Wednesday, December 19, 2012

All I want for Christmas is books.

I just guest blogged my 2102 Bookbuyer's guide
here for a great friend, Donna.
(What a great idea! I've never done one before.
I do believe Donna started a tradition)

I decided to add my own twist.
I'm adding in a contest here
to compliment the post.
Make sure you enter to win
by matching the books with their categories below.

First a bit about Donna.
You all remember her birthstory here, right?
How could you forget.
Donna has a great new blog called Donna's Dish.
She is one of the most hilarious people that I know.
I love her dearly.
Serious. I want her for my neighbor in the next life.
We would just laugh through eternity.

Donna is a foodie.
She is pretty good at a lot of stuff.
Fashion, decorating, shoes,
pop-culture, handbags, food, parenting, yoga.
She lives in NEW YORK.
Someday I am going to see her.
Hopefully sooner rather than later.
She WILL take me to every place worth
mentioning to eat as many calories as possible.

She's not a lame Mormon mommy blogger
who only shows picture of her uber gorgeous kids
or scrapbooking pages.
She's real and interesting and FUNNY!
I want to be like her when I grow up.
She also will tell you really funny stuff about what
it's like to be a Mormon and black
and she always references The Cosby's.
Like I said, you will love her.

For some reason, Donna has come to me to be her book expert.
Head over for my expert opinion. (chuckle chuckle)


I based my list by who you gotta buy for
cause we all know that's how we do our Christmas shopping.

Before you head over see if you can match the categories with their books.
Match at least three correctly below in the comments and I will enter you to win a free book.
That's right I will mail it directly to you (if you are my winner) next month.
Contest ends on Christmas.

She Friend (two picks)
Little Girl
Big Girl
Teenage Boy
He Friend
Grandma
Little Boy
Big Boy
Him 
Teenage Girl
Her
Grandpa
The Whole Family







Merry Christmas y'all.
Happy Book giving.

Monday, December 17, 2012

When Tragedy Strikes

I feel. I feel deep. It is part of who I am. I have no way around it. I am a sensitive person. I am pretty sure I get it from my mom. I cry at the drop of a hat. I really should be an actress. So, when tragedy strikes, it kind of knocks me out for a bit. It really knocks me out. I have to give myself cognitive therapy so that I don't succumb to the warmth of the sheets in my bed. I have to distract myself. I even lie to myself if necessary. Most of all I have to get some answers.

I think because I feel, I have chosen God consistently throughout my life. I need somewhere to go when nothing makes sense and let's face it, there is a lot that doesn't make sense.

Like other people though, I usually vacillate in my own incompetence for a bit before I turn to God. I am trying to change that, but I guess I can take comfort in the fact that at least I get to God at some point. A lot of people don't have the same luxury.

So after the CT shooting last Friday, these were my reactions, put out there for everyone and their dog to see. Oh the evil of social media. It really shows one's true colors.

This should not still be happening. Give me your best solutions for the safety of our children. Serious. I am writing Congress. I am so heartbroken.

I refuse to read more than one news report about the shooting. 
I suggest you all do the same.
Use your energy to make the world a better place.

We have the highest obligation to protect the children. The American citizens demand that every school has two armed trained military personnel on guard every day. Repost if you agree.

Pondering again on the words of Mormon leader Dallin H Oaks spoken to the world that would listen just two months ago:
Although I do not speak in terms of politics or public policy, like other Church leaders, I cannot speak for the welfare of children without implications for the choices being made by citizens, public officials, and workers in private organizations. We are all under the Savior’s 
command to love and care for each other and especially for the weak and defenseless.

Children are highly vulnerable. They have little or no power to protect or provide for themselves and little influence on so much that is vital to their well-being. Children need others to speak for them, and they need decision makers who put their well-being ahead of selfish adult interests.
I know one amazing 12-year-old angel with open arms and the most tender heart who is probably cuddling up with some kindergartners tonight and that brings good tears to my eyes. Love you Braxton Wills!

How about we train gun sniffing dogs to guard every school? I seriously can't stop obsessing for an answer. I grieve by taking action.

Trying to press forward by going out to a movie but it's hard to move forward when so many fellow Americans are in mourning. God bless.

It just occurred to me that God had even more reason to be in public schools on Friday. I am sure He held each of those victims in the palm of His hand and hugged them as He told them they would never again have to feel pain.

