Media for Moms on Monday : Faith is like a Seed Activity

Justin and I *try* to make Monday nights a special Family Home Evening. We teach Henry a lesson based on scriptures and usually do a little activity to go with it. Right now we keep it simple, since he doesn't have an hour-long attention span.

This evening we are learning about Faith. We were both taught , growing up, that faith was like a little seed. If you let the seed take root and nurture it, it will grow. Tonight we're planting some veggie and wildflower seeds, doing the finger play below, and going over this handout. Enjoy!

Faith is Like a Seed (Fingerplay)

By Chad E. Phares

1. My faith is like a tiny seed

(Hold thumb and index finger close together.)

2. That is hard for me to see.

(Make circles around eyes with thumbs and index fingers.)

3. But when I read the scriptures

(Open hands in front of self.)

4. Faith grows inside of me.

(Put both hands on chest.)

5. And when I say a prayer

(Fold arms.)

6. I feel it in my heart.

(Put hand on heart.)

7. My seed of faith becomes a tree

(Put hands together above head.)

8. When I do my part.

(Point thumb at self.)



Media for Moms On Monday : Road Trip Playlist

Ok Ok so it's Tuesday but, you're all moms right, so you get it...


I'm the artist and owner behind Stories Told Media, but I am also a mom. Since I am immersed in the media world, I find myself creating all types of media for use in our home and with my kids.That's why I've dedicated Mondays to posting media I've recently created for personal use and making it available to you.

Whether it's a free printable or some shameless sharing of our latest family video, I hope Media for Moms is something you can enjoy each and every Monday. 


We're heading to Texas next week and facing the longest drive we've done with Henry. He is a CHAMP when we travel to California, but those trips top out at about 6 hrs. This trip will be a whopping 15 hours as we trek to San Antonio, where Justin will presenting some research he and some of his classmates did at the APTA Combined Section meeting (humble brag!) 

Anyway, I am prepping for our trip old school by putting together a pretty extensive road trip playlist and burning it to CDs. These are some of our favorites, and if you happen to like an odd mix of Country, Disney and 90's music then you're in for a real treat! I'll link over to the Youtube playlist for your enjoyment.

Media for Mom Monday : Chore Chart

I'm the artist and owner behind Stories Told Media, but I am also a mom. Since I am immersed in the media world, I find myself creating all types of media for use in our home and with my kids.That's why I've dedicated Mondays to posting media I've recently created for personal use and making it available to you.

Whether it's a free printable or some shameless sharing of our latest family video, I hope Media for Moms is something you can enjoy each and every Monday. 

This Week

Chore Chart

   Henry has been really into video games lately. While I want to make sure and limit his screen time, I also think it's important to teach him why. I want him to learn to have fun in many different ways, and learn to balance the fun things in life so that nothing dominates or becomes too excessive.  

Balancing work and fun is huge too. For a child Henry's age though, play is his most important "work". This is why I included play time as a chore. Plus I wanted to teach him that chores are just things we should do, but that we should want to do. Thus, the chore chart was born. I snagged the images on Google and designed this free printable on 

Click the link below to  access the editable version. 


A Thousand Years

I had the awesome privilege of putting together another music video for VeeRonna Ragone of VHarp. She is an amazing wedding harpist working in the Los Angeles area. Sometimes she makes trips out to Arizona and graces us with her amazing talent, especially when one of her nephews get married!

We were lucky enough to have VeeRonna play for us at our Arizona wedding reception almost SIX years ago. Justin's older brother recently married his sweet, beautiful Hannah and they are the stars of this piece. You can check out their wedding highlight on our home page if you are as much in love with their venue, decor, and selves  as I am! 

After finishing this edit I just can't get the song out of my head! When it first came out, I remember humming it to Justin and hoping he'd get all teary eyed about our ever blossoming love and break out into some kind of romantic soliloquy...he's not quite that sentimental. But in time I found someone else for whom the lyrics seemed to speak. 

