Friday, June 16, 2017

Ask the Editor, Okay?

It's been a while since I posted an Ask the Editor video. And since I am still out of town, I thought this would be an easy (but enjoyable) post to tide you over. Have fun learning about the etymology of word 'okay/OK'!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

FHE: Christlike Attributes #3

Note: This month I am highlighting some of the Christlike Attributes lessons from my book MTC at Home. Although this book is primarily designed to help prepare future missionaries for service, the lessons--all based on Preach My Gospel (PMG)--work really well for FHE. Earlier lessons can be seen here. Want to receive notification of future lessons to be posted in this series? Like my Facebook page.


Christlike Attribute #3: Charity and Love

Purpose: To illustrate the importance of developing charity and love for all.

Scripture: “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

Hymns: “Have I Done Any Good” (Hymns no. 223), “As I Have Loved You” (Hymns no. 308)

PMG Quote: “When you are filled with charity, you obey God’s commandments and do all you can to serve others and help them receive the restored gospel” (p. 118).

Key Term: Charity – “The highest, noblest, strongest kind of love, not merely affection; the pure love of Christ” (BD).

Lesson: The “first and great commandment” is to love God, while loving our neighbor is the second (see Matt 22:36-39). From these commandments it is clear the importance of developing love and charity is one of the highest priorities of life on earth. In fact, the prophet Moroni taught that without charity we “are nothing” (see Moroni 7:46).

We can gain love for God and charity for mankind through prayer and service to others. Latter-day prophet George Albert Smith was born to a family devoted to loving God and others. From his youth he was an extraordinary example of love and charity. President J. Reuben Clark, said of President Smith: “His real name was Love. … He gave his love to everyone he met.”[1] Once, George A. arrived at home in winter without his coat. His wife, noticing he was chilled and shivering, asked him why he did not wear his coat, only to learn he had given it to a man in need.


“Let us evidence by our conduct,” President George A. Smith encouraged, “By our gentleness, by our love, by our faith, that we do keep that great commandment that the Savior said was like unto the first great commandment, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’”[2]

Exercises: Prayerfully select one or more of the following exercises to supplement the lesson.

Ñ Teach: Explain virtue in your own words why it is important to pray for and develop charity.

˜ Testify: Describe a personal experience or feelings you have about the importance of loving and serving others.

? Invite: Practice inviting those you teach to make commitments related to exercising charity (i.e., giving service, expressing love, etc.).

® Role Play: Use the following question to role play a gospel discussion with a friend or family member. “What are some good ways to show love to strangers?” 

Open Your Mouth: In the upcoming week, start a gospel conversation with someone by asking them, “How would you define virtue?” Probe to learn what specific behaviors they feel are necessary to lead a virtuous life.

Activities: Arrange a simple service project for FHE. Help weed a neighbor’s yard, take a treat to someone new, write a letter to a missionary, or visit someone who is ill or lonely.
 
Additional Resources: 1. Visit the website for LDS Charities (ldscharities.org) and read the page describing “Why We Help”. Watch a few of the short videos on Mormon Channel about service given through LDS Charities. 2. President Monson’s speech in the 2010 General Relief Society meeting, “Charity Never Faileth”, discusses the importance of not judging others. 3. “The Coat: A Story of Charity” is a children’s story taken from the life of Heber J. Grant. A beautiful cartoon version (2:08 min.) of the story can be viewed on themormonchannel.org.



[1] Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, 2010, 11
[2] In Conference Report, Apr. 1949, 10

Friday, June 2, 2017

Book Review: The Devil in Beauty



One of my favorite authors, Heidi Ashworth, has released a new book! And she is braving new territory in this work, The Devil in Beauty: A Lord Trevelin Mystery. If you are not familiar with Heidi's work, she is known for writing regency romance. Her writing style is more period authentic than modern (I truly envy her extensive vocabulary); more Austen or Heyer than the vast majority of other contemporary authors writing regency. The Devil in Beauty is still a regency era story, but is mystery instead of romance.