See how I vacillate? I ended off with this:
Love. Peace. Joy. This world is overcome and the next will have no heartache.
And this: Must read! So touching.

twas' 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate.
their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
they were filled wit

h such joy, they didn't know what to say.
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
"where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
"this is heaven." declared a small boy. "we're spending Christmas at God's house."
when what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.
and as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad."
then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
"Let My power and presence re-enter this land!"
"may this country be delivered from the hands of fools"
"I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!"
then He and the children stood up without a sound.
"come now my children, let me show you around."
excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
and i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
"in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT."

Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA

The only place for peace is God. I don't know why it takes me so long to figure that out every time tragedy strikes. I am stubborn. Hard-headed. Prideful. A natural woman. Eventually I'll get there without vacillation, but at least I am aware of my tendency, and that is the first step towards fixing it.

So, as I hold onto God as tight as I can today. I write this.

I am proud to say that my kids went off to school today just like any other day. I am not mother of the year, far from it, but I made a choice a long time ago to limit the media into my home. We don't have any TV but Netflix and it makes all the difference. They know something tragic happened and we have prayed for CT, but my babies went off to school today feeling safe. And that is all a mother can do. If by chance some awful thing ever does happen to them, all I want them to have is a feeling of safety and security and love up to the very moment of the unspeakable.

I thank others who have helped me make sense of it all.
Two links were particularily helpful. 

This one gives a plea for the mentally ill.
And my hubby sent me here where he was able to convince me that the answer is not about gun control
or even about guarding our schools. 

The answer my friends is the same answer for all other woes in our life:
Trust in God.

Evil has always been around. Awful things happen every day. We are no worse off today then yesterday. In fact, we are better off because we don't live in a war-torn country. We as Americans freak out when tragedy strikes, but tragedy strikes much more frequently in other parts of the world.

So what can I do?
I can trust in God.
How can I trust in God?

I can continue to pray with my family.
We can read our scriptures and let God's word work in our lives.
We can limit the crooked media's influence in our homes.
We can show compassion to others.
We can stop having stigmas towards the mentally ill.
We can reach out to our neighbors who may be struggling.
We can love more deeply.
We can quit fighting over politics.

And that is what I resolve to do.
And because I have a new resolve, 
I can be grateful to God for the reminder, 
even if it's in the form of an awful tragedy.

Friday, December 14, 2012

My Brother's Take on Mormon Feminism

There has been a lot of talk lately
about a movement of
anti-Mormons
who have penetrated the active church-body
by inviting the women to wear pants to church this Sunday.
I'm privvy to these things because I live in Utah.
It was on the front page of the paper.

LG read part of the article to me
when he was home for lunch
the other day.

We discussed the stupidity of it.
Women have always been able to
wear pants to church.
Why would any woman
want to be a Bishop?
We laughed.

Then LG made my day.
"Alice you look so sexy in a skirt."

So I posted this on facebook.

Feminist Mormons are planning a "wear slacks to church day" 
to celebrate the similarities between women and men. 
I'd rather celebrates our differences. 
Besides my husband thinks I look hot in a skirt. 
If that means I'm objectified, so be it.

It got a discussion going.

Perhaps my favorite part of the discussion
was my ultra-conservative, gun-slinging, Limbaugh-loving,
football-coaching, huge-dog owning, Idaho-dwelling
brother saying this:

(for my non-Mormon friends -
this first question is what is asked of 
the members to determine
worthiness to attend the temple)

(YM is short of Young Men
YW is short for Young Women)
  • Erick Wills Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
  • Alice Wills Gold Erick Wills, the answer is no, but I do have an opinion about giving the YW the same budget as the YM. 
  • Erick Wills I am good with that. My opinion and what we did in my ward when I was over finances was the YW had a bigger budget. Crafts cost more than firewood.




Yes, feminist crazed ladies,
the men of the church
are not anti-women.

In fact,
they are 
what my brother calls
equal diffrencialists.

I am proud to say
that I now
have a great term to describe
what I am too:
an
equal diffrentialist.

And so is 
She touches on some deep
Mormon doctrine here
and I loved her article.

I'm so grateful for the women of the church
who magnify their callings
and bless the lives of my daughters.

Here are some recent photos
that Sister Seale
e-mailed
of Sophia and her buddies
at their 
female only
activity days
held
every other week.

I love how these photos
showcase what we teach
Godly girls.

Choose the right.

Be modest.
Be tough.
Be beautiful.