Have you ever sung this song to one of your kids? Do it you'll bawl your eyes out. Or maybe that's just me. I personally believe that our sweet babies are aware of us long before they're born. I feel like Henry was sent here to me and I really have loved him for 1000 years. I can't wait to meet this next baby and know that love all over again. 

Big News for the Royer Family!

We've been holding on to a secret for a little while and we're excited now to share our news with you...

We will be adding a little one to our family this June! Watch the video above to find out whether it's a boy or girl. 

We have been looking forward to another little one for quite some time, and have been patiently waiting for Justin to finish up his Doctorate of Physical Therapy so that the timing would be right. With Justin set to graduate on February 25th, we sure do have a lot to look forward to! 

A Year in Review

This year has been a great one for Stories Told Media. In January of 2016, I chose to step away from substitute teaching in order to pursue video production full time. I made some BIG decisions about what I wanted for my business, and set some BIG goals to go with it. 

In order to work toward those goals. I did a couple of things. First, I contacted a friend and business coach. (Shoutout to Lowell Rex of Epic Business Coaches) I shared my goals with him and met with him throughout the year in order to stay on track and to ask for help when specific issues arose. 

Second, I made the REALLY TOUGH decision to send Henry to a babysitter 2-3 times per week. Even though much of my work is at home, it's just not possible to do a good job with this little cutie tugging at my heartstrings.

Choosing childcare allowed me to make time weekly for filming appointments and networking, as well as editing. Toward the end of this year, we have been enjoying the awesome perk of having my sister Marissa home with us. Since she graduated (with her MASTERS fyi!) she's been helping out with babysitting so Henry doesn't have to leave home. We are going to MISS that when she fills out her caseload in the upcoming months. 

The third decision was to "go legit" . Once I decided this wasn't just a side-gig or hobby, Stories Told Media became it's own entity. Stories Told Media LLC has it's own bank account, invoices and work hours. I am trying really hard to learn all the ins and outs of small business. It's so important to me to have created this company and I can't wait to see what 2017 holds. Here's to spending the next few weeks think tanking and making some more BIG decisions that I hope will lead to another incredible year! 

Gorgeous Drone Footage for a Gorgeous Harp Cover

It's been a busy summer for Stories Told Media,  including a unique opportunity to learn from video veteran Rick Fox of Canyon Creek Media whilst filming a four day Pioneer Trek in the Great Outdoors (more about this when our collaborative video is ready for release!)

Amidst trips home and adventures with my camera, I have been working steadily to put together the most awesome Youtube harp cover of all time (if I do say so myself). Justin's Aunt VeeRonna approached us about putting together a music video of her latest arrangement, a cover of "Clocks" by Coldplay, FOREVER ago and after several video recording sessions, hours of editing and meticulous matching-of-strings-plucked-to-notes-heardit's finally finished!

We started on Justin and my birthday,  rough drafted on Veeronna's , and uploaded the final draft on Andy's ( Uncle, Husband, Harp lifter and sound magician extraordinaire) birthday! 
A total of 3 months of work that was so totally worth it . 

I Tell Stories

If you compare my work to other videographers, you might notice that they are content heavy. There might be voice over, or a sense of movement. Look for elements which reappear to help viewers make connections, for a building emotion, climax, resolution. These are my tells. 

I am an avid reader and a lover of story. I used to spend hours at my little desk, writing my own stories. I LOVED English and Composition classes.

When I got to college I thought I wanted to be a print journalist. I applied for the school newspaper, Ke ' Alakai , where I was a staff writer and then an editor. My senior year my advisor asked me if I would take up a position as the Editor-in-Chief of Multimedia. It was a new position. The newspaper was delving into adding videos and honing our website. 

I took the position right before Christmas Break and spent the entire two week break in front of a gigantic Mac desktop, playing around with FinalCut. I learned just enough to start bossing other people around and got right back to what interested me most...telling the story.

I've had several years and media related jobs since then. These were years of harboring the quiet anxiety that I was giving up my true passion

I have realized since, that learning the technical skills involved with videography hasn't stopped me from writing. It never will. Every video I make is a carefully crafted story. I am simply using a fancier pen. 

