Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Have you discovered podcasts yet? One of my favorites is the TED Radio Hour with Guy Raz. I listened to one recently called "Head Space"which was fantastic! 
It is a fascinating look at others experiences with mental illness--not in a depressing way, but in a very hopeful "we're in this together" way. 

Give it a listen, and let me know what you think!

To check it out, go to

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Our Favorite Christmas Tradition--Smiles, Service, and a Snowman

A few years ago I started a new tradition at our house--the "Service Snowman."  I thought the idea of having a cute little creature popping up in funny places around the house sounded fun, but I wanted it to be less about making sure my little people were being good, and more about giving them something to do that WAS good.  

Each night our little snowman searches the city for people in need, then returns to our home and lands in a funny hiding spot with a little card telling us who we can serve the following day.  

This little tradition has become something that my kiddo's LOVE, and most importantly has been really easy for me to pull off during the busy season!  To get your own copy, simply click on the images below and "save as" a file to do your computer.  Enjoy!

1.  Buy or make a snowman that you can hide in fun places around the house.
2.  Print out the poem and the service cards.  (I specifically did not number the cards--I just look at my schedule the night before to see what I think will be doable the next day.)
3.  Each night from the 15th-25th, hide your snowman with one of the cards around the house.
4.  The best part!  Watch as your kids get really excited about finding the snowman each morning and seeing what act of service they can do that day!

P.S.  Let me know if you try it out, and how it goes!

Here is a list of the service activities.  There are 16 different activities to choose from-some would be better if you're in a warm climate and some better in a cold climate.  Just choose the 12 that would work for your family to do this year.

1. Do secret service for a family member.
2. Go caroling (wherever you want...we go to a nursing home)
3. Shovel the snow on a neighbors driveway 
4. Write or draw a letter for a soldier and send it to
5.  Share the love, give everyone in your family a hug.
6.  Make pinecone bird feeders
7. Take cookies to the firestation
8.  Make snowflakes and deliver to a local care center
9.  Take hot chocolate to someone who lives or works outside
10. Take a cold drink to someone who lives or works outside
11. Leave cookies and milk out for Santa
12. Tell everyone in your family something you love about them
13. Take dinner to a family with a new baby
14. Make or buy cinnamon rolls to share with a neighbor or family member
15. Leave a treat in your mailbox for the mail carrier
16. Help in a neighbors yard

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Of Doughnuts and Cupcakes

Of Doughnuts & Cupcakes

Ok.  I lied.  This isn’t actually about doughnuts and cupcakes.  Seriously though, If I told you my subject in the title I’m afraid you wouldn’t keep reading.  But now that I’ve given you a teaser you have to keep reading, because you’re curious.  Yea!  I win!  You see, my subject is a little less sweet—more like brussel sprouts.  Good for you, but not nearly as yummy as doughnuts & cupcakes!  So without further ado, (and now that you’re hooked!) I’ll begin..please hang with me.  

Project Show Up!
How Mother’s Can Effect the Political Process

For reasons unknown, my 5 year old has started requesting that we listen not to stories and music on the way to school, but to the local news station.  He especially likes to know what the weather’s going to be, and if there are any accidents on the roads.  I don’t mind listening to those-I want to know too!  It’s when the “real” news comes on that I start to squirm, switch back to Curious George, and wonder (again) just what type of world I have brought my 3 beautiful boys into, and how they are going to navigate their way through it.  Sigh.  How sad.

But wait! The question isn’t the lamenting “what have I brought my children into”, but the empowering “what am I going to do about it?”  Because in the end, the outcome of political elections and public policies directly effect the subject of my greatest passion-my family.  Don’t believe me? Take a look at this-I recently went to and searched for family related Bills and Resolutions under current legislation.  Below are the keywords and the number of bills and resolutions related to each.

Education 2596
Family 1408
Foster Care   106
Mental Health 388
Mothers 130
Religion 260
Special Education  86

That is a lot issues that could effect my family!

Now what?  How do we become involved in shaping the world our children are living in?  And how, FOR THE LOVE, are we supposed to choose leaders among women and men who are whining, complaining, and name-calling on a national stage?! Honestly, if I want to see that type of behavior, I can pop some popcorn, sit in my living room, and watch my 3 little boys decide who gets to play with the “good” toy car!

