Thursday, April 30, 2009

Electronic Fast

Sometimes you just need to get away! So I'm doing just that. I will be in San Diego for the weekend and I'm going on an electronic fast. I will have access but it will be limited. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mormon Blogs You Can't Afford to Miss

As you can see by my blog roll I follow a lot of brilliant, talented, educated, and hilarious blogs! I count myself blessed to have such amazing friends! Suffice it to say that I am busy with grad school and life--these blogs have helped me to maintain my sanity. Just in case you have never happened upon (I know some of you are lurkers) these amazing blogs on your own--I am going to do a bit of a Mormon Blog Shout-Out! They are in particular order and I love them all:

This blog is just hot off the press ladies and is especially for those of you who are single! My friend Peggy is hilarious, she is amazingly talented, she is a visionary, has a heart of gold, and she is making things happen in her life. She is also quite the enabler in the lives of those around her! If you are frustrated that people keep asking you why you are single, if you've been to a wedding recently and were asked when will be your turn, or if you are looking for positive reaffirmation that it's okay to be a single mormon female--this blog is for you!

If you are mormon and have always wanted to know what is going on in the NYC scene then my friend Natalie Hill's blog is for you. I have always dreamed of singing on Broadway but Natalie has actually done it (and well I might add!). Her blog is hilarious, sincere, informative, and entertaining!

I can't plug my friend Mindy Gledhill enough! She is kind, sincere, loyal, crazy (I love that about her), and she is honest. If you are looking to read about someone who is real, recognizes her flaws, loves her huband & kidlets, is passionate about her music, and gets that God comes first then this is the blog for you!

My friend Ty Mansfield is incredible. He has a gift for writing, listening to hearts, and being an advocate. His blog is just the inspiration you need in your life to get through the mundane and negative world we seem to live in. He is current on issues, he is a defender of the cause, and he has no fear becuase he is full of faith! If your heart is in need of some healing his blog is the solution!

My man Don Osmond has got things going on. He is on a bobsled team (would does that), he is a blogger for Mormon Times, and use to be referred to as "Dr. Love" when he wrote for the magazine "Schooled". If you are needing advice, if you are in the "cresting thirty" age range, or if you just want to be entertained--stay tuned to Don's blog!

My friend Jake is a motivational speaker as part of his job but he is a motivational person as part of his being. Trust me just being around him makes you feel like a better person. If you are someone who needs a good dose of motivation, if you are up to his blog challenges, and if you want to improver your self mastery then this blog is perfect for you!

Nicole (Hill) Geralut is one talented lady. This is double shout out for her. She is going to be doing a photography class in Phoenix as just one of her many stops on her photography tour! If you love great clothes, fun little sussies, amazing photography, and a little bit or everything else then you can't miss out on this blog!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Make it Happen!

In 2006 I decided I needed a change so I joined AmeriCorps and moved to Boston. That year my motto became: Make it Happen! This mindset has transformed my life. I don't think I'm unique in this endeavor.

In a day and age where people are paralyzed by fear, where they are not only losing their jobs but their confidence, and where people are losing hope I choose to tell a different story!

I want to collect personal essays/stories from people that have MADE things happen in their lives. This includes dreams they made come true, goals they've accomplished, trips they've taken, people they've met, and so much more.

Please send me your "Make it Happen" story! 

Your personal story/essay needs to be around 2 pages (1000 words), clear, concise, and how it is you made it happen! Send your story to me: w/a very brief bio of yourself.

I will be putting together a collection of these inspiring stories to hopefully publish in a book.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm Okay

I’m Okay

Music & Lyrics by Kylee shields

I know it’s been a while since I’ve been here

Brought flowers to your grave and spoke my heart

and though you can’t respond

I can’t help wondering

How it would be

If you were here

I know I’d be different

That your life would change mine

I know I’d see things a different way if you were here

I know we’d have good days

To counter the bad ones

I know there’d be miles and miles of laughter along the way

And so today I came to say

That I’m okay

I miss you most in family picture moments

On random days and times I can’t predict

And though I know God has a plan

I’m wondering

What you can see

And what you can’t

I try to be better

To make your life matter

I try to remember small moments that we shared

I’m working on Listening

To hearts that are hurting

I’m trying to love everyone along the way

And so today I came to say

That I’m okay

I’m hoping there are days you hear my heart

And know that I still miss you though it’s years we’ve been apart

Please know that you’ve changed me

Just knowing you loved me

All the memories we shared make me smile

I’m longing for heaven

For our grand reunion

When we can be a family once again

And so today I cam to say

Until that day

I’m okay

The Unencumbered Life

Most of you are familiar with the idea of good, better, and best. Most of you understand the principle of not running faster that you can walk and that milk comes before meat. You understand what it means to be anxiously engaged, build the kingdom, and be an instrument in the Lord's hand. We generally get these ideas. We understand the importance of doing good when and where we can. We know the greatest commandment is to love God, then others (as ourselves).

