Category Archives: Photography

San Diego Temple dubbed “Mormon Disneyland”

My husband had to go to San Diego, California recently for a conference trip. He never likes leaving the family at home so we all went with him. While we were planning the trip, the question came up: “Should we go to Disneyland?” We went back and forth on the decision but we finally decided that we didn’t want to take our kids to Disneyland yet because they are too young (2 years, 3 months). We had planned on driving from Salt Lake City to San Diego; so as an alternative to Disneyland, we decided to stop at every temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) along the way.

Micah, our two year old, loved our temple trip! He said “TEMPLE! TEMPLE!” every time we arrived at one. Traveling with kids can be very stressful, especially when they get restless and start crying. Stopping at the temples was the perfect rest stop because we could feel the Spirit instantly as we stepped foot on the temple grounds. When we got to the temples, we strolled around and took pictures of each temple.

I decided I’m going to blog about the San Diego La Jolla Temple first because it is by far the most unique temple I have ever been too and I’ve been to quite a few. As you drive south towards downtown San Diego on the freeway I-5, you suddenly see this magnificent castle on the left hand side of the road.  This temple gets random visitors, who get off the freeway, just to see what kind of building it is. I love all temples but the San Diego temple is exceptionally beautiful! We heard multiple times on the trip that the San Diego temple is nicknamed “Mormon Disneyland.” Even customer reviews on Google say stuff like “I’m not Mormon, but it’s a spectacular view from the freeway, reminds me of Disneyland.”

While some people spend lots of money getting married in the Disneyland castle. There are far greater sacrifices to get married in a LDS Temple. First, we have to be a member of the LDS Church and have a testimony of the Godhead, atonement, and restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then, we have to be worthy to enter the temple by obeying all the commandments of God the best we can. Some of these commandments include tithing, law of chastity, the 10 commandments, and word of wisdom. Finally, we have to witness to our bishop that we believe we are worthy to attend the temple during a temple recommend interview. I know what you’re thinking “Nobody is perfect enough to go to the temple!” Well, because we are imperfect people, we can repent to become worthy to go to the temple. When we repent, we are cleansed through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Now you’re probably thinking  “Holy cow! That’s a lot of work!” Getting married in a LDS Temple is worth all the sacrifice because marriages in the temple are sealed up for time and all eternity and not just “till death due us part.” These temples are literally “the happiest place[s] on earth.”  But not only that, Temples are where we can go to learn more about God’s plan for us. Members of the LDS Church, whether single or married, starting at the age of 12, can attend and re-attend the temples regularly to pray and learn more about the Plan of Happiness. If you’re already married, you and your current spouse can prepare yourselves to go to the temple to get sealed. We don’t have to be perfect people to attend the temple but constantly attending the temple will help us become perfect.

I can’t express in words how happy, wonderful and peaceful I feel to be inside a temple. It doesn’t matter how many problems I have that day, if I can make it to the temple, I will feel peace. My problems don’t go away but I receive strength and comfort from God when I attend the temple. I can also more easily gather my thoughts when I’m at the temple, especially when I am confused about something in my life.

I invite everyone to attend or prepare themselves to attend the temple so you can witness for yourself the peace and serenity of being inside the House of the Lord. I invite you to the temple to receive eternal blessings of salvation and eternal families. I invite you to visit one of our temples even if you can’t go in. They are spectacular and you may even be greeted with a free tour guide. Some of the LDS Temples have visitor centers where you can learn more about what we do inside a temple. To find you local temple please visit the LDS Temple website.

What is your favorite LDS Temple?

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Eternal Families

I recently took pictures of this family. They have three cute little girls. We believe in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in families and that we can belong to an eternal family. “The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.” –The Family Proclamation to the World

Of course in our imperfect world, we face hard things. “Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.” God does not expect us to go through these hard things by ourselves, this why we have The Church. This is why church has home teaching and visiting teaching. Everything we do in our church is to help each other to be happy even during the toughest parts of life. We invite everyone to come to our church meetings to learn more about eternal families! We invite you even if you don’t have a family of your own and we want you to meet your ward family.

Family Pictures Wearing Handmade Clothes

My neighbor and friend, Heather has a sewing blog and I took her family pictures while they wore clothes that she made herself. How cool is that? Isn’t it such a unique idea? Here‘s the link to her post about making her clothes for the photo shoot. Also, don’t you think the cool big leaves they brought really added to the picture?

On a side note, I’ve taken pictures of a lot of little kids. Little kids are definitely my favorite to take pictures of. Here are some tips for taking family pictures with little kids.

First, use the first 10 minutes wisely because that is probably all the time you’ll have to get your little kids to pose for the picture. My best pictures always come from the beginning of the photo shoot such as the picture posted on the top.  Also, before the shoot, make sure your camera is set to continuous shooting mode so you can snap pictures fast.

Second, go the direction the kid is looking at instead of making them turn to you.

Third, poses while holding the child is best if they won’t stand still for you.

Fourth, after the child/children get restless, just capture the moment as you and the parents play with the children. Bring something that will capture their attention like a whistle or toy. Tell the parents it’s ok if their kid doesn’t want to pose. Little kids gets really upset when they are forced to do something they don’t want to and that doesn’t make a happy family picture.

Fifth, don’t drag out the photo shoot. Once the kid is done the photo shoot is over! 🙂

What are your tips while photographing little children?

General Conference Recap

Every six months (in April and October) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds a worldwide church meeting called general conference. The meeting last for 10 hours over the course of two days. During general conference, we receive counsel from our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, his apostles, and other church leaders. General conference is broadcast on TV, the radio, and online. The talks are then available afterwards on lds.org to read and study. We believe that if we follow the counsel given in the sermons at general conference that our lives will be blessed. As we listen to general conference, we believe that God can speak to our hearts through the Holy Ghost. Everyone can receive their own personalized counsel during general conference.

