Thought Box


FREE Visiting Teaching AND Home Teaching handouts!!!

"CIRCLE OF SISTERS", compiled by JoLyn Brown, is a collection of short stories about Relief Society and Visiting Teaching that was published by Walnut Springs. Four of the book's 50 stories were written by me! Available NOW for purchase at Deseret Book and on Amazon. I am one of the featured authors on JoLyn's blog. Click HERE to see. Click HERE to read a review by Sandra Nazar at the Deseret News.

Enjoy Today ... Before It Slips Away) WON in the SHORT STORY CATEGORY for
Turning the Pages 2012 Book Of The Year Award! (STILL so cool!) Thanks to all of you who voted for me!! * To Read Reviews about this book, click on the MY BOOKS tab above. Makes a great gift!

* CONTACT ME: * VISIT me: Facebook.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Reach For The Stars

No longer do we live in a day where the traditional, stable careers are waiting for post-graduates with a degree in hand. Nor do we live in a time where it's strange to dream. The world is changing almost as fast as freshmen change their majors (I can say that because I was one of them), and dreams become realities ... if you make them.

Regardless of what your goals are, remember to reach for the stars! Today, the world encourages us to think outside the box, do the undaunted, test our limits. Don't be afraid to try new things and venture into unchartered territory. Create your own destiny and make things happen!

I watch as my 10 and 12-year-old sons create jaw-dropping 3-D rides and buildings on their iTouch devices within minutes. At first glance, adults might want to say, "Do something productive." But, who's to say my sons (among other millions of 10 and 12-year-olds) won't be the next designing engineers for Disney or the next great architects of the future? Of course, all things in moderation. (My boys have to earn their electronic time.)

Speaking of electronics, look at the apps that we use on our devices every day. Many apps are developed by teens and pre-teens! Learn how to code, add some imagination and you open doors for success ~ no matter how old (or young) you are.

But, it's not just about careers or technology. It's about having goals and working to make them a reality. Do you have a bucket list? What's on it? Perhaps it's running a marathon; writing a book; starting a clothing line; climbing Everest; traveling around the world; paying off your mortgage. There are no limits out there for what you can do! The only limits are the ones you put on yourself. So reach for the stars, spread your wings and fly. You never know what you can do 'til you try.
Reach For The Stars

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

You Are Loved

Valentine's Day is a holiday that brings on some really strong emotions: either you love it or you hate it!

If you are in a relationship, this holiday might mean flowers or a romantic dinner. If you're married, it might mean staying in, wondering if your spouse remembered to get a card. If you're married with kids, it might mean preparing treats to pass out at school and hoping your (child's) Valentine's box doesn't embarrass him/her when it's next to all the Pinterest-designed boxes.

If you're single, you just hate this holiday! End of story.

Well, whether or not you are a fan of this love-struck day, spend some time focusing on how many blessings you have and how many people (family, friends, neighbors) you have around you who love and care about you.

Don't look at this Valentine's Day as a day just for lovers, but as a day to celebrate those you love. Instead of "love notes", write notes of gratitude. Let your family, friends, and loved-ones know how much you appreciate them. Write notes to your spouse reminding them of your favorite memories of when you first met. Leave notes in your child's lunch, folder, or room telling them how proud you are of them. Send a text message to a sibling or parent who might live far away. Reconnect with a long-lost friend through social media or a traditional card-in-the-mail gesture. (Everyone still loves getting a little something special in the mail!)

If you spend a little time and put a little effort into praising those you love and showering them with your gratitude and love, you will be reminded that you really are surrounded by people who love you and you have much to be grateful for. Then, maybe this holiday will become one you treasure.
You Are Loved

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Day's Resolution

With a new day comes a new start ~ a chance to begin again.
~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Making a New Year's resolution is a great idea, however, it can be extremely overwhelming! Most of us are great at making new goals on January 1, but when January 2 comes, we've already strayed from our path to the finish line. Feelings of failure kick in and we give up.

So, this year, instead of making unreasonable or unattainable long-term goals, break it down into simple day-to-day accomplishments. Make a New Day's resolution!

* When you wake up in the morning, every morning, make a new goal for the day. Keep a note pad by your bed, in your bathroom, on your phone ~ wherever you will see it ~ and write it down.

* Put a reminder on your phone to go off at Noon, just to "check" yourself.

* At the end of the day, decide how you did and figure out tomorrow's New Day's Resolution. If you didn't quite accomplish what you wanted to, re-set the same goal or move on and start fresh tomorrow. New day ~ new goal.

Goals will be much more attainable if take things one day at a time instead of stressing about an entire year's worth of commitment. As we see our daily progress, we will feel more motivated to continue.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints points out in this month's First Presidency message, "Even though we might fall short of our finish line, just continuing the journey will make us greater than we were before."

Failure is something we will all face from time to time. Not letting failure stop us is the key to staying on our path to the finish line.
A New Day

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Stable Few

Are you one of the Inn crowd,
or one of the Stable few?

I love this time of year when the world around us seems a little friendlier; people are more aware of the needs of others; hearts are touched; and love, hope, and forgiveness are in the air.

It's no coincidence that this spirit surrounds us at Christmas time because it's a holiday focused on Christ. His life was the perfect example of charity, love, hope, and forgiveness.

We should make an effort to shadow these Christ-like traits every day of the year, not just at Christmas. Helping those in need, reading our scriptures, thinking of others, having our hearts centered around Christ ... we need to make these part of our daily lives, not just annual events or Christmas traditions. Having that spirit of Christ with us every day shows our continuous love and gratitude for Him.

Everywhere you look, right now, people are displaying acts of kindness because that's what you do at Christmas ... and it's wonderful! But, after the holidays are over and the focus of "good will toward men" is put to rest until next Christmas, be aware of your daily deeds. Hold on tight to those Christ-like traits and continue being a light for those around you. It may not be the "inn" thing to do in January or July, but the "stable" followers of Christ will find they can make a difference in people's lives year round.
Inn Crowd Stable Few

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Thankful Heart

In the midst of all the hustle and bustle this weekend, make sure you tell those around you how much you love them. Be aware of what you've been blessed with and take the time to pay it forward. We all have something to be thankful for ... even those pesky things in life that we think we'd be better off without!

I posted this "poem" last year and love it so I'm doing it again in honor of Thanksgiving. Here's to remembering the blessings behind everything in our lives.
I Am Thankful For ...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

BLOG TOUR for "Carol of the Tales and Other Nightly Noels"

Carol of the Tales and Other Nightly Noels: An Advent Anthology, Volume 2 

Christmas carols capture the spirit of Christmas, and Carol of the Tales and Other Nightly Noels brings beloved carols to life like never before. Throw your cares away with the tales from sweet silver bells. Find out how Santa Claus dabbles in time travel, and feel the redemption of a dying wife's parting Christmas gift. Experience all this and more in these heartfelt, entertaining tales donated by a team of authors from across the country, working together for a good cause. The proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated toward Autism research and advocacy.

Anthology authors include: Shirley Bahlmann, C. David Belt, Rebecca Carlson, Loretta Carter, Madonna D. Christensen, Danyelle Ferguson, C. Michelle Jefferies, Theric Jepson, Ryan Larsen, Angie Lofthouse, Betsy Love, J. Lloyd Morgan, Janet Olsen, Teresa G. Osgood, Brian Ricks, Jennifer Ricks, Peg Russell, and Michael Young.

Carol of the Tales is the 2nd book in the Advent Anthology series. Both anthologies are available in paperback and Amazon Kindle formats from 

Purchase “Sing We Now of Christmas”:
Purchase: “Carol of the Tales”:

To kick off the release of the second anthology, a Christmas concert will be held at American Fork Junior High on December 7th, 2013. The concert will feature the Saltaires Barbershop Chorus. All proceeds from this concert will be donated to charity as well. Purchase: Tickets for the Concert:

Blog Tour Giveaway!

Use the rafflecopter below to enter to win wonderful prizes, such as tickets to the concert and copies of the anthology. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Blogs on the Tour:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Make Time For The Magic

When we focus on what matters most and take the time to feel
the love and joy the holidays bring, the magic becomes real.
~ Stacy J. Coles

Well, Halloween is over. Let the Christmas season begin! ... Oh yeah, we still have Thanksgiving to prepare for. It's hard to remember when every store is decked out in Christmas garland and silver-and-gold-metallic ornaments.

Now, don't get me wrong ... I LOVE the Christmas season. I am one of those who could listen to Christmas music and watch my beloved copy of "It's A Wonderful Life" 365 days a year (if only I had the time!). But, the commercializing of this sacred holiday can make even the most organized person feel too rushed and preoccupied to feel the magic that should surround us this time of year.

Every day we find ourselves overwhelmed with work, school, kids, practices, games, recitals, meals, laundry ... as good as it all is, the "busy" in life can take its toll on our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Add on to that the great expectations and hefty price tags of the holidays, and it often becomes too much for many. It's heartbreaking when I hear people say that they hate this time of year and can't wait until it's over. When you break it down and get to the nitty-gritty of "why", you find that people don't really hate Christmas, just the stress, financial burden, and anxiety that goes along with it.

So, let's take a step back this holiday season (yes, that includes Thanksgiving!) and think about why we celebrate in the first place. We need to have a gratitude attitude and remember the reason for the season. We need to take time to enjoy our family members and make memories that we will cherish forever.

So, how can we feel the magic of the season and not get so overwhelmed with the commercial aspect that we want to shout "Bah Humbug" instead of "Happy Holidays"?

During the month of November:
  • Encourage each family member to write down ~ daily or weekly ~ what they are thankful for. 
  • Keep these "thankfuls" in a container. 
  • Pull them out on Thanksgiving Day. 
  • Put your "thankfuls" on a tabletop tree as ornaments ~ a great Thanksgiving centerpiece.
  • Put your "thankfuls" in a journal/scrapbook so you will always remember how blessed you are.
  • Pay it forward. Once you realize how much you've been blessed with, do something ~ as a family ~ to give back. It could be making/taking a meal to a family in need, collecting your old coats and gloves and taking them to a homeless shelter, or taking a plate of goodies to your local police and/or fire department.
During the month of December:
  • Sit down as a family and read the scripture account of the birth of Jesus Christ. 
  • Relieve some financial stress by setting a budget and sticking to it.
  • Give homemade gifts.
  • Do a service project as a family.
  • Write letters/Christmas cards to missionaries, family members, and/or hospital patients.
  • Bake yummy treats as a family.
  • Build a snowman.
  • Go see lights.
  • Go sledding.
Making time for family and focusing on the true spirit of the holidays will keep our hearts and minds open for the magic that we all want and deserve to feel this time of year.
Make Time For The Magic