Thursday, July 2, 2020

New Website Coming Soon!!

Dear friends- thank you once again for sticking around as I try to take care of my family and my own health and push my beloved blog to the side for a full year and a half.  I try to remind myself that their are seasons for everything in life and to be patient- but im not very good with patience!!!

My daughter is finally stabilizing with her kidney disease and my health is beginning to get to a point where I can function a bit and that is such a blessing.  My goal and prayer is to begin working on the back end of the blog again SOON- which is very exciting to me! I will try to get a few new posts up just to give us all something to read lol but my prayer is that 2020 will be my year ! That I will be blessed to return to my beloved blog and my writing.  Im so thankful for those of you who have stuck by my side as I go through a season of extra care for my sweet family and a season of getting my health on track.  Im excited for the new season in life tho! ❤❤❤

What has everyone been up too? I miss you all!! 😊

With love and happy parenting- jl

PS -  I'm also working on a special project that will be based around my life story - and the project is growing bigger and bigger with every prompting I receive, with every tender mercy and with every answered prayer  - im pretty excited for it too. You can learn more at my Instagram  @RiseUpShineBe 😉

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Setting Goals and Planning Ahead ~ GIVEAWAY Mormon Mom Planner


( The planner in the picture above is the same cover as the one we are giving away ! Barnwood Floral , the 2017-2018 Edition !!) 

It is officially the New Year ! For me that is something to celebrate ! My second favorite holiday is New Years Eve ~ I LOVE making goals for the year and planning the year out. ( My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving ~ I knew you were wondering ;) 

We have been blessed to have General Authorities to give us council on setting goals and planning ahead. We can learn from them and know that by doing this, we are going to become better. 

I love this quote from Elder M. Russell Ballard that he gave in the New Era May 2003 : 

" We can become the masters of our own destinies by practicing self-discipline and by setting worthy goals that will lead to higher ground so that we can become what our Heavenly Father wants us to become." 

Isn't that awesome ? We want to become what Heavenly Father knows we can become. We want to be how he sees us. I love thinking about what Heavenly Father sees when He looks at my children. I see such incredible futures and beautiful spirits when I look at my children, and to think that my Father in Heaven sees even more in my children, it is so incredible to me. Now just think what He sees when He looks at you. We can set worthy goals and work hard towards them, but we must remember to not set goals that are not right for us.

I absolutely LOVE this quote from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf in the September 2009 Liahona:

" May I invite you to rise to the great potential within you. But don't reach beyond your capacity. Don't set goals beyond your capacity to achieve. Don't feel guilty or dwell on thoughts of failure. Don't compare yourself with others. Do the best you can, and the Lord will provide the rest. Have faith and confidence in Him, and you will see miracles happen in your life and the lives of your loved ones. " 

Seriously in love with that quote. I can sometimes look at my goals and my to-do lists and feel a bit crazy trying to get it all done and work hard and not give up and then get frustrated with myself because I'm human. So I really love this quote from President Uchtdorf because he gives me exact counsel to follow and shows me how to not let that happen.

When we set goals for the year and plan ahead, we need to remember the next step - actually working towards those goals and putting action to it. We can sit and write down huge amazing life goals, and then just let that piece of paper sit there ---- IM GUILTY!! ;) But we must remember the next step - action.

 Elder Gene R. Cook gave some great counsel from his father about this in the April 2008 Liahona :  

" When it came time to setting goals, my father had three rules. First, we had to have worthwhile goals. Second, we could change our goals at any time. But third, whatever goal we chose, we had to work diligently toward it. " 

How much easier can this get. Set worthwhile goals. Change your goals if needed. Work hard towards them ! I love it !


I'm super excited to give away my dream planner !!
Now you can set goals each month and plan ways to achieve them and also plan your weeks out . Time to plan ahead so you can accomplish things!  I have always been a HUGE fan of planners. Like ridiculous love planners and will go on Instagram and just type in #planneraddict and look at all the pretty planners and how people would decorate them and write out all of their goals and plans. I have been known to have 2-3 different planners in my purse at one time... because I could never find just one planner that had everything I wanted in it...... until I received my Mormon Mom Planner..... it is literally my dream planner and everything I have ever wanted in a planner and MORE!!!

