Saturday, September 7, 2013

I'm A Mormon

I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In my church, members of our congregation are asked to serve in various capacities to help our ward unit function fully. I have served as a Sunday School teacher,  Primary leader, Relief Society instructor, as Activities Chairman, Camp Director, ward Historian, visiting teaching supervisor, Ward Bulletin specialist, Activity Girls leader, and a variety of other callings. Each of these service opportunities have strengthened my testimony of Jesus Christ and have helped me to serve others and gain compassion for those around me. (I have always accepted the position I have been asked to serve in- except in one particular situation when asked to work with the cub scouts that resulted in a "change of plans" after my tearful/stunned/distraught reaction).   I am currently blessed with the opportunity to serve in the Young Women's organization in my ward. The Young Women groups includes all the girls ages 12-18 and I serve primarily with the Laurels (ages 16-18). The Young Women of the Burton 2nd Ward give me faith that the work of the Lord will go forward. The girls I work with are more than beautiful, talented, inspirational women; they are natural leaders with a unique ability to live the gospel and share their testimonies- while also being actively involved in their schools, sports, communities, and family activities. I am a proud leader. 

This year one of our goals as a Young Women's group was to read the Book of Mormon in 90 days. We started the first week of summer and our ending date is set for this Tuesday. Throughout the summer we have centered our activities around the Book of Mormon. Today I completed my goal and finished reading! I have read the Book of Mormon many times, and each time I become more attached to the stories and feel deeper connections to those who kept the sacred records. I testify that the Book of Mormon is true, and that the stories are actual events that took place.  It was written for us in our day, and through reading it is the surest way to grow closer to Jesus Christ. As I read it this time, knowing that my own daughter was also reading, learning, and praying about the teachings- I was uplifted and strengthened as a parent. I feel great joy knowing that God lives and loves me, I know He hears me and answers when I pray. I know His Son- Jesus Christ is my redeemer and that he died for me that I may live with Him again. I have a testimony that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and that we have a living prophet today. I know that families can be together forever, and through sacred temple ordinances we are sealed for eternity. 

Grateful for the blessings of being together forever! 

I don't think that I have many blog readers, but if anybody who may see this post would like to learn more about the things I believe- I would be honored to send you a free copy of the Book of Mormon. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Let Freedom Ring

Remember a few months ago when I was sure that I was going to keep up on my blogging? Yeah, that fantasy didn't last very long. BUT, with one of my favorite Holidays this week, I had too much to keep quiet about. I absolutely LOVE Independence Day. It's at the perfect time of year when the days are long, the nights are warm, and friends are always around. Even though it is a Holiday- it always turns out to be one of the busiest days of the year. A few years ago I even managed to squeeze in the Annual local Liberty 5K run- but I was too exhausted with everything else going on to continue that (one time) tradition!

This year I decided (for the first time in 7 years) to NOT have a booth at the Day in the Park festival for Heritage Makers or Clothing Outlet. I actually enjoyed the morning walking around main street, and watching the parade. Avery, Wyatt, and Mitchell all rode in the firetruck with Grandpa Mann and the City Council- and love the attention they get from leading the parade.

The parade was long and the day was hot, but I was so happy to be enjoying the sights of sounds of small town Idaho on the 4th of July. I have said for years that Rexburg is the best place to celebrate- we have a fun parade, the best snowcones in America, lots of people you know, and a family friendly environment (except for the lady sitting near us at the parade who wanted all the adults to sit down and the kids to not run out and get candy)- the day was perfect!

After the parade, we went to Menan (about 15 minutes away) to see what all the rave for "Menan Days" was all about. It lived up to the hype! They had a great festival with some unique vendors, fun games, short parade, and good food. All the kids won the ring toss at least once, Avery had her face painted, Mitchell bought toys (that ended up to be an empty box after we got home and opened it), Wyatt found some friends, and everybody was in a good mood!

The night ended with a party at Russell and Angela Rydalch's house for all the local friends that were in town. The "little" boys (ages 10-14) are OBSESSED with fireworks and have put all their earnings into making sure they have the best show on the block. Of course, because all the neighbors are there it's really the only show on the block. The adults were able to sit around and visit while the boys put on a fantastic show.

