Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Glasses for Peru: By Small and Simple Means, Great Things are Brought to Pass

by Guest Blogger - MM Shannon Avery

I remember the day clearly…
My oldest son had been serving in South America for almost fourteen months, and his brother
was really struggling in his absence. They were best buddies, confidants, partners in crime :) I’d
been praying and wondering what it would take for my younger son to snap out of his gloomy

Then one day a missionary name tag arrived in a dirty, crumbled envelope from Peru. That name
tag, and the letter that came with it, changed everything.

My elder told his brother about the joy he’d found serving the Lord and the people of Peru. He
explained that his name tag had gotten too worn out and he’d received a replacement, but he
couldn’t bring himself to get rid of it because it symbolized the love, sweat, and tears that he was
so grateful to have been able to experience. He said his name tag represented what was most
important to him in the whole world – the Lord, His gospel, and eternal families.

The day my elder’s name tag arrived in the mail was a turning point for my younger son. It was
simple, but it changed things for him in a powerful way. That tag and what it meant was
motivating and inspiring. Most of all, it was a little reminder of his brother that he could look at
every day, confirming for him that their time apart was worth it!

(Fast forward about 8 weeks… : )
As Christmastime came around a few months later, I was trying to come up with a meaningful,
inexpensive gift for our family members who'd supported our missionaries during the year. Some
of them contributed to our missionaries’ mission funds. Others wrote encouraging letters and
emails. I really wanted something unique that would represent this special time in our family,
and that would let them know how much their love and support meant to our missionaries and to

Remembering how much my elder’s name tag had meant to him personally, and what it had done
for my son at home, I decided to design a name tag that could be hung on a Christmas tree, given
as a gift, and kept in a special place in the home of any family with a missionary.

As you can probably imagine, the name tag gift was a hit! Our missionaries' grandparents, aunts,
and uncles loved them! My friends with missionaries asked me to make name tag ornaments for
their families too. Now, here we are at the second Christmas season since creating the missionary
name tag ornaments, and I have people I’ve never met contacting me to ask if there’s any way I
can make them for their families! I even had a grandma ask if I would make one for each of her
returned missionary grandchildren so she could have a "missionary tree."

With how much people have enjoyed the ornaments, I decided I would offer them on a website
dedicated exclusively to missionary families. And I'd also offer other products, advice, and
information that I've found helpful along the way. So that's how the idea of
MissionaryExchanges.com was born :)

Now, here's my very favorite part of all this, and the reason why I didn't give up when I realized
how much work it was going to be, haha! All of the profits from Missionary Exchanges will go
directly toward missionary work. Every penny. That is my promise.

So, the first thing we are doing is a project we are calling "Glasses for Peru." Let me tell you
about it.

My son Jake (the one who sent his name tag home in the mail) was telling us about how excited
people were when the missionaries would give them FREE scriptures :) But many times when
the missionaries would return to teach them, they would not have read their new scriptures....not
because they could not read, but because they could not see the words on the pages! Jake
explains that the number of people who need glasses in Peru is staggering. As a family, we
talked about how much we would like to help them out, but we just didn't know where to begin
(you can see, this is a recurring theme with us...great ideas with no idea how to make them
happen, haha!).

But then, a few weeks later, Jake was talking to a man in the temple about how we wanted to
figure out a way to offer free eye exams, glasses, and scriptures to needy people in Peru, and the
man told him that he's done that before! He told Jake the kind of machine we'd need to figure out
the strength of the glasses people needed, and he told Jake where to get the glasses in bulk for a
good price.

Jake is working with the stake presidents he met in his mission to figure out places to do the free
eye exams. And because missionaries have a requirement for service hours, we will work with
the mission president to involve the missionaries in helping with the distribution of glasses and
scriptures to those who need them. Win-Win for everyone!

Our first trip to Peru is scheduled for the middle of January, after their summer vacation and
before it starts to get cold there. I'll post updates on our progress as we work out the details.

