Saturday, December 03, 2011

Now Booking: Nutcracker Ballet 2012 - get your tickets early to avoid a sold out show!!!

Yes, you heard it correctly - the fabulous, talented and professional dance troupe from our ward Relief Society (a.k.a. Lail Covington, Lisa Morley, Allison Benefield, Tannie Smith and myself - Joanna Ellis) have just returned from our debut performance at our ward Christmas party.  After hours of practicing, through injuries, butterflies and last-minute costume revisions we have conquered our first performance and have come home to rave reviews and gushing fans.

Because this performance has received such amazing reviews it has become necessary for our dance group to start discussing our preformance schedule for the 2012 ballet season.  Work will be done to ensure that no one will miss these talented women's danc magic.  I'm just warning you - when the tickets become available you will want to snatch them up, because as you can see - these ladies can DANCE, and you don't want to miss out!

(I also have a few pictures I'll post soon.  Due to the overwhelming response though, we will not be sending out autographed copies...too many fans, not nearly enough time....)

Sunday, November 27, 2011


You know the feeling when you see a movie that just clicks - it's just what you need to see, when you need to see it?  A movie that inspires you and makes you want to be better all around?  I've felt that way all 3 times I've watched the movie "Invictus".  I highly reccommend it to anyone!  Some of my favorite quotes are:

Nelson Mandela: How do you inspire your team to do their best?
Francois Pienaar: By example. I've always thought to lead by example, sir.
Nelson Mandela: Well, that is right. That is exactly right. But how do we get them to be better then they think they CAN be? That is very difficult, I find. Inspiration, perhaps. How do we inspire ourselves to greatness when nothing less will do? How do we inspire everyone around us? I sometimes think it is by using the work of others.

Nelson Mandela: Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.

Brenda Mazibuko: You're risking your political capital, you're risking your future as our leader.
Nelson Mandela: The day I am afraid to do that is the day I am no longer fit to lead.


I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul.
(Nelson Mandela)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gratitude - turns what we have into enough...

A few months ago we had a small, tender mercy that I have thought about over and over again.  As I sat in Sacrament Meeting today and listened to a friend's sweet talk on gratitude I remembered my little experience and wanted to document it and share it with people I love.

We were driving down the road one morning.  I think we were headed to church....normally this involves me frantically putting my makeup on in the car, the kids fighting about whether or not we had brought crayons to draw with at church, and general feelings of mayhem.  But in the midst of that it was quiet and calm for a moment and Gabe said, "Mom, Dad?  I just wanted to say thanks for taking us to a movie this weekend."

That was it - he just wanted to say THANKS.

He didn't want to express gratitude in hopes for something more.  He wasn't saying thanks so that I'd remember how fun it was and take him to another movie right away - he simply wanted to express gratitude - nothing more.  It made my heart fill with love for my children.  I'm sure it wasn't something he remembers doing and my husband says he doesn't remember it even happening, but it was a big moment for me.  My child was recognizing the value of expressing thanks for something.  It made me want to express gratitude more, and it made his simple expression of gratitude mean even more to me.

It made me think of my own expression of gratitude to my Heavenly Father.  How often do I pause to just say thank you?  How often do I not think about other things I could ask for, but simply tell Him I'm grateful for all He has richly blessed me with?  My prayers do involve gratitude - but all together too often that expression of gratitude is then followed with a list of things I also "need" or "want".  Most of the time I'm asking for good things, and frequently I'm even asking for things for other people - but inevitably my prayers are asking for things.

It made me think about how my Heavenly Father would feel if my prayers occasionally were only prayers of gratitude?  It made me want to spend more time in communication with my Heavenly Father and telling Him thank-you for the people He's placed in my life, the work we've had, the callings He has blessed me with, the physical blessings I've been given.  It made me want to acknowledge His hand in every aspect of my life.

So I encourage you to go and read this talk on gratitude by my sweet friend. During this spirit of Thanksgiving please have an "attitude of gratitude" and let the peace that can come from expressing that gratitude fill your lives, your homes and your heart.  I know I am so richly blessed and I hope I can adequately express my appreciation for that to my Heavenly Father.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Beautiful Quote...

I came across this quote tonight in some reading I was doing.  My heart stopped for a moment, my spirit told me it was true and the peace our Heavenly Father promises poured out.  So sweet, so very, very sweet!

"Never look ahead to the changes and challenges of this life in fear. Instead, as they arise look at them with full assurance that God, whose you are, will deliver you out of them… So hold tightly to His loving hands and He will lead you safely through all things. And when you cannot stand He will carry you in His arms…. Either He will shield you from suffering or He will give you unwavering strength that you may bear it. Be at peace, then, and set aside all anxious thoughts and worries".  (--Francis De Sales)

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Saw this on FB this morning...couldn't have said it better myself. I had a little "incident" with my alarm clock this morning and I apparently changed it to go off an hour later.  It all happened somewhere between being asleep and kind of awake in the middle of the night.  I have a very vague memory of it....Bummer too - I was looking forward to running with my buds.  :( 

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Color Fix - Digital Scrapbooking HEAVEN!

