Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

"Christmas is a time for remembering the Son of God and renewing our determination to take upon us His name. It is a time to reassess our lives and examine our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Let this be a time of remembrance, of gratitude, and a time of forgiveness. Let it be a time to ponder the Atonement of Jesus Christ and its meaning for each of us personally. Let it especially be a time of renewal and recommitment to live by the word of God and to obey His commandments. By doing this, we honor Him far more than we ever could with lights, gifts, or parties."

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Seeing Christmas through New Eyes", 2010 First Presidency Christmas Devotional

Monday, December 17, 2012

Goal Suggestion: Christmas Devotional

In case you missed the 2012 First Presidency Christmas Devotional, click here to read, watch or download. Watch as a family for Family Home Evening or perhaps on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Then don't forget to log this as a goal for the month.

Wishing you a warm and happy December,
The Literacy Committee

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Is . . .

Check out the church's new website page "Christmas Is" to find out ways you can share and enjoy the true meaning of Christmas.

Click here.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Family Activity - Nativity, Cedar Rapids

Nativity Celebration

Friday, December 7th, 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Saturday, December 8th, 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Cedar Rapids LDS Stake Center
4150 Blue Jay Dr. NE, Cedar Rapids

This community nativity exhibit and music program includes the Armstrong-Smulekoff Nativity. Please consider bringing canned good donations to be collected for local agencies. If you would like to serve at the event or display your nativity, please contact Patty Hansen at 319-373-8488 or

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ronald McDonald House - Volunteer!

The Ronald McDonald House of Iowa City is a great place to volunteer for those looking to assist families during their time away from the hospital. The Ronald McDonald House provides a haven where families can cook a meal, do laundry, relax, share a laugh, and find comfort and support.

  • Become an in-house weekly volunteer:
    • Being an In-House Volunteer is a special way to work closely with families staying at the House. In-House Volunteers work one three-hour shift every week (shifts range from 9-12, 12-3, 3-6, 6-9, seven days a week) and perform many important duties at the House. Such responsibilities include driving the Ronald McDonald House shuttle van to and from the hospital, taking families shopping for groceries, or helping clean rooms. 
    • Click here to apply to be a volunteer.
  • Prepare a meal:
    • Serving a meal at the Ronald McDonald House is another great way to volunteer.  Families staying at the Ronald McDonald House appreciate home cooked meals following a long and stressful day at the hospital. 
    • Click here for more information about preparing meals.
  • Service projects:
    • Just as with any home, it takes a lot of work and helping hands to keep the Ronald McDonald House tidy and neat. We always welcome volunteer groups that are interested in performing service projects, such as dusting, sweeping, and cleaning all of the areas of the House. Volunteer groups can also organize craft and game activities for the families and children.
  • Help during the Holidays:
    • It is always difficult for the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House to be away from their home and families during the holidays. From Valentine’s Day to Christmas and Hanukkah, volunteers can assist the staff by making holiday meals and treats for the families and children. Volunteers willing to help decorate the House are also needed prior to the holiday season.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December Theme: Disciple of Christ

Happy December!

We are beginning the fourth month of the Lengthening Your Stride program -- time flies when you are having fun!  A special thanks to all of those who contributed to our November gratitude journal.  We truly have so many blessings and it was delightful to hear about them from the sisters in our ward. 

The monthly theme for December is disciple of Christ.  Be sure to check out the goal suggestions tab for goals that fit this theme.     

In the Book of Mormon, Nephi teaches us the importance of Jesus Christ:

'And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.'  (2 Nephi 25:26)

We hope that this month you can gain a deeper understanding of the blessings that come through lengthening your stride in the area becoming a disciple of Christ.

Please feel free to share your insights and thoughts with us throughout the month.

With Love,

The Literacy Committee

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Santa Comes to Town - December 1st

From Melissa:

I just found out about some fun Christmas festivities going on downtown tomorrow and wanted to let you all know about it. There's free carriage rides, a visit from Santa, and lots of fun activities for kids. And parking is free, too! Can't beat that! Maybe we'll see you there!

Click here for more information.

