch if they are interested. I have to admit I am always nervous when posting anything religious. I worry that I might offend or annoy friends and family. I know during the political season there are times when I get tired of heated political posts. I wouldn't be surprised if some good friends and loved ones feel the same when I post something relating to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

If you're one of those people who gets tired of all of us Mormons inviting you to listen to Conference, or to read the Book of Mormon, to meet with the missionaries, to go to church activities, or whatever else please don't be so annoyed you'll cut ties with us. We're sharing and inviting, not because we get "brownie points or bonuses," but because we care about you just as Elder Bednar describes in this talk with an entertaining personal story. I hope you'll take the time to watch or listen to his talk so that the next time you see another religious post from me or some other Mormon, you can smile to yourself even if it's while saying, "There they go again."

If you aren't put off by our invitations and are even a little curious or interested in learning more about Mormons you can do just that all in the name of charity. On October 10th (this Friday) you can go to a theater (hopefully) near you and watch Meet the Mormons. The best part is all the proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross! Click here to find the closest theater near you.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Camping at Assateague Island National Seashore

*This post has been waiting in my drafts for a couple of weeks now. However, I haven't been able to edit it. My laptop died and we've been away from home (and our desktop computer). For some reason the iPad won't let me scroll down to edit . If there are a lot of grammar errors and mistakes, I apologize in advance. In order to let you know I'm still alive and since it is camping season I'm crossing my fingers that it's not too painful to read. Hope you're having an amazing summer! Happy camping!

We recently returned from camping at Assateague Island National Seashore Campground. It was amazing! Not only did we enjoy telling stories and chowing down food made over the camp fire (including our favorite Striped Peanut Butter S'mores), we enjoyed the whole experience. This wasn't any normal old camping trip.

For one thing instead of dirt, we were sleeping on sand. Sand is so much more comfortable to sleep on then dirt. As you can see from the picture above, the sand wasn't the only thing at our campsite. We enjoyed being visited by several wild horses that freely roam the island and campground. The kids loved seeing them graze so close by. Since they are wild, we still kept our distance, but they seemed completely comfortable wandering up right next to us.

 So, not only did we enjoy the sand and being visited by wild horses, we also loved the beach which was practically right behind our campsite. It was like we had our own private beach! It was awesome! I worried about there not being a life guard since I have four kids and an ocean enthusiastic husband, but the kids were more interested in digging up shells and making sand castles. The next day when it was warmer, we went a little further down the beach and found a spot where life guards were on duty.

The kids also enjoyed exploring at the visitor center. My oldest was excited to complete a booklet to be sworn in as a junior ranger and receive a badge. The kids also loved looking through their telescope and touching the horseshoe crab and clams among other things.

We had such a great time, I had to post about our experience. If you are ever stationed or on your way to the DC area you'll have to keep this in mind as a place to visit. It was only $20 a night and was more than worth it. You'll also want to have some cash to buy wood, but they have tons there that is so inexpensive it wouldn't be worth the hassle of bringing in your own wood. Finally, you'll also have to pay to get into the National Park ($10 for 7 days or $15-$20 for an annual pass), but if you (or your spouse) are in the military and are active duty, you get in free! We didn't have the card that gives free admittance for military so we pulled into the office and had one within five minutes.

Our kids have made us promise them that if we're still in this area next Spring/Summer, we'll be coming back.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Best S'more Recipe EVER! Striped Peanut Butter S'mores

We recently got back from an amazing camping trip. While we were there we had our version of s'mores. And let me tell you, they are WAY better then the normal old graham cracker and Hershey chocolate s'mores--which is saying something.

It all started a couple of years ago when my husband found some fudge striped cookies on sale. It was one of those impulse buys. He figured, why not buy these for our camping trip? The problem was our budget was so tight even a $2-3 dollar impulse buy seemed huge (Daniel was in grad school and only working part time)! A splurge for us on some date nights was picking up a movie for a buck from Redbox. So, I have to admit that first I was somewhat annoyed since I never ever buy store bought cookies. I figure, if we're going to eat any baked goods especially sweets, we'll have to make it ourselves.

