Monday, February 28, 2011

j.wride

I finished 3 tests, turned in my scholarship essays, finished my federal financial aid application, got my car fixed and renewed the registration, my faucet is fixed and water back on (THANKS to my dad, Alexander and my neighbor Andy!), my electric back on after being off for almost 12 hours since I thought it was a blackout from the storm, but it was just my main electric thingy on my house and I didn't know how to flip it or whatever (I am learning slllloooowly how to do a few things around the house). I did laundry and house cleaning. I still have 3 quizzes and 4 assignments this week, but I am still taking a couple of minutes to post again.

I am afraid that people will think that my pondering blog has turned into a music blog after some of my latest posts and now this, but I've always had lots of stuff besides my attempts at pondering (and attempts at putting my ponderings into words someone would understand). I've had Utah Local info, recipes galore, family photos, and whatever random thing caught my attention online.

After my divorce, I went to a therapist a few times and he advised me to start a few new hobbies. I was thrown into a whole new world and have full-time school so I couldn't imagine how I'd have time for a hobby. Well, I found something that isn't exactly a hobby, but it makes me happy and doesn't take much time---listening to music, finding new music I like, and even going to local (cheap) concerts. Did ya' notice? So I have this big, new collection of artists I love and wanna share them...so I'm gonna. I probably will usually just add a song to the end of a post or maybe just the songs themselves without any commentary from me when I don't have time. I know everybody has different taste in music so it's okay if none of my readers like them. I like a strange mixture of different kinds of music, so be prepared.

I like Pandora and Slacker, but I especially like Reverbnation. Okay, I LLLLOOOOVVVE it! You can browse different kinds of music and my favorite thing is that they have local and indie artists on there. You would not believe how much great talent there is floating around out there in Utah and probably wherever you live too if you aren't here.
Here is one group from Pleasant Grove (a city in Utah County, not too far from BYU for those readers not from Utah) that I have on my favorites-- j.wride. They only have three full songs here (with previews of others on their CD), but I listen to all three of them lots. "Lifeboat" is my favorite. They'll be playing at Kilby Court on March 17th in SLC for anyone interested and local.
They just released a CD, although I don't see where you can buy it anywhere except on their release tour right now, but it will be on iTunes the beginning of April. Happy listening. I'm listening to it right now...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Accuser

I really miss getting to post more than once a week (or twice if I’m really lucky). I’ve had so many things to share, but no time to write them. Today I am sharing just a little bit of a topic that I was studying last Sunday. I have a file on my computer where I write topics or quotes that I have heard or thought of and want to study more in depth in the future. Sunday I chose from the file one of the topics which I heard in a talk I listened to online. The talk is called The Most Important Three Things in the World  by Brett Scharffs. The talk was about faith, hope and charity, but I chose one scripture he shared to study.


First he was talking about the Savior as our advocate. I have often thought about that role, like in this past POST. Then he talked about Satan’s opposing role.

“Perhaps less familiar is the description of Satan, who is not our advocate but is rather our accuser. Revelations 12:10 says:
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
Isn’t this description of Satan interesting? He accuses us before God both night and day. Lucifer is relentless in his desire to accuse and convict us before God.

 
In our own lives we often hear voices that tell us that we are not good enough and that we are unworthy or even unredeemable. Sometimes, and most dangerously, these voices come from within our own heads and hearts. I believe that these voices, external and internal, are often tools and messages of the adversary. If he can convince us that we are failures, or if he can persuade us that we are good for noth¬ing, unloved, or unlovable, then he is succeed¬ing in accomplishing his work and his glory, to bring to pass the death and eternal damnation of mankind.”


I have thought of Satan as a tempter, liar, and adversary, but hadn’t noticed this title of accuser in the scriptures. First he lies to us, trying to convince us that a sin is not a big thing. He tries to get us to justify our wrong actions to ourselves, that it isn’t a big thing or even to believe that Heavenly Father will understand why we “had” to transgress the law of God.


“One of the major techniques of the devil is to cause human beings to think they are following God’s ways, when in reality they are deceived by the devil to follow other paths.” LDS Bible Dictionary-Devil 

Then after he convinces us that it isn’t a bad thing to sin, he immediately tries to convince us that it is a horrible, unforgivable thing we have done. He really is the father of all lies, trying to keep us from the Spirit and unworthy of living in our Father’s presence again one day. Not only does he “accuse [us] before our God day and night”, he also tempts us to accuse ourselves of sin and mistakes to make us feel guilty and beyond redemption. Our Heavenly Father wants us to see our mistakes too, but in order to feel Godly sorrow, repent and change. Satan accuses. The Savior can give us the strength to resist temptations, but also rescues, comforts, supports, pleads and advocates for us. There really is opposition in all things. While there will always be an accuser who wants us to be miserable, I am grateful for my Savior or wants us to have joy by coming unto him.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Neighbors

I've had a very stressful, not so happy week so I needed to take a break for just a few minutes for something that makes me happy-blogging and music (less fattening than chocolate).

I went to a concert a few weeks ago that had several local bands/singers. My favorite by far was the last group. I have listened to their music lots since then. They are called The Neighbors and are an LDS brother and sister indie piano rock band who moved out to Utah from Michigan. Adam and Rachel Kaiser sing their own unique kind of music, composing their own songs and playing several instruments. It was so f--u--n to see them live, but the music on their CD is super too. And the CD is only $5.99. You can listen to clips or buy it HERE.

