Category Archives: LDS life

Momisms

Growing up I was always telling myself I would NEVER say the things my mom would say to my kids. Some of these are things I never thought I would need to say to my kids.  Over the last decade and a half I have heard my mother’s voice coming from my own mouth!

You’re not the mom
Worry about yourself
Get that out of your mouth
Shut the door
Did you wash your hands?
If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Shut the door
Flush the toilet
Money doesn’t grow on trees
Eat your vegetables
As long as you live here, you’ll live by my rules
Shut the door (Did I mention this one?)
Are your legs broken? Go get it yourself!
Don’t make me come in there!

These are a few of my ever repeating statements to my kids. Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall over here!  What are some things you find yourself saying and looking around the house to see your mother?

I’ll Show You… What Makes Me Happy

Hey guys! Wow can you believe it’s the middle of April already? Last month we were talking about spring cleaning while there was still some frost on the ground. Before you know it summer will be upon us! Our topic for this month is what makes ME happy. I’ll admit I wasn’t too keen on this topic. I had no clue what I’d write about that I haven’t already in our November posts. The truth of the matter for me is I suffer from depression. Not the having a bad day I need a good cry depression. The debilitating, psychiatrist prescribes meds kind of severe depression. It isn’t something I talk about, I simply cope and try to manage myself. Finding and talking about what makes me happy did not sound like a good idea, I must have been having a downward day.

As I write this post  I am reveling in all of the warm weather we have been having.  I hope you’ve been enjoying your spring thus far. The sunshine and warm weather always seem to perk me up. I find myself with more energy and enjoying life a bit more during spring time than the other seasons.

The warm weather and sunshine seem to shine a light on life a bit better. I find myself smiling more and in a better mood, for the most part.  So what makes ME happy? Not my kids, not my blessings, but what do I enjoy for myself?.


I absolutely miss my sunny SoCal beaches but the forest where I live is filled with wonder. There are trails, rivers, mountains (ok hills for the Rocky Mountain natives), forests and majestic waterfalls all around. Hiking to a spot like this, while sweaty and sometimes exhausting, fills my happy cup every time.  I look forward to more spring hikes before the tourists show up and crowd our lovely nature.

It took spending half the morning alone, outside of our house to realize I really am happy with him. It isn’t because he’s my husband and I am suppose to love him and always be happy (we are SO not always happy together). We were simply running some errands and spending time together, enjoying the beautiful weather and little town we live in.  Being silly with AJ totally falls on my personal happy list.

I found this image here and how appropriate and true it is! In my car, at home, in my head… I LOVE music. Dancing, singing (not always the written lyrics), and creating music make me happy. I have always been involved in music since I was about 10 years old. I can play a handful of instruments and have been in a few choirs. I am by no means a professional but I don’t have to be in order for music to be on my happy list!

This right here says it all! It must tie into my love of music because Zumba is a blast! I’m sure part of it is also the amazing support of my gym Tribe but man it’s great! I may walk out sore and sweaty but I will have a smile on my face (or Jen might give us extra burpees next class).

I know this isn’t about my family, but part of my happiness is my family. When I am down and feel alone, forgotten and wonder what is the point. I try to remember what I have learned and become as a daughter of God. Our family has been sealed together for time and all eternity. The peace I find inside this knowledge and inside the temple helps lift my mood every time.

These are a few of my happy moments and places. For mental health it is vital to not only be grateful but to mark those things which make us happy. Find time to do something you enjoy, something which makes YOU happy.  What are some things you do for yourself to find happiness in your day?

~Christina

 

Next month we are doing a blogger interview. Would you like to be interviewed and featured in my blog? Would you like to interview a fellow blogger (doesn’t have to be me) and join us? I have questions all ready for you too! Let me know!

Aunt Sue, Bees and Miracles

For several years I had strong spiritual promptings to keep bees. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I attributed the impressions to our principles of self-reliance and emergency preparedness. I didn’t act on those promptings until early in 2010 as I was talking with my sister Sue (known to many as Aunt Sue from her close association with our 6 children). I don’t recall how the conversation turned to beekeeping, but I learned that she was having the same spiritual promptings. And so we took the plunge together and bought 2 hives, bee suits and equipment and 2 packages of bees. We drove to upstate New York to pick up our bees and equipment and began our journey to honey heaven.

On July 5, 2011 I got a call from my sister telling me she was just diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. I cried. A lot. I knew nothing about leukemia or its treatment, but as we spoke I began to receive some very strong promptings from the Spirit. Sue would be OK. All would be well. I would be a bone marrow donor for her. Was that even a treatment for leukemia?! I didn’t know, but the promptings that day were powerful and undeniable.

