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A Lesson from a Prophet and His Sons

A Lesson from a Prophet and His Sons

God organized us into families to give us a way to help and support each other. I was thinking about this as I read 1st Nephi chapter 8 in the Book of Mormon. This chapter is about Lehi, who was a prophet of God around […]

How to vote! A beginner’s guide for the unintentionally ignorant

How to vote! A beginner’s guide for the unintentionally ignorant

“Are you registered to vote?” “Do you know who you’re going to vote for?”
“You’re going to vote, right?” “You’d better do your public duty and vote!” “Have you voted yet?” There’s a theme here: “You’d best go and vote, or you’ve failed in your duties […]

#RELATABLE

#RELATABLE

We’re all a little bit obsessed with things we can relate to, whether it’s a painfully true meme about college students or a t-shirt we just have to buy because the words on it seem to come straight from our soul. One of the latest displays of this enthusiasm has shown up with the highly successful NBC show, “This Is Us.” With over 11 million viewers in its 2017/2018 season[1], this beautiful television series enthralled us all with its presentation of relevant issues, joys and pains of the human experience, and characters that quickly become our “friends.”

With a title that implies a certain level of candor about the character’s lives, it almost feels like we’re watching an adaptation of our own. The Pearson triplets say to the viewers, “This is who we are and we’re doing the best we can,” and their audience responds with a resounding “SAME.” How does this show accomplish such a feat? How is it so applicable to so many unique lives? The plot line contains numerous trials and misfortunes: death, miscarriage, loss of property, racism, mental illness, eating disorders, and general stress and anxiety. Aside from these trials, the plot also introduces many triumphs for the triplets, including celebration over happy relationships, success in careers, growing of families, and everyday moments of love and gratitude. These are not necessarily things we have all been through, but the emotions are all the same. Which one of us at one point has not felt grief, pain, joy, love, loss, disappointment, or pride?

What does it mean for us that this show is so #relatable? Maybe it means “This Is Us” will be your new favorite show and that you will obsessively clear your Tuesday nights of any other commitments so you can watch it live. It might mean that you will feel like you are friends with these made up people and you would do anything for them. There is, however, an arguably more important take away. Do you commonly cry and laugh with the people around you like you do with these characters? If the answer is yes, YOU ROCK! But maybe you’re like me and you would defend Kevin more readily than your best friend, because you know his story and you feel his pain. Well, we all have stories and we all have pain. You will not go through everything that your best friend has gone through but you didn’t experience Kevin’s life either. Love each other! Assume the best, excuse the misunderstandings, offer support through pain and celebrate together through joys! As different as we each are, our human experiences are not as isolated and individualized as we sometimes think. Try to understand the people around you a little better.

This is us. We cry, we struggle, we smile, and we laugh and we are human. In the words of our dear friend Kevin Pearson, “There’s no ‘You’ or ‘Me’ or ‘Them.’ It’s just ‘Us.’ And this sloppy, wild, colorful, magical thing that has no beginning, has no end, it’s right here. I think it’s us.”[2]

[1] TV Series Finale. (n.d.). Number of viewers of selected NBC scripted shows in the United States in the 2017/2018 season (in millions). In Statista – The Statistics Portal. Retrieved October 23, 2018, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/882556/nbc-scripted-shows-viewers/.

[2] Lawson, J. (Writer), & Tillman, G. (Director). (2016, October 25). The game plan. [Television series episode], This Is Us. NBC.

The Non-Existent Clock of Pregnancy

The Non-Existent Clock of Pregnancy

When I worked as the front desk medical assistant a few years ago at a primary care physicians office, I was able to observe many different questions, concerns, and discussions between the physician (Dr. F) and her patients. One afternoon Dr. F came out of […]

Día de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos

My parents tell me that Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a dying tradition in their small hometowns of Coeneo and Tunguitiro in Michoacán, México. As a family, we do some symbolic traditions here in America to represent my parents’ culture from […]

Manage Stress with a Little Organization

Manage Stress with a Little Organization

As a busy student, one of the most common feelings in my life is stress and I’m sure I’m not the only student who feels this way. Each semester, I wonder how I can relieve this stress. I try to prepare myself with some steps I can take so that I don’t feel so stressed.  Of course, I could take the advice my care-free sister has given me on multiple occasions: “Don’t be a head-case. You make things way harder than they have to be. Just chill.” Right. That’s so easy. However, as far as that gets me I know it won’t last long and it certainly won’t help my case.

This semester however, I’ve found a few things that have truly helped me. While I can’t promise they will erase all stress from your life, I can tell you they will help relieve some of the pressure that inevitably builds up throughout the semester.
As cheesy as it sounds, the most important thing I can do each day for myself is just to breathe. Close your eyes for a few moments and take a few deep breaths: in and out. Focus on that breathing and let that be the only thing on your mind. Don’t allow your big test, or your extensive essay get in the way. Make this a habit, and really give yourself a little time just to breathe.

Besides breathing, I love getting a good schedule written out. Sundays, one of my favorite things to do (besides taking a really great nap) is to sit down and write out my schedule for the week. This organization step may sound a bit obvious, but it is important. I never really thought to be too specific with certain things in my schedule, such as planning out time for homework, but this semester being specific in every detail has truly helped me. When I say be specific with everything, I’m really saying instead of writing down on Monday, for example, “5:00 pm – two hours of study time” write “5:00 – spend one hour on assigned reading for “x” class, and one hour completing the corresponding assignment.” Be as specific as possible and I promise this will help. This is because it ends up being more of a commitment. By narrowing your plans down, it helps you to stay focused on getting done what is most important, first.

Along with this, I have lately come to appreciate writing out a few of my personal goals for the week and making sure they can fit into my schedule. It can be so easy to forget to plan out little things that, at the end of the week, will leave us feeling much more accomplished when we complete them. In my personal goals portion of my schedule recently, I have been committing myself to reading something new each week, such as a Shakespeare play I’ve never read. This isn’t something assigned in any of my classes, but it’s important to me. I admire Shakespeare, and I feel great once I get to know him a little better through his writings. I feel a little more accomplished at the end of the week that I can follow through with my scheduled goals. I’m following through in something that I’ve chosen to do purely for my own benefit.

These things may not work for everyone, and I understand that, but these suggestions certainly won’t hurt. As a master-procrastinator, this has absolutely helped me to stay on top of most everything in my life that I can control. I have found that by scheduling out things very specifically and getting these things done according to my written schedule, I actually have the time to accomplish the things I actually want to do. There are many different examples of ways to organize your schedule each week, and I encourage you to look up a few options and find the one that works best for you.

Couponing for Beginners

Couponing for Beginners

I grew up in a big family, and my parents were always looking for ways to save money. My mom turned to coupons to buy the necessities without spending ridiculous amounts of money. Couponing can help families and individuals save a lot of money, especially […]

Marital Sex Communicator

Marital Sex Communicator

When did you finally learn that a “pee-pee” was actually a penis? Or, when did you learn that women have a clitoris and what its true purpose is? Understanding sexuality is extremely important to having healthy sexuality and effective sexual communication throughout life, and especially […]

DIY Frames and Watercolors

DIY Frames and Watercolors

“These walls are just so bare.”  Have those words ever crossed your lips?  It’s happened to all of us at least once.  So, now what?  Maybe you’re broke; maybe you’re on a budget.  Either way, you don’t want to spend a lot of money on walls.  Luckily for you, there’s a cheap fix for your predicament that costs less than $10, and it even allows you to paint your personality all over your barren wall—literally.

So let’s work through this:

Step 1: Determine the amount of surface area that you’re going to want to cover.  Are you going to space your frames far apart or close together?  Do you want a grid-based, or more free-floating look?  Try checking around on platforms such as houzz.com, Pinterest, and Google for inspiration.  Once you’ve decided your desired look, ask yourself: About how many frames will this design need?  Once you have in mind the style of frame that you want and approximately how many you’ll need, you’re ready to get thrifting.

Step 2: Find your nearest local thrift store.  If you’re near us, that’s going to be Deseret  Industries (DI).  Elsewhere, it will range from Salvation Army to Goodwill to your aunt Suzy’s backroom thrift.  These places generally sell used frames for anywhere from $0.50 to $2.00.  That’s not bad at all,  considering your best bet for a brand 

new frame is usually around $5 at the cheapest.  Neutral colors are usually the easiest to find and require the least effort, but remember that it’s easy to spray paint the frames if you’ve decided that fire engine red is what your living room needs.  Be creative!  Do you want an eclectic mirror hanging in the middle?  Go for it.  You’ve been drawn more toward the grid system?  Stick with frames generally the same size, but bear in mind that exactly matching frames will be difficult to find in a thrift store.

Step 3:  Stop by your local crafting store (think Michaels) and grab:

    • Watercolor paper
    • Basic watercolor paints and brushes (these can even be the cheapie sets for kids—we don’t need to be pro’s here)
    • Lots of Command hooks (if you don’t want to drill many, many holes into your walls)

Step 4:  Lay out your frames.  It’s important to do this  BEFORE painting so that you know how to orient your future works of art—cute quotes just don’t look as good sideways, and you’d be surprised how flipping a frame  from horizontal to vertical can ruin the vibes of your perfectly planned wall collage. 

Step 5: Now’s the fun part.  Grab your kids, spouse, roommates, even your dog.  You’ll want to set your table with a few cups of water to clean your paintbrushes and paper towels for dabbing the brushes dry.  It’s time to paint!  But… what to paint?  If creative juices don’t seem to be running through your veins, try searching Pinterest for ideas of easy watercolors.  You can even look for color swatches and try to make all of your watercolors adhere to a particular vibe. 

Step 6:  After your masterpieces have dried, put them into the frames that you’ve laid out (I laid mine out on our living room floor), then carefully transition everything to the wall.  And there you are! 

Step 7:  Snap a picture and tag us on instagram at @stancebyu!  We’d love to see how your projects turned out!

Comfy Seats and Love-Filled Treats

Comfy Seats and Love-Filled Treats

All over the world, people spent this last weekend in comfy seats eating yummy treats while they listened to the voices of modern prophets, apostles, and auxiliary leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during General Conference. There were monumental announcements and […]


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All over the world, people spent this last weekend in comfy seats eating yummy treats while they listened to the voices of modern prophets, apostles, and auxiliary leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during General Conference. There were monumental announcements and powerful messages; one of my favorites was Sister Cristina B. Franco’s address entitled, “The Joy of Unselfish Service.” Sister Franco focused on the opportunities we are given and the positions we are placed in that allow us to reach out to our fellow men. She spoke of the seats she has been asked to sit in, ranging from primary folding chairs to velvet General Conference armchairs (which she mentions are not as comfy as you might think). I especially appreciated her sharing an experience she had with Sister Victoria Antonietti, a primary teacher in her branch in Argentina. She shared,

“Each Tuesday afternoon, when we gathered for Primary, she brought us a chocolate cake. Everyone loved the cake—well, everyone except me…One day after she had shared the chocolate cake with the rest of the children, I asked her, ‘Why don’t you bring a different flavor—like orange or vanilla?’ After laughing a little, she asked me, ‘Why don’t you try a little piece? This cake is made with a special ingredient, and I promise that if you try it, you will like it!’…I agreed to give it a try. Can you guess what happened? I liked it! That was the very first time I had enjoyed a chocolate cake.

It wasn’t until many years later that I found out what the secret ingredient was in Sister Antonietti’s chocolate cake. My children and I visited my mother each week. On one of these visits, Mom and I were enjoying a slice of chocolate cake, and I related to her how I came to like the cake for the very first time. Then she enlightened me with the rest of the story. ‘You see, Cris,’ my mom said, ‘Victoria and her family didn’t have a lot of resources, and each week she had to choose between paying for the bus to take her and her four children to Primary or buying the ingredients to make the chocolate cake for her Primary class. She always chose the chocolate cake over the bus, and she and her children walked more than two miles [3 km], each way, regardless of the weather.’ That day I had a better appreciation for her chocolate cake. More important, I learned that the secret ingredient in Victoria’s cake was the love she had for those she served and her unselfish sacrifice in our behalf.”

This made me reflect on the ways we can serve people around us. We have each been given so many skills that allow us to serve each other and our Heavenly Father in unique ways! For Victoria it was chocolate cake, for Sister Franco it was this lovely message, and for you it may be your killer ability to find perfect GIFs to make your friends laugh. Whatever your abilities are, use them! Heavenly Father will occasionally ask you to sit in seats you find uncomfortable, and He will stretch your ability to serve in new ways, but for now, focus on what you can do. Smile at that kid! Invite your friends over for dinner when you make too much food! Don’t ignore that feeling that you should call your friend! Big or small, we can all contribute. Sister Franco speaks of the day we will meet our Savior again and says, “It will not matter if we sat in the comfy seats or if we struggled to get through the meeting on a rusty folding chair in the back row. It won’t even matter if we, of necessity, stepped into a foyer to comfort a crying baby. What will matter is that we came with a desire to serve. . . And it will certainly matter that we do all that we do with the special ingredient of service coupled with love and sacrifice.” Give what you have to give! And give it with love! What can you do today?

Read the rest of Sister Franco’s talk here: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2018/10/the-joy-of-unselfish-service?lang=eng

Check out some awesome new service opportunities near you at https://www.justserve.org/projects