Monday, October 15, 2018

Guest Post by Greg Peterson: "Remember Who You Are"

Hi, Everyone! Today, I have a special treat to share—a guest post by my wonderful husband! Greg wrote his very first bishopric message for our ward's newsletter that was published and delivered to our neighborhood just yesterday! Yay Greg! I love Greg's message so much that I feel it must be shared with the world!

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, Greg was called, sustained, and set apart as the second counselor in our ward's bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Sunday, August 5th, 2018. If you'd like to know more about how the Church is led, read this informative outline, "Lay Leadership: Volunteer Ministry of the Church," found on the Church's Newsroom.


In the spirit of full disclosure, yes, I edited small grammar issues in Greg's composition, but the message is 100% absolutely his. Oh, how I love reading my husband's words!! Remember? Greg and I wrote letters to each other for two+ years while he served in the Japan Fukuoka Mission for the Church! If you'd like to know a little bit about that time in our lives, read my blog post, "Choosing Power."


*Disclaimer: My husband and I are not official representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We simply love being members of the Church and greatly enjoy serving our fellow brothers and sisters. πŸ˜€


Without further ado, here are my Gregor's fabulous words!


Twenty-four years ago on June 30th, 1994, I asked a lovely young lady named Adrie out on a first date. Our plan was to see a new Disney movie that had opened the previous week called The Lion King. Going to see that movie changed the direction of my life—for so many reasons. First, that lovely young lady now shares my last name! Second, there were life lessons within the film that helped me better understand the gospel then and continues to guide my life even today.

Some people say The Lion King is a blatant rip off of a Japanese comic book series from the 1950's called Kimba the White Lion, (ジャングル倧帝 Janguru Taitei, or Jungle Emperor) which tells the story of an orphaned lion who becomes king. What it may lack in originality it makes up for in great voice acting, beautiful animation, and a truly inspirational story line. There is a quote from that movie that I can’t help but share today because I think it is so powerful.

Simba has rejected what his legacy says he should be. His role in life—to be the next king—has been usurped by another (his murderous uncle), and instead of fighting for his rightful place, Simba adopts the philosophy of “hakuna matata,” or “no worries.” He now looks at the past this way: Sometimes bad things happen and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Simba is acutely aware of his inadequacy. He knows he is not living up to his potential and that his father, Mufasa, would not be proud of the way he is living his life.

What happens next is the turning point of the movie: a visit from a crazy old baboon who claims to be able to show Mufasa to Simba. Simba follows this baboon named Rafiki to a pool, and Rafiki points into the water. “Look down there,” says the baboon. Simba looks down and sees only his reflection. He tries to blame it on his father, shouting at the nighttime sky, “You promised you’d always be there for me. But you’re not!” Rafiki points into the water again, “No, look harder.” Again Simba looks, and now he sees not his own reflection, but a reflection of his father. “You see?” says Rafiki, “He lives in you.”

The wind howls, the sky darkens, and in the rumbling thunder, Simba sees his father in the clouds. Mufasa speaks in a low but powerful voice (imagine James Earl Jones), “Simba, you have forgotten me.” The young lion argues, “No! How could I?” But his father is firm, “You have forgotten who you are, and so forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become… Remember who you are… Remember…”

As an eighteen-year-old on a first date, sitting in a cold, dark movie theater, the words brought tears to my eyes as I thought about their power.

How often do we forget who we are? As a child of God, we are the son or daughter of a king. But do we remember? Or do we choose to live our lives believing hakuna matata: no worries for the rest of our days, a problem-free philosophy?

But is it problem-free? We were created to live lives of responsibility and meaning. “No worries” doesn’t exist. Sure, we don’t need to worry about everything that happens in our lives, but choosing to “put your past behind you” and just moving on is no way to live. We all need to see where we’ve come from and learn from our experiences—so we can be what we are meant to be!

How often does Heavenly Father need to say to us, “You are more than what you have become?” Do we sacrifice our identity as children of God for lives of leisure and ease? Our telestial world (similar to Simba's pride land) can be a difficult place where we must battle against an enemy and stand for what is right. That takes work. It's much easier to stay in an easy place of pleasure—entertained and enjoyed—than to fight against an enemy who has robbed us of our identity.

Mufasa didn’t tell Simba he should have gotten another degree, live in a bigger house, or make more money. He simply said, “You are more than what you have become.” Becoming more is much different than having or doing more.

It’s easier to quantify doing than being.

We can quantify what we do: how many sales we made, how many miles we drove, how many chairs were built, or how many pages were written. It’s also easy to see things that need to be done—dishes need to be washed, beds need to be made, lawns need to be mowed. Being is harder to quantify and measure: a great mom; an inspiring spiritual leader; a compassionate friend; an understanding boss; a caring, loving neighbor.

Becoming more may require doing less.

Who are you? Who have you become? And is that the person you were created to be? Our loving Heavenly Father has big plans for each of us, and we can’t consider ourselves fully developed now because we are continually learning and growing every day. The fact is that we are all more than we have become, and we need to keep working on ourselves so we can become everything we are intended to be.

How we live our lives matters, and not just for ourselves, but for all the people around us whose lives we might also affect in ways we don’t even realize. We never know when we might matter to someone else—when someone else is watching us or learning from our example, or when we are meant to touch someone’s life. And it’s up to us to rise to the potential that God knows we are capable of achieving!

