Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Joy in the Journey by Julie De Azevedo

This is actually a post I did over a year ago, but I decided to go ahead and post it:)


As I was preparing my lesson for Sunday for the 12-13 year old young women I teach I came across a song I have had for a quite a while. After I finish reading through my lesson a couple times, the first thing I go to is my plethora of music. Music always inspires me to go the direction the Spirit would have me go, to teach the girls what they need to hear. The lesson is on Finding Joy Now. How can we find joy now, among all the turmoil of the world around us? Each of us go through constant change in our lives, whether it be good change or bad change, quick change or slow change. It is up to us to find joy among that change. The song I turned to immediately was from the 1998 EFY cd. The theme that year was Joy in the Journey. This song has so many profound phrases in it. Phrases that remind us that, as rough, confusing, and frustrating that this life, this journey can be, there is always joy to be found in it. Here are words to the chorus:

there is joy in the journey, joy in the climb
twisting and turning, reaching for the open sky
carving out each footstep in the struggling we find,
there is joy in the journey
there is hope, there is peace, there is joy in the journey


Here is a great quote from the lesson I was preparing:

"This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now." President Thomas S. Monson, Nov. 2008

Here's a video I found on YouTube with this song, and its lyrics, enjoy. And remember to find Joy in your Journey.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Robe, Mercy River

I was looking through my iTunes for a song for my lesson at church today, and I happened upon this song. I, of course, had heard it many times before since its on one of my Mercy River albums, but this time it made me stop, listen, and feel it. Maybe it's because I've had something deep on my mind lately, but I heard it in a different light today. This song is about the women who touched the hem of Jesus Christ's clothes as he walked by in a large crowd. He felt that tiny bit of faith touch him, turned around, and ultimately healed her.
This women had so much faith that she only needed to touch the hem of His clothes to be healed. This song has more of a story than this, but this is the part in particular that gave me these thoughts....

How do we have that much faith? Do we reach out, simply needing to touch to be healed? How many people did Jesus walk by during his ministry, that simply let him walk by without even trying to reach out to Him...maybe out of fear or being stubborn and unwilling? They surely must have felt a sense of his heavenly power as He walked by....they simply needed to have faith to be healed. We simply need to have faith to reach out to him to be made whole. We may not all suffer from physical ailments, but we all suffer from something- and we can be made whole, if we reach to him, allow him to heal us, and wrap us in his robe of warmth, safety, forgiveness, compassion, love, peace, comfort, and joy.

The Robe, by Mercy River
faithful women
reached through the crowd
and her hands gently touched your robe
and you through your grace made her whole
now my broken body, is fading fast
and like her, i'm searching through the crowds
desperate to find you somehow

and i'm reaching for that robe
i know that you can make me whole
but if its not meant to be that way
if i can't stay, then just wrap me in that robe
and hold me when i go

if you call me, home to you
please help those who love me understand
we are still held together by your hands

i'm reaching for that robe
i know that you can make me whole
but maybe in a different way
if i can't stay, then just wrap me in that robe
and hold me when i go

hold her when she goes.


Let Him hold you, heal you, and make you whole.

*This song is from the Mercy River album released in 2008 titled "Mercy River".

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Just Like a Father Would

I know my last post was a lot about Mercy River... this one will be too, sorry! Time Out For Women in Salt Lake City this past weekend was streamed LIVE for free! I wasn't able to sit at the computer all day to listen, but for the 15 minutes I was able to, I was glad some of it was Mercy River! They sang this song, a song which I've heard many times before, but this time, it spoke to me. Maybe it was the story they shared before the song began that really caught my attention, because it was something that happens in my life daily...these are similar thoughts they shared, that were my thoughts exactly.

We all know we aren't perfect, and we all make mistakes daily. My most common mistake is losing my patience with my children (afterall, they are in the majority of my day). Then, as I hear them giggle, or walk in to check on them before I head to bed the guilt settles in. I see their innocent faces sleeping so peacefully and I am once again reminded that I am not perfect, and I have a lot to work on...which can be overwhelming for us all. It's at that moment that I feel the love of my Father above. He reminds me that its okay. He knows ME and my weaknesses, and reminds me to keep on trying to be better. I say a silent prayer to Him, thanking Him for those 3 sweet beings, and their health, and ask him to forgive me for my shortcomings. The next day I am faced with the same trials of patience and hopefully each day I do better.