Moms Matter

As Mother's Day approaches, I can't help but think about the stories that are not being told! 

Mom's are often the hardest people to convince to do their Personal History, despite having such powerful stories to tell. I am often told by Moms that their life "wasn't that interesting" or that "no one wants to hear" their story.

 They are so so wrong,  (hey Mom, Grandma, I want to hear your story!), and not just because you and I want to know how the heck they survived out teen years, but because their perspective is largely undocumented. How many specials have you watched about World War II where they extensively interviewed the Moms who were left home, or the little girls who went out and picked up aluminum cans to help the war effort?

 Was your Mom one of the first women to enter the  workforce? What light can she shed on the way things used to be? Maybe your Grandma knows the secret to running a household efficiently, or has a really interesting take on the advent on computers.

My husband's Grandma Vivian pictured below? Yeah she was a total rockstar! She helped run a 200 cow dairy farm with a baby on her hip - plus the 5 other ones running around! I love hearing Grandpa Adams talking about her taking a stand about his race car driving, I love and admire her so much and it is so empowering to hear about how real and hard and wonderful their marriage was.

Do your Mom and your Grandma a favor, heck, do the world a favor and insist they start recording their history one way or another. Can you even imagine having that kind of perspective to add to what we learn in textbooks?! 

And hey, if you decide that I can help you with that that'd be awesome too! Book a Personal History Video for Mother's Day and get a free DVD slideshow with up to 50 digitized photos in addition to your 5 professionally edited and customized DVD copies of her life story. Click here to pop on over to our "Prices" page for a look at what all is included in this one-of-a-kind package! Or check out the video below and see for yourself what we have to offer!



More than a DVD

As I have had the opportunity to do more and more Personal History recording, I have really developed a passion for it.  Besides my conviction that this work is important, I find that the actual process of recording and editing brings me great personal joy. 

I love getting to spend just a little bit of time with people who have lived and who have seen. I am usually smiling from ear to ear, or else open-mouthed in surprise at the fascinating stories every single one of my clients has to tell. From dangerous rodeo acts to starting an experimental lobster farm, climbing telephone poles to finding oneself after divorce, these people have stories to tell. Whether a childhood was spent in the shady cool beneath towering redwoods or inside a busy bicycle repair shop , it is a childhood worth hearing about. 

A client, David Mucklow, dances in a production at Pebble Creek. Photograph used with permission.

A client, David Mucklow, dances in a production at Pebble Creek. Photograph used with permission.

Sometimes I try to take notes or just mentally will myself to remember a tip or a tid-bit for raising my son. " I used to be forever thinking, "How can I take what I'm learning  and use it to make a good life for Henry?"

The thing is, I am asking that question less and less ; because all of my clients have had good lives. All of them have had bad ones too. And I marvel to see what that lifetime of that juxtaposition creates in people. 


My clients marvel at what this type introspection creates in themselves.

Recording a personal history, whether with me or in some other way, is about so much more than talking about yourself. It's talking to yourself. It's examining the whole of your life and being pleasantly surprised at the truth of it all--that your life has been good, that your life has been bad, and that through it all you have become.

And isn't that what we're here for?

Valentine's Day Packages!!!

Here's the thing. I LOVE Valentine's Day. Which is kinda funny, because my husband and I don't really do anything special for it. Mostly, I love the color pink and Valentine's day means grocery stores and school classrooms are decked out in my favorite color! I also love flowers, chocolate and Sweetheart candies know it just kind of makes sense! 

Although we don't usually go too crazy with Valentine's Day gifts in our home, I couldn't help but think that this would be a  great time of year to make some pretty awesome videos. 

Stories Told Media Valentine's Day Package includes 30 minute video recording session , a full-length and 15-second instagram video, plus uploading or DVD according to preference. Packages are $150.

