We recently discussed “How to prepare for Valentine’s Day, no matter your relationship status” on the Relentlessly Resilient Podcast. To help you remember the points, I have filtered them down to 5 illustrated tips on facing the dreaded February 14th.

  • 1. Plan Ahead: Don’t let it creep up on you. What would you like to do that day? Keep busy? Spa Day? Hide from the world? Plan it out.
  • 2. Be Kind to Yourself: Buy yourself a gift, and take some time doing a hobby you love or other self-care.
  • 3. Remember to Communicate with Others: Reach out to your loved ones or to someone you might think is having a hard time. And don’t forget to communicate your own needs as well.
  • 4. Break Away from Expectations!: Everyone feels pressure, no matter their romantic status on Valentine’s Day; so do something different! Try new food, go sky diving, nap all day, or find another way to mark the day.
  • 5. Support Others Celebrating Love: Like their social posts, babysit for a friend, and participate in a service project. You never know what others are feeling or experiencing, so be the support you want.

Listen to all the tips on our podcast “Des Willard on preparing to enjoy Valentine’s Day no matter your romantic relationship status.

And you might benefit from listening to our Christmas 2022 special, “Cohost Conversation: Embracing the non-traditional Christmas,” where I join for a portion of the show to talk about embracing the holiday season as a “forever single” adult through service and finding things to be joyful about.

Wow, I can’t believe Church News Podcast published our 100th episode today!! It has been an honor launching and working as producer on this show. We celebrated today with amazing guests and guest host.

Elder Rasband and Sheri Dew joined us in the studio, and Elder Palmer joined us by phone to discuss the growing Church in Africa.

This was especially helpful for me, as I have been struggling with grief and heartache. Knowing that I get to be a part of such a great project really helped lift my spirit and faith.

You can listen to the podcast now at TheChurchNews.com.

Church News Producer KellieAnn Halvorsen with guest Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sister Sheri Dew, executive vice president of Deseret Management Corp. and a former member of the Relief Society general presidency, and Church News Editor Sarah Jane Weaver.

It was an honor to sit down and record with former federal Judge Thomas B. Griffith on this week’s Church New podcast. We may live in a polarized and divisive climate right now, but we can find reasons to come together in unity! I loved his analogy of how members of the Church gather in congregations due to area, not because of other similarities, and even with our differences we choose and learn how to work together.

Church News Podcast #99 Former federal Judge Thomas B. Griffith on the importance of religious liberty and political civility

On July 20, President Dallin H Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, offered a keynote address at the 2022 Notre Dame Religious Liberty Summit — calling for a global effort to “defend and advance” religious freedom. President Oaks’ address followed other historic remarks on religious freedom and the United States Constitution.

This episode of the Church News podcast features Judge Thomas B. Griffith, a former federal judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In addition, Judge Griffith served as Senate legal counsel and then as general counsel for Brigham Young University.

A Latter-day Saint, he talks about religious liberty, the powerful possibilities of the United States Constitution and civilly engaging in an increasingly polarized political climate.

Listen to the podcast or read the transcript here.

Had to draw one of my favorite literary heroes!

I’ve been re-reading “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne and can I just say how much I love this book!

While some focus on Hester Prynne as an outcast shunned by the world, I love the literary focus of her growth process through patience, service and gratitude. Even that she named her daughter Pearl had layers of symbolism! She becomes such a shining example that those who visit the community not knowing her story think the “A” is a sign of honor.

She acknowledged and learned from her sin, her partner did not, and that did not end well for him! Another was consumed by jealousy over it.

While our choices are nobody’s business but ourselves. I am hoping to be more like Hester in my life. Wear my bad choices to learn from them, until they become a strength. And speak about them when appropriate to lift others!

And acknowledge, that we don’t know what others are going through. Give them time and grace.

*End literary rant*

I had so much fun talking #ThorLoveAndThunder with Andy Farnsworth and Chris Provost! Maybe even more than the movie itself, but you’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out why. (Also, they just love embarrassing me. Oh well, good thing I have a sense of humor.)