We were also trying to be careful since we already had splurged to buy other stuff for our camping trip including Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and other chocolate candy bars for s'mores (I've always loved switching out boring chocolate for a variety). Needless to say I'd already gone overboard on other impulse buys that were also sweets. I'd been too spoiled eating only home baked cookies and couldn't help but think those store bought fudge striped cookies were not a good buy. Boy was I wrong! I didn't know it then, but that purchase of fudge striped cookies was sheer inspiration on the part of my husband.

When we laid out all our food at our camp site, I saw those cookies sitting right next to all the other s'more fixings and it hit me: Striped Peanut Butter S'mores. So, I made our first ultimate s'more with cookies, marshmallows, and peanut butter cups and there was no going back. These s'mores really hit the sweet tooth.

Here's what you'll need to make Striped Peanut Butter S'mores: Fudge striped cookies (keebler, or the cheap brand), Marshmallows, and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups...

After you roast your marshmallow (or two) make the ultimate s'more sandwich (cookies on the outside with the marshmallow and peanut butter cup inside) and thank Daniel for his last minute purchase.

Here the Peanut Butter Fudge Striped S'more on the left has one marshmallow, whereas, the one on the right has two. Give both a try and figure out what marshmallow ratio you enjoy most. Also, did you notice the Hershey's chocolate? We only broke those bars open after all the Reese's were gone. We've also tried twix and kit kats as a substitute for the Reese's, but we prefer the peanut buttery goodness the most.

See all that marshmallow oozing out? Yum!

Your family will be able to get through all the peanut butter cups and cookies if you let them. Best splurge and s'more recipe ever!

You're welcome!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Should Women Hold the Priesthood?

This post has been sitting and waiting to be edited for a long time. The first draft was written before Elder Oaks talk. Since there has been a lot of discussion about Kate Kelly's excommunication from the church, I decided it was a good time to quickly edit and post my thoughts...

Well, should we?

Here's a quick Background:

A lot of members inside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been discussing this topic (see here and in other links provided below). For those of you who aren't members of our church (aka Mormons), we believe that there are vital ordinances, like baptism, that we need in order to return to live with Heavenly Father. We believe that these ordinances can only be performed by a person holding the priesthood. At this time, only men can hold the priesthood (the authority to act in God's name for the salvation of all people [read more about what it is here]). As far as we know, men are the only people who have ever held the priesthood. However, everyone is able to receive all the blessings that come from the priesthood (i.e. baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, marriage for eternity etc.) If you're curious and want to learn more about the priesthood feel free to look here.

Before I give my opinion (about whether women should hold the priesthood), I'd like to take a quick detour and say I don't think we should look down on anyone who asks this question. It's not a bad thing to ask questions. The church reiterated this in a response to the publicity Kate Kelly received concerning her disciplinary counsel (see here). Asking questions can build your faith as you study to find your answer. That being said, I think the leader of Ordain Women, Kate Kelly,  has crossed the line since she's publicly fighting with Church leaders while refusing to meet with her local clergy. Just the same, I don't believe Kelly is a bad person. Actually, I think she is trying her best to do (what she sees as) good. And whether or not you agree with her, I think that we can learn a lot from the concerns she and other members of Ordain Women have brought up. I think many women wonder why they don't have the priesthood, and whether or not it makes them any less valuable. I can understand why not having the priesthood may frighten some women.

The World Women Come From:
Let's look at the context of the culture women live in. One in five college aged women are victims of rape or attempted rape. One in three women are victims of domestic violence. Many have been victims of physical, emotional, and or sexual abuse from their fathers, or other trusted adults. Many of these crimes are often committed by men who see women as beneath them.