Searching out some answers involved a long distance trek——all the way across my neighborhood! My wonderful neighbor Enid Greene Mickelson served as a congresswoman in the 104th Congress in 1995.  She was the 3rd woman from Utah to serve in congress, and the 1st Republican woman from Utah to do so. Enid currently serves as one of Utah’s representatives on the Republican National Committee.  Lucky for me (and you!)  Enid agreed to sit down with me for a discussion about the importance of mother’s in the political process and policy making.  Below are questions and answers from our conversation, as well as an action plan to get you started!  

Q & A With Enid Greene Mickelson

How did you become involved in the political process?

“This is going to sound funny, but you talk about the Power of mothers’-it was my grandmother.  I knew she paid attention to it.  That was something that stuck with me, that my grandmother loved this country, and she would talk about the importance of going to vote.  I remember too, going with my mother when I was just a little girl, going into those big old clunky voting machines.  That left an impression on me as a child, that I would go to vote with my Mom.”

Why do we need more women, specifically mother’s to be involved in the political and policy making process?

“Women have a different perspective- that is one of the reasons we need more women involved in the public sector, not fewer.  Because we as mom’s are used to having to try to conciliate.  We are generally a little bit more emotionally aware in some respects than the men are.  We have a different skill set.  Those skill sets are very much needed.  It can't be all about who pounds the lectern the hardest or shouts the loudest. And we have that power.  If we would just exercise it.  53% of voters are women.  Think-if we would just show up more, what kind of impact we could have. We can impact the tone of the room.  The more women in the room the less likely you are to have the fist pounding, and raised voices.  We generally don't do it that way.  We make our influence felt in a different way.  It is so needed.”

What suggestions do you have about where to start, and how to become involved in the political process and policy making?

Show Up-so much of this seems harder and more complicated than it is.  Don’t be put off with that. If you stick a toe in the water, usually you find out, “this isn’t nearly as hard as I thought.  I have an opportunity here to make a bit of a difference.”  You don’t have to be an expert overnight.  

I do believe there are seasons in our lives.  We want to have it all.  But we can’t have it all at the same time.  You have to choose how much time you have at each stage of your life, and your child’s life.  Maybe the time for you to run for office is not now, or ever.  But you can always do a little something. You can write a letter to the editor.  You can take your kids for a walk to pass out fliers for a candidate you support.  Just keep at it.”

This year is an election year.  How can we narrow down all of the information out there, so that we can be informed when we head to the polls on November 8th

“There is no one book that you’re going to pick up that’s going to be “the one.”  It’s like anything else- you’ve got to spend a little time yourself figuring out what work’s for you.  And that’s frustrating for people, because we all feel like we don’t have time for anything.  But you don’t have to be a policy expert overnight.  One of the problems we have right now is it is too easy for people to find the voices that simply reinforce what they already believe.  It can’t be so simple all the time.  You need to challenge yourself occasionally.  You need to say “okay this other person isn’t someone I would usually agree with, but have I thought this through?” What I tell people, is when your trying to find the facts, never get all of your information from one source.  I take bits and pieces from different places, and after awhile, anyone will feel comfortable in saying “this is a source I can get good information from.”

Project Show Up!

             Look at this simple list of next actions.  Figure out where you are, then take the next step today! 



Research where candidates stand on issues important to you and your family.  Look at multiple sources (yes, even the one’s you may not agree with!)


Choose one or two issues you are particularly interested in or passionate about. 

Sign up for e-mail updates from your city council, state legislature, and congress on those issues.  
Respectfully share your thoughts, opinions, and solutions with policymakers working on policies related to issues you have an interest in.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Top 5 Things To Be Offended By Today!

Error. Re-routing. 

 I hear those words a lot from the GPS on my phone. I am easily distracted you see. But luckily, my trusty phone re-routes my course so that I can finally get from point A to point B.

 After listening to the vitriol spewing forth on both sides regarding the controversial natures of such important topics as red cups, OCD sweatshirts, and witty road signs, I'd like to share
a teeny tiny observation. 


 If we're going to be outraged and angry, let's take aim at some things that are truly worthy of being outraged, angry, and offended by!

Please Insert Outrage Here:

Here is just a small sampling of thing's to be offended by today.    Tell everyone on social media how these things make you feel, AND what you're going to do about it.

1.  There are currently 108,000 children in the U.S. Foster care system who are ready and waiting to be adopted.  They range in age from under 1 to 21.  20% are teenagers. All need a home.  All deserve a family.