Brothers and Sisters, our loving Heavenly Father continually calls out to each of us and invites us to “Remember who you are.” It is my testimony that through our Savior, Jesus Christ, we can be washed clean of our sins and return to live with Him someday.

P.S. When I copied/pasted Greg's bishopric message to my blog, I was shocked to realize that I missed a few typos! 😬 Hopefully, I fixed the rest of them now, but it was a good reminder for me to get more sleep! Yes, I was very sleep deprived when I edited Greg's message. πŸ˜ͺ Oops! πŸ˜„

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

What to Do with Instagram Now That Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom Resigned

Yesterday morning, I came across an article that totally bummed me out. While reading it, and researching further (before I believe anything I read online, I research and read multiple sources), I came to the sad conclusion that Instagram's founders are truly leaving Instagram (and Facebook)—for good. Here are the articles I read, in the order I read them:






It's no secret that I'm not a fan of Fakebook (feel free to read my post, "Just Do It! Dump Facebook! :)"). Thus, when changes began happening to Instagram over the past couple of years that felt very Facebook-ey to me, I became concerned. In March, 2018, I even looked to quit Instagram altogether and join Vero. Yet after signing up, my brother-in-law shared the information he'd researched about Vero's owners and I immediately deleted my newly-created accounts—they were worse than Fakebook!

Since my happy Instagram world was so coldly disrupted yesterday morning by Facebook 😒, I've tried to rationalize how I could maintain my Instagram accounts and remain true to who I am and what I believe. While researching other Instagram-related articles, I came across an article (below) that reminded me that Facebook and its leaders are NOT our friends. When it really comes down to it, they are all about making money, and that will never change.



The quote "If you're not paying for it, you are the product" fully and completely applies to Facebook and all of its products, which sadly includes Instagram.

Furthermore, the fact that Instagram's founders are willingly leaving their high-paying, cushy Instagram/Facebook positions tells me they can't live with themselves under the fake-umbrella-of-happiness, either! Their choice to leave Facebook shows they are remaining true to who they are—regardless of the money—and I applaud them for it. (Okay, I'm reaching there, but it's totally plausible they resigned for that reason!) *Yet in the same breath, I counter that with, "Why did you sell-out to Fakebook in the first place?! Why would you choose money over your loyal users' beautiful Instagram experiences?!" So sad, right?!


Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom claim they will keep their Instagram accounts, but I wonder how long they'll actually stay active on it? Instagram was their creation, so maybe they can't bear to part with their baby? I don't blame them if they continue using Instagram, but I'll be surprised if they remain on it long-term.


So, what am I to do now with this frustrating information? (I know I may be in the minority with my strong feelings, but I don't care. I can write whatever I want on my blog! 😁) Here are the thoughts I've had over the past several hours—I might change, delete, or update these points as more information about Instagram becomes available:

