General Conference

9.30.2016

This weekend is something I have been looking forward to for a long time. For as long as I can remember, my birthday always went hand in hand with General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. When I was younger that meant Buffalo Chips for breakfast, “going to church” in my pajamas, and getting to sit on a couch rather than in a pew. But as I got older it meant an opportunity to hear counsel from a living prophet and the apostles of the church. Listening to talks, experiences and guidance from the men and the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, men and women that I have looked up to so dearly. And amazingly, every conference there seems to be at least one talk, if not all of them from a session, that seems to be completely directed towards me. Towards the questions I have, the trails I am facing, and the things going on in my life. I know, without a shadow of doubt, in those moments that these men and women are called of God. I know that their talks are inspired by my Heavenly Father. And I know that they are listening to the words He needs them to say for his sons and daughters, for me and for you. I am so grateful to be a member of a church that has modern day prophets and modern day revelation, so that I can learn and grow and become closer to my Heavenly Father in these latter days. And I am grateful for General Conference as it comes every year to give me the guidance and answers I have been praying for.



What is General Conference? General conference is a semiannual gathering of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During general conference weekend, Church members and others gather worldwide in a series of two-hour sessions to receive inspiration and instruction from Church leaders.

Why does the LDS Church hold General Conference twice a year? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints hold a General Conference twice a year, once in April and once in October, as an opportunity for members to join together and listen to a prophets voice. This has been part of the church since 1830. Every week members can go to church to hear from local leaders and members of their ward family, but twice a year we can all come together to listen to words from a living prophet, a mouth piece from God.

How can I watch or listen to General Conference? You can watch live or listen live directly on lds.org. This year there will be 5 different sessions broadcast to the public. The General Women’s Session was broadcast last week on Saturday September 24th at 6:00pm MDT. Priesthood Meeting will be broadcast October 1st at 6:00pm MDT. General Conference will be broadcast October 1st and 2nd at 10:00am and 2:00pm MDT.

When does the President of the church speak? For the October 2016 conference, the President of the Church, Thomas S. Monson, will be speaking during the Sunday morning session at 10:00 a.m. MDT on October 2nd – but there are other opportunities to hear him speak throughout other sessions as he conducts and gives reports.

Does General Conference come in only English? Conference is translated into 92 different languages for members and investigators around the world.

Is there a way to get involved or see snippets from General Conference on social media? Members of the church will be tweeting quotes and thoughts from conference all week by using #ldsconf.

Will the talks shared at General Conference be available after it is done? Within 24 hours the talks begin to be available online. Over the following 6 weeks they are put into publication in the Ensign, a church magazine, Mormon Channel, DVD, Audio CDs, iTunes, and so many other places. The talks are translated into over 70 languages for people around the world. There is also an archive of past General Conference for anyone to read.

Are there large meetings in addition to General Conference? Most members of the LDS church attend church on a weekly basis, but in addition to the general conference meetings there is a General Relief Society, Young Women, and Priesthood broadcast. In those meetings talks are designed and inspired to reach those specific groups. These talks will also be available online.

If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to ask. I know that lots of times people are curious about other people’s practices but don’t want to offend by asking or they just don’t know what to ask. I am an open book and I am happy to answer any questions or have a discussion about anything. You can also read some more on #ldsconf from my friend here.

Color By Amber

9.29.2016

There is a 75% chance I will buy something if it is going to a good cause. It makes me feel like I am shopping for a good reason – you know, like my money is going somewhere great? And that is why when I was introduced to Color by Amber I was hooked. To the point that I even signed up to sell it for a bit before deciding my life was a little to crazy. I loved the message behind the jewelry and I loved that it benefited more than just a girl trying to look fashionable.



