Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Sunday, January 11, 2015
I'm back from a big family vacation. We went on a cruise from LA to Mexico. It was a wonderful time, with lots of new things to do, lots of family time, and new experiences.
But I think we can all agree that the best part of the trip was the biggest surprise of the trip- my brother proposed to his girlfriend! (And she said yes!) They have been dating for at least 3 years, so she already felt like a member of the family, hence the reason we invited her to join us. We even included her in the professional family pictures we had taken (before he popped the question). (We took most of the pictures with her in them, and a few without.)
We had no idea he was going to propose (even though we had all hinted that we hoped he would do it on the cruise). He never let on that he was going to do it. You should have heard the screaming, laughing, and crying when it happened. And it wasn't all just from our family- there was a line of people nearby, and they all clapped and cheered for the couple as well.
It was so fun and unexpected to get to be there for the special moment.
And we are all so glad that our new "fiancee-in-law" was there with us to start building our new family memories with her.
Welcome to the family, Madi!
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Erin Ann McBride and Cedar Fort Publishing & Media are pleased to announce the “Sharing the Gospel Through Social Media” blog tour, which will run from February 21-March 3, 2015.
If you’re interested in participating in this blog tour, please email Cedar Fort or visit their blog at http://blog.cedarfort.com/blog-tour-sharing-the-gospel-through-social-media/ to sign up.
About the book:
Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ has never been easier. This book was written to help bishops, ward mission leaders, stake presidents, stake public affairs directors, mission presidents, and every day member missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, learn to navigate and appreciate the potential of social media in their missionary efforts. Explanations, ideas, and strategies are provided on how to incorporate Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and other networks into Mormon missionary efforts. This ebook makes it easy for even social media beginners to effectively share the gospel online.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
From my scripture study or daily devotional reading tonight. I thought it was beautiful and perfect.
... These scriptural virtues are intertwined, interactive, and interdependent. We are to be:
1. Meek and humble—not self-concerned, dismissive, proud, seeking ascendancy. Blessed are the meek because they are not easily offended. Besides, those who “shine as lights in the world” have no need to seek the spotlight! (See Philippians 2:15.) The world’s spotlights are not only fleeting, but they employ inferior light!
2. Patient—not hectic, hurried, pushy.
3. Full of love—not demanding, dominating, manipulative, condescending, or harsh.
4. Gentle—not coarse, brusque, and vindictive.
5. Easily entreated—not unapproachable, inaccessible, and nonlistening.
6. Long-suffering—not impatient, disinterested, curt, easily offended. There are so many people in the Church, brothers and sisters, waiting to be offended. And it doesn’t take long. If one has a chip on his or her shoulder, you can’t make it through the foyer, so to speak, without getting it knocked off.
7. Submissive to God—not resistant to the Spirit, counsel, and life’s lessons.
8. Temperate (self-restrained)—not egoistic, eager for attention and recognition, or too talkative. In your life and mine, the great moments of commendation and correction have come usually in one-liners.
9. Merciful—not judgmental and unforgiving. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall know the caress of causality as their forgiving mercy restores others to wholeness! Though God is perfected in the attributes of justice and mercy, we read that, finally, “Mercy overpowereth justice” (Alma 34:15).
10. Gracious—not tactless, easily irritated, ungenerous.
11. Holy—not worldly.
From the speech, "In Him All Things Hold Together," by Neal A. Maxwell.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Just when I think my life is dull and boring, the Universe likes to prove me horribly wrong. What craziness am I to today?
-Proofing my book, "Sharing the Gospel through Social Media," that comes out February 10th. (Published by Cedar Fort Books.)
- Planning a dear friend's wedding- WITH LESS THAN 2 WEEKS' NOTICE! The crazy girl will have a less than 3 week engagement. But then maybe I'm the crazy one for taking on her reception with just 2 weeks and no money to pull it off!
- Christmas, because you know, it's Christmastime and all
- Working part-time
- Writing another book that I'd really like to have finished by Dec 31
- Working for 2 different clients on book editing, formatting, and marketing stuff
- All that other life stuff!
All of my books that are currently available are free on Amazon Kindle December 11-15. If you haven't downloaded them yet, now is your chance.
Links and reviews of each available book below.