  • Unlike many Instagram users, I've never made money because of my participation there. Even though I genuinely love my Instagram world I've created (so much!), I was also hoping that my IG contributions would translate into readers of my blog—which would then translate into advertising revenue. If you've read my previous blog post, you'll know that advertisements on my blog most definitely haven't paid off.
  • I've not received nor retained the amount of Instagram followers I thought possible. I wasn't expecting to gain thousands of followers, by any means, but I topped out at 250 followers, and that number always regressed if I didn't follow back said followers. And I most definitely did not follow back people just for the sake of following back. I followed Instagram accounts because I really wanted to see their content, I don't give fake or hollow follows anywhere. Also, if I didn't post at least weekly on IG, I would lose even more followers, which was annoying because I wanted to post whenever I felt like it, not because I needed to retain followers.
  • Now that I've removed advertisements from my blog, the point of gaining new readers for advertising dollars doesn't even matter. While I'm truly super happy if people find my blog helpful (I love helping readers!), I blog for myself because I genuinely love it! Thus, with these most recent Instagram developments, I don't feel the need to post to my public Instagram account and link it back to my blog anymore. If people find Enthusiastic Fantastic while searching the Internet, that's great! But the loss of time I spent posting to my public Instagram account definitely outweighed any benefits of gaining new followers/readers.
  • I'm not willing to self-promote and/or collaborate to the lengths needed to succeed monetarily speaking on Instagram. My posts never have been and never will be about making money or jumping on the popular train. The same applies here on my blog.
  • There are way too many advertisements on Instagram! I can't say for sure, but it feels like my public Instagram feed is 40% sponsored posts! This is not how Instagram used to be when I first began using it in 2014 (private account) and 2015 (public account). I honestly remember scrolling through both of my feeds and not seeing one single advertisement for such a long time! When advertisements began coming through my public feed, I sort of expected and understood it—as the Instagram algorithm determined I was a "business" account. Yet when advertisements began showing up on my private feed, I was like, "Nooooo!!! You can't do this to me!" But I put up with them because I loved my happy Instaland so very much!
  • Instagram's new algorithm (created by Facebook) doesn't show posts in the way I enjoy. I want to see every post from every account I follow, in the order they were posted! I don't want to see posts and advertisements that the algorithm determines I would rather look at! I mean, why is that so freaking hard for Facebook to understand?! We users chose to stay with Instagram because that's how it started: posts were shown in chronological order, regardless of potential advertising revenue! Yet Fakebook ruined that, too. Rest assured, Facebook's leaders fully know exactly what they're doing. They are consciously choosing to put advertisers' dollars ahead of users' experiences. And I have a major problem with that.
  • I've wasted a lot of time on Instagram. About a week-and-a-half ago, I realized that I needed to stop leisurely scrolling away my valuable minutes on my public Instagram feed. I finally recognized that Instagram has basically become a digital magazine for me—with fun, helpful, interesting, or beautiful information squeezed in between advertisements. Let me explain: back when I was a newer mom, I subscribed to several life/style/improvement magazines. I not only loved reading those magazines, I felt the need to read them cover-to-cover because I paid for them. I didn't want to be throwing away magazines (before we had the option of curbside recycling) without having read them, or it felt like a huge waste of money. But after several months of that behavior, I realized what a tremendous waste of time my magazine-reading habit was. I saw that I was missing out on precious time with my babies, and I wasn't quite as productive as I could have been for our family's improved happiness and well-being. Thus, I determined that I needed to cancel all of my magazine subscriptions, and I did exactly that! Let me tell you, it was a wonderfully freeing feeling and I never looked back! Thus, with this latest Instagram revelation of who will really be controlling the content we consume, i.e., The Big Bad Facebook, I've decided it's time to cancel my public "subscription"!
  • I will keep my private Instagram "subscription" and follow only my family members, friends, and Church leaders. *This may seem like a cop-out to the points I've just made, but I can't reconcile losing my connection to the most important people in my life—especially since I'm not on Fakebook anymore! Thus, until a better alternative becomes available, I'm stuck with my private Instagram account—stupid advertisements, algorithm, and all. Thankfully, the amount of people I follow privately is relatively small, so it will be easy to keep up on their posts—unlike my public IG account where I follow 300+ people/organizations. When I just looked at how many public accounts I follow, I'm even more motivated to be done with the commercial side of Instagram!
  • I love the posts I created on my public Instagram account and I don't want to lose them! Thus, I will keep my public Instagram account as-is until I transfer all of my non-blog posts over here to Enthusiastic Fantastic. That will be a labor of love and will take quite a while to finish, but it's totally worth it!
  • I will keep my public Instagram account open indefinitely as a way for people to find me and my blog—plus, I don't want to give away my awesome @enthusiasticfantastic username(!) πŸ˜†—but I'll stop my time-consuming habit of posting there and scrolling through that feed asap.
  • Eventually, I'll compose a final post on my public Instagram page, detailing where to find me at Enthusiastic Fantastic! Of course, that's assuming anyone actually wants to find me! Ha ha. It will be such a sad day for my Instaland-happy heart 😒, but I know deep down it's what I really want to do. I'm looking forward to the outcome of this big decision because, overall,  I know my life will improve!
  • I'm actually really excited about the fact that I don't have to use a photo in order to post here on my blog! Instagram was so much fun to be a part of, but sometimes I didn't like that I always had to include a new photo, or a screenshot of text, or a typographic design if I wanted to post anything there. I can't wait to just typety-type-type and click "Publish" to Enthusiastic Fantastic!
  • I'm completely thrilled that there are no character limits here on my blog! I can write as many words as I like, and—unlike Instagram—Blogger never tells me to stop writing! πŸ˜„ For this wordy girl, that is an unbelievably happy feeling! Yes, that was another way I wasted time on Instagram: I was always trying to figure out ways to compose my posts without going over their 2,200 character limit. With my focus returning to blogging, I won't have that stumbling block to worry about anymore! Praise be and hallelujah!

All of that shared, now I have the ginormous job of retraining my brain to come to my computer to compose posts on my blog instead of continuing to go to the easy default of my smartphone and posting on Instagram. It will take some time, but I know I can do it! Again, I am just not okay with Facebook ruling Instagram! If Instagram's founders would have stayed and continued running Instaland as they saw fit, I most definitely would have remained an Instagrammer forever! But The Big Bad Facebook has trampled Kevin and Mike, and I refuse to just fall in line!

As I round out my thoughts of yesterday's social media news, I've come to the surprising conclusion that I want to buy a Chromebook! I think it will help having another way to post to my blog whenever and wherever I want. 😊


Wish me luck in my new endeavors!


*Update: 09/26/18*

After publishing my post very early this morning, I've now read two more articles about Instagram and Facebook that I feel are completely worth sharing. They both illustrate that Instagram is now doomed under Facebook's unsupervised/unchallenged rule.

I also read a bombshell of an interview with WhatsApp cofounder, Brian Acton. His experience of dealing with Facebook's executives is mind blowing! And not in a good way.

These three articles reiterate that Facebook cannot ever be trusted to put its users first—no matter what kind of image its leaders try to create through feel-good commercials and personal posts. Yes, I am soooo over and done with Facebook and its greedy executives!




Sunday, September 9, 2018

Enthusiastic Fantastic is Now Ad-Free!

If you've visited Enthusiastic Fantastic recently, you may have noticed that I no longer show advertisements anywhere on my site! Woohoo! πŸ˜„ As I wrote in my newly created "Donate" page, I've never made any real money through Google's AdSense program, and I was always annoyed with the advertisements that were embedded in my blog, so I decided to discontinue allowing ads on my blog! It's so exciting, right?! I've also now included my PayPal.Me link for anyone who would like to contribute to my happy little blogging endeavor! Yay for PayPal, and yay for me going ad-free! 😊

It was a big decision to remove my AdSense ads, but one that was relatively easy to make. After researching and experimenting with my blog for yearsI put in so much work for such a long time!—I realized that my happy little blog will never be as successful as those blogs that rake in enough dough to support a family and additional employees. You see, I'm simply not willing to do what's required to make that kind of big blogging money. I must and will always stay true to myself and my strong personality/feelings with every blog post I compose!

