Thursday, December 18, 2014

Devotional

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.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Who's the crazy girl now?


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 are free on Amazon



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!" 

But if you get "This Just In!" don't forget it's the second book in the series. You'll want to get "You Heard It Here First" as well!


"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

Roller Coaster Emotions


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

Talk on Prayer and Gratitude



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

Book Review-- All the Finer Things by Stephanie Worlton


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

Reverence invites revelation


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. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday Halloween Edition

Captain Underpants and Super Diaper Baby

My Halloween socks I was wearing while going through TSA. It wasn't Halloween. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Back from the dead- I mean the midsingles conference!


For the past several months I've been so completely engrossed in planning the midsingles conference that my blog had to take a back burner. If I had time to sit, relax, and write like that, I had time to be working on the conference. 
But the conference is finally over! And I'm slowly coming back to life! The recovery period from the conference has taken a little (lot) longer than I anticipated. For some reason I thought all I would need was a few days to sleep and unwind and I'd be back to normal. That was just crazy talk! Instead it has taken 3 full weeks of sleeping and just letting it all go! 
My spark of imagination and creativity is starting to come back as well. I actually want to write again. Finally!
Which reminds me that I haven't actually blogged about the conference itself. Maybe I will write something more descriptive later. But for now, here are the details-

We had 510 attendees. Considering when we started this process we were planning on 350-400, that was an overwhelming and amazing turnout. 
Our conference was different from all other conferences ever for several reasons. But the biggest and most important reason was that early on I had a phone call with Elder Clayton Christensen, who advised me to try something different. I took his advice and that changed everything. Most conferences take an approach of entertain and educate. That's all they do. They figure all it takes is you stick a bunch of singles all in one place and keep them occupied, and they will meet and marry. Right? Isn't that how it all works? 

Well, according to Elder Christensen, there is far more to it than that. He told us that if you want to get to know someone, you need to solve a problem with them. That's how you really see what a person is like, and learn about them. So he suggested that we have him speak for an hour about the problem and problem solving. We then had another speaker give more specifics on the problem. From there, we broke everyone up into small groups to "solve" the problem. 
The problem we chose was the singles program. We asked 510 single adults to sit down in groups of 20 and come up with their ideas for how they would restructure the singles program in the church. 
I was so nervous! This method had been tried in Boston and I had heard very good things. But it was very hard to pitch this idea to people and get them excited. I felt like I spent months trying to hype it up via word of mouth. 

Blessedly, people loved this. They loved solving the problem and feeling like they made a difference. They loved getting to meet people. They really liked this very new format! I am getting so much feedback about how much people enjoyed the small groups. I am so glad we did it!

My big thing that I wanted from the very beginning of the planning process was wanting a matchmaking opportunity. When I was in high school I went to a youth conference where we took a personality test in advance, and when we arrived at the conference they gave us a list of the people we matched with. I really wanted to make this happen, but I have to admit, making it happen was one of the most difficult parts of this conference. Finally in the eleventh hour a great possibility came up and we made it work. Again, I am so glad we did this! It turned out great!!  When people arrived on Friday night we gave them their list of matches. Immediately people dove right into it, looking around to meet their matches. I have to laugh about it now, but for a few minutes we actually had to stop the party and convince people to walk into the main room! Everyone was clogging up the reception area while they stood around and looked at their lists. Nobody was walking into the actual party! It was the first of many times I would hear myself say, "this is a good problem to have." 
And believe me, I said that a lot over the course of the weekend. 

I'm not in the mood right now to give a play by play of the whole weekend. So I'll stop here and save the rest for some other day. 
Getting to plan this conference was a huge responsibility and a great blessing. I have made so many wonderful friends and seen the best in so many people. I stretched my own abilities (and patience and endurance) farther than ever knew was possible before. And every last bit of it was worth it to see so many people enjoying themselves and making new friends. Out of 510 attendees, we only had one negative feedback email. (And that person really was quite ridiculous. She stayed for 30 minutes, didn't participate in anything, and left. Her loss.) 
When I got this calling back in January, I went home and cried. I didn't cry because I knew it would be a ton of work. I cried because I knew that when you try to put on an event for 510 (350) people to come closer to God, the adversary is going to work his hardest on you to keep you from reaching your goal. And that had me scared and humbled enough to cry. 

And I cried the day it was all over and we survived. We won. We pulled it off! 
The last thing I want to say is that none of this could have happened without our amazing team of volunteers. I had an incredible co-chair/partner in Derek. We never once divvied up who would handle what, except that I insisted he handle the money. We just equally carried the weight and helped each other out. (Ladies, I can't stop singing his praises. He's pretty dang amazing.) We had 4 women (Nichole, Valerie, Kimberly, and Candace) who each carried the weight of a big event/detail (FOOD!). Derek and I handled everything else, and trusted them to do their parts. All in all, we had 121 volunteers kick in and help pull this conference off. (510 attendees and 121 volunteers- is there any wonder we were exhausted?) 
Co-chair Derek and me acting like we're not ridiculously tired and running solely on caffeine. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

So this exists

While looking up something completely unrelated on Amazon today, I found this-
the R2D2 sexy bathing suit. Or as they described it, the "Artoo sexy swimsuit."




I just thought you all should know.

Also, this-
Wrong, so wrong.



If you're curious, this is what I was actually shopping for-

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pretty busy for a girl without a job




It feels like my life is just one big party (and promotion) after the next these days!
This week my dear Mindy Gledhill will be back in town - with her tour bus! 
Next week- I'm stocking up on sleep. 
And then it's the midsingles conference! FINALLY!
We are just a few more people away until we sell out for this conference. It was always my goal to sell out, but I never expected us to sellout this far in advance, and with an increased max capacity (450). Everything is going great, but still, I'll be very happy when it's over. 
But literally the very next day after the conference, it's time to "Meet the Mormons." 

And I'm working with the distributors of the film to host a special showing of the film in the DC area.
I'll sleep when I'm dead. 

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