We later found out that without a transplant she might only have six months to live. They started chemo treatments immediately. My wife Ruth cut Sue’s hair in preparation for her losing it all. And so, I did learn that a bone marrow transplant was indeed a treatment for leukemia and I was soon tested to see if I was a close enough match. The doctor told us they test for certain “markers”. There had to be a match of at least six of those markers for them to even consider me as a donor. Off went my blood to the lab. About a week later I received a call from Sue. The results were back, I was a ten out of ten match, very very rare. I cried. A lot. And the Spirit confirmed what it had already told me.

The week before the scheduled transplant I drove to Hershey Medical Center two and a half hours each way every day for a week to get shots that would increase my white blood cells. The shots worked so well I could feel my spine throbbing in the night causing me to moan and groan in pain. After two nights of pain I asked if there was anything they could do for the pain. “Oh sure, no problem!” (WHY did I wait 2 days?!)

The day of the transplant arrived and I was hooked up to “la machine” for 6 hours.


They needed something like a million cells and after 6 hours they took a count (however they count those kind of things). 1, 2, 3, 4…3 million it is!

Now the transplant… kind of anticlimactic. But then the intense final chemo treatment and I’ve never felt so helpless watching my sister hallucinate and suffer in pain. But all went as well as could be. While many others passed away even after their transplants my sister hung in there.

Sue has not been without complications and difficulties, but remains cancer free for over 3 years now. But what does this have to do with bees?

Sue’s primary occupation prior to the leukemia was a full time massage therapist. Giving massage 6 days a week had taken a toll on her and while battling cancer she wouldn’t be able to handle that much physical effort any more. Through her association with other bee keepers and people in the community she found there was a market for raw local honey. And so for the past several years Aunt Sue has transitioned from massage therapist to The Bee Lady and has for the most part been able to provide for herself because of…bees.

Hindsight is twenty-twenty they say. Indeed in this case it is. Because of spiritual promptings years before the cancer came, and because we acted on those promptings Heavenly Father has provided for Aunt Sue in a miraculous way.

Al who know my sister know the incredibly beautiful person she is. Heavenly Father has given Sue great blessings, and Aunt Sue blesses all she comes in contact with.

I don’t know why Heavenly Father offers miracles to some while others suffer on intensely, but I testify that our Heavenly Father knows us and loves us. If we pay attention we will see His hand in all that we do. If we act on the promptings of the Holy Ghost he will bless us abundantly.
-Bob Woolley

 

Real Dinner… Husband Homemade

Ever see those photos and blogs of the amazing stay at home moms and their fantastically cleaned houses? You know the ones I’m talking about… not a speck of dust, everything neatly put away, children eating from fine dinnerware laden with a plethora of brightly colored vegetables, everyone neatly dressed, hair finely combed… admit it, you know what I’m talking about…. it’s lifestyle porn at it’s finest… or worst… but I digress.

Admittedly at times I am envious of those moms (until I read this post). It’s so true, we don’t know what is happening behind the scenes in anyone’s blogs, Instagram or other social media accounts.  Heck if you could see me now you’d see snack crumbs across the table, clean laundry folded on the pool table, kid dishes and tupperware containers strewn across the kitchen floor… and this is within my current unmoving view.  I have a vague idea on what is for dinner tonight but things may change as the day progresses.  At least I’m thinking about it in the morning instead of 30 minutes before dinner time!

Unfortunately, there are times the hubby gets home and I have no inclination what we are having for dinner. Thank the good Lord above my fabulous Mr Salisbury knows how to cook! I’m pretty good at making meals and fabulous with baking but 75% of the time I need a recipe. Not my man! Give him an idea and he makes a meal (albeit usually without vegetables, but my kids won’t eat them anyway). The kids wanted enchiladas for dinner and bam a little under an hour later we have a scrumptious enchilada plate akin to eating out! Rice, refried beans and his personal touch of chipotle sautéd  onions. He seasoned and cooked up some chicken for the enchiladas as well.  Dinner was delicious!! Nights like these I’m so glad he knows how to cook and is willing to come home from his day job to help me out around the house.

This is my plate of food. After I started eating it I decided to take a picture to share with you all. It was that good! Everyone should be so lucky to have a partner like I do!