Friday, November 30, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 30

Here are five things I'm grateful for:

1. Jay
2. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and all the blessings
it brings into my life
3. Hugs from little ones, especially my fifteen nieces and nephews
4. Laughter
5. Music

{Talia Stirling}

Thursday, November 29, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 29

Of course I am grateful for the bucket list... family, income, shelter, gospel, etc... but here are a few things I am especially grateful for today!
I am grateful for indoor plumbing.  I can not imagine a life without showers, toilets, kitchen faucets, washing machines, and a toddler to boot!
I am grateful for our infrastructure, the trucking lanes, and the highways that allow ease of travel and things like food shipments to get to our hometowns.  
I am grateful for innovative minds that have made and continue to make everyday "chores" more convenient and easy.
I am grateful to be given the opportunities to learn new things every day.
I am grateful for the Lord letting me borrow from his endless supply of patience and I am grateful for a daughter who seems to drain my supply as fast as I can borrow it.
I am grateful for the trials I have been entrusted with throughout my life.  They have shaped me into who I am today, and even though I'm not perfect I know I'd be a lot less whole without the growth they have provided.
I am grateful for college football.  Fall + NCAA football + Hot Chocolate = SATURDAY ECSTASY!!!!  Really, NCAA football makes life worth living :)
{Brookie Stander}

One thing that has constantly been near the top of my thankful list is the ability to read. I love to read for pleasure and information. Perhaps that was one thing that motivated me to become a teacher. I am so grateful for the great thoughts and words open to me because of my ability to read.

No gratitude list is complete without "family" written down. I have much family to be thankful for.

I am thankful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is such a blessing to have the truth and to know that it is true.

{Lara Gelder}

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 28

I am grateful for having shelter and plenty of food. I'm grateful for a husband who both complements and compliments me. I'm grateful that babies learn how to smile before they learn how to talk. I'm grateful for my dishwasher. I'm grateful for the family I grew up in, the one I married into, and the one I'm currently building. I'm grateful that this list could go on forever if I had enough time.

{Emily Leslie}

I am so thankful for the knowledge I have of the atonement.  Because of my Savior’s incredible sacrifice, there is Nothing in this world to fear, He has overcome the world! Words cannot express the gratitude I have for Him and for our Eternal Father who  “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”  Because our Savior was willing to suffer for us, we never have to suffer alone, and we can one day be with Them again. 

I am so thankful to be a mother.   I am so thankful for the gift these babies are in my life and for the knowledge I have that I get to be their mother forever!

I am so thankful for Matt!  I admire him and appreciate him so. darn. much.  Thank goodness he is also mine forever!

I am thankful to be living in a time where there is the fullness of the Gospel! I am thankful for the sacrifice of the saints who made that possible.  And what a treat to be able to watch it spread across the whole earth!

I am thankful for friends and family and to live in a day when communicating with people thousands of miles away is no big thing! So thankful for cell phones and all the other ways we can communicate from afar!

I am thankful for art in all forms and all other beautiful things and moments.

{Mary Smith}

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 27

I am thankful for....
   a body that is functioning and able
   a husband that works hard and loves me
   a family that supports and cares for me
   a testimony of truth
   a job that challenges me
   a home 
   the internet
   and chocolate

to name a few:)
{Abbey Zmoos}

I am thankful for a wonderful husband, who loves me beyond words

a stable job that helps me to grow and learn in ways I never anticipated

a wonderful home to return to, a place where I feel safe and happy

good physical health, I have the strength to run and play sports

a mind full of creativity and a willful drive to try new things

a loving family, sisters who are my best friends and parents who would do anything to help me succeed in life

the gospel of Jesus Christ, the joy of knowing that the Lord has a plan for me and that I have the eternal capacity to become like He is

my life, for all the happiness that fills my soul with joy and carries me through the difficult times. 

{Melissa Humbert}

Monday, November 26, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 26

Here are some things I'm grateful for:

My family
My husband
My daughter
Knowledge of the plan of salvation and knowing I'm a daughter of God
My Savior
My job
Priesthood blessings
The holiday season
The scriptures

{Mallory McFarlane}

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 25

Two cute kitties to snuggle with.