"This speedy read tells one young go-getter's adventures as she works in the ad/tech world for a woman who is in the running for the Worst Boss Ever award. It had me holding my breath and flying through the pages wondering how (and if!) Anne Marie was ever going to escape the stinging of this Portuguese Man o' War. Fun novella-length story--not a lot of depth, but just a great beach or airplane read."
"I love these books and I can't put them down! I read the first one in two days and laughed, was in awe of the suspense, and felt smarter by the end of it. Definitely ideal for Book Club Books and summer beach reading!"
"I had read articles by this author for Meridian Magazine and always enjoyed her sense of humor and down to earth take on modern life, so I jumped at the chance to read her book. It was fun and fast from start to finish and left me wanting more. It is rare to find a "clean" love story that isn't preachy in any way. Who says being moral and honest has to be boring? Not Erin Ann McBride! I have already purchased the next Haley and Cam book and hope there will be many more in the series."
If you've already purchased or read one of these books, have you left a review on Amazon yet? Reviews of self-published books really do make a huge difference in sales for the author. Please take a minute to go leave a few stars and comments for me!
Monday, December 08, 2014
It was a roller coaster of a day - again.
There was good news and there was bad news and then there was more good news. Followed by, you guessed it, more bad news.
It's hard to not feel emotionally unstable when your day is whipped back and forth like that.
Ultimately it was all just news I had to accept and roll with. Nothing I could do about the good or the bad but just take it.
It didn't help that I decided on Saturday afternoon to go off caffeine and sodas. That lasted pretty well for about 48 hours. But somewhere around the third round of bad (and annoying) news, I said to hell with it, and got a Dr Pepper, curly fries, and a big fat Reuben sandwich. So much for my juice cleanse. And let me make it clear, I do not regret my choices. As BFF Juli put it, we should just all be glad I wasn't knocking over a liquor store right about that point.
That many emotions forced on a girl in one day is just not healthy!
There are many great things going on around me (friends getting dream jobs, friends getting married). I am so happy for these blessed events. But it makes the downhill slide of these roller coaster days that much farther to fall. Because on the other end of the ride, unemployment sucks, loneliness sucks, and friends dying really sucks.
Some days it feels like so much is happening around me that I'm forgetting about really huge events. (For instance, a baby being born! There was so much going on that I completely forgot a friend had a baby. And I really was truly happy for my friend and the baby.) I feel like I need to start making lists to remind myself of all the things going on around me so I don't let important things slip by. Because believe me, if I can forget a baby being born, I can forget much bigger things too.
I'm so grateful for my many blessings, and for all the highs on this roller coaster of life right now. It's much harder to be grateful for the lows. And I'm trying to be grateful for the highs that offset the lows. Or at least, I'm trying to see it that way.
But I really wouldn't mind it if there was just a nice long series of highs for a while. That would be very welcome right about now.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
This is the talk (sermon) I gave today in the Potomac Midsingles Ward.
The Prophet Joseph Smith once said that one of the greatest sins of which the Latter-day Saints would be guilty is the sin of ingratitude.” I presume most of us have not thought of that as a great sin.
While a member of the Presiding Bishopric, then Bishop Henry Eyring said, “Gratitude is a feeling of appreciation and thankfulness for blessings or benefits we have received. As we cultivate a grateful attitude, we are more likely to be happy and spiritually strong. We should regularly express our gratitude to God for the blessings He gives us and to others for the kind acts they do for us.
“To find gratitude and generosity when you could reasonably find hurt and resentment will surprise you. It will be so surprising because you will see so much of the opposite: people who have much more than others yet who react with anger when one advantage is lost or with resentment when an added gift is denied.
“Whatever we get soon seems our natural right, not a gift. And we forget the giver. Then our gaze shifts from what we have been given to what we don’t have yet.”