Necklace: Color by Amber
Dress: Sister Missionary Mall
Shoes: Nordstrom Rack


Color by Amber is made of recycled content, they don’t send a single thing to the landfill, their products are BPA and chemical free. Basically everything is created around re-usability, recycling, and safety. And then to boot they help women world wide by creating Full Circle products that give back to women and children worldwide. Things like solar projects, education, and employing women to help create the beautiful products. So who said looking good has to be just for you? It can be for much more than that with products that give and give. And that is why I am a sucker for products like this.

Ensuring Your Pet Lives a Long, Healthy Life

9.26.2016

Many of us consider our pets to be almost family, so it makes sense that we would do what we could to ensure a pet’s health—just as we would for a child. Here are some ways to ensure that your cat, dog, or other small pet is healthy, helping it to live a long and healthy life with your family.

Take your pet to the vet regularly. This one is a no-brainer, of course, but it’s worth the extra reminder. Taking your pet to the vet regularly will ensure that it’s getting the vaccines it needs, as well as regular screenings for common diseases. Your vet can also tell you how you might improve your pet’s diet, employ better grooming practices, or give your pet more effective regular exercise.

Restrict the ‘people food’. Yes—it’s so much more convenient to let your dog be the ‘garbage disposal’ of the household, cleaning off plates right before putting them in the dishwasher. The trouble with this, however, is that so much of the ‘people food’ we give our pets is detrimental to their health. In addition, those extra bits of food quickly add up and could lead to obesity in your pet. Try to avoid giving your pets people food as much as possible; at the very least, refrain from feeding them those foods that are known to be harmful, including alcohol, avocados, chocolate, caffeinated drinks, citrus, coconut, dairy, grapes, nuts, onions, raw meat, snack foods, yeast dough, and anything with bones in it.

Refrain from overfeeding. Many pet owners have a habit of keep their pets’ food bowls filled continually; and this is easy to do considering that our pets are great at acting like they’re hungry all the time. But with an estimated 54 percent of cats and dogs in the United States being overweight or obese, risk levels of diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, and some types of cancer in our pets are higher than ever. Talk to your vet about how much food your pet truly needs on a daily basis, and make it a point to stick to this amount.

Give your pets regular exercise. On a related note, it’s important not to underestimate the physical and psychological benefits that regular exercise can have on your pet’s health. How much exercise your pet needs will depend on its size, age, and whether it’s a dog, cat, or other small pet, of course. In general, dogs need anywhere between 30 minutes and two hours of physical activity every day; this might mean going on a walk, playing fetch, or playing at a dog park with other dogs. Cats, meanwhile, often don’t get enough exercise if they are indoor cats. A minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity is a good starting point for your cat, and how your cat gets to play with a laser pointer, and others even like to go on walks. Small rodents, meanwhile, often take care of themselves when given ample space and perhaps an exercise wheel. exercise will depend largely on its preferences. Some cats like to chase feathers, some like to chase feathers, some like to play with a laser pointer, and others even like to go on walks. Small rodents, meanwhile, often take care of themselves when given ample space and perhaps an exercise wheel.


Groom your pet regularly. Grooming isn’t just a matter of appearance; it can have major effects on your pet’s health, as well. First, if you groom your dog or cat yourself, this gives you an excellent opportunity to examine your pet’s skin and fur up close. You might, for example, notice a mysterious rash or parasite, allowing your pet to get the attention it needs in a timely manner. In addition, regular grooming, especially with medicated shampoos, can discourage parasite infestation. Don’t forget about tooth brushing, either. With more than 85 percent of cats and dogs over 4 years old being affected by dental disease, dental hygiene for your pet is an excellent topic to bring up to your vet at your next visit.



Beware of household toxins. As this article details, many of the paints, finishes, and other decorative coats we use around the home could be damaging our pets. This is because pets of all varieties have a tendency to chew or gnaw on household items; and because of their lower weight, it takes much less of a toxin to cause harm to a dog, cat, bird, or rodent. These toxins can cause cancer, organ damage, fur loss, and so much more. So before you take on that next DIY painting project, ask yourself: Is this something that my pet could be exposed to? Additionally, consider safe paint alternatives such as sandblasting or powder coating.