Where I think some of us get lost is in the implementation of these great principles.  I think we look are our schedule, at our life, and we think okay here are all the things I need to do. Here are all the ways I need to serve others. Here are all the things I need to do to love and serve God. We start making a list and filling our schedule with lots of good and great things. We start serving people all over the place. We do a lot of good and better things but end up feeling a little empty.

I call this the Encumbered* Life.

Without going into too much detail I think there is another way to apply these brilliant principles into our lives. I look at my schedule, my life, my propinquity, and evaluate. I start planning the essentials/non negotiable things, I plug in some "me time", and of course some social plans. Here's where things change. Instead of filling up all the space I have I leave some huge gaping holes, small holes, and mostly just leave some negotiable space to work with.

I call this the On the Way principle.

In carving out negotiable space it's a bit uncomfortable, at first, to have down time--it almost feels selfish. Then something magical happens. The Lord takes that space and He uses it for His purposes. Now instead of me filling it with things I think need to be done or people I think I need to serve He takes that time and fills it with things He needs me to do. He brings people to me I need to serve. It's simple really.

Jesus Christ did many of his miracles while he was on the way to doing something else. Many times in the New Testament He was on his way to perform one miracle when he is stopped on the way and presented with opportunities to heal and bless others.

Soon you will find that you are just as busy as you were before you carved out those gaping holes of negotiable space but you feel much different. Time wise not much has changed but now you are utilizing your life in the best ways possible.

I call this the unencumbered life.

*thanks members of MM for letting me borrow this word .

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Grant Shields Memorial Run

I can't believe it's almost been 10 years! Grant died on Pioneer Day, 1999. I remember that day so vividly. Our lives were changed forever. Our hearts still ache and we miss him so much. The Savior has comforted us as we've spent the past 10 years without our Granty. There is hope smiling brightly before us.

In honor of Grant's life, we've decided to participate in the Deseret News Marathon/10k/5k. Our family would like to extend an invitation toall who would like to join in this special day.

The Grant Shields Memorial Run:

*July 24, 2009------------->(the 10 yr. anniversary of his death)

*Salt Lake City, Utah

*Times: Marathon-5:30am, 10k-6:00am, 5k-7:00am

*Prices: Marathon-$58, 10k-$30, 5k-$20

*Register HERE

**Also, I will be ordering really awesome t-shirts so if that seems like something you would be interested in, please contact me

(This was originally posted on my sister Danielle's blog but I couldn't resist re-posting it here)

Friday, April 17, 2009


Knowing how much I love books my friend Brandon took me to a local downtown Mesa bookstore called, "Books".  I was in love the moment I set foot into the bookstore. It was amazing. The place was incredible, full of so many old books, and sections of books to buy that were entertaining. I thought of my my dad when I came upon the "Western Fiction" section.

And don't even get me started on the sliding ladders all throughout the store. I just couldn't resist getting on one and having my picture taken!

I think I could have spent the entire day in that store. I didn't but I will back for sure!

Check out the beautiful Franklin Library Collection. Those are some beautiful books!

Thanks for introducing me to "Books" Brandon!

Family Friday: Kati

Kaitlin Shields

My sister Kaitlin & I share something in common in our family. I'm the oldest of the kids but she is the "oldest" of the 2nd half of our family. Kaitlin is adventures, fun, loving, talented, and loyal. It was so good to be able to hang out with her recently as she checked SDSU-the college she is going to next in the Fall. I love me some Kati-bugs!

  • Kaitlin has a hear of gold
  • She is one good sister
  • She is an amazing and loyal friend
  • I love Kaitlin & Alexa's friendship!
  • Kati is one good dancer!
  • Kaitlin has a bit of a rebellious side (I love it!)
  • She is educated, wants to be politically involved, and is a smarty pants
  • She is so fun to be around and keeps me laughing
  • I left home a long time ago but from what I can tell she has done an excellent job of being the "oldest" kid in the house.
  • Kaitlin is kind and crazy and that makes a great mix
I'm so excited that Kaitlin is going to SDSU and that it's only 6 hours away from me. That means many more road trips to San Diego to see her and get to know her better! I love ya Kates and I wish you the best with the end of your senior year. You have a lot of adventure, excitement, heart ache, stress, and lots of joy headed your way in the future. I can't wait to watch it happen!


To go along with my last post I wonder what you would call someone that helps make another person's dreams/goal come to fruition.  A dream enabler??  A goal enabler?  Or just an Enabler??

