our bloggers


Heather (Virginia)

I am a mother of five children, one darling daughter and four dashing sons. When I am not wrangling with their schedules, I can be found teaching my 25 piano students, substitute teaching or RUNNING! I am a ten time marathoner with 5 dreamy "Boston" races under my belt. I run for peace. I run for fun. I run to eat. Speaking of eating, I have a passion for chips and guacamole, hummus and CANDY (any kind will do). I love being inspired. Music, nature, words, strangers, friends and a loving Heavenly Father grant me inspiration daily. How grateful I am for it.


Shasta (Texas)

Howdy from the great state of Texas! I am married to my best friend and we are enjoying every day with our 3 silly children. I enjoy cooking, gardening, and not sweating the small (or dirty) stuff! I believe that life is 90% attitude and 10% what happens to you.


Shannon (Oregon)

I write from my home by the sea in Seaside Oregon. I am dedicated to improving the lives of women and children and I love to serve others. I have worked as a domestic/sexual assault crisis worker, trauma recovery specialist and in many other capacities. Currently I follow my passions by writing for BillionClicks.org, FamilyShare.com, spending time with her family, serving at church, running on the beach and being a generally all around positive person.


Rebecca

I grew up in the northwest and am currently settled in Utah with my husband and four sons. I love writing and especially love learning from other people's inspiring examples. I teach preschool and also work at a residential treatment center for teenage girls. I love reaching out to struggling youth. In my spare time I'm trying to teach myself how to crochet. I also enjoys reading, hiking (in perfect weather conditions), and spending time with my family.


Hilary (Utah)

I love anything coconut - especially coconut ice cream! (I felt like I should start with the most important information first!) My husband and I have been married for 21 years and have four beautiful, fun-loving daughters. My favorite thing in the whole world is to be with my family - it doesn't matter if we are working or playing - I just love being together. I am also a scrap-booker, singer, songwriter, wanna-be-cook and dessert lover. We love living in Utah.


Rose Colored Glasses



Have you put on a pair of rose colored glasses lately?

If we look at everything through rose colored glasses, our perspective is rosy!

And so it is with a clicker!  Or the Live Positive app!

Recently while on vacation with my family, my son was handed a pair of glasses to protect his eyes while cutting wood.  He was loving the view from the glasses!

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So I put them on to see what was SO wonderful!  And check out my view!

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Very different from my normal perspective!  It has it’s own beauty.  Of course, my normal perspective has it’s own beauty as well,  IF I choose to see it.  Picture this same snapshot through a normal lens, and I bet you can imagine rich greens, browns, whites and blues.

Our world around us, and the circumstances we are in, do not have to change for us to see the beauty, gifts, blessings, and promises that are ours.  Right here.  Right now.  Make a conscious effort to appreciate what you have.  At times, we have to dig really deep to find the “rosy” outlook.  Other times we may be swept away by it.  But it’s always there.

Think. Click. Be…

Rosy

Article by Rebecca Anderson, Billion Clicks Contributor


Cherry Blossom Kind of Bloom



Our family headed over to DC on Sunday to see the Cherry Blossoms…and man was it pretty.  We had such a fun time hanging out on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial taking in the Tidal Basin, the crowds of people from EVERYWHERE and of course the beauty of the blossoms.
Looking over the tidal basin, I thought about the gift of the Cherry Blossom trees that were given to us by the Japanese years ago.  I can’t imagine spring without them.
Last year we planted our very own Weeping Cherry Tree.  I was inspired by my neighbors, Sandy and Rich after seeing their AMAZING Weeping Cherry.  I have high hopes for our scrawny little guy.  It has grown some new crazy branches and even sprouted some nice bright pink blossoms in its first year with us!  I can only hope that one day it will be just like the Leap’s tree.
(our tree)
(the Leap’s Tree)
The story I love is the one Sandy tells about their Cherry Tree.  They saw the most despicable tree at a garden center years ago. Rich insisted on buying it.  For the first few years, it was pretty sad.  But Rich took the time to water, trim and nourish it.  And today it is one of my most favorite trees.
We can’t assume a small, weak tree isn’t worth our time.  We are all weak and small (in some area of our lives) really.  There will be trials, sickness, set backs and disappointments that come our way.  But we can overcome.  We can chose to “bloom where we are planted” with a little hard work and love!
Their daughter, Brittany, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder, might be weak in body but in spirit she is stronger than most of us realize.  Her parents continue to fight the fight.  Brittany continues to fight the fight.
Can we fight and BLOOM?! YES!
Think, Click, Be…
…IN FULL BLOOM!
Written by Heather Porter, a Billion Clicks Contributor.

