Saturday, January 31, 2009

Another What to do?

Some friends are aware of the saga of my minivan. If you are not familiar, let me bring you up to speed. We bought our van six years ago. It was used, but suited our needs. After about four years of our ownership it had broken 110,000 miles and was consistently giving us problems. However, my DH is one of those rare individuals who prefers to buy cars outright--not make payments. And of course we did not have funds on had to replace it at that point without making payments.

Two years ago there was some serious overheating issues I experienced on a trip to California and ever since I have not dared leave town in it (let alone drive across town).

About two weeks ago I started having additional electrical problems. I noticed the blinkers were not working consistently, as well as the windows, the clock, and the air system. It has been hit or miss. So most days my husband has been walking to the bus stop and leaving his car home in case it is a miss on the blinkers. Problem is that I need more seats than my hubby's car offers when running carpool.

So to sum it up, the van now has 130,000 miles and is not worth much. I want to replace it now; my hubby does not.

And now to the issue at hand.

During Sweetie Peach's b-day party earlier this week someone backed into our van. The man came searching for the owner and found me (my DH was not there to handle it). I went to check out the damage and saw the dent near the front tire passenger side. No serious impairment to the van, but definitely damaged. I got the guy's name and phone number and gave it to my husband as soon as I saw him.

My husband has been getting bids to fix the van and the ballpark is around $1500-$2000 (which is of course a lot more than the guy wants to pay). But it seems crazy to me to get it fixed--to make this man pay that much to fix a vehicle that is on its last legs. To me it is like giving plastic surgery to a 90-year old with cancer. Honestly, I do not think the van is even worth much more than the repair would cost.

I have bit my tongue and am letting my husband handle it, but am feeling stress over the whole situation. Am I wrong for feeling this way? What would you do?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Police Beat #26

Thank heaven for Fridays! I am looking forward to the weekend. Let's get it started off right with a good laugh:

Sept. 22: A female BYU student fell through the ceiling of the Thomas L. Martin Building while playing a game of hide and seek. The student was in an area of the building being remodeled where ceiling tiles had been removed for electrical work. Friends boosted the student into the opening where she fell through other ceiling tiles upon crawling around. She was not hurt.

(Comment: "Come out, come out wherever you are!" Thud!)

Sept. 26: A male student in Wymount Terrace reported his load of whites was stolen from the dryer in the community laundry room he had put them.

(Comment: Police interrogation question: "Gray, dingy whites or bright whites cleaned with the power of Oxyclean?")

Sept. 1: A building security officer was injured after biking down a grassy hill on campus. The officer did not see a bike rack at the end of the steep hill and ran into the rack. He suffered a broken wrist and elbow.

(Comment: He did not see the bike rack because was too busy keeping eye on a suspicious man carrying a laundry basket full of whites.)

Oct. 13: A student reported two male students throwing acorns off the bridge near the law building on East Campus Drive, hitting another student. When questioned, the male students said they were throwing acorns into the tops of trees to see the reactions of students who thought animals were making the noises in the trees. The students were asked to stop throwing acorns.

(Comment: Talk about a "corny" story. {sorry for such a poor pun:-})

Nov. 2: A student in Helaman Halls received a letter with a large sum of money in it from an address in Salt Lake. The student does not know who sent the money and the incident is under investigation.

(Comment: This was called in to the police? Who is this crazy person questioning a gift of a large sum of money?)

Nov. 21: A female student attempted to get the attention of two male students passing by Fox Hall in Heritage Halls by tapping on the glass window of the lobby. The female student shattered the glass window with her tapping.

(Comment: Yeah, that probably got their attention. Too bad she had to change her name and move away to get away from all the embarrassing comments!)

Scripture of the Day: Joshua 22:5

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daddy's Girl

I have decided to occasionally spotlight important people in my life. Today I thought I would start with my Dad. I have to admit that I am very much a Daddy's Girl. I admire my father a lot. Here's the 4-1-1 on him:

Name: Jim

Occupation: college marketing professor

Favorite color: green

Favorite saying: "Hi! I'm tall, slim, good-looking Jim!" (He is tall, and fairly good-looking. 2 out of 3 ain't bad!)

