Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Latter-day Bride 2009 Issue hits the streets

More than a year ago, I started researching various marketing avenues for LDSJournal.com and was coming up fairly empty. It seemed that the market to advertise our journal service was pretty slim and in most cases the options were relatively poor. It was very frustrating as a business owner looking to share our new concept and help people journal.

One of the few good marketing angles we found was Latter Day Bride magazine. A high-end magazine targeted towards selling modest gowns was owned by one of the finest retailers for gowns and formals. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with the owners of Latter Day Bride magazine and came away very impressed. I felt confident in our decision to advertise in their publication and yesterday, I received their newest issue in the mail. I'm super pumped because this issue will hit the magazine racks at Borders and other establish publication retailers soon. I'm even more excited about the quality of the magazine and how beautiful the ads turned out in print.

Here are the two ads we placed in Latter Day Bride

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Holidays

I realize that Christmas has come and gone, but the holiday season is still upon us and in full swing for many post-Christmas shoppers. I'm included in that group. I wanted to take this time to share an ad we created for the Forgotten Carols production that toured in Las Vegas on December 15.

I hope that all of you have had a wonderful Christmas and remembered all of the reasons we should be thankful this holiday season. As I look forward to 2009, my thoughts go out to my family and friends and I am so grateful for the experiences and moments I shared with all of you in 2008. I hope that 2009 will bring happiness and prosperity to all of you and I hope that you will have many, many moments that are worth recording. I would like to give thanks to Amy for her love and support and I look forward to creating memories in 2009 to last a lifetime.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Nothing like snow on palm trees

This really has nothing to do with journaling, but I wanted to share this photo with you. We don't get snow in Las Vegas very often and the visual of snow on palm trees was just fantastic. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Church News reveals powerful story about Joseph Smith papers and importance of keeping records

As we are so often counseled, keeping a personal record is a directive given directly by God and something we are reminded of constantly by Church leaders. While journal writing has great value and meaning personally and for your posterity, the challenge is realizing the importance of your work today to so many others years from now.

Admittedly, it seems far-fetched to believe that anything you write today would have any historical significance beyond your
family understanding more about you. But as this year has progressed, I've come to quickly realize that my journal keeping has a special significance to my testament about the Gospel to my family and potentially anyone that could read this record of my life.

As I read the article in the Church News, I couldn't help but wonder how many of the people recording these events would have any idea how valuable they are to us today. I've always argued that journal keeping is a habit that is learned and perfected. For most, it is a challenge to keep a journal and that is why we created LDSJournal.com. However, when I have an opportunity to read a pioneer's journal, or other historical records, I can't help but feel inspired to do a better job in my own journal keeping.

If you haven't taken the time to read this article, I highly recommend it. The article was first published in the Church News for the week ending November 29, 2008. You can also find it online by clicking the link below:

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Please let me know what you think of the article.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another Milestone has been reached. The LDSJournal BookBuilder has arrived.

Well, I can honestly say that today is one of those days that I marvel at what our team has accomplished. Not because making a book publishing system is earth-shattering (even though it was extremely difficult), but because it is an idea realized from nearly four years ago. I distinctly remember talking to Steve Reed, our amazing Art Director, about this feature. At the time, it seemed like a far-fetched idea but something that would be so great to have. Then, as you know, a few years later, we began development of this project with one of our goals being taking an online journal to a hardbound book.

Today, that goal has been reached and one of our many milestones and benchmarks has been taken off our list. I would like to thank our development team that has put in countless hours to deliver this service to our members. And more importantly, I would like to thank our members that have supported us from the beginning and have been anxiously awaiting the release of the BookBuilder™.

We promise, LDSJournal.com is going to get so much better very soon. This is just the beginning and it was a huge first step.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Family History Expo a great event to attend

For those of you that have never been to the Family History Expo, you're really missing out. It might be one of the best kept secrets to members who have yet to embrace genealogy work. While most members would argue that genealogy is important, many people such as myself have yet to really do the work. What amazed me about this conference is the amount of information available to anyone interested in tracing their family tree. There was great technology that allows all of this to come together much easier that you could have 10 years ago. That's what really amazes me. Technology coming to the benefit of members and as so many Prophets and leaders have suggested.

It was great to have LDSJournal.com in the middle of all the festivities. We just loved meeting so many people that discovered our better way of journal keeping. We previewed the book printing process at the Expo and also showed many different members an actual finished book. The response was fantastic. You can actually hear what many people thought of LDSJournal and the book publishing by checking out our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/ldsjournal.

Thank you to everyone that stopped by. I would also like to say congratulations to Arthur Clarke, who will be getting his U.S. citizenship on Wednesday, November 19. Congrats! And we hope you write about this great day in your journal. :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Deseret Book puts on a wonderful event in Phoenix

This past weekend LDSJournal had the pleasure of being involved in Deseret Book's Time Out For Couples and Time Out For Women & Girls event in Phoenix, AZ. If you've never been to a TOFW event, I must tell you that it is one of the most spiritually uplifting events I've ever attended outside of church or General Conference. I highly recommend going to the Time Out For Couples event no matter what stage of your relationship you are in.

As far as the Time Out For Women & Girls event, I can imagine that moms and daughters gained so much from the music and spiritually uplifting messages that were shared. I loved the music from Jenny Frogley, Abe Mills, Cherie Call and Hilary Weeks. It was great to see so many young women celebrating with their mothers and grandmothers and really enjoying their time together. I couldn't help but think that someday, if I am lucky enough to have a daughter, I hope she will spend time with her mother and take part in this great event.

LDSJournal is so thrilled to be a part of this great series of events and hope to be involved with many more to come. I was grateful for the opportunity to share LDSJournal with so many people that were newly exposed to our service. It was also great to receive personal testimonials and real-time feedback from current users.

We hope to see you at the TOFW events in 2009 and make sure you stop by our booth to say hello.

I'll be in Mesa, AZ next week at the Family History Expo. I hope to see you there.

Monday, October 20, 2008

LDSJournal.com Member goes to BYU vs. New Mexico game

If you didn't already know, we've been having a promotion all season long for free tickets to a BYU home game. On October 11, 2008, Laura M. of Provo, UT won the tickets to the game and was kind enough to send us a photo of her and her family at the game. Here's the message that Laura sent us:
We did have fun! My husband and I took our two kids and one of our friends to the game. We got a picture of our family with the field behind us. It was great to take the kids to their first BYU football game! Our son loved seeing the football game that we had talked about for few days beforehand. Thanks for the tickets!
PS The picture is attached."

I have to admit, I love a Mom that takes her kids to the football game. We really appreciated Laura sharing this moment with us and we were thrilled to hear that her husband and kids enjoyed the game. Aren't kids the best?! So adorable!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

LDSJournal Commercial a Success!

We released our first television commercial during General Conference in Las Vegas and Phoenix on October 4, 2008. All of us at LDSJournal.com were excited about spreading the word
in these respective markets and getting more members into the journaling habit. So far, we've had great feedback from new users and we're just thrilled that everything seemed to play well on television. To be honest, most of our team was in Salt Lake City, so we didn't have a chance to see the commercial as it was broadcast. If any of you have seen the commercial, please let me know what you thought.

If you'd like to see the commercial and also see the great animation work done by Steve Reed, our Art Director, go to http://www.youtube.com/ldsjournal. Here's a screenshot from the commercial.

Monday, October 6, 2008

General Conference such an awesome experience

This past weekend was an awesome experience for a few lucky team members of LDSJournal.com. On Saturday, October 4, Richard, Jan, Tracy, and I were able to take part in Deseret Book's Ladies' Night event which took place in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. What a super event and a great opportunity to meet so many members and discuss LDSJournal.com. We listened to so many wonderful comments and suggestions and were able to share many of the new features and functions that are scheduled to be released in November.

L-R: Richard, Jan, Nick, and Tracy work the LDSJournal.com booth.

We were impressed with so many of the journaling stories shared by members and their heartfelt testimonies about journaling. We truly felt blessed to be at this event and have an opportunity to have a positive impact on those who were seeking to get back into the journaling habit or get other members started.

Thank you for stopping by and we hope to see you next General Conference.

  • Time Out For Women event in Phoenix, AZ (November 7 & 8)
  • Scrapbook USA Expo in St. George, UT (November 7 & 8)
  • Family History Expo in Mesa, AZ, (November 14 & 15)

Scrapbook USA Expo pretty wild stuff!

I have to admit, I never thought I would attend a scrapbook convention. I don't know if it is because I have never known anyone that was really into scrapbooking, or the fact that I couldn't imagine one guy attending a convention about scrapbooking. Don't get me wrong, it's was pretty cool, but I've never heard of any guy attending. So naturally, I was at the Scrapbook USA Expo in full force on September 19 & 20th. I have to admit that I was VERY impressed with the creativity and dedication many of the women at this conference had. And after seeing some of their work, I had two thoughts cross my mind:
  1. Wow! That looks like a lot of work.
  2. These women are so creative and should build web pages.
I can imagine there must be something very therapeutic about working on your scrapbook and I felt like I was smack-dab in the middle of Ladies' Night. But, needless to say, I had a great time and it was a lot of fun meeting so many talented women and dedicated Moms. Luckily for me, many of the attendees stopped by our booth to learn more about LDSJournal.com and came away impressed. We also had a few people that looked horrified about keeping a journal and ran in the other direction. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Oh well, sooner or later they'll check our LDSJournal.com and see what they've been missing. ;)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

LDSJournal Seat Cushion a Hot Item!

The game between BYU and UCLA was supposed to be a hard-fought contest with hopes of BYU coming out on top. Heck, even if you aren't a BYU fan because you root for Utah, you had to like the MWC rolling up on the Pac-10 this weekend. (Full disclosure: I am a huge USC fan). But, instead, the game was a rout and BYU gave UCLA its worst beating in 75 years.

As you may already know, LDSJournal.com had a booth set up at the pre-game tailgate and was handing out seat cushions. As it turns out, getting your hands on a seat cushion proved to be much more difficult than BYU getting its hand on UCLA's quarterback. We handed 1,000 seat cushions and probably could have passed out another 2,000. We had no idea how much of a success the cushions would be, so we were pleasantly surprised. It was great to meet so many people that were new to LDSJournal.com and we loved getting direct feedback from so many members that decided to stop on by and say hello.

Here are a few photos from the tailgate.

Users came from all over to get their hands on a seat cushion.

Parents loved the free gift for the kids.

Jan, an LDSJournal team member, worked the booth like a champ.

As you can see, even UCLA fans wanted a piece of LDSJournal!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Erika B. wins tickets to a SOLD OUT game!

So, the hottest tickets at BYU for weeks has been the Las Vegas Bowl rematch between BYU and UCLA. If you're a sports fan, you know how exciting last season's bowl game was in Las Vegas. (Not to mention that LDSJournal.com was all over the scoreboard, but I digress.) This year, the game brings a little more intrigue since BYU is highly ranked and it also marks the return of BYU football legend Norm Chow who comes back to Provo, UT as the offensive coordinator for the Bruins.

We're just excited to be going to the game and taking part in the tailgate. We hope everyone stops by our booth and gets a seat cushion. These things are going to go fast, so make sure you come by early.

I also want to congratulate Erika B. from Portland, OR who won the 4 FREE tickets to the game in our BYU Football promotion.

Lastly, LDSJournal.com has an advertisement going out on Monday in BYU's Daily Universe school paper. We think is just hilarious. Let us know what you think! As always, special thanks and recognition go out to Steve Reed who does such a masterful job with our illustrations.

Monday, August 25, 2008

New member in my family...

Well, I have a little girl and I have a feeling she's going to grow up fast. She came into my life on August 23, and I'm so pumped to have her. I've definitely written about her in my journal and added photos. Her name is Fiona (a Shrek character) and I think she is just beautiful. Anyway, I realize this has nothing to do with LDSJournal.com, but I'm just a proud new owner and wanted to brag. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Congratulations to Jared G. of Provo, UT for being the first winner of 4 Tickets to the BYU vs. Northern Iowa home opener. We think the opening game will be a great way to kick off the season and we hope Jared and his friends have a great time.

If you haven't signed up for a chance to win tickets to a BYU home game, please make sure you go to http://www.ldsjournal.com/tickets/ to learn more about this opportunity.

On a side note, LDSJournal.com will be taking part in the tailgate at BYU's next home game versus UCLA. We'll be giving away seat cushions to the first 1,000 people that stop by our booth. And let me tell you, we're bringing good seat cushions that will actually protect your rear-end during the game, so make sure you come on by and say hello. :)

Just a quick reminder to all members that signed up for the contest, you're still entered to win tickets to one of the next five (5) home games, so stay tuned!

Friday, August 1, 2008

WIN 4 TICKETS to a BYU Home Game

There is so much going on at LDSJournal.com. We have a new front-end to the Web site getting launched in the next week. We have the Gold Service nearing a beta release in August and we're getting ready to incorporate a handful of other features that users have been asking for.

But I'm writing today to talk about a promotion we just launched! As of yesterday, LDSJournal.com members can enter to WIN 4 TICKETS to a BYU home football game. It's a fun promotion that we're doing with BYU Athletics and we're just excited to be doing something for our members that allows them to create fun memories. If you want to enter yourself into the contest, simply login to your account and click the BYU promotional banner on the Welcome page. If you're currently NOT an LDSJournal.com member, click the banner below to learn more about the contest and get started!

For those of you that aren't BYU fans or have no interest in football, we'll have other promotions and trips available later
this year, so keep an eye out.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Chance Encounter

On my way to Salt Lake City for the Days of '47 celebration, I had an opportunity to make a new friend. A lovely lady named Isla Long sat in the window seat of my row on the plane. In her early 80's (so she tells me), Isla is a very talkative person and I absolutely enjoyed conversing with her. She told me she was heading back home after visiting with family for nearly 3 months. I thought it was great that she was traveling at her age and making a point to share experiences with her family. She seemed extremely active and I remember thinking that I only hope I will be as active as her if I am lucky to reach her age.

She was so cute as she shared stories about her life, her children, her recently passed husband, her mother, and an old flame from 65 years ago. She'd pull out photos from her backpack and even pulled out a great newspaper article about her Mom from May 22, 1985. As I learned more about this charming woman, I wondered how many of her grandkids knew all of these stories. I wondered how many of them had taken the time to sit down and listen to this dear lady and live vicariously through her. Obviously, it made me think about the service we provide through LDSJournal.com. (C'mon, what do you expect?)

Isla is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but of course, that didn't matter to me. I just wanted her to know about our service and recommend that she use LDSJournal.com to catalog events in her life. The truth be told, I don't really care how she tells her stories, I just hope she does record them so her grandchildren will have a chance to share the life of this wonderful person.

Isla shared stories of World War II and her family that served in the military. She shared proud moments about her children and even shared personal moments. I don't want to get too specific about what Isla shared. After all, I think some of the moments and memories she shared with me were personal and I would never violate her trust or privacy. But her smile and excitement really endeared me to her and made me think hard about my life and the loved ones that I am so lucky to still associate with every day.

Meeting Isla was a wonderful way to kick off my trip to SLC and really got me thinking about personal history. I realize that I am much more mindful than most people since we're in the business of helping people record their lives. But I hope those of you who have someone like Isla in your life will take a moment to listen, share, and hopefully capture all of those moments that are worth recording.

Thank you, Isla, for sharing such wonderful stories with me and helping me remember to get with my grandmother to get all of her wonderful stories recorded. I hope you had a relaxing weekend and have fun at your Grandson's wedding!