As I've said before, I was never looking to make a living at blogging when I created Enthusiastic Fantastic five years ago. Yet I absolutely know that my words matter, and I'm supposed to be contributing to our society through my blog posts and typographic designs! I know I've dropped the ball with my lack of blog posts these past couple of years; I'm really going to try to be better at writing blog posts from here on out!

Thus, seeing that I spend quality time and money creating content and keeping my website up and running (My time is precious!), I decided it couldn't hurt to include a donation page where people can say "Thank you!" monetarily speaking. And please let me say right up front that my little family and I seriously, sincerely, and very genuinely appreciate any donation amount(s) given!

Because of this momentous change, I'm so happy when I visit Enthusiastic Fantastic and see zero advertisements now! My lovely little ad-free spot on the Internet is a huge breath of fresh air from the rest of the online madness that's filled with pop-up ads galore. I love seeing only things I feel passionate about and have carefully chosen to include on my blog! I'm thrilled not to feel the urge to check my AdSense account balance anymore! Yeah yeah yeah! I love knowing that no other company has anything to do with Enthusiastic Fantastic—it's mine, all mine(!)—which is just how it should be. Yes, indeedy! πŸ˜€

Because of my newfound, blissful clarity (my ad-free blog 😊), I'm hoping that more of us will choose to spend a little more time here—at least I'm really going to try! Wish me luck with refining my time-management skills! πŸ˜„

I hope you and yours are doing well and enjoying every minute of your special lives! Have a great day! 😘

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Strengthening Our Families

Hi, everyone! This morning, I was getting ready to compose an Instagram post on my private account. As I was downloading photos and screenshots to create a visually interesting post, I realized that I needed this post to be public, and that Instagram couldn't really hold all of the wonderfulness that I've found.

Plus, I'm super wordy and I struggle with editing my Instagram posts to be the length allowed on that platform. #wordyAdrie! πŸ˜„ Sometimes, I've spent way too much time figuring out what words/sentences to omit on Instagram, when I really should have just written a blog post to begin with! Thus, today I'm breaking my time-consuming Instagram-posting habit and writing a time-consuming-but-much-more-fulfilling blog post instead! Ha ha. Yay me!

If you didn't know, I'm right smack dab in the middle of raising teenagers! What's amazing to me about this season of life is that when you're pregnant, or just had a baby, no doctor or nurse or parenting book fully prepares you for teenagers and all that comes with them! πŸ˜… Even though I took a complete Love and Logic parenting class in Colorado when my firstborn was (I think) seven years old, it still didn't prepare me for these wild teenage years!

Yes, we parents were all teenagers once, but being a teen and raising teens are two very different things! I certainly remember being a teenager and all that entails, but I could go on for days about how surprising it's been to parent my teenagers! It's nearly unbelievable how quickly teen emotions change—my view of my family can go from being "Everything is easy-peasy, super awesome!" to "I'm so tired! How am I going to make it through one more day of teenagedom without crying my eyes out?!" in nearly an instant!

The good news is, all things considered, my sweet little family is doing well!

My oldest son just graduated from high school and I'm sooo happy for him! It was a definite struggle at some points of his high school journey, but we all hung in there and he was successful in his efforts! πŸŽ“πŸ‘πŸ˜ That said, I will not miss those seemingly never-ending high school nights when he refused to go to bed at a decent hour. If I didn't know what I know about teenagers and their sleep cycles, I would have been a complete wreck!

Thankfully, I know it's not just my teenagers who don't want to go to sleep at night, but a scientifically proven problem for teens the world over. The National Sleep Foundation points out that, "Biological sleep patterns shift toward later times for both sleeping and waking during adolescence—meaning it is natural to not be able to fall asleep before 11:00 pm." Amen to that statement! And yet I wonder why on earth it is that high school is still held at such an early hour! We seriously need to make every high school's start time later in the morning!

Sleep aside, my teenagers are doing really well for being teenagers. 😊 I am so grateful for the incredible human beings I've been given and entrusted to raise. My heart is completely filled with love for my growing babies! πŸ’– That said, I am constantly looking for ways to help my children feel happier, do better, and be the best version of themselves—without me becoming an annoying dictator in the process! Ha ha.

I know that being a good parent starts with me and my positive attitude. That said, even though I'm technically and legally responsible for my darling children and their well-being until the age of 18, in the end, they each need to live their own lives and be in charge of themselves. They need to make their choices and own them—I so hope they make good ones! In the end, I'm only able to regulate/manage/change myself! And that's how it is for every person on this planet!

So, as much as I dearly want to help my children every minute of every day of their precious lives, I can only help them to the point that they want me to help. Yes, parenting teenagers is a delicate tightrope-walk that takes loads of careful practice, purposeful dedication, laser-sharp focus, and enthusiastic perseverance! Not to mention, an endless supply of unconditional love, great self confidence, and lots of "strength training"!

But seriously, parents of teenagers need to have good support systems and excellent self-care measures in place to feel successful in their callings. I would not do as well as I do in parenting my teenagers without my coping strategies—for example: having a wonderful marriage; exercising five to six days per week; getting enough sleep; eating healthily; having good friends/family members to talk with; and especially my spiritual connection to Heaven.