You see, my dad is very fond of corny jokes. In fact, we love to sit around as a family and just say the punchlines of all the corny jokes my dad tells. See if you know any of these:

"I woke up and my pillow was gone!"
"There's millions of them in Paris."
(singing) "Your sister Rose is dead! Your sister Rose is dead!"

Being such a lover of corny jokes it is easy to explain how positive my dad is--he generally always sees the glass as half full. I love that about him and wish I was more like that myself.

A few other great things about my dad:

He leaves little love notes hidden around the house for my mom whenever he leaves to go out of town for a few days. Sometimes if he is gone for longer he leaves extras for me to go and hide for him to "replenish" the stock for my mom.

He is a great public speaker. I guess teaching college classes for 25+ years does that for a person. What is extra fun though is whenever he speaks in public and I am there I will give him a challenge to use a crazy word somehow in his talk (with only five minutes notice). Once at a funeral I challenged him to use the word 'cataclysmic.' He used it twice in his speech!

My dad is not afraid to have fun or make a fool out of himself. When my mom was the gospel doctrine teacher, once she was giving a lesson on the Word of Wisdom and he came stumbling into the room as though he were a drunk. Then at the end of the lesson he came in again in a jogging suit pretending he was all fit and reformed.

He is a terrific grandfather! I have been trying to encourage my kids to want to continue in taking piano lessons. He told them that with every set of books they finished he would pay them a $50 reward. And he has! He prints up a certificate of achievement and tells them how proud he is of their accomplishments and then encourages them to continue.

Although he is certainly not perfect, he is a wonderful man. I really appreciate the good example he has been in my life. Thanks Dad!

Scripture of the Day: Alma 38:3

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

BOM Study with Toddlers

My 50th Scripture Tip!

I recently discovered a handy tool for studying the Book of Mormon Storied Scriptures with toddlers. Written by Becky Riding, the plan is to focus on one story per week. Riding writes this in her introduction:

"There are 104 Storied Scripture selections for the Book of Mormon. That means that doing one selection a week will take 2 years for the complete program. This is a perfect introduction to the Book of Mormon for young children, and preparation for a more in-depth study later on for 4-7 year-olds. I’ve separated the reading into 13 week units. "

Her strategy is to use the same story all week long. The story is repeated daily and supplemented with additional activities such as coloring, pantomiming, and asking questions. I love the repetition of the story and the activities planned; they are great strategies for helping toddlers learn. One drawback is that there suggested coloring pages, but no links to any.

Scripture of the Day: 2 Peter 1:5

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Sweetie Peach!

Today Sweetie Peach turns 6!

I can hardly believe my baby is getting so big. She has such a bright, shiny personality and I am so grateful she was sent to me!

These few pictures from out trip to Denver show how joyful she is to have in our family. We love her so much! Happy Birthday!

Scripture of the Day: Alma 7:23

P.S.: If you are a BYU alum and received your BYU Magazine, be sure to check out the announcement of my book being published. It is on page 76, bottom left hand corner.

P.P.S.: Late last week I sent my manuscript off to the publisher! Yay to have that goal checked off. Hopefully it will be accepted.

Monday, January 26, 2009

10 Things that Make Me Happy

1. Getting in a bed with crisp, clean sheets

2. Reading in bed

3. A beautifully set dinner table

4. Homemade bread

5. Seeing a finished photo book for the first time

6. Meeting a goal

7. Learning something new

8. Hallmark Hall of Fame movies

9. Clean floors

10. Gardens

Scripture of the Day: Enos 1:10

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Year of Miracles #40

Last week while in Denver we had a rough patch the first night. Thinking back now it seems comical, but it was stressful at the time. Let me set the stage for you:

My brother (Jeff) and his family are the proud owners of very playful 1 yr. old dog; a golden retriever named Daisy. Daisy has not been well trained. In fact, she has a bad habit of running away and getting lost. My brother had purchased a special collar/electrical fence system that helped keep Daisy contained in the back yard, but the collar was chewed off and the fence was disarmed with the accidental fierceness of the weed-whacker. So, at the time of our visit Daisy was typically incarcerated in the house except for brief leash-regulated stints in the back yard or on walks.

The morning of the day we arrived in Denver, Daisy had escaped her leash and my sweet SIL (Alicia) had spent 45 minutes finding the runaway and bringing her home.

