Monday, October 6, 2014

My Heart Grew Bigger -- Mitchell's Journey Documentary

I've hesitated whether to post this.  Some things are best left among family.  But, my church's General Conference this past weekend was packed full of inspirational and motivational talks.  I can say the experience has left me feeling a bit braver.  

So, without panicking anyone, whether you’re a friend or loved one who didn't get a call from my mom or the" Italian calling tree,” let me just say, I'm fine.  And, for anyone who may be critical and think this is about attention, well, you need to get a heart.  Which just happens to be what this post is about. 

I spent Saturday evening in the ER.  At 5:30 p.m., I was sitting at my desk at home, listening on the Internet to a talk I'd missed earlier in the day.  Without warning, chest pains toppled me forward.  "I'm too young to have a heart attack."  I thought.  But never having had one, when the back of my left arm went numb, all the way down to my left pinky, going to the hospital was inevitable. 

Five and half hours with doctors and nurses, and four blood draws and enzyme tests later, thankfully I was in the clear.  It turns out panic attacks can mimic heart attacks, and genetically, it turns out my adorable, feisty Italian mother, who loves more deeply than any person I know on the planet, has blessed me her panic genes.  I get my almond shaped, brown eyes from her, which is a plus.  But I’ve also learned I get a few of those other genes.  The ones that keep a person humble and reliant on God.  Okay, so I’ll live.  And like she did, in her 40's, I’ll get to learn to manage some of these challenges so they don’t impede my daily life. 

Well, this story ISN’T about my mimic-ed heart attacks or panic attacks.  It's about what happened yesterday.  Sunday after watching the first session of conference, I watched a beautiful documentary called Mitchell's Journey.

It’s about a father who blogged about his son's terminal illness and honestly and openly shared how it was playing out in the lives of his family.  Obviously, I watched with a heart that still beat.  While Mitchell’s did not.  He had passed away in 2013. 

Sitting on my brown, oatmeal textured sectional, I could feel my heart.  I could hear it.  Thump.  Thump.  I cried as the stories of faith, influence, and hope shared messages from complete strangers who'd been touched by Mitchell’s story.  The connections Mitchell and his family had created through words in cyberspace were uncanny!  People from all over the country had written letters to Mitchell.  They had sent emails.  Made phone calls and visits.  The video showed how Mitchell’s Journey saved a marriage, made family more of a priority, and engaged one self-proclaimed introvert to get out and live his life.  Because of this little boy’s kind, selfless, happy, and contented heart, and a loving father with the gift of words willing to write about it, tens of thousands have been inspired to be better and live better. 

After watching the story, I questioned if I was living half-heartedly?  Like those people had been. 
My “little” scare with my heart, and I say “little” because honestly I felt so humbled at 10:30 p.m. when a man doubled over in a wheelchair was rushed past my room.  He was having a “real” heart attack.    Not that mine was fake, and doctors said anytime you feel heart pain you should never dismiss it.  They told me of a mother recently who was only 39 who ignored her chest pain and she went to sleep and never woke up.  The care team at Riverton Hospital made me feel right about my decision to be checked out.  And they helped me understand a clear picture that chemically my body went into panic and made my heart sick.  I didn’t feel panicked.  Really I didn’t.  I didn’t know the state my heart was in.  I was just watching a nice man give a nice talk and eating a few Oreos and milk.  (Eight, okay!  I’ll admit I had eight.)    

Which leads me to another lesson I learned. 

The REAL state of our heart isn’t always apparent to us.  The only way we know its true condition is by our ACTIONS.  What we DO with our heart.  Do we actively SHARE our hearts with EVERYONE?  Do we LOVE?  Unconditionally?  Or half-heartedly?  Do we SERVE with our heart by doing good to others?  That’s they only way we can really measure the state of our heart. 
Mitchell’s story didn’t document the state of his life, it documented the state of his heart, which apparently is still beating in heaven, because all the people who’ve been touched by his story are still reeling in the glory. 

The power of words.  That's why I can write this post with good conscience.  Our personal stories are our history.  And Family History was another message from conference.  My experience is what it is.  And although it was insignificant in comparison to the arduous, difficult, painful, and heart-wrenching experience of Mitchell and his family, it joined my heart to theirs. 