I feel like I could say so much more on my feelings about my love for America, my appreciation for those who fight to keep us safe, my concern for our freedoms, my respect for politicians, and the joy that feels my soul when I see my family and friends together enjoying a perfect day..... But, my writing never seems to express my sincere feelings so I will close this post with some of my favorite pictures of our 4th of July 2013!

During the hot parade after we found Mitchell-  he was "lost" for an hour or so! 

Wyatt and Kirk at grandma and grandpas house. 
The "little" kids getting ready for the firework show!
The kids with their "winnings" from the ring toss.

The end of the parade route

Without offending any other parents out there.... my kids really are the best! 
The best friends a girl could hope/pray/ask/ wish for! 

After the firework show..... as my kids get taller- I look like I'm getting shorter~!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Avery's L.A. Adventures- Take 2

It seems that all my blog posts start the same.... "I was going to stay on top of my blog, and post more regularly, but then other things got in the way." Seriously- I'm going to try to be better :)

Avery and I were in L.A for about a month and had a great experience! We started our first week with an acting class with Cynthia Bain (a casting director for Nickelodeon)- she is fantastic with kids and worked with Avery to understand the scene and figure out her role. All the other kids in the class were "working actors" and Avery felt a little out of place, but loved the atmosphere. During the classes, I was able to spend time with other moms and made some new friends.

Our days weren't filled with much busy-ness, but they were still full and we always had a plan (being in California was actually fantastic for my Heritage Makers business, because I had time to focus on work without lots of other obligations). Avery participated in gymnastics and tumbling classes that she enjoyed and was able to keep up her skills. We meet with the management company several times to discuss director workshops, classes, wardrobe, and interviews. In one of our first meetings the manager was a little hard on Avery (and me) about making sure to keep up on her look. He was strict about getting a facial and staying on top of any face blemishes, using white strips for her teeth, having manicured nails at all times, getting extensions, wearing the right shades of (and VERY LITTLE) make-up, and so forth. As we left the meeting my "mama-bear" instincts kicked in and I was very protective of my baby girl. Avery and I had a conversation about self-esteem, looks, superficial qualities, and much more. As I asked Avery what she wanted to do with the information we had been given- I was blown away by her maturity. She says, "mom, I understand their job- and they are right about how I need to look in order to get a part. I also understand that my looks don't make me who I am. I intend to work hard to reach my goals, and by looking my best and acting my best- it can help to make that a reality." I was impressed with her grasp of what is real and what is superficial.

For Avery the highlights were the photo shoot with famed photographer Linda Vanoff, acting orientation classes with Zach Burnett, having hair extensions done, and getting a facial. Lowlights for Avery: having to keep up on her math homework with a mom that doesn't understand her homework.

One of the best things about our adventure, and what really helped to make it possible~ was having great family members there to stay with and hang out with. We stayed in Upland with my mom's sister- Bob and Donna Ellis were amazing! They graciously opened their home to us and we enjoyed our time with them. Every night after working full time as the missionaries over the Bishops Storehouse, they would put together a full dinner for us. We tried to not be a burden and help out as much as we could, but their generosity was overwhelming. Avery always called Donna, "grandma" and we felt very comfortable there. Because I didn't have other obligations, I slept more than I have in years! It was heaven.

We also spent a lot of time with my cousin Jen Broderick and her darling family. Avery fell in love with the kids and wanted to take their 1 year old baby Graycen home with us when we left. Jenn teaches an exercise class at the church three days a week and I very much enjoyed staying connected to my workouts. Jenn also signed up as a Heritage Makers consultant and we did her grand opening workshops and got her trained and ready to go. She is amazing and my time with her was well spent.

We left to come back to Idaho in the middle of February, with the intend to go back as soon as the manager needed Avery for more auditions. We have been so blessed since~ Avery has had the opportunity to do Skype interviews and auditions for three projects. She auditioned for the part in a Hallmark style movie, a feature film, and just this week she had a big audition for a new Nickelodeon Pilot show that is currently being cast. She hasn't landed a role yet- but she is hopeful. For me, things as going exactly as I wanted. I like that this dream is moving at a slow pace, but that she is able to continue to work on her craft and develop her talents. For a mother, it's a great situation.

Thanks for all the love, support, and interest that has been shown on Avery's behalf.

