He Lives

My original plan was to play catch up with the past two days of being a slacker. I forgot to blog about day 2 & 3 and I was going to just cram, read, and blog so I could be caught up. As I just finished writing day 2 and was moving on to day 3, I realized something really important about myself.
I don't always think of Jesus Christ, my Savior, as a real person. I look through this book that has absolutely beautiful illustrations that I've seen a million times and have come to love and cherish. Sometimes I get caught up in the beauty of the images to remember that He Lives! He isn't a piece of artwork that hangs on my wall. He is my Brother, my Protector. I can't rush building a relationship with Him for the sake of blogging, because that is not why I started this process. I started it as a personal journey that would help me strengthen my testimony of Christ. When I saw all of the people that had such a positive reaction, I got caught up in staying updated with my posts instead of staying in tune with the challenges and stories I read each day. For those of you that are embarking on the journey, or even just reading mine, I hope you understand why I can't fit 3 days of becoming closer to Christ into one day. This will help me actually read every day instead of cheating. :)
Tomorrow I will be back on track with Day 3!

Day 2: Take His Name

Today's post starts with talking about the Last Supper. As the disciples entered the room and sat at the table, the last thing they expected to happen was exactly what did happen. Jesus Christ took a bowl of water and knelt at each of their feet and washed them. I can't imagine even letting my own husband wash my feet because it is traditionally deemed a lowly act. But for the Savior to do so says a lot about Him and His perfect example of unconditional love and sacrifice. After He washed all of their feet, He introduced the ordinance of the sacrament.
By partaking of the sacrament we covenant that we are willing to take upon us the name of His Son, and always remember Him, especially in our daily walk and conversation.
Up until the last few months, I hadn't partaken of the sacrament and I can't even remember how long it has been before that! Right now in my life is the first time in years that I remember actually going to church enough and having enough faith to feel ok about taking the sacrament (most of the time).
All through high school I struggled with taking it, as it seemed that there was always a new obstacle I was in that prevented me from feeling good about taking it. Needless to say, my entire life has been a battle of worthiness to take the sacrament. I know of people that take it so lightly and don't ever stop taking it on Sundays. I have been told by so many bishops that the sacrament is far more sacred and serious than, perhaps a lot of people realize! You wouldn't go to the temple and do temple work like baptisms for the dead if you hadn't gone through the process of meeting with your bishop to obtain a temple recommend first. "The weekly opportunity of partaking of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is one of the most sacred ordinances of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints... We may fail to recognize the deep spiritual significance this ordinance offers to each of us personally." (David B. Haight, "The Sacrament," Ensign, May 1983, 14).
So I have a system that I go through every Sunday that helps me really know if I am worthy of the blessings the sacrament brings.
I ask myself the questions of obtaining a temple recommend, which I know pretty well. I make sure that I have not only been clean in actions, but clean in my thoughts. I think 90% of my weaknesses is in thought. Whether it be judging others, being quick to anger, or worse that I don't want to admit to the public. We all have our demons.
I'm not telling anyone how to take the sacrament or that you have to go through the same process as I do, but I would encourage everyone to do what a bishop once encouraged me to do. Take the sacrament more seriously. Sure, it is absolutely humiliating to nod your head "no" to the deacon handing you the silver tray of broken bread or mini clear cups of water, waiting for you to take it. I would know, it's practically as common for me to shake my head "no" as it is to accept it. Maybe as we take the blessings of the sacrament more seriously, the blessings that come will be great and more sacred to our hearts.
More important than the inner-battle of worthiness to take the sacrament is the importance of what we should be covenanting. This should be done whether we actually partake of the sacrament or not. We should always have our thoughts and minds on Christ and the many sacrifices He made for us so that we could be here.
Elder Robert D. Hales explains that when we take "His name and always remember Him and keep His commandments, He gives us the greatest blessing He can give us: that is to always have His Spirit to be with us" ("In Remembrance of Jesus," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 25).
Try to remember Him always.

The Invitation... Covenant
Read the account of the Last Supper in John 13:4-15

The Journey
-As you go through today, find ways that you can bring honor to Christ's name by letting the walk of your life exemplify Him. On this day, try to remember Him always.
-This 21 day journey will introduce different names of the Savior. Every chapter contains one name that relates to a scripture story or gospel principle. Take a moment each day to reflect on how each name describes a way that He blesses your life.


Day 1: Come and See

So instead of typing out the entire book (which I'm pretty sure is illegal anyway), I'm going to summarize the stories, add my own tidbits, but still share the scriptures, quotes, and challenges verbatim. 