Penny in a Bottle



Over spring break I tried to have a daily, local adventure. Something that would get my kids out of the house but not exhaust us into insanity by the end of the day. There favorite activity involved a penny in a bottle

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Okay let me back up, that’s not really what it’s called but my kids think it’s (insert money value) in a bottle, called geocaching. We used GPS coordinates to find a hidden container, which usually has a log where we wrote that we found the container and where possible we “cached” in by finding a trinket and swapped it for a trinket of our own, inside the container. My kids usually want to swamp money. It’s like good ole fashioned treasure hunt.

This small adventure has really affected our family. First I use it as a great persuasion tool when we are out running errands, “let’s go to a,b,c and while we are there we can geocache!” Suddenly my kids are excited to go, victory! Also it has taught us how to work as a team based on who is holding the compass, who opens the cache container, and who gets what trinkets. It also has inspired creativity for as you can see not every container is huge so my kids have given some small, precious items in trade for others.

Above all of that, I have been reminded of how kind strangers can be. It seems like in today’s world we move at such a fast pace we barely have to time to look each other in the face, say hi to a stranger, or reach out and help some one smile. Yet through geocaching I have learned how much a simple penny in a bottle can bring happiness, excitement, encourage service, and unity among stranger who may never ever meet. The penny in the picture above is actually from Graceland. So a penny traveled many state lines and landed in Texas and is now oh so special to my sweet son. May we learn that even the smallest, cheapest, insignificant gesture can make a profound difference!

Think. Click. Be… Willing to share the small stuff

Article by Billion Click Contributor Shasta Howard


Our Simple Manager



During Christmas time, my children have a nativity set they move all over the house so they don’t play with my more expensive Willow Tree ones. As I was putting away my Christmas decor in January, I went to put theirs away and found this scene.

Photo by  Shasta Howard

Photo by Shasta Howard

I couldn’t bring myself to put it away until recently. As Easter weekend is upon us I remember this picture. It is much like the life of Jesus Christ, humble, child like, innocent and simple. My children understand the importance of Christ’s birth and life. In fact as we talk of the events of the Holy Week they specifically ask to not see videos or pictures portraying Christ’s betrayal and death. They will tell me it makes them so sad. Instead they love the images of a babe born in a humble manager, teaching as a teen among adults, loving the sinner and the ill, and helping the stranger. It is my hope and desire that we can all see the hope and joy in the life of Christ. For His life is not summed up by one day on a piece of wood but an eternal lifetime of love, service, and sacrifice so that we can live forever with our loved ones beside us.

This I know, that our Creator loves us and has provided us with a Savior so that our imperfections and weaknesses will be made whole as we journey through this life. That on the darkest loneliest days Christ is there. There is no depth or darkness he has not seen. So my friends don’t give up. Please know this Easter is about hope, love, glory, no matter where you are, who you are, or what you do!

 

Article By Billion Clicks Contributor  Shasta Howard

 


A Do Over



maddy chickens

My daughter Erin has been sending a piece of bread with 3-year old Maddy out to the chickens every day. A few days ago she looked out her window and watched Maddy.  Maddy went out to the coop, plopped down in a chair and ate the bread in front of the chickens. “Want some bread chickens? Can’t have any!”

Erin and I had a good laugh, but Erin is a mother first. I am sure she went out and sat by the coop and taught Maddy about trust, honesty and integrity using 3-year old words. And then she explained what happens when you don’t feed your chickens. Then I am also sure she gave Maddy a “Do Over.” Maddy will get another piece of bread today.

As an adult, I laughed about Maddy and remembered the same conversations with my daughter, Maddy’s mom, Erin. When Erin was small I was seriously concerned Erin would be a sneaky little stinker her whole life. But I gave her do over after do over until she grew into an amazing mother with integrity, who would never lie for any reason.

 

Spring is a great time in a luxury chicken coop and my daughters backyard garden. Baby chicks are on the way and new plants are pushing up through the overturned soil. The blankets of Utah snow have melted and everything is new again. It is an annual do over and symbolic of Gods plan for us.

 

We make mistakes and sometimes even hurt the people we love. Our loving Father in Heaven knows. He waits patiently for us to ask for a do over. We approach him and beg forgiveness. The Savior, who has already Atoned for our sins loves us unconditionally and like a small child we learn lesson after important lesson.

The most important moment in this little story is the moment when Erin scoops Maddy up in her arms, forgives her and loves her unconditionally. I didn’t have to be there to know it happened. Erin learned from me, and, hopefully, little Maddy loves her little girl as unconditionally as we love her.

Easter is a time of renewal, a time to be grateful for the Savior’s gift of the Atonement, to be reminded to forgive and then forgive again. It is a time to be grateful we will live again with him, after our life on this little garden called earth.

As grownups we make mistakes like little Maddy. Sometime we hurt others. When I hurt others I desperately want a do over. But when others hurt me, sometimes I tuck those little hurts in my pocket like a stale crust of bread and carry them with me, when I would be better off tearing them up and tossing them to the chickens.

