Thursday, June 2, 2016

Random Acts of Kindness

There seems to be an increasing amount of negativity in our world these days.  So much hate and blame on every conceivable topic and fingers pointed every which way at who is in the wrong.  It is so easy to find yourself absorbed in all of it.  

The past several months I have found myself doing some of these same things.  I have been angry and bitter at situations close to me, wanting to find fault in others actions. What I found was this was only making me feel worse. I needed to find a way to move beyond these awful feelings.

Princess Diana was once quoted as saying:
 "Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you".

I have done many RAK's (Random Acts of Kindness) before but the vast majority have been between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have done the 12 days of Christmas numerous times, paid for peoples meals in the drive through, given total strangers store gift cards, etc.  I love doing it because it just feels like the right thing to do. For the most part I try to be anonymous, frankly it is more fun that way.  I've been surprised at the reaction of most people when you try to give them, say, a gift card.  The first question is usually WHY?  I want to that is why. 

Last fall while on vacation I had the chance to do something as well.  I was attending a college football game and was in line at the concessions stand before the game started.  The woman in front of me had placed her order but was informed that they didn't take credit/debit cards when she tired to pay for it. She told the employee that she didn't have any cash on her and everyone just stood there in awkward silence for a moment.  I stepped up and said I'd pay for it.  The lady said "are you serious?!?"  Sure why not?  I handed over the money and the woman gave me a huge hug and said thank you so much and started to cry.  It made me feel great to help someone out, and turned out to be the best thing about the game as my team lost miserably.  

A couple of different things have reminded me recently of the joy of preforming random acts of kindness. First, there is a show produced by Brigham Young University called Random Acts.  It is new this year and they do various things for people.  Their acts range from super simple to quite elaborate things. You can even write in and nominate people to have them do things for.  The second thing was an article that led me to this website Random Acts of Kindness. Their mission is simple and daunting at the same make the world a better place.  They share stories of Random Acts, give ideas of things you can do, even provide lesson plans for grades K-12 to teach kids about being kind.  

This is what my heart needed!  I needed to change my focus to start seeing and doing good.  The tricky part has been trying to think WAY outside the box of what I would normally do. I am having to come up with no cost ideas for the time being and that has proven to be a challenge for me. I have seen some fun ideas of writing letters of general encouragement and leaving them to be found.  Then the part of me that watches far to many crime shows kicks in and thinks what if the bomb squad gets called in because someone found a mysterious/abandoned letter.  Or the fear that someone will think it is laced with anthrax....seriously I worry about these things!  I've seen where people leave notes in books at the library but who knows when that book will get checked out next.  

The current plan is to create some things with the over abundance of craft supplies at my disposal. I'll have to keep you posted.

I challenge all of you to look for opportunities to pay it forward and do some random acts of kindness.  I would love to hear what you have done or are planning to do.  Remember you can include your whole family in the fun.  What a great way to keep the kids busy during the summer!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The T-shirt quilt...endless possibilities!

 Recently I have been doing some cleaning and organizing of many things around my house.  I am currently working in my closet going through all my clothes to determine what to keep and what to let go.  One item that should be no surprise to anyone that knows me is my BYU shirts. I still wear many of them but I have been thinking that it just might be time to "retire" some of the older ones.  The thought of actually getting rid of them makes me sad though.  Enter the t-shirt quilt.

One way to re-purpose those cherished shirts you don't want to part with is to create a fun and useful quilt.  I have seen many t-shirt quilts over the years and some appeal to me more than others.  I, personally, am more partial to the quilts that have borders or other blocks tied in with the t-shirt blocks.  Also, as much as I love symmetry, this is one place where I like to see different sized blocks.  I want the shirt designs to be the highlight of the quilt and not all the dead space from the rest of the shirt. 

My Girlfriends Quilt Shoppe in Logan Utah had this USU quilt on display on one of my visits to the shopped for a t-shirt class they were offering.  Notice how the shirt logos are different sizes but are tied together with the complimentary colors of the block and edging borders.  This is a great look if you have enough designs for this type of quilt.
 (As a total side note: if you are in Utah I highly recommend you visit My Girlfriends
 Quilt Shoppe in Logan or their new location in Midway. Both of these stores are well worth your time.)