So what are YOU doing to celebrate this weekend?  Celebrate what you ask? Digital Scrapbooking Day???  I highly reccomend that you head over to FayEtte Designs and stock up on her newest AWESOME kits.  This set is possibly my favorite kit of Fayette's EVER.  I know I've said this before....but I think this might be one of my favorites!  The kits coordinate with each other, work great on their own and are FULL of beautiful embellishments!

Check them all out in the Pickleberry Pop shop.  ColorFIX Mega Bundle   

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Time 4 Gratitude

Well, she's done it again!  Fayette of Fayette Designs has blown another one out of the park.  Check out this DARLING new kit that's just been released:
Time4Gratitude Thanksgiving Add-On Kit 

Here's a couple of layouts I did with the kit.  I wish I had a weekend to just play and scrap - I have some fun ideas floating around my head, just not enough time.  :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"I Know The Scriptures Are True"

This year in church the Primary theme was "I Know The Scriptures Are True".  I have LOVED listening to the things the boys have learned in Primary as they've listened to their teacher and leaders.  This has been Hunter's first year in Primary (he's a Sunbeam - the youngest group in Primary) and it has been amazing to hear him sing the songs, or repeat the things he learns in Primary.  He might look like he's not listening in class or sharing time, but he is!  I love hearing him repeat simple (and sometimes not-so-simple) gospel truths.

So today the kids presented their yearly program in Sacrament Meeting.  It's a meeting once a year where the kids in Primary share the songs and lessons they've learned through the year.  Every child generally will have a speaking part, interspersed throughout the music they've also learned.  It's a beautiful, touching meeting - one of my favorite of the year!  This year both boys had parts.  Gabe said, "I felt good when I went to visit the temple with my family."  Hunter's part was, "I am thankful to Heavenly Father for my 2 dogs."  My heart melted to hear them at the microphone and I loved the music!

But what was even more beautiful and special was what happened later - at home with our family.  The boys were given scripture marking pencils with a treat to tell them "good job" on the program.  They wanted to mark a couple scriptures in their own Book of Mormons.  I tried to explain that we didn't just mark up our scriptures, but we purposefully chose scriptures to underline - scriptures that were important to us.  Gabe said, "But Mom, I have a scripture that's special to me - we read about it when Nephi needed to get the plates from Laban and he said, 'I will go and do what you asked me to do.'"  So he brought me his Book of Mormon and we opened it to the scripture in 1st Nephi 3:7:

"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."
I had pointed to the verse and Gabe started reading it.  He got about 2/3 the way through the verse (reading 95% of the words on his own) and said, "MOM!  I'M READING THE SCRIPTURES!!!"  His eyes lit up and he was excited that his reading was coming in handy and HE was doing the reading this time around.  He was thrilled and wanted to call Nana and Papa on the webcam to read his new favorite scripture to them too.  It gave me goosebumps and my eyes filled with tears - my little guy was reading, he was reading the scriptures, and he was excited about it! It was one of the moments that made it all worth it.

So I said to he and Hunter, "It's great to be able to read the scriptures, and then after you've read the Book of Mormon for yourself you can pray about it and find out for yourself if it's true." Gabe said, "But Mom, why would we need to do that?  We already KNOW that the sciprtures are true."  I explained that it's important for us to each know for ourselves if something is true and we can pray to find out for ourselves.  Gabe said, "Yeah, but I already KNOW myself!"  Then Hunter chimed in and said, "Yeah Mom, just like in the song we sing in Primary - 'I KNOW The Scriptures Are True'!"  They were both so adamant that they already knew for themselves that the gospel and scriptures are true. 

What a proud and humbling parenting moment.  Looking at those boys and their undeniable faith and knowledge that the scriptures are true humbled me.  If they had no doubt in their sweet minds, then I as their mother need to be sure that my faith is unshakable and firm as ever.  Now I know that my job is not done, and that there will be opprotunities all along my parenting journey to instill gospel truths and testimony building opprotunities - but it felt so good to know that their foundation we're helping them build was founded on a belief that the scriptures are true.  I know that foundations like that will bless their lives, and many more in the years to come.  I sure do love those boys and their sweet testimonies!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Relief Society Lesson #42 - The Gathering of the House of Israel

As I've mentioned before I teach in the Relief Society at church.  This month's lesson is from the Gospel Principles manual - #42 about the Gathering of Israel. Here are some good resources I used to learn more:
Here are some ideas to use for Family Home Evening with your families.  All of these ideas were listed on another blog I found from another ward's Relief Society.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

New Quick Pages! Bippity Boppity!