Here's a picture of me and my dad from this past spring. I love this guy SO much. I'm definitely a daddy's girl. He has taught me SO much, and continues to each and every day. He and my mom have been through so much, and are great examples to me. Things don't always go right for them, but they pick themselves up, dust off, and continue on in faith. I'm thankful for my dad's example, and inspiring words that he's given me through out my life as I learn, and grow.

(you can look up this song on iTunes and listen to a clip of it,
it is so peaceful and thought provoking, go look it up!)

 Just Like a Father Would

From the Mercy River album Higher

You always know when I’m drifting
When I’m lost or I’m hurt
Somehow you know the pleadings of my heart
Before I’ve spoken a word
When I fail You’re there
To catch me and say
I know you did the best that you could
Just like a Father
Just like a Father would

You gently show me my weakness
And then You teach me how to change
And though I wander on my journey
Your love always remains
When the heartache comes and I’m devastated
Somehow You turn it for my good
Just like a Father
Just like a Father would

Your heart breaks when my heart is breaking
Because You’ve been down this road before
When You desperately want to rush in and help
You know I have to learn these lessons for myself

You know the burdens I carry
How they’ve built up like a dam
You help me see the mistakes I have made
They don’t define who I am
You softly whisper when it’s time to let go
When I hold the heartache longer than I should
You believe in me
You love me perfectly
As only the Father of my spirit ever could
Just like a Father
Just like my Father would


With today being November 1st I encourage you to write down something you are thankful for each day of the month, I will be, and I know it will help me be a better person as I concentrate on my blessings instead of what I am lacking. Today I wrote that I am thankful for my children. They drive me crazy daily, but just as often they make me laugh and love.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Time Out For Women weekend

This post is a little late, but I am so excited to share with you some of the fun pictures from Time Out for Women Denver- which was in September! Time out for Women is put on by Deseret Book Company, and is a weekend full of laughing, crying, fun, and inspiration for women. I look forward to this event EVERY year, and never regret going. This year in particular I was SO SO SO excited about because, as is fully known here on this blog, my favorite music group Mercy River was going to be singing at it! To say I was excited was an understatement. This group seriously does not have a single song that I do not love, and that does not inspire me. They produce the most amazing albums, and they are amazing women too! I really enjoyed listening to them talk about the inspiration behind different songs they've written, or sung, and then to hear them perform in person was amazing. I just sat there in awe the entire time. I will even admit I went a little "groupie" on them and got teary eyed when they came out to do their first number, I just love them that much!
What was truly fun for me was to chat with them for a little bit!
I was so excited that my sister was able to come in town to attend TOFW with me, and that my amazing husband was willing to watch her 3 kids along with our 3 kids for the weekend too!

No, I won't end without sharing a few things I learned from the weekend....and I even have a fun video to share too! The theme for this year was "Seek the Good". How often do we go through life looking at the faults in people? I'll give a few thoughts on some of the speakers for us all to think about!

Virginia Pierce- spoke about forgiveness, it was an amazing message that she shared and gave me a lot of things to think about. Some of the notes I wrote down were "REFUSE to be offended, look deeper for the intent of their actions.- usually people aren't trying to offend!" and "Holding on to expectations is often the source of unforgiving feelings".

Sheri Dew- such amazing, strong women! She talked about the strength of women, and that we as women have specific roles to play. Something she said I really liked  was "Men and women are EQUAL in the sight of the Lord, not IDENTICAL." and  "There are some things the Lord will only show to those who seek and believe"

Chris Williams- author of "Let It Go", if you'd like a great inspiration video for the day go HERE and watch this mans amazing story of forgiveness, enduring, and moving forward through trials.

Anthony Sweat- spoke about the true meaning of Charity - "Charity is a relationship with God", "We all have hungers, needs, wants, and Charity is the food that feeds you- "if ye drink, ye shall never thirst again"

Julie De Azevedo-Hanks- spoke about being "Your most authentic self" - "Instead of trying of feel better, maybe we should get better at feeling!", Celebrate the good that is already in you. Acknowledging and owning my God-given strengths is humility." and my favorite "Instead of making a to-do list make a ta-da list!"