( Just look how ADORABLE her pages are ! Don't you love the pockets ?? The Sunday Notes pages are some of my favorites each month, because I can take notes in church in a notebook then come home and write them in my planner all nice and organized and it makes me think about the lesson more ! ) 

The best way I can show you how incredible this planner is - is to have the creator of it show you ! 
She is incredible and has thought of everything. Over on her blog she has a post that shows her personal planner and all the different pages and how she has it set up ( SOOO CUTE! ) and also the different pages and things available in the planner... and there is even a video. Seriously I could never show it to you the way she can. It is so worth it to click this link and go look at hers and what she has created because it's incredible. IN THE LEAFY TREETOPS ~ MORMON MOM PLANNER REVIEW - Totally worth clicking this link and seeing how perfect this planner is ! 

At their shop you can get the planner that is of your dreams... maybe it isn't the Mormon Mom Planner, maybe you need something like the Mom On The Go or just the Simple Planner - take a peek at all the different options and accessories etc at InTheLeafyTreeTops .

Here is a picture of my planner with the first couple of pages for January ~ I saw someone on Instagram use the graph paper to make a " Things I am Thankful For " page and I loved that idea. :) The other page is your relationships page for January... what goals do you have for each of your relationships - Your Heavenly Father, Savior and Holy Ghost, your spouse, your children, and your family, friends and neighbors. :)

( my handwriting isn't pretty anymore now that I have nerve damage everywhere in my body , which makes me sad cause I love to write! But I can still get the job done! ) 

Here is my layout for this week... once again my handwriting isn't pretty anymore, but you can see just how much room you have for everything and how each day is mapped out for morning, afternoon and evening and their is plenty of room for other things for you to plan out your whole week on just two pages !!!

 Also, the cute stickers on my planner pages... those are from theLDS PLANNER STICKER DOWNLOAD KIT from My Computer is My Canvas that she is giving away along with In The Leafy Treetops giving away the MORMON MOM PLANNER !!! SO AWESOME !!! 

( The cute clip in bookmark is available at IN THE LEAFY TREETOPS where you buy the planners... they have really cute accessories like the bookmarks, different planner covers that you can clip on and they have stickers too!!! ) 

Do you love those cute stickers you can add in from MY COMPUTER IS MY CANVAS ??? So cute !! I forgot to buy sticker paper hahaha, so I used cardstock and just taped them in this layout for this week, it totally works and I love it. Better than using nothing ;) I am so excited that the owner of the shop is giving away a download of the LDS Planner Sticker kit like what I have up here. SO CUTE. 

Here is a close up of the Sticker Kit : 

Isn't it CUTE ?????? Love them. This is the coolest giveaway ever. The Mormon Mom Planner- my dream planner and adorable stickers that are just right for an LDS moms life - from My Computer is My Canvas. She has such cute stuff. Check out all her stuff at MyComputerIsMyCanvasEtsyShop - she has tons of different Printables like Menus, Organization , Church Printables, even Games and More! Ugh, LOVE IT !


Now comes the best part... the actual GIVEAWAY ! 

Here is what is being given away : The Mormon Mom Planner in Barnwood Floral, 2017-2018 Edition from In The Leafy TreeTops and the LDS Sticker Planner Download Kit from My Computer is My Canvas. 


To Purchase Planner Sticker Kits from My Computer is My Canvas go HERE

Happy Parenting! Love, JL~ 


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Eventide ~ and a review of Eclipse 6 #singthygrace


I have always loved the time of day when the daylight begins to slowly fade into darkness. It's a quiet time and we are usually blessed with a gorgeous sunset during that time. It's that time of day when you are never quite sure whether to turn the lights on or just enjoy the coming darkness. It's my favorite time to go for a walk or a ride around town - I might sound creepy here, but I love it when people have their curtains opened and the lights are on and you can just drive or walk by and see that the families are all cozied in for the evening and all is well. ( I really hope I don't sound like a peeping tom ! I've always loved going for rides at that time.. when I was a kid I used to look in and think about what it would be like to have my own home and family... as an adult I glance in as we drive by and see how they have their living room decorated haha ! I love the feeling of my hometown all being home and cozy and ready for evening! Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this haha!! )

I will never forget the first time I heard the hymn " Abide With Me, Tis Eventide " as an adult. I had finally found the perfect word for that magical time of the " evening " that I loved so much. I love to sit on my porch and watch the sunset and write in my journal during that time. It just didn't sound right to call it " early evening " or something like that. Eventide, what a poetic word. For someone who writes for a living, words are important to me, and truly finding that perfect word for a feeling or time, well that is special to me.

