Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Today Kitty (middle daughter, not cat) woke up with a low grade fever. I kept her home until lunch time for observation. By then she was feeling fine. The mystery fever has not returned (yet?).

Today Patch got to skip out of school a few hours early to attend a spring training game with his grandpa (Cubs vs. "red uniform guys"; Cubs lost). He loved it!

Today I took Sweetie Peach to the park for lunch. We met up with a few little friends and had a fun time. I got a little sun on my face I noticed later... which my pasty white skin kinda needed.

Today I watched a little bit of Pride and Prejudice on YouTube. Just the good parts. Although Mr. Darcy is the main romantic lead, I have to agree with Becky that I would much rather be married to Mr. Bingley. He has a positive, happy personality that would be great for a spouse.

Tonight I took the kids and met my parents and younger brother + family for dinner at Mimi's Cafe. The food looked delish, but took a long time to get to the table (surprising because there was hardly anyone in the restaurant). We had a fun time talking though. And the kids were all well behaved despite the extra wait.

Now, I am off to bed. I am very tired and ready for a good night's rest. Good night!

Scripture of the Day: Psalms 24:3-5

Monday, March 30, 2009

Free Summer Fun in AZ

Starting April 1st 2009 - April 1st 2010, using what is called a "Culture Pass", you can get a group of 4 into the following places for FREE:
AZ Museum for Youth
AZ Museum of Natural History
AZ Science Center
The Bead Museum
Cave Creek Museum
Childrens Museum of Phoenix
Desert Botanical Garden
Heard Museum
Mesa Contemporary Arts
Phoenix Art Museum
Phoenix Zoo
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
Taliesin West

All you need is a library card in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Chandler, Mesa, Tempe OR Glendale. Go to any one of these libraries and ask to check out a pass for the particular place you would like to go. You will be given a pass for 4 that basically just expires after 7 days so you don't have to return it or anything! Go anytime from April 1st 2009 - April 1st 2010 and enjoy cold museum A/C with the family for FREE!

Check out http://www.showup.com/culturepass for more information, fun activities, and direct links to the participating libraries!

General Conference Bingo

Last year I posted this list of quiet activity ideas kids could do during General Conference. Today I made this General Conference BINGO game board for kids to use as they listen to the conference talks. You could also use this as a fun FHE game to review the themes of General Conference by having family members search for the BINGO topics in the Conference issue of the Ensign. If you would like the .pdf file of this game board send me an e-mail or leave me a comment with your e-mail and I would be happy to send it out.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 138:47-48

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Year of Miracles #49

This week I am really grateful for the miracles modern medicine affords us. Sweetie Peach had a bad allergic reaction a week or so ago and with the help of medication she was fine within a few days. And on Saturday I woke up with a terrible headache. Without taking medicine, my day would have been shot--in fact I took medicine and the headache came back later that day. But the temporary relief I had gave me the time I needed to get a lot done and take care of my family. Little things like that happen all the time, really. But lately I have noticed it more and have felt more appreciation for this miracle.

DIY #4

(Above) Before, we had been grabbing the toilet paper from a shelf above and behind the toilet. This has been the case for about five years.

Now, we are NORMAL! And I installed this all myself. This is the first time I have been able to use a drill without causing damage rather than completing the task at hand. Yay for me!

Estimated project cost: $5 (I went with the cheapest version)

Estimated project time: 45 minutes (including trip to Home Depot to buy the holder)

Scripture of the Day: Mark 6:46

Friday, March 27, 2009

Police Beat #34

Happy Friday All!

March 21: A female student reported her bumper sticker missing from her vehicle parked in lot 2 that read “Pro Family, Pro Obama.”

(Comment: Likely it was confiscated as false advertising after Obama signed that abortion funding bill.)

March 21: A man drinking a bottle of rum in the Harris Fine Arts Center was not found by Police.

(Comment: Also not found in the HFAC: pink elephants bouncing on pogo sticks.)

March 19: Police found a crashed BYU grounds truck at the NCWA track. The stolen truck was crashed into a retaining wall after a suspected joy ride.

(Comment: Joyful for who? Crash test dummies?)

March 19: A white male wearing only blue and yellow spandex shorts was reported running into cars to scare the occupants on Heritage Drive at 11 p.m. He was gone when police arrived.

(Comment: He didn't have to run into cars to scare people; the spandex shorts were definitely scary enough.)

March 21: Graffiti that read “S and N” was written across the BYU logo at the entrance to the soccer field.

(Comment: Those soccer fans are definitely true romantics at heart.)

March 21: The body of the cougar statue at LaVell Edwards Stadium was found sprayed with the phrase “Rent Me” in shaving cream. The eyes were filled with the cream, too.

(Comment: It must have looked like a cougar in sheep's clothing. Just the ideal party decoration to rent for your Easter festivities!)

Scripture of the Day: Isaiah 18:3

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Top Ten

I once went to see the David Letterman Show live in New York with my friend Kim. We were working in NY as interns through the BYU Communications department and decided to see if we could get in through the stand-by line. Surprisingly, we made it in! The show was fun, though the chair I was assigned to sit in was broken. Although I am too much of a morning person to stay up late and watch the show now, I love the Top Ten lists from the show. Here is a funny one I was laughing about today. Enjoy!