The Savior has volunteered to Atone for our mistakes as well as the mistakes of others, the little hurts we have tucked in our pockets. This spring, if you are ready, join me in taking one or two hurts out of your pocket and tossing them away.

Today, give yourself and someone you love a do over.  When you do, I hope you find time to play in the garden, just little lighter and a little happier this spring.

Think. Click. Be…giving others a do over.

Submitted by Shannon Symonds, BillionClicks Contributor


Goodbye March, Hello April



I. Love. Spring.

And I know I’m not alone in this.  Unless you are a severe allergy sufferer or you live in a “summer all year round” climate, Spring is long awaited and refreshing!

I’m a believer in a loving God.  He teaches us and shows His love to us unceasingly.  With beautiful sparkling snow, cleansing rainstorms, rainbows after the storm, fresh buds on trees, contrasting colors of blue and white in the sky, birds chirping, leaves rustling.  Are you listening?   Are you watching?  Are you paying attention?  I’ve taken my clicker out into the back yard and clicked for EVERYTHING I could take in.  The air I breathe, the beautiful green in a blade of grass, every tree in the yard, every sound of nature, every variety of plant and flower, the beautiful sky and mountain ranges, the free country that I live in, a breeze blowing by, the smell of blossoms.

I’ll tell you what,  I feel SO LOVED when I take a minute to notice all He gives me, and all the ways He is showing me.

BCOMonday

 

Think. Click. Be..

Aware

Article by Rebecca Anderson, Billion Clicks Contributor


Good Thing?



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I was forced to ask myself a few years ago, the age old question, “Can you have too much of a good thing?”
The answer, is YES (darn it)!
It all began when Ben and Jerry’s decided to take my favorite dessert of all time and forever…creme brûlée and make it into an easy assessable ice cream treat.  You see, I don’t splurge on creme brulee very often because
1. I do not know how to make it (and I don’t want to know how)
2.  It is usually found at high end restaurants and I don’t frequent those very often
It is a treat I treasure.  I long for it.  And when I do eventually have it, I enjoy every bite with all of my heart.
Although I knew this treat was close, I was still feeling safe from the temptation, due to the outrageously price point for a pint of ice cream.
I rarely will spend $4 for such small nonsense.
But then, everything changed.
What began has a soft breeze, whispering to me, “You love this, a little tastes so good, the price is so right,” turned into a “perfect storm” of temptation.
What went from an occasional indulging in something that tasted so good (but really was so bad), became a raging wind that couldn’t be calmed.
With $1 coupons in hand, which then doubled at the local grocery store, combined with their sale price…numerous pints were purchased for a mere $1.  Within two days, two were consumed.
It was on the third night, with the freezer open, I reached for another “needed” fix of such goodness. By accident my eyes averted to the nutritional information on the back of the container bringing me to my senses.  The number 1120 calories were quickly calculated as I remembered the need for moderation in all things.
What seemed like such a simple pleasure was quickly returned to its shelf…until I was in control.
The realization that I personally had consumed 2240 calories of pure evil (along with all of the other normal calories one should eat in a given day) in two days was sickening.  And while it did (and still does) taste heavenly, it taught me a valuable lesson.
Temptations are everywhere.
Are we armed with the tools that will protect us when a “perfect storm” rages around us?
Do we say no?
Do we put it back?
Do we turn around?
Do we walk away?
Do we stop when we find ourselves indulging in too much of a good thing?
 That night, I planned on only eating half a pint.
I am only half as strong as I should be…
…and remember, that is why I run (hee, hee).
Think, Click, Be…
Good as can be.
(Update: Ben and Jerry’s Creme Brûlée is not longer available…this is a good thing. I think.)
Written by Heather Porter, a Billion Clicks contributor

Z”App” that Stress!



DAILYAPP

stress, Stress, STRESS!!! April is tax time and the IRS knows where I live! This year, in the spirit of teamwork,  I tried a new strategy, the trust strategy. I would pay the bills and trust someone else who lives here and shall remain nameless to file and organize our home and business paperwork. Well….don’t I feel silly now.

Luckily poor filing skills are not a reason for divorce. But it is a reason for my present condition. STRESS! And it is a reason for someone else to clean, cook and get me chocolate, A.S.A.P.. The bowl of candy below was full when this began.

DAILY CANDY

There was only one way to handle my stress. I fell right to my knees and prayed. Then I had a spark, a little flicker of inspiration. A little thought tripped through my stressed out mind and said, “Check to see if the BillionCicks Live Positive App is ready. You can do this.”

I had looked almost everyday for a month, but one more time I searched the App store and sure enough, eureka! There it was! My answer, my way to wade through my paper nightmare, the Live Positive App! Laugh if you want, but for me it was a light at the end of a long dark tunnel, and it wasn’t a train.