" Abide with me; tis eventide.
The day is past and gone;
The shadows of the evening fall;
The night is coming on."

It has been a longtime parenting goal of mine ~ to take advantage of Eventide with my family more often. To sit quietly as a family, with the curtains open to watch the sunset ( you guys could even drive by if you want and peek in , although you won't be impressed with my living room decor - I'm awful at decorating! ;) ) and to listen to music and maybe read our Scriptures during this time, or just chat quietly about our day. To be still for a few minutes after a crazy day. I have found the perfect music to use for this special time of day, and I can't wait to tell you about it below!

After I really heard the hymn, 'Abide With Me, Tis Eventide' - I dove into learning more about the hymn and was so surprised by what I found. The hymn was inspired by the Civil War. The writer of the lyrics and the composer of the music, were both soldiers in the Union. They truly felt the loss and sorrow that war brings and they watched as fear spread throughout the country and darkness seemed to overcome our nation and our country became divided. This truly puts so many of the lyrics of the hymn into perspective and it just makes it so much more poignant. We all go through trials where we feel sorrow or fear. But this hymn reminds us, that the Lord is ever near, and He will stay the night with us, He will never leave us.

"O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold tis eventide."

Awhile ago, I was contacted by the media contact for the A Capella group, Eclipse6. They had just released an incredible album of Gospel music and they were wondering if I would like to listen to it and review it. Well, I love music with a passion so I jumped at the chance. A Capella is becoming more mainstream and it thrills me ! I couldn't wait to hear the album.

When it was finally downloaded and ready to play, I gathered my kids around and started looking through the song selections. There it was ~ Abide With Me, Tis Eventide. As we listened to the group sing this beautiful hymn, the spirit just seemed to soar into our home and the feeling was exactly that warm, lovely, calm feeling you feel during Eventide. I was hooked. I couldn't wait to listen to the rest of the album !

The six members of Eclipse6 met in 2000, while in college at Utah State University. They performed together there and have been performing together ever since. They have become quite accomplished over the years, winning multiple Pearl Awards and opening for some pretty big artists. They now tour on their own and headline their own concerts and continue to bring incredible arrangements and vocal harmonies to us throughout the year. They have released multiple albums and their newest album ~
Sing They Grace is a number one seller at Deseret Book! 

So sit back and enjoy the next Eventide, quietly sit and watch the sunset, while listening to Eclipse6 and their incredible voices. Enjoy :) 


I'm super excited to be able to give away a digital download of the album, Sing Thy Grace, courtesy of Eclipse6 and I just know you will love it just as much as my family does ! 

It's easy to enter ~ just head over to ECLIPSE6 STORE and check out the different hymns that are on Sing Thy Grace ~ comment below and tell me which one you are most excited to hear!!! A winner will be chosen at random on December 15, 2017 at 8 PM CST. The winner will be announced here on the post and also on our Social Media pages : LDSPARENTING FB PAGE and LDSPARENTING FB GROUP. I will also announce the winner on our LDSPARENTING TWITTER and our LDSPARENTING INSTAGRAM ~ please join us on any of our social media pages and groups :) 

Don't forget to comment below which hymn you are most excited to hear from Eclipse6 new album, Sing Thy Grace ! Good luck and Happy Parenting! Love, JL~


Friday, October 6, 2017

Get Your Kids Involved with Food Storage ~ Guest Post

I'm so excited to share this with you ! Jodi and Julie from over at FOOD STORAGE MADE EASY are seriously brilliant when it comes to Food Storage ! They posted a great post on Getting Kids Involved with Food Storage and I LOVED IT !!!! So with permission, I give you.... Getting Kids Involved with Food Storage from Jodi and Julie at Food Storage Made Easy ! :)  PS~ PLEASE go over to there site ~ they have sooo many free things and lists and downloads etc and they have honestly made it so much easier for me to work on my food storage. Their title to the blog is the truth ! It truly is Food Storage Made Easy ! love, jl~

Some of the best memories from my childhood are from when I was in the kitchen helping my mom, or out in the garden with my grandpa. I loved helping, and felt a sense of pride in the work I would do. Now that I am a mom, I try to remember those memories as I’m getting dinner ready and think “clearing the kids out” would be easier. We recently did a podcast on how “having no time” is one of the reasons for not building a food storage. One of the things we recommended for this problem, is to get your kids involved and helping so that food storage projects can become family activities.