Monday, July 21, 2008

We are all Pioneers

Pioneer Day is coming up this week and LDSJournal.com is lucky enough to be a very small part of the festivities taking place in Salt Lake City. As a convert to the LDS Church, I'm often reminded of how amazing the LDS Church is every time I visit Salt Lake City. If you've never made the trip to SLC, I recommend taking the time to visit either during General Conference or during the Pioneer Day celebrations. Now in all honesty I've never been to the Pioneer Day events, but our Membership Coordinator, Jan Dover, tells me that it is one of the great events taking place in Utah and she wishes she could be there. I truly respect her opinion, so I feel very fortunate to be going to the Days of '47 celebrations.

Our Art Director, Steve Reed, recently created the brochures for the Mormon Handcart Pageant taking place July 23-26. In the brochure, he made a statement that really resonated with me. He said, "We are all pioneers..." It really got me thinking about the work that each of us is doing each time we choose to record our lives or spiritual moments in our personal journals. And for me, being a convert to the LDS Church, the moments I record and the pictures I can paint with my words will serve as a starting point in the LDS Church for my posterity.

So, as I go to the Days of '47 celebration, I know I will be mindful of my place in my family's history. I can only hope that many of you will take this same opportunity to make a difference in the lives of your loved ones. Oh yeah, make sure you have a great time and enjoy the festivities with your friends and family. After all, creating the memories that you record is the most fun of all! :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Josh Hamilton, an amazing human being

For those of you that know me personally, my guess is if someone asked you to describe me, one of the things you'd say about me is that I LOVE sports. And, you'd be right. :)

It has been a little while since I made a post and I can honestly say that I've thought about writing and never got around to it (wow, that sounds like journaling doesn't it?). Anyway, last evening (July 14, 2008) a young, flawed man really made me smile. This man's name is Josh Hamilton and he is a baseball player in the Major Leagues and his current team is the Texas Rangers.

For those of you that don't know the story about Josh Hamilton, simply do a Google search and I'm sure you'll find something about the man before you will about the player. And if you really want to read something about Josh Hamilton, take a moment to read the article below written by Peter Gammons.


Anyway, what I saw last night was a man who has been through hell and back. Personally, I've never had to deal with anything like what Josh has been through and I hope I never do. He has overcome drug addiction to pick up his life and inspire millions. As he stood in the batter's box at Yankee Stadium and pounded a record 28 home runs in 1 round of the home run derby, I couldn't help but marvel at what he was doing. Sure, the home runs were impressive, but I was more impressed with how we was handling himself. There Josh stood with the entire baseball world watching and he showed them just how great he could be. To me, that's one of the greatest accomplishments he could have considering how many people gave up on him. But what made me smile was seeing this real-life example that Heavenly Father is watching over us and listening to our prayers. Sometimes we simply need to have faith and be patient.

Now, I promised I wouldn't get preachy on this blog and I certainly don't think it is my job. We have far greater men in the LDS Church for that. But I felt compelled to share this story and make you aware of Josh Hamilton. I hope you will take a moment to read about him.

Some people will say his addiction was his own fault and I would say that I agree with you. But I admire a person that makes a mistake and stands up for it and does something about it. So often we can never forgive ourselves for the mistakes that we make and we continue to spiral further down. I can tell you that it is easy to judge and easy to assume, but Josh Hamilton is helping me see just how great all people can be.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Sharing LDSJournal.com with Friends and Family

This past weekend, I attended an 80th birthday celebration in California for my uncle's father. It was great to be at the event and it's always nice to see family get together and share great times, laughter and tears of joy. While at the event, something really awesome happened to me and I would have never guessed that it would happen at this party.

Let me give you a little back-story. My uncle's name is Carlos. He is a great man and he's been a great influence and friend to me over the years. Carlos comes from a large family and all of his siblings and family members were in attendance. While they are all wonderful people, I didn't think we'd have a whole lot to talk about since most of them were acquaintances in my life. But interestingly enough, many of the people at this party had plenty to talk about since they were users of LDSJournal.com. They told me that they were doing family history for the first time and they asked me where I got the idea. (Admittedly, this was a perfect segue into a discussion about the LDS Church and the importance of journal keeping.) And while that was fun, my time chatting with Carlos' family got me thinking about sharing family history. Everyone was sharing their greatest memories and it was great seeing so much laughter and joy from these moments in each others life.