After pondering and reading over my notes from conference, two things stuck out to me:

1) Be a Mom

2) Be a Missionary

…. Be a Mother Missionary.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson gave a talk about the influence of a good women. He talked about his grandma and how she “never learned how to drive a car, but she knew how to help boys become priesthood men.” He also posed the question from Neal A. Maxwell “Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congress?”

Also during the conference, our prophet announced that our church has reached 15 million members and have currently have over 80,000 full-time missionaries.

President Monson said that “Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together to work together to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto him.” He also quoted a past prophet, President McKay saying, “Every member a missionary.”

A couple days before general conference, I got a few of my friends in our ward together for a temple trip. We dressed up our 2 year-old sons as little missionaries and took pictures of them. Aren’t they cute?

I learned during conference being a mother is being a missionary. Mothers in the church are teaching their kids to be future missionaries. Our homes should be like the MTC. Even at this young age, we teach our kids about God and His Son Jesus Christ. We also teach them that they are children of God and that God loves them very much. We teach our kids how to pray to God and how to receive answers to their prayers. We teach them good morals such as sharing their cookies and serving others.

We teach them the reason why they are on earth is to be happy and in order to be truly happy we have to follow of the commandments of God the best we can. We, as mothers, prepare our kids to choose to be baptized when they are eight year old. We teach them that we make mistakes but because of Jesus Christ’s atonement we can change and be a better person.

We prepare our sons to receive the priesthood when they turn twelve and go on missions when they turn eighteen.

We teach our children that the temple is the house of God and we go there to make promises to God to be the best person we can be. We teach them that the temple is where families can be sealed together forever. We are teaching our children to be future missionaries but most importantly we are teaching them to become good husbands/fathers and wives/mothers.

I felt like Heavenly Father was telling me “Don’t worry if your kids take up all your time… it’s what you’re suppose to be doing. Taking care of your kids is the most important form of missionary work!”

So then I asked myself the question “Why do I do missionary work?” For me it is because I know that God lives and Jesus Christ lives. I know that by obeying God’s commandments and following His prophets we are truly happy. Throughout the years my faith has been tested but I still know this day that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s true church. I know that the fullness of the gospel has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. I love my kids and I want to share with them everything I know to be true.

Why do you do missionary work? What did you learn during conference? Please share with me what you learned! Feel free to share, pin, Facebook these images.

Missionaries loves cookies! It was the only way we got them to sit still and special thanks for all the moms for letting me use their kids. 🙂

Can’t forget my newest little future missionary:

Here are some fun graphics I made:

Here’s a behind the scenes picture of the moms. It’s so hard to get five 2 year-old to sit still! 🙂

Ireland Miracle #2

Now that we’ve had some time to ponder about our time in Ireland. I’m going to do a series of stories about miracles that happened on our adventure in Ireland. We feel like our trip to Ireland was one big miracle made up of a bunch of small miracles. The first miracle I blogged about happened within hours of our arrival in Ireland. You can read it here.

This post is about one of the final miracles that happened in Ireland and I’ll fill in the rest later. I felt like it was a miracle to have little Quentin in Ireland. He has been our favorite and best souvenir. You can see his newborn pictures here.

We initially didn’t plan on having the baby in Ireland. We thought we would just fly home during my last month of pregnancy…. but Irish airlines wouldn’t let pregnant women fly internationally after 28 weeks. That was a problem. Dallin wasn’t finish with his research assignment in Ireland when I was 28 weeks pregnant so we decided to stay. We changed our airplane tickets to July 25 which is one month after the guess “birthday” of the new baby. We thought since my first baby was 2 weeks early that it wouldn’t be a problem to fly home on July 25. Well, things didn’t go as plan and the baby didn’t arrive until July 4th which is 9 days after my “due date”.

At first we didn’t realize how much paper work and processing time it was going to take to get the baby home to the USA:

  • First we needed to get an Irish birth certificate (processing time 4 to 6 weeks)
  • Then we needed to schedule an interview with the US embassy (booking 4 weeks in advance)
  • We needed to take the Irish birth certificate to the US embassy interview to get a US birth certificate abroad and a US passport (processing time 6 weeks)
  • Lastly, we had to wait for the passport to come in the mail

The total estimated time to get the baby’s passport was 10 weeks after birthday which would’ve put us to Sept 12th! We didn’t want to pay more money to change our flights and we really wanted to get back to Utah. So we prayed and I got a priesthood blessing. My husband and I both felt at peace that the Lord’s timing is always right.

We acted on faith after the baby finally arrived. We miraculous got an US embassy interview for July 11 (14 days before our flight date) but we still needed an Irish birth certificate. So we called and requested an emergency Irish birth certificate. The hospital faxed our information over to the government offices instead of waiting for the information to process in the system. We managed to get a copy of the baby’s Irish birth certificate on July 8th. We went to the interview and told the people at the US embassy that we want to fly on July 25 so they marked our application as “urgent” but they didn’t guarantee that it would happen by then. Our faith was indeed tested while we waited for the passport to arrive in the mail. I checked the mail everyday hoping that the passport have come.

I was in distress because we needed to change our flights at least 24 hours in advance! Well to make the story short, the passport arrived within 48 hours of our flight and we flew home on July 25th when our baby was shy of 3 weeks old.

Yep we made it home with a toddler and a newborn infant alive. How in the world did I just give birth and get on a plane to move our family across the ocean? I have no idea except that I felt the grace of God helping us every step of the way.

Well that’s it for now. We have many more miracles to post about!