Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Sickness, Easter and General Conference!

Hi everyone, 

I wanted to do a quick post on here as I'm conscious that I've been quiet on the blogNow  for a few weeks now. This is mainly down to having been busy with life in general, amidst varying degrees of colds, flu, chest infections and other general lurgies! Poor Mr. Peartree is now starting with the same symptoms, so I fear I may be busy playing nursemaid for the next week or so.

Sadly, I was full of a chest infection last weekend, so my Easter / General Conference experience was pretty low-key! On Saturday afternoon, our stake was showing the Women's General Conference that was originally on March 28th, then we would be at the Stake Centre in the evening when the Saturday Morning Session of General Conference was broadcast. Since I was sick, I didn't want to share my germs at the Stake Centre, so I curled up on the sofa with the laptop and watched the Women's Broadcast and Saturday Morning Session on my own. I was, quite frankly, blown away by the answers to questions I received - even questions that I hadn't asked consciously! 

On Sunday, I visited my family for an Easter dinner. Mr. Peartree isn't a member of the Church, and unfortunately, he had to work, so joined us later in the evening. It was fun to spend time with my Gran, Uncle, Dad, Step-Mum, her parents, my Step-Brother & his wife and my Half-Brother! We don't get to see each other very often, so it's always quite an event when we do get together. I'm sad that I didn't manage to take any photos of the day.

I love being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! It has really brought home to me the importance of family. We will always be a family, no matter what, and I love them all dearly. It is my dream to start my own family soon. I truly hope that one day soon we will be blessed with the beginnings of our progeny. 

On Monday, the Primary at our ward organised an Easter Activity for the children. There was face painting, egg decorating, Easter basket-making and egg decorating, before the children took part in an egg hunt. 

How did you spend Easter / Conference weekend? What was your favourite part from General Conference?

Monday, 2 March 2015

Fireside: Homelessness Awareness

Last night, our ward held a Fireside to raise awareness about homelessness in our town. We were given a presentation by Susan Blythe, who is the Manager of "The Room at the Inn", a charity that offers warm food and shelter to the homeless in the local area. 

We sang the beautiful hymn, Have I Done Any Good in the World Today? and one of the youth offered a lovely opening prayer to set things in motion, before Bishop Gray spoke to us about the Parable of the Good Samaritan and how we can apply the lessons of this parable to our lives today.

Following Bishop Gray's address, Sister Brett read out a personal story about Sister Johnston's mother and her experiences of being homeless in Australia. It was a very touching story and I don't think there was a dry eye in the house!

We also had speakers from the local political parties, who gave their own personal take on the issue of homelessness and possible steps we can take to resolve the current problems and prevent further cases of homelessness. 

It was great that we were all able to get together as one body and learn about steps we can each individually take to provide assistance to those who need our help. 

Have you ever thought about what you would do if you were homeless tonight? Where would you go? How would you wash and shower? Get a drink of water? Wouldn't you want to retain your dignity? Of course! There is so much that we take for granted that those without homes struggle through, day by day, night by night. It's so important that we support our local charities such as "The Room at the Inn", whichever way we can.

Can you donate much-needed blankets, clothing, toiletries, sleeping bags? Can you give up some of your time to help with some volunteer work with your local shelter? Can you just raise awareness about the state of homelessness in your local area? It doesn't matter how much or how little you can do individually - if we all work together, we will achieve much!

"By small means the Lord can bring about great things." (1 Nephi 16:29)

Think about it, as the words of the hymn 223 reminds us, have you done any good in the world today?

If you would like to help Room at the Inn in Warrington, please phone 01925 632771 and ask for Sue Blythe. Alternatively, call into 3 Winmarleigh Street, Warrington. 