Speaking of prayer, it's my go-to best parenting technique for raising teenagers! I literally can't tell you how many times I've prayed for my teens because I'm always praying for them! πŸ’— I know our Heavenly Father knows my children much better than I do, and I know He actually sees what their future holds—unlike me who just thinks I know what's best for my children. Thus, my prayers are always first and foremost in my parenting strategies. I have experienced miracles through prayer and fasting for my children! I will continue praying for my children every day for the rest of my life and into eternity!

As I said before, I'm always seeking out ways to be a better mother. I've shared many helpful motherhood/parenting articles, talks, and videos on my Pinterest account, and I'll continue sharing what I find there, but I've definitely not had the time to pin everything yet. I seriously wish Heavenly Father would give us three additional hours every day! A 27-hour day sounds pretty great to me! So, for today, I'll share here the things I've recently found to be helpful in my efforts of parenting my cherished teenagers:

"To Women: 'Doing Better Doesn’t Mean Doing More'"
By Sharon Eubank and Reyna Aburto—blog post on LDS.org.

I love the entire blog post, but this paragraph really stood out to me:
"As we seek the Lord’s will and strive to do it, we are assured that every small effort is accepted. All the Lord asks of us is a heart full of love and willingness to share that love. We’ve all made covenants to “mourn with those that mourn … and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:9), but that doesn’t mean to run ourselves ragged. Doing better doesn’t always mean doing more. And if you do just one inspired thing each day, you are nevertheless the Lord’s agent."
Amen, sista, and bravo! πŸ‘πŸ˜

"Love One Another, As I Have Loved You"
By Jennifer Brinkerhoff Platt—talk presented at BYU Women's Conference, 2018.

I'm so excited Jennifer's talk is available to read and watch! I've listened to her video at least three times already, and I'll be listening to/watching/reading it again very soon! Here are three sections of her talk that I absolutely love!
"...if we really understand the distinction between doctrine, principles and application, then we will work to focus more on the doctrine—the WHY of our behaviors. Focusing on application or HOW we live is divisive, because I shouldn’t judge you for what the Holy Ghost is telling you to do. I may not understand your approach, but if we are one in doctrine, in the WHY, then it doesn’t matter how we pursue it."
"Continually pointing ourselves to the doctrine helps us to be one in Christ as He is one with the Father. Think of the love we extend to each other when instead of judging HOW another person is living, we assume the very best, that they are pursuing doctrine. Look for and trust the WHY of other’s behaviors. Teach and testify of WHY we do what we do. This gives us entrance into the sacred spaces of one another’s hearts where there is hidden sorrow that the eye can’t see. We also learn to pursue our questions differently and find peace with the ambiguity associated with mortality."
"Now, do you recognize this statement from President Boyd K. Packer? 
'True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behaviors. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. Preoccupation with unworthy behavior can lead to unworthy behavior. That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel.'"
So awesome, right?! πŸ˜€

"How great leaders inspire action"
By Simon Sinek—TEDxPuget Sound

It might seem strange to relate this TED Talk to parenting, but it really clicked with me! I've simply applied what he said to parenting and children! 😊 Here's a great quote from Mr. Sinek's wise words:
"Every single person, every single organization on the planet knows what they do, 100 percent. Some know how they do it, ... But very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do. And by 'why' I don't mean 'to make a profit.' That's a result. It's always a result. By 'why,' I mean: What's your purpose? What's your cause? What's your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care? As a result, the way we think, we act, the way we communicate is from the outside in, it's obvious. We go from the clearest thing to the fuzziest thing. But the inspired leaders and the inspired organizations—regardless of their size, regardless of their industry—all think, act and communicate from the inside out."
I also really like Simon's second TED Talk: "Why good leaders make you feel safe," and applied what he teaches to parenting, as well! Here's one of my favorite quotes from his talk:
"Leadership is a choice. It is not a rank. I know many people at the senior[-]most levels of organizations who are absolutely not leaders. They are authorities, and we do what they say because they have authority over us, but we would not follow them. And I know many people who are at the bottoms of organizations who have no authority and they are absolutely leaders, and this is because they have chosen to look after the person to the left of them, and they have chosen to look after the person to the right of them. This is what a leader is."

"The Idea of 'Mothers in Zion' Made Me Mad—Until I Learned What It Meant"
By Sharon Eubank—blog post on LDS.org.

Oh, how I love her quote! πŸ’›
"Charity, or the pure love of Christ, is motherhood in a very practical and real way—sacrificing so that others might thrive and seeing beyond present circumstances to the way things really are. This motherhood is part of my covenantal identity. My mother-work will come directly through the whispers of the Holy Spirit."

"Strengthening the Family: Resource Guide for Parents"
Published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—also available for purchase at LDS.org's online store.

This is the gem of all parenting jewels! I'm so happy I found Strengthening the Family! I'll be reading and referring to it again and again! I only wish it had been available when I was pregnant with my first baby! It was published in 2006, two years after my last baby was born, but I never knew about it until recently. Thus, I'm sharing it with the world now in hopes that it helps some new parent somewhere in this glorious world of ours! While I feel silly that I had access to it all this time with the amazing Gospel Library app on my smartphone and didn't previously find it, I'm not going to worry because at least I'll be using it now!