Top 10 Slogans for the Wonderbra

10. "The Quicker Picker-Upper"

9. "Looks Great, More Filling"

8. "No More Rolled-up Tube Socks"

7. "Does More Lifting and Separating by 8:00 a.m. Than Most Bras Do All Day"

6. "Can Be Used As a Flotation Device"

5. "Much Better Than That Awful Bread" [Edited for cleaner content]

4. "No More Bothersome Eye Contact!"

3. "Say Good-bye to Masking Tape and Staples!"

2. "It's Not Your Father's Wonderbra"

1. "Leave It to Cleavage!"

Scripture of the Day: 1 Nephi 17:7

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm dreaming of a white...

This cool picture of the Mesa, Arizona Temple was taken by my husband's grandfather, Grant William Magleby. It was taken in the 1920s at some point--My MIL (photographer's daughter) is not exactly sure when. The Mesa temple was not finished until 1927, so likely that year or shortly thereafter (Note: I later learned, according to a local weatherman, the date of this snow was January 21, 1937). She also has a picture of her mother holding a big snowball in front of the temple from the same photo shoot.

Go here to download this picture from lds.org as wallpaper for your computer.

Scripture of the Day: 2 Ne. 12:2-3

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Letting the Leader Lead

A few years ago this scripture/prayer tip was given by a sweet neighbor of mine during Relief Society. She told how she was frustrated her husband would never call the family together for scripture study or prayer--and that she always felt compelled to do so in order to make sure these important activities happened. But doing so felt like she was usurping his priesthood responsibility in the home. After pondering this problem and praying about it, one evening she asked her husband, "Would you like me to call the family together now for family prayer?" To her surprise, he responded, "No." She wondered if maybe this was the wrong strategy to employ. But a few minutes later he told her he was ready and asked her to call the family together. And this is the pattern she has followed ever since.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 110:1-4

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Year of Miracles #48

This past Friday we had a miracle in my family that I am so grateful happened! My older brother, James, a designer living in Phoenix, was the victim of a home invasion at gun point. He was home at the time when two men broke into his condo and held him up. The miracle is that my brother was not seriously injured and his home was not terribly damaged. They stole his iPhone, his watch, a computer, and some other items that could be carried easily. But my brave brother stood up to them and would not let them take his car. Like I said, it is a miracle he was kept safe. I guess those prayers for "no harm or accident" really are helping.

Scripture of the Day: Psalms 27:4

Saturday, March 21, 2009

DIY #3

(Above) This is the before shot. The wallpaper has needed to be removed for some time. We did about a third of the kitchen two years ago. But that was on the heels of removing wallpaper in three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and the dining room. Needless to say we were burned out. So The kitchen has been half wallpapered ever since.

This being spring break I took advantage of having the kids home and had them all spend 10 minutes a day peeling wallpaper. They were then rewarded with a chocolate. They did not seem to mind helping and it made the work go faster.

(Above) This is the wall all stripped as of this morning. Next step: painting to match the rest of the kitchen.

(Above) As you can see, I have a boring "brown sugar" color in there. With the pink counter tops there is little leeway left for wall color. I am considering a stencil though. Any ideas?

(Above) And the finished product. Yay!

Estimated time: 5 hours

Estimated cost: $6 for 1/2 gallon of paint I bought more than 2 years ago.

And the bonus: I asked Steve to get the paint out and stir it for me so I could use it. He got the wrong can out (white, not brown sugar). When I pointed out the error he decided to take advantage of having the white paint out and do the hallway!! Yippee! This is the start of another item on my DIY list. He also did the wall in the bathroom where we had had to redo some drywall (also another item on my DIY list). So I am feeling great today about all the accomplishments we got done around here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Police Beat #33

Hope your Spring Break has been going great! Happy Friday!

March 10: A 13-year-old female stole a $5.95 mood ring from the BYU Bookstore. The juvenile was released to the custody of her mother.

(Comment: I'll bet the mom was not in a good mood afterward.)

March 10: A faculty member reported losing $5000 in cash somewhere on campus between Mar. 5 and 6. The money is in $100 bills in an envelope with the UCCU logo.

(Comment: Seriously? "Somewhere on campus"? During a two-day time period? Who carries around cash like that? I didn't know Bill Gates now teaches at BYU.)

March 12: A diamond ring was found outside the HBLL and turned in to police. Owners can claim the item by coming to the police with a description of the ring.

(Comment: Single ladies wishing to claim the ring can line up at the police station in the lobby. Current wait times are roughly two hours.)

March 13: A student walking near the Crabtree Building reported being hit in the face by a small hard object thrown from a passing car. The student discovered the object to be a Skittle. The victim got the license plate of the car, but the owner of the car denied any involvement in the incident.

(Comment: If only the victim had not eaten the Skittle maybe fingerprints on it could have proven the car driver was guilty.)

Mar. 15: Police received a call of a male student standing on a small ledge outside the second floor window of Budge Hall. The student was gone when police arrived.

(Comment: Maybe he had already jumped... or went to find a higher ledge. Did they check the Kimball Tower ledges?)

