How alumni use their BYU education to serve their communities, neighbors, and families.

Just Start Writing

“Don’t waste time writing about why you haven’t been writing,” advised Professor Louise Plummer during an evening lecture. I still remember her challenge to “just start writing.”

As an English major, I followed her advice and always carried a notebook with me—finding that the best way to work through writer’s block was to just start writing. After I left school, I used the same technique when preparing talks, creating training materials, and, as a prospective adoptive couple, writing a letter to expectant parents.

Amidst the demands of the day, Alisa Brough takes a moment to keep a record of precious—and often hilarious—moments with her daughters.

Amidst the demands of the day, Alisa Brough takes a moment to keep a record of precious—and often hilarious—moments with her daughters.

After my husband and I adopted our two daughters, I figured a blog would be a great way to record their activities. But my kids discovered that they also liked to type, and turning our daily experiences into cleverly worded stories became more or less impossible. I was taking pictures, but I was forgetting the quirky things they said or did.

Then Professor Plummer’s advice came back to me. I stuffed a journal for each of my daughters between my cookbooks. With all the time I spend in my kitchen, I can easily steal a few minutes from doing the dishes to jot down my 4-year-old’s explanation that Honeycrisp apples are so good because they’re full of honey or describe my 2-year-old at the petting zoo yelling, “C’mere, c’mere, little piggies. I want to pet you!”

—Alisa Baxter Brough (BA ’00, MA ’06), Lehi, Utah

Pirouettes on the Plains

I teach children ballet out of my home in Iowa. This has provided extra income for our family, built relationships with ward members and neighbors, and touched the lives of the children I teach. Additionally, by trading with mothers for babysitting, costume creation, and piano lessons, I have been able to offer ballet to children in our ward whose families might not normally be able to afford dance lessons.

I gained the needed skills in my BYU classes in secondary education and ballet, where I learned classroom-management skills, dance-correction methods, and how to develop lesson plans and keep the attention of wandering minds. Most important, my time at BYU gave me a foundation of service.

—Jamie Salazar Wood (BA ’05), Coralville, Iowa

Tip: Spiritual Boost

I loved the spiritual boost BYU devotionals provided. Now each morning my husband and I conduct a “mini morning devotional.” Our children are young so we keep it simple; we find ideas from gospel study guides, the Friend, scripture study, and the nursery manual. Sometimes we share a story about how the Lord has blessed us. I’ve implemented this while my children are young so that it will be habit by the time they are teenagers. I have noticed an increase in my testimony and in the peace and spirituality in our home.

—Rebecca Barnes Barber (BS ’01), Sandy, Utah