I thank my Heavenly Father, for today.  We're pretty sure I have a healthy heart.  A stress test in a week or so should confirm that.  But, I get do the laundry.  Yippee!  (not really, but I’m making a point).  And I get to do carpool.  Yippee!  I get to hug my husband and kids, feed my dog and cat, and tell my parents how much I appreciate them helping me while Christian was gone.  And do a few other good deeds because . . . my heart continues to beat.  It grew a little bigger, yesterday, thanks to a little boy and his father, whose hearts, through their story, reached out and touched mine.     

God Bless Mitchell and Family -- Because of you my heart grew a little bigger.
Jodi Marie Robinson,  Riverton, Utah

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Studio 5 -- Donate School Supplies

Call me a little nerdy, but I love back to school!  

A new backpack, pencils, and notebooks, not to mention a new school outfit.  

Would you believe I remember what I wore on the first day of school from 1st to 6th 

grade?  I'm not kidding.  In the 4th grade, I wore a three piece green linen suit with a 

yellow blouse. I remember having to have it but MOM?  What were YOU thinking?  :) )

Here are some quick ideas to help you 


while heading back to school.


The .50 cent pencil boxes.  

These spiral notebooks for .17.  

The markers for $.77.  

Buy more than you need and donate them to a school or charitable organization.  

For less than $5 you can fill a pack with crayons, pencils, notebooks, a pencil box, 

markers, and even some cute smiley face stickers. 

IDEA:  FOR A FAMILY SERVICE PROJECT -- A fun idea to get kids involved is to 

decorate a shoe box with scrapbook paper and washi tape and fill it with school supplies 

to donate.  I had a group of girls come over from my neighborhood and we had a blast! 

We kept it really simple.  We then filled them with supplies.  So easy.  Inexpensive.  And 

fun!  This is perfect for young kids because then they feel like they are part of the giving. 


Think of the schools in and around where you live.  

It’s as easy as walking into the front office and dropping off backpack full of supplies.  

I spoke with several teachers.  One teacher at a Title One elementary school has taught 

for 30 years.  She said she “appreciates when extra school supplies 

are brought into the classroom because there is always a 

need.”   Her idea is to donate multiples of something. 

Like 30 glue sticks.  Or 30 notebooks.  

So, if you want to make your donation simple, buy several of one thing!  

How wonderful it would be for a teacher to have 30 new boxes of crayons.  

And at 25 cents a pop, that's easy to do!

One teacher in Cedar City remarked, 

"You can bet that there will be a few children at every         
school who come that first day who don’t have a backpack,  
or a school, bag, or pencil box." 

Your donation will be put to good use! 

schools everywhere are a great place to make a difference.  Here's the list of Title 1 

Schools in Utah.  And here are FOUR charitable organizations who could use help:

1.  St. Anne’s Center in Ogden  (801-621-5036)
2.  The Road Home in Salt Lake
3.  Catholic Community Services (locations, including the St. Vincent de   Paul Dining Hall, 437 W 200 South, Salt Lake City or the Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank, 2504 F Ave., Ogden).
4.  United Way – 2955 Harrison Blvd., Suite 201, Ogden.  STUFF THE BUS DAY OF CARING…on September 11th.  Fill a book bag with school supplies to be donated to one of 19 schools within Salt Lake, Tooele, Davis and Summit Counties. The goal was for 5,000 bags, but this year, the Tribune reports that it’s distributing 8,500 because of the additional schools with which United Way is partnering. 
     The need is for:  pencils, pens, markers, highlighters, 16-count crayons, glue sticks, erasers, spiral notebooks and pocket folders. Drop-off locations include Discovery Gateway children’s museum, 444 W. 100 South, Sept. 2 to Sept. 5 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.; Sheraton Hotel, 150 W. 500 S. Salt Lake City, through Aug. 31, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and United Way of Salt Lake, 257 E. 200 South, Suite 300, Salt Lake City, through Aug. 31, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hope you enjoy these ideas.  Happy back to school!

With love and friendship,


Sunday, July 27, 2014

BOOK -- The Peter Potential

Introducing one of my NEW favorite books.

Hot off the presses, this new book published by Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler, promises to delight readers and invites them to accept Christ's invitation to see their own potential for greatness.  Using a clear, concise, and carefully crafted story-line, the co-authors teach 7 key principles taken from the life of Peter.  Upon the pages, they place you on the sand, lift you into the boat, and push you out into the water, hoping to create a story vivid enough for you to experience the Peter Potential for yourself.