It's crazy to me
that scorned
women can
find these things
wrong.

I don't want my daughters
to be anything
but
equal diffrentialists.


And trust me,
no woman
should ever want to
be in Cub Scouts instead.

I know,
I've been a Scout leader
three different times
in my
"mom only to daughters"
lifetime.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gift-Giving 101

I love getting gifts.
It's one of my

Actually
it's
my
TOP
love
language.

The problem is
my husband
hates
shopping.
He never knows
what to buy.

So for the past
couple of years
we've come to a
compromise.

I would like to
take a minute
to give
my
deepest
heartfelt
thanks
for
enhancing
my marriage.

You see,
and
he
goes
online
and buys.

Win.win.

Love
at it's finest.

Start your
gift 
wishlist
board
today.
It's never too late.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Book Review: Reached


Reached (Matched, #3)Reached by Ally Condie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I HATE Ally Condie's writing style. DETEST it. I am glad that LG and I listened to this book on tape because it helped me pin-point why she is so annoying to me. She is so flowery. Just write the dang book already. I don't want your poetry ruining my story. I know that may sound mean, and it probably is but it's not like I'm ever going to meet the lady. Let's make this clear. I love poetry. I will even take a little of it from time to time in my fiction, but just not on every page. Condie literally gets in the way of her story. That has to be some kind of author no-no.

I read the first book in the series "Matched" a while back on the reference of a friend. I wasn't crazy about it, I think I rated it three stars. The concept is great, but her writing is just so tedious. I skipped the second one "Crossed" all together and never intended to revisit the serious. However my hubby really liked it and so I let him catch me up on the story-line from book 2 so that we could do book 3 together. We had 24 hours in the car to experience this book together and both my hubby and I would look over at each other with frustration when Condie would go off on her tangents.

Overall, I love the dystopian type story and the characters were great, but I personally just can't get past the flowery overdramatic inserts all over the place. I also hate it that she tries to be all metaphorical with the "Pilot." I think it is super distracting and I am impatient with my story-receiving.

I am writing this review without finishing the last 3 chapters so I may come back and tell you I loved the end and it redeemed the rest, but I doubt it. I also hate Condie's timing. She draws out parts of the stories that aren't important and seems to skip over the parts that the reader is invested in.


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Sunday, December 09, 2012

We will have a perfectly happy picture!

My mother-in-law requested family photos for Christmas.
In an effort to keep the Christmas budget,
we opted for my mad raw camera skills.

Yeah, I took one photography class
so that makes me qualified right?

Wrong.
So very wrong.

Add in
a dog on a leash,
a crappy crappy tri-pod
some cold weather
and a
"as stubborn as I'll get out"
nine-year-old
and
wa-la
eventually
you have me screaming:

"We will get a perfectly happy picture.
Gosh danget."
That got some smiles.

We can always count on laughter
to see us through.
And laugh, we did.
Like always.
Here are some good outtakes.

I was trying to test the shot
and I had already set the timer
so they entertained themselves
through the 10 sequential shots.

We got a bunch of great shots
and in about 10 of them
Caroline was sticking out her tongue.

I like to call this one
"Don't drop the dog."
The funniest part was that
I had no idea this was even happening.

When we got home, 
Sophia came into my room and said,
"Mom I learned something important today.
You can't put a dog in the simba pose for a picture
like you can a cat."

It wasn't until I went in to edit the photos that
I understood what she was talking about.

Please, don't eat my head.

 These are the best that we got.
I really like how the scarf pose
turned out
minus Abigail's expression
and the random blanket
on the grass.
Don't even worry about the discarded
old fashioned sled.
Geez.
I really don't know what I am doing.


We got our perfectly happy pictures.










Merry Christmas Faye.
These will be on their way to you
in your Christmas package
as I know you won't be able to figure
out how to print them from here.

Oh and sorry,
I forgot to do a pose
with LG.

Maybe next year.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Half-way

The great news is
I ran a half marathon
on Thanksgiving.

Almost one year to the
day that I started
my journey towards a 5k
I way surpassed it.

I rock.
I don't rock enough
to do a marathon.
I more than likely never will.
13.1 was plenty for me.


Now for the 
2012
goal reconciliation.
I am using the sandwiching
technique here.
You know
good.
bad.
good.