As you all know I recently adopted a piano, a life long dream and goal. This was accomplished through a friend--he saw need (desire) & a way to fulfill it. He then made it happen. He enabled (with a few other key players) me to accomplish a goal and life dream!

I want to be more like that. I want to be an enabler to people in my life. I want them to not only know but to feel like I champion their goals and dream. That I'm a not just a cheerleader to their success but that I'm here to help them accomplish their dreams/goals.

I want to be a better enabler!

Social Enabler

Recently I talked to a good friend of mine. He lives in Boston and was catching up on the who is who and that what's what of our friends. In the conversation he called me a social enabler. He said that around the same time I moved so did a few other key social enablers and so things just aren't the same.

I've thought a lot about that concept--being a social enabler. I like it. He described it as someone who comes up with a idea and then just invites people (creates a social scene) to whatever they are doing. 

It's hard to be a social enabler when you don't know a lot of people, when you are new to a place, or when most of your time is consumed (all of which happens to be my life here in AZ.) I think that is why it has taken me so long to warm up to Arizona. I miss being a social enabler or being a part of other social enablers.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

She's 100 Years Old!!

So I decided that I needed to know a little bit more about my newly adopted piano. So I did some investigative work. Did you know that there's a bluebook for pianos?? Seriously. So I had to dig around a bit but discovered that Ella Mae Wurlitzer was born in 1909. Yes, friends she was built a long time ago and is 100 years old this year!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Ella Mae Wurlitzer!  Isn't she one beautiful baby--Baby Grand that is!!!

All joking aside I adopted this beautiful Wurlitzer Baby Grand today and I'm so happy that she is safe and sound in my house.  She needs to be tuned and a few adjustments but overall she is gorgeous!

The adoption of this piano is a tender mercy!  My friend's grandma (Ella Mae Thomsa aka Gwa) recently passed away and they were trying to figure out what to do with her baby grand. My friends knew I loved music and playing the piano so he talked to his mom (Ella Mae's daughter) and they asked me if I wanted her. I couldn't believe it! OF COURSE!!!

The piano is old but loved and needs a little work but I think she makes a great addition to our home! We will be having a big music night/open house to introduce Ella Mae to everyone. So stay tune ( ha ha) for that!

Stay Tuned....

I am in the process of adopting a baby!

Family Friday: Dani

Danielle Shields Tvetan

It's that time again for family Friday! I'm excited to highlight yet another amazing member of my family. My sister Danielle is hilarious! I absolutely love her blog! She was the second to get married and lives in the freezing state of Idaho--where she and her husband Kevin are going to school.

Danielle is so much fun to be around and she is so funny! I find myself just laughing all the time when I'm with her, read about her life, or talk to her on the phone. I really appreciate that about her. There's a lot of other things I love about her:
  • She is passionate about her religion and beliefs.
  • She is great to her husband.
  • She is a brilliant designer. Check her out here, & here.
  • She is so good with children and loves her church calling working with the little tikes in Nursery.
  • She has the greatest sense of humor and she is hilarious. No one makes me laugh like you Danielle (except sometimes Ali)
  • She had a great sense of fashion (I missed that lesson in Heaven).
  • Danielle is such a fast learner. There once was a time I actually taught her how to make a blog and so forth but now she far exceeds my limited technical abilities.
  • She, like my mom & Chelsea, loves all things "People", movie stars, singers, and basically entertainers.
  • She is a great friend. She even introduced her best friend (& her 2 siblings) to the LDS faith and they were all 3 baptized.
  • Another thing I love about Dani is that she has a kind heart. She looks out for those who are struggling, the lonely, the misfits, and truly does her part to make them feel loved and a part of something. I love that about her!
  • I love that she has an old Polaroid camera. She loves that thing and takes some incredible pics with it.
There are many things I love about you Dans! I love the fun videos and photos you post, the fact that I can just call you up and chat, your funny stories, and the fact that I get a front row seat the amazing things (changes) soon to be happening in your life!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Gaps in the System

Lately I've been thinking of gaps in certain systems/programs. Sometimes gaps create problems but sometimes they create opportunities.  Here's two examples of what I'm talking about:

1. Yesterday I found out that one of my classmates (she is also my friend) got pregnant at the age of 17, had her healthy baby boy, and then gave him up for adoption. She has an open adoption so now that it has been 6 years she recently met him at the park with his parents. She is so proud of him and her decision. Since I love all things adoption related I asked her if it would be okay to ask her more questions. She readily agreed. I asked her about the father, how she picked the adoptive parents, how she felt being pregnant, how her parents reacted, and of course how she dealt with her feeling after the adoption.