Peter was a fisherman turned disciple and, in many ways, Peter's story is your story and mine.

Principles taught in the book include:

Launch out into the deep.
Leave behind your nets.
Step into the water.
Give Him all that you have.
Leave Neutral ground.
Come running.
Entertain thoughts of greatness.

I highly recommend this book as an addition to your inspiring, keepsake books.  Its message will touch everyone individually.  Don't wait.  Order or pick up your copy today!

With love and friendship,


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Activity Idea --Do you like YOU? -- Using the famous video "No More Photoshopped Colbie Caillat"

Here is a simple, yet, powerful activity you can do to improve your girls' self-image.

What you need:  Computer to play the above video.

                             Dollar store whiteboards.  One for each person.
                             (You can use a piece of paper for each person if you need to.)

What to do:         First, show this video to your youth group.  Talk about how they feel after they see the video.   Next, give each girl a white board and erasable marker from the dollar store.  Have each girl write her name on her board.  Then sit in a circle.  Ask each girl to write a positive word or phrase about the person whose board it is.  Pass the boards around the circle a few times, until the boards are full, while you listen to the song.  Tell the girls to write small enough, if the boards are small, so everyone can write what they like about that person.  Wallah!!!!  Then talk about what was written on the girls boards.

You can use the book Body Image Breakthrough to deepen your discussion.  This is an excellent, gospel-principled book, so you can pull out ideas and thoughts to fuel the conversation.  More Info on Book is in an earlier post.

Take Home:  Let the girls then take the white boards home.  Tell them NOT to erase what was written ob them.  You could attach a cute thought:

Don't let the world erase who you REALLY are.  
Because we LIKE YOU for YOU!

Share, LOVE, Serve :))
Jodi Marie Robinson

BOOK: Body Image Breakthrough -- Learn to LOVE Your Body

How do you feel about your body?

Truth is, your body image probably isn't as good as it could be.

To some degree, we ALL suffer from an unhealthy body image at some time in our lives.  

For years, I've been talking to girls and women about SEEING THEMSELVES AS GOD SEES THEM.  And, if you've heard me speak, you'll know I teach how to use the Atonement for what I call "sideburn moments."  (If you have my book, Precious in His Sight, it's Chapter 7, you'll know what I'm talking about.)

I've recently met (on-line) the author of a NEW book, and I LOVE this book!  It's packed full of doctrinally-sound, gospel-based principles relating to body image.  Every FEMALE needs this book.  And it wouldn't hurt if you shared what it teaches with your husbands and sons, too. 

I am THRILLED to introduce you to this book!  And to Jaci Wightman.  Her honest-seeking quest to heal herself and make peace with her body, with the Lord's help, I believe, will heal many women and forever change the way they see their bodies.  

Here is what Jaci wrote to me:   

Body Image Breakthrough evolved out of my own personal battle with body image. In earlier years, I never saw myself as an author. I was just an insecure teenager who’d turned into an insecure 30-something mom. All those years, it didn’t matter how hard I tried—I just couldn’t overcome my negative body image. I was plagued by obsessive thinking, an unhealthy relationship with food, and a nagging dissatisfaction with the way I looked. Finally, in desperation, I turned the whole mess over to the Lord, and that’s when everything suddenly began to change. Slowly, He taught me how to see myself through His eyes rather than the eyes of the world. The process was like nothing I’d ever experienced, and I knew I couldn’t keep this incredible journey to myself. It was in that moment Body Image Breakthrough was born.

My hope for this book is that no matter what a woman is struggling with (even if her story is very different from my own), Body Image Breakthrough will give her the tools she needs to overcome her negative body image once and for all. I believe that really is possibly for every single one of us. But it’ll never come through the next weight loss drug or the latest plastic surgery technique or even finding a new haircut that makes us feel cute. It can only come when we turn the whole thing (meaning all our inadequacy, shame, self-hatred, addiction to food, or whatever we’re battling) over to Christ. Then we must listen very closely to everything He has to say. I did that, and it changed my life forever.