FAMILY

1. Read scrips every day. 
(probably received a D grade here)

2. Do good every day. 
(we are pretty good at doing good but still need work)

3. Be quiet. 
(royally failed)

PERSONAL

1. Run four 5k's. (keep running 3x wk) 
(YES I rocked this one. I did 5 official 5k's and ended off with the half
and ran 3 times per week over 90%, only missing when sick or on vacation)

2. Read 54 books. 
(At this point I have 40 books, 20 of which are children's which I just added to make me not look so pathetic. In my defense, I take Caroline to the library weekly and usually read at least 20 books to her every week. 
My i-phone has ruined my good reading habits. Dang words with friends.)

3. Weigh 180 or under. 
(190 - Lost 40 pounds this year. 
Quit counting calories sometime this summer. 
Big mistake.
Need to get back to it.)

4. Attend temple monthly. 
(I think I only missed one month but I went twice another month)

5. Plan a family camping experience. 
(Oh yeah, we went to Coral Pink Sand Dunes when it was cold enough to snow last Spring. 
Talk about a camping experience no one will forget.
We also experienced Arches this summer 
when it was windy enough to blow us off the Delicate Arch.
Nothing like the elements to teach
your kids about the outdoors.
I rocked in this area.)

7. Dailies. (scripture study, prayer, service) 
(sucked it up -
but I did make progress in the fact
that I have decided that I am not going to do these things out of guilt anymore
but I am praying for a pure desire to want them in my life -
well, when I pray.
In my defense, I have been dealing with some major stuff this year
my nephew's death, a hard miscarriage,
and the trials brought on by some very loved addicts in my life)

8. Be still and quiet. 
(Did really well with this just need to be better about including God in this time)

9. Go back to college. 
(I plan to apply to BYU for Spring, probably won't get in, 
but hopefully I will be going to BYU or UVU starting this summer)

10. Stay under budget. 
(I still am not perfect here but I have really made a ton of progress. 
Although LG would tell you otherwise.
Once again in defense,
when I have gone over budget
it really hasn't been in a 
retail therapy way but
in the everything is too expensive
and we have 4 kids way.)

11. Go to bed & wake up w LG. 
(I did super impressive all the way up to summer which ruined me. 
Starting again in Fall I have gotten up every morning 
to make my kids a good breakfast. T
hat is a huge improvement for me. 
Running has given me more energy, 
combated my depression 
and has somehow magically lessened my need for sleep)

12. Show love and compassion. 
(Still need to work on this every day. 
I am just naturally judgmental. 
I am constantly reprimanding myself.)

13. Bond with the girls. 
(I've spent a lot more quality time with them 
and have made it a point to support their dreams.
I've personally sacrificed for their extra-curriculars.
And a trip to Disneyland doesn't hurt me here.)

Overall,
I would give myself
a C grade
but an A for effort.
I consistently checked in
with myself on my goals all year.
I am enjoying having this
accountability to the blog.

Always
half-way
to
perfection.

And that my friends
is
a
glass
half
full.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Book Review: The Woman He Married


The Woman He MarriedThe Woman He Married by Julie N. Ford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this book after reading the sequel "No Holly for Christmas." I had no idea that this book existed when reading the other or I would have done it the other way around.  I prefer to read in sequential order. However, reading in the wrong order actually didn't take anything away from either book, they are that loosely related, especially in the story-line.

"No Holly for Christmas" focuses on Josie's x-boyfriend Brian, and this book focuses on Josie. Even though Julie Ford warned me that her second book seemed to have better reviews, I equally enjoyed both books. There wasn't the mystery in "The Woman He Married" like in "No Holly for Christmas", but both books have something different to offer.

This book was a great read for me. It focused heavily on Josie's conflict between being a good mom and pursuing her legal career, a storyline in which every mother out there can relate. I personally enjoyed Ford's exploration of Josie's troubled marriage. It's no wonder to me that she wrote with the perspective of a former marriage and family therapist. In fact, that is the the second best thing I appreciate about Ford's writing. She writes smart. She knows her stuff, especially interpersonal relations.

The thing I love the most about Ford's writing is her humor. It is subtle, but it's in there. For instance, here is one of my favorite lines from the book describing Josie's solution to throwing a dinner party at the last minute: "Relgious or not, at that very  moment Josie was pretty sure there was a god, and that God wanted her to go to Costco." Any mother with more than one child completely gets that line and finds it to be the best kind of humor: honest.

Once again Julie Ford left me a true fan. I'm glad we are facebook friends now so I can be sure to know of and buy a copy of every one of her future books.

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