 I asked my friend if she had any counseling or help to get through the depression and emotions of giving up her child. She said the doctor gave her prozac but that she just felt like a zombie for days. She wished she could have had someone who understood what she was going through to talk to her. This is one of the gaps I have been thinking about.

2. Being a returned missionary myself I feel like I have somewhat of an "insider's scoop". I know what it was like to wait for my mission call, to enter the MTC, to teach in a foreign language, to serve in "God's Army", and to come home and try to "fit in" with the rest of the world.

The church puts a lot of time, money, and effort into the  Missionary Training Center (MTC). Preparing missionaries is a big deal. I didn't think much about the the coming part until I was that missionary. I feel like I made the transition back fine but know many who didn't. This is another of the gaps I've been thinking about.

I don't have any grandiose ideas but in both situations I feel like it just makes sense to close the loop. It makes sense to me to connect young teenage mothers who decided to give their baby up for adoption to older women who have done the same things successfully.  It makes sense to me that if you spend a lot of time preparing someone to serve a mission that you would spend a lot of time helping them come home.  There are so many return missionaries--and they each have unique stories and experiences but I wonder if we couldn't bridge the gap a little if we connect the RM's with the pre-missionaries!

I have some ideas of how to capitalize on these and other gaps and maybe one day they will come to fruition!

Monday, April 06, 2009

30th Wedding Anniversary!

My parent's anniversary was much better this year. Mostly because everyone remember it! Last year everyone (including my parents) forgot it was their anniversary (that day). So we all made up for it this year by remembering!

30 years of marriage is no small deal these days folks! That and the fact that my parents still look so young is amazing!  Some times I can't believe how much they have to put up with having 8 children (and none of us are quiet and demur by any stretch of the imagination!)

My sister Danielle shares a hilarious story of my mom.

My parents have always opened their arms, hearts, and homes, to everyone who needed a place to feel loved and I'm so grateful for that!  They are great examples to me and my siblings of what it means to love and sacrifice and put the Lord first!

I love you mom & Dad!  Happy 30th Anniversary!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

San Diego

My sister Kaitlin got accepted at SDSU so my mom, her, & my other sister Alexa decided to take a road trip and check out the school. I decided to join them. Can't miss an opportunity to go to San Diego!

(thanks Kate & Al for coming down to the "pond" with me)

The school is amazing and everyone left feeling better about Kati's situation than when we got there!

I had a blast with my sistas, my mom, & staying at my aunt & uncle's amazingly beautiful house!

Shaun Barrowes sings @ Cafe Boa in Phx!

Becky, Kylee, & Mo-Mo

The great & amazing Shaun Barrowes
Stacie, Scottie, Becky, & Miranda

Friday, April 03, 2009

Family Friday: Kevin

Kevin Raymond Tvetan

As you can see from the picture above Kevin puts up with a lot being the newest member of the family. He takes it and keeps coming back for more so we decided to keep him around. All joking aside my family is so blessed to have another amazing man to add to this family or females.  

I admit that I  have a lot more to learn about Kevin being as we have not lived in the same state ever, I rarely get to see or talk to him, and he's still the newbie in the fam. However there are few things I do know about him:
  • He loves my sister (and that is enough for me)!
  • He likes to golf (sorry you married into a golfless family)
  • He is great at fixing things (and my family takes plenty advantage of those skills)
  • He is really smart and spend the better half of his life these days studying for his Biology major and wants to go to Pharmacy School in the near future
  • He loves kids and is great with them--especially in his calling in the nursery
  • He loves to talk to dad about the truck
  • He works hard for his money
  • Kevin is a joy to be around and he had been a tender mercy in my life many times
Kevin I'm so glad you are a part of our family! I love watching you learn and grow and can't wait for you to make your goals and dreams come true. 

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


When I see a blank canvas I cringe.  When I'm presented with the opportunity to cook a meal for multiple people (besides my "go to" Lemon Salmon) I panic. If I'm invited to a friend's house or an Enrichment activity to make/create/cut/paste/paint/color/draw anything without a pattern or explicit directions to follow I find I have about as much talent as a 2 year old. I get this squirmy guilty feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think of sewing, quilting, croqueting, needle point and such. Truth be told I sometime jest that I'm not married because the domestic side of me is broken!

But then I see a video like this...

...And it stirs something in my soul.

My friend Natalie described it beautifully here

After I wade through all the things I don't do I am grateful for the ways I do create! I love to sing all the day long and if you are lucky on certain days at special times you might get to hear me sing what is in my heart. I also love to play the piano (thanks mom!) playing others compositions and creating my own.

Recently I've been getting back into writing and I love it! I have a friend that shares his short stories with me and I send him essays or poems I've written. It has been wonderful and its led me to dust off some of my old journals and really dig back into that creative side of my life!

However you "create" I encourage you to make that a part of your life!