Scripture of the Day: Habakkuk 2:20

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Prison-Temple Experience

I recently read "Lessons From Liberty Jail," an address given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland for a BYU CES fireside. You may recall my adoration of all things Elder Holland, but this is one of his best ever (I think). To go along with our monthly theme, the following quote discusses how Joseph Smith's experience in Liberty Jail was a temple-like experience. Enjoy!

"Most of us, most of the time, speak of the facility at Liberty as a “jail” or a “prison”—and certainly it was that. But Elder Brigham H. Roberts, in recording the history of the Church, spoke of the facility as a temple, or, more accurately, a “prison-temple.” ...Certainly it lacked the purity, the beauty, the comfort, and the cleanliness of our true temples, our dedicated temples. The speech and behavior of the guards and criminals who came there was anything but templelike. In fact, the restricting brutality and injustice of this experience at Liberty would make it seem the very antithesis of the liberating, merciful spirit of our temples and the ordinances that are performed in them. So in what sense could Liberty Jail be called a “temple”—or at least a kind of temple—in the development of Joseph Smith personally and in his role as a prophet? And what does such a title tell us about God’s love and teachings, including where and when that love and those teachings are made manifest?

"As we think on these things, does it strike us that spiritual experience, revelatory experience, sacred experience can come to every one of us in all the many and varied stages and circumstances of our lives if we want it, if we hold on and pray on, and if we keep our faith strong through our difficulties?...

"But tonight’s message is that when you have to, you can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experience with the Lord in any situation you are in. Indeed, let me say that even a little stronger: You can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experience with the Lord in the most miserable experiences of your life—in the worst settings, while enduring the most painful injustices, when facing the most insurmountable odds and opposition you have ever faced.

"Now let’s talk about those propositions for a moment. Every one of us, in one way or another, great or small, dramatic or incidental, is going to spend a little time in Liberty Jail—spiritually speaking. We will face things we do not want to face for reasons that may not have been our fault. Indeed, we may face difficult circumstances for reasons that were absolutely right and proper, reasons that came because we were trying to keep the commandments of the Lord. We may face persecution; we may endure heartache and separation from loved ones; we may be hungry and cold and forlorn. Yes, before our lives are over we may all be given a little taste of what the prophets faced often in their lives. But the lessons of the winter of 1838–39 teach us that every experience can become a redemptive experience if we remain bonded to our Father in Heaven through that difficulty. These difficult lessons teach us that man’s extremity is God’s opportunity, and if we will be humble and faithful, if we will be believing and not curse God for our problems, He can turn the unfair and inhumane and debilitating prisons of our lives into temples—or at least into a circumstance that can bring comfort and revelation, divine companionship and peace."

Scripture of the Day: D&C 133:2

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

Yesterday for Steve's birthday he made his own cake. I would not have minded making it myself, but he enjoys experimenting in the kitchen now and then. And baking cakes and cookies is his most preferred type of experiment. It looked like a delicious cake, but I did not have even one bite as my weigh-in is today. But I thought I would share the recipe. He served it with homemade vanilla ice cream.

1 C. Buttermilk
6 T. Unsalted butter
1 1/4 C. Flour
1 C. plus 2 T. Sugar
1/3 C. Unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t. Baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 Large egg, beaten
1 t. Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a smal, heavy bottomed pot combine buttermilk and butter. Place over medium heat; stir often until butter melts. Remove and let cool for 15 minutes. Meanwhile in another bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

After buttermilk has cooled, add beaten egg and vanilla; mix well. Add wet ingredients all at once to dry ingredients. Wisk until combined and then beat briskly until almost smooth. Pour into cake 9" rounds.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Do not overbake. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Then invert onto a cooling rack and remove pan. Turn right-side up and let cool completely. Decorate as desired.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 42:36

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spring Break Craziness

Spring break has started and the craziness came with it. Sweetie Peach is having a bad allergic reaction to something--what exactly we do not know. But she has a rash all over and her face is quite swollen. She also has a high temperature. At first I thought maybe it was chicken pox. So I got her to the doctor this morning and they called in several other doctors to get three opinions on her condition. Their conclusion was the allergic reaction, which in a way is a relief because of the contagiousness. I will run to the store here shortly to get two prescriptions filled for her. (Have to blog about it all first, ya know :-).

Besides that craziness, today is my DH's birthday and we have some family coming over for cake and ice cream tonight. Which means a lot of cleaning has to take place today. And i have not bought him even one gift yet. Not that he ever wants anything much, but I don't want him to feel totally neglected. Maybe while I am getting the prescriptions I can pick him up something.

Anyway, I hope your spring break is going well. Or if you are not on break yet that you are enjoying some spring break-like weather.

Scripture of the Day: Alma 7:21

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Year of Miracles #47

Friday was stake temple day and we were asked to try and participate as much as possible. I really wanted to go, but was not sure how to work it into the day. I needed to go weigh-in in the morning, then I had two Art Masterpiece lessons to teach in the early afternoon (with an hour between them). I did not want to go in the evening because I knew it would be busy; besides, my mom was going to be stopping by my house about dinner time.

I decided the only window of time I had was right after the kids got out of school. If I could hit the 3:30 p.m. session I could be home before dinner. But it was tricky--I had to run the afternoon carpool and school did not end until 3:00. So I got all ready for the mad dash and had my temple bag in the van. It is all a blur now, but somehow I got the kids all dropped off, made it down to the temple, got changed, and made it to the 3:30 session. I thought afterward that it was definitely a miracle that I made it there and it worked out.