Most people outside of the church define the word "patriarch" differently then we do in our church. They see a patriarch as a man who not only leads, but as one who believes he is above women and children. They see him as a man who believes his opinion is more valuable than a  woman's. Now days patriarch is seen as a man who believes he should dominate and control. Those outside the church also associate the word patriarch with the over the top macho man. Many people in our society attribute the word masculinity with words like strong, powerful, and emotionless; while femininity is associated with words like weak, emotional, and (because we're emotional) illogical.

I think most women have had experiences where they felt powerless, voiceless, and weak due to men attempting to control them. It doesn't help that many women have been victims of violence. Most of that violence is carried out by men who fit the characteristics above. Men who see themselves as a "real man." If a woman has had these experiences, or wants to protect other women from such experiences, it's easy to see why she might find receiving the priesthood important. I'd assume that for many of these women, receiving the priesthood would prove to them that church leaders see women as equal to men. These women may believe that holding the priesthood would prove their voice really is as valuable as a man's. It also might help them feel that our Heavenly Father isn't one who sees them as inferior to men. I can tell you now that most women who have lived in a masculine world, and who have been victims of violence, are scared that God might be just like their abuser(s).

I too have felt a bit of fear that Heavenly Father didn't see me as valuable, or as worthy as a man. Most of that fear came from my own experiences in a world that isn't always kind to women. I've also had many experiences that have led me to believe that God is loving, and that I am just as valuable to him as the next woman, or man. There's is a lot of evidence for this in Christ's life. To me, it's evident that Christ showed He valued women just as much as He did men. If I hadn't come to this conclusion in my own life, I may have been one of those women wanting to hold the priesthood. In fact, there are still times when I question my worth in God's eyes and have to turn to Him again and ask for that reassurance. Women want to feel safe, in control of their destiny, and of equal worth.

Let me share some worries I had as I struggled for a long time (and still struggle) to understand my role as a woman. Did being a woman really mean that I had to set aside personal goals and give up personal development. Would I be barefoot and pregnant for eternity? Was I inferior to my future husband? 

These questions really freaked me out as a young woman. Don't get me wrong, I still wanted to have kids, but I was scared that my growth as a person didn't matter. Before I got married, I worried that I was expected to lose myself in my role as a mother; so much so that I would cease to exist as an individual. Did being a woman mean I was a second class citizen in God's kingdom too? People have treated me that way at times, or like I'd been brain washed to act as a submissive wife (as seen in my experience while visiting this Dr).

Four kids later, I'm glad to say that my fears were unfounded. I love my role as a mother, a wife, and as an individual. My spouse has helped me feel safe. I know he respects my opinion and sees me as a person of equal value. Other women may not have had that experience with their spouse. Even I, who have had a very positive experience with marriage, still worry sometimes about my ability to control my own destiny in the next life. Given the context of our culture and its treatment of women, I can understand why some women would have major concerns about having "unequal opportunities" for status and responsibility. I feel like we need to address their concerns and questions and not just brush them aside. After all, there are still a lot of misconceptions about what it means to be a woman (or a man) in our society. 

Ordain Women expressed concerns that not holding the priesthood limited their potential (see here), and kept them from participating equally in church service compared to men.
Based on the response of church leaders that: "Ordination of women to the priesthood is a matter of doctrine that is contrary to the Lord's revealed organization for His Church," it is apparent that women will not be holding the priesthood anytime soon. Elder Oaks reconfirmed this in a talk given during priesthood session (see here). If this answer from an apostle is upsetting, I'd hope you'll remember that it's okay to ask questions. As I stated above, asking questions through prayer and study can allow us to grow (read a great talk on "doubt your doubt before you doubt your faith" here). Just make sure you ask questions while you continue to pray and study the gospel. I believe that women crave to understand where they stand in the church. So, it's essential that women in the church understand what their role is in God's plan. Is our role somehow less than a man's? I don't think so. Here are a couple of points I think will help us explore the divine role of women. A lot of the points overlap one another, but they are all important to think about and discuss:


This point is tied in to the rest and has already somewhat been said, but it's worth saying again. We all want life to be fair. We know that through the priesthood all men and all women are able to have all the blessings that come from receiving the ordinances of the gospel. Every worthy man or woman can be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, go to the temple, and receive promised priesthood blessings. Both sexes have to ask to get a blessing when they are sick or in need of help, and both sexes can be sealed to a spouse for eternity, etc. So, as members of the church we all have equal access to these blessings.