Friday, 6 February 2015

Vandanalu Challenge - PLEASE SHARE

In February, one of my friends from Refreshment UK will be travelling to the village of Kotipalli to work in the Faith India Children's Home, just one of many homes in India that looks after children who are either orphaned or whose parents can no longer look after them.
Simon wants to take along greetings from across the world to these people. The local greeting in Telugu to these children is 'Vandanalu' and it shows warmth, LOVE and FRIENDSHIP.
The aim is to show these children that they are cared about and cherished, so using social media, we have set up the 'Vandanalu' Challenge - where you can bring a greeting to these children by posting your videos to them.

This is a challenge of a few days and we plan to show them all of the videos at the end of the week on Wednesday 18th February 2015.
Show them that you care and say 'Vandanalu' to these wonderful children.
Make sure you also give at:…/the-vandanalu-challen…/x/8125217
Post your video to the Vandanalu Challenge on Facebook or on twitter by using ‪#‎VandanaluChallenge‬
Please donate what you can but most importantly, let’s show these children some love. Make a video on your phone, tablet, laptop, whatever and share at the Vandanalu Challenge on Facebook and using #vandanaluchallenge ! Share some love!

Monday, 2 February 2015

Family Home Evening: No Technology Night!

It's Monday. 

Anyone who is familiar with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will know that Monday is the night that the Church has dedicated to Family Home Evening. This is simply one night a week where the Church will not have any scheduled activities, to allow for families to be together and to participate in social and spiritual activities as a family. There is more information about the idea of Family Home Evening (FHE) in the BYU Enclyclopaedia of Mormonism webpage here.

I often feel as though I don't do enough each week to fulfil my spiritual requirements. One thing that has been lacking is Family Home Evening. There is only my husband and I at home (as of yet, we haven't been blessed with children). My husband is not a member of the Church and is not particularly religious. I hope that by setting an example at home, he will come to love the Gospel and love our Saviour, as I do. 

Being a single-member household makes Family Home Evening somewhat of a challenge. However, this week, my husband and I came to an agreement - one night a week, once he comes home from work, we will sit down together for dinner and have a "No Technology Night". 

What is No Technology Night?
No Technology Night is what is sounds like: an evening where we will refrain from using computers, watching television or using our mobile telephones. It is going to be an evening where we focus on each other, our relationship and communicating with each other, face to face.

I strongly believe that relationships are being damaged by the cultural necessity to remain 'plugged in'. We're losing the ability to just sit and chat with each other, to tell stories, play games: to enjoy each other's company. The following video was recently posted to my Facebook page and I couldn't help but be strongly moved by its message:

So, whether or not you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, whether you are Christian or not, I challenge you to start your own No Technology Night! Let's all reconnect with each other on a more basic level and let's start building our relationships back up.

Ideas for No Technology Night
  • Family History work
  • Story telling
  • Board Games
  • Card Games
  • Reading
  • Go for a walk in the local park
  • Visit a friend in need together
  • Write each other letters
If you decide to take me up on the No Technology Night Challenge, then let me know what you get up to!! 

Enjoy your time together - life is precious and remember that the family is central to Heavenly Father's Plan of Salvation. 

More resources for strengthening the family unit can be found here.

Friday, 23 January 2015

The Liebster Award 2015

Happy new year, lovely readers! 

I trust that 2015 finds you all well and happy. My darling friend, Kimmy, has nominated me for the Liebster Award... so it would be rude not to accept!

Here are the rules of the game, ladies and gentlemen!
1. Each person awarded must post 11 facts about themselves.
2. Answer the 11 questions the nominator has set for them.
3. Choose bloggers to nominate.  

4. Create 11 more questions for the bloggers they will nominate.

5. Let the lucky bloggers know.

So, without further ado... let's start the ball rolling with 11 tasty tidbits about me...

#1 I love to sing! Whether it's with the fantastic Manchester Show Choir or each week at Church, I just love to sing. 

#2 I'm kind of addicted to showers. Showers are the most incredible invention ever, aren't they? I could spend full days at a time under the shower. I just love them. I loathe baths, but showers, they are my thing. I long for the day when I can install a rain head shower into my very own private wetroom in the mansion I will eventually undoubtedly own. Possibly. Maybe.

