A Life in Full Color

As a refugee of the Spanish Civil War, Aïda was raised in France with two families: her Spanish family of birth and her adopted French host family. Her love of languages and art led to a rich life of creation as she wrote and illustrated children’s books and raised three children in Ottawa, Canada. As her sight has failed her in her later years, Aïda continues to fill her life with beauty.

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Ready to Blend

Heather Staker is the founder and president of Ready to Blend. She speaks and trains about blended learning, which is any formal education program that combines brick-and-mortar schooling with online learning. She also co-founded and helps produce “Brain Chase,” an online-learning program for 2nd-8th grade students that involves a worldwide hunt for buried treasures. In this interview she talks about the experiences that helped shape her professional interest in improving schools, how she’s felt “quickened” in her efforts to balance motherhood and career pursuits, and her views on the need for a nuanced approach to screen time for kids.

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Life, By Design

Always a “mother at heart,” Alyson Von Feldt is an organization design consultant, author, speaker, published religious scholar, seminary teacher, and mom of four. She discusses her forays in and out of the workforce, the blessings of scripture study, and how she’s integrated theories from her profession into a more mindful family life.

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Where Her Truth Is

Morgan Lyon Cotti grew up with a mom who worked in politics. These early experience shaped in own future as she stepped into advanced education and made choices about work, marriage, and motherhood, managing the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah. She shares her experiences in these areas – and current thoughts on women in politics.

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School, Sacrifice, and Service

Although raised on an Idaho potato farm, Rachel Esplin Odell is now a PhD student in International Relations at MIT with a focus on Asian security issues. Her decision to study Chinese and become an expert in Chinese international affairs occurred while she was an undergraduate at Harvard, and Rachel feels a spiritual draw to being a representative of the Church in Chinese affairs. Speaking eloquently of the sacrifices and balances of being in a dual career marriage with her husband, who is also a PhD student, Rachel talks about her desire to contribute to and draw from her home community and parent her 18-month-old son with her husband.

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Following the Spirit During Life’s Twists

At the age of 50, Sally Murray didn’t have a passport and never dreamed she’d find herself living across the world. But a prompting by the Spirit lead her and her family to Ghana, Africa where she involved herself in helping with schools and fundraising for supplies for the children. Sally learned valuable lessons in love, humility, and an increased capacity to feel the Spirit.

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"Prayer Changes Things"

Willie Douglas has weathered some storms. She has been part of many of the tumults in America’s history over the last fifty years. She battled racism while working to integrate her place of employment in New Orleans. She lost one of her sons to fatal illness during the AIDS epidemic. She fled her home in the face of Hurricane Katrina–and then returned to New Orleans to help rebuild her city. But Willie’s faith has sustained her throughout. In the words of her favorite hymn, “The world may crush you, but you don’t have to fret / My God remembers when others forget / One thing I know, yes, I surely know / Prayer changes things.”

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Choosing Good and Making Change

Bethany Brady Spalding takes her knack for dissatisfaction and turns it into life-giving action. Whether she’s planting gardens for at-risk children, directing community health programs, or sharing scripture stories with her own daughters, Bethany tries to build positivity and partnership. Bethany is a co-author of the book, ‘Girls Who Choose God: Stories of Courageous Women from the Bible.’ She believes that telling women’s stories is vital for our spiritual health.

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We Are Made for Love and Light

Rachel von Niederhausern has always had a passion for humanitarian work, but she wasn’t sure what she would do with an MBA until she realized she was meant to be a social entrepreneur. “I care about social change and I love serving people,” explains Rachel. She has co-founded two non-profit organizations and is now on the board of Family Humanitarian Experience, which empowers communities of developing countries through village-driven, sustainable projects. Rachel talks here about how she’s managed to meld her education, talents, and interests with her family life, including how she encourages her four children to discover joy in service, and how her own life of service helps her find peace of mind.

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A Calling and a Purpose

“It was a few years, a million tears, countless Mother’s Days hiding in the bathroom at church, doctor’s visits, medications, more tears, and lots of nieces and nephews before I understood that I was not going to be a mother in this lifetime.”

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