A little about me: for the last 20+ years, I’ve spent most of my time as a wife and mom. With 7 kids born in 8 years (they’re now age 14 to 22), it’s been quite a wild ride.  But wouldn’t have had it any other way. Amid the chaos, I have tried to squeeze as much time as I can to read (my husband says I’ll read anything, anytime, anywhere), and I also love to write, exercise, and garden. Something most people don’t know about me is that I’m a self-taught massage therapist (but mainly just for my husband and kids!).

Publisher:  Cedar Fort, Inc.

Available at most bookstores.  

Buy on Amazon                                                                                                  Author, Jaci Wightman

Friday, July 11, 2014

STUDIO 5 -- Candy Bar Poster Messages--An New Twist on Sweet Service--KSL JUNE, 12, 2014

Sorry my website didn't post right after the show.  Techie issues.  I guess life happens sometimes, and so we adjust.  Right?  Well, now for the FUN!  

A few years ago, our friend and neighbor found out he had cancer.  Everyone knew and loved this father and friend as the guy who always had made everyone laugh.  The news was devastating.  Neighbors jumped into action.  They delivered meals.  Mowed his lawn and stopped in for regular visits.  I quickly realized how concerned my kids were who were younger at the time.   They wanted to do something for him.  One thing we did to show we cared was make him a Candy Bar poster.  The kids glued and assembled the treats, and ya know what?  They still talk about it; I think because they could be involved with the hands-on part of making it and to them that was serving.   

Candy messages provide opportunities for some SWEET SERVICE.  And I'm sharing with you some non-traditional CANDY MESSAGE ideas, so you can get creative with your family.  

Most of the supplies you probably have in your kitchen cupboard, craft closet, or home office.  

STYLE #1 -- Accordian Countdown

The accordion style candy bar creation made from envelopes. It’s easy to assemble.  
1) You’ll need 7 envelopes.  One for each day of the week. 
2) Markers, chalk, or cut out vinyl letters to mark the day of the week on each envelope. 3) Double-sided tape ad/or washi tape (to connect and reinforce the envelopes so they don't break apart)

How it works?  Make an envelope chain, by connecting the envelope flap to the bottom front side of the next envelope.  Print or handwrite messages to go along with the candy bar.  Each day, an envelope should be opened to reveal the message and sweet treat inside. This style is a perfect size for smaller spaces!  It's not a big, bulky poster, so you can mail it.  Stick in someone’s suitcase, because it can fold up.  Put it in a your spouses's desk drawer at work.  In a child's locker.  A janitor's closet.  Or, use it to surprise a favorite librarian or school crossing guard.  Even your hairdresser.  "Take 5 because you’re a cut above the rest!"  (I know it's a bit cheesy, but we love cheesy if it makes someone smile.)  

With this style of candy message, there’s no stressing over laying out everything, perfectly.  And let’s face it, sometimes we just don’t have the time to be PINTEREST PERFECT.  When we’ve got a mini-van to vacuum, soccer, swim lessons, and a family dinner to get to?  We want something that says I fussed over YOU but didn’t lose my sanity while making it.

Candy Sayings:  
“Eagerly counting down to ZERO until you’re back home!”   

“ We would ORBIT the MILKYWAY just to tell you we love you.”

“When it's a Rocky Road, Lean on me.”

"We love you so MUNCH!"

"You are so COOL 2 be with!"

"We wouldn't trade you for 100 Grand."

Check out these LINKS for more clever sayings and ideas:  

STYLE #2   -- Countdown Clues

5 Clues to a MEGA Good Time—because something special that’s about to happen

Supersized Mega M & M's provide the perfect message for inviting, congratulating, or encouraging someone.  Let’s say, for example, you want to surprise someone you love with tickets to Wicked at the Capitol Theatre (hint, hint to the special someone who probably isn’t watching, but, hey, it’s worth a try!).   

·   Use a pencil box to hold the candy bars and clues.
·   On the outside of the box tape the MEGA M & M's with the message “5 Clues to a MEGA good time”.  

CLUE #1:   Unlimited means GOOD and PLENTY.
CLUE#2:    YORK gonna defy gravity?
CLUE #3:   Even GOOBERS deserve the chance to fly.
CLUE #4    Dancing through life is A BIT O HONEY. 
CLUE #5:   Because I knew you; I have been changed for Mr. Good Bar. 

FINAL CLUE : “Hocus pocus, RAZZLES and  SPREES.  How about going to see Wicked with me? 