Scripture of the Day: Luke 24:53

Saturday, March 14, 2009

DIY #2

There is a 22' long plant shelf in my family room. For the past nine months the light up there has been burned out.



I am not happy the light is more yellow there than on the sides. But at least it is working now. And, yes, that vase is the sole decoration I have up there.

Estimated project time: 1 hour

Estimated project cost: $9

Scripture of the Day: Malachi 3:1

Friday, March 13, 2009

Police Beat #32

Have a Great Weekend!

March 4: A female student was cited and released for retail theft after stealing $14 worth of sewing supplies, Scotch tape, Crazy Glue and candy bars from the Wilkinson Center.

(Comment: Sewing supplies, Scotch tape, Crazy Glue, and candy: $14; Being featured in the Police Beat report: priceless!)

March 9: A suspicious male in his 40s or 50s suspected of stealing laundry from Wymount Terrace was called in. He was gone when police arrived.

(Comment: Those Wymount Terrace residents must wear really nice clothes since there seems to be a lot of laundry thieves up there.)

March 7: A male in his 30s, with long stringy hair, entering the lobbies of Heritage Halls was passing out fliers that offered math and French help. Police told him he was not welcome on campus.

(Comment: Maybe if his hair was in compliance with the Honor Code he would be welcome on campus. C'est la vie!)

March 7: A wife reported her husband missing from Wymount Terrace, but he returned home before police arrived.

(Comment: Guess who's sleeping on the couch tonight?)

March 4: Police found profane graffiti at the BYU Creamery construction site.

(Comment: Sounds like the police found a bunch of bull.)

Scripture of the Day: Psalms 5:7

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mormons Made Simple

Here is a fun video to show your kids about the Book of Mormon. It is simple, sweet, and so clear even your nursery age kids will understand it. Made by the folks at Mormons Made Simple, this video is a great help for young families. They also have other videos worth checking out. I am particularly excited for their upcoming video on the restoration of the gospel. Enjoy!

Scripture of the Day: 2 Chronicles 27:2

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Book Review: Tower of Strength

To go along with my temple theme this month I have a treat for all my readers: a book review of Annette Lyon's newly released work Tower of Strength! Tower is the fourth in Annette's historical novel series about the early latter-day temples (previous volumes include one on the St. George temple, one on the Logan temple, and one on the Salt Lake temple that is also a retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing).

The latter work was what initially drew me to Annette Lyon's books--my closest friends know I am a big Shakespeare fan and that I loved the film Much Ado (I even own the sound track). But after reading just one of her books I had to read more. So I was incredibly honored when Annette asked me to review her new book and be a stop on her blog tour.

But before I get too far, here is the description of Tower of Strength from the back of the book:

"It was 1877 when Tabitha Hall Chadwick left Manti as a young bride. Now, nearly seven years later, she returns as a widow with her young son to make a new beginning. Tabitha's strained relationship with her mother–in–law adds more difficulty to her life as a single working mother. Yet with a stroke of courage, Tabitha makes two purchases that become her passions: the local newspaper and a traumatized horse.

"As she struggles to meet the challenges of her new roles, Tabitha welcomes the friendship of Samuel, a recently widowed British immigrant. Working together to train the abused horse, the two discover a second chance at love. But when Samuel is critically injured during the construction of the Manti Temple, Tabitha faces the pain of old wounds and the risk of new ones.

"Weaving themes of loss and renewal, this poignant tale explores a vital choice each of us must make: to seek safety in isolation or to embrace the painful yet beautiful complexities of life and love."

Now on to the review. Overall, I thought Tower of Strength was my favorite of all of Annette's writings thus far. The plot is surprisingly relevant to modern day despite being historical. And the characters were well-rounded and likable. Details regarding the time period and the building of the Manti temple (i.e., the continual explosions to mine stone) were genuinely interesting without overwhelming the rest of the plot line.

One of the things I loved most about Tower of Strength was the emotional truthfulness I felt the main character, Tabitha, possessed. In the book Tabitha is widowed very early in her marriage and at a young age. The challenging impact this turn in her life brings lasts for years down the road as Tabitha tries to sort out her emotions and make the best of things. Some authors may have assumed seven years might have healed their main character after experiencing such a traumatic event. Annette Lyon does not make this assumption, but instead uses the lingering pain to add depth to the Tabitha's character and the overall plot.

Additionally, Tower of Strength uses some beautiful symbolism I thoroughly enjoyed. When you read it {and I know you will :-}, pay close attention to the symbolism of Mantia (Tabitha's horse). I can tell Annette put a lot of time, thought, and effort into the details of Mantia's character. Trying to catch all the symbolism was half the fun of reading the book.

In celebration of the release of Tower of Strength author Annette Lyon is having a week of giveaways on her blog. She has some GREAT stuff -- including a CD-rom copy of my book (Adventures with the Word of God), jewelry, a new blog design, a gift pack from Urban Organic Parfume, some darling baby products, music, and a gift basket of chocolate goodies. Head on over there asap to get yourself entered!

