Monday, December 1, 2014

On Being Perfect

Yesterday during the 3rd hour of church our Bishop gave one of those "call to repentance" lessons, but he did it with so much love that I saw a glimpse of myself the way Heavenly Father sees me. The spirit taught me a lot that hour, so I came away wanting to write my thoughts on perfection.

Perfection according to the world's standards (from a young mother's perspective)

career choice
being an extrovert
working mom
stay at home mom
photography skill
being witty

body type
working out
what you make for dinner
hair style/color
getting rid of wrinkles
children's attire
children's personality
family lifestyle
adult toys
home decor
being put together at all times
pop culture knowledge
social media appearance
date night
family outings
name brand anything
apple products
eating out
athletic abilities
mall shopping
thrift shopping
boutique shopping
social media comments
family pictures

Perfection according to God's standards

obedience to the commandments
daily communication to Heavenly Father
making and keeping covenants
having faith
sacrament meeting attendance
perfect in trying
asking for forgiveness
scripture study
strengthening relationships 
being a missionary
consecrating your talents
being an example

It's not the second list that keeps me down. It's the first. And sometimes it's easy to miscategorize items from the first list, putting them in the second. And then we become frustrated with the church and with faith, when it's not the culprit.

I know I am guilty of it. And this December I want to focus on the gift our Savior gave each of us. His life. So we could live. And not just live, but live happy. That happiness begins with focusing on the Lord's standards and not the worlds.

"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matt 5:48)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Maggie's First Steps

Only a few weeks of living in our first home, Maggie took her first steps. And I missed it. But grandma was a fabulous teacher and Maggie was ready to show off when I got home. 

Today I watched a segment on Studio 5 where Shelby Osmond talked about creating home videos. And a spark was ignited. 

I pulled out my MacBook from 2007. 

I downloaded software to allow me to flip the videos in iMovie HD.

Said software will probably give me a virus. Although I probably already have one.

When I was almost done, iMovie "unexpectedly closed." and I had a mild melt down when it didn't save.

But I was determined. So I started over.

And here it is.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It's a new home

Buying a home is terrifying. But exhilarating and exciting and makes me feel like a real grow up. We've been in our home a week now and things are coming together. Maggie LOVES the space she has to explore and play. And we love watching her learn. She loves dogs and says "ruu ruu ruu" when she sees them and any other animal. She loves pointing at the lights and is getting very good at saying "ight" but hasn't quite mastered the "l" at the beginning. Daddy is also teaching her the word "door." 

When I was younger we would occasionally miss photo ops on holidays. When this happened we would have to pose later when we were all together and dressed cute so my mom could scrapbook the photos. Well Brandon and I did that with Maggie this morning in front of our old house. Even though we moved last week. We had to document Maggie's first home. It's been a good place for us. Great area and even greater neighbors, some of which will be lifelong friends. Springville Twin you were good to us. Glad we can visit our cousins that will be moving in this week. Bryan and Jessie, you will love it there. 

It's hard to not want everything new in a new home, so I've done my best with what I already have. I moved stuff around and added a few new things from Ikea. I have yet to hang anything, but I'm still figuring that stuff out. 

Got this little stack of books from the Salt Lake City library book sale this past spring. The entry table was being stored at my parents' home for a few months. I got it from the amazing Vivian at Perfect Pallet. 

We bought our first couches as a late anniversary gift and we love them. They are cute for me and long enough for Brandon.  Pillows are a mix of Joss and Main, Ikea, and Ashley Furniture (came with the couch). Both side tables and coffee table are straight from the 50s and we love them. We love grandparent hand me downs. 

Top shelf box from my mom which originally came from her mom(?) Oil lamp from girls camp a decade or so ago. Books from DI. Yellow box from Ikea. 

Tin from my grandma. I love this so much.  

A view of the kitchen with my Norwex towel that I want 10 more of! And one of the drawer pulls we chose from Ikea...just need to finish the other 50+. 

Bowls and butter dish from Thai Pan. The wooden spoons and utensil pot were wedding gifts. I used to have all my big utensils in that but love the look of just the wooden ones. Oh and my white quartz countertops are my favorite. 

Let's just say making your bed with the top sheet only is life changing. Black and white pillow covers $5 from Ikea. 

Shelf in Maggie's room. Top left book from my grandma, given to me 27 years ago. She said the little girl looked like me. And she looks like Maggie too so it's perfect. 