Then we arrived on the scene. And at one point in the evening my parents and I were on the main floor of the house while Jeff and Alicia and other juveniles were in the basement and elsewhere. Daisy scratched on the back door to be let out. Unawares of the broken fence/chewed collar situation, my mother let Daisy out in the back yard to relieve herself. And off she went.

As soon as the proud puppy owners were aware of Daisy's escape they were off hunting for her. Frustration started to grow as it was dinner time and everyone was hungry. Jeff stayed behind to start the dinner (steaks on the grill) while my mom and I assisted in other kitchen duties.

About a half an hour later Alicia came in the garage door with Daisy! The scoundrel had been caught. But at the same moment they came in the front of the house, my brother came in from his back porch BBQ grilling duties and left the sliding door partially open.

Can you guess what that darn dog did? Yep. She ran straight through the house and was gone again in the blink of an eye!

My brother swore as Daisy disappeared into the dark back yard and then took off after her.

My sister-in-law took off after him, worried he would slip and fall on the ice because he was so angry.

My dad, whose knees are nearing operation replacement, went hobbling after them on the search.

My mother asked me to take her back to the hotel because the stress was too much.

So we left my 14-yr. old niece there to babysit the kids while I took my mom to the hotel. When I got back I found Kitty in charge of four younger kids (including disabled Harrison). My niece and Patch had gone out searching ,too. A few minutes later Patch and my niece returned and I assessed that (now that it was 8 pm) the kids were all stressed and very hungry. We ordered pizza and then I knelt the kids down in a circle and we asked Heavenly Father to help find Daisy and calm everyone down.

Within 15 minutes my brother returned with Daisy. A definite miracle! He must have caught her about the time we finished our prayer. Isn't the faith of little children wonderful?

Daisy remained tightly locked in the house for the remainder of our Denver vacation.

Scripture of the Day: 1 Ne. 10:19

Friday, January 23, 2009

Police Beat #25

Happy Friday All!
Those BYU hoodlums are back at it again...

Between Feb. 6 and March 3, University Police received a phone call from students’ parents. The parents gave police information about criminal activities their sons were involved in. The police found no criminal records for the students, but upon further investigation, discovered the two individuals were impersonating a police officer. Both individuals were cited in court for impersonating a police officer.

(Comment: Really they were just practicing for their Village People skit in the ward talent show.)

Graffiti was placed on a telephone booth at the bottom of the tunnel by Helaman Halls at about 7:30 a.m. on March 18. The message read, “WSU straight 17.”

(Comment: WSU? White, single umpire? ultramarine (yes, this is a word)? Ute? Unicorn?)

A purse was stolen at the JKHB on March 13. The purse contained $10, a marriage license, house and car keys, and prescription medicine. The victim is a student.

(Comment: What not to lose on the way to the temple to get married!)

At 2:50 p.m. on Feb. 26 near Heritage Halls, a 19-year-old female student called to report a suspicious individual. The suspicious male stopped her from his car, asking for directions to the student center. She informed him the WSC was just down the road. He then asked her if she would get into his car and take him there, and she told him she wouldn’t. He told her if she would go with him she could get out of the rain and he would buy her something. She refused, and the suspect drove away. The suspicious individual was described as a 20-year-old male in a military uniform, similar to a navy dress uniform. The car he was driving was described as an 80s style compact, possibly a hatchback. The victim said the car was full of garbage, and she thought she wouldn’t have been able to sit in the car because of all the junk.

(Comment: Note to potential kidnappers: clean your car out!)

An unidentified person broke into the Utah Academy of Dance, located on 1668 S. State in Orem last Tuesday. The alleged burglar entered through an unsecured door. Employees of the academy reported $30 in change and several CDs stolen from the business.

(Comment: {Hulsey, this comment is for you} I wonder what CDs were taken... probably Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream, Deftones' Adrenaline, or Motley Crue's Girls Girls Girls what with them being banned from BYU dances and all.)

Two cans of whipped cream were found opened in the aisles in the Creamery on Ninth. Two other cans were found but were unopened. Two multipacks of toilet paper were also found half-melted on the shelf.

(Comment: Melted toilet paper? Is that possible? I will have to Google that...)