Go And Do! Learn more at Adopt U.S. Kids

2.  According to the Walk Free Foundation, there are approximately 35.8 million people enslaved worldwide.  60,100 are in the U.S. Nearly 1/3 of those enslaved throughout the world are children, some as young as 5.

 Go And Do!  Become A Modern Day Abolitionist-learn more at  Operation Underground Railroad and The Walk Free Foundation

3.  The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports that during a single night in January 2014 there were 578,424 people experiencing homelessness in the United States.  49,933 were veterans.  

Go and Do!  United States Interagency Council on Homelessness

4.  In South Sudan MILLIONS of women and children trek up to 8 hours each day to collect water from marshes, ditches, or hand dug wells where the water is often contaminated with parasites and bacteria-bringing sickness and death.

Go and Do!  Water For South Sudan

5.  Unicef estimates there are 30 million refugee children on the run from violence and oppression.   Syria is the world's largest producer of refugees.  There are 4 million on the run from Syria.  2 million of those are children.

Go and Do! Unicef-Syrian Refugee Crisis

So there you go.  5 things to be truly offended and outraged by.  

Go and Do.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Crazy Little Thing Called "Nice"

Ok, today I am embracing the crazy.  I am going to propose a radical new idea.  Oh yeah, you better believe it's going to be big.  Here it is-are you ready?  Let's be nice to each other. On Purpose.

Yup. You heard me.  Let's be nice to other people.  Like really nice.  Like on purpose nice.  And I'm not talking just to your family.  Oh no.  We are going to do this right.  Let's be nice to people we don't know well, maybe even strangers.  Even the people who "keep to themselves."  Especially them.  Because come to find out, according to modern psychology, us humans need each other.  Article on Psychology Today

Oh yes, you freedom lovin', gun-totin', independent American thinker who doesn't need anyone and can pull yourself up by your own bootstraps- even you.  We need positive social relationships.  We need connection with one another.  If nothing else, we need at least a few people we have contact with who can notice when our thoughts are going to crazytown- and gently guide us back to reality.

And then we can do the same thing for them someday-because at some points we will all go a little nuts.

Where is all this coming from you ask?  Well, you see, last week after yet another mass shooting in the U.S., a radio talk show host in my area asked his listeners what he thought was the root cause of the near constant irrational violence we see in the US.  It got me wondering if maybe there is a common denominator in the lives of those who commit these crimes, that individual members of our society could take control of and change.

And this is what I came up with.  (Close friends please let me know if I have gone to crazy town on this one.)

In a country where we value individuality and independence as our top priority, we pretend that we don't need each other.  I mean just check our Facebook pages and Pinterest boards.  Life is blissful and perfect! (insert smily emoticon here.)  But here's the truth (as I see it anyway.)  Life is hard.  No seriously, sometimes life completely sucks.  And the only reason life is worth living when times are sucky is that we can have positive human connections to those around us.  And ice cream.  But mostly human connection.

So what do we do for people who have to go through the sucky parts alone?  We should probably just let them be right?  Give 'em their space and privacy?  Um, no.  Remember crazy town?  I am most likely to visit that particular locale when I am upset, lonely, angry, or a combination.  Do you know why my train doesn't get that far?  Because the people I am positively connected to are sure to de-rail it.

So can I offer a suggestions? Something that every person in society can do that might help curb the violence? Can we all please agree NOT to give each other space in the name of respecting privacy?  Let's keep an eye on each other, and take an active interest in each others lives.  Especially the lives of those we may not know, or of people who just "keep to themselves", or who might live in different circumstances.

Because the only way we're going to get through the sucky-crazy-wonderfulness that is life,
is together.

Looking for easy everyday ways to "be nice on purpose?" check out my Everyday Service pinterest board!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Screentime for Kids...

Found this very interesting article.  Now you'll have to excuse me as I go tear my children away from the screen for some family fun!

Psychology Today Screentime Article

Simple Sunday Solution: LDS Sharing Time Primary Schedule

I created this little sticker chart for a little guy at my church.  The way it works is after each part of the routine (opening song; opening prayer, scripture, and talk; singing time; and sharing time) he can put a sticker on his chart.  We give this little chart to his parents after church, and they give him a little reward.  It is working wonders!  Not only does this little guy get a treat, but he is doing really well and doing what is expected and participating during this part of church.  Hope this can be helpful to you!  (Chart was created using graphics from found online at