So there's just a few glimpses of the new house. It's bitter sweet moving but we are excited to make new memories here and keep all the memories we made there. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Every night for the past week Colonel Brandon and I have had a similar discussion. This discussion asks questions, finds answers, bears testimony, explains frustrations, and reaffirms beliefs. 

Then today I found this little story and thought it applied perfectly to the swarm of negativity in articles, posts, and comments regarding the LDS church and the doubts and the frustrations and the history and the peace and the anxiety and the love and the questions and the leaders and on and on and on. 

So which wolf are you allowing to win the battle?

Do what makes YOU feel right. Forget everyone else. Don't pull anyone with you to either side. Just live your life with love and compassion. Don't blame. Don't judge. Don't hate. Don't manipulate. Do what's right for you and let others do what's right for them. Trust God and take questions to Him. Not social media. And don't spread the doubt. Don't feed the wolf that is mean and bitter. WHICHEVER SIDE you are on, be kind and compassionate. Feed the wolf of love and humility. 

The end. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Dear Maggie, on your first birthday

Dear Maggie,

I can tell you are going to be smart like your dad and grandpas. You are such an inquisitive child. Always pointing and saying, "what's that?" You especially love books, balloons, and balls. You throw balls and are quite ambidextrous. Although you do throw significantly better with your left hand. Which your mom is totally thrilled about. (Lefties unite!) 

You also love to dance. When music comes on you can't resist bouncing your little body. And when you get really into it you wave your hands up and down.

Your faces make me smile all day long. I love watching you play. You get so excited and gasp with your little round lips as you throw the ball and chase after it. You also love piling toys or laundry from one side of your body and then moving them to the other side. And you love pointing at all the wonderful things around you. You point at the animals in your books and you point at lights, trees, birds, and anything else we pass. 

Your smile is contagious and it is out of the ordinary if we go anywhere and someone doesn't comment at how cute you are. You also love to clap, wave, blow kisses, play pat-a-cake, and peek-a-boo. 

You walk around furniture and cruise up the stairs. You learned that trick the day after your birthday when mom went upstairs for something and came around the corner to find you 3 steps from the top. Thankfully you didn't fall down. We are working on getting brave enough to go down. 

Can't believe you are one!! It's such a joy watching you discover and learn more about this beautiful world. We sure so love you so incredibly much. 


Mommy and Daddy

Friday, May 30, 2014

Dear Maggie, Dare to Stand Alone

My Dearest Maggie,

You are turning one next week and it terrifies me. Not that you are turning one, but that this is the first of many birthdays and each year you will get a little older and learn a little more, both from Dad and me, and from others. Year after year I will have to let go a little more and your world will get a little bit bigger. And you will begin to see a little bit more. 

The great and spacious building is bigger and louder than it's ever been. Ridicule and mockery is all around. Both within the church and out. Pretty crazy, huh? President Monson, the prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when you were born said this, along with many many others, "I recall a time—and some of you here tonight will also—when the standards of most people were very similar to our standards. No longer is this true." (Oct 2011)

He then spoke of an article in the New York Times which included a study on morality. The conclusion being, "“The default position, which most of them came back to again and again, is that moral choices are just a matter of individual taste. ‘It’s personal,’ the respondents typically said. ‘It’s up to the individual. Who am I to say?"

These are the beliefs and ideas you will be surrounded by. That morality is a personal choice. What's moral for one, may be immoral for another. Please listen to God, believe you are His daughter and that He has given you commandments, rules, boundaries, whatever you want to call them, to keep you safe from harm. I firmly believe this. Your dad believes this also. I know your Heavenly Father cares about your well being just like your earthly parents. Which is why both of us will always give you rules. Temporal rules and spiritual rules. Please remember this when seeing that great building filled with celebrities, friends, and even family. Turn to God and let Him direct you.

But also believe that God has given us prophets in these latter days to guide and to be His mouthpiece. I know this is true and I know you can know too. If you ask God with a sincere heart.

The ideas in this great and spacious building are ever changing. Today the hot topics are women and the priesthood and gay marriage. When I was little these were rarely, if ever spoken of. I've had to work out my own beliefs and ideas and I want to share them with you.

Back when I was in Junior High, gay marriage entered the political scene. I remember hearing about it and asking your grandpa, "Just because I don't believe gay marriage is right doesn't mean I should prevent others from that. Who am I to judge?" As a young teenager I didn't have much understanding of politics and religion and how they relate. Your wise grandpa, along with neighbors and friends, held a neighborhood meeting for the parents and children to help us understand a little better. He shared this scripture:

26 Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people.
 27 And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land. (Mosiah 29: 26-27)
This is why we must stand up and be a voice. We cannot let the voice of the people turn against morality.