This picture is of me and my dear Grandpa up in Northern Quebec twenty something years ago. My Grandpa had a green thumb. He could plant and harvest almost anything in the coldest weather. I loved going to visit him, to help him, and to learn from him. My mom was also an incredible example to me about teaching children how to cook (among other things). I remember pinching around the edges of hundreds of pies she would bake. That was my absolute favorite job. I tried to make those pies as beautiful as she could. I didn’t love grating cheese, but I loved making my own mini pizzas, picking strawberries, and mixing up the cookie dough.
A few months ago, two out of three of my boys were on growth spurts. I kid you not these little people were eating more than me and I felt like I was cooking ALL day, everyday just to keep up with them. I even said something about it on our facebook page, and several of our readers suggested teaching the boys how to cook so that one day I wouldn’t have to as much. I LOVED this idea. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of involving them more in the kitchen before that. Since then I try to make a new food each Sunday with my boys and have them help make it with me. The past few weeks have been pretty hectic with family parties, and dinners and the other day my older boy asked “When are were going to have cooking class again?”. Touche. My boys also love to garden. For Easter my son received gardening tools from one Grandma, and for his birthday a gardening kit from his other Grandma. He was thrilled.
Today I wanted to share a few tips I have thought of or learned from others. Please feel free to leave comments with your ideas as well.

Ideas to get your kids involved?

  • Do age appropriate activities
  • Have young kids dump ingredients into mixes, they love it
  • Assign children to find ingredients off a recipe card and put them all on the counter
  • Teach kids how to read recipe cards
  • Relax about the mess
  • Assign jobs to each kid that they do regularly and can be the expert on
  • For older kids, test their math on some of the recipes and congratulate them on solving problems
  • When working with dough, pull off small parts and let the kids make their own mini foods
  • Teach kids basic cooking concepts as you go such as checking to see if something is done, or how to thicken things etc
  • Kids love to push buttons, let them set the timer for baking things
  • When making pies, or baked goods allow the kids to shape things
  • Use your kids for kneading and mixing things
  • Gradually let kids complete more and more steps of a recipe until they can do it themselves
  • Have kids tear lettuce, peel hard boiled eggs, grate cheese (if old enough)
  • When gardening, get kids their own gloves and tools
  • Have the kids pull weeds (although they may not get excited about this one)
  • Have your child keep a watering schedule for plants and help them take ownership
  • As a friendly reminder, when cooking with kids make sure to teach them some kitchen safety and always supervise them 🙂

Thursday, September 28, 2017

5 Best Ways to Enjoy Family Time During Family Conference

  October 2017 General Conference is ALMOST HERE !!!! 
Watch this neat video ! ;) 

It's a pretty sure thing, that we as Latter Day Saints, get excited about General Conference ! Two weekends of the year, we get to be with our family, and hear Prophets speak and hear what the Lord would have us hear ! This year the dates are September 30 and October 1st... Both days the schedule is the same ~ 10 am to noon MST and then 2 pm to 4 pm MST. You can enjoy this weekend with us by watching at 

One of the fun traditions in my family, is we make a fun breakfast on Sunday morning, we all get cozy and have lots of blankets and pillows all over the living room as we settle in with our notebooks and pens and get ready to watch General Conference. It is such a happy cozy time with our family. One year we did the cute little activity of having 5 bowls with a different treat in each one, and each bowl had a keyword on it like " Prayer " , or " Jesus " and every time someone said the keyword, they got a treat from the bowl. It ended up being kind of distracting because my kiddos are older and they were concentrating on hearing the keyword and not listening with the spirit.. so we just dumped a bunch of the treats into bags and let them have at it while they watched. I think this wouldve been a great activity for them when they were a lot younger. ;) 

I have compiled a list of some of my favorite ideas for making General Conference a special family time. Some of these links are affiliate links... thank you so much for your support. Some of them are just other great ideas... but I love them all ! ;) 



LIVING SCRIPTURES STREAMING LIBRARY  is one of my families favorite ever thing ! My kids love the movies and as teenagers now, there are still so many great movies that I know they are safe watching. We enjoy the FHE and Audio stories and so many other great things. I wrote a review blog post HERE and it can give you a lot more information. This is perfect for General Conference because it offers lots of free printable coloring pages and activity pages for kids to color during conference and then between sessions you can watch a movie and keep the Spirit in your home but enjoy it too ! ;) 