This next idea would make a fabulous FAMILY NIGHT.  Your family.  Youth group.  Friends.  Womens Group. Even Co-workers could play a game to create the sayings, and then a quick delivery could top off the night!

STYLE #3   -- Turn your Candy Bar Message into a Game Night -- Family FUN Night or Youth Activity

Sometimes the memory of doing service lies in the CREATION OF IT.  Coming up with the idea.  Thinking about what it will look like.  How you can make it special.  There is nothing better than creating something  special FOR SOMEONE YOU LOVE with people you love.  

First, place some candy bars in the middle of the table.  Ask each family member to choose a candy bar. 

Second, give each person a strip of paper and a sharpie marker.  Challenge each person to write a saying that goes along with the candy bar they choose.  One idea is to create a riddle, starting with What is . . . ?  You may want to write WHAT IS on each piece of paper to begin with so they all turn out the same.  Then make sure you circle one letter, on a few of the messages, using the letters that will spell out your final clue/message.

Some examples would be:  

What is worth more than 100 GRAND?.”  

What is always good Now and Later?”  

What is the RIESEN our family shines?”

WRAP the candy bars in the papers and tape them shut.  Place in a container and deliver!

You could CHALLENGE your family to come up with sayings as a team, or in pairs.  Think of the possibilities of WHAT IS "MUNCH" MORE "COOL" THAN "PAYDAY?"  And, of course, the answer will be the three letters circled on a few of the candy bar messages. 

Fourth:  Once you have your clues, read them outloud to each other.  Then place them in a container.  On the outside of the container, place a note card with instructions saying, “Decode the three letter word and you’ll know ‘What is munch more cool than payday?"   The circled letters on the candy bars, when unscrambled, spell out:   Y        U.  Get the idea?  So many possibilities.  

One last thing . . . it’s fun to find the really unique CANDY and vintage candy.  I found some COOL candies like Razzles, LOOK bars, Whachamacallits, Tiny Size Chicklets, and many others, not always found at the grocery stores, at pharmacies, gas stations, and hospital gift shops.  In Utah, you check out, The Candy Barrell in South Towne Mall.  Pharmacies like Jolley’s Pharmacies in Sandy and Sugar House are good resources.  The Internet is also a great place to shop for candy.  You can find some cleverly named candy that comes from different countries.  For example, One  candy bar I found and so want to try!  But haven’t yet.  is an ENGLISH candy bar CALLED THE CURLY WURLY.  I have no idea what it tastes like, but I love the name!  So I’m gonna give it a whirl!

Websites I mentioned on Studio 5:  

Make your own treasure hunt.

Make your own crossword puzzle.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Women are Like Quilts

I visited an amazing home in Holladay, Utah, where I spoke at a brunch.  

 Almost every guest had brought a quilt to display.   
The quilts filled at least 10 rooms. 
 Every quilt had a story. 

 Some were hand-made.  Some machine made.  Some were heirlooms.  Some were gifts.  
Some were meager attempts.  Some were masterpieces.  

The point is: each quilt was unique. 

Each quilt's stitching and design reflected the woman's personality who brought it.  Not one was less valued than another.  Together, the quilts created an incredible display of talent, sacrifice, perseverance, and courage.  

Much like the women attending the gathering, the quilts were diversified.  

This lovely sister owns the beautiful home.
 Some tall.  Some short.  Some mothers.  Some grandmothers.  Some aunts.  Some married.  Some single.  It didn't matter, because like the quilts. they were all beautiful for their own reasons. 

 I noticed some had edges a little more wrinkled and worn than others.  But it didn't matter.
Some edges were not as straight as others.  But it didn't matter.
Some colors were soft pastels.  Others were bold and vibrant.
But it didn't matter.

Like the quilts, the women's stitching hinted at their life experience.  

ALL were beautiful!  

What a GIFT it was for me to tour the beautiful home of the Sister who hosted the brunch.  Her decor, consisting of paintings of Christ, gospel life, and her beloved family, told HER story.  

 It was no mystery what was most important to her. :)  

What a lovely day!

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Ideas for Young Women--Promoting Self-Esteem, Hope and Confidence in the Future

Ideas for Young Women--Promoting Self-Esteem, Hope and Confidence in the Future
Give a handout with an apple seed on it and use this quote: "Inside every apple seed is an apple...Good things will come." LOVE IT!!! LOVE IT!!!



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