Scripture of the Day: 2 Corinthians 8:7

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Here is a quick tip in getting teens to study their scriptures. The tip comes from a fabulous teacher in my ward, Brother Pew. He is currently a high councilman, but his previous calling was the missionary prep teacher. A few years back I had to teach a RS lesson on helping to prepare missionaries to enter the field. I decided to invite Brother Pew in to give some advice during the last 10 minutes of the lesson. He blew me away with how great he was! But this was the advice I remember to most:

Do not ask your kids, "Are you reading your scriptures?" or "Did you read your scriptures?"

This shows doubt and lack of confidence in them on your part as a parent.


Set up the expectation that they will need to share something from the scriptures.

For example, have a time during every FHE (or during a family dinner time) where each family member is asked to share something they learned from their personal scripture study during the past week. At this time ask, "What did you learn this week in your study?" This question shows more confidence and the ensuing conversations can lead to valuable teaching moments.

Thanks to Brother Pew for this valuable tip!

Scripture of the Day: D&C 88:63

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Healthy Recipes Update

You may recall last week I tagged several good friends to provide me with some new healthy recipes I could use to get me off of my weight loss plateau. Many have pulled through already (thanks!) and I thought I would share the bounty.

Misi posted a meatless taco recipe

Jamie's recipe was for coleslaw chili

Amalgam's recipe is Soy Sauce Chicken (click and scroll down)

Amazing Becky showed what she ate for breakfast and lunch (pics look very yummy)

Be sure to check these out and leave them some love :).

I also saw this recipe on Hungry Girl recently, which I am going to give a try. It is a healthy knock off recipe for Taco Bell's Crunchwrap. Looks tasty!

Also, if you have not heard yet about Kara's new blog Hey Good Lookin', Whatcha Got Cookin'? I recommend you jump on over for a look-see. I took several cooking lessons from her a few years back and she is the healthiest chef I have ever seen cook. What's more, her concoctions taste great! She is especially good at using a variety of grains.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 75:5

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Home Feels SO Good!

Yesterday I spent from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. traveling home from Denver. And when I finally saw the lights of the Valley I was so happy to be home. While I was driving that long distance I could not help but compare how easy it is to what the pioneers had to experience. Here were some of my thoughts as I drove (and drove and drove):

Me: mentally complaining about one whole day of driving
Pioneers: 3+ months of walking/pushing/pulling handcarts

Me: mentally complaining about having to eat at another fast food restaurant
Pioneers: having to use meager supplies, kill animals along the way, or just go hungry

Me: mentally complaining that my 4-cylinder car doesn't handle hills well
Pioneers: pushing and pulling all they own up the hills

Me: mentally complaining the car heater was drying out my skin
Pioneers: dealing with all the elements directly, having a fire at night to warm them

Me: listening to Sweetie Peach complaining her feet hurt from riding in the car so much
Pioneers: walked and walked and walked and walked and walked

I wonder if my pioneer ancestors are up there watching and thinking how much of a wimp I am... probably. I would not blame them if they did. We have it so easy, and I am so grateful for the advanced technology that makes it easy. But especially I am grateful just to be home again. In my own bed. Safe and sound.

Scripture of the Day: Col. 1:23

P.S. Sorry about my lack of commenting while out of town. I did not even get to check my dashboard. I will be playing catch-up today. I am looking forward to reading all of your great posts!

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Little Church History

I had never heard this story about Joseph Smith before. Apparently it happened prior to the first vision.

"At the age of fourteen an incident occurred which alarmed us much, as we knew not the cause of it. Joseph being a remarkably quiet, well disposed child, we did not suspect that any one had aught against him. He was out one evening on an errand, and, on returning home, as he was passing through the dooryard a gun was fired across his pathway, with the evident intention of shooting him. He sprang to the door much frightened. We immediately went in search of the assassin but could find no trace of him that evening. The next morning we found his tracks under a wagon; where he lay when he fired; and the following day we found the balls which were discharged from the gun, lodged in the head and neck of a cow that was standing opposite the wagon, in a dark corner. We have not as yet discovered the man who maple this attempt at murder, neither can we discover the cause thereof."

