Wednesday, October 22, 2008


A friend sent me a link to the funniest video ever! Remember the joy in being silly? In plain old corny fun? Remember when we took a few hours out of our lives to plan something meaningless and inconsequential, except for the pleasure it provided to us and others? Well, here's some good ole Mormon fun, and boy oh boy do I envy these people. Way to go, and I know there's more of this out there. So send me some links! Let's share the fun and enjoy the journey together!

Monday, October 20, 2008


Elections are coming, and some of you, like me, may have seen radio talk show hosts, late night comedians and others lampooning Americans and their lack of understanding of the candidates' positions, platforms and even running mates.

As sad and scary as that might be, I've long worried over the number of Constitutional questions that arise in elections these days, wondering about our individual "Consitutional IQ's" and our readiness to render a choice in defense of this landmark document.

It was the first, you know. There were other nations with governing guidelines, of course, but the infant United States broke ground when it established a written Constitution, creating the first codified law of government on the earth, and establishing a bench mark from which other nations have based their own.

If we don't understand the inspired intentions of the Founding Fathers, and if we don't have a grasp on the Constitution as it currently stands, can we confidently, prudently, and wisely decide its future as well as ours?

There are several good sites listed below that quiz you, providing explanations to the basic elements of our government and its beautiful Constitution. Take a few minutes and test yourself, then pass the link on to friends or your children to hone their own skills. It would make a great Family Home Evening activity.

A link is provided below to get a free copy of the Constitution, and may I suggest that every American should also buy a $3.00 copy of one of the most wonderful and inspiring dvd's I've ever seen"--A More Perfect Union. Here's the link:

Enjoy the quizzes:
1. The U.S. Consititution Test (Used by the Dept. of Immigration and Naturalization)

2. (This one provides scores and great explanations and could make a great family activity)

3. Conversations on the Constitution (This is a quiz sponsored by the American Bar Association explaining recent court rulings and how they affect us.)

Monday, October 13, 2008


A few weeks ago Ellen DeGeneres was on the Jay Leno show tearfully pleading for people to stop spending thousands of dollars to promote hate. Sounds like a cause any decent, moral person could get behind. Her cause was the fight to prevent passage of Proposition 8, the bill in defense of traditional marriage, and her plea was essentially an effort to label anyone attempting to defend the definition of marriage as a union between an adult man and woman, as a hate monger.

The scripture that warns of the day when good will be called evil and evil called good is upon us, it appears. My son lives in California where the youth of the church have been called up by Elder Ballard, Elder Cook and the rest of the Brethren to stand as modern-day Stripling Warriors, wielding the swords of their day-- technology--to blog, text, post, email and make phone calls in defense of the essential fabric of society--the family.

If we doubt the urgency of this issue, read one of the following articles:

Young Mormons Urged to Join Fight Against Gay Marriage in California at: or

The passage of Proposition 8 does not remove rights and benefits already in place for gay and domestic partnerships (they "shall have the same rights, protections and benefits" as married spouses, according to Family Code SS 297.5).

So opponents of Proposition 8 are not merely trying to promote tolerance. They're trying to redefine "marriage" and "family", and the consequences could be grievous. Anyone with a traditional moral position on this could find themselves prosecuted for teaching doctrine in opposition to same-sex unions. What about the separation of Church and State? Now the State could have power to define religious doctrine!

And we can't merely hope that our community or state will be untouched by the outcome of this vote. Look how many states are wavering. Connecticut is set to begin honoring requests for same-sex marriages next week. And remember this. It only took four California Supreme Court justices to reverse the will of 61% of the electorate in that state.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Ann Bradshaw received the following in an email this week, and found it invigorating. She invited others of us to share this message from an unknown author. What a powerful message--and so needed in light of the current US political situation. On previous occasions I have participated in a unified prayer effort in our stake, and I felt that power that comes from combining my faith with that of others. Let's all take this advice and have faith in the power of prayer.


“This is the scariest election we as Christians have ever faced and from the looks of the polls, the Christians aren't voting Christian values. We all need to be on our knees.
“Do you believe we can take God at His word? Call upon His name, then stand back and watch His wonders to behold? This scripture gives us, as Christians, ownership of this land and the ability to call upon God to heal it. I challenge you to do so. We have never been more desperate than now for God to heal our land. This election is the scariest.

“2 Chronicles 7:14--'If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.'

“During WWII, there was an adviser to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every night at a prescribed hour. For one minute, they prayed collectively for the safety of England, its people and peace. This had an amazing effect as bombing stopped. There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in the United States of America and our citizens need prayer more than ever.

“If you would like to participate: each evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central, 7:00 PM Mountain, 6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, for peace in the world, the upcoming election, that the Bible will remain the basis for the laws governing our land and that Christianity will grow in the US.

“If you know anyone who would like to participate, please pass this along. Someone said if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.

"Please pass this on to anyone who you think might want to join us.”

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Literature's themes focus on the great dramas of life such as "man's inhumanity to man" and the triumph of "good vs. evil". Another popular theme is the idea of "man vs the mountain".

Allow me to add another oft ignored theme, though broad in scope. I speak of "Woman vs. Wallpaper".

Some twenty-five years ago I began the battle, taming dozens of wild rolls of unyielding flora and geometrical patterns. With daring precision, snoother and glue, I wielded my level and utility knife and slapped each soggy strip to my walls.

And then decades came and went, and with them went the 80's style that I had so fully embraced.

"Come into the Twenty-First Century, Mom!" my kids pled. Okay. . . I'm cool, I'm hip. I'm all up or down with it, though the very saying of such things clearly testifies that I am not. And so began the great "Wallpaper Scraping of 2008".