Yet, some women feel that not holding the priesthood is a blessing that is being withheld from them. They may feel they are not equal to men because they aren't given the "right" to hold the priesthood. What they're missing is that holding the priesthood isn't necessarily a blessing or a right, it is a responsibility. I believe that women's roles and responsibilities are just as important as a man's role.

The issue at hand here is not holding the priesthood, it is receiving equal respect and value as a man or a woman. I think these women believe holding the priesthood is a way of reassuring their value. I feel that a women can have different responsibilities and still be equally valuable as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In other words, receiving the priesthood doesn't really add any extra measure of worth to a person, at least not in God's eyes.

I've heard somebody say 2+2=4 and 3+1=4. Both equations end up with the same value even though they get the value in different ways. We don't have to be exactly the same as men to be of equal value.


A woman is just different than a man. We are not the same, and if your not happy that you're a woman...well, you should be (see here)! I am! I believe we have a different role as a woman. Have you ever thought about how through the priesthood we are able to return to live with Heavenly Father? In a way, all women depend on men to give us the ordinances required to return and live with God.

Women are needed on the front end. We women are needed to house the bodies of God's spirit children. Spirit children are able to leave their home in heaven to be brought to this life so that they can receive their precious body and to continue to grow and progress and move forward. Without women, God's spirit children wouldn't be able to leave their pre-mortal life to come to earth. Without worthy men, we wouldn't be able to return back to God. Let's also not forget that priesthood holders can't make it to the highest level of glory without being married to a woman. Both men and women are fundamental components of Heavenly Father's plan! Sure, being a mom with all it's dirty work does sound less glorious when compared to having authority from God. Yet, I think we forget just how awesome and powerful it is to be able to house one of Heavenly Father's spirit children in our womb. The role of a woman isn't any less than a man's. One side of a coin isn't any more or less important than the other side. I love this idea (read more here) and it has become one of my own beliefs.


Women were made to be a "helpmeet" for their husband. In the past, if I'd heard the word helpmeet, I would likely have cringed and had disturbing images of an oppressed wife with a swollen belly being told, "Woman! Get in the kitchen!" Then I learned the definition for helpmeet while attending a conference at Ricks College (now BYU Idaho). The professor explained that the Hebrew word for meet in helpmeet (k'enegdo) was difficult to translate into English, but could be thought of as an opposite. Yet, not quite how we tend to think of opposites. Instead, the concept is more like our hands are opposites. While our two hands are the same in many ways, they are also different and complimentary. If our hands weren't different, they would both face the same direction. Because they are mirror opposites, we are able to pick things up and use our hands much more efficiently and effectively.

Our spouse is our other half. Together we are whole, or "one flesh (see Genesis 2:24)." I've noticed in my marriage that my weaknesses are often my husbands strengths and vice versa, which makes us better when we work as a team, than when we work alone. Blogger Heather discusses this, as well as more about the Hebrew meaning of helpmeet in this post. I highly recommend you read it.

Men and women need one another. If a man isn't sealed to his spouse in this life or the next (or married for all time and all eternity), then he can't progress. He can't return and live with Heavenly Father. So again, men cannot progress without a wife, and women can't without a husband. AND we better make sure our spouse will want to live with us forever. Which means we better treat one another with love and respect. Which leads me to...