For General Conference they are doing a special of $1 for your first month , by using the Coupon Code : General Conference . Please use this  LINK to sponsor LDS Parenting :) 


I LOVE The Red Headed Hostess. She is just the best ! From her BOOK OF MORMON STUDY GUIDE that my family uses and LOVES, to her great SEMINARY PRODUCTS she is just the best ! She just released a new GENERAL CONFERENCE FAMILY KIT and it looks so fun ! You can learn more about it by clicking on the link ~ HERE . I completely trust and know that anything she does.... is going to be fabulous ;) Plus doesn't the General Conference Store look super cute and fun ?? 


How could I not include one of my favorite places in the entire internet ??? I love Pinterest with a passion ~ you can check out my profile HERE and get a peek at how ridiculous I am with Pinterest. ;) I don't mind ! LOL. I have a GENERAL CONFERENCE BOARD and I encourage you to look around ! I have pins about fun things to do, pins with free activity pages and coloring pages and just so much ! I have pins for adults and teenagers and even pins that have yummy General Conference recipes ;) I just couldn't leave it out ! 


Is this not the dang cutest idea ever ???? You can go to the dollar store and get a pair of cute socks for each of the family members for a buck ! :) Or you can get fancy and go get the fuzziest, fanciest, funniest ever pair of socks for each family member. Put them in a basket and set it out with the little printable and get everyone excited to put those cozy socks on and enjoy conference ! Here's the link to her blog post.... she has some fantastic ideas for conference time ! I LOVE IT ! PREPARED NOT SCARED BLOG


General Conference is all about listening to the Prophet and General Authorities teach us about what Heavenly Father would have us do. A big theme that is always throughout Conference is families. One of the most important parts of a family... is the husband and wife. My hubby and I like to take time on Saturday night after Priesthood Session, and work on our goals. We sit down on New Years Even and write out our goals, goals for ourselves, goals for our marriage, and goals for our family.  :) During General Conference, both in April and in October, it gives a chance to reread thru those goals and see how we are doing ! Plus it's quiet time together as a couple and that's important !! The Dating Divas have this fantastic YEAR OF GOOD GOALS pack that literally has everything you can think of for making good goals and keeping them throughout the year. I am getting this for Conference and I'm already looking forward to sitting down with my cute hubby and ordering a pizza and enjoying a little " date night " that will really help our family out too ! :) 


The most important thing about General Conference ~ Watch it and feel the Spirit. That's the most important thing ! Go in with an open heart and a spirit ready to learn ! I have a friend who writes down a question she wants answered and then listens carefully thru Conference for the answer to her questions. I tried it last year and it almost freaked me out it worked so well ! I encourage you to try it ! 

I'm so thankful for the opportunity to share some of my favorite things with you for General Conference and I'm so thankful for the Gospel and for General Conference. It just brings peace to my home, to my family, and to my personal life. I love Conference so much. I pray that you will feel the Spirit during General Conference and that you will really, truly enjoy your time with your family during this special weekend ! Happy Parenting ! Love, JL~

Want More Ideas for General Conference ? Visit these links below for blog posts from my friends !! :) Love, JL~ 

Don't Forget to Check Out The Giveaway and Learn Some New Tips on Teaching Your Children About Service ! 

Click the Link HERE

Friday, September 22, 2017

Teaching Children About Service with Merrilee Boyack

Congrats to Brittany for winning the autographed copy of Merrilee Boyack's book
52 Weeks of Fun Family Service ! 
Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway ! 

Teaching Children To Serve With  A Happy Heart 

" As we extend our hands and hearts towards others in Christlike love , something wonderful happens to us, our own spirits become healed, more refined, and stronger. We become happier, more peaceful, and more receptive to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. " ~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf

How could we not want that for our children ? One of the most precious things we can teach our children is compassion for others and how to serve others. This was something that was so important to my sweet husband and I when we had our first child, and then when the other two children came along we added them right in to the different service projects we would do. It was not uncommon to see one of us with a baby strapped to our backs and one in the stroller while we worked together.