I have to admit it had been a while since I had read mystery. I grew up loving Agatha Christie and some other well known mystery writers, but for the past ten years have not kept up on the genre. So I am pleased to report I really enjoyed the change of pace. Although it was definitely darker than what I have been reading, it was not overly scary or gratuitously morbid. And I was really excited to see Heidi is already working on another Lord Trevelin book. I am hoping she has it well under way, because I am interested to see what happens next with the main character, Lord Trevelin.

Lord Trevelin, who's mouth is scarred after a duel over a married woman, has had his reputation damaged in the eyes of the ton. However, the murder of a neighbor's son results in several members of the (everlastingly hypocritical) ton asking Trevelin to look into the matter. He does so, aided by Rey, a short of stature Spaniard visiting London. Trevelin and Rey methodically interview a number of key witnesses, gradually discovering a gruesome scheme afoot.

I particularly enjoyed Trevelin's character. He has many strengths, but his flaws offer many layers of insight into his personality. His flashbacks to his injury and the devastation he feels at the loss of a close friend are particularly well written. Additionally, the up and down relationship with Rey was a nice addition to the overall plot (I would like to see Rey in the next book too, as he almost serves as the Watson to Trevelin's Holmes).

Heidi's years of research into regency era society shine in this book. She knows her stuff and gives fascinating glimpses into Newgate prison (so sad) and a workhouse of the day. Without giving away too much of the plot, I also enjoyed the motive/back story of the murderer. Very interesting and fun to read.

If you are looking for a great summer read, I highly recommend The Devil in Beauty. And right now it is only $4.99 on Amazon -- a great deal!

Book Blurb: "Stab the body and it heals, but injure the heart and the wound lasts a lifetime." 

Julian "Trev" Silvester, the Marquis of Trevelin, once had everything a gentleman could want--fortune, good looks, and enough charm to seduce the beautiful young ladies of the ton.But after a duel with a jealous duke leaves him disfigured, Trev is ostracized by those who once celebrated him. Though his life is irrevocably changed, Trev is still loyal to his friends. When Willy Gilbert is accused of murder and Lady Vawdrey's diamond necklace is stolen, he jumps at the chance to help them.

As the two cases merge, however, Trev finds an unlikely ally in Miss Desdemona Woodmansey. She's the only young lady who doesn't seem put off by his scar and the scandal of the duel. But as their investigation into the murder reveals just how treacherous the mask of polite society can be, both Trev and Desdemona are placed in grave danger. Trev has already lived through the disgrace of a scandal, but can he survive a murderer who will do anything to protect a sinister secret?

Other books by Heidi Ashworth, all of which are linked here:
Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind
Miss Delacourt Has Her Day
Lord Haversham Takes Command
Lady Crenshaw's Christmas
O'er the River Liffey


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Benedictine Mesa: Congrats Grads!

A year ago this fall I started teaching Communication Law at Benedictine University in Mesa, which is an extension of the main campus in Illinois. Several of my students were seniors in that 300 level class. They are part of the first graduating class of the campus, as shown in this fun graduation video. I love teaching and it is exciting to see these great students start out in life. I can't wait to see all they accomplish!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

How to Get Your Kids to Listen

I have been blessed with three amazing kids. They are certainly not perfect, but they do a great job in school, at home, and at church. There are times I have to repeat myself because they are distracted, or because they may not like what I am asking, but getting them to listen and follow through works better with a few tips and tricks. Maybe they will work for you, too.



1. Limit What You Say

Sometimes as a mom I find myself getting into long diatribes or lectures explaining over and over again why something needs to be done. If there is a chore or activity that needs to happen on a regular basis, this can be an easy trap for parents to fall into. Kids know what is needed and will tune out parents who go on and on. Instead of diving into another full on explanation of what needs to be done, just give one reminder word or phrase. For example, instead of saying, "It's time for scripture study. Get in here now so we don't make your brother late for school," just say, "Scripture time!"



