Fear, Henrietta Lacks, and TinyChat

I finished reading Fear today (look at me, finishing before the next month begins!) and I wrote my thoughts out here. You are free to respond to my comment, or the comments of others even if you didn’t read the book.

I’m sorry I didn’t announce it before now, but Henrietta Lacks was the clear winner for February’s book.

My library has digital versions available, so I think I’ll be able to read this one on my ipad! I’ll put up the official post for this book soon, so you can leave your thoughts on the book.

And I don’t know if you voted in the poll for a weekly TinyChat night, but the vote was so close that I went ahead and decided to go with Wednesday nights from 8-10 pm. I hope that works for all those who planned on making it a regular thing for them! TinyChat with me, every week on Wednesday night from 8pm-10pm Central Standard Time.

As we talked about in one of the chats last week I’m going to try to have “guests” so it’s not just me talking about myself all the time (you can visit my Formspring page if you want that kind of experience 🙂 )

This week’s guest:

Kelli, T1, and me in Portland this November

Kelli Nichole! Kelli and I were roommates for one semester during our freshman year at BYU. We stayed in touch throughout college but we weren’t really close. Then she photographed my wedding and I became very interested in photography and we’ve been BFFs ever since (I consider her my photography mentor).

Hurry and Join That Weight Loss Challenge!

Tomorrow is the first official day of the challenge, have you sent me your pictures yet? I’m excited to say that the DailyBurn challenge site has 65 people signed up so far! I know some of you are hesitant to join because sending in a picture of the scale, and pictures from each angle is a scary thought, but there are so many other people doing it that you can think of yourself as just another fish in the sea. THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO IS NEVER START! It’s the truth, and I’ll preach it until I’m blue in the face.

I may have 65 people signed up on Dailyburn, but I’m missing almost 30 sets of pictures. I’ve tried to send a reply to every person confirming I have their picture, so if you didn’t receive a reply from me, it probably means your pictures didn’t go through. For those who haven’t sent them in yet, what are you waiting for?!?!? I know at least one person has said that they don’t have someone to take their pictures for them, and my suggestion was to prop the camera up somewhere, put it on timer, and just take them in landscape mode. If you decide t have your before pictures shown in September I can always crop them for you! I’m not sure how DailyBurn works exactly (it might allow people to enter the contest even after February 1st), but I’m going to be really firm about not accepting new entries for the prize if they don’t come in by February 1st. SO, if you send me your picture on February 2nd I’m going to file it away, but if you win you won’t get a free session. If the winner on DailyBurn isn’t eligible for the free session+disc because they entered late, I’ll give it to the second person (because major weight loss like that should be celebrated with pictures! The only way I won’t give out a free session is if I win. 🙂 )

A few people have said that they want to participate in the challenge, but they don’t have enough weight to lose to win. That’s okay, you can still participate if you want, and I think you should. I’m not only trying to lose weight, I’m also training for a 5K and I tweet about it regularly with the #TWLC hashtag attached. After I finish that, I’m considering tackling a half-marathon with one of my best friends from college. You can use this challenge to lose just a little bit with the focus on getting into better shape. (Who knew I could actually like running? I’ll post about C25K soon, I’m in love with the program.)

If you have friends who you think might like to join in (maybe they are always talking about losing weight but not having the motivation?) please forward them this post, and the one that introduced the challenge!

One other thing, tomorrow is the day that we enter our weights on DailyBurn. Those who sent in their pictures right away like good little girls (I don’t have any boys participating yet, but if there are men reading you are certainly free to do so!) can enter their starting weight as the weight on the scale in the picture they sent me. I know Kari has been killing it when it comes to working out, and if she started losing already I don’t want her to feel penalized for that! If you’re the winner though, the number you have in your scale picture at the beginning and the number you have on your scale picture at the end need to match up, so don’t be overestimating on Tuesday to give yourself a higher percentage of weight loss throughout the coming months. See how those scale pictures stop temptation in its tracks?