~ Lucy Smith's "Biographical Sketches", page 73

Scripture of the Day: Alma 34:17

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Year of Miracles #39

This week my miracle was easy to spot. I had been sick for five days with that bad cold that seemed like it would not ever drain. My sinuses had been so packed and were making me feel lousy (sorry about all that whining I did about them, by the way). On Sunday evening I had a priesthood blessing to help me feel better. By the next morning I was draining and my sinuses were SO much clearer. By Tuesday I was pretty much all better. Thank heaven for the power of the priesthood!

Scripture of the Day: Moroni 10:7

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Plain English BOM

Here's a great site definitely worth checking out:

This site has the entire Book of Mormon translated into everyday English. For example, 1 Nephi 1:1 reads as follows:

"My name is Nephi. I was born to good and noble parents who saw that I was educated as my father was educated. I've had many trials in my life, but I've always been highly favored by the Lord. I've received great knowledge of His goodness and mysteries. Because of these things, I now make this record of my life."

Cool, huh?

One great thing to use this site for is reading the Isaiah chapters in Second Nephi. The translation really helps to differentiate when Jacob is writing his own words and when he is quoting Isaiah.

I would also think this would be helpful to tweens and teens trying to read the Book of Mormon. If they seem to be having difficulty, they could read directly from the site, or just get help on those verses that are confusing to them.

There are also a number of good illustrations on the site--including the one shown above.

Hope this helps!

Scripture of the Day: D&C 8:10

Friday, January 16, 2009

Police Beat #24

A laugh a day keeps the doctor away!

Oct. 18: A female resident of Wymount Terrace called in a suspicious phone call in which a man made statements with the intent of hypnotizing the student. The student said she does not remember most of the conversation, but she called him her master. Police say it is virtually impossible hypnotize someone over the phone.

(Comment: I wonder how likely it is to hypnotize someone over a blog... Hmmm... You are getting sleepy...)

Oct. 25: BYUPD received a phone call at 7:49 p.m. reporting loiterers at the gazebo at the Alumni House. Upon arrival, police discovered a group of students composing poetry.

(Comment: Yeah, but by 7:53 p.m. they were done with the poetry and were still there loitering.)

Nov. 1: Police received a call concerning screams and pounding coming from a room in the Maeser Building. Police investigated and discovered the screaming man was a custodial worker watching the game between Texas and Texas Tech., and was upset about his team's loss.

(Comment: I would like to hear the rant this custodian must have had after BYU lost to U of A in the Las vegas Bowl!)

Nov. 17: Police responded to a call reporting suspicious individuals with red paint. It was subsequently determined that these individuals were paint contractors who were painting a fence on campus.

(Comment: And they believed them?!? Everyone knows red is the color of the U! If they were real paint contractors, they would have been painting blue.)

Dec. 7: A student reported talking to a man with a chainsaw on the north side of the Wilkinson Center. The man said he was going to "cut him a Christmas tree." Officers never found the suspect.

(Comment: But that Christmas tree in University Mall this year was absolutely lovely--and very fresh.)

Scripture of the Day: Ether 12:18

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I seem to have hit yet another plateau in my weight loss. No weight loss for three weeks straight now. I swear I am the queen of plateaus.

I want to change it up this week, but tomorrow I am headed out of town for the long weekend. And I am very nervous about the whole eating thing because the extended family members I will be with are not going to be watching what they eat. It is really hard to be good around people who are being "normal" -- especially for that long. At least it is for me. But maybe that is good--maybe that will help me be extra careful.

But when I get back I am going to need to shake it up a bit. Too often I eat the same things over and over again. So I will need to find some new yummy recipes that are healthy. Which means I need YOUR help. I am going to tag Misi, Jamie, Amazing Becky, Jen and Amalgam to provide me with a new recipe to use. And be sure to include points values for me (or the data for calories, fiber, and fat per serving).

Oh, and if there is anyone else out there who has a great healthy recipe and wants to participate, consider yourself tagged! Thanks!

Scripture of the Day: D&C 104:82

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Brother of Jared's Barges

When I was a missionary I had an experience where people laughed at the Book of Mormon because of the Brother of Jared's description of the barges he had to build. This video proves Jared's description is nothing to laugh at. Quite the contrary, it is genius! Thanks to the Brother of Steve for making this video! And thanks to my nephew Joseph for bringing it to my attention.