2. Explain the Consequences

Because the human brain is not fully developed until the early 20's, often kids do not foresee consequences of their actions. As the parent, explaining what can happen as a result of poor behavior can help kids to listen--especially if you have firsthand experience. For even littler kids, you may need to show consequences. For example, when my oldest repeatedly climbed up on the kitchen table (despite my repeated, "No!"), I gave up talking and put him in the play pen (which he disliked) to show him a consequence. After five or six times of being removed from the table and placed straight into the play pen, he stopped his climbing.



3. Let Them Be Part of the Decision

Agency is such an important part of growing up. If you take away too much of it, kids will sneak and cheat. The better way is to let you kids participate in some of the decision process. My middle child is getting older and we are needing to let her have some more freedoms. Now that school is out she wants to stay out late nearly every night of the week, which really does not work for me or her dad. We had a discussion with her explaining how her late hours was impacting us as parents. After listening to her side of things, we have set new summer guidelines, which she has supported. Involving her has helped get her cooperation.



4. Name Feelings

When kids are crying or throwing a tantrum they are trying to draw attention to their needs. I have found when I take the time to listen and state back what is being expressed, my kids calm down faster. For example, when my youngest complains to me, crying, about not getting a turn on the iPad, it is easy to fall into the trap of telling her not to cry or to yell at the sibling. But over the years I have learned it is better to say, "You seem sad and frustrated," and then follow up with, "What would you like to do?" This way they feel heard and have a choice about what to do about their feelings.



5. Eye Contact

Sometimes I act pretty distracted as a mom, which makes my kids think they can slide things by me pretty easily. However, when I can get their full attention--pause the movie, put down the phone, turn down the music--and speak to them with direct eye contact, then I get better results. At times a written list or note may have to suffice, but eye contact works well.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

FHE: Christlike Attributes #2

Note: This month I am highlighting some of the Christlike Attributes lessons from my book MTC at Home. Although this book is primarily designed to help prepare future missionaries for service, the lessons--all based on Preach My Gospel (PMG)--work really well for FHE. Want to receive notification of future lessons to be posted in this series? Like my Facebook page.


Christlike Attribute #2: Hope

Purpose: To demonstrate the importance of living life with the optimism of hope.

Scripture: “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God” (Ether 12:4).

Hymns: “The Light Divine” (Hymns no. 305), “Hope of Israel” (Hymns no. 259).

PMG Quote: “Hope is an abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promises to you. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance” (p. 117).

Key Term: Hope – “The confident expectation of and longing for the promised blessings of righteousness. The scriptures often speak of hope as anticipation of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.”[1]

Lesson: In 1859, the British ship Alacrity encountered dense fog while transporting Latter-day Saint pioneers between South Africa and Boston. Visibility was extremely low, and the Saints, fearing for their lives, prayed and fasted for divine assistance. Because he was unable to navigate the ship by the stars, the captain climbed to the top of the mast to search for an opening in the fog. Suddenly the mist cleared long enough for him to see sandbars off of Nantucket, straight ahead. He had just enough time to change the ship’s course and avoid disaster.

The miracle experienced by the Saints on the Alacrity is one of many inspiring stories of those who crossed oceans and plains in their hope to reach Zion. Despite tremendous afflictions, including sickness, malnutrition, exposure, and exhaustion, most pioneers remained optimistic and determined. This type of attitude is what Nephi described as “having a perfect brightness of hope.”

Hope, a trait deeply entwined with faith and charity, is what helps us to look past our daily difficulties toward a happier future. Hope increases with the nearness of the spirit and is important because it helps us trust in the Lord while enduring to the end. Those without hope struggle through trials and often give up. President Ezra Taft Benson taught that hope is an anchor to the souls of men. Those with deep and abiding hope will see “divine pattern and purpose”[2] no matter what trials or blessings life may bring.