I had the wonderful opportunity to work with a good friend's family (in secret shhhh!) to create a one-of-a-kind valentine's day gift and I am super excited about it. Narrative style videos are my favorite , throw cute kids in there and they're my Kryptonite!!! Check out the awesome video we came up with above, and just think about what an amazing forever keepsake you and I could put together for your spouse! ;) See caption for details about this limited-time-only package. Book this week and get 40 % off!

I am also offering a special Valentine's Day sale of my Personal History package. Regular charge is $750, but if you book a Sweetheart's Special for your loved one you'll get a handcrafted Valentine ( to give on Valentine's Day),  a hand-drawn penciled portrait (you supply the original image) by the talented Angela Reichman, and 20% off. That's an $800+ value for $600. Add a photo slideshow to be presented on Valentine's Day to your sweetheart as a preview.

Check out the package description and a picture of some of those cute valentine's (they double as DVD covers if you are going the slideshow route) below.


Your Personal History

A lot of people seem confused when I use the term "Personal History", so I thought I'd discuss it a little more in-depth. I did write a little something about it back in August, but as I move forward with my business, I am finding out just how important this type of work is to me. 

A "Personal History" is a memoir or biography. The best ones are written by the people themselves. Another person might remember some of your life's stories, but they'll never be able to tell it according to your perspective.


LDS folks have been encouraged to create a Personal History compilation , in connection with and yet separate from our work with Family History.

It is my opinion that everyone should leave a legacy, according to their own words and containing their views, their loves, and their advice. The world needs to hear what you have to say.

I have been recording Personal Histories as a part of my videography business for a year now, and I have recently decided that THESE VIDEOS ARE MY FAVORITE. I love hearing how people conquered their demons, embraced the good, and found their truth and I have found that I am good at what I do--prepare, organize, plan, and interview amazing people. 

If you're thinking "I am young, I don't need to worry about that yet." Think again! What about your parents or grandparents? Is there some way you can help them record their legacy? Plus their are tons of ways you can get started with keeping a record today, so that you've got everything ready when the time comes! Look to a future post on that one ;) 

New Year-iversary

January 17 marks one year since the Stories Told Media website went live! It’s been an incredible year with a lot of learning. I am still getting the hang of it, but I have found that I LOVE being a small business owner.

I’ve got big goals for next year and I’d love your help in reaching them. Look forward to some extra special packages, giveaways, and some deeper personal projects.

Justin was good to me this Christmas and significantly upgraded my equipment stash. I am so excited to start recording even better quality videos in 2016! For now, check out some of my favorite pictures and projects from the last year.

I LOVE this man! In the midst of recording his Personal History and I couldn't be more excited about it. This is a still from the video I am working on, but I love spectacular view from his house in Payson. 

I LOVE this man! In the midst of recording his Personal History and I couldn't be more excited about it. This is a still from the video I am working on, but I love spectacular view from his house in Payson. 

Stoked about this idea I had for a "Video Christmas Card" package! Can't believe I have to wait all the way til Fall 2016 to start recording them again!

Makenzie is just the cutest, we had fun messing around when I took pictures of the EMCC cross country team( I assistant coached last Fall) 

Makenzie is just the cutest, we had fun messing around when I took pictures of the EMCC cross country team( I assistant coached last Fall) 


Of course Aimee's Wedding was a favorite video! It was a difficult one because I was also a bridesmaid and had Henry solo that weekend.

We recently added a GoPro to our equipment stash and it has been fun testing it out on the golf course across the street. 

We recently added a GoPro to our equipment stash and it has been fun testing it out on the golf course across the street. 

Henry was so excited to ride the "choochoo" with "Papa". This cute video captures a perfect memory.

Grabbed his cool image from the last video I shot, a candle-lighting and memorial service at Thompson Funeral Home. 

Grabbed his cool image from the last video I shot, a candle-lighting and memorial service at Thompson Funeral Home. 

A Different Kind of Christmas Card

I LOVE Christmas cards!  I love receiving then and I love sending them. Sending cards this time of year is a wonderful way to let faraway friends and family know you love them.  