The first part is a personal recollection of the author that I thought was beautiful. She talks about how she and her young son went outside after a vicious storm to see the damage left behind. They went outside expecting to find darkness and devastation, but instead were blessed with a beautiful sight instead, a giant rainbow. As they thought it couldn't become any more beautiful, a second rainbow formed over the first. They wanted to yell to everyone "Come and see!" because they didn't want anyone to miss the beauty and rarity of this wondrous sight. The invitation "Come and see" is so relevant to forming a personal relationship with Christ. 
As Christ walked along the Sea of Galilee, he invited two fishermen, Simon and Andrew, to come and see. (John 1:38, 39; Matthew 4:18-19) This simple invitation sums up Christ's ministry. It was always an invitation... Come and see. Come follow me. Come unto me. As His followers came, he showed them blessings like making the dead walk again, turning water to wine, the lame walking, and the blind seeing.
The invitation is the same for us as it was to those who actually saw Him. Will we cast aside our nets and come and see? There are so many distractions that interfere and entangle us.. Time constraints, daily chores, worldly pursuits, work demands, pride, etc. My distractions include being a mother and savoring quiet time by engaging in activities that aren't productive and definitely don't help me build a relationship with my Savior. The sacrifice of these distractions is worth having the Lord as our best friend. The author said "If we are to be truly happy, if we are to reach our full potential, I believe we must create a place for the Savior in our lives."
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, "My desire today is for all of us... to have more straightforward personal experience with the Savior's example. Sometimes we seek heaven too obliquely, focusing on programs or history or the experience of others. Those are important but not as important as personal experience, true discipleship, and the strength that comes from experiencing firsthand the Majesty of His touch." ("Broken Things to Mend," Ensign, May 2006, 70)
Most often the quiet invitation of the Master will come as we read the scriptures, visit the temple (or aspire to go to the temple for those of us who haven't received those blessings yet), attend church meetings, and during the still moments when we sincerely pray.
She challenges in the book to pray before reading for the day to have an open heart. She assures (and I second her) that, even though we may doubt the strong presence of Christ in our heart, we can still have the assurance that we are not alone, and that every day we are growing closer to Him.

The Invitation: Come

Read the account of the fishermen in Mark 1:16-18 and in John 1:38-39

The Journey

-Determine what fills your nets. Are everyday challenges such as time constraints, demands from work or home, or feelings of inadequacy or fear holding you back from developing a relationship with Christ?
-Today try to listen for the quiet invitations from the Lord to come and see.

My personal responses to the invitation and the journey.. 
I know that being a mother and being pregnant is my favorite excuse for everything. I don't intend on using them as excuses, but it is easier for me to take a bubble bath or waste time on facebook when Milo is taking a nap, instead of using that time to read my scriptures or pray. There are feelings of inadequacy and fear that go along with my excuses that all hold me back from reading my scriptures or trying to build my relationship with my Savior. As of right now, I am taking time to write this blog post while Milo is awake! He is watching "Tangled" and dancing around the living room, being as good as can be while I am taking some time to do this for myself. That kinda sounds like I'm abandoning him and I'm sure if you took a picture of us right now it wouldn't look very good.. lol But I promise this post has taken me hours because I do take breaks and get him a sippy cup or something to eat! Now that I've justified myself writing this, I'll get back to the important stuff!
"If you want to know who Christ is, come and see." Simple as that.
Now to take on the challenge of listening for quiet invitations from the Lord to come and see.



21 Days Closer to Christ

I have actually already started reading this book called "21 Days Closer to Christ" by Emily Freeman. I believe I started this process when I was on bed rest with Milo (2 years ago) and I had all the time in the world to read and blog. I don't ever want to be put on bed rest again, especially now having a toddler to take care of, but one thing I miss about it is all of the spare time (alone time) to read, ponder, journal, etc.
I will never have that kind of uninterrupted spare/alone time again until my kids are all old and married so I have to find the time to still fit in that kind of spiritual building. Once Milo got here, I stopped reading my scriptures and journaling (blogging). It was like I was only doing it to keep myself from dying of boredom, which makes me sad. I wasn't even fully "active" in the church at that time, but yet I look back at those posts and long for the spiritual strength that I had then.
Then I realized.. I wasn't necessarily any stronger spiritually, but I was being obedient. I was surrounding myself with the gospel and simply doing the things I should. That was the difference! So here I am, 2 years later, re-discovering myself spiritually.
Here are my goals:
1. Take on the 21 Days Closer to Christ challenge.
2. Blog/journal about my thoughts and progress on this journey.
3. Share something that may inspire someone else, as I have been so inspired by others.
4. At the end of the 21 days, I want to have a stronger relationship with my Savior and with my husband (who happens to be embarking on this journey with me).
So for anyone who is curious about the book and this challenge, I will be writing down the daily challenge/inspiration/scriptures that are included in the book so that anyone can feel free to do the same! Or for those who are interested on what the book is or where to get it...


