Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 Top Ten: Part I, 10-6

Here is the first part of the Top Ten from 2019!

No. 10
Moroni was a good kid. You might say he was an angel!

No. 9
Our missionaries were asked if they were Christian. Yes, they are — and it's reflected in their d├ęcor. This particular cartoon features our very own Elder Heaton and Elder Lindstrom. What a pair!

No. 8
We often hear the story of what Brigham Young said as the pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley. What happened in the days before?

No. 7
Turkeys were big this year. Some of them are getting bigger.

No. 6
This first appeared as a Sketchbook last December. It came back in a big way this year!

Tomorrow: the rest of the Top Ten!

Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 Countdown: The runners-up

Before we get to the Top Ten of 2019, let's take a moment to look at those that almost made it: the runners-up!

No. 5
Sometimes it's fun to take a look at the scriptures from a different point of view.

No. 4 
With the Rise of Skywalker and the Mandalorian, Star Wars has been in the news a lot recently. However, earlier this year, Peter Mayhew (who played Chewbacca) passed away. This was a tribute to him.

No. 3
What's better than harvesting food from your own garden? Sharing that harvest!
No. 2
There have been a number of modifications to church programs recently. Sometimes it's hard to keep track!

No. 1
In which we liken the scriptures unto ourselves. This one recently ran in the New Era — but they had the speech bubble going to the wrong guy. 

Those are this year's runners-up! Come back tomorrow for the first part of the Top Ten!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

2019 Countdown: The Sketchbook!

For the first part of the annual year end countdown of favorite gags, here are the top five from the Sketchbook! Come back on Monday for the runners up to the top ten cartoons.

No. 5: Girls Camp is awesome!

No. 4: Samuel the Lamanite makes an appearance.

No. 3: Just can't get enough of those Ammon jokes!

No. 2: How did the change from three-hour church to two-hour church affect you?

...and at No. 1: It's reaping time!

Friday, December 27, 2019

A farewell to Scouts

Scouting has played a major role in my life. It's a bit bittersweet as we say goodbye to Scouting as the activity arm of the Young Men's program. Not to mention that it's great fodder for cartooning!

Here are ten of my favorite Scouting cartoons from over the years. And if you're feeling sentimental, you can always order my collection: Cubs, Scouts and Zombies. It's a great post-Christmas gift!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Light the World: Let your light so shine

The final Light the World challenge is to continue to let your light shine. The scriptures tell us that Jesus "went about doing good." We can do the same!

Our Scout troop went caving near Mount Adams in southwest Washington. Deep inside Dead Horse Cave is a large cavern. We gathered all of our scouts and leaders in the center and turned out all of our lights.

We were surrounded by a thick darkness — so thick that none of us could see our hands in front of our faces, let alone a glimmer of light.

After one minute, our guide turned on his flashlight.

It felt blinding. The relief felt by the scouts was palpable.

Then everyone turned on his own light. The cavern seemed like it was ablaze.

In the same way, each kind act that we perform is like a small light in the cavern. And if we all share our light — one by one — what a difference we can make in the world!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Light the World: Share what your parents gave you

Today's Light the World prompt is to write a "reverse wish list" of the wonderful, meaningful things your parents have given you — and share it. 

Monday, December 23, 2019

Light the World: Share some treats

We have a neighbor who says they like having Mormon* neighbors, especially at Christmastime because we make the best treat plates.

Whatever brings more happiness into their lives, right?

Today's Light the World challenge is to take some goodies or a small gift to a neighbor you don't know very well. Our neighbors love it!

*Technically, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — but they still call us Mormons.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Light the World: Be the answer to someone's prayer

Today's Light the World prompt is: "Ask God how you can be the answer to someone else's prayer today."

Like the girl in the cartoon, too often we rely our phones to gives answers — or we look to some other external source. Seek inspiration and guidance from within.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Light the World: Help a single parent

Yes, Star Wars seems to be everywhere at the moment. Rather than risk spoilers for the Rise of Skywalker, the Mandalorian seemed like the perfect fit for today's #LightTheWorld suggestion. After all, Mando is charged with caring for Baby Yoda. And what else is he going to do, leave him alone on his ship?