There's just one problem.  I am TERRIBLE at getting then sent.  The jig is just about up for this year,  and I'm still planning on a mad rush to the post office tomorrow,  but I think you'll like the alternative I'm offering.  

Say it with me.  VIDEO CHRISTMAS CARDS. They're everything a Christmas card should be; witty and sweet with a beautiful "picture" attached.  Check out the Gilbert's video Christmas card below.   

The best part is there's no stressful post office visit or forgotten envelopes found in July.  I'll come film for an hour,  take 48 hrs to edit and send you a link to share with family and friends.  Post on social media,  send via private message, out create a private Youtube group.  I have availability December 16-21. Packages are $150 and include an over-the-phone consult and 1 hr recording session with professional editing. Contact me via email by jumping over to the contact page. 

Photographer Spotlight : Amanda Snider

I am continually impressed and inspired by the work of my friend Amanda Snider. I have been secretly facebook stalking her for years because I just can't get enough! 

I love the way she treats light in all of her photos. She stays true to the natural lighting, and really captures this sort of sweetness and softness that  makes those simple moments seem important and eternal. 

I don't photograph well, I am terrible at knowing how to pose myself and I swear every photo of me is caught in the midst of an eye-roll or a mom moment. A few weeks ago I was looking through some of Amanda's recent family photo sessions and I stopped to sigh. I wanted so badly to have pictures like that done!! Then I realized I'd be in California for Thanksgiving and I got super excited. I totally COULD! 

Amanda is great at coaching her clients to get the right pose and look without being too pushy. This is such a key part of production for both photographers and videographers, and it's something that you should really appreciate when you see it. Good camera skill alone is not enough when you work with people. A professional level photo or video is the result of a professional with a wide range of skills including communication and artistic content-development skills. 

As you can see I got exactly what I wanted! I had the crazy idea to do the shoot in my mom's newly redecorated bedroom and it just made the pictures so candid and unique. I even got to do a little staging with the bedding, because my mom hasn't got her new bedspread yet. Yep, totally stole those gold pillows from the couch downstairs ;) 

I have so much respect for Amanda as an artist I just had to feature her work. Plus I wanted to share all the photos of my cute boys. ;)  Check out her site here , or look up Amanda Snider Photography on facebook. 


Our Christmas Legacy Package

We've got some pretty amazing Christmas specials available, and I wanted to let you know about one in particular. If you're still wondering what to get family, friends, kids and grandkids for Christmas then READ ON!

Our Christmas Legacy Package package includes several priceless products, and I'd like to tell you a little bit about the process and products included in the package. It truly is an amazing deal! 

We'll start by recording your personal history on video. This goes far beyond a family member catching snippets of your stories on his smartphone. As a professional with a degree in Communications and a background in journalism and public information, I am an expert at finding the story and help you tell it in a way that is both timeless and engaging. I will make recording your personal history quick , painless, and even fun!  I will run our recording appointment like a video producer which means I'll be paying attention to every detail, from stray hairs to facts and dates.

We'll also take a photo to give to professional artist, Angela Reichman , who will create a one-of-a-kind penciled portrait . These Legacy Portraits represent a collaboration between Stories Told Media and Angela Reichman Art and I am just so beyond excited about it! Check out a sample of the "penciled portrait" style below, it's Angela's own self portrait, isn't she gorgeous. 

Being a professional video editor allows me to seamlessly incorporate footage of your home, or photos of your family into your video. Because I professionally edit your video, you can make sure the story is told the way you want it to be, you can stop and restart or talk in tangents knowing that I am watching with a professional eye and that you'll get a beautifully cohesive and artistic story post-production. 

Once we've recorded your stories, I take them home and put them together in a way that makes sense, is engaging, and reflects your character. I LOVE personalizing every aspect of you video from the title screen to the DVD labels. I spend hours choosing the perfect background music and fonts

After the 14 day editing period*, you'll receive 20 customized DVD's to give to family and friends and a professionally penciled portrait. In addition, I will give you access to the up to 50 photos I digitize in the production process, and upload your video and photos to the sites of your choice. I'll also put together a short "highlight" video to be shared on social media. 