Deliciously heavenly showers...
 #3 I also play clarinet and piano; alas, not simultaneously.

#4 I have Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, but I am being treated by the renowned Professor Carolyn Young at the Walton Centre - I'm so grateful to God for His mercy. I'm very fortunate to be being treated at such a wonderful specialist centre by such a renowned neurologist.

#5 I'm very poor at thinking about original things which are about me. No, really, this is a very taxing exercise. 

#6 My favourite colour is purple. Nothing can beat purple. For reals. I love it. 

#7 I own two lovely pussy cats called Bramble and Shelby. They are my fur babies and are completely adorable. See?

#8 My favourite Disney film of all time is Lady & The Tramp. 

#9 I was baptised as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in August 2014 and it was the best decision of my life! I'm so grateful to have been welcomed into the Church with open arms and I feel like a real member of the international Mormon family! 

#10 On 21st June 2008, I married my best friend! Love you, Mr. Peartree!
#11 I have a love of challenging myself every year. This year I'm signed up to do a sprint triathlon and a 5K... I'm am beyond terrified. 

So, there you have 11 inane facts about myself... Now onto Kimmy's questions! 

#1  How many bones have you broken?
Surprisingly, I've only broken 2 bones, that I can remember (despite being one of the most clumsy individuals on the planet)... I feel over a step in a bathroom when I was young and fractured my left arm (I'm a lefty) and I once broke my big toe by failing to jump over a badminton net... (I was barefoot and the toe didn't make it over the net...). 

#2  If you could learn any fictional language, what would it be?
Elvish. It's so beautiful.

#3  What is your dream job?
To be a Mummy. Yes, I'm quite career driven and I want to someday go back to being self-employed, but there is one job that I would love to do and that is to be a Mummy. God willing, my time will come.

#4  Your thoughts on Snooki?
Given that I just had to Google who that was, I'd say I have a limited opinion...

#5  Your favorite holiday and why?
In 2006, Philip whisked me away for a surprise holiday to Oslo, Norway and he proposed to me! Best. Holiday. Ever. 
Here is a photograph of me looking cold and terrified at the top of the Holmenkollen...

#6  Have you ever convinced your sibling they were found in a trash can and adopted?
I can honestly answer that I have never done this, yet. 

#7  What is your earliest memory?  How old were you?
 I remember sitting at a table in my room drawing a picture with my Mum. I think I was about 3 years old.

#8  Name something you're afraid of.

#9  What's your favorite hobby?
Rollerskating. I'm dreadful, but it's fun!

#10  If you were trapped on an island and could choose one celebrity to be there, who would you choose?
Tough question! Probably Hugh Laurie. He's soft on the eyes, English, good actor, musical and an interesting fellow. Plus he's tall. Yes, Hugh Laurie. Funny, smart, sexy and tall enough to reach the good fruit off the top of the tree. 

#11  If you had to choose to watch only one comedy for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

These questions are hard work! My favourite comedian is Victoria Wood, so I think I could spend my life watching her stand up, without much hesitation!

My Nominations
I nominate:

The Questions:
  1. Who is your favourite world leader and why?
  2. What is your favourite evening activity?
  3. Dogs or cats?
  4. Favourite restaurant?
  5. What is your happiest memory?
  6. Who do you most admire?
  7. What is your most embarrassing moment?
  8. Who would win in a battle between Albus Dumbledore and Gandalf?
  9. Who is your favourite sci-fi character?
  10. If you have children (or more children), what would you name them and why?
  11. What is your least favourite food stuff and why?

Friday, 26 December 2014

Christmas Charades Complete!

So a belated Merry Christmas, dear readers!

I'm writing this after coming home from spending Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day with my family at my Dad's house. We had so much fun! There was (as usual) a lot of food but the thing that I enjoyed the most about the day was playing charades with the family! We have never done that before and I felt as though we really bonded and spent some proper, quality time with each other, rather than just sitting limply in front of the television, ignoring each other. 