Avery right after Grace did her extensions

One of my favorite nights was going to the Redlands Temple

Jenn Broderick with me outside the temple

Linda Vanoff doing Avery's new headshots

Working out at the church- Jenn kicked my butt most days

Tyson had to help Avery with math- because I was lost

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Few Questions Answered

Since I posted last week about Avery and I taking off to L.A. I've had mixed responses from people. Some are excited, some confused, and some skeptical. I am cautious about being defensive because I truly appreciate truthful reactions from my friends and loved ones.

The most concerned questions from people is that they are worried that we have put a lot of money into this process. The answer is NO. When Avery first started this journey, I read and researched everything I could find. What I discovered is that there are a lot of companies who are willing to "sign" as a manager if you pay them thousands of dollars upfront (Then pay for everything else they suggest). We didn't pay anything for our management company, agents, or reps. They only get paid after Avery does- and the percent is the industry standard of 15%. After Avery took the classes in Idaho Falls (that we did pay for), she had some support and contacts to get interviews and auditions with the management company we are signed up.

The only thing we are paying for while we are in L.A is: optional acting classes, optional updated head shots, and hair/makeup treatments she may need: and we get to choose what to do or not do. Avery is enrolled in acting class currently with Cynthia Bain- she is one of the best coaches in the industry and we love her (she's a casting director for Nickelodeon). We pay for these classes: but let me stress that the amount we pay is the same amount we pay for Wyatt to do a basketball camp, or Avery to do a cheerleading team. She is learning a skill that will help her in the future as she interviews for jobs, works in any field, and applies for college, and raises a family.

Thanks for all the continued support, love, and caution! It is accepted and appreciate :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Avery's L.A. Adventure- Take 1

       What started as an innocent advertisement on the radio quickly became a major shift for our family. Avery has always been an actress and dreams of being on the big screen, I think every little girl has ambitions of being famous so I never put too much stock into Avery wanting the same thing. Once she heard the radio advertisement about a national casting agency coming to Idaho falls, it was all she could think about. She started to prepare monologues, practice voice, work on dance, and became engrossed in television shows featuring kids her age. We went to Idaho falls one Saturday in May: my thought was that I didn't want to be the one to crush her dreams, surely it would be a crazy tough process and I would have been awarded mother of the year for allowing my child to believe that she can accomplish anything she desires. 

          As we arrived at the audition, everybody is filed into a large conference center. The talent agent proceeds to give direction about what they are looking for: that they want natural, energetic, smart, focused, family oriented children to work with who posses high levels of confidence. While some families and children were intimidated by this, Avery was anxious for her chance to audition. When her turn came, she did awesome. Her commercial and monologue where spot on, and she was pulled out of the group to meet with other agents. Out of nearly 400 children, she was one of 12 who continued to work throughout the summer with a union actor refining her skills, working on her resume, and getting head shots ready. Near the end of the six week course a different agent from L.A came back to Idaho. I again thought I had done my job as a parent and the plan of Avery pursuing an acting career was coming to an end. 

          The casting agent and those we were working with suggested we take Avery to La to meet with others in the industry.  We really were quite busy in our lives, but I had a few days off during Harvest break and my mom was able to get away as well. We had an incredible few days enjoying time in upland with family, going to the beach, and visiting the area and homes my mother grew up in. On our last day of vacation, we had an interview with the owner of a management company. It was lovely to meet them, and was good practice for Avery to have an interview with people who know what working in the industry is about. The management company only works with about 35 child actors at a time and has lots of knowledge and experience. Most people we talked with explained to us that we would have several interviews before we found a management company. 

         We arrived back in Idaho, and within a few days I received phone calls and contracts that the management company wanted to represent Avery and asked if we could come to Los Angeles for pilot season in January. After several weeks (months) of being in denial and assuming that it wasn't really going to happen- Avery and I are actually leaving the cold snow in Idaho and heading to sunny California. We have a six week commitment there with some classes and auditions, with a week off in the middle to come home. Part of me thinks this adventure is crazy and we should cancel everything now, while part of me welcomes the adventure and looks forward to the next few months. 
Kirk and I have been prayerful in this decision and the entire family has been involved in the process. Wyatt and Mitchell are so very supportive of Avery and are excited for her. Kirk has traveled a lot for work, and so we know how quickly three weeks can go by. We will Skype  FaceTime chat, and talk everyday and will "joint parent" as much as possible. Avery and I will be staying with family in California and will be involved in the ward there. It can also be a great boost to my HM business as I build a team in that area. 