                       Get 20 DVD's personalized with the photo or graphic of your choice.

                       Get 20 DVD's personalized with the photo or graphic of your choice.

Our package is available for a limited time for just $750. That's only $37.50 per DVD! I have a limited number of California appointments available November 23-28. Arizona Appointments run December 1-10 at $750, and the 10-18* at $1250. 

*Rush editing available for additional charge. 

Train Ride at Griffith Park

I had the unique opportunity to take a trip to California last Friday with the EMCC cross country team (more on that in a future post).  My super awesome parents came and watched me coach and race and then I spent the rest of the weekend with them and Henry. 

To psych Henry up for his upcoming trip, I'd been telling him each day that he was going to see "Papa" soon. A few days before we headed out he started saying "Me - Papa - ChooChoo?" No idea where he got the idea, but he decided his Papa was going to take him on the Choo Choo and nothing was going to convince him otherwise. 

Lucky for Henry, his Papa loves him more than anything, and he happily obliged. After my race we drove to Griffith Park in L.A. so that Papa could take Henry on the Choo Choo. 

It was a gorgeous day, a little overcast with a slight breeze, and I simply could not stop thinking about how cute a little train video would be. 

On the advice of the Haugen Creative team ( I am in the midst of their Creative Workshop Series and loving it) I decided to pursue it as a personal project and I am so in love with the result. This was such a special moment between Henry and his Papa and if I'm being totally honest I'm pretty sure I nailed it! 

Video Home Tour : 333 West Atlantic Dr.


  I was both sad and happy to film this home tour for my dear friend Felicia. Sad that she's moving all the way to Utah, but happy to have the chance to film such a gorgeous house.


Her super handy husband put in the GORGEOUS flooring himself (with Felicia's help of course) and seriously, as much as I wish I could say I have done it justice, I have not. You have got to get over there in person to really appreciate the beautiful detailing in the grout. 

In case you were wondering, this spacious and well-planned home is in a great neighborhood with several playground areas. It's also got a Middle School and High School within walking distance and the brand new Police/Fire facility right around the corner.

I LOVE filming home tours because I get to take a peak into the homeowner's unique style and creativity. In Felicia's case, I've had a front row seat and even helped with some of the yard sale finds! Arizona will miss you Hirschfelds!!! 

White Tanks Business Connections

When Stories Told was still a decision to be made, a kind mentor advised me to join a networking group. I looked into local BNI chapters and the West Valley Chamber of Commerce, but neither group fit in with where I was at ; a busy mom trying to transition from a day job to a business with meager start up funds. That's when I found White Tanks Business Connections Inc. 

Shameless plug time guys, because this group is great and if you're in the West Valley I want you to know about us. 


I like White Tanks Business Connections Inc. because it is very down to earth. We are a middle sized group who have taken the time to get to know each other. We are serious about our business, but not so serious that you can't stay home if your kids are sick. The price was something that attracted me, a reasonable joining fee that comes right back to you in events, etc. 

I also love that we're very local. We are plain and simple a community of West Valley business people, no catch, no gimmick.

I hate it when every post is a sales pitch, but in this case I have come on to something amazing and I just had to share. 

Come find out what we're all about on Thursday evening at 5:30 at Augie's Sports Grill in Goodyear! 

Meet My Other Half

 My guy put together his own video and I wanted to share it with you! Justin is pretty tech savvy and has some experience with editing, and while I did have suggestions for polishing it up I have to say I am quite proud of my multi-talented man!

So I'm taking this opportunity to introduce you to my other half, my sweet husband Justin as well as to share his very informative "Top 20 Tips for PT Students."


If you didn't know, Justin is a little less than halfway through an intense DPT program at Franklin Pierce University (Goodyear Campus). He spends anywhere from 70-80 hours a week at the school studying, but I know it will be worth it when he gets that degree in 2017! 

So if you know someone entering PT school feel free to link to his video. He's sure learned a lot of great study tips and tricks since he's been there!