And lastly, here is a hilarious parody that Mercy River did....that is OH SO TRUE.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Deliciousness

As I mentioned at the end of my last post, I spent last weekend listening to our modern day Prophet and Apostles at the 182nd Semi-Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Whew, that's a lot in one sentence....we just call in General Conference. I learned so much listening to the leaders of the church teach, guide, and inspire all to be better, and do better. Thanks to the inspiration from a wonderful friend I even created some activities that kept my kids present for ALL 4 sessions (that is 8 hrs!) of conference for the first time EVER.  My favorite talk this time was Elder Henry B. Eyering, his talk is titled "Where is the Pavilion", click that title and it will take you to a summary and link to the video so you can watch it too! Some of the other talks I really enjoyed were President Dieter F. Uchdorf on Saturday morning(2nd counselor in the first presidency of the church, and Sister Ann Dibb on Saturday morning as well. You can click HERE to listen or watch any of the speakers from all sessions of conference.


Prior to conference on Sunday I decided it was time to bake a yummy fall treat breakfast. I searched around on pinterest and googled some ideas and boy did I find a hidden gem of a recipe! So delicious that I decided I just had to share it! I made Pumpkin Cinnamon Streusel Muffins. Seriously, they were so melt-in-your-mouth good. So, here they are!



Pumpkin Cinnamon Streusel Muffins
found at: Two Peas and their Pod blog

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour  (in an attempt to add a little health into this I substituted 1/2 C. whole wheat flour, and will probably increase it to 3/4 C. or more next time)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/3 cup water
1 cup canned pumpkin (I added a little more than this)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Filling:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Streusel Topping:
1 1/4 cup oats
1 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin tins with paper liners or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, water, pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth and combined.
4. Slowly stir in the flour mixture. Mix until ingredients are combined.
5. For the brown sugar cinnamon filling: in a small bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together. Set aside.
6. For the streusel topping: in a small bowl mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix in the butter with your hands until the mixture is crumbly.
7. Fill muffin cups half way full with the pumpkin batter. Sprinkle the brown sugar cinnamon filling over each half filled muffin cup. Fill the muffins cups with the remaining batter. Top each muffin with streusel topping.
8. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove pans from oven and cool on a wire rack. Remove muffins from tins and enjoy!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Just Relax

Sorry I've been MIA for a couple weeks now, I've had a bit of a "bloggers block" and have been busy trying to accomplish some goals of spending more time with my family and dreaded chores. On to the post though.....

Sunset in Santa Fe, NM......amazing huh?!
  As a mom of 3 young kids my life can get...well, crazy. I spend every day trying to get a hold on things and figure out how to keep my life together.
 Here's my current life equation:
homework+spelling tests+reading lists+fundraisers+volunteering+preschool snack days+field trips+speech therapy homework+a two year old+soccer( or baseball depending on the season)+grocery shopping+meal making+working out+church responsibilities= one stressed out pair of parents.


So what do we do to relax a bit and just let life come one day at a time? One thing I like to do is get out and enjoy nature! Autumn time is my absolute FAVORITE time of the year. I feel like it screams "Slow down! relax a little!" The hustle and bustle of the holidays hasn't come around the corner yet, and everyone is tired out from summer vacations, and the confusion of school starting. My favorite smells are the smells of autumn: pumpkin, cinnamon, and apple....they cause me to pause, take a deep breath, slow down and relax. Spring and Fall cause me to actually take note of the colors changing all around me. I love the vivid fall colors of yellow, red, and orange. The sound of a leaf crunching under my shoes. The warmth of the jacket I haven't warn for a year and the excitement I get to put on my tall boots! I've said it before, but can you tell how much I love nature?  
 


Bridal Veil Falls Park, Provo Canyon, UT- this is the park where my husband proposed to me:)

 Of course I can't go without saying that music and reading a good book can help you relax too! What do YOU like to do to relax and de-stress?


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Friday, September 14, 2012

If You Try

It's so easy to feel defeated when we are working towards a goal. I am constantly having to "regroup" and keep at it in life. We all have goals- my current goals are to workout harder, eat healthier, be less lazy in regards to my household chores, organize and utilize my time better...I could keep going but I won't bore you, its a long list! Do you have goals you are working on? What keeps you from working hard at them...or starting them? If we don't try, we don't succeed right?

