Summer Bird Stories

Family-Friendly Short Stories, Cartoons, and Illustrations

More Visual Notes

In the fall, I took visual notes alongside my regular notes while watching General Conference.  It was fun to try something new, and I liked looking back on them later in the year.  It made it easier to find a specific talk if I could only remember part of the talk and couldn’t remember the speaker.

And so, I took regular and visual notes again while watching conference this spring.

Some sessions went better than others. I’m sure I left things out. Once again, it was fun, and I think it helped me pay better attention to the talks. I will share my notes with you here. I would welcome any suggestions!

Here is a link to the full talks, so you can see what I missed or didn’t quote exactly right: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/general-conference?lang=eng

If you took creative notes of General Conference or something else, I’d love to see them! Please post a link in the comments if you have them posted somewhere, or send it through the tab labeled “contact” at the top of the page.

To see the details, use the full screen icon [⤧] at the bottom right of the images.

Knowing the Future Doesn’t Help

Many years in the past, well before the internet, a kindergarten teacher looked at the row of tiny people sitting on carpet squares. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Everyone started talking at once. Then they each started talking louder in an attempt to be heard. The teacher started clapping out a rhythm. Clap. Clap. Clap-clap-clap. The students quieted down and joined in the last clap-clap-clap.

“One at a time. We’ll start at this side of the room.”

“I want to be a baseball player.”

“…a doctor.”

“…an artist.”

“…a monkey.”

“…a blogger.”

The teacher paused. “A what?”

Cassandra shrugged. “It’s like a writer, but it will be on the computer, when the computers are all connected.”

Everyone looked at her blankly. “That sounds nice,” the teacher said at last, and the class moved on.

Later, on the playground, a small group of children cornered Cassandra by the slide. “You think the computers will all be connected and take over the world? You’re going to help them?” One of the children said, smirking.

“That won’t happen. You don’t know anything about computers.” Another child said. “Stop pretending to be smart. You don’t know anything.”

Cassandra straightened her shoulders. “I know you are going to go to college, but you’re going to spend the rest of your life paying for it.” She turned to the other child. “You’re going to need braces and glasses by middle school.”

The children shrieked in anger and raced forward together to push her in the mud. When the teacher with recess duty approached, the children ran away. Cassandra stood up with a sigh.

“Do you need to go in and change?” The teacher made a face at the mud.

“I can wait until the end of recess. They’re just going to push me in the mud again soon.”

The teacher patted her shoulder. “You don’t know that. Try to be more positive.”

Cassandra shrugged. “I’m positive they’ll shove me in the mud, as soon as you leave to deal with the kids fighting over the shorter swing.”

“What kids?” Just then, sounds of shouting and crying came from the swing set. The teacher sighed and patted Cassandra’s shoulder again. “I’ll be right back,” she said.

Moments later, Cassandra was shoved back into the mud.

She went inside to change, knowing the teacher wasn’t going to come back. Someone was going to find a dead bird by the fence and cause a commotion that would last for the rest of recess. Cassandra changed and waited quietly by the doors for recess to be over.

At lunch, she warned Jimmy that he wouldn’t like the mashed potatoes. He took a big bite anyways and then spit it all over the table. During painting, she moved her paints and warned Sara to wave her arms less as she talked. Sara still waved her arms and ended up with paint all over her sleeve. At reading time, Cassandra told Mike to be careful walking to his carpet square, and he still tripped and hit his head on his desk.

When the children were lining up to go home, Cassandra paused and tugged on Amy’s sleeve. “It’s going to rain later, and you forgot your coat.”

Amy frowned. “No I didn’t. I always put it in my backpack.” Then she turned around to talk to someone else.

Cassandra sighed and continued to the back of the line. She could see the future clearly. Someday, all of this would be part of a blog post that no one would believe. No one ever did believe her, of course. She was used to it by now.

Charlie’s Room: Mud Pies

Charlie’s shoulders slumped as he looked out of the window, a glum expression on his face. “It’s raining.” He sighed.

“I’m sure that the plants are happy,” Isaac said. He could hear them singing their rain songs that no one else could hear.

“But I wanted to work in the garden today, and it’s too muddy. Mom will say we can just wait until tomorrow, and I’m tired of being inside.”

“It is bad weather for gardening,” Isaac agreed. “It would be good weather for mud pies, though.”

Charlie sat up straighter and turned around, smiling. “With the chocolate pudding? I love mud pies! It’s been forever since Mom made one.”

“I wasn’t thinking of that kind of mud pies, but it’s a good idea. I think we need something sweet on a gloomy day.” Isaac turned to the pantry and started pulling out ingredients. “We may have to make the pudding from scratch, but I think we can manage that.”

“What other kind of mud pies are there?” Charlie stood on his tiptoes to get the glass pie plate from the cupboard.

“You know, the kind made of mud. We used to make them when I was your age.”

Charlie scrunched up his nose and looked disgusted. “You ate mud?”

“Not really. We just pretended. We used old pie tins and patted the mud inside. We decorated the pies with handfuls of grass and twigs and leaves. Sometimes we mixed in acorns or made designs with pine cones or pine needles. Whatever was available.”

“And then you pretended to eat it? That’s so weird.”

Isaac shrugged. “You like to make things out of playdough. It’s kind of the same.”

“Less messy and more colors, though.” Charlie pulled out the binder that served as a family recipe book. “Where is the pie recipe?”

“It’s near the front. It was one of the ones your mom added first because her mom used to make it when she was little.”

“Found it. I like Mom’s mud pies better than yours.”

Isaac laughed. “You notice that mine wasn’t ever added to the binder.”

“I guess we could add it, as long as we never actually cook it.” Charlie grinned.

“We could write it in under Mom’s as a variation. Then we could see if she ever notices.” Isaac preheated the oven.

Charlie got a pen from the junk drawer. “I’ll do it. How many cups of mud does it take to fill a pie tin?”

“We could go out and check later.”

“Or I could get some playdough to check it out now and stay dry. Where are the disposable pie tins?” Charlie checked the cupboard next to the oven. “There they are, in the back. They’re kind of bent out of shape. I can fix that.”

Charlie worked on perfecting his recipe, measuring playdough and handfuls of ripped up notebook paper. “I can use pipe cleaners for the sticks, but what will I use for the acorns? Marbles are too small…” Meanwhile, Isaac worked on the pie.

Marianne finished her online meeting and joined them in the kitchen. “What are you both up to?” she asked.

“We’re making mud pies,” Charlie said.

Marianne looked at Isaac’s pie, and then she looked at Charlie’s. “Only one of those looks like a mud pie to me.”

Charlie grinned. “This is dad’s recipe. I’m adding it to the recipe book. He uses real mud, but I’m substituting playdough because it’s less messy.”

“Real mud?”

“Yeah, and grass and stick and acorns. He said that’s the kind of mud pie he made when he was little.”

“You’re adding it to the book?” Marianne looked over his shoulder.

“For memories. Not to eat.” Charlie admired his pie. “It looks good, though. Just not at all edible.”

Marianne scrunched up her nose. “True. Mine is better.”

Charlie nodded. “That’s what I said.”

Isaac finished the pie and put it in the fridge to cool. “I told you, we didn’t really eat them. It was just something to do. But I’m glad that Mom shared her mud pie recipe with me. I like it better, too.”

Charlie looked out the window and smiled. “You were right, you know.”

“About what?”

“It’s good weather for mud pies.”

Marianne stood next to Charlie and looked out the window too. “I agree. It’s just what today needed. Rainy days and mud pies do go well together.”

Translate »
%d bloggers like this: