Ponderize iPhone Lock Screens

Like a lot of other folks, our family really liked Devin Durrant’s talk at the October 2015 LDS General Conference.

Even though we liked the idea, we still stumbled a few times trying to put his advice into practice. We tried starting a group chat, and everyone coming up with their own scripture. But that didn’t work to well. We created memes and shared them via direct message on Instagram with each other. But, some of us aren’t very creative and didn’t participate fully. Plus, some of us aren’t using Instagram direct message every hour of every day, and so that conversation just kinda died.

But, we finally landed on something that works for us. Each week we create a new lock screen background which we all use on our individual devices. The lock screen is an easy setting to change (go to Settings > Wallpaper). Plus, as the lock screen background we see the thought/quote/scripture of the week multiple times every single day.

Here is the breakdown of how this actually gets put into practice: On Sunday, one of the kids prepares an FHE lesson for Monday night. They find out the scripture of the week and tell me what it is. I add some text over the top of a cool background image. Then, we share it out via our iMessage group. All of us put it as the lock screen for our devices.


This process seems to work pretty well for our family. We like having it on our lock screens because it means we see it several times per day. How many times per day do you unlock your phone? Probably a lot. Hopefully some of those good messages are getting burned into our brains enough that it will eventually make us good people.


Feel free to try these out and see if it works for you. We will be creating more of these, so let us know if you want to be added to our iMessage group to receive them on a weekly basis.

Scoutmaster Emeritus


On a Saturday morning a few weeks ago, I drove the scouts down to the airport so they could work on their Aviation merit badge. The boys each took a solo flight in a small Cessna 150m, even taking the controls for a few minutes. By all accounts, it was a great experience for each young man — something they will remember for the rest of their lives.


On the drive home I was having a great chat with the merit badge counselor, Jim Olsen. Jim is one of my neighbors and a long-time scouter. Jim has done it all in scouting — an Eagle scout as a young man, then on staff at summer camp as a youth; he’s been a scoutmaster, been to Woodbadge (with my Grandpa Cryer, even), and he’s been a professional scouter and been a big part of the Utah National Parks Council. He asked me how I was doing as a scoutmaster.

I told him that I was loving it. That after four-and-a-half years I was finally getting comfortable in my role. I explained that I loved having an excuse to go camping, backpacking, or hiking one weekend each month. I said I’d much rather be spending my volunteer hours being outdoors and having great experiences than stuck in a series of coordination meetings. I told him about the cool places we’ve been as a scout troop and about the physical and emotional growth that I get to witness in the young men who go out and do hard things. I told him that I love seeing the young men develop leadership skills and go on to do great things. I talked about how rewarding it was to interact with other guys like Jim who come work with the young men on a merit badge and I get to learn right along side them. I went on and on about how awesome it was to be the scoutmaster in our troop because of the other leaders I have around me to clear the way so I can simply go out and have fun with the scouts. I gushed.

Jim said that he’d talk to our bishop and tell him how great it was that he’s left me in there long enough to get to that point. Jim said that too often, scoutmasters aren’t in there long enough to become fully trained, much less get their programs to a point where it becomes fun.

The very next day, our bishop asked Manina and I to come talk to him. I thought it was just a check-in meeting — you know, just to see how things were going. He’s done it before just about every year to make sure we’re not getting burned out. Which I wasn’t. I was ready to tell the bishop the same things that I had just told my neighbor Jim.

But, I didn’t even get the chance. After sitting down the bishop started off with, “Well, it’s time to make a change in our scouting program and we feel it’s time to release you as a scoutmaster.” He told me I had done an excellent job, but it was time for a change.

I’m not criticizing how the bishop communicated this to me, because he did it as well as he possibly could have. But it was still a shock. I didn’t quite know what to say. I was not – still am not – ready to be done.

I’ve been in scouting for a very long time. I spent about 6 years as an assistant scoutmaster, and then I’ve been serving as the scoutmaster for the last 4.5 years. That’s over 10 years of scouting experience. Every Wednesday night, every Sunday, one weekend a month, one full week of scout camp each summer. That’s a lot of time.