So there you have it! MissionaryExchanges.com is my labor of love. We only have a couple of
products and blog posts right now, but we’ll grow! I welcome you all to visit the site and take a
look around. We also have a Facebook page and a pretty lame Pinterest account, LOL! Please
“Like” and “Share” if you feel inclined. The more people who know about us and like our
products, the more people we can give the gift of vision. Thanks so much!
Merry Christmas, you wonderful missionary mommas! Your sacrifice is so precious ♥

Site: www.MissionaryExchanges.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/missionaryexchanges
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/missionaryexch

Thank you so much for your support!  The first batch is in the mail!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Mission Specific Shirts

The shirts are a great item for a hump day (1/2 way), birthday or Christmas package.   It's never too soon to start Christmas shopping for your missionary!  Especially if they are serving in another country and you have to ship internationally.  It can take weeks and even months for a package to arrive!

These fun t-shirts can be ordered with ANY specific mission!  Each design is printed on a high quality shirt with vibrant colors.  Your missionary message will be loud and clear when wearing one of these!


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mormon Mom Planners

We just LOVE these planners!  They are absolutely perfect to keep a busy LDS mom organized and motivated.  If you are motivated by cute (hmmm - Heidi Chapman), then these planners are your dream come true!!


FHE, VT, Home & Family

Here is what Melinda has to say about how her fabulous dream became a reality:
I am a mother of 6 young children ranging from age 12 down to 4 months.  I enjoy being a mother and wife.  It can be very challenging trying to keep up with 7 people and their different needs and also all of the responsibilities that go along with being a member of
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  
I heard a talk given by Julie B. Beck talking about deliberate parenting and also about being "Mothers who know", like the mothers of the 2000 stripling warriors.  I believe this planner can help us reach that  goal by helping us to be more deliberate and in the know of what is happening in our own families and encouraging us to study out and seek things of a better in small and simple way.
I designed this planner with the LDS mother in mind (mostly myself) and all of the things I would like to stay on top and be deliberate in as a mother. This planner is unique because it has sections for Visiting Teaching, Teaching your children, Family Focus Section,  Family Mission Statement, The Family Proclamation and FHE Planners.  Many scripture references using all of the standard works and misc. quotes from church leaders.   I've included many blank boxes and sections to customize it to your own liking.  The boxes are small and not meant to cause pain in trying to do or say too much.  Often times it's the little things that we write down that we can focus on a little at a time to help us achieve our purposes and our desires.  I left out housework planning sheets because, while I think it's important to keep house, I didn't want it to crowd out what I felt were the essential things we as mothers need to focus on.  Besides, there is plenty of space you can jot down your chores in the weekly calendars.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Who's Counting?

Are you looking for a way to remember your missionary and think of them each day that they serve? Do you want to track their progress?  Do you want to keep track of their companions and areas?  Do you want to involve your children in a fun way? 

If so, then a personalized missionary Countdown Map is the perfect thing for your family!  With Countdown Maps, it’s easy to follow your missionary from the time they enter the MTC until they start their journey home. Your family will love marking each transfer and keeping track of companionship changes. It is a great way for parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents and friends to feel more connected and involved with your missionary. When completed it becomes a great memento for the rest of their life.

Each CountDown Map is personalized with your missionaries name, photo and favorite scripture along with a flag and map of country or state where they are serving. The map is in the shape of the state or country where they are called and is divided into the number of days your missionary will serve.

How did Countdown Maps come to be?  When my first son went on his mission to the Dominican Republic, we wanted to find a way to think of him each day and we also wanted to keep all of his

younger brothers and sister involved as well.  I had seen other countdown charts, but wanted something more personal. So I created an image in the shape of the Dominican Republic and divided it into 730 boxes – one for each day while he was gone.  We posted this on the wall near the kitchen table and every day after morning prayer we would mark of the day.  In fact, the person who said the prayer got to mark for that day.  We had so much fun marking it off and noting his areas and companions that we wanted to also do it for our other children.  We also had requests from other people to make one for them when their missionaries left, and that is where this idea was born. 
We founded the company in 2012 and have seen an increasing desire from other people who are also looking for a fun way to remember and track their missionary along the way.  The maps we sell today are much more professional and personalized.  Each map has not only the grid, but a map key to help you know where you should be (in case you get off). It also has their name, picture, mission, flags, and a favorite scripture or quote. We create them for Elders, Sisters, and couples.
Currently we have two sons serving missions – one in Montana and one in Texas.  We have their maps proudly displayed on our kitchen wall and we mark the days as we keep them in our thoughts and prayers.