In the book, “All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience” by Elder Neal A Maxwell, he states-
There is little doubt… that a goodly portion of our pride proceeds from some assumptions we make about ourselves and our lives- assumptions that are at first soothing but very wrong. We think, for instance, that we “own” ourselves. It is perfectly true that our individual identity is guaranteed, that we are agents for ourselves, and so forth- but this truth, when it is torn away from other realities, gives us a very lopsided view of things. Without the ransoming atonement of the Savior, we would be stranded souls, doomed to die with no hope of the resurrection of or individual immortality. We were literally purchased by Jesus. Quite true, we do not yet have to acknowledge that reality, though someday we will. Nor are we now even forced to follow the conditions that the Purchaser laid down. So in a sense, we are quite free to do as we please, just as if we were our own. But it is a terrible illusion, an illusion that will be shattered by His second coming and the judgment. Meanwhile, the illusion is kept alive because some want to believe it. CLOSE QUOTE
We have a natural resistance to feeling owned. To not want to give the Lord credit for our personal accomplishments. We want to believe that we are responsible for all that we have. We want the credit for our talents, time, and possessions.
“This illusion underwrites the false assumptions that we make about our time, our talents, and our possessions that each of us sees as “mine.” We may even feel noble when we give of our time and means, and we are apt to be somewhat grumpy if anyone, especially a prophet, reminds us that all that we have belongs to God anyway.”
And are we thankful? Do we properly express our gratitude for all that the Lord has given us?
We must give credit to the Lord through our obedience, and by thanking Him through prayer. The Lord does not ask us for monuments or gifts. He only asks us to pray and obey.
When you pray, do you picture a heavenly, mysterious being in a far off place? Or do you picture the person who has given you all that you have, sitting in the room beside, always with you, as He has promised to do? Do you picture the Father who’s name just a few minutes ago you covenanted to take upon you?
When I picture a loving Father, in the room beside me, who knows me better than I know myself, and I truly believe loves me, and wants me to be happy, I find it much easier to pray and share the true contents of my heart. And when I think of this loving Father in the room with me, there with His arms around me as I pray, as the person who has given me all that I have, it isn’t hard at all to thank Him and show my gratitude.
The greatest single piece of advice I was ever given came many years ago from a friend as I went through a difficult struggle. She challenged me to not kneel down and pray for help and guidance and for the long list of things I needed in my life. Instead, she challenged me to offer only a prayer of gratitude. I told her I didn’t have anything to be thankful for, things were too difficult. She said then to start with the simplest basics- to thank the Lord that I was alive, that I had shoes on my feet, clothes to wear, and that there was food in the cupboard. Her theory was that the more we focused on what we had to be grateful for, the smaller our problems would seem to be.
I have put her advice to the test many times in my life. During my darkest days after three years of unemployment, and discovering what ‘rock bottom’ really looks like, I would stop my prayers and pleas for help. And instead, I’d kneel down and pray a list of things I had to be grateful for. There were days the list was too short, but I could always find something.
President Monson said, “Our most significant opportunities will be found in times of greatest difficulty.”
Prayer and gratitude an intrinsically linked. You cannot truly express your gratitude without prayer.
In Mosiah chapter 4 we learn about prayer and repentance. In verses 11 and 12 it says that if we pray with a pure heart, “ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.”
When we pray, we are accompanied and filled with the Holy Ghost, who brings back memories of what God has taught and given us. One of the ways God teaches us is with his blessings. And so in a way, expressing our gratitude for our blessings, brings about more blessings.
President Monson expanded upon what the Prophet Joseph said. “If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues.”
Elder Richard G. Scott said, “We live in a unique time in the world’s history. We are blessed with so very much. And yet it is sometimes difficult to view the problems and permissiveness around us and not become discouraged. I have found that, rather than dwelling on the negative, if we will take a step back and consider the blessings in our lives, including seemingly small, sometimes overlooked blessings, we can find greater happiness.”
I bear my testimony that I know these things are true. That obedience to the Lord's commandments, and showing our gratitude to Him will only lead to greater happiness.
I have seen rock bottom. I know what it looks like, and I know how painful it can be. But I also know that in those darkest days, where nothing seems fair, or like it will ever end, that we can find happiness by focusing on those small and simple things that we can be grateful for.
I know that sometimes dark days don't end. That there is no rainbow with a pot of gold at the end to congratulate you for making it through. The truth is that sometimes they don't end. Sometimes the challenges go on forever. But we can find happiness in those times by being grateful for what we do have. And one day you won't feel so dark. You find light and happiness amidst the troubles around you. I've been there. My dark days only ended a year ago. It's still very raw and painful in my mind. But I know that I only found my way out by focusing on what I did have to be grateful for.