A husband who loves me and puts some fun in my life.

Being able to live with my parents and everything they so willingly do
to help us.

Aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents that live close and never
hesitate to offer their love and support.

A job that allows me to pay our bills and coworkers that are easy to
get along with.

A testimony of the Gospel that gives me hope and allows me to see the light.

{Sarah Voss}

I'm thankful for my family, the one I was born into, the one I married into, and the ones I choose to call family.
I'm thankful for technology. I love that I can share pictures and video of my son with my family far away. I also love that I we can skype with family and Max can be familiar with far away family.
I am thankful for mail and the USPS. I love to send and receive cards and letters in the mail. It's so much more personal than an email.
I am thankful for hugs. Especially great big Mommy Hugs, even when it's not my mom. I got 2 (very much needed) Mommy Hugs today!
I'm thankful for modern medicine. My family and extended family have been to the doctor and hospitals a lot this month and I am so grateful they are clean and sterile, that doctors are knowledgeable and are able to help us heal.
I'm so thankful for my son and his even temperament and calm personality.
I'm thankful for music and the impact it has in my life. It can set a tone in our home and change a bad mood. 

I'm thankful for cute bright colored heels. They always make me feel good about myself. 

{Alexis Kurth}

Saturday, November 24, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 24

My thankfuls....
  • Growing up in a small farming town in Idaho
  • A loving family who stays close even if we all live in completely different parts of the country
  • Technology that helps me stay connected with friends and family
  • My new job, that stretches and challenges me
  • To live in a place that has 4 separate seasons
  • A dependable vehicle (for the first time in my life haha)
  • Movies/TV shows that help me unwind and relax
  • Hair product that brings me such silly happiness 
  • Traveling to new and exciting parts of the country/world
  • Animals, i am obsessed
  • A hardworking husband who would do anything for me and our future family
  •  An eternal marriage that brings more joy to my life than i ever thought possible.
  • The gospel that gives me such peace and direction
{Meggan Morgan}

Friday, November 23, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 23

1. I am thankful for family prayer and treagans great example.
2... For modern technology so we can talk to our families everyday.
3.... Hensleigh is sleeping through the night at 12 weeks old.
4.... Treagan is a great dad and likes to help out taking care of Hens.
5.... I got to go to Utah and spend time with family.
6.... For a healthy and happy baby.
7.... For a healthy body and that I am able to exercise.
8.... For the ensign and being able to read it everyday.
9.... I am able to stay home and take care of Hensleigh every day.
10.... For great friends here in Iowa.

{Kim White}

I am grateful for Macy, she is always SUPER excited to see me when I get home, and she always makes me laugh....

I am grateful for friends who keep me sane, help me pass my classes, and are always there for me no matter what!

I am grateful for the beauty of nature, it shows that Heavenly Father loves us and made this world just for us.

And of course, grateful for Daniel - even though he makes fun of me everyday!

{Brittany Johansen}

Thursday, November 22, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 22

-I am so grateful for my husband. I am grateful that we met and fell in love quickly. He is my friend, my confidant, and my comforter. He always knows the right things to say and the right time to give me a hug. He works so hard at making sure we have a successful future.
-I am grateful for modern technology that allows me to forget that I am 1,900 miles away from my parents. I love to chat with them in my living room (even if it is through a computer).
-I am grateful for my in-laws. They are so kind and loving and have made me feel like I was part of the family the moment I met them.
-I am grateful that we had the opportunity to visit my in-laws on their mission in Guyana. It was a very humbling experience that will always remind me to be grateful for everything that I have.
-I am grateful for my dog, Lucy. Her sweet personality and charismatic face brightens up our home. She has kept me company on many long days while David has been away. I never thought it would be possible to have an animal be such a close friend. But, Lucy is definitely one of my closet friends.
-I am grateful for my job. It that allows me to work at home and also to travel and see my family whenever I want to.
-I am grateful for the body Heavenly Father has given me. I enjoy using my body. I love to jog and push my body to see how far I can go.
-I am grateful for this Church. I am grateful for the knowledge that we were put on this Earth for a divine purpose. I am grateful to have a Heavenly Father that looks out for me and is there when I need him. I am grateful to know that I will see my loved ones again.