Consider a pet trust. Many people do not consider creating a pet trust when they sit down with an attorney to do their estate planning, but a pet trust is a great way to ensure that your pet will be cared for as you wish in case something happens to you. In a pet trust, you can designate a caregiver for your pet, allocate money to be used toward the care of your pet, and outline specifics on how you would like your pet cared for (such as what food it should be fed, how often to take it to the vet, etc.) This page contains more information on pet trusts.

You Can Be Good at Hard Talks

9.22.2016

In every relationship, there comes a time for hard talks. These come in many shapes and sizes: from the touchy subject of whose family to spend Thanksgiving with to the intensely vulnerable confession about a health problem. The discussion, early in the relationship, may simply be about how you feel with where the relationship is going, or it might be time to disclose some information about your past, like an addiction or some kind of trauma that still affects you.

Avoidance Is Poison. We often postpone or avoid these conversations because we’re afraid of the fallout. Will it change how he or she feels about you? Will it invite conflict into your lives? Maybe it’s better to just forget about it…

Just kidding. However awkwardly you stumble through the conversation, however you might miscommunicate or even cause conflict, trying is miles better than not trying. Numerous studies have found that being emotionally disengaged and uninvested is much more harmful to a relationship than conflict or hard truths.



Communication Is a Skill. Communication certain truths MIGHT hurt or end a relationship. Failing to communicate important things WILL hurt or end a relationship. Never fool yourself into thinking that avoidance is actually a strategy.

The good news is that communication, especially communication in specific relationships, is a skill. Therefore, you can learn great communication skills and techniques. You can go from being wretched communicators now, to becoming world-class examples of strong communication if you’re simply willing to try.
Try These Tips 

Assume nothing

The first step in effective communication is to be humble. Sure, you know your partner pretty well. But assumptions block communication. Never assume that you know how he or she will react. Never assume that they understand your actions and intentions without them being explicitly stated. Conversely, never assume that you completely understand your partner’s actions and intentions. Go in with an open mind, and run every assumption you have through rigorous screening. Is he actually angry right now? Or does he just seem angry because he feels like he’s being rushed?



Understand different communication styles

The ever-so-popular book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus grandly illustrated the idea that we can get our signals crossed when we don’t understand each other well enough. However, communication differences go beyond simply “male” and “female” conversation styles. Your personality, goals, and background all determine communication style. For example, maybe he goes quiet and thoughtful when confronted with a challenge or dilemma in the relationship. He wants to carefully consider the problem before responding. Meanwhile, she’s taking his silence as withdrawal, and she’s desperately reaching for a reaction from him to show that he’s still invested and listening. In response, he thinks that she’s attacking him, and disrespecting his input.

Obviously, this can cause a perpetual spiral if it’s not countered. It’s important for her to understand that he needs some time and quiet in order to process things and offer her his best self. He needs to understand that she craves feedback and acknowledgement.

Some of us lead the charge for communication with our feelings. Others lean on logic, and others try their best to put a happy face on everything and gloss over communication challenges. Learn about your partner’s style, and your own. Make allowances for the strengths and weaknesses of each when you need to have a discussion.



Prepare

I know that sometimes it feels calculated and controlling to rehearse or strategize a difficult conversation before the actual fact. But for many of us, it’s necessary. There’s a myth that what’s said in the heat of the moment is the truth, when actually, it’s often a defensive lie.

I personally have a tendency to avoid confrontation, even when I know it’s necessary. I’ve learned that if I reach out to the person in question ahead of time, or give them a “can we talk later?” it helps keep me on track and gives me an external motivator to stick to my guns and have the hard talk.

Additionally, it’s often wise to thoroughly think out a problem before going into confrontation mode. Is this really something that needs to be addressed? What do you actually want to change or share? How can you curb any language that might be accusatory? What are you actually wanting to say? For me, I often write it out first just to organize my thoughts, knowing that I can get stressed and jumbled when I’m on the spot. It can also help to talk it out with another friend just to make sure that you’re being fair and balanced.