I’ll Show You My…

Welcome to the October edition of our Mommy Blog Collab. This month Katie, and I are joined by Tracy and Dara. Pop on over to their blogs and get to know them as well. I hope you all are enjoying getting to know us better as each month we delve into a new topic opening our lives up a little more. This month we are on a different topic. I’ll Show You My Religion.

We have had a few diverse posts showing you in our collab how different we are. A few months ago we posted about our tattoos. Katie and Tracy showed us their tattoos with enthusiasm and excitement, even talking about more they hope to get in the future. Then there was my post…. I don’t have tattoos, members of my family do, I don’t.  We remain friends and I like to think our differences make us better friends as we can explore more aspects of life by talking openly and casually with each other. We aren’t always sprinkles, lollipops and rainbows but we are real. We listen.

What is a religion? Many words are synonymous with religion such as faith, belief, worship and church. Religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods, according to the Oxford online dictionary.  Sounds simple enough… let’s dig a bit deeper into that definition on a personal level.

I am a Mormon.

Mormon is the nickname given for a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. LDS, LDS Church, Mormon Church; these are all synonymous with the Church. Where did the Mormon nickname come from? I’m glad you asked! The long in the short of it, we believe the Holy Bible to be the word of God, in the proper and correct translation given from God. There has also been a second record located and translated in these latter-days. The records follow families from Jerusalem as they escaped under the direction of God in the early years of the reign of King Zedekiah. The bible traces the history of the Jews, while these new records follow the families who left Jerusalem and eventually came to the Americas. Much as the bible follows and recounts the history of many people over a long period of time, this other record does the same. Think of it as prophets keeping a journal of the church and people. These records were compiled by the last righteous man of the people, a man named Mormon. He abridged the records together creating one book. This book is called The Book of Mormon. As this book is unique to our religion we are given the nickname Mormon. This is the average, as opposed to the short,  in the long of it so to speak. You may obtain your own free copy of this book here.

Who are Mormons? What do we believe? Basic and simplistically put members of the Church are Christians. There is a lot of information available if you want the facts and statistics. Here and here are a few. We do not practice polygamy. Most likely the information you have from watching TV shows, movies or plays is an inaccurate depiction of modern day Mormons. The exception to this is Meet The Mormons, real people, real life, not a reality show.

Where do I fit into all of this?

Well I was born into the Church, meaning my family were active members of the Church, attending and practicing their faith. As a baby I received a baby blessing in front of the congregation during Sunday worship, Sacrament meeting. Eight years later on a Saturday in December I was baptized a member of the Church, of my own free will.

This is similar to a confirmation in the Catholic Church as we are now accountable for our own actions and decisions, as far as our knowledge has allowed. I have been thru a rebellious stage in my life where I did not live up to my own moral standards and beliefs. By the time I met AJ I was a practicing, full-time, active member of the Church again. We married in a civil union then a year after he joined the Church, and was baptized, we were able to enter the Salt Lake Temple and be sealed together for time and all eternity as husband and wife as well as to our children. 

Our lives are normal, we are regular people living in a normal house in the middle of nowhere PA (also known as the Poconos). Each Sunday we attend services as a family. Sacrament meeting is comparable to mass, or communion. We partake of the Sacrament, think last supper, and are taught Gospel Doctrine by other members of the congregation. Sunday School is less formal. The adults have separate classes from the kids for the remainder of services. The third hour adults attend a second class but are taught in groups of men and women. The women attend Relief Society and the men are in a Priesthood class. The children are in Primary for Sunday school and auxiliary classes. Teenagers have a Sunday school class followed by Young Women and Young Men/Priesthood classes. There are also other activities during the week and get togethers throughout the year. All classes, meetings and organization are lead by members of the Church in a volunteer capacity. Our Scout groups, the youth leaders, even our ward leaders are volunteers. These volunteers are asked to serve in these capacities as a calling from God.

Every Sunday we have service. Every six months there is also a Church wide broadcast to the world. This broadcast is from the Church leaders in SLC,UT providing guidance, admonition and direction for members and the world. While there are guidelines and direction given all religion is individual.

Like other aspects of life, there are ups and downs, high points and challenging moments.  I do not know everything but I will continue to strive to learn and improve myself. I am a work in progress. I do know and believe my religion is a part of who I am. While I do sustain and follow the guidance of our Church leaders, I seek God as an individual. My relationship with Him and His son, Jesus Christ are very personal. I believe He speaks directly to me giving guidance and council as I ask and listen. The Holy Spirit guides and prompts when I am worthy.