As much as I am grateful for this service and for the opportunity to share LDSJournal.com with members all around the world, I am equally grateful for many of the lives we touch that are new to learning about the LDS Church. I am always amazed at how sharing a great idea with one person can touch so many lives. Have you had any opportunities to share your journaling experience with others? If so, we'd love to hear about it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The 'Moment of Truth' is almost here

In the coming month, LDSJournal.com will be changing. We'll be making some slight modifications to the service and we'll be launching a new look on the outside of the site. One of the new and exciting sections of LDSJournal.com will be the 'Moment of Truth' comic strip illustrated by Steve Reed, our ever-amazing Art Director at LDSJournal.com.

So, what exactly is the 'Moment of Truth' comic strip going to entail? Well, that's a great question! We intend on having the 'Moment of Truth' represent our members and we're counting on you to make this possible. LDSJournal Members will have the opportunity to submit stories or 'moments' for consideration and LDSJournal.com will bring them to life. (NOTE: Don't worry, these are moments you choose to share with us. We're not reading your journal, so please don't worry about that.)

We're hoping many of you will share your funniest, your most heartfelt, and even some of the craziest moments in your life. Each week we will post a new comic strip along with the user that submitted the idea. Then, at the end of each month, LDSJournal.com will allow members to choose their favorite comic strip. The monthly winner will receive a prize (yet to be determined, but sure to be cool) and will automatically be entered in to the annual 'Moment of Truth' Contest for a chance to win an even greater prize.

Here's an example of the 'Moment of Truth' comic strip that will be sure to get your creative wheels turning. We're sure some of you will be familiar with this comic strip scenario. ;)

We know...it's a little harsh...but funny right? Have you got something better? We're looking forward to your submissions and we're excited to bring more to our members at LDSJournal.com. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

On second thought, maybe that wasn't so bad...

I really wish I would have kept a journal when I was going through one of the toughest times in my life. A little over three years ago I got divorced and it was a very difficult time for me emotionally. I struggled with a lot of the feelings I was having and getting past a lot of the hurt I felt seemed insurmountable. I think I also struggled to articulate what exactly was hurting inside and it took me some time to get past the disappointment. I think had I sat down to write how I was feeling, the actual healing process may have taken effect sooner.

I think it would also be interesting to look back on the events that took place three years ago and see how I was feeling and what I was doing. It would also be great to look at how I overcame that personal adversity. Looking back on that time now, it is amazing to see how far I've come and how happy I am today. When I write my entries, I think a lot about the people that will read my journal. I often think about the trials they may have one day and how my experiences might help them be stronger.

I admit, my divorce was hard on me. And I think my journal entries during that time would sound confused, hurt, angry, and very sad. But one of the reasons we created
Afterthoughts in LDSJournal was to allow people to create comments on past journal entries. We feel that each person has a life that is worth recording and something valuable can be learned from all of us. I personally think it would be wonderful to read those entries during that difficult time and comment today about how I overcame those trials to be better. I think I would also comment on how Heavenly Father has a plan and even when things get tough, I should know to put faith in Him.

I hope those of you that are struggling (or thriving) are recording those entries and if you learn any lessons from those events that you will take the time to go back and create an
Afterthought to share insight into your life and your thoughts and feelings. It's one of my favorite features and I hope you like it, too.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Using Footnotes to Augment Your Journal Entries

We've been getting a lot of questions from users wanting to add photos or links to their journal entries. If you haven't checked out the Getting Started tutorial, we definitely recommend reviewing the Help Center articles.

You can add photos, hyperlinks, scripture references, and quoted text easily. Currently, there is no way to add audio, video, or documents, but that is coming very soon. Out of curiosity, are there other types of Footnotes you would like to be able to add to your journal entries?

We're playing with the idea of adding 3rd party providers to our list of Footnotes and we think this will give users greater flexibility while making it easier to manage their journal. Let us know what you think.