This is one of my favorites called Rusafie.


Or check out their music video


Rachel was recently touring as a back-up singer for Brandon Flowers so maybe you saw her, Ann Marie.


Check them out on Facebook to see their tour dates/venues. Lots of fun!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

More Refined in Christ's Image


Today I'd like to share a small part of a special BYU Women's Conference 2009 address by Sandra Rogers called In the Strength of the Lord.

"Mortality is like taking a very difficult final examination in the most important course of your degree program, with people yelling obscenities in one ear and whispering sweet nothings in the other, kicking your shins, poking their fingers in your eyes, turning the lights on and off, making the room either blazing hot or freezing cold, telling you that you’ll never succeed and should not even try, and playing your least favorite music loudly in the background. Mortality, with its normal losses, sorrows, sicknesses, disappointments, torments, weeds, mistakes, errors, sins, and other afflictions would be a reasonable test in and of itself. But throw in Satan and his minions and now we have a test of faith and obedience that will ensure the Lord knows what we are made of. You know this is true because you’re out there taking mortality’s exams.

But there is another, even greater truth. And that is the message of this Women’s Conference. During all this testing and trying in mortality, remember what we rejoiced about in the Council in Heaven. We have a perfect friend beside us to buoy us up; to steady our feet; to put starch in our feeble knees; to enlighten our minds; to lead us, guide us, and walk beside us; to bear our burdens and our griefs; to take our stripes when we have been in error; to 'take our lickin’' for us when we have sinned; to face the bullies with us; to wipe our fevered brow in sickness; to mourn with us when we lose the people we love the most—and the things we probably shouldn’t have loved so much; to steady us when the job is lost; to reassure us when our hearts are troubled or sore afraid or lonely; to ease our pain; to stand with us when we have been falsely accused; to carry us when we are tired and weary; and to comfort us through a betrayal of trust. We have a Savior and a Redeemer. When we rely on His strength we can ride out the storm, complete the test, fight the good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith (see 2 Timothy 4:7)."

"At a time when chaos and confusion encircle us, when disappointments and pressures mount, when even our strictest obedience doesn’t seem to be rewarded in the ways we might have hoped, we can be assured that through the Atonement of Christ we can endure well all that we face, and come off more refined in Christ’s image, more true in our discipleship, and more content in our hearts."
Sandra Rogers, In the Strength of the Lord

I am so grateful for my Savior, my perfect friend, who is always beside me, who does all of these things Sister Rogers listed and more. There is not one of us in this life who is not hit by pain or tragedy of some kind, so there is not one of us who does not need his friendship and pure love. I know that our Heavenly Father's plan is perfect and that he knows what we struggle with every minute and he never leaves us alone to wander through this life. I am grateful that through the Atonement, I can be forgiven and also uplifted from my current state to progress upward, and that through the Atonement I can become "more refined in Christ's image". That, to me, is a beautiful thought.  

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Last in White

Yesterday was a beautiful day. My youngest daughter, Sabrina, was baptized. Sure makes me feel old! I am a big cry baby, but I did so well. I only cried when I was hidden behind doors watching Sabrina walk into the font. I wish I could have taken a picture of that because I am afraid I'll forget it.  
The kids with their dad.
Sabrina with her Grandma Stella and Grandpa Gil.
We were so glad to have family near who could be a part of our special day and friends who were also willing to get up early on a Saturday to be with us. Unfortunately, we only got a picture of the Gomez family (well, the part of the family that came) along with my family.
Back row: Alexander, my sister Sheri, my dad, my mom, Elisa, my sister Heather holding her baby Aileah, Patty holding her baby Kassi, her husband Sergio
Front row: My sister-in-law Debbie holding Itai, my brother Jared holding Avi, me, and Sabrina
We missed Heather's husband Tom and my brother Jonathan who both had to work and my sister Tiffany and her husband Adam who live in Georgia!
Sabrina and one of her good friends who came to support her.
Elisa with her friend/our next door neighbor


The baptism was Satuday and Friday I had a big microbiology test to take and then an algebra test on Monday to study for and a take-home physics quiz to complete. I had started planning a brunch, like we usually have after a baptism, with lots of yummy recipes, but as the date got closer, I realized that I wouldn't be able to do all of that. I was very disappointed. I had no idea what to do. Luckily, I had the idea to do something simple. Alexander and I made mini muffins. I bought a few coffee cakes already made (something I rarely do, but needed to) and I threw together a yogurt parfait bar. I took these photos toward the end of the brunch so it's not so pretty, but you get the idea.
I had plastic cups that people could fill with yogurt and their choice of toppings: granola, coconut, mini chocolate chips, berries, strawberries, mandarin oranges, pecans, brown sugar, and grapes. I think that's all we had. I bought apples, but ran out of time to cut them up and include them. I think kiwi would be delish too. So many things you can add. It was very easy and I was glad that people really liked it and a few people even said they were going to "steal" the idea for their children's baptism brunches. It was an answer to a prayer for me to think of something fast that would be good.

I wish I would have taken photos of the people during the brunch. I just didn't want to get people eating. I hope that Sabrina will remember who was there and especially remember how she felt on this special day. 

Utah Local: Rico Cocina y Tequila Bar

I wanted to find somewhere different to have dinner with my children, but it had to have food that all of them would eat. It's not easy ...