A myth that many seem to believe inside and outside the church is that holding the priesthood somehow gives the man power to rule over, or even dominate and control his wife and children. However, the leaders in our church have taught us this isn't the case. For example, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Boyd K. Packer said, “In the Church there is a distinct line of authority (I believe that is so things are organized and run smoothly). We serve where called by those who preside over us. In the home it is a partnership with husband and wife equally yoked together, sharing in decisions, always working together (italics added).”  This link has a great article with several other quotes from our modern day apostles and leaders on this topic. Elder Dalllin H. Oaks also spoke about priesthood authority in the family and you can watch, or read his talk here.

#5. Not holding the priesthood does exclude women from certain church responsibilities and positions. In a world culture where a woman's value and respect is granted instead of claimed, I can understand why some women don't feel comfortable with this arrangement and don't trust that men in the church recognize their value. Some honestly may not.

Priesthood callings have all the power and glory right? Hmmm. I'd have to say as far as church callings go the answer would be "Yes...and no." Sure we look up to our priesthood leaders, and come to admire and respect them, but really their calling isn't as glorified or powerful as many outside the church would think. In fact, the way we see church positions and power in the church is different then those outside the church think of it. A man who has a leadership position (e.g. being a Bishop) doesn't look at his position as one where he can continue to climb the ranks, or where he can rule over and direct those serving under him. Elder Oaks again touched base on this in the same talk I previously mentioned.

No. Instead, a good bishop serves. Bishops are asked to sacrifice a lot, just as Christ did during His ministry. A bishop is not paid, and frankly most smart men don't really want this calling or job. A bishop could easily be released one week and then be given a calling working as a janitor, or in some other capacity. I suppose priesthood leaders get more recognition and respect for their service than their wife does (some members even seem to forget priesthood leaders are humans whose counsel isn't always doctrine), but the reality is that their wives are serving just as much in their own way. Paul taught this concept with a great analogy in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. Every member is needed.

I mention this last point because many in the group Ordain Women mentioned feeling frustrated that they couldn't hold church callings, or positions because they can't hold the priesthood which stifles their contribution and personal growth. I can see their point, but there are plenty of other ways women can contribute, serve, and grow personally in and outside of the church. If this is their biggest concern, perhaps they need to be told how much their service is appreciated and/or should be given more responsibilities. We certainly could use more member missionaries right? We should also start talking about whether women can serve where they haven't previously. Perhaps this will open up the discussion so women will be invited to serve in some capacities previously held only by priesthood holders like the Sunday School president.

Some other things that Latter-day Saints need to discuss is whether or not the Primary age girls and Young Women feel left out. I think many leaders are starting to see that there are subtle messages that make many girls feel they are less than males. Traditions like having men be the last speaker and giving them the most time may send an unintentional message that what women have to say isn't as important. Many Bishops and leaders already recognize this and make sure that both males and females close meetings and are given more equal amounts of time. What about the amount of budget and activities that go towards Scouts and Activity Day girls, or Young Men versus Young Women. When more emphasis is put on the programs for boys and all of their Scouting events and camp-outs, many girls feel excluded.

On the other hand, when leaders emphasize both the Scouting programs and the Young Women and Activity Day Girl programs, the girls won't feel like a lesser priority. I've been in many wards who really worked hard to make sure that all the youth and children knew they were equally important. One particular ward excelled at this. When the Young Men went on a biking trip, the Young Women followed shortly thereafter and biked hundreds of miles. There was a daddy daughter activity planned as well as a father-and-son outing. While the types of activities may have differed, the amount of activities both the girls and boys had were similar. You can imagine the impact this had on all the youth. 