I found this design on Pinterest.  Unfortunately it just takes you to a JPG file and not to web page so I don't know who to properly credit.  As far as I can tell the original pinner is Susan Hoffman. This design works well if you have a limited number of t-shirts to 
work with. Living in the great state of Utah means that a good percentage of my team 
wear is actually sweatshirts.  So this might prove to be a nice alternative depending on
 how many t-shirts I come up with  and I'm willing to part with.  Unlike the USU quilt
  above, they have used some team logo fabric in the squares of this one.  I also like the 
visual interest of the t-shirts overlapping the outside border of the top and bottom.  

Here are a couple more that I really like if you are working with a large quantity 
of t-shirts.

From the blog Life, quilts and a cat too, this design is called a drop shadow box.  I love the
 clean look of this quilt while appealing to the scrapbooker in me that thinks images
 need to be "mounted" on a background. You may read 
more about this quilt in her post by following this link.

Tshirt quilt assembled in rows rather than squares:

 Another quilt using many shirts. I found this one on Pinterest as well.  The link goes to a Flicker account so there isn't too much detail. It looks like the quilt creators name is Chris and this link will give you a little more detail about it. I like how this one has been done using horizontal rows instead of the vertical rows others are pieced together with.  

There are many more options out there for you to explore but I thought I would share a few of my favorites. No matter your style there is a perfect design out there for you.  I would love to see what designs inspire you!  

Now to to finish the closet project so I know what I have to work with :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Preparing for General Conference

 General Conference has always been near and dear to my heart.  I love hearing from the leaders of our church speak on the things they have been inspired to share.

For those of you who may not be familiar with what I am referring to, twice a year the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints holds a General Conference.  These meetings are held the first weekends of April and October on both Saturday and Sunday.  Saturday there are three different sessions 10am-12pm, 2pm-4pm and the Priesthood session at 6pm.  Sunday there are two additional sessions at 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm.  There is also a general women's session that is held the Saturday before the main sessions. We get to hear from the Presidency, General Authorities and other current leaders of the church.  The thing I have always been most impressed with is that the speakers are not assigned topics or given a theme for the conference.  While basic teachings are always covered themes do emerge each time.  Another interesting thing is that these themes can be different depending on the person listening and what they need at that time. 

I believe in personal revelation and have experienced it first hand many times in my life.  When we are prepared spiritually I think that we are more open to receive those promptings.  For me, conference has been a way to evaluate where I am at and also to develop an "action plan" of sorts for the next six months.  

Everyone has a different approach to General Conference participation.  I have always been a note taker but I have changed the way I take notes over the years.  I used to do more of a lecture note style which consisted of writing fast and furious to try and catch everything each speaker was saying.  Thanks to modern technology I don't have to wait for a month for the Conference issue of the Ensign (one of the official magazines the church prints) to come out.  Now I can watch and read all of the talks within days and in some cases hours after they were given.  Since they are now so readily available, I have turned to more of a thoughts and impressions approach. Sometimes I will write direct quotes and scripture references but mainly I write things I feel and things that come to mind as each speaker is talking.  

There is definitely no right or wrong way to do this, you don't even need to take notes if that isn't your thing. What I would like to do is encourage everyone to participate in conference this coming weekend. You can find it streaming live on at the times listed above.  It's a time to spiritually recharge and hopefully feel the peace and love that our Heavenly Father offers each and every one of us. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

No Spend March

Every so often I do what I like to call "no spend month". I am choosing March this time but you can do it whenever you want.  This is pretty self explanatory really, other than food and gas I don't buy anything in that month.  I have done a few of these now and I have had varying degrees of success. As with anything else, it all comes down to preparation. Wait what..make plans!?!  Yes, that is exactly what I am saying.

I know there are people just dying right now thinking you have got to be kidding. I won't be able to do anything all month.  Well that is where you are wrong.  You will just need to be a little creative.  Whether it is around the house or out on the town there are plenty of no cost things to keep you busy for a few weeks.