{Kami Summers}

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 21

 I am thankful for (In no Particular order):

  1.  My husband and all the hard work he puts into law school to make a better life for us.
  2. William and the lessons he has taught me. (Patience,Love,Unselfishness)
  3. A wonderful apartment and all the space we have!
  4. The sunshine and how it warms my face
  5. Rain for the relaxing sound that puts me to sleep as well as the wonderful smell!
  6. Music and  how I can feel the spirit when I listen to it as well as feeling  the emotions it conveys to me
  7. My Life and how the lord is allowing me to take breath every day to learn,feel,see,taste, and hear the wonderful things he created
  8. My family and their support
  9. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and their plan for me as well as the sacrifice they both suffered so that I can live with them again.
  10. The Temple and the spirit I feel there
  11. My covenants
  12. My talents, even the ones I don't think I'm very good at!
  13. Kisses, hugs, and snuggle time
  14. Books and the knowledge I can obtain from them-or just relaxing with a good book is great too! 
{Hannah Melling}

I am grateful for:
warm weather
nights off
days off
weekends off
time with family
kindness and friendly faces
my husband who does way too much for me
a warm house
my health
a stable job

{Erin Sheffield}

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 20

I am most grateful for my husband, Eric and our daughter, Dillon.

{Billie Tyler}

Mostly, I'm grateful for Shane!  And of course, Cam and Chase.  Then, all the rest of my family and Shane's family.  I'm grateful for the knowledge I have that families can be eternal.  I'm grateful to have a knowledge of the Savior and the Atonement, and to know that I can progress and become better, and that one day, my life will be completely clean and I will be able to be with my Heavenly Father and my Savior.  I'm grateful that I live in a time when we have air conditioning, heating, dishwashers, and so many comforts of life.  I'm also grateful for chocolate!

{Lynette Sweat} 

Monday, November 19, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 19

I am grateful for:
--Knowledge that my Heavenly Father loves me, has a plan for me, and puts trust in me.
--A healthy body, good doctors, and modern medicine.
--Family: a good husband, a healthy baby girl, and wonderful extended family.
--Modern day revelation, the scriptures, our Prophet and other church leaders.
--The temple and the peace it brings to our lives.
--Yummy food (especially this time of year!) and people to enjoy it with.
--A great home and all the modern conveniences we have.
--Good books and good entertainment.
--Fall weather and snow plows in the winter.
--The opportunity we have to be in Iowa City and all of the wonderful people we have met!

{Erica Lowe}

A few of the things I am grateful for:
hot cocoa
and the loved ones who send them
warm socks
a forgiving daughter and husband
dear friends
train whistles
chubby baby legs
the color green
our bishop
the gospel
my Savior

The list goes on. and on. and on!

{Wendy Shaha}

Sunday, November 18, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 18

I am thankful for the opportunity I've had to receive an education and use it to support my family. I am thankful for missionary work both full time and member missionaries and the knowledge and blessings my experience and conversion because of both, has brought to my life! I'm also thankful for eternal families!!!!

{Laura Olsen}

Saturday, November 17, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 17

I'm grateful for both Phillip and I familys. I'm grateful for the gospel, our home our home our dogs and each other.

{BreeAnn Keddy}

Here are a few things I am grateful for:

-a warm house and a warm bed
-a patient and forgiving husband who is willing to work hard
-a forgiving daughter who seems to love me even when I'm imperfect
-the opportunity to be a mother
-the peace and reassurance the Gospel brings to my life
-the Savior: His love, His example, His sacrifice, and His forgiveness
-parents who taught me wrong from right and continue to be a huge support and influence in my life

{Rachel Harding}

Friday, November 16, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 16

I am grateful for:
Being able to go back to school
Having a job I enjoy
How hard working my husband is
Having great friends that have became family when family is so far away

{JoEll Carling}

Thursday, November 15, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 15

things I am grateful for . . .

knowing I am a daughter of God and that I matter to Him.

friends and family who have shown more kindness to me this year than I will ever be able to repay.

a husband who always puts my needs above his own.

becoming a new mother. the last 5 weeks have been wonderful and challenging, happy and exhausting. I am thankful to have two little girls to wake up to each morning.

the little things in life: fall colors. natural light. oatmeal cookies. the smell of babies. clean pajamas. christmas music. weekly dates. white noise and furnace noise. wild berry smoothies. stroller rides. pretty paper. peppermint bark. baby baths. blueberry muffins. 

the things I really am most grateful for, are the people and relationships in my life. 


