I was moved during conference this year at the mention of the document The Living Christ. I always feel nourished and encouraged by a focus on our Savior, never more so than during the Easter season. In celebration of the holiday, I resized this special document into three poster sizes: 24×36, 18×24, and 8.5×11. These larger sizes should be easy to print as engineering prints at your local copy shop.
I’m playing with the idea of memorizing it together as a family. Title included, it’s 731 words. I liked all the ideas that this blogger implemented: check out her methods for memorization. I am thinking we’ll go a little more low key and put an engineering print on the wall and use washi tape to “black” out sections as we learn them.
And finally, here’s one that’s two per-page. The ratio of the document does not exactly work to fit the standard 5×7 scripture size, but they’ll turn out to be smaller than a standard size so they’ll fit nicely anyway.
Need updated labels for conference? You can print these on Avery 5160 address labels (or compatible). They are super fun for kids to use as stickers. Click the PDF below. They include the new Primary Presidency.
I also have a page with general topics which might also be helpful in note taking.
I get a lot of questions about which font is used on various printable sets on the site. It makes me laugh a little because my font preferences and choices are so predictable–and rather consistent. I seem to reuse about 5 fonts all the time. I’ve included links but they’re all really easy to find online.
First. I love all variations of Montserrat. But I do spend a lot of time on tracking with this font which basically means I like to spread out the letters in each word. In Adobe this means tweaking the character tracking–it’s usually at about 100. In a program like Word you can easily accomplish the same thing by finding a feature called Character Spacing. Your goal is to spread out the word horizontally. It makes the difference you can see below.
Open Sans is my workhorse and it’s another free Google font. It looks great online. It has a completely different feel if you use it all caps or mixed case. It also looks vastly different depending on the thickness of the line. When I have a fancy font or script for a headline, I always pair it with Open Sans for balance. It’s kind of like beige house paint: it doesn’t attract attention and it’s not fancy, but it covers up endless mistakes. If I’m searching for a good match for any other font, I always start with Open Sans and move from there.
Both Montserrat and Open Sans are also incredibly useful because of how many options you can employ. And you can almost always confidently blend different versions (thin, italic, bold, etc) of the same font in every single way and still come out a winner! Right now the Thick/Thin trick is being used all the time, like the headline you see below:
It’s just Montserrat Semibold and Montserrat Light. I would use this with a straight face as a title on almost anything. Here’s another example of this trick in action that I noticed on Friday:
This Thick/Thin trick is everywhere right now.
Museo Slab is an old favorite. It’s based on a font called Archer which was designed originally for Martha Stewart’s magazine. I think this was the first font I paid for! It has a little more personality than the first two fonts, so I use it more sparingly. It feels like a modern take on traditional.
Every once in a while I need a swoopy, fancy script. My go to fonts are Wisdom Script and Sign Painter. A couple of important notes on these kinds of fonts: never use tracking (never spread out your letters) on a font that is connected like these. You can see an example with Wisdom Script, above. Those cute little connecting swoops look terrible when they’re not correctly linked up. I find that I often need to size up when I am using these fonts: they are hard to read if they are small.
Sign Painter has recently replaced an old favorite: Coffee Service. Check it out if you think it’s more precisely your style.
I do have a couple of go-to traditional fonts. Trajan Pro and Garamond. Sometimes you just need something that looks a little more conventional.
Finally, a tip on mixing fonts. There is a general rule of thumb floating around that it’s best to combine a Serif with a San Serif font (lots more on that idea here). It’s a good start. On top of that principle, chew on this: everything you’ve learned about matching your clothes or the pillows on your couch applies to your font choice too. Unless they really *match, closely related colors have a high risk of clashing. Colors that are on opposite sides of the color wheel have a good chance of complementing each other. There’s a similar principle at play with fonts: very simple looks cool with very fancy. They’re at opposite ends of the complementary font style wheel, so to speak. A fancy, swoopy font is like the color red: you can use it but a little goes a long way. Unless you’re a professional, don’t try to do an all red room. You’re probably going to produce a monstrosity. Same thing with fonts: avoid using lots of fancy fonts (even if it’s the same one). Very tricky unless you’re a professional.
*Like I mentioned earlier, you can also mix up all kinds of variations of the same font and it all goes together well (almost always).
When in doubt, keep it simple and you’ll be just fine.
I’ve had several requests to produce a Women’s Session Notes Page that is not dated. Also inspired by the recent adjustment to the Relief Society purpose statement I changed up the quotes and added the new statement. The notes pages are meant to be printed two sided, then folded in half along the long side. I left tons of space around the edges to accommodate even the most persnickety printer: note also that you could easily add your ward or stake name (or the date) on the top or bottom of the front page.