I don't know about the rest of you but I could run my own craft store out of my home.  I have enough projects to keep me going for months.  Scrapbooking, sewing, and card making are just a few of the things at hand that I don't need to buy anything for. But I'm not crafty you say?  Perhaps you don't stockpile projects to get through the zombie apocalypse.  Here is a list of a few ideas of things you can do:

  • do some genealogy
  • study about the countries your ancestors are from 
  • volunteer 
  • go for a walk/hike
  • do some yard work if weather permits
  • change some light bulbs
  • change your smoke alarm batteries
  • go to the library (it's the building in town that has a lot of books)
  • read a book
  • take photos of your town
  • see if any museums in your area are free
  • visit family
  • start learning a new language there are plenty of free resources online
  • organize your recipes
  • clean out your closet
  • deep clean a room
  • spend time outside get some natural vitamin D
  • have a family and or friends game night
  • start a journal
  • check the expiration dates on your meds/make up/food
  • start planning a vacation
  • make a budget
  • use that gym pass you paid for and haven't been back since Jan 18th
  • Hang some pictures
  • Do a brain dump
And when all else fails...rearrange the furniture ;)

Its not too late to join me for March no spend. You have a few days left to get your plans in order.  I would love to hear what activities you have lined up!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Some people thrive on change.  Always trying out a new hairstyle, rearranging the furniture or are up to date with the latest _______(fill in the blank).  I am not one of these people!

Change has always been hard for me. I grew up in a very structured environment and my dad's health dictated much of our daily routine. The more his condition declined the greater the need to stick to a schedule.  I didn't realize at the time how much of my time was laid out for me.  All I knew was I lived a fairly happy and safe childhood.  Sure, I went to activities and spent time with friends but there were no real disruptions to my day to day life.

After graduating from high school I took this learned lifestyle with me as I went on to college.  I had a great time with the new freedom of not being at home but I still gravitated toward structure and a sense of routine.  I know that not many people that know me would believe this but I do have a sort of OCD.

In life change is inevitable. Sometimes it is by our choice and other times it is more or less forced on us. Then there are the times when you are guided to do something else. One of my favorite scriptures is Doctrine and Covenants 122:7 which ends with....that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

Lately I have had a feeling that some changes need to be made in my life.  Actually many things...too many to mention here.  My goal is to take on the changes whether large or small knowing that they are for my good. What I do know, is that I will use my previous experiences to grow and progress in the future.

I hope you will be along with me as I see where these changes take me.  To quote President Thomas S. Monson (President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) "Brothers and sisters, my sincere prayer is that we may adapt to the changes in our lives, that we may realize what is most important, that we may express our gratitude always and thus find joy in the journey."  

To see the full talk please watch the following:

Saturday, November 14, 2015

"Was that an answer to my prayer or just my own thoughts?"

Have you ever asked yourself, "Was that an answer to my prayer or just my own thoughts?"
Posted by David A Bednar on Tuesday, January 28, 2014

This is something I have been studying quite a bit about lately as I have earnestly been searching for some answers.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Getting along spending zero

I am half way through my no spend August.  There have been a few challenges along the way but I have done really well.  At one point, I actually had a shirt in my hand at Old Navy that I really wanted and I thought, no you don't NEED it.  I ended up leaving without buying anything...small victories!  I did price out a couple of things that I may need in the next month or two though if you are wondering why I was in a store to begin with :)

I thought I would share a few things that I have been able to do this month so far while not spending anything.

Football season is SO close I can feel it!  I had to run an errand for work one day that took me near the stadium.  Not wanting to pass on an opportunity to spend some time at one of my favorite places ever, I went over the the stadium and just walked around.  It is so different when there aren't thousands of other people there.  This place has so many great memories for me with family and friends.  I am truly happy here.

Comso got in Utah lake for the first time ever!  Don't you love his little life jacket?  We went for a drive and ended up at the lake.  I had his jacket with us so I thought why not.  He was a good sport but I am not sure if he really loved it.  The water was cold and he was shivering so me got out.  I need to try it again during the day when it is warmer.

Amazing shots of the sunset over the lake.  It was kind of  a stormy evening which made for beautiful colors in the sky.  I love nature and the feeling of peace it brings to me, I think that is why it is my favorite thing to photograph.  

My extremely lucky friend Jodie wins tickets to EVERYTHING and I happily accept to go with her whenever I can.  How excited was I to get a call saying she had tickets to Kenny Chensey and did I want to go?  Uh, yes please!  

I am excited to see what comes up the rest of the month.