Birthday's to remember

I think that as we get older we tend to reflect on our life rather than just the past year. Well, at least I seem to reflect more as I get older. I really notice this as members of my family get older. Today is my mom's birthday. I have plenty to write about personally and I'm looking forward to the family time I'm going to get this evening. I love it when we all get a chance to get together to laugh and have a good time. I've recently gotten my brother's into keeping a journal and I'm hoping they record something this evening.

One of my business partners happens to have his birthday today, too. I have to admit, my business partners keep things easy for me since they have birthdays on the same day as various members of my family. So, if I forget a big birthday at work, I really blow it.

With yesterday's Father's Day celebration, there's so much to be thinking about and writing about. I find that when I look back on my journal entries for the past year, I'm really glad that I wrote entries about so many of the events that have taken place in such great detail. I do notice that I tend to write more during special events, holidays, or birthdays. I don't know how I manage to write more when there are so many distractions but perhaps I feel the Spirit and am inspired to write more during those times.

Recently, LDS Living published an article about the "The Good Side of the Internet" and they mentioned many sites and services that can be used to help you record these special events and moments. Lucky for us, LDSJournal.com was also mentioned. Click on the link above to read the full article.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Watching the news can give you perspective...

Have you ever noticed that when you're looking for something specific, or are more aware of something, you can't help but notice it in everything you see or do? For example, my father (who is a retired police officer) would tell me that whenever you're looking for a specific type of vehicle it's amazing how many of them you find. If I was looking for a red Toyota Camry, somehow I'd see more of them than I expected. (Of course, I wouldn't play this game using a black Maserati.) I guess that's why these days, I always see how personal journals can fit into our everyday lives.

Just the other day I was watching CNN and they were reporting on the fires that are threatening the livelihood of hundreds of families. When interviewing the father of one of the families, he commented that when he had a chance to save their possessions he didn't care about material possessions at all. Naturally, he was focused on family history, photos, memoirs, videos, etc. I couldn't help but think about LDSJournal.com and how we're able to shoulder some of that burden and give people peace of mind when it comes to recording their personal and family history. I truly feel blessed for this service and our entire team feels grateful for the opportunity to deliver this service to you.

Our hearts go out to those families that are in need and we pray for all those families dealing with fires and natural disasters and hope that no further tragedies befall them.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Spreading the word about LDSJournal.com

If you're a member of LDSJournal.com and you haven't seen any of our advertising, there's a chance a family member or friend shared the site with you. If that is the case, give them a hug for us. :)

We've been doing quite a bit of marketing and we've had very good success with various LDS-specific publications. We've also been fortunate enough to have numerous articles written about LDSJournal.com thanks in part to Vanguard Media Group. But to be fair, we have much more success with online properties and that should make sense since we're an online service.

Some of you have been kind enough to link to LDSJournal.com on your blog and have even used the pre-designed site badges on your blogs to help your visitors easily find us. Please accept our sincerest thanks for sharing this service. Our primary objective is to help members get into the journaling habit and any way in which we can help people learn about LDSJournal.com will be considered.

The question I have is are there specific ways in which we can reach members in your area/region/country? Do you recommend specific publications or events/gatherings that LDSJournal.com could participate in or sponsor?

We're hoping to help subsidize the cost of written journals to a number of Stakes for their local Youth Conferences. While a written journal doesn't really help LDSJournal.com, we feel that it is our obligation to help people get into the journaling habit whether offline or online. Hopefully if members choose to go online, they will choose LDSJournal.com.

Please let me know if there is a local publication in your area or an event you think would be good for LDSJournal.com to be involved in.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What Inspires You to Write?

I have to admit that I haven't always been a very good journal keeper. As a matter of fact, I used to get teased about the numerous journals from years past that were started and then left scattered around the house. Fortunately, there wasn't anything too sordid in those journals that I had to worry about someone reading. ;)

Over that past few years I've paid much more attention to journal keeping and how I can use these documents for my posterity. I've thought a lot more about my immediate family and during the past year more about getting married and having a family. I feel like I've done so much in my life already and have failed to record the moments that I almost assuredly won't recall. It's one of the reasons we created the 'All About Me' section in hopes to jog your memory and get you started.