But if you are not lucky enough to win a copy of Tower of Strength, be sure to go out and buy it. I know you will love it!

Scripture of the Day: 2 Samuel 22:7

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Listening to the Scriptures

Sometimes while doing housework, working on easy computer stuff, or just because, I will listen to the scriptures on the Internet. I also know of others who have downloaded the scriptures onto their iPod or MP3 player. Still another way to listen is to use CDs available at church bookstores. Regardless of which way you choose, listening to scriptures has its benefits for family scripture study:
  1. Listening helps family members hear proper pronunciation of names, places, and other challenging words or phrases.
  2. Listening helps family members move through the scriptures somewhat faster, thereby gaining a better grasp of the overall story lines.
  3. Listening helps to eliminate contention or frustration of family members (that whole taking turns process can cause a lot of parental grief!).
  4. Listening can help families keep on track if they are trying to meet a deadline with their reading (like during a summer challenge).
  5. Listening allows families to multi-task (i.e., eat breakfast simultaneously).
Please note that I do not recommend using listening to the scriptures as a long-term study strategy. Little --and big-- minds are too apt to wander. But I highly espouse varying scripture study strategies every so often to help keep up family interest. Using the aforementioned listening resources as one of these strategies, especially if family members follow along in their own scriptures, can be great.

To listen to the scriptures off the Internet without downloading, go here and click on chapter headings. If you would like to download the scriptures for free from lds.org, go here and click on the compressed files shown. And you can purchase the scriptures on CD-rom from the Church Distribution Services at this site.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 127:4

Monday, March 9, 2009


Today marks 13 years of marriage with my hubby. Here are 13 things I appreciate about him {in no particular order}:

1. He does laundry and irons his own clothes

2. He takes care of his mom's household needs

3. He makes up hilarious stories for our kids at bedtime

4. He is building the kids a tree house

5. He is a hard worker

6. He is great at fixing things--even broken garage door springs

7. He makes brownies in the night after I go to sleep so he isn't tempting me

8. He is very cautious with money

9. He makes very yummy lemon BBQ chicken

10. He has served willingly/happily in the nursery for over 6 years

11. He has an off-beat sense of humor

12. He does his home teaching every month

13. He does a great job of taking care of our home and kids

Scripture of the Day: Revelations 21:22

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Year of Miracles #46

A few weeks ago I read about this miracle from my nephew (currently serving his mission in Madagascar) and thought I would share. I hope you enjoy both the miracle and the message.

"There is this one member in our area that is super diligent. He gave us this referral for his aunt (Neny). She just lost her leg to diabetes and so has felt the need for religion. She used to sell things in the market but because of her leg she can't work anymore. We have been teaching her for a while but she hasn't been able to come to church because of missing a leg. This last Thursday we had a really good time with her. We taught her about faith and how if we have faith we can do anything. We then asked her if she was going to come to church. She told us she would try but because of her missing leg she couldn't make the money to pay for the bus. We asked her if there was any work that she could look for and again she told us that it was impossible because of her leg. It kind of left us in a bad spot because we couldn't pay it for her and her relatives couldn't afford it either. Then we told her that if she would try as hard as she could to find the money before and have faith that there would be a way prepared for her. She tried throughout the week but didn't see any money. Despite that she and her granddaughter got ready for Sunday. They got dressed up and met the member at the bus stop not knowing ow to get there. All the buses were full and they thought they were going to have to walk. Just as they were about to go a neighbor of theirs who was passing by in a taxi offered to take them right next to the church since he was going there anyway. They made it to church and we were so excited. My companion Elder Rossiter carried her up the four stories to the sacrament room. It was so amazing to see her act on her faith and to see how the Lord will bless us if we try.

"To add onto that there is an inactive who is also missing a leg that we have been teaching recently. The past two weeks he has been at church despite the distance and the hardships. He even gets himself up the four stories. They are real faith builders. It is interesting to me to see how Neny had to look hard first and then put her trust in the Lord even though see couldn't see at the time how the Lord would answer their prayer. We too have to act on our faith first doing all that we can and even if it doesn't seem like there is a way to continue and the Lord will prepare a path for us."

Scripture of the Day: Ezekiel 6:2-3

Saturday, March 7, 2009

DIY #1

A week or so ago I hosted some friends over for an evening soiree. A day or so before I started thinking of all the little things I wished I had time to do before the get-together. But of course with all the general life happenings and party preparation, I only had time to care care of one or two of them. What was most annoying was that a number of them were quick, inexpensive and easy items to do (when not preparing for an event, that is).

Afterward I sat down and wrote a list of ten more little DIY projects I needed to get done. And I have committed to myself to get busy. Now that 99% of my new book has been sent off to the publisher I have more time to think about such projects.

Today was project #1: The back door curtain

The problem with this project was that there is an auto-close feature on the top of the door that makes it so the curtain rod has to be hung slightly crooked. That bothered me. For a long time {4+ years} I had pillow cases tacked up with thumb tacks (sorry for the lack of a before picture). Something had to be there because the window caused a glare on the TV screen. But what to do about the curtain rod???

Finally, I decided I could live with it slightly crooked, but was unable to find the right size sheer to fit the window. According to the JC Penney window treatment specialist they do not make sheers for the half window door {what's up with that?}. So today I spent 45 minutes shortening an extra sheer I already had in my linen closet and then had Steve put up the hardware for it.

