Mindful Monday


Every Monday morning in our homeschool, we choose a scripture verse to memorize and focus on throughout the week. This is our chosen verse for this week:


This verse is from The Book of Mormon. I have a personal testimony of the truthfulness of this book of scripture. In my faith, as a member of, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe in the Holy Bible as well as other books of scripture, such as The Book of Mormon, which have been given to us for our day. That’s a lot of scriptural knowledge to draw from which is very comforting to me. I love the scriptures.


This week Marcus only has his online classes on Monday, so this is the perfect time to finally dive into our state history unit study. We are starting with the thirteen colonies. Here is our rather bland apartment dining room, which I’ve transformed into a homeschool room of sorts. (The U.S. map is hanging up too high for my taste, but I didn’t wish to create another nail hole than the one that was already there. I love the little bookcase.)


I made this star-spangled border myself as a timeline border. Each strip is unique. I’ve always wanted a timeline on our wall. Soon, we’ll be adding dates and some really cool state postcards. So, stay tuned for future pics of our growing timeline.


Last Friday, Marcus and I revisited Tohono Chul park, and when we looked at the art gallery there, I was inspired by this cool art. Suddenly I knew how to spend some Amazon gift cards that were given to me for my birthday last month! Hopefully, by the end of this week, Marcus and I will have created some funky original art of our own. 🙂

I wish you each a mindful Monday (a day of purpose to start a new week).


My Heartfelt Invitation to You


Dearest Readers and Blogging Friends,

This upcoming weekend, a very special semi-annual event is taking place in my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which we call, General Conference. This is a time when, instead of attending our regular church meetings on Sunday, we gather together across the world, in our homes, in some of our chapels, and in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, to hear timely and inspired messages by our living prophet and apostles and selected general authorities. These messages contain wisdom, counsel for our day, peace, hope,  love, and testimonies of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.


It’s a spiritually-uplifting weekend for us and our friends of other faiths are welcome to join in. If you’ve ever wondered what Mormons truly believe, or you’ve ever wanted to hear from our living prophet and apostles, or you just need some spiritual nourishment, and if you enjoy the music of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, this weekend offers something comforting for each of our souls. I invite you to tune in to at least one of the four general sessions (there are two on Saturday, and two on Sunday; each session is two-hours in length and features different talks and music) which will be broadcast and streamed-live. (My family likes to connect my PC to our television so we can watch and listen together in the comfort of our living room, with snacks on hand. 🙂 )

For specific details, including how to watch each session live, please click here and here. There is also an LDS General Conference You Tube channel you can check out.

I want to take this moment to thank you for your support of my blog. I hope you will consider this heartfelt invitation as one way I can share my faith with you as you have shared your faith with me through your posts, inspiring me to be a better person. I truly believe our faith is a treasure meant to lift one another up as we walk this journey of life together. ♥



Weekly Nutshell


Today in Sacrament meeting (the family hour of my church), one of the speakers, a lovely mother who is new to our ward (congregation), shared a quote by C.S. Lewis that really stood out to me. She was talking about adversity and how our trials can challenge us, strengthen us, and lead to personal growth.

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of- throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

Isn’t that lovely? Backing up… this was Marcus’ and my first week back to Arizona after spending most of the summer in Utah. Friends and family keep asking us if the temps are cooling down here. If cooling down means the upper 80’s to lower 90’s than I guess the answer is yes? To those of you who are enjoying temps in the 70’s and upper 60’s, and especially those of you seeing signs of fall, you are so lucky!


The highlight of our week was three days of impromptu service, which of course pushed off our formal homeschooling in the best of ways. This service involved a lot of elbow grease, child care, and friendship. The only picture I took was a trailer I helped fill with potted plants!

