I’m McKenzie and I make stuff like it’s my job. More specifically, I design brands & develop websites for people that want to share their amazing ideas with the world! I also love to do personal projects. Whether it’s through design, photography, knitting, calligraphy, cooking, crafting — I’ll try just about anything! My motto is: Why be a master in one thing when you can be great at dozens of things...More About Me My Promo Codes View My Bucket List My Favorites
May 07 — 16 min read
Juniper Fay’s Birth Story
Christian — Come Follow Me — 2 min read
Born Again — A Labor of Love
A certain analogy was brought to my attention as I studied Nicodemus and Jesus’ conversation about being “born again” in John 3. Maybe it’s because I am close to giving birth to my third child, but this idea struck me deep in my soul and gave me a whole new meaning of how I see my Savior.
In John 3, Jesus tells Nicodemus that in order to see the kingdom of God, we must be born again. Nicodemus wonders aloud, how can that be — do I return to my mother’s womb?
For Nicodemus, as a Pharisee (and as any typical human being), he thinks he has to do this and do that in order to see and enter the kingdom of God — a checklist of 613 items in fact, for the 613 commandments the Pharisees strictly follow at that time.
But being born again does not necessarily work that way. It truly is like being born, of course metaphorically. A helpless, defenseless child needs someone else to do the labor for them in order for him or her to be born. After a mother gives birth, no one congratulates the baby for a job well done. Sure, a child can put him/herself in the right position for the best labor and instinctly shifts his or her body as they come through the birth canal. But it is that mother, in that intensity of surges her body creates, who does the work (speaking of a typical vaginal birth here for the analogy of course).
It is the same in the gospel. Jesus does all the labor for us. His Atonement is the absolute epitome of a labor of perfect love. He suffered through a process He knew would be intense, but oh so worth it, and because it would eventually have an end, He powered through the bitter cup.
What a powerful imagery, especially for me, as I am in the process of preparing to enter that labor of love for my third child. This idea right here is honestly one of the reasons I desire to give birth naturally this time around. I want to grow my connection to both my Heavenly Parents, especially my Heavenly Mother, as well as my relationship with Jesus Christ and my maternal ancestors on the other side of the veil. And in some small minuscule way, I look forward to sharing an experience of a terribly difficult labor of love that I have the privilege to fully feel as a healthy, low-risk daughter of God and mother of another soul.
Because of the Savior’s labor of love, I am born again and am alive with the Spirit of Christ. I am saved and wholly loved. My heart continually changes and turns back to Him as I am lifted up out of the darkness. It enables and encourages me to seek the bonding covenants that will take me back to the presence of God with Him. Thank the Lord that He loved us all that He gave us His Son to labor us into everlasting life.
Christian — Come Follow Me — 2 min read
Look Up — Matthew 4; Luke 4-5
Jesus just had a powerful spiritual experience during His baptism by John. The Holy Ghost descended on Him and His Father claimed Him Beloved. He then went into the wilderness where Satan did what he does best. Tears one down.
Down. That word is used or alluded in all three of Jesus’ temptations. Satan comes to Him and tells Him to look down at the stones at His feet — satisfy immediate gratification for his hunger. To cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple — manifest a miracle and receive the followers He desires. Satan tells Him to fall down and worship him — empty promises to give Jesus a crown of glory before the necessity of putting on the crown of thorns.
Satan is always telling us to look down. To let earthly things absorb our interests and attention. It is a dark hole too easy for us to go down into. But what does God do? He is consistently exhorting us to look up. To lift our eyes and lift our hearts. To fear not, to trust in Him. To turn our eyes upon Jesus.
It takes effort to look up instead of down. It is also pretty difficult to look up and down at the same time. A quote I heard from Elder Sterling W. Sill in April 1961 General Conference explains this well:
“It has been said that one may not always look where he is going, but he will always go where he is looking. If we merely look down long enough, many will be sure to fall.”
That is why God knows how important it is for us to lift our eyes up towards Him. Throughout God’s ministry, he is eagerly prompting people to look up, to listen with open ears and hearts, to lift up their eyes. One thing I love about ‘The Chosen’ is how often the writers add this phrase into their show. I’ve heard Jesus say over a dozen times to “Look at me” or “Look up”. He says it in John 4:35. In Mark 8:25. Luke 21:28. Many psalms sung mention looking up and lifting their eyes (Psalm 5, 110, 121, 123). Isaiah uses these phrases many times as well. A lot of scriptures in the Book of Mormon combine lifting up our head with rejoicing and being of good cheer. Jesus mentions right there in Matthew 5 after Simon falls down at Jesus’s knees telling Him to depart from his sinfulness; Jesus’ very next words to him are “Fear not.” And in Mark to “Come after me.” Matthew: “Follow me”.
Don’t listen to Satan. Come unto Jesus, look up, and you will see that He will carry you through your darkest moments as you follow Him.
Christian — Come Follow Me — 2 min read
Mary and Joseph’s Family Culture — Luke 2:39-52
Usually when you read or think about Luke 2 and Matthew 2, you read the Christmas story and stop before you get to the end of the chapter. This week, I really enjoyed focusing more on those last verses of the chapters this time.
In the last dozen scriptures of Luke 2, we actually have a deeper peek into the family culture that Mary and Joseph cultivated in their home than what originally seems. As a young mom in the beginning stages of motherhood, this idea of fostering certain values into our family dynamic has been on my mind a lot.
As I establish patterns, routines, and traditions for our household, especially ones that will teach my children to walk uprightly before the Lord, I desire to help them have a deeper connection with God, relationship their Redeemer, and with the Holy Ghost.
For Jesus as a child, His greatest influences were His mother, father, and God. I felt the depth of the responsibility the moment after Hazel, my oldest, was born. It can feel overwhelming, but knowing that I hold influence and power beside my loving, hard-working spouse as well as even more loving and hard-working Heavenly Parents gives me the confidence that as a team, we can raise these children the way towards peace and eternal happiness.
We as parents have the opportunity to co-create who our child will be with the Divine.
So what are is this family culture we find in the scriptures?
- They were a family of growth, progression, and increase (Luke 2:40,52)
- Jesus’ parents empowered Jesus to progress slowly, drip by drip (Luke 2:40)
- They continued the holy traditions that were important to them year after year (Luke 2:39,41)
- They established a culture of learning from each other – parent and child (Luke
- Mary & Joseph were a safe place to ask questions and seek understanding (Luke 2:46-49)
- They valued being well-rounded and balanced in all aspects of life (Luke 2:52)
And there is so much more in this group of scriptures to find!
You know these values were instilled in their children young. Jesus was only 12 and He already knew that His parents wished for Him to be about His Father’s business.
This is the kind of home I want to build. Remembering, of course, that in a family culture of growth and progression, it is not meant to look or be perfect at any point really. If our children (or myself) are not there yet, it is important to not get disappointed since progression is a process that waxes stronger bit by bit.
So what patterns and strategies can I begin now while my children are 2 and 4 that will build a home I want them to be raised in. It’s a hard question to answer, especially since each home/individual/family is different so we require different answers. Which is exactly why being strong in the spirit and relying on the wisdom and grace of God is so important.
I do love how it is said twice in Luke 2 — one in verse 19, the other in 51 — how Mary pondered and kept certain things in her heart. Mary’s response of sitting back, pondering, and keeping things to herself for a minute is the type of mother I want to be. What an important lesson to remember, since usually our first thought is to react (in fear, anger, confusion, disicipline). It is natural to find value in our children’s behavior and have an urgency to control what is happening. But, like Mary, I see the importance of keeping and pondering things in my heart and allowing the Spirit time to correct and influence me to engage with the situation a certain way.
As I create my own family culture, I know I have some great advice right here in the Bible to start with, and can only hope that my children know how much I love and aspire them to increase in favor with God and men.
Christian — Come Follow Me — 4 min read
It Seemed Good to Me Also
As I begin the year of studying the New Testament, I want to stop and sit in the first few verses of the Gospel of Luke. There is a lot we can learn from this small introduction to his book.
In the first 4 verses, he begins by explaining how many have undertaken to write out an account of the things that are currently believed and trusted sources. However, Luke continues, “it seemed good to me also,” to write his story and his perspective with the carefully constructed investigations he gathered and put into order from the beginning of his own belief journey.
We don’t know much of Luke’s history, but it’s obvious that there were already many books written about Jesus that were well-loved and believed among the community of believers (there could have easily been even more accounts written than the ones that have been found, preserved, and accepted as canon today). So why write another one? I’m sure Luke had many doubts and it would have taken a lot of courage to feel worthy to write one next to Jesus’ actual apostles.
Just think of the tragedy it would be if if he had let the doubts from the adversary sneak in and we didn’t have the Gospel of Luke today! We would miss out on so many stories of Jesus’ life and ministry, especially ones that include and celebrate women: their amazing testimonies and their key part of God’s plan.
There are many parables that we only have because of Luke. Think if we didn’t have the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, and many others! How misfortunate if we didn’t have the contribution of the beautiful details of the Passion of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, as well as on the Way of the Cross.
You can tell that Luke is an investigator, a detective, a journalist. He wants as many details as he can find. He searches and questions and seeks the answers. He doesn’t rely on just what other people have told him to believe. He seeks answers of his own. That is a great quality we can emulate as we become seekers of our own faith journey and testimony of Christ. And once he found that perfect understanding, he desired to share it with those around him.
Obviously, since Luke is the writer of the book of Acts (making him the writer of 25% of the New Testament), he had a talent in journalism and writing, and took that God-given talent and put it to use for His kingdom.
Whether we feel talented in writing or not, these first few verses are a great reminder that it will only benefit ourselves and others if we write, so “that thou mightest know the certainty of those things” and bear our own testimony of the Great and Wonderful Savior.
So this is what I’m doing for this year. I want to write out the things that I learn throughout the year, what stands out to me in my studies, and create another witness to what I think my fellow “friend of God” might come to know the certainty of through my own journey.
Journal — Motherhood — 2 min read
James is Two
Our sweet easy-going boy is now two. He is my cuddle buddy and I can’t help but smile when he wants his mama first thing waking up in the morning or naps. Saying he is a happy child is an understatement. He gets comments by strangers at parks for his smile and radiant happiness. It is just who he is and we love the light he brings to our family. He lets Hazel play with his new toys, blow out his candles, and flirts with all the adults around him. He is our jolly, dancing, zestful boy.
These past two years have been bliss and right now his vocabulary is booming, and his toddler accent is the most adorable thing. He will probably always be our buzz boy because he’s got a sweaty head and is at least 4 degrees warmer than anyone else I know. His dimple is always out and watching him eat with a fork by himself is one of my favorite pastimes. Especially when he catches me and gives me a little smirk. Can’t imagine our family without him!
August 30 — 15 min read
Savior Sunday Studies
July 24 — 26 min read
Individual Worth & Christ’s Personal Message to You
June 12 — 12 min read
A Biblical Dive into the Meaning of the Name James
June 02 — 4 min read
30 Days Challenge Ideas
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