Many of these moral choices have family and strong emotions attached at either end so let me say this first. It is so important to treat everyone with Christlike love. Do not tease, bully, or say mean things about anyone for any reason, no matter how different or similar they may be to you.

But take a stand. I know this can be done. I've experienced it and I've seen it. 

I'll never forget being at lunch after a district meeting talking to a new missionary. He was from California and at the time Prop 8 was everywhere in the news. We spoke about it briefly and he shared his own experience. His parents and family members were all in strong support to oppose gay marriage, yet his grandfather was gay. Even still, their family was not torn apart. There was love and respect. While they had opposing views, nobody was treated differently and they understood and loved each other. But they took a stand.

It can be done. We don't have all the answers. We can't place judgement on how things will work out, but I know things will work out in the eternities.

I am briefly bringing up many difficult topics and only speaking of them briefly. So don't ever shy away from asking me as issues and questions arise. Just like I asked my dad, please come to me or your dad.

This next issue I have a difficult time understanding because it does not come from outside the church, but from within. There is a small group advocating for women to hold the priesthood. Some women in the church believe we should have the priesthood. There has been a struggle with the roles of women in the church and I know practices have started to change, giving women more of a voice which is fabulous! I am no scholar on the topic, but I will say this. 

You are just as blessed from the priesthood as your father. You are entitled to those blessings, but holding the priesthood is not your role. I love what someone said (I forgot where or when I heard this) about this issue. Women are given the responsibility of giving life. Men are given the responsibility of sustaining life. 

Do I believe women are unique and have different talents? Yes! Do I believe the same for men? Yes! But just as women are unique from other women, women are also different from men. Physically we are different. Emotionally we are different. Mentally we are different. Therefore, we are given different responsibilities.

Embrace your womenhood. Does that mean you have to complete DIY projects and cook a meal every night? NO! But it does mean you can nurture any talents you have been given and use them to help those around you. And you do not need to feel inferior because you don't have the priesthood.

One last little tid bit. Many use the argument that these issues will change. That eventually the church will change the doctrine. And they use history as examples, like polygamy and the blacks receiving the priesthood.

1. Polygamy is a principle in the gospel and just because we don't practice is currently doesn't mean the doctrine changed. There have been times God has needed the saints to practice it and right now is not that time. It was simply outlawed in the US and the church lives by the laws of the land. With that said, don't attempt to fill in answers and speculate where no answers have been given. We simply don't have all the answers and I'm at peace with it but many are not. Take it to the Lord.

2. Blacks receiving the priesthood. Never was there revelation stating the blacks will not receive the priesthood. Many individuals had their opinions, some were wrong, but I didn't live in that time so I can only imagine the difficult challenges and deep rooted ideas carried down from the traditions of fathers. And God, in his wisdom and timing, revealed in 1978 to the prophet "extending priesthood and temple blessings to all worthy male members of the Church" (Official Declaration 2).

Just like the Savior came to the world with a new commandment, the Saints may be given new commandments still. And some practices will change. Women praying in General Conference, the age of missionaries, and new commandments will be given. Number of ear piercings, Word of Wisdom, etc.

But the doctrine will not change. 

The family unit will always be made up of a father, mother, and children.

And men and women will always have the following roles.

THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed. (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)

Please do not let the ideas of the great and spacious building, which is growing larger and larger with the accessibility to social media, sway you to join them. Hold to the rod. Trust in God. He will never lead you astray. 

Love God. Love your fellow men. Do not place judgement on those around you. And don't be afraid to stand alone.


Your momma

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

My Insecurities

The other day I stumbled across a blogger who posted about her insecurities. I wish I could find her now to give her the credit for the inspiration behind this post. 

Some of these insecurities are slowly breaking down, while others are not. This post is not a pity party. I have worked hard to have a decent self esteem and I really am so blessed with the life I have. Seriously don't deserve it. But I also believe in the power of change and when I expose myself it's a step towards that change. And since us women like to compare our insecurities to others strengths. Here's my list to compare. And maybe you have some of the same feelings as I do so here's proof you are definitely not alone. 

1. My lower jaw. I am on the verge of having an underbite. My profile has always accentuated this jaw of mine. And I cannot ever watch myself talk because all I see is an awkward mouth moving with a large jaw. So I will never be a YouTube phenomenon. 

