Top Topics

Friday, July 29, 2016

Wedding Chalkboard Graphics

 Here are some random wedding-related things that I designed using the chalkboard style theme.

This is for a cake table for my friend's daughter.

These were for a bridal shower for a friend of mine.  I used these on small chalkboard easels next to some candy jars.  One jar full of Riesen candies and the other had mints in it.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Talk - The Family is Ordained of God

Here's a talk that I gave at church.  I changed some of the words when I actually spoke but this was the plan.  I believe in eternal families so I was grateful to have been given this topic to speak on.  My hubby also spoke about the Family Proclamation but since my talk when a little longer than expected he only had around 10 minutes (sorry honey!).  Here it is if you'd like to read it.


Elder M. Russell Ballard shared an experience that happened around ten years ago.  He said, “Several of the Brethren and I recently visited a few of the refugee centers in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas where devastated and displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina were staying as they began to put their lives back together.  Their stories and situation are tragic and poignant in many ways, but in all that I heard, what touched me the most was the crying out for family: “Where is my mother?” “I can’t find my son.” “I’ve lost a sister.” These were hungry, frightened people who had lost everything and needed food, medical attention, and help of all kinds, but what they wanted and needed most was their families.”

“Crisis or transition of any kind reminds us of what matters most.  In the routine of life, we often take our families – our parents and children and siblings – for granted.  But in times of danger and need and change, there is no question that what we care about most is our families! It will be even more so when we leave this life and enter into the spirit world.  Surely the first people we will seek to find there will be father, mother, spouse, children, and siblings” (Ballard).

I am grateful to be able to speak about one of my favorite topics today – the family.

Over a decade ago, when we lived in California, our family decided to seriously study the document called The Family: A Proclamation to the World, also commonly referred to as the Family Proclamation. Although our kids were pretty young we decided to try to memorize it. We read it at home, we recited parts of it while in the car, we studied it at family night, we made up little rap rhythms to remember hard lines.  I can’t say we all memorized it but the phrases have stuck in our minds. When church leaders quote it, which is way more often than you might realize, we immediately recognize where the various phrases come from.  We love and know the truths in this proclamation.

In the Family Proclamation it reads: “In the pre-mortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which his children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave.  Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.”
In that simple paragraph lies profound and eternal truth.  We are children of God.  We lived with heavenly parents in a heavenly family before we were born.  Heavenly Father has organized us into families here on earth and has made it possible for these family relationships can last beyond this life.  The family is truly ordained of God and designed to be an eternal union.

Our Father has a family. It’s me!
It’s you, all others too: we are His children.
He sent each one of us to earth, through birth,
To live and learn here in fam’lies.
God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be—
This is how He shares His love, for the fam’ly is of God.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Simple and Stylish Wedding Reception (with Donuts and Milk Bar)

One of our good family friends married her sweetheart this month.  The bride has some serious graphic design talents and the mother-of-the-bride is a professional photographer (as well as a full-time 6th grade teacher).  Love the style and simplicity of this reception.

Sign-in table.  You could leave words of advice to the newlyweds in the little wire basket.

I'm guessing the bride designed this.  Too bad I don't have decent photography skills judging by the glare on the glass!
Gift tables.
A spot for cards in between the two gift tables.
Backdrop for the receiving line.
Giant pictures on the wall were very simple and tasteful.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Atonement - Lesson Idea

My friend Melissa gave a wonderful lesson in Relief Society last Sunday.  To prepare, she read through all of the General Conference talks from April 2016.  As she studied the talks, she pulled out various quotes and concepts about the Atonement.  We discussed each theme and quote as she asked questions in class and we had an awesome, heartfelt discussion.  We all desperately need the Atonement so I appreciated that she chose to give a lesson on it.

Because of the Atonement, there will be no unfairness

I can emphatically state that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, ultimately, in the eternal scheme of things, there will be no unfairness. “All that is unfair about life can be made right”. Our present circumstances may not change, but through God’s compassion, kindness, and love, we will all receive more that we deserve, more than we can ever earn, and more than we can ever hope for.
Dale G. Renlund, April Conference 2016

How can knowing that everything will be made right help us now?
 (That is the essence of faith)

Forgiveness through the Atonement sets us free

There is not a soul alive who will not, at one time or another, be the victim to someone else’s careless actions, hurtful conduct, or even sinful behavior. That is one thing we all have in common. Gratefully, God, in His love and mercy for His children, has prepared a way to help us navigate these sometimes turbulent experiences of life. He has provided an escape for all who fall victim to the misdeeds of others. He has taught us that we can forgive! Even though we may be a victim once, we need not be a victim twice by carrying the burden of hate, bitterness, pain, resentment, or even revenge. We can forgive, and we can be free!
            Kevin R. Duncan, April Conference 2016

What is the connection between being forgiven and offering forgiveness to others?
How does forgiving others free us?

The Atonement brings us peace

Peace of mind, peace of conscience, and peace of heart are not determined by our ability to avoid trials, sorrow, or heartache. Despite our sincere pleas, not every storm will change course, not every infirmity will be healed, and we may not fully understand every doctrine, principle, or practice taught by prophets, seers, and revelators. Nevertheless, we have been promised peace-with a condition attached. Faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice is, and forever will be, the first principle of the gospel and the foundation upon which our hope for “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” is built.
            W. Christopher Waddell, April Conference 2016

Would anyone like to share a time when they have felt peace, even through a trial?

The Atonement can help us discern what it right for us

When trust is betrayed, dreams shattered, hearts broken and broken again, when we want justice and need mercy, when our fists clench and our tears flow, when we need to know what to hold onto and what to let go of, we can always remember Him. His infinite compassion can help us find our way, truth, and life.
            Gerrit W. Gong, April Conference 2016

When you think about the burdens that you are carrying, what could it mean when he says “know what to hold onto and what to let go of”? 

Relying on the Atonement can ease our burdens

God rarely infringes on the agency of any of His children by intervening against some for the relief of others. But He does ease the burdens of our afflictions and strengthen us to bear them, as He did with Alma’s people in the land of Helam. He does not prevent all disasters, but He does answer our prayers to turn them aside…He does blunt their effects.
            Dallin H. Oaks, April Conference 2016

What are some strategies for turning our burdens over to the Lord so he can help us bear them?
(Prayer, fasting, finding a support system)

The Atonement gives us strength to keep trying

With the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the strength of heaven to help us, we can improve, and the great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying, even if we don’t always succeed.
            Jeffrey R. Holland, April Conference 2016

Would anyone like to share a time when you just kept trying, even though you felt like you weren’t succeeding?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Book Review - Pigs & Peacocks by Jenni Garrick

My sister-in-law, Jenni Garrick, has published a sequel to her first children's book, "Pigs & Strawberries."

The new book is called "Pigs & Peacocks" and continues the adventures of the two pigs named Laurence and Hamilton.  They meet Annie and Abby, the peahens, who live in Paris, France.  Join these adventurous piglets as they leave their farm in California and travel through Europe to seek the company of their two friends, the peahens.

These wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated books will appeal to people of all ages but I think children ages 2-8 years old would particularly enjoy them.

If you'd like to purchase a copy of this book, please click on this link to visit Amazon.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Technology - One Page Printable

Today I subbed in Industrial Tech and the 7th graders learned about technology.  I made this little one page printable to summarize the lesson.

I love it when I learn something new too.  Part of the reason I enjoy teaching is because I am able to learn or review lots of interesting things.  It keeps my mind fresh and growing.

We learned about the relationship between Science, Engineering, and Technology, as well as learning about categories of technology careers, tech superstars, and what technology means (I made a thinking map, I couldn't help myself).

This little mnemonic device was quite enlightening.

"Sam Will Eat His Tuna Melt" can help you remember the following:

Science - Why something happens
Engineering - How to turn the science into something useful
Technology - Making something useful

Click HERE for the free PDF on Google Drive.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Talk - Developing Christlike Characteristics

Here is a talk that my son gave at church today.  He was the companion speaker for a high council speaker.

Today I will talk about how to develop Christlike characteristics.

In Preach My Gospel, there is a section titled “How Do I Develop Christlike Attributes.”  Much of my talk will come from this book. Writing this talk has been good preparation for my mission, since Preach My Gospel is an essential tool used by missionaries every day. I know it’s not a coincidence that I was asked to speak about this topic, and I’m very thankful for this opportunity to study about Christ and share my testimony with all of you.

At the beginning of His mortal ministry, Jesus Christ walked along the shore of the Sea of Galilee and called out to two fishermen named Peter and Andrew.  He said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”. The Lord invites each of us to follow His example and to become like Him. The restored gospel allows each of us to become like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. The Savior has set the perfect example, and He commands us to become as He is. We can try hard to learn of Him and seek to incorporate His attributes into our lives. Through the power of His Atonement, each of us can achieve this goal and help others to achieve it also.

In Preach My Gospel focus there is a lot of focus on HOW to do things —how to study, how to teach, how to manage time wisely. Just as vital as what you do, however, is who you are.  Preach My Gospel says “You need to BE a Christlike missionary, not just DO missionary things.” This applies not only to missionaries but to everyone.  Each of us needs to learn to BE Christlike members of the church and not just DO Mormon things.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Miracle of the Shamrock Shakes

My sister-in-law Noma wrote this and graciously allowed me to post it on my blog.  This is one of those awesome, faith-promoting experiences that will be passed down through generations in our family (and other families as well since she has shared it with a ton of her Seminary students over the years).  Every time I hear "Shamrock Shakes," my thoughts automatically think of the blessings of obedience and that the Lord really is aware of our needs and desires.  Thanks for sharing Noma!  You are a gifted writer and story-teller.

On occasion this time of year, teenagers tag me in pictures of them drinking Shamrock Shakes. It's time to share this Cody Seminary tradition with the FB world. Twenty-six years ago, Derrik and I were dirt poor newlywed college students, both completing our senior year at BYU, working, and barely surviving financially. We were sitting in church, and a lady stood up and gave a talk on tithing. She told a story about a person who was @ $56.32 short on rent, but she acted in faith and paid her tithing anyway. The next day she looked in the kitchen garbage and saw a white envelope. She opened it and found.... $56.32!! Did this story spark a little cynicism in me? Oh, yes. I leaned over to Derrik and mumbled, "We're poor, and we pay our tithing. Why don't I ever find money in the garbage?" (Not a proud moment.)

The next day was President's Day, so there were no classes. While Derrik was reading the newspaper (which must have been free, because we couldn't afford a subscription) I walked by and saw a 1/4 page color ad for Shamrock Shakes. I had never heard of them, and I was completely smitten and infatuated. I suggested to Derrik that we celebrate our holiday by going to McD's and getting a Shamrock Shake. He reminded me of the hard truth that we were poor college students and couldn't afford to run off to McDonald's on a whim. I knew he was right. So I sulked my way to the kitchen and started cleaning. As I went to take the garbage out, I grumbled, "Yeah, I pay my tithing and I can't even afford a Shamrock Shake. Why don't I ever find money in the kitchen garbage?"

Garbage in hand, I murmured my way outside to the apartment dumpster. As I threw the garbage into the dumpster, a movement by my foot caught my attention. I looked down, and I was standing on a $10 bill. I bent down and picked it up. It was a windy day. I looked up and down the street to see who might have lost it. No one was outside. At which point I lost all dignity as I ran into my apartment waving the $10 bill over my head, yelling, "Derrik, Shamrock Shakes! Shamrock Shakes!" We indeed got our Shamrock Shakes that afternoon (in addition to Big Macs and fries)!

This unconventional experience reinforced some great lessons. First, Heavenly Father is completely aware of the least of us down to the smallest details, and He cares. He knows us personally. And He hears our murmuring. (After the minty nirvana left my tongue, I was somewhat spiritually embarrassed by my behavior.) Next, we are blessed for obedience, even if our hearts need to make some progress. And finally, I know He has a sense of humor. Because I can only imagine how much fun it was arranging for me to stand on that $10 bill, knowing that hundreds of Seminary students would be subjected to the story at least annually.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Black, White & Gold Wedding Reception

I attended an awesome wedding reception last month and thought I'd share some pictures and ideas for all you future brides out there.

They had this cute chalkboard sign in the entry area near the sign in table.

This was the sign in table.  

Instead of a traditional sign in book, they had a fingerprint activity which was so fun!

Scouting - Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge

Here's an example presentation of Requirement 8 in Citizenship in the Community merit badge.

"Develop a public presentation... about important and unique aspects of your community.  Include information about the history, cultures, and ethnic groups of your community; its best features and popular places where people gather; and the challenges it faces.  Stage your presentation in front of your merit badge counselor or a group, such as your patrol or a class at school."

Thursday, February 18, 2016

LDS Missions Guessing Pages - Free Printables

When LDS missionaries are waiting to get their mission calls, their friends and family love to make guesses about where the missionaries will serve.  Lots of people do this with sticky notes on a map but we decided to do things a different way for our son.

To keep track of the guesses, I decided to go online to and find a list of all the current missions.  I cut, pasted and formatted a list of all the missions, combining them by country or state so that I could consolidate them into few pages.  I printed the lists out on cardstock and then wrote down people's names as they guessed (on the phone, on Facebook, etc.) and I let people sign their name on the papers directly the night he was opening his call.

I decided to keep track this way instead of the traditional "sticky notes on a map" system because I could easily keep the papers in a scrapbook.  I must say that it worked great!

I have already had other friends who are moms of future missionaries ask me for the documents so I decided to share them with the world.  I already did the work so the more people who benefit the better!  This is accurate as of February 2016.  I'm sure it will change and I will try to keep up with editing the missions.  Let me know if you notice anything that needs to be updated.  Also feel free to download and print and/or edit the documents for free.

Click HERE to get the PDF document on Google Drive
Click HERE to get the PowerPoint doc on Google Drive (you may need to fix the fonts and spacing on that one though)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Primary Music Leader Training

We had a fun Stake Primary Music Training in our stake recently.  All of our ward Primary Music Leaders came and shared their ideas.  I wanted to share the information from that night.

Sing Your Heart Out
Music Leader Training Get-together

“We care so much about you and about the children you are teaching. Prepare well to bless these little ones.  Give it your best effort.  Your influence will - quite literally - affect these children for eternity.  Enjoy the assignment that you have, and discharge it faithfully.  However much we love and admire children, I am certain we underestimate who and what a child is, and what in the hands of God he or she may become.  May God bless you always in your sacred opportunity to help save the children of this Church.”   
-Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Leadership Training Library, “Supporting the Primary Music Leader”

“We are able to feel and learn very quickly through music...some spiritual things that we would otherwise learn very slowly.”  
-Boyd K. Packer, “The Arts and the Spirit of the Lord,” Ensign, Aug, 1976, 61

READ and STUDY the Outline for Sharing Time

LDS.ORG has several great tutorials and information

Music In Primary

The purpose of music in Primary is to teach children the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Primary songs make learning the gospel more enjoyable, invite the Spirit,
and create a reverent and learning atmosphere.

Handbook  2 - 11.2.4, 11.5.4, 14

Singing Time

Music in Primary should establish a reverent atmosphere, teach the gospel, and help children feel the influence of the Holy Ghost and the joy that comes through singing. You should spend 20 minutes teaching music in sharing time. This will ensure that you have enough time to teach new music and to help the children enjoy singing.

The Outline For Sharing Time booklet includes a new song for the children to learn this year (see pages 28–29). It also includes a section titled “How to Use Music in Primary” (see pages 26–27) and additional ideas for teaching songs to children (see pages 3, 5, 9, and 15).

Monday, February 8, 2016

Scripture Timers and Poem

I love to read the scriptures and want to encourage my son, nieces and nephews to feel the joy that I feel from reading them everyday.  I bought these three minute timers on Amazon Prime and wrote a poem to go with them so encourage them in their personal studies.  I hope they will enjoy using the timers.

Make TIME for Scripture Study
How many hours are in a day?
We can work, learn, sleep and play.
Make time for scriptures everyday!
You’ll learn from what the prophets say.

Ponderize, pray and be happy and strong,
And learn to choose between right and wrong.
Parables, lessons, lots to learn and know.
You’ll feel the spirit and testimonies will grow.

Remember to treasure all that you read.
Heavenly Father loves his children indeed.
He gave us scriptures because of His love,
So we can return to Heaven above.

Just like we brush our teeth every day
Reading scriptures should be treated that way.
We take care of our bodies and also our souls;
In both areas we set some important goals.

This reading timer shows you three little minutes,
So you’ll know when to start and when to end it.
Flip it again if you’d like to double your time,
And flip it once more to read for nine.

Whether you choose to read for nine, six or three,
You’ll be blessed for your efforts and very happy.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

"Fallacies in Print Ads" English Project

My son did this project for his English class.  He found ads online for the various fallacies that they discussed in class and he wrote about them.  The writing is underneath and the pictures flip up.  I think he did a great job.  Hopefully this will help another student who may have questions (please don't copy it, just use it as a resource.

Nephi's Broken Bow - Visuals for Teaching Primary

I created these visuals to go with the lesson in the Primary 4: Book of Mormon manual, lesson #5, entitled "Lehi and His Family Are Led through the Wilderness."  

I used my own words and interpretation to choose the graphics.  The kids loved it and the visuals helped them pay attention to and understand the story.

I designed it so there were two visuals on each page.  I printed on cardstock and then cut the pages in half.  For the lesson, have the kids read along (or listen) to 1 Nephi 16:17-32.  Lay out all the pictures on the floor and then have kids point to a picture when it fits with the story.  Put them up on the board using magnets.

Here are some links to supplementary material about Nephi's broken bow.  I personally like to study a lot about a topic before I teach it so that I can gain insights, even if I don't share all the info with the class.