Here are two great quotes from its pages:
"Words and behavior have the power to hurt or to help, to inflict pain and suffering or to soothe painful feelings, to provoke doubt and fear or to instill faith and courage." 
"President James E. Faust of the First Presidency taught the importance of love and of recognizing differences in children when disciplining them: 'Child rearing is so individualistic. Every child is different and unique. What works with one may not work with another. I do not know who is wise enough to say what discipline is too harsh or what is too lenient except the parents of the children themselves, who love them most. It is a matter of prayerful discernment for the parents. Certainly the overarching and undergirding principle is that the discipline of children must be motivated more by love than by punishment.'"
President Faust's quote can apply to every parenting issue under the sun because we parents know and love our children the most! We have the individual responsibility and joy of parenting our children in the best ways possible for each of them because they are "ours"! πŸ’ž

I'm so grateful for this gift of motherhood I've been given because it's everything to me! 🎁 When I say everything, I mean that I always wanted to be a mother{!}—from my earliest memories—and I'm so grateful my wish/desire has been so richly fulfilled! And I must give huge props to my darling Gregor for helping me achieve my dreams of motherhood!

While I know my time is short in terms of having my children live with me (and Greg 😍) before they move on into the wide wide world, I will always be a mother; I am eternally a mother, inside and out! Regardless of the outcome of my children's lives—whatever path they choose in this world—I will love and care for these amazing souls that our Heavenly Father has blessed me with forever! πŸ˜‡

You've come to the end of my parenting thoughts/helps for now, but I'll share more as I discover them! I'd love it if something I've shared today is of value to you or someone you know! I sincerely hope we'll all work on strengthening our families because relationships with our loved ones are the most important! πŸ’›

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Speedy Answers to My Fast

Before I begin, I just have to say how much I love the title I created for this blog post! #ifeelsoclever! Ha ha. Okay, now we may proceed! 😊

Remember how I posted back in December about my issues with some of my extended family members? Well, those separate relationship issues recently came to a head. One of the issues was extremely worrisome and significant enough to my soul that I made an appointment to speak with my bishop about it—I really wanted to get his ecclesiastical take on the situation.

As a side note, I might write about all of this in greater detail someday, but out of respect for my extended family members, I'm going to stay vague for now.

My bishop kindly listened as I very tearfully explained my story and that of my extended family member. After my bishop and I talked for a long time, and he could see that there was truly nothing else I could do on my end with this extended family member, he suggested that I fast for myself to help me through my struggle. My bishop gave a lot of great advice and counsel, but the fasting just for me idea stood out the very most. Here are the scriptures my bishop shared with me—I included some additional verses that I like:

Isaiah 58: 6, 8, 11, 14:
6  Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
8 ¶ Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward.
11 And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
Aren't those verses awesome?! I've heard them before, but I'd forgotten them because there are so many great scripture verses to remember! πŸ˜‡ 

Initially, I was surprised at the idea of fasting for myself, but after I thought about it for a few minutes, I decided to try it! I've always had great faith in the law of the fast. I've consistently fasted throughout my life for everyone else—my fasting list for people that I care about is forever long! πŸ˜‡ Also, I've fasted for Greg and I as a couple, and for our children, but I've never fasted specifically and only for myself.

At first, I felt kind of squirmy inside at the thought of focusing only on me and not fasting for anyone else this past Fast Sunday, but at the same time I knew it was exactly what I should do. So I did it! πŸ˜€ I fasted and prayed for my peace of mind, patience, and especially for resolution to my issues with my extended family members. How those things would be resolved, I had no idea, but I fasted for direction and comfort, and I was ready for any answer(s) I would receive!

I say "would receive" because I fully expected Heavenly Father to answer my prayers and fasting through the Holy Ghost. I had patiently endured my issues for a very long time (we're talking months, and years in one instance). I felt like I had done my best with what I had been "given." Yes, it was time for some divine intervention to help me move past those issues because they were starting to affect me in a negative way. And don't even get me started on the dreams (while sleeping) I was having in relation to my issues with those extended family members! Oh, my issue-related dreams were not my favorite! 😬

After Greg and I broke our fast together, I felt much better. Nothing had been resolved yet, but I loved hearing my wonderful husband's voice praying for me—yes, he specifically fasted for me, too, and I'll love him forever for it!! Of course, Greg and I pray together all the time, and I love him for innumerable reasons, but this (him fasting/praying specifically for me) just adds to my adoration of him! Speaking of my husband's wonderful voice, I think Greg should start doing voice-overs! I'm going to see what I can do to get him in that industry! πŸ˜ƒ #randomthoughtsbyAdrie! πŸ˜„

The amazing news is, one of my issues with one of my extended family members was resolved literally one day after I fasted!! Said extended-family-member and I had been emailing each other the day before my fast, and cleared up everything by Monday! Yay! Some might say that emailing isn't a great way to resolve conflict, but in our case, emails were the only thing that would have worked because even after seeing each other in person, it was glaringly obvious that we still had issues with each other. I even had a nightmare about said family member a couple of nights after we saw each other in person! When I awoke, I knew it was time for me to take action asap!

I also know that because I fasted that Sunday, I was inspired as to how to respond in my final email. My extended family member might not have particularly liked what I had to say, but, oh my goodness, it felt sooo great(!) to write what I hadn't been able to express in any way for seemingly endless months! I tried to show as much love and compassion with my words as I possibly could without being a door mat. Yes, it's a tricky balance to show love to others while simultaneously standing our ground and staying true to who we are!

The other issue with my other extended family member—the one I met with my bishop about—didn't go away quite so instantly (a one-day turnaround is pretty exciting, right?!!), and it felt like our situation got even more difficult the day after my fast—which was a little concerning, to say the least.