I was thrilled to see that Merrilee Boyack had written an entire book on how to have fun while doing service as a family ! I immediately contacted her and she emailed me right back ~ I felt like I had received the best Christmas present ! This incredible woman is not only an author, but also a speaker, life coach, Lawyer and community leader, wife, mom and grandma...... and she actually emailed little ole me back ? It was awesome ! Then as we sent a couple of emails back and forth I realized that she really truly is just the best gal ever ! I love that service is so important to her. What a wonderful thing to have a passion for ! The fact that she has written a book about service with your family.... it was the icing on the cake. She immediately agreed to send me an autographed copy of the book and I sent her some interview questions and this crazy woman had those questions write back to me , answered with phenomenal answers in like 20 minutes ! Can I be her when I grow up ??? ;)

( I love this quote on service so much ! ) 

One of my favorite quotes about service is from President Hinckley ( oh how I love that man and his sweet wife ). When President Hinckley was on his mission, he felt down and had despair. His father answered his letter with these wise words, " Forget yourself and go to work. " ( July 2000 New Era )

Preparing Your Family To Serve 

I would like to suggest that the first thing you do as a family, is to have a Family Home Evening on Service ( May I suggest this one HERE ?)  ~ and make a commitment to include the advice of this quote in your family prayers for the next few days :

" In your morning prayer each new day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of His precious children. Then go throughout the day with your heart full of faith and love, looking for someone to help. " ~ M. Russell Ballard ( November 2012, Ensign )

As you do this each day as a family, I feel so strongly that Heavenly Father will place beautiful opportunities in your day and you will be able to begin to foster that beautiful spirit of service and love for one another, and it will be such a beautiful example for your children. Because my husband and I have always tried so hard to serve others ~ our children have grown up with that spirit of service and now that they are 16, 15 and 13 ( my babies are growing up ... so sad ! ) they are also very active in serving others and even serving each other which has been such a blessing for our family. Our home is much happier when we are serving each other instead of getting on to one another about silly things. I promise you that if you are a good example to your children and get them involved with serving others and loving others around you, that it will bring a sweet spirit into your home also !

I love the description of the book ' 52 Weeks of Fun Family Service ' that Merrilee has on her website, HERE.
" Tired of the ME-ME-ME syndrome ? Want your children to be LESS greedy and selfish MORE generous , charitable, and hard-working ? Then you will absolutely love this book ! " This was from her website, but I couldn't agree more !

I hope you enjoy the interview with Sister Boyack and look into her books and if you don't win the giveaway ~ seriously consider purchasing this book for your family ! ~ JL

Interview With Sister Merrilee Boyack 

1) Thank you so much Sister Boyack, for taking the time to answer some questions for us ! I know we will learn from you. First of all, tell us something fun or silly about yourself !

I have weirdly long toes. Seriously they're like fingers. My husband says I am the missing link. But it's super handy because I can pick up all kinds of things with my feet. So talented... it boggles the imagination.     ( note from JL ~ don't you just love her already ?? LOL !)

2) You have so many different things you are doing. You are a lawyer, author, speaker and community leader. How do you manage your time and make sure you are also spending time with your family ? We all could use some good time management tips !

I gave up cooking. I HATE cooking so I do as little as possible. The kids are grown and my husband helps so that works for us. But I am most comfortable with many projects going at once. I use one time-management tip ~

Everyone asks me how I accomplish so much. The answer is that first, I realized that my life consisted of my CHOICES. And this is the second :



Every evening, I review my "Gotta-Do's" for the next day. Usually there are three or less. Then I go over my " Should-Do's" list. In the morning I review them. Then I begin.

#1 Gotta-do for me = STEP= Scriptures, Thanks, Exercise, Prayer

Do that first, do that first, do that first ! Take the first STEP then proceed. Now some days you will get all of your Gotta-do's done and plow on to your  Should-do list and you're cranking and to throw in some Could-do's like sit on your butt and watch Oprah. Other days you'll only get your first Gotta-do done.

I PROMISE YOU~ If you live your life this way, AMAZING RESULTS. Most people dink around and mix up their lists. They place the same importance on prayers as they do on emptying the dishwasher. THIS IS POWERFUL. Just every day, wake up and mentally make your list. Writing down is even better. And Gotta-do's SHOULD NOT BE LONG. STEP plus like one or two others. NO LAUNDRY LISTS because they're not real . Those priorities are NOT THE SAME.

A Passion for Service 

3) You have an entire section on your website that discusses service. What makes service such a passion for you ? Did you have a neat experience that really drove it home that you wanted to devote your life to doing service and teaching others on service ?

Virtually every person I've ever met who was deeply committed to service, had this transforming experience in their youth. And very often, these service experiences were experiences within their families. These transforming life experiences helped create amazing adults.