Will there be thunderous love for ‘Thor: Love and Thunder?’ With Chris Provost

Thor is back on the big screen for the fourth time, but more importantly, Jane Foster’s Thor is on screen for the first time!!! Marvel fans are rejoicing at the latest addition to the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe with the release of “Thor: Love and Thunder.” The question is, will there be thunderous love for the summer flick or a ho-hum reception? Our hosts Andy Farnsworth and KellieAnn Halvorsen are joined by Provost Park Pass host and FanX emcee Chris Provost to dive deeply (and straight into spoilers) into a tangent-laden review. 

Beyond Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Gaming and Tech, the brains behind Fan Effect are connoisseurs of categories surpassing the nerdy. Brilliant opinions and commentary on all things geek, but surprising knowledge and witty arguments over pop culture, Star Trek, MARVEL vs DC, and a wide range of movies, TV shows, and more. Formerly known as SLC Fanboys, the show is hosted by Andy Farnsworth and KellieAnn Halvorsen, who are joined by guest experts. Based in the beautiful beehive state, Fan Effect celebrates Utah’s unique fan culture as it has been declared The Nerdiest State in America by TIME.   

Listen regularly on your favorite platform, at kslnewsradio.com, or on the KSL App. Join the conversation on Facebook @FanEffectShow, Instagram @FanEffectShow, and Twitter @FanEffectShow. Fan Effect is sponsored by Megaplex Theatres, Utah’s premiere movie entertainment company. 

I got so much good advice while working on Beth’s podcasts these last two weeks. I think the best is to find reasons to laugh and make life ridiculous because it is! Laughter truly is the best medicine.

Listen: Gold Star Widow Beth MacDonald Part 1:  Accept grief and continue to find the humor in life

Bethanie MacDonald is a Gold Star spouse, author, motivational speaker, and Green Beret Foundation Veteran Service Officer. After losing her husband MSG Gregory Trent in 2012, she chose to continue living her life with humor and an openness to let people know they are not alone. Now she writes and shares her story of struggles and triumphs as she encourages resilience in others. She joins our Relentlessly Resilient hosts in this first part of a series, to share her insights. 

Listen: Gold Star Widow Beth MacDonald Part 2: From stress to post-traumatic growth

In this second part of a two-part series, Gold Star spouse, author, motivational speaker, and Green Beret Foundation Veteran Service Officer Beth MacDonald continues her story and advice about tackling grief with humor and acceptance. She discusses moving forward in your story along with your grief, and turning that post-traumatic stress into post-traumatic growth

Beth MacDonald.

Even though we live in challenging times we can become Relentlessly Resilient as we lean on and learn from one another’s experiences. Hosts Jennie Taylor and Michelle Scharf are no strangers to overcoming adversity; Michelle lost her husband to cancer, while Jennie’s husband Major Brent Taylor was killed in the service of our country. Their stories bond them together and now listeners can join them weekly as they visit with others enduring challenges and who teach us how they are exercising resiliency, finding value in their grief, and purpose in moving forward. 

Listen to the Relentlessly Resilient Podcast regularly on your favorite platform, at kslpodcasts.com, kslnewsradio.com, or on the KSL App. Join the Resilience conversation on Facebook at @RelentlesslyResilient and Instagram @RelentlesslyResilientPodcast. Produced by KellieAnn Halvorsen.

"Cute & Twisted," Illustrated Sock Monsters and original creature by VioArts (VioArts.com). Do not reuse
“Cute & Twisted” Illustration and original creature by VioArts (VioArts.com). Do not reuse.
Creature description by KellieAnn Halvorsen

Monstrum Repetit Parva: 

Latin for “Monster Taker of Small Things” is Otherwise known as a “Sock Eaters.”

Monstrum Repetit Parva are a common household infestation found worldwide, except for in the households of the most cleanly of persons. These creatures, about the size of a small rodent, are catlike in appearance except for smallish but extremely sharp antlers they use for defense and burrowing. 

These small creatures are primarily nocturnal in nature, spending their time seeking out small trinkets, sweet foods, and anything warm or cuddly for their nests. Using their large and often colorful eyes, they see well in the dark for their evening prowling and are known to love the glint of keys, jewelry, and other shiny objects. So much so some have learned to tune their large ears to the sound of these clinking objects, and when a human turns to busy themself with the preparation work for exiting a house, the small creatures nimbly dash to whatever surface the items are left at and sweep them away to their lairs. 