Please print, copy, share, enjoy!
I had a fantastic request from a reader named Jim who is figuring out his calling as a Home Teaching supervisor. He wants cards that he can give to families in his ward to inform them of their home teachers. We often assign the teachers but leave the families wondering who is supposed to come by for a visit–his idea is to encourage visits by getting everyone the information. I think it’s a really useful idea and I quickly agreed to put one together. You can see the general idea below.
Of course the initial request spawned several variations. First, here’s what I came up with for Jim’s original request. They are designed four per page, meant to be cut in half twice.
There’s a copy below that you can simply print, cut, and fill out. I also made a version that is an *editable* PDF. To be honest, I haven’t had a lot of luck with these in the past–I find there’s a lot of variables that I can’t properly account for. Please let me know in the comments if they are working for you!
I layered in 5 text boxes to fill in. The way it worked for me is that clicking on the green box below spawned a new box in Safari. I was then able to click inside each box on the form and fill it out. I think it would be smart to “Save As” when you are finished filling one set out. You might have to do up to 10 pages for all 40 families you have assigned Home Teachers.
This has also worked well for me with Adobe Acrobat.
Next there’s a nearly identical version for Visiting Teaching.
I wanted a similar one for Visiting Teaching but with a different quote. This is still designed to give to the sister who is being visit taught (so she will know who her visiting teachers are).
Alright, so now that the specific request is covered (I hope that works for you, Jim!) I wanted to put together a similar card meant for the Visiting or Home Teachers. There’s a spot for the Sister who is being assigned or called on the far right (write it in vertically) and room for a companion and three sisters to visit. The editable version has text boxes for these spaces *except for the vertical sister being assigned. Sorry! Editable forms do not rotate to run vertical.
Also, please note that I left these blanks very open to accommodate your adaptations. In the three rows I would include the name of the sister, her phone number and email on the second line (the one with an @) and then a birthday on the third line. You also have room for an address, but honestly, doesn’t everyone just use LDS Tools for all those details? You could choose different info if it works better for your Relief Society.
Samesies for Home Teaching.
Next month the youth in our ward are participating in a missionary month. The Young Women and Young Men leaders have planned special lessons and activities to help familiarize them with missionary life. Many of these will take place on Sunday, others will replace weekly mutual activities. Some of these activities will naturally include our Primary children: families will be inviting youth to their homes for dinner, just like the real missionaries. Families will also be taught by the youth as they practice sharing the gospel.
To help make this missionary month a more full family experience, we’re switching March to the November Sharing Time theme: I Can Choose to Be a Missionary Now. Our sharing time lessons will be pulled from November. We’re also going to send home the following one-page outline with several simple ideas for Family Home Evening. It’s meant to be photocopied and folded in half. I pulled the story from The Friend (July 2016) and the other resources from various spots on lds.org.
It’s so simple that I thought I’d share it below.
I like the way my “Choose the Rite” logo tag turned out so I’m sharing it here. It’s meant to be attached to a bottle or can of Sprite! I am using one that is black and white printed on yellow card stock (clean and cheap, just the way I like it).
There’s a full size version PDF below (if you want the jpeg, just right click on the image above and save it, sweetie). There’s also a full page version with nine of these images per page that you could easily cut into nine separate tags. Easy.
Are you into the full color? It’s available below.
We give a small token gift to our Primary kids on their birthday! In 2014 we did pencils and silicone CTR rings. Last year we did these fun whack-a-pack self inflating balloons. This year every kid is getting a vinyl CTR sticker in one form or another. I ordered them from Heather at JDM Designs. They were inexpensive (about $25 for 100 vinyl stickers). Email her for more info: firstname.lastname@example.org.
My original idea was to give everyone a block with the CTR sticker on it. Something decorative you could put by your bedside or at your desk–something that would just show up around the house and remind kids to choose the right. But when my 11-year-old saw the vinyl sticker he wanted to stick it on his phone, on his mirror, on his notebook. Basically he was way more interested in the vinyl sticker and way less interested in the block. So I quickly switched gears and decided to give the Senior Primary the vinyl sticker itself… with a small can of Sprite, just to make it fun.
And that’s why I have “Remember to Choose the …rite” gift tags 🙂
I had a request for a scripture poster for the youth theme for 2017. This version doesn’t even have a title because the theme for the youth this year is just “Ask.” Check out the details on lds.org. So this is just the first page of James blown up to poster size. Available below in 18 x 24 and 24 x 36 poster sizes in case you want to use it in your Young Women or Young Men’s room. Obviously I would use a marker, colored pencil, or some cool washi tape to mark verses 5 and 6.