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It was also Marissa’s first week as a college student. She sent me these pictures that she took of the horticulture gardens and the Rexburg temple (which she took at a distance once she realized she was walking the wrong direction!). She loves her courses and has already made friends with her roommates. She even has a calling in her new singles ward, as a family home evening leader. She called and sent me texts several times each day, asking me for advice or to proof-read an essay or just sharing her day with me. I am still enjoying weekly calls and texts from my oldest college kids, sometimes as often as daily or an every-other-day basis. I’m so thankful we are a close family and nothing touches my heart more than to hear my sweet 18-year old baby girl call me, “Mommy”. ♥

And that was our week in a nutshell.

Our Inspiration Word & Scripture Theme


We watched the Olympic opening ceremony and I was touched when the Refugee team, made up of ten refugees walked out. I also didn’t know this was South America’s first time to host the Olympics. We thought this opening ceremony was beautiful and amazing. And, if I’m understanding correctly, Rio de Janeiro’s national anthem is called, “Aquele Abraco”, which translates to “That Embrace”. Embrace, as in, hug or welcome.

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This past homeschool year, we did something we had never done before: we incorporated random weekly scripture verses which we tried to memorize, and I chose a yearly scripture theme as well, which was from our Doctrine and Covenants, section 88, verses 118-119:

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.

Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.

As a new homeschool year is nearly upon us, I asked Marcus to choose our scripture theme and he selected one of his favorite verses from The Book of Mormon:


I’ll be explaining the context of this verse in a later post. It’s actually a beautiful and amazing scripture story. ♥ Something new (to us) that I thought we’d try this homeschool year, is to have an inspiration word. It’s something many homeschooling families seem to do, choose a word to inspire their year of learning together. Our word is (you guessed it), Embrace. For us, embrace will mean to adapt, nurture, nourish, affirm, appreciate, cultivate, seize and foster. I chose Embrace as our word because I am entering another chapter of motherhood. I’m thinking of calling it, “I am now only one child away from being an empty-nester and I don’t like it one bit!”, which seems rather lengthy and a bit negative, but that is how I feel. Can you see why I need this word?

Did you watch the opening ceremony? Do you have a word that is inspirational to you at this time of your life?

Books of Integrity for Teen Girls


For the past six years, my daughter has participated in the Young Women organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This organization is for girls ages 12-18 and includes weekly Sunday classes, weekly activities and summer girls camps. There is also a value-based, goal setting program called, Personal Progress.


For each value, my daughter completed six value experiences, which helped her incorporate the value into her life. An example (see value #3) of a value experience for Integrity is to remember our Savior, Jesus Christ, as the highest example of Integrity and to ponder select scripture passages, including the book of Esther, to seek out other examples of Integrity.

“Integrity is the willingness and desire to live by our beliefs and standards.”

Along with the value experiences, the young woman goes on to complete a ten-hour project for each value. Integrity was the last value Marissa worked on, and as part of her ten-hour project, she created a Pinterest board featuring several books she has personally read and can recommend to other teen girls. These are books she considers to hold Integrity- they are morally clean, have strong characters, beautiful stories, and no bad language. I am only highlighting a sampling here, so be sure to check out her Pinterest board for more great choices:



Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery, which is a series as you know.

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Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott


The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, which is a series as you know, and is best read in order, starting with, The Magician’s Nephew.

Newer favorites-


Cinder and Ella, by Melissa Lemon. If you’ve never heard of Melissa Lemon before than you are in for a real treat, especially if you enjoy reinvented fairy tales. Check her out! Find her blog here.

Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem fullcover

Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem, by Melissa Lemon


Blackmoore, by Julianne Donaldson. Her books are considered to be “Jane Austen approved”. Find her blog here.


Edenbrooke, by Julianne Donaldson


Journey to the Fringe, by Kelli Swofford Nielsen. This is the first in a series.


Marissa received her Young Womanhood medallion last month, as recognition for completing all of her Personal Progress requirements, following in the footsteps of her mama and her big sister. ♥  If your teenage daughter has a favorite book of Integrity, be sure to leave a comment below. We are always on the lookout for worthwhile reads.