2. My figure. Or lack thereof. I have no hips. And I have no waist. They just blend together. Which leads to my next insecurity. 

3. My lack of motivation to work out. So many mommas out there love going to the gym, running, exercising, etc. I am totally content going on my daily walks thanks to my lovely and talented neighbor Julie. And then coming home to Angie's kettle corn and a diet coke. Yet there is a major part of me that's super insecure I am not motivated to work out. Because I feel like to be a good mother I should have that routine. Because exercising makes you happier right? I'll stick with my 45 min. Speed walks. When it's warm outside. 

4. My lack of hobbies. Some moms have these fabulous hobbies. When asked that question, here's my response: "I played tennis in high school but don't play more than a couple times a year now. I ski... Well I used to. I haven't been in 3+ years so that probably doesn't count anymore. You could blame my hip surgery on this but probably not since it was almost 10 years ago. I scrapbook occasionally. I surprisingly have started Maggie's book but my creativity level could never match my mothers. So that leaves me with... Tv binging? Like as in 10 episodes of this season of Survivor in one that's embarrassing to admit. 

5. I am a stay at home mom to one child and I have no side business or part time real world job. Most of my days are spent... watching tv and playing with Maggie. And occasionally cleaning the bathrooms and vacuuming. And if I make dinner it's a miracle. Like tonight, dinner was canned chicken I grilled in a frying pan with some spices. And then tossed with a bagged Caesar salad. Now it was yummy. And easy. And my one dinner I'll make for the week. 

6. My memory. I am reminded daily by Colonel Brandon that I have a horrible memory. I really don't remember much. So I don't remember amazing childhood experiences that people tell to inspire and entertain. So basically I can never be all sentimental by bringing up find memories I've shared with friends and family. Maybe I need to do that one diet of fasting every other day to improve my memory. Dad, does it really work?

7. My laziness. I don't go hiking on the weekends. I don't complete DIY projects to beautify my home. I don't exercise. I don't plan fun outings or parties. The end. 

8. I majored in English and I am not an avid reader, amazing writer, or grammartorian. Don't think I need to expand on that. 

9. I say things before I think and have embarrassed myself too many times to count. Sometimes it's funny. Sometimes. It's not. 

10. My bald spot. I had stitches when I was three. And the scar is near a cowlick at the back of my head so the majority of the time you can see it enough to the point of receiving the nickname baldy. 

So there you have my top 10. Think of this as another edition of #mylifeunstaged. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Because of Him

This year has created a beautiful video and daily project for this week leading up to Easter to remember our Savior and the reality that He lives and we can all live because of him.

Today I know I can be a better daughter because of Him. My parents have always shared their testimony to me that families are eternal and I can see my angel brother and sister one day. This gift has been made possible because of the resurrection of The Savior of the world. 

I know Jesus Christ lived on this earth and taught his disciples. I know he was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. I know he atoned for our sins and ultimately died so that we will all be saved from a spiritual death. This allows us the opportunity to repent. His atonement gives us second chances. And I know he was resurrected so we can overcome our physical deaths. This miracle of Christ's resurrection is a gift to all human beings. 

This week leading up to Easter Sunday we can all remember Christ a little more and think of all of the second chances we can experience because of His atonement, death, and resurrection. 

To watch the film go here:

You can also search #becauseofhim on different social media sites to see what others are saying about Jesus Christ and join in on the project. 

And for additional reading you can read daily commentaries on the life of The Savior during Holy Week on my uncle Chad's blog here:

Monday, March 10, 2014

2014 Discoveries

Last year I did a post of some of my favorite things. I decided it was time to do that again. Since I currently don't have a working computer there won't be links (yet). Sorry in advance. 

1. Felt Bows for Maggie. 

I've purchased quite a few felt bows for Maggie but recently I've discovered how calming it is to make them. Dani, the creator of Emme + Ivy moccasins bought some amazing wool felt and we've had so much fun making headbands, bitty bows to pair with some Girlie Glue, and clips. While I watch hours of Criminal Minds (eek) I make bows. We love it so much we are having a bow making party. We're still working out the details but it's going to be fabulous. We have sooo many colors so follow @emmeivy on Instagram for updates on when that will be happening. So excited!!

2. Perfect Pallet. 

Found them at the Vintage Whites market in Salt Lake on Saturday and they are seriously amazing. I'm starting a savings jar now to buy all sorts of beauties when we move to our new house. I did buy this adorable sign that inspired my gallery wall in Maggie's room. I've been collecting stuff for a while but this little love sign was the inspiration I needed to actually get it up. And I may have purchased a second one that may be part of my first ever giveaway. So follow my Instagram @em_bastian if you want in. And follow @perfectpallet7 to see all their gorgeous stuff.