2016 was full of new chapters for the Davis family. Our first high school graduate and subsequently our first college drop off. My first job since college! I’ve been working part time since spring. We have our first Eagle Scout. Our last preschool graduation. We became a band family (that’s a thing) because Lucas plays the euphonium in the high school marching band. We had an epic trip to Lake Powell. Lots of Disneyland. EFY. Basketball. Pioneer Trek. Refugee Relief. Yoga. Lots of low brass. Lots of noise! Lots of boys.
We’ve never been so busy. I feel like we’ve never juggled so many big changes for so many of us. I’m learning to find a new kind of balance. Grappling with the necessity to choose best rather than good. Coming to terms with living in the middle of life, where the end seems closer than the beginning. Leaning in to the changes makes it easier to say: 2016. Was. Awesome.
With love from my family to yours, Merry Christmas.
Wagons West by Turley and Littke
When my oldest son started kindergarten we lived in Emigration Canyon in Salt Lake City. It was there that I came to deeply love my Mormon pioneer heritage. Something about the site of the Last Camp just yards from my driveway, the thick scrub oak in my yard, and driving past This is the Place monument every day–it made me feel connected to that determined bunch of Saints who made their way through my canyon to their promised land.
Importantly, it was there that I began some casual research of the pioneer journals. Soon after I strayed from the Sunday School lessons and wandered around in the original sources I discovered that the pioneers weren’t preachy or perfect. They were real people. People of faith who, nevertheless, struggled to live their faith. Each with distinct experiences and life views. I discovered in their journals and memoirs that it’s presumptuous to lump these emigrants together or create a composite Pioneer-with-a-capital-P Experience.
Thankfully, over the years the Mormon church has done excellent work in making these writings accessible online with an extensive database found here. Recently released Wagons West is a repackaging of these original documents, easy to read with a quick pace and a narrative style that organizes the journey west chronologically. The writing is simple enough even for younger readers, but the genius of this book is that it pulls a new set of stories, anecdotes and quotes into an already familiar account.
For example, have you ever heard “The Way We Crossed the Plains”? I hadn’t either. It’s a song the pioneers came up with on the journey. It goes like this:
In a shake wagon we ride,
For to cross the prairie wide.
As slowly the oxen moved along,
We walloped them well with a good leather thong.
The way we crossed the plains. (p. 31)
I have sung “Pioneer Children” a million times and it’s nice to hear a new one! There’s also a copy of the Eliza R. Snow’s Journeying Song, drawings, photos and images pulled in to help tell the story. As a whole, the book is graphically well designed and not too heavy on text.
Aside from the “new” stories and facts, I wholeheartedly adore the careful exposition of the true pioneer journey. The authors did not shy away from nuance that adds fullness to our commonly shared history. For example, did you know that Brigham Young rejoiced when the Mormon men were asked to form the Mormon battalion because it would bring in funds? The men would be paid for their service to the United States ($16 a month) and the Mormons needed the money (p. 40)! Somehow this detail has eluded me in past studies, but it’s a piece of the picture that makes sense.
There’s also much more detail about steps the Saints took as they left Nauvoo, unvarnished and somehow new to me. For example, I had never heard the specific threats to the Saints that 1) Brigham Young and other Church leaders were being accused of running a counterfeiting operation and 2) Governor Ford warned Mormons that federal troops might try to stop the Saints from heading west (p. 16). These threats are part of the reason the Saints left Nauvoo in such adverse winter conditions.
Remember, though, this is all done in a writing style that is easy to digest so these facts are woven into a broader, familiar story we all know. The authors do excellent work in retelling a huge portion of Mormon history with enough familiar ground that most will be able to maintain their bearings while easily absorbing some of the fresh angles and facts.
Later there are some frank stories about Porter Rockwell’s egregious bragging and the conflict between the Saints in camp (p. 118). There have always been a few throw away lines about conflict amongst the Saints on the trail, but the stories in Wagons West are specific. And they resonate with my modern day experience with Latter-day Saints in all the wards where we’ve lived. The truth is, it’s not always a graceful journey. We struggle together to be civil to one another, to be faithful to our God, to be righteous and kind. We make mistakes. We hurt each other. We fall and sometimes, some Saints don’t ever come back. We are the pioneers and they are us. The more honestly we can look at their dichotomous experience on the trail the more fully we can accept our own spiritual journey today.
If you have any affection for the Mormon pioneers, you’ll enjoy this quick read. Pick up Wagons West to enhance your understanding of the early Saints, to aid in your teaching of Church History in Sunday School next year, or to give as a gift.