I quickly downloaded it to my phone. I opened it, set on the table and began to work. I started with a click, “I can do this” and then I would work a little, want to burn the bills a little and click, “I can do this well.” More work, more worry and soon more clicking.

Click, click, click. I pushed, I endured and then I clicked again. I loved the App! Then the picture below popped on my screen. I almost cried. O.K., I admit it. I bawled like a baby.

daily quote

I know it sounds silly, but managing our little pot of money truly terrifies me. I had earned my very first App Quote for clicking and it said, “The greatness of a man is not how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively,” said by Bob Marley. I love Bob Marley!

It was like a little answer to my prayer. And so, poor, but happy I clicked on and focused on what I could do and what I did have.

At the end of the evening, 267 clicks later, I was smiling. I had only begun to chip away at a mountain of work, but I felt uplifted, positive and I believed with all my heart that I could do it. Maybe taxes aren’t so bad. I was rewarded by enduring, clicking, my quote and a new positive plan. If there is a return, I will refill the candy bowl.

Watch for National Clicking day on Thursday March 26th. And if you happen to live in Utah, celebrate with Hilary Weeks at Roxberry in American Fork at 6 PM.. There will be prizes and fun for all.

DAILY TOTAL

Think. Click. Be…Living Positive.

Submitted by Shannon Symonds, BillionClicks Contributor


Second Place Win!



I really thought I would open the package of M&M’s and find a bag filled with brown M&M’s.  You see, M&M’s introduced their newest candy mascot during the Super Bowl a few years ago. Mrs. Brown was making a cameo appearance on the packages. If you found a bag full of brown M&M’s you could win a lot of money…
$100,000 to be exact!
I figured I had a pretty good chance of winning. I mean, someone has to win right?!  Why couldn’t it be me?  I eat a lot of candy and I need money, therefore, I should win! I decided that this bag of candy would contain the brown M&M’s.
So…
I visualized the contents, thinking only brown thoughts.
As I reached into the bag, I grabbed one piece of candy and slowly pulled it out of the small hole I had created for the big “reveal.”
Before pulling out the piece of candy, I paused, reflecting on the joy I would find in having this large sum of money.  I was already grateful in so many ways…
My eyes met my fingers as the candy reached the top of the opening.
Dang it…it was orange.
Who wins these things?!
My sadness quickly turned to joy when I realized I had won second place…a bag of m&ms were ALL mine for the eating.
And eat I did.
Think, Click, Be…
A Winner!
Written by Heather Porter, a Billion Clicks contributor.

Pick Me! Pick Me!



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“…on the days when you wonder if you’ll ever be enough, remember He believes in who you’re becoming. He believes in who you are.” Hilary Weeks, “Believe in Who You Are”

The other day I sent out 3 invitations to people to come over for cake before anyone said yes. “Phew,” I thought relieved. For a minute I felt like I was 10 and playing baseball again.

As kids we line up on the sides of playgrounds everywhere, raise our hands in the air and shout, “Pick me! Pick me!” And if we are lucky we are picked quickly. If not, our hands wave frantically and our voices grow louder until someone hears our cry. But what if they don’t?

Isn’t that the fear that rests deep inside of all of us? Haven’t we all had that terrible, awful, no good day when we are picked last?  The question is, what did we do next?

  • Did we keep trying harder?
  • Did we stop playing because no one would pick us?
  • Did we bargain and maneuver for a place on the cool team?

play

And, are we still doing those exact same things? Do we line up for job interviews, compete for dates, try to get the best table at the grown up church dinner, or try to make the best play dates for our kids. Do we still have that little voice inside saying, “Pick me! Pick me!”

I know I do. I want to be picked. I want to have friends and family come over for cake. I want my kids to want to spend time with me. I want my husband to ask me out on a date. Pick me! Pick me!

The silly thing is as a grown up I should still be waving my hands in the air and calling out to the people who matter to me. Instead I set my cell phone on the table and wait for texts and calls like a kid waiting to be chosen. Pick me! Pick me!

This weekend I decided that it was time to stop waiting and time to pick up the phone and “Pick someone! Pick someone!” I called my husband and asked him to please stop working and come play.

We skipped out on all our responsibilities and ate cookies and popcorn. We laughed, we played and we ate lots and lots of really yummy food.

It occurred to me that I may have been missing opportunities. I had been wishing friends would call, kids would come over and my husband would ask me out. Time to stop waiting and start doing my own picking. Time to choose.

You are worth picking. Someone is waiting for you to call them and pick them. So today, don’t wait. pick up your phone and choose to reach out and ask to join the fun. And if you’re afraid, remember who chose you first.

 

God has already picked you for his team. But, even though He has chosen you and knows what you want, he wants you to pick him and to ask for your desires in prayer.

Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”

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Think. Click. Be…picking people to love.

Submitted by Shannon Symonds, BillionClicks Contributor