Exercises: Prayerfully select one or more of the following exercises to supplement the lesson.

Ñ Teach: Explain the principle of hope and why it is important.

˜ Testify: Describe a personal experience or feelings you have about having hope in Christ.

? Invite: Practice inviting those you teach to make commitments related to having hope (i.e., repenting).

® Role Play: Use the following question to role play a gospel discussion with a friend or family member. “Why is it important to have hope?” 

Open Your Mouth: In the upcoming week, start a gospel conversation with someone by asking them, “How do you maintain hope with all the bad things happening in the world?” Probe to learn what specific behaviors they feel are necessary to build hope in Christ.

Activity: Place several household objects (e.g. key, pencil, small toy, etc.) inside separate socks. Tie a knot in the top of each sock or secure with a twist tie. Give each family member a pen and paper. Pass the socks around, allowing each person to feel the contents. The player writes his/her guess of what is in each sock. Show the contents of the socks after everyone has written down their guesses. Remind family members the scriptures tell us to have “hope for things which are not seen, which are true” (Alma 32:32).[3]

Additional Resources: 1. There are numerous conference talks on hope, including “The Infinite Power of Hope” by Dieter F. Uchtdorf (October 2008), “The Joy of Hope Fulfilled” by M. Russell Ballard (October 1992), and “Brightness of Hope” by Neal A. Maxwell (October 1994). 2. A poem, “Hope”, was published in the September 2010 Friend magazine. 3. “Good Things to Come” is a Mormon Channel video based on a personal story about hope told by Jeffrey R. Holland.



[1] “Hope,” The Guide to the Scriptures, lds.org
[2] Neal A. Maxwell, “‘Brightness of Hope’,” Ensign, Nov 1994, 34
[3] Gibby, Shauna, "FHE: Hope," LDS Living, October 1, 2010

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Mini Car Memories

One of the most memorable Christmas gifts given to my family growing up was a mini car. It was a black roadster convertible with orange and red flames along the sides. It sat just one person and ran on a lawn mower type engine. I think it must have driven as fast as 10 mph, so it was a fun time to ride in it.

The mini car was given to us by my mom's boss, Dean Jensen. I think it must have been about 1980. He brought it over on Christmas Eve, but my parents kept it hidden until Christmas morning. When they told us to go look on the front porch for a fun surprise, I remember at first I didn't see it and was confused by the instruction. But after seeing it and getting to drive in it, the mini car easily became a family favorite.

When we first learned to drive it, we took it to a nearby parking lot to practice. My dad started the practice of standing in front of the car while the driver stepped out and a new one stepped in. Since no one was holding down the brake pedal to keep the car in place, my dad's position helped keep the mini car from moving.

Of course, those watching would often get impatient for their turn. One time Jeff impatiently called to James that his time was up; but he went ignored. So on one lap Jeff decided to block the path of the mini car, kind of like dad did, in hopes of ending James's turn. But James didn't slow down to end his turn. He just ran right over Jeff and kept driving. Luckily poor Jeff was not seriously injured.

After having the mini car for a while my mom signed us up to drive it (and a few other mini cars belonging to the Jensens) in a parade. We dressed up like clowns and drove along throwing candy to the children in the crowds. Sometimes I would ride on the back of the roadster throwing candy and waving while Jeff would drive. Another time I have a big bouquet of heart-shaped balloons.

While doing a double wave with my hands I blocked my face... oh, well.

My mom often made us costumes and made these clown ones (even the wigs!), too.

I think we were in three or four parades doing this; we would borrow two of the Jensen's mini cars and have some friends help us. Fred Crum is sitting behind Jeff in the black truck. I am not sure who the Raggedy Ann is to James's Raggedy Andy... maybe a ward member.



We owned the mini car for at least five years. Apparently, it was ruined when Jeff and a friend ran it into a light pole. Still, having the mini car was one of the fun memories of my childhood.