I got this book at the "Time Out For Women" retreat, but the book is originally from Deseret Book. Here is what the cover looks like:

If anybody decides to do this journey with me, let me know! It would be so cool to hear someone else's perspective or personal experiences relevant to this journey. :)
Here's to one step closer to forever with my family!


Summer Fun!

I think the best part of summer is the vibrant color! I love how cheerful and happy pictures are in the summertime. :)
June has been a busy, crazy, fun month for us! July is proving to be just as awesome! Here's our summer so far...

This is me at 28 weeks pregnant. Tomorrow I'll be 31 weeks pregnant! Yikes! It's getting so close! So far with this pregnancy we've had some freaky scares but nothing ever turns out to be wrong so we are grateful for that! Last time we were told, Max should be here September 8th!

This picture was taken the day before Father's Day! We went to the mall and got Mike some cute stuff for Father's Day and, like the cute daddy he is, wanted to play with Milo at the treehouse for the better chunk of the day. Father's Day was wonderful! It was a long day full of eating yummy food we've never tried (thank you pinterest) and lots of much needed R&R!

We found our new favorite summer hang-out.. The Lindon pool! Its like a mini seven peaks (and much newer and cleaner)! We have been there several times already and now Milo is a little fish! He can't get enough of the water, which is absolutely huge for him. Last summer he barely tolerated swimming, and he definitely didn't play in the water on his own free will! This summer he is having a blast now with all the swimming we do. :) Plus I can't go tanning in a salon so this is the only way my poor pasty skin gets any color. lol

This was at Strawberry Days in Pleasant Grove! I love PG for its small town feeling and because my mom grew up here and she has so many stories of going to places that are still there today. It brings the all-american feel to life! Maybe someday I will do a photo journal of all the neat places here and any stories I know of.. Hmm.. :)

This is also at Strawberry Days. On a side note from the caption to the first picture, I have felt a little defeated in my efforts of seriously pursuing a career in photography lately. I hit the ground running really hard, but realized I needed to build a portfolio to show clients what I am capable of, etc. So going to the carnival was, in a way, a challenge to myself to get some photos I'd be proud of. Judging them based on what I saw on my camera (a 2 inch screen), I didn't think they were good enough and I never wanted to edit them or even look at them on the computer! This picture above is one that I pleasantly surprised myself with. I know its nothing new or terribly interesting, but its above what I thought my standards were, which was a great feeling. There's my ranting about that. :)

July 4th! My mom and I decided we would ditch the husbands and go to the balloon rising just us and Milo. I hadn't been since high school or probably junior high! Its a totally different experience when you have a toddler, but isn't everything though? This picture is so special to me because he has the sweetest, most genuine look of discovery on his face. Seeing a hot air balloon for the first time must be cool!

Milo's only word he says right now is "Whoa!" And everywhere he looked he was saying Whoa! haha He cracks me up!

I'm so happy my mom took my camera from me long enough to get a shot of Milo and I. Its so hard to remember to be present in moments and not miss them all by being behind the camera. I want beautiful pictures to remember the moments, but sometimes we forget to just enjoy them without worrying about capturing it in the perfect way.

Changing from JPEG to RAW format was the greatest thing to ever happen to my photos. I never could control the way my pictures turned out as much as I can now. So many times I would toss them aside or just switch to B&W because I would get so frustrated that the coloring wasn't right and I couldn't fix it. Even if you just shoot pictures casually and don't want a career, I would recommend making the switch! Beautiful pictures are the result!

My sweet little guy on the way home from the balloons.
He has all of his teeth now except the very back 2! He's showing all of them to you, see? :)

Fireworks at Thanksgiving Point! We didn't camp out a spot or even really think about watching fireworks until maybe an hour beforehand and we were still able to watch them with nobody in front or around us at all! Such a great way to end the night!

So many more fun things are coming up that I can't wait for! In 2 weeks is American Fork Steel Days, my friend Carlie is getting married next week, lots of OB appointments coming up, and did I mention we're going to VEGAS tomorrow! Totally kid-free may I add. :) Lots of pictures to come I'm sure!

xoxo, Alecia