Interestingly, and not coincidentally (As I've always said, everything happens for a reason!), I went walking with two of my dear friends that same Monday morning after completing my fast (on Sunday). As we were walking and talking about each of our issues with our extended family members, my one friend said, "Have you heard about Bold New Mom?" I was like, "What?" because I had never heard of that bold new mom. My friend then explained about the podcast she had recently found and how she thought of me in my situation with my extended family member that I was struggling with. My other friend immediately chimed in and said, "I love Bold New Mom! She has some great stuff!" And that was the end of our discussion about Bold New Mom.

But later that night, my mind wouldn't let go of the podcast that my friend had told me about. I give full thanks and credit to the Holy Ghost for reminding me of what my soul needed to do! πŸ’› As I pondered if I should look further into the podcast, I reminded myself that my friend who brought up Bold New Mom is a very easy-going, go-with-the-flow type of girl. She doesn't usually give out advice, recommendations, or her opinions unless she's specifically asked—which is why it surprised me that she brought up the podcast out of the blue. Thus, I knew it was something I should definitely look into. I texted said friend about the podcast information, and the rest is history!

After Googling Bold New Mom, I discovered Jody Moore's website and especially her fabulous podcastI linked you to her first episodes. Here's the link to her podcast, Better Than Happy, in iTunes. I don't know when she changed the name of her podcast, but I really like the new title! 😊

I never expected any of this to happen(!), but I have spent the last week cocooning myself in Better Than Happy podcasts, extensive note-taking, analyzing, pondering, praying, and writing! This amazing week of self-care has helped me more than I ever could have imagined! In my wildest, most faith-filled dreams, I could not have envisioned this specific result happening! And it was all made possible because of my special fast on Sunday, April 8th, 2018!

I mean, I had complete and utter faith that I would absolutely get the help that I needed from our Heavenly Father through fasting, I just had no clue as to how that help would manifest itself. I also couldn't have possibly fathomed how completely my soul has been healed over this past week! Yet that is exactly what has happened!

In fact, when I was talking with my bishop (two weeks ago), I explained to him how much I hoped I could get a significant/direct answer to my fasting and prayers because if I didn't, my situation with my extended family member was getting to the point that I felt I might need a therapist to help me get over it. Yes, it was that much of an issue for me. My bishop assured me that they (my ward in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) would help me with therapy if my insurance wouldn't cover it. I was grateful for his kind thoughts, but I didn't feel like I was to that point just yet. I was definitely waiting for inspiration from the Holy Ghost as to what I should do.

So yeah, finding life coach Jody Moore was truly an inspired event in my life(!)—one that is not a coincidence and was most definitely meant to happen! Interestingly, that Monday walk-and-talk with my friends was the first time we've gotten together to go walking—and it was my idea! Yay! πŸ˜€ Yet when I say "my idea," I totally laugh because I know I was inspired by the Holy Ghost to suggest that my friends and I start walking together! (I texted them in March, and together we set up our walking date for April.) Also, I know my dear friend was fully inspired to tell me about Bold New Mom! If she wouldn't have spoken up, I don't know when or if I ever would have found Jody Moore and her fabulous, amazing podcasts!

Also, I feel strongly that I wasn't meant to find Jody's podcasts until now. That seems so silly to say because she's so helpful, but up until very recently (we're talking within the last month), I really didn't have any extended-family relationship issues that I couldn't deal with—and I was dealing with them just fine in my own way. I am a strong woman. I have confidence. I know who I am. I am spiritually in tune with our Heavenly Father. I study, research, ponder, and pray about everything in my life. I've never felt the need for a therapist or a life coach. I honestly didn't feel there was any issue I've dealt with (or would deal with) that I couldn't find an answer to or work through "on my own."

I say "on my own" because the Holy Ghost has always told/shown me everything that's best for me to do—and I've done it! I'm very much in tune with Heavenly Father as to who I am and what I need to do to make my life work in the very best way possible. Of course, I'm not perfect! That goes without saying! I've definitely had my struggles, but I've always found my way to sunshine and happiness—every time! πŸŒžπŸ˜ŽπŸ˜

That said, I was also smack dab in the middle of grieving that specific relationship with my one extended family member (the one I spoke with my bishop about) for several months. Our relationship had changed drastically over the past few years and I needed to grieve all of it first before I could move on in Better Than Happy Land.

So even if someone would have told me about Jody previously, I wouldn't have felt a particular need to check out her content. Even when I wrote about my extended family issues back in December, 2017, I was handling everything okay; even when I was struggling, I wasn't truly ready to find Jody's brilliant advice. Yes, I had to get to my personal breaking point—and I arrived there about three weeks ago. Thus, last Monday was literally the perfect time for me to discover Better Than Happy!

Do you see how all of this was so meant to be?!

It's mind blowing and humbling in the same moment to think about everything that has transpired in just the past three weeks(!):
  1. I was inspired to meet with my bishop.
  2. My bishop was inspired to counsel me in the way that he did—and especially in advising me that I should fast and pray for myself.
  3. Greg was inspired when he prayed for me as we ended our fast together.
  4. I was inspired as to how to respond to my one extended family member over email.
  5. I was inspired to set up my walking date with my friends—far in advance of my important week.
  6. My walking/talking friends were inspired to take our conversation in the direction it went—about our issues with our extended family members.
  7. My one friend, in particular, was so inspired to tell me about Bold New Mom.
  8. I was inspired to later ask my friend for information about the podcast, research it, listen to 37 episodes, and do the "self" work that needed to be done.
  9. Jody Moore was inspired to become a life coach and begin her own podcast series!
  10. Brooke Castillo was inspired to do all of the study and research she did in order to create The Life Coach School (with her husband) in the first place!
Not only has this experience helped me tremendously with resolving my extended family relationship issues, it has strengthened (yet again!) my unshakable testimony of fasting and prayer.