Weekly Nutshell


The highlights from this past week were…


An early birthday present Marissa and I put together for her cousin who loves to craft- A basket full of fun craft items.

Monday- Spending the day with my brother and his family. They are the only extended family who visit us on a regular basis because my sister-in-law’s family lives “up our way” so when they visit her family, they make time to stop and visit us. This time we hosted an egg hunt for the cousins and then the girls made their fairy gardens while the adults and Marcus played the tile game, Carcassonne, which was so much fun! Check it out if you’ve never heard of it. Now I want to add it to our game collection.

Tuesday- Because it was our neighborhood’s spring break, we invited the children of two families over to play. We hosted another egg hunt, followed by lunch and The Peanuts Movie in our theater room.

Wednesday- Marissa, Marcus and I drove “down” to Pleasant Grove and checked into a hotel. We met up with Zach for pizza.


Marissa’s up-do for prom.

Thursday- I dropped Marissa and Marcus off at their school at 8:30am so they could attend their classes in person (and some extra classes!). These are their online/distance classes that are filmed live. It’s always a treat when they can visit their school. Then in the afternoon, Marissa got her hair done for her prom and we shopped for the perfect jacket to go over her dress (just for fun).

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That night Marissa went to her prom after we took her to eat at Olive Garden. Zach, Marcus and I crashed (not really) around 9pm for the senior promenade to watch her walk down a staircase and be presented with a necklace while her bio was read.

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Friday- We drove back home, with Zach. That evening, Zach and I went to a viewing of a former bishop from our ward. He had passed away after a valiant battle with cancer. I’m so thankful for the gospel in my life, for my Savior’s Resurrection, and the reassurance it gives me that death is not the end.

Saturday- We drove to Salt Lake, this time with Darcie and one of her friends, to see Ballet West perform Beauty and the Beast. Zach was sweet enough to be our chauffeur and spent brother time with Marcus while the girls were at the ballet. Then, we all went out to eat at Iggy’s Sports Grill where I had the most delicious Parmesan crusted tilapia!


Sunday- The kids and I watched the last sessions of General Conference together. Here is one of my favorite quotes. Our prophet, Thomas S. Monson, announced four new temples to be built and one of them is a second temple in Lima, Peru (that’s where we lived for 2 years). Currently, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has 150 operating temples throughout the world!

Need Spiritual Nourishment? Watch General Conference.



I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Twice a year (in April and October) we have a worldwide General Conference. This is a very special time of year for members because we hear directly from our living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, as well as each of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, and other selected speakers. Each talk has been prepared prayerfully with the spirit. No topics are assigned and it’s always interesting to see the common themes that come out, indicating what our Heavenly Father especially desires us to focus on at this time of our lives here on earth.


Even though General Conference is a time when members gather together to be spiritually fed, people of all faiths are invited and welcome to listen and watch as well. If you have ever wanted to know anything about what Mormon’s believe, directly from the source, or if you’ve ever wanted to hear from a living prophet and apostles today, this is your opportunity to do so, from the comfort and privacy of your own home. You will also hear beautiful music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.


There are six sessions of General Conference. The General Women’s session was this past Saturday. It was wonderful. You can still read and watch the talks and hear the music here. Short on time? You can choose just one talk, song or video to watch/listen to. This will give you a taste of what this weekend will be like. Or you can find all of April’s General Conference, here.


The other sessions are tomorrow, Saturday, October 3rd, and Sunday, October 4th. They will all be broadcast and streamed live from the Conference Center. The times are on Utah’s Mountain Daylight Time. Basically the four general sessions are Saturday and Sunday, at 10am (MDT) and 2pm (MDT). You can find the entire viewing schedule including links for watching/listening on this page.


I hope you will watch at least one session this weekend. If you do, I’d love to hear what you thought. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and my membership in His church blesses my life every day.