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 14

Lately I've been thinking about how grateful I am for living prophets and the organization of the church that allows them to teach us so often, particularly in general conference.  Each conference uplifts me and inspires me to improve myself.  I'm grateful for the sacrifices made by our leaders and for their love for us as members of the church.  I feel Heavenly Father's love for me through His prophets.  

I am also grateful for families.  Ever since our son was born I have had a renewed appreciation for eternal families.  I can tell that being a mother is refining me and helping to prepare me to return to our Father in Heaven, more than has anything else in my life as of yet.  I'm grateful that I can be with Collin and our children forever.   I'm grateful for the joy that my family brings me.
{Meghan Barker}

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 13

I'm thankful for my family. For my parents, who have sacrificed so much for me and who are so generous with their love and time. For my sisters, who are some of my best friends. For my husband, who is the one person that I can go to for anything and who makes me want to be the best person that I can be. For my baby boy, cause he's so dang cute and gives me so much purpose in life. And for my husband's family, who have all been so accepting of me since day one. And for all of my extended family. My family means everything to me.

I'm thankful for my faith. Especially for the knowledge I have of Christ's atonement. I'm so grateful to our Saviour for paying the price for our sins, so that we can be forgiven. I'm grateful for the power of prayer and for the power of the priesthood, for the power of fasting. I'm grateful for the plan of salvation, that I can be with my family forever. 

I'm grateful for all the simple comforts we enjoy: running water, food, air conditioning and heat, electricity. We are such a blessed people!

Monday, November 12, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 12

1. I'm grateful for my husband and my immediate family that look after my well-being, know me well, and are my companions during joyful and challenging times.
2. I'm grateful for my body, which is healthy and strong and enables me to enjoy exercise, good food, and serve others.
3. I'm grateful for my faith, which teaches me how to learn from the Spirit, access the Atonement, and view the world with a paradigm of eternal progression.
4. I'm grateful for the economic, social, and educational opportunities I have received because I live in a developed country and I was born into the family that I was.

{Claire Child}

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 11

I am grateful for fantastic water pressure, chocolate covered cinnamon bears, technology that allows me to stay connected with family, my husband who adores me, my sweet daughters who make me laugh, and my Savior who died for me.

{Emily Duncan}

Saturday, November 10, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 10

Here are some of the many things for which I am grateful ...

Being alive
Opportunities to grow
Opportunities to help out

Water to drink and use to wash clean, to swim in and to grow plants

Sunlight to see Nature's beauties  +to warm up on a cold day
 ... and that combined with water creates rainbows and sun dogs

Relationships for giving + receiving + growing + sharing together with laughter

Imagination + insight guided by the Spirit with the ability to learn + create +  solve + devise

Deep restful Sleep

Freshly squeezed grapefruit or orange juice

Smells like tuberose, fresh basil and marigold.

Music like the calls of whip-poor-wills + loons + chickadees

Using my hands to make things  + with fabrics , the wonder of making 3D garments from  2D patterns

Food to eat every day, like fruits and cheeses, + a kitchen to prepare our own  with electricity!

Scriptures especially the Book of Mormon and their guiding wisdom

{Carlyn C-S}

Friday, November 9, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 9

I love playing bass drum.

I love cooking.

I am grateful for earning money from doing chores.

I am grateful for spending time with my family and with friends.

I am grateful for my Mom.

My favorite color is always purple.