I have never doubted nor questioned my relationship with our Heavenly Father—through our Savior, Jesus Christ—but there have been times when I've felt picked on because I didn't receive the immediate answers from Him that I so desperately desired—answers that I knew He could freely give me if he wanted to! *And yes, I fully acknowledge that Heavenly Father gives us trials to help us grow and become our best selves! That said, there have been times when I've wished my "trial" path was a smidgen of a bit easier! πŸ˜‰

Several weeks ago, this thought entered my mind so strongly:

Trials are meant to strengthen you and give you compassion for others.


I 100% believe in and agree with that brilliant statement! Again, trials are given to us so that we can truly become our best selves! I've written about trials before in my blog post, "Receiving Our Trials with Thankfulness." So even though we may not want those soul-trying trials at the time, in the end, they are always given to us for our best benefit!

All of that said, I still have some significant work to do in relation to my other extended family member. I'm not out of the woods quite yet, but thanks to this amazing week I've had—of doing the self-care work I know Heavenly Father wants me to do—I can actually see a glimmer of the Road to Resolution that I've been searching for! And I will happily hike the remainder of my journey through the thick trees because I know I can do it! πŸ‘ŠπŸ˜πŸŒ²

I'm so grateful to Heavenly Father for listening to my prayers, accepting my fasting efforts, and blessing my life in exactly the ways I needed! πŸ’› I'm unbelievably happy (and slightly overwhelmed!) to have received such speedy answers to my fast! It's truly amazing to me!

Finally, here's a wrap-up about my experience with listening to the Better Than Happy podcast:

Even though I could have listened to Better Than Happy through iTunes, or on my iPod Touch, I chose to access Jody's podcast through her website on my smartphone. (My LGV20 is my absolute favorite!) Instead of listening from Episode 1, I started listening at Episode 5—which was my friend's recommendation.

After finishing Episode 5, I knew I wanted to explore more of Jody's awesome thoughts! Thus, I went through the entire Better Than Happy podcast list and opened the links to all of the podcast topics that I felt applied to my situation with my extended family member in any way.

I initially listened to the following episodes (not in this exact order): 3, 6, 8, 13, 14, 16, 17, 21, 29, 33, 65, 81, 94, 97, and 122. After I finished those episodes, I decided to look at Jody's podcast list again and see if there was anything else that interested me. As you might have guessed, yep(!), I found an additional 17 podcasts to listen to! Here's round two of the Better Than Happy podcasts I listened to (not in this exact order): 27, 36, 37, 47, 50, 53, 73, 77, 81, 83, 85, 86, 87, 107, 110, 114, and 126! After I felt satisfied with my podcast learning, I went back and listened to episodes 1, 2, 4, and 141.

If you're wondering how and why I kept track of the episodes I listened to, I just opened each episode in a new window of my phone's Chrome browser. When I finished listening to everything I was interested in, I went into my Chrome browser again, wrote down all of the podcast episode numbers I had open, and then I closed all of those tabs. I kept track of those podcasts because I want to know which ones I listened to—in case I want to refer back to them at a later date.

I listened to a bunch of the Better Than Happy podcasts out of numerical order, which was fine, but after I take a little break, I'm going to go back and listen to Jody's podcasts from Episode 1 all the way to her most current episode! I can't wait to begin this adventure again! 😊 Her podcasts really are perfect for listening to while doing household chores—they make the time fly by! And they're simultaneously turning listeners into better humans! It's a true win-win!

*If you want to start listening to Better Than Happy, I highly recommend starting right at Episode 1, as she guides you through everything you need to know from there. Yes, you can understand what she's teaching if you start at a different episode, but based on my experience, I believe it's better to start at the beginning because it's a very good place to start! 😁 #DoReMi πŸŽΆ

I seriously wish I could recommend the Better Than Happy podcast to every human on planet earth! πŸ˜€ Jody Moore is a living example of the parable of the talents. She knows and understands the talents she's been blessed with, she's practiced and honed her skills in marvelous ways, and she is actively blessing humanity by freely sharing her special gifts with us!

As a fun tidbit, Better Than Happy has received 1,671 reviews (to this date—her reviews keep increasing daily) on iTunes and only four of those reviews (0.0024%!) have been negative! Jody should feel ecstatic that she continually produces a five-star podcast! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Wow! I'm so happy for her success! And I'm grateful she's continuing to create so many helpful podcasts!

I also researched The Life Coach School, which is where Jody received her life-coaching certification. It looks like a really great program, they've turned out some amazing life coaches! I listened to the first three podcast episodes of The Life Coach School, and they were great, yet I just didn't feel the deep connection to Brooke that I instantly felt with Jody. There might come a day when I feel the urge to listen to more of The Life Coach School's podcasts, but right now isn't the time.

I greatly enjoy Jody's connection to my beloved church; I believe it helps that she's a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints because she brings an additional spiritual perspective/dimension that I didn't feel/experience (so far) while listening to Brooke. That isn't meant to be anything negative (not in any way!) against The Life Coach School, it's just that I found the important connection I was looking for in Jody, and I'm sticking with her for the foreseeable future! 😁

Thanks for reading, I hope you have a wonderful day! 😘