Bridge the Gap with Love

The language that you use to approach the conversation can help remind you both that this is a temporary challenge inside the context of a bigger and better relationship. When we hear something like “I wish you wouldn’t smoke” it’s easy to exaggerate it in our heads to, “I think you’re stupid and weak” or “I’m ready to bail on this relationship” if we’re feeling insecure. Emphasize the things that you love about your partner, focus on care and concern. Help your partner feel your care with words, touch, and service.



By Christine Hill

Time Will Tell

9.16.2016

Sometimes I really feel like I am on top of things and like I can rule the world… and then sometimes I feel like I am drowning in my own sea of life. For about half the year I live alone, because my husband travels for his job. And to avoid feeling lonely, I fill my time with a million other items. I work, I volunteer, I teach, I blog, I watch shows, and I try to spend time with friends. I try to do a lot of things so I never am on my own. And so I don’t let myself fall into a pity party. But then when my husband is home I still have all those things that I was previously used to doing PLUS one of the most important things in my life. All of that plus regular emotions and mental states, I have finally come to a point in my life that I realize the importance of prioritizing and cutting out what I can do without.



Watch: Arvo
Top: Eleventh Avenue
Hat: Aro & Co
Jeans: Old Navy
Shoes: Target

And the older I get the more I realize my priorities have shifted. My priorities used to be husband, friends, blog, social life, and so on – and then everything else was great too so I didn’t want to cut it. I wanted to do everything and anything I could. Because I liked feeling busy. But now I am realizing my priorities lie in my family, church, and personal well-being. Well being is the key one in there – because before I would load up my plate so full that I never had time for myself to just say nope, I am going to do me today. That is why I made sure to blog when I was too busy to even see straight, spent time commenting and scrolling on IG and Twitter, made sure to always volunteer for things – I don’t know. I was crazy! That is the only way to describe it. But I am putting myself first and really evaluating where I am at. And that is why I disappeared from here for a bit. With life and all I had going on, blogging just because I was “supposed to” didn’t feel right. So I took a break. I stopped spending so much time on social media. I said no to things, and man… did that feel good! So what are my priorities going to be tomorrow? Or next year? Or in five years? I couldn’t tell you…. things shift. Feelings change. And only time will be able to tell where I am landing.

Kini Swimwear

9.15.2016

Remember a few months ago when I talked about Kini? That website to design your own swimsuit exactly the way you want it! That’s right exactly the way you want. From cut to color to print to so on. ALL OF IT. All you. Well – I told you then that you could see it soon. And soon turned into a little bit longer because of shipping from Australia and me not understanding the sizing difference of US vs Aussieland. So I am finally here to show you the goods! I decided to try out the two piece racer back and I am in LOVE with how it turned out. Like seriously, in love.



Swimsuit: Kini
Coverup: Pink Blush
Shoes: Target

Kini is so impressive – they suit looks just the way you designed it when it shows up in your hot little hands. There is nothing left to the imagination – because the preview shows you just what you want. There are a billion patterns and colors and combinations of all of the above to make your suit just the way you want it.

I loved designing my own suit and loved that there were different options. I always tend to get corals and pinks and whatnot with my swimwear, so I was really excited to try out something blue and floral this round. I also decided to go for a totally different look on the top with the sleeves versus strappy to try out a new style. Kini has filled all my design dreams and I will for sure be back for more.

Sizing reminders! I am generally a size 10 or 12. I ordered my Kini in a size 12US – make sure you check the conversion chart! The swimsuit fit my body perfectly, however the highwaist wasn’t as high as I would have hoped, but my belly button in generally is higher than the average so that is probably why. I really loved the styling and fit and the care that Kini put into making the suit a great quality.

Go check out Among the Young for more Kini inspiration – because, seriously… how could you not at this point?
© Deidre Emme. Design by Fearne and Breezy & Co.