They prefer burrowing in warm and soft places, and as such, are known for nesting in dryer vents, deep inside couch upholstery, laundry or blanket piles, and even fireplace ashes. Some Sock Eaters are known to select and hoard their own unique items in strange places, from tweezers to kitchen sponges. They might seek out, steal, and store these items in stashes around the dwelling, only for owners to discover them once more after moving an old piece of furniture. While some of these monsters prefer a solitary life if a house has a plentiful supply of easily pilfered objects and often abandoned or neglected nesting spots, pair bonds and familiar clans can be quickly established. 

While their nickname suggests they like to consume socks and other small items, the act has rarely been observed. Instead, they have been known to seek out and devour even the most secretly hidden candy stashes, discarding the wrappers in whatever nook or cranny that is convenient at the time. As stealthy observers themselves, they seem to understand concepts of human celebration and the special treats that often accompany these events. Some have been observed gorging themselves during the winter Holiday season to the point that it triggers months-long hibernation. 

The best way to prevent an infestation of these creatures is to keep a clean household. Sweats should be sealed up tightly, laundry folded away quickly, and small important like keys or cash placed in a secure and consistent location. Failing that, leaving intended offerings of candy and socks can help prevent the creatures from seeking out a person’s more essential items. Except, of course, for black licorice because not even these tiny monsters like black licorice.

“Cute & Twisted” Illustration and original creature by VioArts (VioArts.com).
Creature description by KellieAnn Halvorsen (KAHalvo.com). 

KellieAnn recorded the talented Matt Assily who not only starred in our Radio Drama but played the saxophone on it also!

What a cool way to end the year!!! After my usual Conference Crush of Radio/Podcast specials, I had the most delightful opportunity to help edit and produce our annual Radio Christmas Drama!!! It took months of work, a bit of foley practice, and endless revisions, but I am so proud of how it all turned out.

And for extra holiday warm-fuzzies, it was inspired by a real-life local story and helped raise funds for KSL’s Quarters for Christmas. 

Listen to the special program now!

Christmas Radio Drama 2022: A Nightshift Christmas

KSL TVKSL NewsRadio, and FM 100.3 are proud to present “A Nightshift Christmas,” starring some of your favorite radio and television personalities, and narrated by Jeff Caplan. 

The program is inspired by a true story and occurs in one of the busiest places during the holidays, a department store. Security guard Carter Stone’s holiday spirit is low as he juggles work, graduate school, and his disdain for Christmas music but when an unlikely, and poetic, coworker joins the team, he just might buy into the Christmas spirit.  

If you enjoyed this program, please consider donating to KSL’s Quarters for Christmas. 

“A Nightshift Christmas” is sponsored by Minky Couture; the most luxurious and soft designer blankets, available in a variety of colors and sizes.  

Cast and crew:  

Starring Jeff Caplan, Matt Assily, Jon Smith, Doug Wright, Brooke Walker, Ryan Wood, Alex Kirry, Sheryl Worsley, Becky Bruce, Matthew Sadowski, and Rusty Keys. Featuring Richard and Gina Ledbetter.  Director: Candice Madsen, audio production: KellieAnn Halvorsen Trent Sell and Josh Tilton, Executive Producer: Sheryl Worsley.

The song A Christmas Poem was written and composed by Peter Rosen and mixed by Von Coffman. Saxophone solo by Matt Assily. Poetry written by Richard Ledbetter. 

Full music and foley credits can be found here.

KellieAnn’s “West Side Story (2021)” review from the Fan Effect Podcast. Skip to 15:12 on the podcast player, or read the review below.

“Fan Effect Podcast” Producer KellieAnn here, for the Theater Nerds perspective on “West Side Story!” (2021)

Wow, just wow!

We are used to not just ‘none and done’ performances in the theater world. We live for a production to be reworked in new revivals, interesting casting choices, transformative timelines, and characters in interesting cultures. While an average movie-goer might not understand the need for revisiting a classic like the 1961 original “West Side Story” film, we do. And obviously, Steven Spielberg does also.

Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story is a triumph of modern cinematography, which is both respectful and expansive of the original story, as well as the Shakespearean inspiration. It added deeper channels of feelings and layers onto the already classic story. Spielberg deserves a standing ovation for the way he handled this beloved story.

Now Andy has already gone over the plot of this remade tragedy, so I just want to take a minute to expand on some of his observations in his earlier review.