{Lark C-S}

Thursday, November 8, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 8

I am grateful for:

- a loving, supportive, and hardworking husband who is also an amazing dad
- my sweet daughter who brings so much joy to my life
- my little boy and girl who I am so excited to have join our family next month
- an education
- extended family- and the technology that allows me to stay easily in contact with them even though we live far away
- prayer and that Heavenly Father answers those prayers
- a wonderful ward here in Iowa that has helped me feel so loved and welcome
{Erin Despain}

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 7

I'm grateful for . . .

  • When I wake up scared I've slept through thte alarm but find that I still have 3 more hours left to sleep!
  • To know my purpose & have the opportunity every day to fulfill it.
  • Questions of the soul
  • Answer to questions of the soul
  • The Book of Mormon & Bible
  • Teeth to smile with
  • A companion who laughs at my ridiculousness
  • The Atonement of Jesus Christ
  • The many sacrifices made in my behalf -- to have the fulness of the gospel & to serve a mission for the Lord.
  • Kindness
  • A conviction of the gospel
{Sister Brown -- one of the sister missionaries assigned to our ward}

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 6

I'm grateful for the quality of my life: clean water to drink, heat and warm water, a garage, a microwave and a grocery store. 

I'm grateful for the high quality of people that enrich my experience and make me better.  For a spouse that loves me and works hard to support me in my own work and dreams, for children that are healthy and loving, for friends that look beyond themselves and aim to make life easier for others.

I'm grateful for access to information that guides me on a path of happiness.  For a clear mind and ability to solve problems. For access to Heavenly Father and the Holy Ghost to help me digest this information and make better decisions. I'm grateful for the promise of further light and knowledge that allows me to govern my life through faith instead of fear and to feel growth and a sense of accomplishment every day. 

{Sara Ward}

Monday, November 5, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 5

Here are some things that I am grateful for:

- humor/laughter. There are few things that are more rehabilitating then good humor.
- family. I feel strongly that my family, my parents and my siblings all chose to be here on earth together to serve as each others friend and support.
- the Iowa City community. I love how involved the people of IC are. We will move after this year and I am determined to care about my next community and be involved the way people are here.
-my husband. I always told Heavenly Father that I could do anything he needed me to do as long as he gave me an absolutely reliable husband/partner.
- the relief society.  I am not saying this just so bc this is a RS blog post.  ;) I genuinely love the RS organization. It gives me huge amounts of purpose and direction. It provides me with service when I need help and a way to serve others when I need to serve.

{Regan Judd}

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 4

I'm so fortunate to have some many things to be thankful for. Here's a few of them...
a hard-working and patient husband, a darling little girl, amazing parents, and hilarious brothers, a warm home, cell phones, skype, the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, temples, childhood friends that I still keep in touch with, cars that run, blackberries and chili verde, our freedom, someone at the store that lets you go ahead of them because your child is crying, laughter, and so much more.

{Hayley Bahr}

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 3

I am grateful for:

five adorable nephews
friends who let me dote on their babies like they are my own
a job that requires me to drive by the outlet mall at least twice each week
parents who taught me to love the gospel & work hard
a husband who encourages me to be my best self
a testimony that Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ love and know me on an individual basis

{Larkin Reeves}

Friday, November 2, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 2

I’m grateful for:

A wonderful husband, who loves me, supports me, and without whom I would be lost.
Parents that have supported me and taught me to believe in myself and created a family that is
close-knit and always has a lot of fun together.
The opportunity that I had to move to Iowa. This has not only resulted in the great blessing of
continuing my education, but also the sweet blessing of meeting so many wonderful people that
have truly enriched my life.
My dog’s sweet face. I know that everyone else only sees the mean face and hears the barks,
but she really is sweet!
Chick peas. Let’s face it – they are just good.

There are so many more things that I could put on to this list. At the end of the day, I’m very blessed and have so much to be grateful for. 

{Melanie Jordan}

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November Gratitude Journal: Day 1

One of the monthly goals in November is to record 2 things you are grateful for in your journal each day.  In the spirit of this goal, we are turning our Lengthening Your Stride blog into a ward gratitude journal!!  Get excited -- we hope that everybody will contribute (otherwise you will be hearing about a lot of my grateful things)!! 