3. Indy Brand Clothing. 

If you want the softest, most comfortable shirts that are also stylish, then go to I have tagged them in a few pictures on my Instagram and their new spring line is coming soon! 

4. Pasta Roni: Parmesan 

Okay you may laugh at this but I jut discovered this. And it's delicious. So if you're anti preservatives and anti carbs just ignore this number. But if not. Go buy a box. Best $1 you'll ever spend. And it pairs great with a diet coke. 

5. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and The Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

I got Colonel Brandon this book for Christmas and started reading it myself. If you need an inspirational book to read, pick this one. Each chapter highlights a person that overcame a battle. But more than that, this book explores a new way of viewing the battles we face and how we overcome them by looking at situations differently than others.

And there you are. Happy Monday!!  

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dear Maggie: a letter on modesty

Dearest Maggie,

Last night your dad, Colonel Brandon, and I had a discussion on modesty. Raising a daughter kind of terrifies us at times. And recently there's been a lot of discussion about modesty. I wanted to remember this conversation for days in the future when I can no longer shop for you and dress you. 

Beginning a few days before this, I was talking to Uncle Chad and Aunt Marie and modesty was brought up. They shared a profound comment their daughter Sarah shared in seminary. She said something along the lines of: when we dress modestly we allow ourselves and others to focus on our fellow men rather than ourselves. If we are so focused on our dress and getting attention from it, both from girls and guys, we take away our focus from the needs of those around us to put in on ourselves. How profound is that? She is wise beyond her years. 

I've had many discussions about modesty in my life. In young women's it was, "modest is hottest." In seminary and Sunday school it was, "girls need to help the young men to have clean thoughts by dressing modestly." And in more recent years it's been conversations with friends about when sleeveless dresses or baby rompers should no longer be acceptable for our baby girls. Or videos that have filled up my Facebook feed like the one from Jessica Rey about the evolution of the swimsuit. 

So what do I teach you Maggie? How do I teach you the importance of modesty. This was what your dad and I discussed.

Beginning with a scripture that your dad read. 2 Timothy 3:1-5. 

1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Maggie, these are the days we live in and sometimes even mommy gets swept up in this and constantly needs to be reeled back in. It's definitely real and definitely challenging.  

There's a lot of good stuff in those scriptures but just focusing on the modesty issue - our bodies are temples. They are special and we need to love them. But we also need to realize the gift they are from God. And because they are a gift, we have to keep them protected. Thankfully our loving Heavenly Father has told us how to protect them. So why are we modest? First and foremost, because it's a commandment from God and he has given you this life and this body. 

Modesty is more than the clothes you wear or the skin you show. What we wear reflects our personality, our likes, and our focus. Some of your friends will love to dress up and wear heels. Others will live in tennis shoes and shorts. What we choose to wear really does reflect who we are. Now that does not mean everyone that shows more skin is slutty or naughty. Modesty issues should not justify the judgement of others. But I am saying we all put some of our personality in what we wear. If this were not true, we would totally accept our mothers or fathers to pick out outfits for us our entire lives and not be phased one bit. 

You will be told many reasons in your life as to why you should dress modestly. Most will be focused on how your dress has an effect on the boys around you. You'll be told dressing immodestly will allow men to objectify you and just see you as a body or object. You will be told to help the young men to not have bad thoughts when they see too much skin or too much of your figure. While these ideas are true and we can't discount the influence we have on others, those ideas cannot drive us to modesty. It has to come from within. It has to be a desire for our own well being and not the well being of others. 

This goes back to the idea that Sarah expressed. Let's not focus so much on our body and dress that we can't focus on the needs of those around us. If we try too hard to be the center of attention with regards to the way we dress, we are taking that attention away from those around us that may need a friendly hug or a caring hello. 

I want you to know I am speaking from my own personal experiences. I have had moments when I've been so focused on my wardrobe that I didn't have room in my brain to focus on the people I was with and what they needed. I have had moments when I've showed more skin and could feel the eyes on me. I didn't like the attention and I was constantly fiddling with my clothes to keep them from moving even the slightest. I have torn my closet apart trying on clothes to find just the right outfit. But is that really what's important? Do we really want to be known for how well we dress? Or how caring, loyal, and trustworthy we are. 