I decided that since I’m really, really going to do this I need to do a swimsuit before and after picture. When I reach my goal weight, I’m going to look a whole lot different and I want to have a Biggest Loser “Jeans Dropping” big reveal. After I looked at these pictures, I realized that my sexy black dress is VERY deceptive. I bought this blue tankini before I had T1, and it still has the tags on it. Later in the summer I want to put it on and feel fabulous. I’ve shown you a whole lot of me before, but this is pretty nasty, and so I’m going to wait until I’m on the other side of my weight loss to show you the non-blurry before pictures. As I am a believer in taking the worst possible before pictures so you look better in the end, I went with no makeup, wet hair, and a slight scowl.  To pretty things up a bit I unleashed my graphic design skill (ha!) and prettied things up a bit with my motto and a heart.

A short synopsis in case you glossed over this post:

1. Join the challenge. You’ll always be overweight if you never start losing weight.

2. Send in your pictures friends! I open the email, check to make sure all your pictures are there (very quickly, I don’t spend any time gazing at them and making fun of you, I swear), and reply with an email to say you’re good to go.

3. Join even if you don’t have a lot of weight to lose.

4. Tell your friends!

5. You are free to put the number on your scale picture in the DailyBurn site, even if it’s more than you weigh now. You CANNOT put a number in DailyBurn that is higher than what your scale picture says or I will review it in September and think maybe you cheated. 🙁

6. I’m going to show you my before+after swimsuit pictures in September and it’s going to blow your mind.

Bonus Tidbit: Tonight in the car That Husband looked over at me and told me I’m looking really good and that he can see a difference. I’m down 5 lbs since I started the Healthy Train and it feels wonderful to hear him say he thinks I’m looking better already!

The Holy Ghost

The Holy Ghost is the reason I am a practicing Latter-day Saint. Without Him, the Book of Mormon would be just another book and I would have no testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Each day I strive to feel more of the Spirit of God in my life, and to refine my ability to listen to His promptings that I might not what direction God wants me to take in my life.

I’ve talked a little bit about our pre-earth life, a time when we lived in God’s presence as spirit sons and daughters of God. When we agreed to the The Plan of Salvation, we were agreeing to be placed into a world where our fallen brother Lucifer would have the ability to tempt us to do wrong, thus preventing us from returning to live with God again one day. Our brother Jesus Christ was to be our Savior, and He would atone for our sins. God gave us a marvelous gift when He offered up His Son, but He provided yet another of His sons for us, the Holy Ghost. To put His mission very simply, the Holy Ghost is given to us to bear witness of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and to testify of the truth of all things.

Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can saythat Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 1 Corinthians 12:3

1 Corinthians goes on to talk about some of the gifts of the Spirit, including: wisdom, knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophesy, discerning of prophecy, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues. In the Church we are taught that all members given the Gift of the Holy Ghost are blessed with at least one of these gifts, and that we are to work to develop those gifts and use them to bless of the lives of others.

In the Church we make a distinction between what we call the Light of Christ and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The Light of Christ is available to all men, regardless of their faith. To quote lds.org, “The Light of Christ is the divine energy, power, or influence that proceeds from God through Christ and gives life and light to all things. The Light of Christ influences people for good and prepares them to receive the Holy Ghost. One manifestation of the Light of Christ is what we call a conscience.”

The Light of Christ is like a force or a presence in our lives, unlike the Holy Ghost which is a personage of Spirit. He is the third member of the Godhead. He can only be in one place at one time, though His influence can be felt everywhere at the same time. Those who choose to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ are baptized, and then through the laying on of hands (a priesthood blessing by those with authority directly from God) are given the Gift of the Holy Ghost. If the Light of Christ makes us good, the Holy Ghost makes us great! We can only feel His power and learn from His when we keep ourselves worthy by obeying the commandments of God.