From the creator of the video: "When Brother Ballard spoke a year ago at BYU Hawaii graduation and urged us to use the internet to further the Gospel, I was a little resistant, thinking of the negative comments that good postings often generate. I definitely changed my mind when I saw an idiot slamming the Book of Mormon on YouTube concerning Jared's barges rolling over and over in the Ocean and water coming in through the two holes. I decided to show that two holes are better than one and at the same time have a little fun in the doing. Here is my first attempt."

Scripture of the Day: James 2:14, 17

Monday, January 12, 2009

Oh, Tess

So did anyone else out there in the great beyond watch the Masterpiece Theater showing of Tess of the D'Urberville's? My DH and I spent last Sunday evening and the previous Sunday evening enjoying a new film version of that sad story.

And when I say sad, I mean sad.

If you are not familiar with the story-- I knew prior to watching what it was about thanks to AP English in high school -- it is about a girl named Tess who lives in Victorian England. She is a Righteous (with a capital 'R') country girl for whom everything goes wrong.

And when I say wrong, I mean wrong.

It starts with her being raped. Then everyone blames her for the rape (including her parents). She has a baby as a result of the rape (she names him Sorrow). The baby dies. She meets her dream guy (his name is Angel -- the author has no qualms using character names for imagery). She marries Angel without telling him about the whole rape/baby experience. Not that she did not want to tell him, but she was very afraid of his reaction what with everyone else blaming her. So right after being married she tells him and he pretty much walks out on her. Long story short, it keeps going downhill.

And when I say down, I mean down.

Execution down.

Yep. She gets executed. I won't give anymore of the story away. But I think you deserve to know this is one that does not have a happy ending. In fact, of all of Thomas Hardy's books only one has a happy ending (Far From the Madding Crowd, in case you want to read it).

Still, Tess is definitely worth the read and the movie. There is beautiful cinematography in the new version on Masterpiece. And they did a good job bringing in a lot of the symbolism from the book. Watch for symbolism involving feet/shoes, country vs. town living (i.e., traditional vs. modern), and religion (particularly life and death).

I can't wait until next week on Masterpiece Theater -- another classic to be seen: Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights.

Scripture of the Day: Hebrews 11:1

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Year of Miracles #38

Three "mini" miracles for this week. Maybe these are silly little things, but my head is too stuffy to think of much else.

1. This week my hair color was on sale for a great deal (savings of $3). Then there was a coupon in the paper for an additional $2 off. Yay for saving $5 on something I needed to get done.

2. I finished up my manuscript and got it over to Mary to edit. This is something I have wanted to wrap up for more than a month now, so it feels miraculous to get this far. Many of the ideas in it were promptings from the spirit, too, so I feel really good about it.

3. My VT just happens to have snow boots and pants in Sweetie Peach and Kitty's sizes--I did not think hardly anyone in the Phoenix area had snow boots! Especially in kids' sizes. What's more, she is willing to let me borrow them. We need these for our trip we are taking to Denver later this week.

Bonus: Onehm had a good miraculous experience happen this past week. If you haven't read it yet, click here.

Scripture of the Day: Ether 12:6

Friday, January 9, 2009

Book Review: Austenland

A few weeks ago I read Austenland by Shannon Hale. I had been meaning to review it, but I loaned my copy to my mom and that whole "out of sight, out of mind" thing had kicked in. However, now that I have remembered I am making up for it.

Austenland came highly recommended to me by my friend Mary, who is the member of three book clubs. She reads more than anyone else I know and is a gold mine for a book recommendation. (She is also the one who edited my book for me and was incredibly encouraging about it!) Mary had been meaning to find me a copy of Austenland for several months, but one day before that happened I bought it used on e-bay for $1 (not including shipping, of course). And, upon receiving the book via media mail I sat down, read, and learned {once again} how great an opinion Mary has on books.

Austenland is about a 32-year-old single lady (Jane) who is obsessed with the PBS version of Pride & Prejudice. Jane has had a number of poor relationships with men and can't seem to find anyone to live up to Colin Firth's portrayal of Darcy. However, early in the book, Jane is left an all-expenses-paid trip to an exclusive English estate where guests live as though in the Regency era. While there Jane attempts to overcome her obsession with Mr. Darcy. In the process she is woo-ed by both the gardener and a Darcy-esque actor portraying the handsome Mr. Nobly.