Maggie, I don't want you to have some of the feelings your mom has had. Those feelings of sadness for not hitting the genetic jackpot or discouragement for not getting to a size 2 after exercising for weeks or months. So join with your dad and me, and let's not be a part of these last days where we are lovers of our own selves. And covetous of those around us. Let's live the commandments and turn our attention outwards. Let's focus on our fellow men. Let's cover our bodies and dress modestly so we can allow those around us to also "lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;" (Hebrews 12:12). 

Love, mommy and daddy

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Where's the proof?

I don't actually know if this post will ever be published, but in the meantime...

Colonel Brandon and I were talking about recent posts we've seen on Facebook. A lot of issues with statements the LDS church has made. Some issue with a Mormon woman writing about her personal interpretation of the movie, "Frozen" and other random negativity. 

This post is not to upset my many family members and friends that could possibly agree with some or all of these things that inspired this post. This post is to briefly share my own reaction. Because I think many share the same ideas but don't vocalize it. Which is usually what I end up doing. Talking to close family and friends about it, but stopping there and letting everyone else comment. Now I am the first to admit I haven't compiled sources and done my research. So please don't think that's what this is. 

All I have is one question really. And this stems back from being a missionary on the East Coast and being asked so many times in one form or another, where's the proof? 

And to that person that is out there wanting me to prove that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, I just have a few simple statements and questions. 

First, read The Book of Mormon and then tell me how Joseph Smith was the greatest con man in history. Getting millions of people to believe this book which was published when Joseph Smith was only 24, to then join "his" church and for what? So he could take all their money and get rich? Or be beaten, forced to move constantly, and eventually be murdered at the age of 39.

And then read the definition of "perfect" and "fulness." The fulness of something is not found in a group of people or a single person. Fulness is a noun describing the state of something being full. So unless you're talking about someone eating too much and having a full belly, it doesn't describe someone being perfect. Can God give the fulness of his teaching and gospel to someone that isn't perfect? If you believe in the Bible, then the answer would have to be yes. Adam, Noah, Moses, Isaiah were all given the doctrine, the power, the tools to teach the fulness of the gospel. 

And so was Joseph Smith and every prophet since to the living prophet today, Thomas S. Monson. 

But none of those people are perfect. They are righteous, but they, just like local Bishops and Relief Society members, are not perfect. 

So please do not discount the belief or faith that The Book of Mormon is true just like The Bible because of these imperfect people. 

Because both The Bible and The Book of Mormon promise the day of a restoration. And I know that day is here. 

So don't apologize for having a testimony. But don't actively try to stir things up and offend. Just love. 

That's what The Savior taught and that is the most important. So members of the LDS church don't sit and point out fault of others, because we all have it. And those that are no longer members or never have been, don't point your fingers either. 

Just love and pray for inspiration on how to handle deeply difficult issues we all face. And then go out and do your best to love and teach and inspire.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Do you ever feel mediocre? I just finished looking at Pinterest (geesh) and a strange thing happened. Instead of getting all mopey because I couldn't create or buy the beautiful things I saw, I found myself reading a blog post about financial tips and I felt so mopey that I can't save and budget like this blogger. I realize I won't go into debt to go on a vacation or buy pretty things. I know that I would never let myself go into credit card debt and I'm grateful the world hasn't gotten that strong of a hold on me. 

But then to look at the other side of things and have those same feelings. Getting depressed that I am not disciplined enough to budget and coupon. It just doesn't leave.

But I need to accept that I will be mediocre. In everything. I will not be an amazing chef, DIY queen, frenzie couponer, perfect budgeter, extravagant vacationer, fashionista, wealthy mom blogger, or a fancy home decorator. 

And today I'm okay with being mediocre.  

Update: I hope this post wasn't misleading in saying it's okay to not try and be better or not try to be great. My point for this was attempting to change my focus inward. In this world of many talents, it's okay to not be the latest and greatest. Do what makes you happy. Even if that is being a momma in the privacy of your home or calling a friend to help them feel better. We always say It's the little things that count, but let's actually believe that. It doesn't matter if the rest of the world knows who we are. Or what we do. Do what you love to do and love it. And of course strive to be a little better everyday.  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

My Life Unstaged

Alright folks. Here's the deal. I love looking at homes. I love seeing what people do with them to make them their own. Starting at the age of 12 I helped a family friend with their Utah Valley Home Shows. I always loved looking at all the homes with my mom. I am kind of nosey even. I've been known to look through homes when babysitting or feeding neighbors animals when they are out of town. Promise I'm not creepy though. Eh... Moving on.

