Hi I'm Emily
I'm a multi-tasker, as most women are! My key roles at the moment are wife, a mother, and a full-time public health professional, among others. When I'm not at work, I can usually be found with my three young children (sports, school, playgroup, preschool, music lessons and so on), trying to keep my house clean, volunteering at church, or finding a moment to catch up with my husband. I love to read, cook, run and get together with friends. There's never a dull moment at our home, especially since my husband and I both work in international development, and find ourselves on planes regularly. Our family has lived abroad for the majority of the last decade, and that has been an enriching, exciting, and unique experience for us as we've come to understand and love so many other countries and cultures. Improving the lives of the world’s less fortunate population is a personal and professional mission for both of us, and we're trying to help our children understand that people all around the world are in so many ways similar to us, and have basically the same needs and wants as we do. In between all the "required" activities of life (which sometimes feel overwhelming!), we try to squeeze in some fun things that we love to do together: pancakes on Saturday mornings, a trip to our favorite museum, a ride on the subway, picnics in the backyard, a day at the beach, or a scoop of ice cream.
Why I am a Mormon
Some might say that I'm a Mormon because I was raised a Mormon, but that doesn't really tell the whole story. I think there comes a point in every person's life where they have to decide for themselves what they believe, and how they will conduct their lives and raise their own families. I'd say that point for me wasn't one moment in time, but rather a staged process over high school, college and early adulthood. My parents have always encouraged us to develop our own knowledge and understanding of Heavenly Father and his teachings, and have taught us how to do so. Those tools that my parents and teachers in church taught us include: prayer (asking God if what you're doing is right and true); study of the scriptures (so you know what you're asking about); and actually putting into practice the principles of the gospel we have been taught (showing Heavenly Father that you're willing to do your part). When we're doing what's right, Heavenly Father lets us know. Being a practicing Mormon is a commitment I take seriously, and one that requires time and effort. I'm not coasting through life based on what my parents "told" me when I was a kid. I'm a Mormon because I believe these principles of the gospel to be true. These guiding principles require effort, but they bring joy and happiness, not just in the immediate, but in the long term.
What has helped develop greater harmony in your home?
With busy schedules for both parents and our three young children, our family can use all the help we can get building harmony in our home! Our best tip- we set aside every Monday night to have a family night, and it has made all the difference in our lives. Mormons sometimes call this night "Family Home Evening" and we're encouraged to have it every week. During family night we usually take a few minutes to review any logistical issues, family business, calendar items, or special events for the week. We then have some sort of a short lesson or activity, with a wide range of options. Sometimes we'll tell a favorite story from the scriptures (Daniel in the lion's den is always a winner, complete with sound effects and dramatic interpretation) and talk about what we can learn from the narrative. On other occasions we'll make cookies for our neighbors, play a game, make ice cream sundaes, or talk about methods we can use to solve a problem, reduce arguments or share our toys more willingly (that goes for adults as well as the kids). We usually sing a few songs, have a fun activity and a treat to cap it all off. The results have been significant! As we have conducted family night each week, we've seen that we've become closer as a family, our lines of communication have improved, we've seen less bickering and more expressions of love, and we feel a more unified and harmonious tone in our home. Our kids look forward to family night each week, and we involve them in the planning and implementation of these activities. Our home is a happier place because of family night!
How I live my faith
I try to live my faith actively. In my experience, the more proactive and committed I am to participation and service in church and in my community, the more committed and happy I feel, and the more I feel that I'm progressing. It's through service and acting on what I believe that I feel like I am becoming a better person, and a better Christian- more like someone Jesus Christ wants me to be. Right now, I'm very involved in the women's group in our church. I volunteer my time in the leadership of this group (we're over 100 women) with three other women in my congregation and I absolutely love working with them! We organize and teach lessons/discussions each Sunday at church, and we make sure that the women and families in our congregation are doing well from physical, emotional and spiritual standpoints. There's a great program in our church where the women pair up to visit a few women each month, share a brief spiritual message, and just check in with one another. Since so many people in this area don't have family nearby, this program creates an indispensable network and is a real strength to me personally. I've been blessed and my family's life has been enriched by the association with these women that I may never have gotten to know otherwise. In our women's group we also plan and implement a wide range of activities and events to get to know one another better, to identify and address needs in our families and our community, and to learn new talents and skills. Some recent examples: we organized a nutrition and exercise seminar with a registered dietitian; planned a community service activity where we made baby blankets and new mother kits to donate to a local inner city birthing center; we also organized Sunday lesson on the power of prayer in our lives. Prayer is actually one of the most important ways in which I live my faith- it's a simple principle, but prayer is something that anyone can do at anytime. I believe that God listens to and answers our prayers, and I find that the more committed I am to living my faith, the more I recognize the answers to my prayers in my daily life. God usually answers my prayers through other people who are trying hard to live their faith! That's no coincidence, I think.