I know my Father in Heaven loves me. I know He wants us to be happy. I know that we do not go through dark days as a punishment. They are things that just have to happen. But we can find joy and we can go on if pray and show our gratitude.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Dashing strangers, cute dogs, lovable babies, and horrid ex-husbands make up the basics of All the Finer Things by Stephanie Connelley Worlton. What could have been a silly and predictable romance novel, is instead an enjoyable and thoughtful read.
All the Finer Things is the story of Megan, a young bride married to a wealthy surgeon. She has all the material possessions her heart could want and a darling baby boy. But as the story opens we discover that her abusive husband will stop at nothing short of breaking his spirited bride into a subservient trophy wife.
She endures one last beating at his hands, takes their baby, and leaves him. She drives away from the privileged life she knew and finds herself in a small ranching town miles from the big city. That’s where she meets Ammon, the rugged and handsome Scoutmaster next door. His lovable but troublesome dog does his best to make sure Meg and Ammon have plenty of chances to get to know each other better.
Worlton’s book could almost fall into the “sweet dog romance” genre, but thankfully (at least in my opinion) doesn’t. The “sweet dog romance” tends to be frilly fluff without much substance or adventure to the story. The story digs deeper and has too many interesting storylines to be shelved away under that simplistic category.
It’s not a straight-up romance novel, where you know from the very introduction of the characters who will fall in love, and who will get their come-uppance. In some respects it could be exactly that. But this is also the story of an abused woman who takes control of her life, and instead of expecting others to fix her problems, makes her own solutions. She works hard and does what it takes to take care of herself and her baby.
The almost predictable romance is harangued by the obvious and simple fact that Meg is married. She may be married to an abusive jerk, and deserving of the love and affection of a good man, but that doesn’t make her any less married. It’s not a predictable romance when the story features a good Mormon man and a married woman, but it’s still a satisfying romance.
Stephanie Connelley Worlton lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains where she enjoys frequent opportunities to observe nature and feed her creative spirit. She has been blessed to be a stay at home mom to her four children, many of whom share her artistic tendencies.
All the Finer Things is available as an e-book and paperback from Amazon.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
For about six months now I have been working weekly as a volunteer at the Washington, DC temple. Some nights are boring, some nights are fun, and some nights are traffic nightmares with beautiful endings.
Our shifts technically begin at 7pm, but we have a 30 minute training each week that starts at 6:30. Typically we get updates on different issues, a short devotional, and maybe a short training video. A member of the temple presidency is usually present, and may or may not address us. (There are roughly 50 workers on my shift.)
Just a few days ago the temple presidency was released and a new one put in place. The new temple president and matron are Pres and Sister Kent Colton. (I can't believe I just forgot Sis Colton's first name.) I've known Pres Colton for several years, as he used to be my stake president, and he knows my father and uncle. Pres and Sis Colton were also volunteers on my shift for several years before becoming called to be the president and matron.
So it was extra special for us tonight to have him give a quick devotional. He's been an influence on my spiritual growth since I was 20 years old. And I continue to listen when he speaks and advises.
Tonight he shared an interesting quote that really resonated with me.
"Reverence invites revelation."
I liked the quote so much that I went back to him to ask if those were his words or was he quoting someone else. (And to make sure I remembered it correctly.) He said he was quoting President Boyd K. Packer who said it in the new temple president training a few weeks ago. (So if anyone else is looking to quote it, attribute it to Pres Packer.)
As temple workers it's important to remember to be reverent for the benefit of the patrons. But as an individual, the quote means so much more. How often do I pray for guidance, and then forget to be reverent and attentive to hear or witness the answer?
Reverence is often confused with quiet. Quiet and reverence are not the same. Reverence is so much more than that. It's in the root of the word- revere. Reverence requires that we revere the Lord. Reverence includes profound respect and love. A reverent attitude toward God includes honoring Him, expressing gratitude, and obeying His commandments.
And I don't think you have to be quiet to do those things. In fact, I think singing may be the best way I personally can do most of those things!
But back to the quote-
Reverence invites revelation.
It's so simple, yet so easily forgotten.