I love my family and I am loving growing closer to the Lord. The closer I grow to the Lord, the closer I become with my family. We are going to be a family forever, so I am looking forward to forging stronger relationships with my God and my family over the coming year. 

Monday, 15 December 2014

How the Gospel is Changing My Life

This past Sunday I was asked to give a talk during Sacrament meeting about how the gospel is changing my life. The spirit has prompted me to share my talk with you here too, perhaps someone reading will gain some inspiration from it. 

When I was first asked to give a talk about how the gospel is changing my life I really didn't know that I had a lot to say, but then I got down on my knees and prayed to Heavenly Father to ask Him to allow the Spirit to be with me and to lead me to prepare a talk which someone in the ward needed to hear. Almost instantly things started flying into my mind, beginning with a very obvious one: PRAYER!

When I was first being taught by the missionaries, I openly admitted that I really struggled with the act of prayer. Praying to Heavenly Father just wasn't something that came naturally to me. When I was growing up my family rarely went to Church - only for weddings, christenings, funerals etc., yet we used to bid each other good night and God bless every evening! The fact that I now pray repeatedly to Heavenly Father throughout the day is a big change for me.

Over time, I have come to realise that prayer is the tool that Heavenly Father gave us to communicate with Him. He is our Father in Heaven and He is our family. I would like to think that we talk with our families regularly - that we ask them how they are doing, we share our ups and  our downs, ask for advice or ask for someone to listen to us - that's what Heavenly Father wants from us - He wants us to communicate with Him - that's how we build our relationships spiritually and temporally. Prayer is so very important!

In 3 Nephi 18:19-20 Jesus tells us:

"Therefore ye must always pray unto the Father in my name; And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you."

We must always pray unto the Father and we must have faith and believe that we will receive an answer from Him, even if it may be an answer that we didn't want to hear!

So, we are commanded to pray - but more importantly, we need to want to communicate with Heavenly Father, even though He already knows what's in our hearts, He needs us to counsel with Him each day and to spend time with Him. Of course, I'm still very much a "baby Christian" - I'm still learning and I'll forever be learning but praying each day to my Father in Heaven is a big change for me, even if I'm taking baby steps each day, I'm pleased to be building my relationship with the Lord my God.

Every day I'm learning a little bit more about what it means to be a woman of God. I'm learning about obedience to the Lord; that I am a strong-willed and sometimes ridiculously stubborn individual, yet I am slowly coming to realise that I must learn to exercise patience; that things will be done in God's own time, not necessarily when and by what means I want them to happen. 

If I miss Church due to illness, or travelling, it now feels strange: my week just doesn't feel complete without taking the Sacrament, which is like my weekly spiritual recharge. 

I'm learning that my scriptures are my best friend and counsellor - they are the first place I should seek guidance and comfort (as well as through prayer to Heavenly Father). 

Finally, the biggest change is taking place in my heart. I just need to learn to trust more in the Lord. He knows where I am going and what lies ahead. I can take my struggles to Him as well as my gratitude for my blessings and He will always guide me. I'm so grateful that He softened my heart enough to receive the gospel into my life. 

In just over a week we will be celebrating Christmas. This will be the first CHRISTmas for me in a long time and I am so excited to be learning about my Saviour and building upon my relationship with Him. Having a Christ-centred Christmas is a big deal for me and I'm also a little bit nervous but as my husband recently reminded me: there's no need to be nervous when you know that God's backing you up.

There are so many other lessons I'm learning every day as my testimony grows but I will leave those for another time. 

I know that this Church is true, that our Saviour, Jesus Christ, lives as the Head of the Church and that through Jesus' Atonement, we can all have eternal life with Heavenly Father and our Saviour. I'm so grateful for the restored gospel, so grateful to Joseph Smith who I know was a prophet of God and I'm grateful to our living prophet, Thomas S Monson for his guiding and leading the Saints to salvation. I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ.