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Everything the Light Touches

Motherhood. Music. Mormonism. and More.

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Tools For Easier (& More Fun) Daily Scripture Study

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Hands up if in January you promised to read your scriptures more this year. Yeah, me too... I’m learning that making a new habit isn’t so easy as just saying it. Life does get away from us and simply sitting and opening your Bible, Book of Mormon, etc. can get boring/overwhelming/tedious REAL fast.

Growing up we got all kinds of creative access to scripture stories. We met the characters in cartoons and songs, associated the lessons with snacks or games. Knowing those stories is something we can directly trace back to childhood. We should be proud that at one time we were nearest to God. Instead of becoming like little children, we *were* those little children!

Fast forward to being an adult. I can barely remember to brush my teeth in the morning or feed myself lunch. Taking a quiet moment to improve our relationship with God is more of a to do list item than an actual part of our daily lives. We set our goals but we have to go outside the box to meet said goals and overcome the potential snooze fest of traditional scripture study. Thankfully there are plenty of tools out there to help. These are my picks, mainly geared towards Mormon doctrine and resources. But no matter your faith I encourage you to find similar ways to make scripture study a more unique and fulfilling part of your day.

Tools for Easier & More Fun Scripture Study

**This post contains NO affiliate links. All writing and opinions are mine and exist only because I want to share cool stuff with you.**

Audiobooks

While in school Spencer and I were taking a class focused on studying the Book of Mormon. A semester-long project required us to put together a plan for reading daily. We knew just reading through wouldn’t be too fun so we decided to listen via audiobook. We would sit down together every night and hit play while we worked on other things. It was really smart for allowing us to multi-task. We’ve done this a few more times since for many reasons. May I add it’s perfect for talks too! You can download the scriptures on audiobook here, or access text-to-speech via the Gospel Library mobile app (see below).

Illustrated Books

I had an illustrated Bible growing up. The images I have today of those stories are from that book. Naturally I wanted something similar for learning scriptures when Spencer and I were asked to teach the 4-year-old Sunday School class. We now own all four of the illustrated scriptures. The write ups are simple, you can get the basics quickly. Plus you can visualize things. Someday I’ll own the coloring books too haha.

Purchase

Social Media

I’m kind of obsessed with social media. I spend hours refreshing Facebook and liking posts (which I might be doing while writing this). Twitter is even more enjoyable. But there is a whole lot of nonsense out there. To get a break from all the noise, I follow and like scripture- and gospel-related accounts such as Book of Mormon Central which has some insightful information on Book of Mormon and LDS church history. You learn so much! And my friend works there, so I feel cool.

Now while I generally stick to Facebook and Twitter, another great account is 3 Mormons on YouTube. I just found them and their discussions are insightful as well as addicting and fun. I’ve left Instagram of this list because I’m not a huge fan and because I don’t know of any interesting Mormon- or Christian-based accounts. If you know of any to check out send them my way! And don’t forget you can follow the LDS Church and its leadership on pretty much every platform. *thumbs up*

My fave social accounts:
Twitter LDS Quotes
Facebook Book of Mormon Central
YouTube 3 Mormons

Apps

I have an LDS Scripture-A-Day widget on my phone's home screen. Some days that’s all the reading I do, but at least I'm getting something. Also the LDS mobile apps are a must have with everything from scriptures to Conference talks to Sunday School materials. There are even videos and music! Apps are by far the best for accessibility and keeping your back from going out while still having all that stuff with you. Log in and you can keep track of bookmarks, annotations, and notes!

Download the LDS Mobile Apps

Book of Mormon Central also has an app (AWESOME). KnoWhy on Google Play // in the App Store


I wrote this post because I realized fifteen years have gone by since my baptism as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I still don’t know my Book of Mormon stories. Since making the commitment to get more gospel in my day I’ve sincerely tried to find ways to make this easier and more realistic. We are so lucky to have unlimited, quick access to the scriptures in unique ways. Definitely go find out which one of these works for you. Then come tell me what you try or find!

Some Things About the Author

Monday, May 29, 2017
Who the heck are you and why should I read your blog?

Really, though. You’re thinking this right now. Since getting my act together around here I’ve been wondering whether or not I’ve answered these questions for anyone who visits the site.

My self-perception is of me wearing many hats. It’s a great visual: A woman looking at herself in the mirror fidgeting with a range of hats, each one for a different job or feeling, trying to decide which one to wear. You, the visitor, have little or no idea what that means. This is the part where I tell you exactly that and why it matters. Here's four things about me I think you should know.

About the Author Everything the Light Touches

I’m a (brand new) mom.

My daughter was born about two months ago. Her whole existence still surprises (and amazes) me. I'm working out the kinks in my relationships and responsibilities, and figuring out exactly what my mom identity is. My take on motherhood isn't always one of eagerness. Yet that little girl is everything I could have ever wanted. I want to do right by her. It's all taking some getting used to. While I do that I hope to find other moms who have a similar view of motherhood or who can give me more to chew on. This will be an ever-changing journey and I would appreciate some friends along the way. Wouldn’t we all?

I’m a musician.

Yeah I'm in a band! We are QOK Music and we are five siblings with a message or two to offer through our music. In the band I'm the lead singer and a lyricist. We have been playing together for about ten years, but we've only been truly serious within the last two. Someday we expect all the effort will pay off in one way or another.

I write about my band because I believe our story is inspiring. We're ordinary people putting our creativity out there, working hard to perfect and share what we have to give. I always hope that by talking about the experience someone will be moved to do the same with his or her talents or passions. Creative people often need encouragement. In my experience if I see someone relatively like me (i.e. normal) doing their do I feel a little bit better about doing mine. My wish is that I am passing that along.

I’m a Mormon.

I believe in God and his son, Jesus Christ. I know that God has a plan for all of us. I accept the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the way I know God's plan to work.

I was baptized at the age of thirteen with my parents and younger brother. My family has been insanely blessed by that choice. Everyday what I receive from my church, both doctrinally and culturally, becomes more and more a part of my whole being. I'm not determined to share all the moments that touch me, but there are some that compel me to shout from the rooftops. That is what and when and why I will write. You deserve perspective. You deserve honesty. By sharing my faith I am trying to give you both.

I am more…

Something I often emphasize about myself is that many parts make up the whole. Even the list above isn't all of who I am, though I've tried to be concise. There is a lot to this party! My interests and influences are varied. I’ve got post ideas for television shows I’m into, outfits I’ve worn, recipes I’ve tried, quotes that inspire me, ways to deal with stress and anxiety… and the list goes on. Any path requires some level of navigation so I'm leaving room to talk about whatever is important or necessary or cool or enjoyable to me as I make my way. Maybe you’ll agree and hang out for a minute.

Now, who am I and why read this blog?

I’m Kristyn - A mom, musician, Mormon, and much, much more. Chances are you’re a whole made up of many parts as well, and I’d like to find where we connect. Read on and I’ll see you around :)

Words of Acknowledgement for 2017 Moms

Sunday, May 14, 2017
Being a mom today is tough. I saw the following in a Facebook post the other day that sums it up well enough:

“How To Be A Mom in 2017: Make sure your children’s academic, emotional, psychological, mental, spiritual, physical, nutritional, and social needs are being met while being careful not to overstimulate, understimulate, improperly medicate, helicopter, or neglect them in a screen-free, processed foods-free, GMO-free, negative energy-free, plastic-free, body positive, socially conscious, egalitarian but also authoritative, nurturing but fostering of independence, gentle but not overly permissive, pesticide-free two-story, multilingual home preferably on a cul-de-sac with a backyard and 1.5 siblings spaced at least two years apart for proper development. Also don’t forget the coconut oil.

How To Be A Mom in Literally Every Other Generation Before Ours: Feed them sometimes.

(This is why we are crazy.)”

I watch my mom and dad do real work with my younger siblings, and occasionally myself, everyday. The truth is with all the world has to offer - knowledge, access, communication - it comes with a price and as adults we have to not only navigate it all for ourselves but also for the next generation. It’s TOUGH. Even in my one month of motherhood I’m feeling anxious and a little lost and lonely. And while I know it’s not a singular experience, I also know that we moms (and dads) rarely get a chance to hear what we need/want to in order to feel confident enough to keep going.

I based this list first off of my own experience within the last month. One month isn't a lot of time but I need some clarity every now and then. Secondly, I've reflected on the experiences of moms I know who are dealing with real worries and struggles at home. These women tend to blame themselves, which is less than fair. Moms (and dads) deserve to have their efforts acknowledged because this is a job with limited water cooler breaks. And let’s be honest, our clients can be very demanding.

Words of Acknowledgement for 2017 Moms


“You were an individual before you had children and you are an individual now.”

Throughout my pregnancy I often confided in Spencer the dread of being overshadowed by Bunny’s existence. There weren’t many people outside my house that I talked to on a regular basis. Suddenly I was the talk of town, or at least my baby and pregnancy were. Forget that I had interests or anything else to offer before that. This REALLY bothered me. It's so personal… Also I’m afraid of the rest of me fading into only one contribution. While I’m learning to love being a mom, I also want to keep my original self in tact.

Sarah Kolman, writing for Seventh Generation, explains it well, saying, “This paradox often leaves me struggling with how to integrate my pervasive identity as mother with my greater Self-identity… If not, I’m only mom.” Kolman goes on to emphasize finding balance, meaning seek out what makes you You. We love our children, but we have to take care of ourselves.

So instead of leaving a mom stranded on Planet Mommy, tell her she has always existed and she experienced life for herself once before. Then offer to watch her kids so she can go eat some ice cream, specifically a flavor she actually likes, in peace.

“I’m proud of you.”

As I mentioned, I’ve had the unique experience of watching 21st century moms in action while being a conscious adult myself. There is a truckload of emotion that comes with mothering these days. Added to the ever-increasing number of influences outside the home moms hold less ground and question whether they are getting through. Almost just as difficult is being a witness to the whole thing. We all have our fingers crossed that the next generation becomes everything they can possibly be.

Whenever I see my mom “guiding” my siblings I tell her I’m proud of her and I am grateful for her. She stands her ground against attitude- and angst-ridden teens on the daily, which is no easy task. At the very least what I have to say has to be nicer to hear than back talk. Keep that in mind next time you witness a particularly intense “teaching moment.”

“Sometimes that’s just how it is.”

Followed by a slight encouraging chuckle and maybe a hug.

Just after her two week appointment Bunny started having nightly fits. She would scream and cry and I was super self-conscious of how it was affecting everyone else in the house. One night after a bunch of nights where no one was actually sleeping, my dad was helping walk her around to help soothe her before bed and I blurted out that I was sorry.

“Why?” he shrugged. “Doesn’t bother me. This is what babies do. You’ll figure it out. She’ll figure it out. This is just how it is.” That was honestly one of the best things anyone could have said to me. In that exchange my dad had told me two very important things: First, babies cry and it’s not my fault. Second, there isn’t always an immediate answer, or any answer at all. Raising each individual child is different.

The moral of the story is next time a mom apologizes, remind her that life happens. Offer to help in whatever way you can, give her the advice she asks for, and then talk to her about something grown up. Who knows when her last adult conversation was...

“It’s okay to cry.”

In the shower. In public. During an emotional commercial on tv. Over your breakfast. While you’re “hiding” on the front porch. In the bathroom during lunch. Yup. Cry. Crying means we are trying.

If you see a mom crying, don’t let that woman believe for one second she is weak. Tell her she is strong for caring and working so. dang. hard. Help her find her truth: That she is doing something worthwhile, that she is not alone, that she will survive, and she will be rewarded. Then tell her the lamest joke you can think of and laugh together.

And now a shout out to my mom because she is totally reading this.

Mama, you are amazing at doing all the things and keeping it together. You inspire me to be the rock for Bunny that you have been for me. I am grateful for your ability to know your children, your perspective, your love of God, your attention, your advice, and your sense of humor. You've given me and my family a home, a safe place to grow. You're my best friend and my hero. I am me because of the life you and Papa have created. 

If you have a special lady who needs to hear from you, go now! Tell her what she deserves to hear whether it's from this list or something else more worthy. Just make sure what you say comes from the heart.

Happy Mother's Day :)

General Conference Activities for Teens & Tweens

Sunday, March 26, 2017
My husband and I have been temporarily released from Primary (sad face) because we'll be meeting our baby girl VERY soon. But General Conference is this weekend and I couldn't stop my brain from working out some ideas inspired by the tweens and teens in my life. So I put together this quick post that you hopefully find in time...

There are tons of activities out there for little ones during Conference. From bingo to coloring pages the resources are seemingly endless. What about the older ones?

Often General Conference weekend is a rare instance when we can get them to be there, either because of family obligation, to do Seminary make up work, to participate in the acceptable napping, or for the bingo candy. Times are tough for the youth these days. Many of them may find the gospel boring or inapplicable or just plain hard. At least, that's definitely an attitude I've witnessed from a few young(er) people I know. Our youth deserve some Conference activities all their own that will make your GC family experience more meaningful with their involvement while giving them a chance to develop a habit of listening for themselves.

General Conference Activities for Teens & Tweens


The General Conference Awards

Select from the best of the best this Conference just like an annual award show! Start by choosing your categories. Then nominate contenders after each session of Conference. When it's all over on Sunday vote on your family's favorites.

Here's some category ideas to get you started:

Best Overall
Most Inspiring
Most Applicable Theme
Best Quote or One-Liner
Most Memorable Story
Best Performance of a Hymn

A Question for the Whole Family

Get everyone involved in finding the answer to a family question or decision with advice straight from the podium. Come to Conference with a question the whole family will be listening for answers to. You could keep track in a group text, a online document, or just chat between sessions.

Some question examples might include:
Should we do hobbies/sports/performances on Sunday?
What is the role of each member of the family?
How can we do more service within our community?
How can I build my testimony and be more comfortable as a member of the church?

Create A Work of Art

Let your teens be inspired by a talk, quote, story, etc. to create. There are many possibilities here and the art is really up to the creator.

Some ideas to get you started:
Make up a tshirt (then print it!)
Put together a collage using LDS Church publications
Create a sculpture, painting, or drawing
Design a graphic or social media post to share

Write A Letter

Don't let General Conference end when the speakers sit down. Encourage your teens to respond to what they hear this weekend by writing a letter in response to a speaker, to encourage an investigator, or to teach a nonmember. Then actually deliver them!

Send letters to the speakers at Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City or submit them to the New Era. You could give letters for investigators to the missionaries for them to share. The missionaries will love that. Or, if your kids really have guts, encourage them pass the letter on to a friend who might need to read it.

GC Fire Drill

Okay admittedly this one is a little random. When watching at home we all have a special spot during Conference, which can often lead to a nap. Guilty... Get moving by having everyone randomly switch it up. Make it really interesting by picking a code word to listen for from the speakers such as "Faith," "Truth," or "Testimony." Add a little game of pass the snacks and then settle in again. Fun, right?

Would your older kids enjoy any of these activities? What twists or other ideas do you have? Please comment! There's a whole other round of General Conference in six months!!

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