For me, the influence/whisperings/presence of the Holy Ghost feels very warm and a bit tingly. It’s a feeling that originates from the heart and spreads throughout my body. There have been times in my life when I have been doing things that are contrary to the Will of God, and I would spend many nights on my knees begging for the Holy Ghost to come back into my life. It was only when He wasn’t with me that I realized how much I valued His companionship. No matter how hard I tried though, I could never duplicate the exact feeling that I have come to identify as the Spirit of God. It is peaceful and comforting. There are many who speak of a voice testifying to them, particularly in times of distress or danger, but this has not been my experience. The Holy Ghost communicates with me through feelings, and I must listen closely to discern the intended message.

In Helaman 5 we learn of two great missionaries, Nephi and Lehi, who are out preaching the Gospel. They are captured and imprisoned for the things they are teaching, and as they continue to testify while imprisoned the earth begins to shake and a cloud of darkness overtakes their tormentors. A voice pierces through the darkness:

And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul— Helaman 5:30


This is how I think of the Holy Ghost. A still voice of perfect mildness that pierces my soul. That Husband is not comfortable sharing his conversion story publicly, but each time I’ve heard him retell it, he has spoken powerfully of the moment during his lesson with the missionaries that he felt the power of the Holy Ghost speak to his soul. It was something he had never experienced before, and it changed his life forever. Those who are not baptized can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost as they seek for the truth, but it is only after we are baptized that we are given the gift of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. I consider this to be one of the greatest gifts God has given me, next to the Atonement and Free Agency.

“The gift of the Holy Ghost, given to us by our Heavenly Father and administered by one having authority, includes the merciful promise: ‘If ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do’ (2 Nephi 32:5). Through the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, every member of the Church can receive ‘the words of Christ’ directly (2 Nephi 32:3), at any time or place. This personal divine guidance helps us to remain valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ and endure to the end of our days. Isn’t this wonderful! “Have we not reason to rejoice?”

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Have We Not Reason to Rejoice?” Ensign, Nov. 2007, 20

Brain Dump

I have an enormous number of links to share with you, and though I should just delete them, I can’t browse through and enjoy!

First up, Tinychat. I’m in love. I plan on getting on at some point tonight if you’d like to join me (I’ll tweet about it when I’m in). I’m thinking I’d like to schedule a regular chat time each week. Those who were using a wireless connection to chat had a harder time talking and being heard consistently, so if you’re going to join I suggest trying to use a wired connection. We were even brainstorming turning into a “talk show” of sorts, where I invite other bloggers to come on and talk with me (Mandy of OMGMom I’m looking at you!). I think this has a lot of possibilities. If I were to do my chat session at the same time which option would work best for you?

Kelli Nicole bought me a cast iron pan for Christmas. I’ve wanted something where I could brown dishes and then put them in the oven, and I feel like this one distributes the heat really evenly. Also, I was scared of whole chickens until I started using How to Cook Everything. Mark Bittman’s Simplest Whole Roast Chicken really is simple.

Bugs like you have never seen them before.

Stop reading the nutrition label and look at the ingredients list.

This family started a blog devoted to eating only real food for 100 days. Then they took it even farther and fed 2 adults and 2 children on $125/week, all while eating from the farmer’s market, shopping at Earth Fare (similar to Whole Foods), and drinking local milk.

Which is more important to you, organic or local?

A really easy way to give yourself unlimited email addresses with Gmail.

I want this line of furniture in my house.

A podcast for wedding photographers.

A man who lives in 182 square feet.

An entire wedding shot with one lens.

I want to create this:

Via Becky Higgins

This animation is so incredibly moving.

Thought of You from Ryan J Woodward on Vimeo.

As a reward for making it through all of those links, enjoy T1 eating a sour piece of orange. These pajamas are Hanna Andersson from Costco and I adore how he looks in them.

Heber, Utah

This is why people love snowmobiling. Also why they love Utah.

Click the image to Enlarge

P.S.-This was taken with my Canon G9. You can create beautiful photos with a point-and-shoot and a little polish in Photoshop!