So I also have this weird fascination mixed with frustration with all these "famous" bloggers and instagrammers. They somehow seem to have the latest and greatest of everything. Clothes, decor, furniture, etc. While this isn't true, I somehow believe it is. I find myself looking at my humble twin home thinking, man I would love to have new couches, white trim, a fireplace, and beautiful window treatmentsand pillows. 

But then I have other moments of pride when I see small corners and items that I love. Stuff that I got for a steal, won at bunco, or inherited from family members. I look at the gifts that have meant so much to me. The items I've moved with me from apartment to apartment. I love those moments of feeling awesome. 

Nobody has the latest and greatest. But we all have special stuff that make us happy. So why don't we share those. Not the perfect. Not the expensive. Not the latest fads. But the everyday moments that make us smile and make us crazy. 

So with the inspiration of a few friends' Instagram feeds, my own curiosity and fascination with living spaces, and the need to get away from my disillusion that everyone else has everything I want, let's share all of our own moments of #mylifeunstaged. 

Rules? There aren't really any. Just show me the rooms and items in your homes that you love. 

Here's my episode 1 of my life Unstaged. The bedroom. 


My bed. Man I love my bed. The first three years of marriage we slept on a 15+ year old mattress we inherited. Then we bought our first piece of furniture. A new mattress with a simple box springs and metal frame. I have thought about getting a bed skirt but it would just collect dust right?

My be surroundings. 

I always have a box of tissues by my bed. I've been known to blow my nose... A lot. People make fun of me for it. But even the thought of boogers in my nose gives me the heebie geebies. The newest addition to my bedroom are the striped pillows and bench. Both were Christmas gifts... From myself. (Am I the only one that does that?) and both were from Joss & Main. Now that is a cool store.  Especially when everything was an additional 20% off. 

And the black rectangle is my inherited laptop from Colonel Brandon. It has no battery life and is not sleek, but it works. 

And then Maggie's stuff can be found in every room. We have this new tradition of playing with toys on the bed while we watch Kelly and Michael in the morning.  

So there you have it. My Life Unstaged. Join in on Instagram with the hashtag #mylifeunstaged.  

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Maggie is her mother's daughter

Both of us have days like this. 

But we have good enough friends that still love us anyway. 

Starting tomorrow, I'm going to be trying something new on Instagram. So you can either follow me to participate or just unfollow me if it's annoying. I won't be offended :). But I'm hoping it will help me realize all the good I have and recognize the beautiful things that tell my story instead of wishing I could have everything everyone else has. Because I tend to do that more than I'd like to admit. 

If you want to follow along, my Instagram is @em_bastian. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Maggie the Model: Emme + Ivy

Maggie had the honor of modeling for the new company started by my very good friend. I just got the pictures back today and because I have instagrammed waaaay too much the last few days, I'm going to post them here.

If you love what you see, check out the adorable leather bows and moccasins over at Emme + Ivy. And then schedule a photo session with Whitney.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Happy Valentines Day

I agree with another blogger that Valentines Day is worth celebrating now that I can decorate with hearts galore. 

The other day I picked up some adorable paper hearts from Pebbles and sewed them together to create a super long heart garland. I had to get creative where to hang such a long garland. I don't have a fancy chandelier above my kitchen table so I created one with my hearts. 

I then did my first glitter project with 2 year old Kennedy. I have to recruit toddlers to come craft with me since Maggs is too little still. 

She chose pink and orange glitter for our heart. And I didn't evenly distribute the glue very well. So here's our blotchy glitter heart. 

And then here's my pretend mantle celebrating winter and Valentines Day. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Simply Singing- Primary Singing Time Ideas

I remember my singing leaders. Some were fascinating to just watch. They were so enthusiastic and their eyes lit up the room. Others planned these extravagant games to help us choose the songs we were going to sing. They probably spent hours and hours preparing. 

I've been the Primary Song Leader for almost 2 years now and my favorite is to simply sing. I don't plan a new game each week. We usually just sing. And it's so fun. The junior kids have fun singing Hinges and falling to the floor when we "crack."  And the senior kids love learning new songs that aren't as well known. I usually don't even create pictures or posters because we come up with actions to help us. I have started two new things this past month that I wanted to share in case anyone else will find them helpful. 