Total project cost was approximately $5.

Total project time was about 1 hour.

Scripture of the Day: Isaiah 2:2-3

Friday, March 6, 2009

Is Friday night movie night at your house?

Don't you wish you could watch this film tonight?

Police Beat #31

Happy Friday!
Hope Your Weekend is Fabulous!

March 2: A female student reported that her car, parked near Helaman Halls, had been picked up and moved into two parking stalls.

(Comment: Freshmen! Really she was just too embarrassed to admit she just got her license and she's still lousy at parking.)

Feb. 26: Police received a call from a resident of Taylor Hall who had been approached by a freelance member of the media. The man was filming student responses to questions about the LDS faith and wanted to put the film on MTV. The man said he was unaware of campus filming restrictions and left

(Comment: Michael Moore is always pulling stunts like that!)

March 2: A female student reported magazine solicitors knocked on her door at Wyview Park on Feb. 18 and told her they were trying to earn points to go on a cruise. The men said that if she wrote a check for a magazine subscription, they would get the points and she could cancel the check the next day. The female wrote a check for $213 to “Face to Face Technologies.” She called to cancel the check the next day, but found the check had already been cashed.

(Comment: That $213 will be great souvenir money on that cruise.)

Feb. 27: An elderly man was walking with two Chihuahuas when one of them got loose and began running around the Talmage Building. Police were unable to find the dog.

(Comment: Poor dog! Click here for a picture of the missing dog. Seriously.)

Feb. 25: A Wymount Terrace resident called police to report that two men were behind building 12C. The caller thought the men might be homeless. Police responded and found the men were grounds employees.

(Comment: Those grounds workers need to dress more professionally so those Wymount residents don't confuse them with homeless people. Suits and ties ought to do the trick.)

Scripture of the Day: John 8:2

Thursday, March 5, 2009

We Believe...

Patch is 11 and working on getting the last of his Articles of Faith memorized so he can wrap up his Faith in God requirements. He has passed off about five of them (the easy ones, of course), so we have added the remaining ones to our morning family scripture study to help his memorization process move along.

I have made word strips of each Article of Faith, which I have posted in our kitchen (just one A of F at a time, same one all week long). We have been reading out loud the words together a few times each morning and then discussing meaning/importance.

Tomorrow I think I will gradually start removing some of the phrases to see how well it is sticking in my kids' minds.

I have not been taking advantage of the Primary songs yet--which I need to do. But I have also been looking for additional helps and thought I would share a few good things I have found.

The cute punch card shown above is available here. I may even print these up for my Activity Day girls.

About.com has some helpful clipart and puzzles for each of the Articles of Faith. They also have a test where you type in the missing words of the individual verses. I had fun testing my own knowledge this morning (and found I need a little refresher course myself!).

Sugardoodle (as usual) also has a great deal of resources and suggestions to help with learning the Articles of Faith.

I also found a nice poster on .pdf you can get for free from Mormon Share. It has the Articles of Faith printed over a portrait of Joseph Smith.

What other ideas have helped your kids memorize the Articles of Faith? Any and all suggestions are welcome!

Scripture of the Day: 1 Cor. 3:16-17

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Language of Nephi (Part 2)

by David G. Woolley

Editor’s Note: The staff here at Top of the Morning is excited about our second installment on the Language of Nephi. You can read Part I of this series right here. Thanks for joining us for another look at the Language of Nephi which we believe you'll enjoy even more if we sub-titled it the alphabet included logographic system. Don't worry. We'll explain.

The Book of Mormon mentions two languages, the Language of Nephi and the Language of the Egyptians. Were they related? Was one used by the Lamanites and the other by the Nephites? Or were they different names for essentially the same language? Were they a collection of written characters or a spoken tongue? To understand the obsession Book of Mormon scribes had for their language you may want to view language as they viewed it, as an almost exclusive reference to written characters. For ancient Nephites and Lamanites the spoken tongue was another matter, but it likely wasn't considered their language or what today linguists define as a system of symbols for communicating ideas.

Written language doesn't evolve as quickly as the spoken tongue, but changes do occur over time, influenced almost entirely by the more volatile changes in the phonetic language. Once the Nephites were established in the New World, the term Language of Nephi was a logical distinction for their evolving written language. Moroni’s declaration that their reformed Egyptian characters were influenced by changes in the spoken tongue is an authentic expectation of the written Nephite language evolving in geographic isolation from the mother script.

What we usually refer to as Egyptian hieroglyphics began as a collection of characters, each one representing a whole concept. Symbols were later developed to represent the sounds in the spoken language, what we call an alphabet. Instead of discarding the hieroglyphic characters for the newly developed alphabet, Egyptians combined the two by inserting letters from the alphabet alongside hieroglyphic characters. The result is what scholars refer to as the alphabet included logographic system. For three thousand years the Egyptians wrote in a jumble of phonetic and pictographic characters. Writing was a difficult skill to acquire and the ancient Egyptian school children fortunate enough to afford an education were schooled in the difficult skills of letters.