In my own life, it was making climbing toys as a family for a young handicapped boy in our community. I was about nine or ten and I will never forget how I felt when we dropped them off on his snow-covered porch and ran and hid. Those squeals of joy have rung in my ears for decades. I have loved community service from the time I was a child- mostly from the example of my father. I could never get enough of it ! I loved how it made me feel !

4) What are some of your favorite ways to serve, that would be easy for a family to do together ? You have written a whole book on it and we can't wait to hear more about that, but what is something off the top of your head, that would be one easy step for families to do together right now ?

An easy one is to have a service family home evening night - go OUT- get in the car and go somewhere and do something. It might be to a senior's home where you sing to them. You might bake goodies for a single mom and her family You might go rake leaves. You might take garbage bags and go along the local trail and clean up. just GO and DO.

52 Weeks of Fun Family Service by Merrilee Boyack 

5) Tell us a bit about your book, 52 Weeks of Fun Family Service. What prompted you to write it ?

We had raised our children with service and it has been the salvation for our boys. It taught them to be like Christ by DOING his works. There is something so deep, so profound that touches your very spirit when you serve. I wanted to share with others how important it was to do these things in our FAMILIES. I saw very, very few families living and practicing this. And I wanted to make it easy for them. So VIOLA! 52 ideas with family home evenings to boot. No more excuses :)

Author, Speaker, Lawyer, and Community Leader ~ A Woman with a Mission ! 

6) you have been blessed with many different opportunities to speak and to teach others. What is your favorite topic to talk about ?

Two really - I have one lecture called, " You're Stronger Than You Think You Are" where I share my experience with breast cancer and two years of unbelievable trials and the positive choices I decided to make and the other lecture is " Standing Up in a Sit-Down World" which talks about fighting evil in this world and doing good in our communities. Both are life-changing and both are my faves.

7) You are also a lawyer ! What a busy lady ! When did you choose to go into law ? How do you find time to run a law practice with all of the other wonderful things you are doing ?

I decided to be a lawyer when I was 7 years old which is weird because I never had met a lawyer in my life. I graduated a year early from college and the prompting came very strongly to go to law school. I have practiced in estate planning - working with families to prepare for death or disability- and families are actually happy when they leave which is rare in law :) Also I worked part-time during all the years of raising my kids and worked out of a home office. It was the perfect career for me ! It was also very flexible and I worked it around all my other projects.

8) you have been active in creating some great community programs for your community. What are some tips and advice for us, to bring programs to our own communities ?

1. Start with an idea- something that has been bugging you or inspiring you.
2. Talk to people who have experience - maybe city planners, maybe the school.
3. Put together a plan.
4. Invite other people to participate - this is HUGE. A MAJOR part of anything I do is to invite others and involve them. People are good and want to help- they just don't know what or how.
5. BE FEARLESS. That's the biggest one.

When you think " Somebody should do something about this ! " That somebody is YOU!

One of my favorite quotes from President Hinckley :
" The tide of evil flows. Today it has become a veritable flood. Most of us, living somewhat sheltered lives, have little idea of the vast dimensions of it....
God gives us the strength, the wisdom, the faith, the courage as citizens to stand in opposition to these and to let our voices be heard in defense of those virtues, which when practiced in the past, made men and nations strong, and which, when neglected, brought them to decay.
God lives. He is our strength and our helper. As we strive, we shall discover that legions of good men  and women will join with us. Let us begin now.  Are these perilous times ? They are. But there is no need to fear. We can have peace in our hearths and peace in our homes. We can be an influence for good in this world, every one of us. Let our voices be heard. I think the Lord would say to us, 'Rise, and stand upon they feet, and speak up for truth and goodness and decency and virtue."
( ' In Opposition to Evil' Ensign September 2004 )

The power of one is immense ~
~ One person can change a home
~ One person can change a community
~One person can change the world

Parenting ~ What a Fun Ride ! 

9) Tell us about your family ! Your bio says you are the mother to four boys ! Could you share with us a fun parenting story ? Anything gross or hilarious that happened as you mothered your boys ?