1. With the senior primary we have started learning songs together. I let someone pick any number between 1 and 285. And that's the page number we'll turn to and learn a new song. I realize this only works if the senior primary is old enough and large enough. And it also requires a pianist that can sight read the music. But it's been a lot of fun. And I've found it's really helped the kids that don't typically sing to start singing. I think it's easy to get bored singing the same handful of primary songs for so many years and it's a fun challenge for them to be part of the teaching process since we are all learning and teaching in that exact moment. 

2. I mentioned this in an earlier post but this year the children are helping me with my scripture study by singing/learning a song that relates to what I read that week. 

Week 1 we sang the first verse of Nephi's Courage (120) with the scripture 1 Nephi 3:7. 

Week 2 we sang the chorus to The Iron Rod (Hymn book 274) and I read 1 Nephi 8:30. 

Week 3 we sang The Eighth Article of Faith (127) and I read 1 Nephi 13:24-26. 

I love that this helps the primary kids connect song to scripture. Showing that when we sing we are learning gospel doctrine. And keeping the commandment of scripture study.

So happy singing. And don't ever feel like you need to do more than simply sing. 


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Era

Thoughts about eras. 

When I look in the mirror I wish I lived in the an earlier century when white skin was attractive. Or when fuller women were considered more attractive. Or when clothing was not a fashion statement, but something to protect the body. 

When I see nice furniture and fancy decor I wish I lived in a time when everyone made their own furniture and it was a practical necessity. Nothing fancy. Nothing expensive. 

When I get a hair cut I wish I lived in a time before mirrors so I couldn't compare my large head and blemished face to the hairdresser behind me. 

When I paint my toenails I wish I lived before things like nail Polish existed. Because then maybe I wouldn't wish my toe nails were porportionate to my toes. And then I couldn't wish that I could afford to pamper myself like the other women I see on social media. Because back in the day spas and salons didn't exist. 

When I go to church I look at all the women, mothers, and families that are dressed to impress. Because we wear our Sunday best right? But instead of seeing the beautiful children of God, I see them as someone I am not. Someone prettier and fancier. And then I wish I lived in an era before stores. When everyone made their clothing. But then I remember I can't sew. And then I remember all the talents other people have and wish I lived in a time when everyone lived so far from neighbors they only had their family to entertain. And couldn't share pictures for everyone else to see. 

But then I remember the New Era. The era of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Restored once again. And I realize I don't need to wish I lived in an earlier era without the technologies and social media that exposes everyone to everyone else. Because living the gospel era doesn't let me compare myself to my neighbors. My friends. Who I love and admire. The gospel era doesn't let me focus on outward and worldly appearances and ideas. The gospel era focuses on my relationship to God and my Savior. The gospel era teaches me that I am a child of a loving Heavenly Father and I have value. The gospel era teaches me not judge. Not compare. Not hate. Not belittle. 

So next time I find myself wishing I didn't live in a time when I could so easily wish I looked like someone in my Instagram feed. Or cook something yummy I see on Pinterest. Or create something beautiful I see on Facebook. I will remember to live in the gospel era. Because the gospel era is what matters. It is what will bring me happiness. So I don't have to pretend to live in an isolated world. I can live in this century with all the beautiful technologies and blessings. And also remember to live in this new era. This gospel era. My era. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A House, Maggs, and Simply Singing

We are in the process if building our first home and I could not be more thrilled and anxious. Picking stuff out is exhilarating and terrifying. How am I supposed to envision rooms and floors and walls by looking at tiny swatches of paint color and carpet? Hope it all comes together and I'm glad we live so close so I can see the progress on a daily basis. 

Then there's Miss Miggs of course. Man I love my little ham. She makes Colonel Brandon and me happier than we could ever imagine. 

Sad day when the Saints lost to the Seahawks. But at least Maggie could cheer us up. 

And then there's singing time in my ward. Man I love those kidlets. They make me laugh so much and I am inspired by their spirit. This year I am trying a new scripture study approach. I'm following @bofm365 on Instagram and trying to read my scriptures daily. In conjunction with that, the kids are helping me! Each Sunday we learn a new song that has to do with what I read that week in my study. I also read a scripture and talk about how songs are like scriptures. We can learn new things we read and sing through the spirit. I've also invited the kids to participate too and we can help them in their scripture study by singing a song they choose from their scripture reading. 

The kids love it. And so do I. It's helped my personal study lots. 

Last week we sang the first verse of Nephi's Courage. This week we'll do The Iron Rod. Colonel Brandon has lovingly pointed out it will be a stretch to connect songs when I get to the Isaiah chapters in 2 Nephi and the war chapters in Alma. Well we'll show him :). And he'll help me do it.