Egyptian children weren't the only students. Around 610 BC, Egypt reached its pinnacle of influence across the ancient world. Similar to the Lamanite educational experience, the written language of choice in Lehi's day was tied to economics. English in our modern world won that same enviable status. An understanding of Egyptian script carried with it the possibility of wealth and every Phoenician, Assyrian, Greek, Arab, and Babylonian clamored to learn the language of prosperity. Egyptian teachers found employment in the homes of wealthy Hebrews, Assyrians, Ethiopians, and Greek businessmen where they taught the language of commerce—the Language of the Egyptians. The Book of Mormon begins with a very authentic reference to the education of the sons of Lehi. Though Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Nephi spoke Hebrew, they were instructed in the written characters of Egyptian origin.

Chinese scripts, like the ones pictured above, and Mayan scripts pictured below, are further excelent examples of alphabet included logographic systems. In order to read the scripts you must first learn the meaning of hundreds of characters. It's a difficult challenge. It’s also considered an achievement. The difficulty inherent in these complex writing systems makes the spread of literacy in the general population difficult, but the numerous benefits include a sense of multilingual capacity. Chinese and Japanese speakers can't communicate orally, but since both groups use the same characters they can write to one another. Educated peoples of the ancient near east followed the same pattern. They spoke different languages, but they shared the same written characters.

Nephi spoke Hebrew, but wrote using Egyptian characters. A thousand years later it’s likely that Moroni knew nothing of Hebrew. In fact his name, Moroni, is a Jaredite name likely from the Zoquean/Olmec language spoken along the Atlantic Gulf Coast north of the narrow neck of land. It means one from Moron, the ancient Jaredite Capital and also the general location from which his father Mormon migrated to Zarahmela. Nephi's Hebrew tongue was swallowed up by the lingual tide of the much larger Meso American populations speaking the dominant dialects of the Pacific coastal highland regions. If spoken Hebrew survived all the way down to Moroni's day it was preserved among very few in the royal ruling class of Nephites--a difficult and highly unlikely preservation of a linguistic artifact that required a thousand years of vigilance. Throughout history the spoken tongue of the smaller population is nearly always lost in the language of the larger, dominant population and it’s likely that Moroni, if he were to meet Nephi, would not have been able to communicate orally. However, by using the alphabet included logographic system of the Language of Nephi, Moroni could have written to his prophet colleague.

It appears that the characters in the Language of Nephi were likely used by speakers of different tongues which would explain the fundamental lack of any reference for the need of interpreters as the Nephites governed what became a multilingual nation no later than 130 BC and likely as early as Nephi's inland migration from the Pacific coast to the highlands at the City of Nephi. This early multilingual diversity among Nephi and his people recalls the account of Sherem, an outsider who likely learned the phoenetic Hebrew tongue and the pictographic written Nephite script and used his acquired skills to study the Laws of Moses and his oral skills to counter the doctrines taught by the Prophet Jacob.

Ancient Meso Americans contemporary to the Nephite Civilization (580 BC to 400 AD) are refered to by archeologists as pre-classic Mayans (550 BC to 450 AD) living in southern Mexico and Guatemela. The overlapping time periods for the rise of these civilizations are identical and evidence from both cultures suggest their language systems were similar if not the same. The Mayans spoke hundreds of dialects in four major language groups. Quiche, Chol, Yucatec, and Tzeltal. We know that the Nephite and Lamanite civilizations, taken together, spoke at least three dialects. Nephite, Lamanite, and Mulekite. The Book of Mormon also hints at multiple spoken dialects among the Lamanites. And Alma's mission to the out-post city of Amonihah high in the Pacific Coastal mountains in the extreme northern territories of the Nephite Kingdom may have been, for him, a foreign language mission. Its likely that the larger Lamanite population spoke many languages. Despite their lingual diversity, Book of Mormon civilizations and Mayan civilizations used a similar alphabet included logographic system which may explain why Book of Mormon scribes remain silent about any need for translation when Nephites encountered Lamanites. It also explains the fascination for Lamanite scribes for teaching the written Language of Nephi throughout the Lamanite kingdom as a means to breakdown language barriers between multilingual subjects, improve communication, expand trade, and increase wealth.

The alphabet included logographic system of writing is beset with exponential ambiguity. Take the Egyptian character for Lotus flower. It’s also the character for the numerical concept of a thousand. And then there is the sheer problem with language capacity. Ancient scribes couldn't create pictures for every expression of thought. When they determined that the number of characters didn't begin to match the countless ideas requiring expression or the ever-expanding lexicon of words in the spoken language, Chinese, Mayan and Egyptian scribes did what Nephite and Lamanite scribes likely did. They assigned different meanings to the same characters. It was a formula for confusion and to fix the increasing number of ambiguities additional characters were placed alongside the characters of double meaning. It's a classic case of determinative modifiers. The additional characters provide the context, essentially requiring the reader to read the entire phrase in the text to understand the intended meaning of a single character or risk serious misunderstanding. Speed reading was next to impossible. Moroni was likely referring to this determinative modifier frustration when he very authentically recorded that wherefore, when we write we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words. (Ether 12:25)

Mayan writing lacked the same precision that elicited Moroni's complaint. Linguist Sir Eric Thompson informs us that, "the reader had to have a good background of mythology and folklore to comprehend the texts." It’s that same idea Nephi was trying to convey when he tells us that a background in Jewish culture was needed to understand the context of Isaiah's writings(2 Nephi 25: 1-2,5).