So...after discussing the role of women, the question still remains:

Will women ever hold the priesthood? I think the answer came after the church first responded to Ordain Women in this letter, and again in Elder Oaks talk. There response has led me to believe that in this life women likely won't hold the preisthood. In the life to come? I don't know. I don't think it's impossible. In fact, from what I've gathered from attending the temple I believe it's possible that women might hold the priesthood in the next life. If we don't, I'm sure we'll at least be able to get good answers as to why not. Until then, we should continue to turn to our Father in Heaven so He can give us guidance and show us our divine worth. It would be beneficial to remember and to remind other women this concept often: We women are of equal worth whether we hold the priesthood or not.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

DIY Reupholstering Adding Gimp (or Trim)


It's been a long time in between posts and even longer since I've posted about the couch. I have to apologize for that. Things just got crazy, and then busy. First, a couple of kids were going through a transition period. You know, where they're pushing buttons you never knew you had and testing limits. Oh boy, it was rough for a bit. So, I did what I thought was best. I put off a lot of things to focus on my family.

When things were running more smoothly in our home, my husband left for several weeks of training while two of my grandparents became very ill. My grandma passed away while Daniel was gone and I was unable to attend the funeral. It was very difficult, but I had so many people who did so much for me (read here).

Grandma and my Grandpa (who passed away a couple of years prior) holding our first-born

When Daniel returned from training I lost my Grandad:

It was difficult being so far away when both my grandad and grandma were sick. I am very grateful that I was able to spend a lot of time when we lived closer getting to know them both. While I didn't live as close to my Grandad, I went on several trips to see him, and he came by our place as well. One of my most memorable experiences was spent interviewing him about his life and looking at and scanning pictures. A couple of years later we celebrated his 90th birthday! I'm so grateful to have had those experiences with him. It was rough losing him, but I'm glad to know I'll see him again.

Anyhow, as you can imagine, I've had a lot going on and frankly, finishing the couch and blogging weren't high on my lists of priorities. If you're one of the few who's been following I apologize for the long delays. I hope you'll understand.

So, I finally "finished" the couch on Friday! I had put off adding the gimp until a week ago and then I was three yards short. So, I ordered more and added it this week. I'm hoping to fix at least one of the cushions before the big reveal (hence the quotations around the couch being finished). In case, you're curious about adding gimp here's what you'll need to do:

Adding gimp is pretty simple. You just need:
  • a glue gun 
  • gimp, or trim 
  • a couple of outlets (because your glue gun cord likely won't be able to maneuver around the whole couch without switching to another outlet). 
  • an assistant or a place to set the glue gun down that you can also easily move.
  • scissors
 Be careful. It's easy to get tangled in the glue gun cord and the gimp.

When you're ready to go, plug in your glue gun. As it's heating up trim any long loose strings, or material that the gimp won't cover. You can see all the material that is fraying in the next few pictures that needs to be trimmed:

The reason you'll be adding gimp is not only to make it more beautiful, but to keep the material from fraying completely. That's why you'll likely need to add it to the back of your couch. It also covers up all the staples and parts where two pieces of material meet (i.e. the back of my couch and arm):

Don't trim your material too much though. You'll want the material to be far enough away from the staples that it won't be able to fray underneath any staple. Keep in mind you don't have to trim it perfectly either since you'll be gluing gimp over it.

When your glue gun is hot get your gimp ready. Check to make sure your gimp will cover the material. Start by putting a little glue at the end of the gimp to keep it from fraying.

 Then add a little more glue and fold it under to protect it even more from coming undone:

Then start to glue. I'd only put an inch or two of glue on your gimp at a time. That way you'll be able to slowly add the trim to your couch and place it where it needs to go.

Going slow will also help you avoid getting glue on the couch, especially when things start to get tangled (including your body).

And you'll likely have to trim a couple of strings or pieces you missed earlier:

When you get to the part between where the back of the couch meets the arm pull the cushion towards you. Then measure and cut the needed amount of gimp before adding glue. When your gimp is ready to be placed, in between the back of the couch and cushion, it would help to have assistance keeping the cushion pulled back tight while you carefully add the gimp (I had my daughter hold the cushion for me). If you don't have a helper you still should be able to do it yourself, but be careful to avoid getting glue where you don't want it.

As you slowly add your gimp you'll see your project slowly come together looking complete and beautiful.