You can find our maps sold in the Missionary Momma Mall: missionarymommamall.com
For more information, check out our website: www.countdownmaps.com

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Two Tie Guys


TwoTieGuys.com is your source for luxury ties. Each tie is hand-picked from suppliers overseas. The selection process involves a sense of fashion, quality, and variety to accommodate an overall luxury style. From color, to pattern, to shape, you can find a tie for any occasion.

Two Tie Guys continues to build an inventory of quality ties so give yourself a membership to luxury by shopping online with TwoTieGuys.com or at MissionaryMommaMall.com.







Thursday, January 8, 2015

Seeing Words Everyday Influences Us

The Munger family is a missionary minded family!  Becky Munger of VinylCrafts is the mother of nine children (six boys, three girls).  Her oldest (son) just returned from serving a mission to Brazil in December 2014.  Her second son (third child) is currently serving in the Washington Vancouver Mission and her oldest daughter (who is their second child) will be submitting her mission papers next week! 

Both Becky and her husband are returned missionaries.  He served in Japan and she served in the Philippines.

Together, they own and operate VinylCrafts, where they handcraft decorative wooden signs and home décor.  Come take a look!

Perfect welcome home gift for any missionary. 
Customized with meaningful names and words from their mission experience.

Seeing words everyday influences us                            
I love words. I have always been a talker and words have always come easily for me. I love reading inspiring words and meaningful words. And I love home decor. I love how amazing it is to be able to move things around and give a new feel to a room. Or how magical it seems to transition from summer to fall just by adding new decor and lighting wonderful smelling candles. How it seems officially Christmas when all the decor adorns the walls, tables, and doors of your home. And so it became a natural marriage between the words I love and the decor I love when I decided to start my own business. When I first started, I thought I would just do vinyl decals . . . but one day I found myself having to remove a vinyl decal because I decided to redecorate a room. And then I found myself peeling off Christmas words and sayings after the holidays were over. So I knew I needed a way to put these words onto something that would be more mobile, more permanent. So I began designing wooden signs. Signs that are meaningful and significant. Signs that make us laugh or remind us of our wedding day. Signs that remind us of family rules and family moments. We started with just vinyl on our signs and now we offer both "all paint" signs that have a vintage and distressed look and painted signs with vinyl lettering that give a more "clean, crisp" look to the piece. We offer signs that are keyholed in the back so it hangs flush to the wall or signs that are boxed out to give the piece a canvas like look. We offer large signs and small signs . . . pretty much any sign you need.

Many of our signs are made from high quality mdf. The mdf we use is an Eco-Certified Composite and is certified as meeting the sourcing requirements for the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. We also use pine and high grade maple plywood in our signs, depending on the treatment needed to achieve the finish requested by our customers. Each sign is handmade by us from the design to the finished product.

I started this business because I love design and I love home decor. Thanks to our fantastic customers and some amazing opportunities . . . it has grown to become a wonderful and thriving full time family business. Beyond those opportunities, I have felt blessed to make signs that have had immense significance to my customers. Signs that reflect songs sang to babies, moments that led to marriages, memories with best friends, and words that describe years of family commitment. Because words mean things. And when we encase those words in the medium of wood and paint . . . we have home decor that starts conversations.

Click Here to Purchase                   

Monday, January 5, 2015


Welcome to Heartstrings of Life!

Heartstrings - Noun - your deepest feelings of love and compassion.  A nerve once believed to sustain the heart. To me it is all my children.

Let me introduce the founder of Heartstrings of Life, Cyndi Gibson.

Along Cyndi's path of birth, adoptive and foster mothering she dreamed of combining her love of children with her creative talents.  She has a great passion for sewing, knitting, crocheting and embroidering.  Her creative mind and talented hands have taken form in the unique, personalized products offered by Heartstrings of Life.  In the words of Cyndi, "May this tug at your heartstrings as it does mine."


This luxurious towel set is designed with the needs of missionaries in mind.  With their personalized information beautifully embroidered on all pieces they are sure to stay
with them throughout their mission and be a keepsake for years after their service is over.




Come see her large selection of unique designs, gifts and personalized items on her Etsy Store.