         There are certainly things that I am  apprehensive about- including leaving Angela to run the clothing outlet by herself for six weeks, and the driving in l.a., but every time I start to get nervous and want to change my mind something else falls into place. Maybe I just have to go into this adventure with faith, knowing that gods hand is in all things and through listening to the spirit we will be blessed and protected.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Heritage Makers Makes a Difference

I love being a Heritage Makers consultant. It is a problem solving company. When I first began as a consultant (nearly 8 years ago) I hadn't realized that it was an answer to prayers that I hadn't even spoken. In the beginning it was about the social aspect- I loved the women who were passionate about helping others preserve and share their family stories, and I knew that it was a needed solution. I would attend events and my friendships with others would be strengthened. I didn't want to miss anything because I knew that I would leave feeling uplifted and motivated. 

After two years of being a "part-time" consultant, my family started to rely on the income that my business was producing. I knew that I had an opportunity to give myself a raise. I worked my business smarter and started to build a team of consultants that also wanted to make a difference. My income would grow every month which encouraged me to continue to work hard. As a consultant I knew that the, the principles of direct sales compensation plans don't change- if you want to make more money, you have to do the income producing activities that increase personal volume and group volume. In Heritage Makers, the income producing activities are simple: workshops, sales, sponsoring, and training. 

I have consultants in my organization who sign up strictly for their own discount, others that do it because they have a photo problem,  some that do it for the fun and social aspect of the business, and others that want to take advantage of the entire opportunity that is provided: income, social, career, relationships, and paychecks of the heart. Over the years I have evaluated "Why" I am consultant. It seems to be evolving constantly and it's hard to describe. My heart tells me that being a Heritage Makers consultant serves a purpose for my life: it allows me the freedom to be home with my children and work around their schedules, it gives me the blessing of being able to help provide financially for my family, it fulfills a need that I have to be recognized and appreciated, but the biggest reason is that I feel like I am serving a mission for God. I believe that stories are the essence of who we are and that our lives are fulfilled as we share stories and serve others. I feel compelled to be doing what I do. 

Several years ago I was serving in the Primary organization in my church and working with the small children. During one particularly difficult Heritage Makers week of failed workshops, missed calls, and forgotten appointments- I began to question my continued involvement with HM. That Sunday during church the children began learning a song that I know I needed to hear. The sweet words to the song are: "Tell me the stories of Jesus, I love to hear. Things I would ask Him to tell me, if he were here. Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea- stories of Jesus, Tell Them To Me. Oh, let me hear how the children stood round his knee. I shall imagine his blessings resting on me; Words full of kindness, deeds full of grace, All in the love-light of Jesus' face." I was struck by the words of this song and I understood the reason for sharing stories of Jesus, reading scriptures with our children, and talking to them of God's grace is all so that we can connect and learn to love God. It is the same crusade I feel with Heritage Makers- I am passionate about helping other share stories and memories of loved family member- it helps us connect to our Heritage and helps us live better more fulfilled lives. I recently completed a Military storybook about my Papa Bill Henderson: when I was done I realized the impact it could have on generations to come. It helps my children be better citizens, serve more diligently, and love their ancestors. I have had similar experiences with other grandparent and family books. As a consultant I have been able to be an instrument to help others have the same experiences. Not only is Heritage Makers the best publisher in the industry, but the mission of vision of strengthening homes and families through the Heritage enriching power of story is a mission that I fully support. 

This year I was honored with the company Legacy Award- it is an award given to a consultant for making a difference in Heritage Makers and spreading the mission and vision. I was overwhelmed with emotion as I received my award at our annual conference and was at a lose of what to say. I am blessed to be a consultant, honored to be recognized, and most importantly: humbled to make a difference. 

I had my photo on the front cover of the opportunity magazine- August 2012

"WHY" I'm a Heritage Maker

The screen shown at HM Annual Convention that literally took my break away

Some of the amazing women in my organization who I have the honor to work with.

For more information about Heritage Makers, please visit my website: or contact me.