I have a new QUICK PAGE ALBUM in the store at Sweet Shoppe Designs today.  Check out this fun kit by Libby Pritchett's store ("Bippity Boppity") that is perfect to create projects or layouts with Halloween pictures.  Not your typical halloween kit, but a super fun and girly twist. 

So head over to the Sweet Shoppe and get this new quick page album while it's on sale!


Friday, October 07, 2011

Totally Autumn kit by Fay-Ette Designs

I feel kind of silly saying, "This is the cutest kit I've ever seen by Fay-ETTE's Designs" - because Fayette seems to out-do herself with EVERY kit she puts out.  She's amazing!  But this kit is absolutely amazing.  Beautiful flowers, cute pumpkins, great frames, borders, adoreable apples - it's amazing!!  And if you head over to Fayette's blog you can get a freebie too!

Totally Autumn Bundle:
Totally Autumn Dig-Ette-al Kit
Totally Autumn Alpha

FREEBIE can be found here:

Saturday, October 01, 2011

General Conference

This weekend is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint's semi-annual General Conference.  Already I'm feeling uplifted, inspired and blessed.  LOVE the church leaders and their timely messages for everyone!  You can watch here - check it out!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lego Show-and-Tell

So Gabe has Show-and-Tell tomorrow at school. He originally wanted to take some of his completed Lego creations. I wasn't looking forward to the tears that were certain to happen when the pieces fell apart and things were missing when he got home. So I came up with a better idea - I'm making Gabe a mini-book using some pictures of a few of his competed projects. (Sadly this is just scratching the surface - that kid has entirely too many Legos!)  My friend Libby has a DARLING brag-book using her "Some Assembly Required" kit. You can find it in her store at Sweet Shoppe.

I'm printing the pictures right now in 1-hour photo.  They are just the simple 4x6 size. I think printing them in the 1-hour service costs around .19$ per picture - a total of $2.05 with tax. Then I'll stick 2 pictures together (back to back) and run them through my laminator. I'll put a hole in the corner of the pictures and put them all on a ring. It will be a little flip book for him to take with him for show and tell. That way he can show some of his creations and not have to worry about losing things.

I'll try to take some pictures of the finished project, but for now here are the photos that will be in our little project.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

You Are Not Forgotten!

This talk is by far one of my favorite talks EVER! I love President Uctdorf anyway, but this talk just seemed too perfect - like he really understood the women of the church. Like he really understood ME. I felt the love of my Heavenly Father as I've listened and re-listened to the message. What a beautiful talk, what a beautiful reminder for us as women!

Please take a few minutes to listen to it if you haven't....and if you have - listen again - it's still awesome!

I also really enjoyed Stacy Julian's recap on the talk. Check out what she had to say about it too.

You Are Not Forgotten Video

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Quick Pages for Sale!

This week I started a new little venture where I'm going to be doing some (more) digital scrapbook quick pages and having them sold.  I've been doing that for a while now with Connie Prince, but now I'm also going to be creating for my friend Libby Pritchett.  You can check out her shop here - and her blog here.

Our first set of pages are from her NEW kit "Pickles and Ice Cream".  It's a darling kit highlighting pregnancy.  I LOVE the colors, the fun elements and the darling things that could be done for a pregnancy OR baby layout.  So much fun!

Check out The Sweet Shoppe and you can even get the pack of 4 quick pages on sale for 20% off today only.  So go check them out (and I'd love it if you'd buy them!!!)

If you're wondering how to use Quick Pages check out a little blog post I did for Libby's blog a couple of months ago.  You can customize the layouts to make them more just for you, or just stick your photos behind the empty spots and you have a completed layout in nothing flat! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lessons learned from my lost keys


This morning I woke up and got Gabe out the door for school.  I had told a friend that I'd go to the gym with her and we'd do a spinning class (neither of us fans of spin….) and then a barbell strength class we love.  I was kind of dreading the spin class for a couple of reasons - #1 my hiney gets sore from that class (even with padded bike shorts).  #2  I've been fighting an infection the last several days and still feel sluggish from it.
So as I was heading out the door to the gym I sent a text out that said something like, "I'm doing both a spin class and a weight lifting class.  I might need some divine intervention to get through."  Moments later I had the water bottles refilled, my gym card in my hand and had a snack for Hunter for the ride to the gym.  Went to grab my keys…..NO KEYS!

 I searched.  I searched some more.  I tore apart my car.  I tore apart my purse, my church bag, my "junk basket" in the kitchen (we don't have room for a necessary "junk drawer" in our kitchen, so sadly I have to make due with a basket….not ideal, but it works).  I went through clothes, my washing machine, dryer, cabinets, hamper.  I went through the garbage cans.  Let's just say that last night we had corn-on the cob with dinner and I had to dig UNDER that!  I looked under beds, couches, in the bathroom.  For heaven sakes – I even looked in the freezer and fridge. (Do you ever have moments where you get distracted and leave things in the wrong places?)

At one point I actually got scared.  I had a vague memory of putting my keys on an accessible hook.  I got thinking – "What if someone somehow broke into our house and took my keys?  Then they'd have access to everything!"  That thought got me freaking out about the situation even more.  At this point I tried to calm down for a second and sat down at my computer to see if I could distract myself for a second.  My Facebook status update:  "Lost keys. This is making me so not-happy." I got a couple of comments from friends including one that reminded me to pray and have faith. 

Pray and have faith….Ok I thought – I'll do that after I look a couple more places…..(Faith without works is dead – right?) So I went about the house tearing things up hoping to find my keys and getting myself even MORE worked up over the idea of someone breaking in my house and stealing my keys. I had another little reminder to pray from a text my mom sent me.  Ok, ok, I'll pray.
Lesson learned:  Pray FIRST.  So often I think that we get caught up in life.  We know that prayer works, we know that Heavenly Father answers our prayers.  But sometimes I think we leave prayer as a last resort.  Kind of like I was doing – I thought I'd keep trying myself and THEN I'd pray for help if I couldn't find them myself.
As I was finishing my prayer I had a series of thoughts come to me.  One of them was the idea that there was no possible way that someone stole my keys.  Not only did that sound ridiculous and paranoid, but our dogs would have barked at them, the alarm on the doors would have beeped and we'd known someone was in the house.  The thought kept going through my mind, "No, no one took your keys, your dogs wouldn't have been quite through that."
Then I went to search for my keys some more.  I wasn't feeling led to any particular area.  I didn't have a thought in my mind of where they could be.  I kept searching, but my searching wasn't quite as frantic or worried as it had been before.  I had a feeling things would be alright.
Lesson learned:  The Lord answers our prayers – sometimes with peace, sometimes with reassurance.  Our prayers aren't always answered with something as immediate as keys falling from the sky and hitting us on the head – but the answers do come if you give yourself a chance to have peace and listen.
At that time I started kind of laughing about the things I had been finding.  I found where all the disappearing pens and pencils have been, Hunter's new Anakin Skywalker toy, some misc Lego pieces, a CTR ring, I found a bunch of my barrettes I never can seem to round up and $.29.  I found a lot of useless stuff, lots of dust-bunnies and dog hair.  And then I found one of Gabe's shoes.  We'd been looking all over earlier in the morning for the shoe and I found it!  Score!!!
Lesson learned:  Sometimes we think we know what we're supposed to be searching for (in this instance – my keys), but we find something else (in this instance – Gabe's shoe).  How often do we pray and pray for something in particular and feel frustrated that we're not getting it, all the meanwhile the Lord is giving us something so much greater.  I think at times Heavenly Father thinks, "Oh my child, I have so much more I want to bless you with.  So much more than this small thing you're asking for – just wait and you'll see."
After 2 hours and 23 minutes I got a text from Cory "Found them" and quickly a phone call.  He'd found the keys!!!  He'd been in a meeting as I had been searching for the keys and had tried to reassure me via text when he could, but he had no idea where they could be either.  But as the meeting ended he went back to his van and searched around.  Low and behold there they were – in his gym bag, under his clothes.  We think he might have stacked stuff on top of the keys, scooped them up and dumped it all in his bag – including my keys.  WHEW!
Then I looked at the clock – I had completely missed both of the classes at the gym this morning – bummer.  I thought about how I'd joked about needing "divine intervention" to get through the classes.  Maybe what I ended up with was "divine intervention" to get me out of going to the classes.  J

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Layouts and Fayette Designs


Hello friends!

I wanted to post some of the layouts I've done over the summer.  Life has seemed crazy lately and I haven't been scrapbooking nearly as much as I'd like to be.  I've felt a bit overwhelmed and lacked creativity.  But I have still had fun representing some of the designs that the creative teams I'm on have released.  Great stuff!

In regards to that - check out this AWESOME kit by Fayette Designs.  The kit is Time4Beginnings by Fayette Designs (formerly known as one of The Ettes).  Things are changing for The Ettes and my dear friend Fayette will be venturing out on her own now.  Check out her great designs.  I'll miss working with Annette (previously the other "ette" of the bunch), but wish her luck with her new work!
So do me a favor and check out Fayette's new kit - you won't be sorry!