The story of “West Side Story” takes place on the Upper West Side in New York City in the 1950s, just as the post-war baby boomers are coming to age and massive upheavals of social and cultural identity are taking center stage in American politics. The original Broadway production was staged in 1957, with the film production coming out only a few years later in 1961. So essentially, these tellings were of the moment, including the socialite norms and expectations of the moment. Now, some 60 years later, as cultural ideals and technology have progressed, Speilberg is able to thoughtfully and skillfully tackle the story not only with more perspective due to passing time but in a way that showcases our continuing struggle to accept the “other” and ourselves.

He does this by shaking up, and waking up, some of the story elements that are only hinted at before. Tony is stated clearly to have gone to prison and why. The perils of both gangs, the ‘Jets’ and the ‘Sharks,’ are raised beyond a simple territorial dispute. Violence and blood are seen on the screen instead of just the stylized choreography, which, don’t worry – is still there as well. More monologues plunge into the depths of the motivations and backstory of the characters—even the use of Rita Moreno in a different way to the original showcases wiser, more reflective storytelling. Themes of identity, connection, and love are woven into the tapestry of the film in a beautifully delicate way that highlights the beauty of the original without dining the enlightening glow of the newly infused moments.

I am an outspoken love of Speilberg’s work since I was a young child obsessed with Animaniacs, to the now-adult whose favorite movie is Jaws, and loves to insert phrases like “Spielbergian” into her reviews. And this show reminds me why. There is a concept at the Disney parks called “plusing.” Where, as they continue to grow and develop, they don’t want to take that original magic away but add, or plus, the experience. That is exactly what Speilberg has done with HIS remake of “West Side Story,” plussed up the experiences of the original without removing its magic.

Using the lens of a camera, he added depth to a beautiful but flat stage. His casting choices and their performance chops added youth and life to the characters. There is a visual chemistry on the set beyond that of the performers, but the vibrant costumes, gritty streets, sweeping music, and textured lighting all added to the magic on the screen.

Now, I think that is all I can say without spoiling anything. Honestly, I could gush about this show’s beauty and storytelling. And have to friends and family. But I am biased; I went in expecting to love Spielberg’s work, and wasn’t disappointed. I have seen several productions of West Side Story and Romeo and Juliet, and was a Jet girl myself. Heck, when the dance scene choreography came on screen I still knew it! I guess it’s true what they say, when you’re a jet you’re jet all the way.

In the meantime, if you love Speilberg and even just tolerate the original “West Side Story,” go see this on the big screen. Give yourself to love and respect this remake like I do, and let its deeper themes sink into your very being.

Thanks for being patient with this gushing theater nerd!

And as always, I hope you join us again for real soon for another episode of Fan Effect.

I got to record Sister Harriet Uchtdorf and her daughter Antje Evans today for the Church News Podcast. We got a glimpse into a German Christmas celebrations! It was made even more special by some guests crashing the party, Boyd Matheson and Sheri Dew had to come to say hi. I have a cool job.

What’s even better? It was an idea I pitched! I just love celebrating my Scanda-Whovian-Euro-Whats-its Roots!

Listen to the episode now!

Christmas is a favorite time of year for many Christians across the globe as they cherish the opportunity to celebrate the birth and life of Jesus Christ. Members of the Savior’s Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, each have unique and special Christmas traditions that come from their families, countries and cultures. This episode of the Church News podcast explores one family’s Christmas traditions and the beautiful way they share them with others. Sister Harriet R. Uchtdorf and Antje Uchtdorf Evans, the wife and daughter of Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, discuss how family traditions from their German homeland help them focus on the Savior during the holiday season. They also talk about how they are sharing some of these European traditions through their service with The Christkindlmarkt at This Is The Place Heritage Park

The Church News Podcast is a weekly podcast that invites listeners to make a journey of connection with members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across the globe. Host Sarah Jane Weaver, reporter and editor for The Church News for a quarter-century, shares a unique view of the stories, events, and most important people who form this international faith. With each episode, listeners are asked to embark on a journey to learn from one another and ponder, “What do I know now?” because of the experience. Produced by KellieAnn Halvorsen.

KellieAnn and sister Erica show of their Norwegian Christmas trees in December 2010.