So, I'm making grilled cheese sandwiches for the boys. I know, impressive that I was using something other than the microwave. They were pretty amazed as well. And as usual, I'm in a hurry cranking out those puppies. So I quickly grabbed the can with the green lid and sprayed the pan. Just as I'm about to slap on the sandwiches, Tanner cries out, MOM! You just sprayed the pan with RAID!!!! I stopped midair-shocked. Sure enough, I had used the bug spray , thinking it was the cooking spray ! All the boys began to squeal in horror, EWWW!!!

Fine, Fine. So I thoroughly washed the pan and continued to finish up the sandwiches. Tanner's prayer was especially sincere, " Heavenly Father, we ask thee to really, really, really, bless this food so, like, it won't kill us." And the brave souls ate their sandwiches and didn't die.

I just wasn't paying attention. It could've happened to anyone. Honestly.....

One day, one of the boys said, " Mom , theres a plant in the bathtub in our bathroom". I was in a hurry and said, " Yeah, yeah, whatever " I thought it was somebody's Scout project or something. A couple of week's go by " MOOOOM, there's a plant in the bathtub." I was in a hurry and said, " K. No problem. " Now you need to realize that my children clean their own bathroom. There were four boys using that bathroom. I wasn't going in there.
But finally one morning, I actually walked into the bathroom and looked in the bathtub. There was a plant growing out of the drain, and I do not exaggerate, that was over a FOOT TALL! I wasn't paying attention. But let's face it. Those boys were perfectly capable of uprooting the Little Shop of Horrors Alien Plant themselves. They weren't paying attention either. Actually, they said they were curious how big it would get. Right... just before it ate one of them.

10) Is there anything else that you would like to share with us ? Some words of wisdom for us ? :)

Parenting is a wild and wooly ride. But God sent you those kids for a reason - He knows that you will love them no matter what. Trust that. And know that your Savior is right by your side every inch of the way. Study, learn, pray, fast, and keep moving your little family to the Celestial Kingdom step by step.

And be fearless in standing for truth. Have your children MEMORIZE the Proclamation on the Family to arm them for the future they face. And be faithful and fearless. They need to see you standing strong as the storms swirl about us. Be their rock and you lean on your Rock.



ISN'T SHE AMAZING ????? Such a fun interview !! Now I have an autographed copy of her book, '52 Weeks of Fun Family Service' that she mailed to me to give to you !!! Please enter to win here on the rafflecopter !!! Love, JL~

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Influence of a Mother ~ Guest Post

* Photo of the author with one of her 11 children 

Influence of a Mother
By Shiloah Baker

For centuries beautiful words have been written of mothers and their important influence in the lives of every man and woman. Countless stories have been shared of mothers who gave great personal sacrifice for the sake of her children and future generations.

We were all children once and have an acute understanding that children need more that food, clothes, and shelter. Children need positive influence and love. We all have our weaknesses. This is a part of the mortal life we live, but we can always strive to do better.

“Every mother should endeavor to be a true artist. I do not mean by this that every woman should be a painter, sculptor, musician, poet, or writer, but the artist who will write on the table of childish innocence thoughts she will not blush to see read in the light of eternity and printed amid the archives of heaven, that the young may learn to wear them as amulets around their hearts and throw them as bulwarks around their lives, and that in the hour of temptation and trial the voices from home may linger around their paths as angles of guidance, around their steps, and be incentives to deeds of high and holy worth.” (Francis E. W. Harper)

Dorothy Gale, in the Wizard of Oz said it best when she said, “There’s no place like home.” A mother’s influence in the home will last beyond the current moment, day, or week. A mother’s influence lasts from generation to generation. What a powerful influence mothers have.

My mother was no longer able to raise me after the age of thirteen due to many sad circumstances beyond her control. She gave her all to raising all four of her daughters with strong roots in the gospel and a love of home and homemaking skills. She demonstrated a respect for femininity and encouraged us to raise families. Through her example I grew too cherish being a nurturer- a mother.

As you gather your family around you and see their precious faces, take time to thank our Heavenly Father for your calling as a mother and remember how important you are in the lives of your family.

“You may place upon the brow of a true wife and mother the greenest laurels; you may crowd her hands with civic honors; but, after all, to her there will be no place like home, and the crown of her motherhood will be more precious than the diadem of a queen.” (Francis Harper)

Shiloah Baker is the mother to eleven beautiful children and  married to the man she’s madly in love with. She is founder and Master Energy Healer at LIFEOLOGY ENERGY THERAPY and owner and editor in chief of THE HOMEMAKING COTTAGE .  Lover of religion classic books, children, and beautiful home decor.