I recently got the new album "Beautiful World" by Justin Cash! If you haven't had a chance to check this new artist out please do! He's got a feel good, keep it cool, jazzy beat to his music. I'll admit, Jazz music isn't at the top of my favorite music genre's, but sometimes I just need that feel good feeling that you get from listening to it! I would group him with Jack Johnson and other similar artists. Here is a brand new music video to inspire you to keep working towards your goals!

If you don't try, you won't succeed.



How cute is his little boy in this video?! Check out this other awesome video of Justin Cash and Calee Reed having a little jam session.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

We Are America

I can't let this memorable day pass by without making note of it. September 11, 2001 will forever be etched in our hearts. The exact moment, the exact place we were standing or sitting in, the exact emotions we went through- we will remember every bit of it. I'm forever thankful to live in this amazing country and pray every day that we will have leaders that can guide us righteously in the way he intended this country to be. I am thankful for the public and military service women and men that protect my family every day. Here is a great song, sung by Jessie Funk, written by her husband.

We Are America


Calling America, Alex Boye

Thursday, September 6, 2012

If You're Happy and You Know it.....

When I was a teenager I had a great group of friends. I have such fond memories with them and thankfully not too many of them are drama filled! One day we got the idea to start a "Happy Book". To be honest, I really have no clue where this idea came from (perhaps at EFY?)? Anyhow, we each had our own Happy Book that we faithfully carried everywhere with us. What is a Happy Book you ask? Well, exactly what it sounds like, a book/journal that we wrote down everything that made us happy! You could find anything in it, from flip flops (which we all LOVED...and had too many of) to boys names, to chocolate cake, to our family....anything that made us happy we wrote down. I sure wish I still had this journal, it would be fun to go back and look at what made me happy as a teenager. I know that while we were on this Happy Book obsession we were so close and got along so well. We had so much fun together and tried not to let the caddy teenager stuff get to us.

I decided today that since life gets tough sometimes as a mom/parent/grown-up I should take some time to list what makes me happy! If we always dwell on the negatives, things will stay negative. If we take time to count our blessings, and step back and look at what the positives are in our life things will just go better. Here we go!

From top Left going clockwise:
My family- Although my kids can bring me to my breaking point quite often, they still make me happy to have them a part of my life.
Nature- I LOVE sunsets, and the mountains, and reflections in the water of the two....I just LOVE nature
Desserts- I have an undeniable addiction to sweets, well, not just any sweets, the chocolate sort. I particularly LOVE this cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory (a restaraunt that makes me very happy) called Adam's Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple. yum-o.
Mani-Pedi's- I LOVE going to get a pedicure, and when I can splurge and get a manicure too, boy I'm in heaven (as you can tell by the picture flip-flops still make me happy too!)
Music- This is no surprise considering my blog....good music makes me happy down to my soul
Baking- Obiviously this goes along with my sugar addiction...but I really am happy when I can bake and decorate a beautiful cake or cupcakes...I also love baking anything else sweet.

Round Two! Starting at the top left:
Fall, Autumn, the rescue from summer heat- Whatever you call it, I LOVE the fall season. The cooler temperatures, the nice breeze, the amazing colors, carving pumpkins, the excuse to use pumpkin in my baking. Love it all and can't wait for it to get here!
Crafting- I love making crafts!
Costa Vida- enough said.
Mercy River- I have blogged about them before, but this music group of moms is AH-MAZING.
My Husbands Pancakes- I always convince the kids to get daddy to make his chocolate chip pancakes most Saturday mornings. They are perfect in every way.
A new Haircut- Doesn't a new haircut make everyone happy? Well, unless it was a bad haircut I suppose
Bakery- I love going to cute bakeries, even if I don't get anything...which usually never happens. This was a bakery near San Francisco
Quotes- when i was younger I also had a quote journal where I kept quotes that inspired me in some way. I love how so many bloggers are willing to give out free printables with amazing quotes for the rest of us folks to use

I would like to challenge you to make a list of what makes YOU happy. Keep it somewhere safe, and when you are having a "down" day, whip that list out and add to it! Leave a comment on something that makes you happy!


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Friday, August 31, 2012

Eclipse

There's something to be said for A Cappella groups. I've posted before about how much I LOVE listening to them. I was broken hearted when I heard "The Sing-Off" was not going to air for another season! There is just something about listening to music that you know is ALL voice. No instruments, no  recording studio doctoring. Just PURE talent. I love it! Take a look at this new video from the A Cappella group Eclipse of Bruno Mars "Just the Way You Are".