One of my favorite quotes is framed with a picture of Jesus, “I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.”

I welcome any and all questions and comments about my post and religion. Please do so  respectfully.

If you wish to join us in this month’s blog collab post, tag back to this post or comment below. Interested in future topics of I’ll Show You My? Reach out to myself or Katie.

Date Night Swap

Do you know how much a babysitter costs nowadays? When I was a teenager rates were $1 per hour per kid. Now it can cost hundreds of dollars for a few hours of kid free night out! No wonder there are so many failing and problematic marriages and relationships, parents don’t have the time to work on their relationship.

Last month our friends Chris and Katie had a date night and I watched two of their kids while they kept the baby and the other kids were with family. They had a nice night (mostly) without kids. Bonus: no sitter to pay!

Fast dorward to yesterday. AJ, Dawn and I volunteered to help out at the open house for the Philadelphia temple. We couldn’t take the younger two kids with us so we asked Katie to help out and cash in our date night exchange. We knew we’d be in for a few more date nights for them but it was a great opportunity for us as a family. 

Katie and Cheis graciously accepted the 12 hour challenge. It was the first time I was away from baby K for more than an hour. The traffic home was horrendous and took longer than we anticipated. My little kids were pretty well behaved. The best part was I knew my kids were being taken care of and loved by someone we trust and know. 

I can’t imagine having to leave my kids with someone we barely know and paying for it not knowing how they were being treated. 

If you have friends with kids then talk to them about date night swap. Your kids are in good and trusted hands as well as saving yourself money! 


I can’t begin to express to you how grateful we are to have such wonderful friends. I don’t know of anyone else who would watch someone else’s kids for 12+ hours. Katie and Chris are owed many date nights but that is one of the great aspects of date night swap with friends. Go on give it a try. 

A Wedding, Play Dates and Catching Up

This last week I was in Utah for my little sister Elizabeth’s wedding, and wouldn’t you know I don’t have a single picture! I have nothing from outside the temple, the reception or any of the events in between! UGH I really wanted my Christmas present early. (Yes I know what I’m getting from my husband for Christmas, I do the shopping haha).

I did however manage to get one picture with some girlfriends from California. Let me back up. Over five years ago I left sunny Southern California for, well the east coast. It seems in the last five years (okay it started before that too) there has been a steady exodus from Southern California to Utah, mostly Utah and SLC counties. I have stayed in touch with a few of my close friends, and stalked others on Facebook. It seems I am not the only one doing this though.

While in Utah I managed to spend 30-60 minutes each with a few of these friends. First up was Kashia and Carly. We met up for dinner and I managed to pull out my phone for a stranger to take a picture of us. 20141210_191414[1] Yes both Carly and I are pregnant and Kashia continues to be fabulous in every way!

Friday night my friend Leslie and her husband Theo watched my girls and took them to their ward Christmas party. They were a serious life saver at the last minute when I was in a pickle. I love them so much for being those kind of friends and they always have been. If you need a sweet tooth fix visit her shop on Etsy here. I saw some of these delicious treats while visiting with their cute family Friday night.

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Saturday Stephanie and I walked around the mall in Provo with Amy, a high school friend from when I lived in Utah. We didn’t have much time together, but it was nice to be able to see her and chat for a little bit. After picking my other sister up from school we stopped at Christa’s house. Everyone else was headed down our way for Mother of the Bride dress shopping. Christa showed me a few tips and tricks for truffle and chocolate making. I am hoping to put some of those skills to use this Christmas season.

There really is something to be said for actually sitting down and chatting with someone to catch up. Not everything in a person’s life is posted online whether it be Facebook or a blog. Who wants to just put it all out there anyway? It warms my heart having these moments and memories of connection with these women (and Theo). We have all grown in different directions but can still come back and rekindle a friendship with a hello, hug and chat. I know I am blessed to have these women in my life even if it is from three-quarters of the way across the country.

RM doesn’t stand for Righteous Man

In an article I read today online from LDS Living I was reminded of a “Mormon” stigma from my youth and single days. Marrying an RM (returned missionary) is the only way to ensure your eternal salvation. It may not have been these exact words but that was the implication every time someone talked about what to look for in my future spouse and later on the first thing I was reminded about when dating someone.

I am NOT one to judge or discriminate against someone for their past, we all have skeletons in our closets. As a YSA (term used widely in the Church for Young Single Adult, someone single and between the ages of 18-30) I dated members, non-members, inactive members, RMs and non-RMs. Every single last one of them had a secret or a past. For the non-RMs it was usually always the fact they hadn’t served a mission for one reason or another. Some “RMs” had only served part of their full-time mission calling (a two year full time calling for men). Other RMs who had fully served a mission were no longer living righteously.