In Part I of this series I pointed out that Hebrew words, grammar and the conceptualization of Hebrew ideas has been identified in Mayan writing like the glyphs you see pictured below. That makes sense to readers of the Book of Mormon if indeed it was Hebrew speakers who introduced the new communication tool of a written language into a multilingual population already living in the Land of Nephi when Lehi and his family arrived. What has not been identified in Mayan writings is any Egyptian word or phrase. The lack of any Egyptian word would suggest caution on the part of researchers unless, of course, you consider the entire alphabet included logographic system of the Mayans nothing less than the prodigal son of the Egyptian mother language.

Join us next week for Part III of this series, the Language of Nephi, when we take a closer look at the beginnings of the Mayan Language at Kaminal Juyu in highland Guatemala around 550 BC and why, among many other factors, those Mayan glyphic writings like the ones you see pictured to the right, led Book of Mormon scholars to suggest this location as the original City of Nephi. The language that disseminated from this location was the civilizing force that catapulted Mayan culture into the most advanced civilization of the ancient New World. Is it possible that the Language of Nephi influenced the only ancient American culture between Alaska and Tierra Del Fuego to develop a written language? Join us next week when we explore the language artifacts surrounding the City of Nephi.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

An Update on Harrison

My nephew Harrison has been accepted to receive stem cell treatment from a German facility this upcoming summer. My brother and his family have been tremendously blessed for this upcoming trip. His boss has offered to pay for their lodging. And a client sent them a voucher for their flights (all six of them!). All of this kindness has been more than they or we ever expected and gratitude fills our hearts. We are so hopeful Harrison will see some improvement in his capabilities from the stem cell treatment. I will let you know what happens when it happens.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Dear Summer,

Your warm and inviting sunshine and breezes brought back many fond memories these past few days. Friday was so lovely and I was grateful for your lingering warmth of the day so my guests could lounge on the back patio, admire your sunset, and chat lingeringly as the evening wore on. Then Saturday I reveled in the sunny day you sent for the school carnival. There was a nice breeze and the brightness of the day matched the exciting atmosphere of the event. And the walk I took to choir practice on Sunday afternoon was truly a lovely experience.

But, my dear friend Summer, I have to admit I was grateful that the hour I spent volunteering at the carnival rock wall was time spent sheltered in the shade. As I pulled on and let out the rope for each mini-climber, your bright rays may have caused more skin damage than I would have cared to receive. My loving dermatologist, Dr. Brown, would not want me returning to him again--head hung in shame--with another of those cancerous spots on my arm.

Additionally, dear Summer, have you noticed the terrible congestion and sneezing my dear husband has suffered since your arrival? He was barely able to get to sleep last night with all the allergy symptoms he was experiencing. I do not wish to cause you guilt or pain, but I have to admit that his suffering is certainly the result of your temperate rays coaxing pollen out of the trees, flowers, and grasses of this little corner of the world.

So, my friend Summer, although I have very much enjoyed your unexpected visit, I must ask you to return to your normal dates as soon as possible. My chum Spring had just arrived when you came on the scene. I have so much catching up to do with her before my six-month long visit with you is truly scheduled to begin. I promise to write you whilst you hasten back to your normal months of heated laziness. And when you arrive in all your true glory I promise to welcome you with open arms (and a trip or two to higher altitudes).

Your loving friend, Scripture Mom

Scripture of the Day: John 2:14-15

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Year of Miracles #45

Today at church our talented Sunday School teacher, Brother Lehman, shared this miracle that happened to him yesterday. He told how a few days ago he went to put on his glasses but when he found them one of the lenses had fallen out. Upon closer inspection, Brother Lehman found a screw had come out and the lense would not stay in place without it. He decided to hunt for his back-up pair of glasses to use in the meantime. So he went into his closet to look on the shelves where he thought they would be. After hunting for some time, though, he came up empty handed. He changed his mind, drove to the optician's office and had the screw replaced in the glasses.

Then yesterday Brother Lehman and his wife were doing yard work (pruning trees and bushes). They trimmed a bunch of branches and then took them down the street where a large dumpster was placed for neighbors to use. Brother Lehman began throwing in the branches. After a while a neighbor came out and jokingly noticed Brother Lehman did not have on his glasses. This surprised Brother Lehman and he realized in his effort to get the branches in the dumpster somehow the glasses must have been tossed in too.

Although Brother and Sister Lehman climbed into the dumpster and searched (and prayed even for help) they could not find the glasses. They headed home where Brother Lehman prayed about it more. He was worried about not having the glasses and not knowing where his back-up pair were. He still had his Sunday School lesson to prepare, and without the glasses he could not read.

Soon he had a prompting to go look in a box in his closet. So he went back into the closet, opened the box, and pulled out the spare glasses. The Lord had heard his prayer and helped him to find what he had previously had been unable to find on his own.

Scripture of the Day: Mosiah 2:1

New Month, New Theme

I have not actually put together a visual aid for this month, but the scripture theme is going to be temples. I hope you enjoy reading the temple scriptures that come with the posts each day.