Help out a single parent today, and Light the World!

Friday, December 20, 2019

Light the World: Support a small business

OK, so Santa's Workshop at the North Pole technically isn't a small business — although it is family-owned.

Stop by a small business today, BUY something, and be nice to the people who work there. They'll love it!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Light the World: Thanking a mentor

OK, so this one is a little different. It's more of a true story instead of a gag. It's a nod to one of my mentors.

My Journalism professor at BYU, Ed Haroldsenpushed me from doodling in my notebook to being a genuine cartoonist. He not only noticed and encouraged me in my cartooning, he gave me ideas to use from time to time. It wasn't unusual for him to greet me before class and give me a critique of the day's cartoon in the Daily Universe.

He had an amazing career as a journalist and as a teacher. I am honored that he took the time to encourage me in my cartooning. He taught me some great writing and editing skills as well!

That said, there are three other people I have to acknowledge for their gentle prods and encouragement. In high school, Valerie set up an appointment for me to meet with the cartoon editor at the New Era. That was huge for me, and started me on the path of cartooning as a professional. It never would have happened without her.

Similarly, in college Susan encouraged me to meet with the editors of the school paper. BYU had cranked out a bunch of editorial cartoonists, but (as far as I know) up to that point they hadn't run a humor strip. That nudging led to my relationship with Bro. Haroldsen, and it led to me achieving one of my bucket list items before I even knew I had a bucket list. The paper ran two daily comic strips: mine... and Peanuts!

My dear wife Christy is a constant encouragement and inspiration. She laughs at my gags even when they're poor and gives me ideas to improve them. She helps keep me motivated, and is the best marketing rep that I have!

I've truly been blessed with some great people in my life. Thank you!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Light the World: Pray for someone

The full challenge is to pray for someone for whom you've had negative feelings lately.

Interestingly, it doesn't say to forgive them. To me, praying for them feels like a first step on the path to forgiveness. Praying for them lightens your heart.

It's worth a try.

Editor's Note: This cartoon was inspired by a quote I read recently: "To err is human, to forgive canine."

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Light the World: Smile!

Today's #LightTheWorld challenge is to take a vow of positivity today — to greet everyone with a smile.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Light The World: Invite someone to church

Sometimes  we get a little worked up when we try to invite someone to a church activity. It's really not that big of a deal — it only feels  that way.

My wife and I were debating how to invite our neighbors a few years ago. We had a little goodie bag all ready to take with us. While we talked about it, our Primary-aged son took it over and did it.

Lesson learned.

Go ahead and invite someone to come to church next week. The worst that could happen is that they would say no thank you... and still be your friend!

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Light the World: One on one

I think it's awesome that no matter how big the world is, the Lord knows us individually. It's all one on one.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Light the World: Thank a teacher

I had so many wonderful teachers growing up — both at church and at school — that's it's hard to narrow down the list of those who inspired me the most.

In elementary school, there was Miss Speck, Miss Lund and Miss Jarvis (she wore hot pants) who stand out as examples of amazing teachers. In middle school there were Mr. Fernley, Mme Chapman, Mrs. Sorenson and Mr. Chatterton who stood out (among many). In high school it was Mr. Lee, Mrs. Thayne, Ma Baskin, Miss Woodward, Coach Bennion and Mrs. Springer.

When I think of teachers and advisors in church, there are so many! Sis. Windley in Cub Scouts and Primary, Bro. Leishman, Bro. Jeppson, Bishop Kehl, Bishop Mills and Pres. Bangerter, just to name a few.

My favorite teachers, of course, were Mr. and Mrs. Beckstrom, and my current French teacher, Mme Beckstrom — she is amazing!

A huge shout out to all my teachers! They all gave so much of themselves and encouraged me along the way. Bless you all!

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Light the World: Share your talents

"Interpret how you feel about Jesus Christ by creating art, a song, a poem or some other creative outlet, and share it with a friend or a loved one," is today's #LightTheWorld suggestion.

Just don't be obnoxious about it. :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Light the World: Pick up the phone

Call your parents today and let them know of your love for them.

That doesn't work for everyone, I know. My parents have passed on, so I'm going to write a letter for my journal about my parents instead.

Others may come from situations that were perhaps a little more rough. There's someone you can think of who acted as a mentor or played a parental role.

And there's always our Heavenly Father. You can give that a try!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Light the World: Show up in support

Have you ever been nervous before you perform on stage, participate n an athletic event or play an instrument? There's a certain feeling of comfort when you recognize friendly faces as you look out over the audience.

Today, support someone in their performance. Cheer for them, clap for them, pray for them.

You know, it could even be yourself that you cheer for. Give yourself some positive self-talk. You deserve it!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Light the World: Ornament exchange

"Think of a close friend or family member," reads today's Light the World prompt. "Invite them to do an ornament swap, so you have something to represent each other in your respective homes."

There's something nostalgic about pulling out the Christmas ornaments each year.

My mom had pink glass ornaments that we decorated the tree with every year. Most were smooth, round and delicate. There was one that was oversized and was covered with all kinds of silver baubles. It went on the top of the tree, just below the star.

The kids usually made ornaments in Primary or at school, often using a photo of themselves (like in the cartoon).

So many ornaments come with stories, it's often like a family history project decorating the tree.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Light the World: Share a scripture

I'm reminded of an experience I had as a missionary with an investigator, Choi Yeong-nan. She was discouraged, sad, and felt empty and alone. We prayed to know what we could do to bring her comfort and peace. As we prayed, a scripture reference came to my mind. It was crystal clear. It was also one that I wasn't familiar with. I marked it in my Korean scriptures and we went to our appointment.

As we spoke with her, I shared the verse with her, handing her my book to read. Her eyes filled with tears as she spoke the words, and she said, "This is exactly what I needed to hear."

When we got home, I opened up my English scriptures to the same verse. The verse spoke of how the Lord knows us as individuals, therefore "let not your heart be troubled." It was a powerful testimony to her; it was a powerful testimony to me.

Share a scripture today with someone that you love. It can make a world of difference! 

Friday, December 6, 2019

Light the World: Make a donation

What can you give to help someone in need?

We received a catalog in the mail from one of the #LightTheWorld giving machine partners. It has all kinds of cool stuff you can buy to help people in need: a goat, textbooks, chickens, meals. We're strongly leaning toward the $30 beehives.

The #LightTheWorld suggestion for today is to help someone in need  by making a small donation. It could be a goat or a beehive; it could be donating a smile or a friendly greeting to someone who is feeling down.

There are many ways to give; LightTheWorld.org has links. Or give a gift of kindness. It certainly couldn't hurt!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Light the World: Say a prayer

Today's suggestion for #LightTheWorld is to offer a prayer of gratitude for Jesus Christ and his mercy.

I came across a quote from Elder Holland that says conversion isn't easy. Salvation is not a cheap experience, he said. How could it be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? [We] have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. [We] have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary.

Be grateful for what he went through so we don't have to!

Spend some time on your knees today. Express gratitude for your blessings. And as you do, you'll be come aware of even greater blessings that you've been given.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Light the World: Lunchtime!

Today's Light the World suggestion is to have lunch with someone new at school or work.

Sometimes it seems that we get caught up in the routine of day to day living that we don't notice those people on the edges. Sometimes all it takes is a little nudge or a word of welcome to help them feel included.

As my bishop says, you have the agency to make the invitation. Whether it is accepted is out of your control; that's the other person's agency. Do your part: reach out to someone on the fringe.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Light the World: Give

What better spokesman is there for Christmas and Light the World than Dracula?

Monday, December 2, 2019

Light the World: Social takeover

Today's Light the World suggestion is to highlight someone on social media who has Christlike attributes. At first I thought I'd have that be a bishop. But then as I watched three or four grandmas working on Thanksgiving dinner in the kitchen, I modified my thought. They were happy, cheerful and working out of love for their families. None were afraid to ask for help when needed.

I thought of my own grandma, who provided service for everyone in her ward (whether they wanted it or not). And my own mom, who was an example of patience and long-suffering (she had me for a kid!).

Not all grandmas are Christlike, but a lot of them are pretty darned close!