Also, as my parents get older I can't help but think about mortality and I am grateful for the time I do get with them. Admittedly, I admire them more today than when I was younger. I appreciate all the little things they did and I often wonder how they did everything while making it look so easy. I really wish that some of the video footage we have of me and my brothers could flip the camera around and take a good look at my parents. I wish that I had more video footage or audio footage to share with my kids and grandkids. I think a lot about having a written journal from my amazing Mother. She's so smart and witty and I implore her to keep a written journal. I want so much for my posterity to read her words and truly get insight into who she is. She is truly remarkable. I also look at my father as he works hard to stay young. He is a great man and I can't detail enough how lucky I've been to grow up with him as my role model. I doubt I'll ever truly be able to describe how much he has meant to me and our family.

Now I realize that's a little mushy and I get teared-up reading my own words. But it's those types of thoughts that inspire me to do better. It is the thought of losing them and never really being able to share with my family how much they have meant to me and my brothers. I often feel that journal keeping and family history is about knowing where you've come from and learning from others that love you. And while not all journals are meant to be shared in an open forum, I would challenge any of you to think about what you're writing and who you're writing it for. Share your joy, but also share your pain. Use the 'Afterthoughts' feature in LDSJournal.com to comment on past entries to help your posterity learn how you overcame your own challenges.

I think about the talk that President Eyring gave at General Conference on October 8, 2007. He spoke passionately about journal keeping and I will always remember what he said about his sons. "The years have gone by. My boys are grown men. And now and then one of them will surprise me by saying, 'Dad, I was reading in my copy of the journal about when . . .' and then he will tell me about how reading of what happened long ago helped him notice something God had done in his day."

Wow! I know that I think about President Eyring's talk when I sit down to write in my journal. I would argue, however, that the challenge many members of LDSJournal.com have is finding something to write about. When speaking with so many members I often hear the same refrain, "I don't really think there was anything worth writing about." And while I want to joke and be a smart-alleck and tell them to do something interesting, I realize that I'm getting an honest and open response and our challenge at LDSJournal is to help inspire you. So, in the near future, we're going to be adding a "Journal Jar" feature that will help to prompt you with random topics on a daily basis. But, before that gets put in place, let me suggest a few things to get the ball rolling:
  1. Write about your family and how appreciative you are of each member.
  2. Write about and recognize the blessings you have in your life.
  3. Write about the challenges you are having and how you are working to overcome them.
  4. Write about events that are coming up and your feelings about those events.
  5. Write about something you want to do and what you need to do to accomplish that goal.
There are so many other ideas to help you get started and perhaps some of you can share what gets you writing. With different holidays and celebratory events coming up, I hope you will take a moment to write. Please share your thoughts and experiences that help you stay on track with your journal keeping.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Better Way to Journal

One of the challenges we face at LDSJournal.com is accommodating all users worldwide. The growth of this service has been staggering and we continue to see growth opportunities in numerous languages, genders, and age groups. During this first year of service, our goals are to help members get into the journaling habit. I know that I have always struggled to stay consistent with my journal keeping and often times I would open my leather-bound journal only to discover that 2 weeks have gone by in the blink of an eye and I had nothing to show for it. Because of that experience and countless other similar experiences from our members, we created Reminder Notifications. This feature is one of my favorite features because it really helps me stay on track. I even have reminders sent to my cell phone. Luckily, thousands of members have expressed gratitude for this feature and only a handful of members have sent in messages asking how LDSJournal could possibly know that they haven't written in their journal. :) That one really makes me smile.

But that really got me thinking about our members and our service. Are there any features that you would like to see in LDSJournal that currently are not available? We appreciate all feedback and have been truly lucky to have thousands of members write in to share their thoughts and opinions about LDSJournal.com. We truly are striving to make LDSJournal.com the best online journaling service on the Web and we thank you for helping us along the way.