Why then is there such pressure on men to be an RM and women to marry an RM? Is a returned missionary more likely to be living righteously when compared to his equal non-returned missionary? Possibly, but there is no guarantee. Let me tell you a few stories of some men I knew growing up and one I know very well.

One of my closest male friends in my early 20s (never actually dated him) decided he was going to serve a mission. He had gotten his life in order, was worthy and ready. He received his calling and went for training and subsequently to the field to serve his mission. A few months after being gone, he returned home, having not completed his full mission. He came home due to physical/medical reasons and did not return back to the field. Fast forward a few years he is now happily married to his eternal companion. He continues to strive living his life in a manner to be found worthy at all times.

Friend #2 incredibly smart, very talented in multiple aspects; spiritually, mentally, musically. He participated in many church functions and did his best to magnify his callings. Yet time after time, women would dump him for not being an RM. He was not able to serve, nothing spiritual or unworthy, he had limitations and was not able to serve in that capacity. How sad that such a talented and worthy young man was rejected time and time again for simply not being an RM, regardless of the reasons.

Man #3, this one I dated. I had known him years prior, my family knew his family, we had lost touch over the years and when our paths crossed again we started spending more and more time together. We even took a road trip to Utah once. He was an RM and had served his full term in the field where he was called, returned with honor, every thing I was ever taught to look for in a future mate. Well come to find out he had a different secret. It was okay because he was not acting on it. He struggled to avoid temptation and did not give into sin. Then suddenly one day something changed, or I just didn’t know about it all along. He renounced his membership in the church and completely gave in to his temptation and is now living a different life, one not in accordance with Gods laws and commandments.

Man #4, this one is my favorite, but I might be a little bias. This man did not grow up in the church, he is a convert at the age of 30, past the maximum age allowable for serving as a full time missionary (until you’re older and retired but that’s a different story). He is fervent in growing closer to Heavenly Father and living a righteous life. He continues daily to search for the right way to live. This man is my husband. We met later in life and I could not be luckier. He loves my Dawn like his own, he cherishes our entire family and my entire family has at one point or another told me how lucky I am to have found him and what a great blessing he is in my life. None of these things happen because he is an RM, he’s not. They happen because he is a good man and lives his life today and for the future, not for the past.

Should church members strive to be able to serve a mission? Yes of course. Should this be the major defining factor of the worthiness of any member, male or female? Absolutely not. Imagine if men held women to the same standard of being an RM, it would be a very lonely world for many people. Serving a mission at the age of 18-27 does not make a person worthy or righteous for their entire lives. It should also NOT be the one biggest accomplishment or service one provides. Do not rest on your laurels, continue to search out new ways to serve others and by doing so, serve God.

Women, if you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints I implore you to stop rejecting a man simply because he did not serve a full time mission. Get to know the man he is now and see the man he can become. You may find yourself surprised that your “standards” are not standards at all.

Pondering the Past

AJ and I both have lived what seems like two lives, the lives we lived before we met and our lives now. We both wish we had met earlier in life so we didn’t have to go through the heartache and troubles we did. We also would be further along in our lives together.

The first time we were married we were both younger and going places. AJ was in college doing ROTC, and living an active lifestyle. I was working and going to school as well. We both made our own fair share of mistakes over the years with life and people. We both wish our first marriage had been to each other and not our second time around. We would still have our girls, #1 would just look a little different but she would still be herself. On that aspect I am still grateful she looks so much like me.

They are a lot of things that would be different in our past if we had met and married sooner but when it comes down to it I don’t think either of us was ready for the other when we were younger. Our pasts have molded us into the people we are today allowing us to work so well together now. As difficult as our pasts were I know we would not have each other today without them.

New Blog

I’m haven’t been keeping up with the other blog and the support on my portable devices isn’t all that great so I’m starting a new blog here. My old blog is still up but won’t be updated anymore. Start following me here.

There is no set thing I’m blogging about just our lives. So here is a quick brief update:

1. AJ is almost done with school only 2 classes left! So proud of him!!

2. Little Ginger just turned 4!!

3. Dawn just started on the track team at school, we will see how that goes.

4. I taught my very first lesson in Relief Society on Sunday! New found respect there!!

5. I have been going to the gym, albeit on an irregular basis, but I’m going!