It has not been pretty. The walls were not properly prepped, it would appear, and my nails are worn, my back is hunched and I still have moist, sticky wall paper goo stuck between my toes. The struggle to remove the paper left the walls so pocked and damaged they now resemble the surface of the moon, a condition that will now require spackling and skimming and priming and and caulking, all before we begin to paint.

And what about selecting a paint color? Oh dear. . . I can't even go there yet!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Review of "THE LOVE LETTERS OF JOSEPH AND EMMA" by Angela Eschler, featuring portraits by Liz Lemon Swindle


The extraordinary love story of Joseph and Emma Hale Smith is tenderly portrayed in a unique new Covenant release entitled, Of One Heart: The Love Letters of Joseph and Emma, by Angela Eschler.

As an editor at Covenant, Angela Eschler has long exercised her writing and editing talents to improve the works of other authors, including my own. In Of One Heart: The Love Letters of Joseph and Emma, Mrs. Eschler’s first authored work, her exceptional writing skills and knowledge of the Prophet and Emma is evident. Punctuated by the emotional artwork of Liz Lemon Swindle, Eschler has carefully selected poignant excerpts from the Smith’s private correspondence and wrapped them in beautifully crafted historical content and corroborating scripture.

The Love Letters of Joseph and Emma is divided into five concise chapters, each one correlating to a period in Joseph and Emma’s marriage-- Love and Devotion, Sorrow and Separation, Consolation in Companionship, Faith in Adversity, Reunion and Peace. As a historical examination, “Love Letters” illuminates the great love that succored Joseph and Emma through the too frequent separations, the exquisite sorrows and the sweetness of the joys that defined their lives.

But there is much more here for the reader. From Mrs. Eschler’s intimate Dedication, which is drawn from the example of Joseph’s ministrations to Emma, to the triumphal promises of eternal reunion expressed in the closing scriptures from the Doctrine and Covenants, this book is a delicately crafted celebration of the power of marriage and love.

Counseled as we are to seek for “patterns” in our lives, Of One Heart: The Love Letters of Joseph and Emma, provides readers with a unique vantage point from which to observe the Smiths’ enduring love. From the secret elopement to Joseph, to which Emma consented saying, “she preferred ‘to marry him more than anyone [else she] knew,’” through seventeen turbulent years, theirs was a marriage imbued with loyalty, tenderness and faith. Being perhaps the ultimate example of enduring love under fire, Joseph and Emma may therefore provide the ultimate pattern for building a strong marriage.

In Of One Heart: The of Joseph and Emma, by combining the power of Angela Eschler’s beautiful writing with samples from Liz Lemon Swindle’s evocative portraits of the Smiths, Covenant has produced a work that reaches deep into the hearts of readers, personalizing the Prophet and Emma to a rising generation of Saints who may confidently draw upon their example of marital love and loyalty.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Elder Enzio Busche delivered a beautiful devotional to the students at BYU on 14 May 1996. Some talented, inspired person set his exquisite remarks to music, placing images alongside that drive the messages deep into one's heart. I hope you'll enjoy it as I did and share it with others.

It occurs to me how faithfully the members are heeding Elder Ballard's request that we spread the Gospel by using the Internet. It may not be the feet of full-time missionaries that take the Gospel message to far-flung continents. It may, instead, be the fingers of member missionaries, who use their talents to reach the minds of people in places now denied association with the Church.

Thank you Elder Busche! And thank you to whomever created this vehicle. Enjoy, and share.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Okay, so maybe you're like me in that you can't quite get a good grip on all this bail-out stuff because CNN says Armageddon will happen if it doesn't pass, and Glenn Beck says we're doomed if it does. And maybe the whole nuclear proliferation question also boggles your mind. Should we sit down and have pumpkin pie and a chat with Iran or should we put the economic squeeze on them?

Yes, I have trust issues with the media, and the candidates aren't exactly clearing up the muddle, if you know what I mean. So while we're digging through all that stuff, here are some other pressing questions that also weigh on me. Gladly, the answers may prove foolhardy, but not fatal to any person, bank account or government.

So here's what I want to know. . .

1. I was recently at a Bridal Shower and a cute, chubby six-month old was wriggling around on the floor. Everyone was ooohing and ahhhing over him and these words came out of my mouth. "Look how chubby he's getting! Isn't he cute!" In the next breath, this thought occurred to me. "No one ever says that about me." Well, the first part, yes, though maybe not out loud. But the second part? The redeeming, validating line about chubby being cute? Nope. Nada on that. What gives with THAT double standard? Let's form a focus group and slam that around for a while!

2. You know those squiggly letters you need to decode before you can sign in to anything in the electronic universe? Those alien-looking figures that run together like undercooked lemon pie filling? You know what I'm talking about. What's the deal with them? Oh, sure. They say it's all about preventing electronic whatevers from invading the site. But, what about the humans that want to order a Ped-Egg and can't? Or what about the myopic, tri-focalled generation who can't send replies to their kids' blogs because the Internet is keeping everything safe from robotic cyber-invaders?

One day I tried five . . . count them . . . FIVE times to decode those little "alphabetical selections on LSD" and I could not crack the secret code. And each time I failed, the little screen would change and provide another squiggle-set until I finally thought I heard some byte of nano-technology mocking me from inside my own PC!

Scan my retina! Fingerprint me! Man alive, my entire life savings is only protected by a six digit code I punch into a key pad, but the "Keepers of the Blogs" want me to pass a visual decoder test before I can post "Happy Birthday?"

These little frustrations actually help me understand why the issues of the day become so tedious and bogged down. I think the world was much simpler when we just dialed the phone and made out a check and wrote letters, but then again, we needed all this progress, didn't we?