Each day, we will post a list of things that people are grateful for.  So, without further ado, here is Day 1 of our gratitude journal:

I am thankful for: a strong body, my warm and comfy bed, my heritage, the peace of the gospel, beautiful art, kind people, those who quietly serve, prayer, The Savior's Love, testimonies, temples, sunshine, good water, my family, those who have sacrificed for freedom, those with courage to act, blueberries, scriptures, memories, the ability to love, timeless music, laughter and America.  {Hilary Dye}


November Theme: Love & Service

Happy November!

Welcome to month three of the Lengthening Your Stride program.  We hope that you each found meaningful ways to lengthen your stride in the area of citizenship during October.  This month's theme is love & service.  Be sure to check out the goal suggestions tab for goals that fit this theme.     

President Thomas S. Monson shared the following thought about loving and serving those around us:

'We become so caught up in the busyness of our lives. Were we to step back, however, and take a good look at what we’re doing, we may find that we have immersed ourselves in the “thick of thin things.” In other words, too often we spend most of our time taking care of the things which do not really matter much at all in the grand scheme of things, neglecting those more important causes.
Many years ago I heard a poem which has stayed with me, by which I have tried to guide my life. It’s one of my favorites:
I have wept in the night
For the shortness of sight
That to somebody’s need made me blind;
But I never have yet
Felt a tinge of regret
For being a little too kind.
My brothers and sisters, we are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness—be they family members, friends, acquaintances, or strangers. We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us.'

We hope that this month you can gain a deeper understanding of the blessings that come through lengthening your stride in the area of love & service.

Please feel free to share your insights and thoughts with us throughout the month.

With Love,

The Literacy Committee

Friday, October 19, 2012

Iowa Activity: Mormon Handcart Park

Remember this activity that Regan organized?  We have pictures!

The Mormon Handcart park is just off Mormon Trek -- click here for a map.  Thanks to Regan for organizing and to all who attended.

With love,

The Literacy Committee  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October -- Citizenship: Voting

Several of our monthly goals in October center around voting as a way to demonstrate citizenship.

Here are some helpful websites that might be helpful as you consider voting in the November election:

Johnson County Voter Registration information -- click here.
Election Day Voter Registration information --  click here
Find your polling place in Johnson County -- click here.  
List of candidates & ballot issues -- click here.
Information about absentee ballots -- click here.
Places & dates for early voting -- click here.  

The Literacy Committee

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October Theme -- Citizenship: Presidential Debates

We know that becoming informed about the views and stances of presidential candidates is essential in voting responsibly.  Presidential debates provide one way for us to learn more about how each presidential candidate plans to act if elected to office.

Here are the dates & times for the remaining presidential debates:

October 11, 8:00 - 9:30 pm:  Vice-Presidential Debate, foreign & domestic policy
October 16, 8:00 - 9:30 pm:  Presidential Debate, town meeting style
October 22, 8:00 - 9:30 pm:  Presidential Debate, foreign policy

For more information about the debates and a live stream via internet, click here.  If you choose to watch any (or all!) of the debates, be sure to report each one as a completed goal.

As we enter this election season, it is important to remember that the church is politically neutral.  From

The Church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral in matters of party politics. This applies in all of the many nations in which it is established.
The Church does not:
  • Endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms.
  • Allow its church buildings, membership lists or other resources to be used for partisan political purposes.
  • Attempt to direct its members as to which candidate or party they should give their votes to. This policy applies whether or not a candidate for office is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Attempt to direct or dictate to a government leader.
The Church does:
  • Encourage its members to play a role as responsible citizens in their communities, including becoming informed about issues and voting in elections.
  • Expect its members to engage in the political process in an informed and civil manner, respecting the fact that members of the Church come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and may have differences of opinion in partisan political matters.
  • Request candidates for office not to imply that their candidacy or platforms are endorsed by the Church.
  • Reserve the right as an institution to address, in a nonpartisan way, issues that it believes have significant community or moral consequences or that directly affect the interests of the Church.

Sending our love,

The Literacy Committee