I recently learned that my friend Mitch Ogden is taking over my role as scoutmaster. Mitch has been the assistant scoutmaster for a couple years and I’m confident he will do a great job. So, that will make the transition a little easier knowing the young men are in good hands.

But, I’m still not too happy about not being involved. Bittersweet is a pretty good word to describe how I feel about this change, but it’s not a perfect description. Definitely more on the bitter side than the sweet. I’ll miss it.

Moyle Park

We went to Moyle Park last year near Pioneer Day and loved it so much that we decided to go back this year as well. All my kids, including my very oldest, love experiencing, in a very mild version, of some of the things the pioneers did many, many years ago. Plus, I think my kiddos make really cute pioneer children!



There are several stations that we rotated through. Some of them include making candles, washing and hanging clothes by hand, eating homemade candy, making dolls, mixing butter, playing pioneer games and learning many of the stories stories from the John Moyle Family. See below for a brief overview of the John Moyle Story.


John Rowe Moyle House and Historic Moyle Park, 770 N. 600 East, Alpine, Utah

John R. Moyle is a famous Mormon pioneer who walked 22 miles every Monday morning and then walked the 22 miles back every Friday night to help build the Salt Lake Temple. Even after losing a leg, Moyle remained resolute and continued the walk on a handmade, carved wooden leg. Moyle, who worked as a stonemason, would eventually inscribe the words “Holiness to the Lord” on the east side of the temple. This park is located at the site of the Moyles’ home. It contains several old cabins, a milk house and even a protective fort. Visitors can learn about Moyle and his family and the first settlers in Alpine. Tours are available by calling 801-830-3502.







Value Chalk Run

Our stake hosted a “Value 5K Chalk Run” for all the young women in our stake. Each pit stop had water and a different color of chalk representing a different value (There are a total of eight values). I thought it was a really neat idea so I signed us up. They allowed all girls ages 8 and up to attend so I had Claire and Katelyn join us as well.


My girls didn’t shy away from the chalk. We ended up with mouthfuls of chalk and shirts that were every color of the rainbow. More impressively was that all of the girls ran nearly all of the 5K. Even Claire who hadn’t run in months went out there and ran nearly all of it. I was so proud of each of them for giving it a try and doing their best. The Johnson family may have a little competitive streak running through their bones so just running for fun isn’t something we do very often. Even Megan with her fractured arm broke away the last mile and finished strong while I stayed back with Katelyn and Claire.


The event concluded with breakfast and a message from President Anderson. It was a great experience. I am a big fan of anything that encourages exercise, values and time together.


Jesse and Mikaela’s Wedding

My brother Jesse is a great guy, and always has been. Yesterday, he was married to his sweetheart Mikaela in the Draper Utah LDS Temple. It was a wonderful celebration.

The Johnson and Milne families all gathered on Thursday, May 14th at Brick Oven in South Jordan to have a pre-wedding dinner. Gatherings with all of my siblings are increasingly rare, so it was fun to have the whole crew in one place. Of course, having us all there did lead to some eventual shenanigans, and we probably won’t be welcomed back at Brick Oven any time soon.

Mary, Grandpa Cryer, Dad, Mom, Jesse and Mikaela
Mary, Grandpa Cryer, Dad, Mom, Jesse and Mikaela

Friday was a stormy and cold day. We arrived at the temple with all the kids, all dressed in the prescribed wedding colors ready for pictures following the ceremony.

At the Draper Temple

The ceremony was great. As is customary in a lot of LDS Temple weddings, not everyone could be there for the sealing. Thankfully there were plenty of people in the waiting room to make sure our kids didn’t get too rambunctious. Soon enough, the bride and groom appeared and the picture taking commenced.

Exiting the Temple

Johnson side nieces and nephews

All the siblings

The reception that evening was held at the Milne home underneath a heated tent. Mikaela’s dad, Ken, was born and raised in Scotland. He and his son, Ben, were wearing their kilts. Mikaela asked if I would wear mine as well, so I dusted it off and showed off my legs for the evening.

It was fun to see all the family and friends who came to celebrate Jesse and Mikaela. We’re very excited to have Mikaela as part of the family and very happy to see Jesse make this great step in his life. Well done, Jesse!