I have to admit Austenland was a very fun read. I particularly liked the clash of the modern world with Regency England. And Jane's character comes to some great conclusions about fiction vs. reality that I think many women can relate to. Thanks to Mary for this recommendation!

I am at Deseret Book!

Just a quick note to let you know my book is now available at Deseret Book! Yay for me! They have it back by the primary help books and the preparing for baptism stuff in the store. I need to head down there with my camera and take my picture as soon as I am feeling better.

Police Beat #23

(If this is the guy looking in the windows of the JSB he needs to be referred to standards since his underwear is showing--and not the eternal kind!)

Still sick over here, but glad it is Friday nonetheless.
Have a great day!

Oct. 11: A person riding a motor scooter hit a female student in the crosswalk at 450 East and 1430 North. She was on her way to the football game. The student was checked by the paramedics at the scene and released.

(Comment: Strange but true, by the following week they were engaged! The female student loves to tell people how her fiance literally "swept her off her feet.")

Oct. 7: A female student reported a suspicious male watching female custodians through the window in the Joseph Smith Building. The suspect was estimated to be in his 40s.

(Comment: I used to be a custodian on BYU campus, and believe me those ladies were nothing to be spying on! I am sure this guy could find better looking women to watch on campus.)

Oct. 8: Police discovered a woman on the third floor of the Jesse Knight Building at 4 a.m. She had fallen asleep on the couch and was asked to leave.

(Comment: These sleeping custodians of the Jesse Knight Building need to be retrained by those in the Joseph Smith Building.)

Oct. 8: A concerned observer reported a suspicious male in the HBLL quad at 5:45 p.m. When police questioned him, he said he was Free Running, a game where people run fast toward the corners of buildings or other certain structures and attempt to climb them without assistance and flip or jump. The suspect was a 26-year-old male visitor who said he'd learned of the game through YouTube. Police directed him to go Free Run somewhere else.

(Comment: The guy was later admitted to Utah Valley Medical Center for head trauma.)

Oct. 9: Police questioned two suspicious males who were looking in parked car windows. They said they were leaving business cards on windshields but police didn't see any cards. The suspects were interviewed and released.

Scripture of the Day: Deut. 4:9

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Confessions of a Sick Person

I have felt under the weather today. Specifically a sore throat, tired, and very groggy. Like my brain does not want to turn on. As a result I spent too much time on the couch resting and watching television. I am ashamed to admit to how much television I watched today. And that I got nothing worthwhile done whatsoever. Unless you count putting frozen pot pies in the oven for my family to eat for dinner.

Here are the top 10 shows I watched today:

1. The Office - A funny episode about Dwight tricking Angela into marrying him.
2. Oprah - Suze Orman says we should have an 8 month emergency fund. 8 MONTHS! Crazy, huh?
3. Kath & Kim - The coffins were funny. And the puppies were born on white carpet.
4. The Doctors - A pain free root canal can now be done with lasers. They did not give the cost. I would bet it is very expensive.
5. Extra - Kinda tired of the whole Travolta funeral coverage, to be honest
6. Rachel Ray (last 20 minutes only) - She cooked a fish dish. With fennel.
7. Today Show (first 20 minutes only) - More on Travolta and Burris
8. Earl - My husband loved the turtles part. We have three turtles in our pond.
9. Millionaire - A lady lost when she guessed the PGA tournament was held in Hilton Head. It's not.
10. Evening news - Arizona is one of the top 10 states for teen pregnancies. Apparently we need more sex ed here.

I think I will skip ER tonight and go to bed. Let me know what it was about...

Scripture of the Day: Matt. 6:1

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What's for Dinner? Tuna Pasta Salad

A month or so ago I saw a You Tube recipe for tuna pasta salad. Ever since I have been wanting to make some, but put it off until today. I loaded mine with veggies to help make it a bit more healthy.

2 cups cooked whole wheat pasta
1 6 oz. can of tuna, drained
1/3 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup frozen broccoli
1/3 cup carrots, diced
1/3 cup celery, diced
1 green onion, chopped
1/4 cup light Miracle Whip
1 T. fat free sour cream
2 packets sweetener
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Chill for a few hours. Serve on a bed of lettuce if desired. Also works great as a side dish. Makes 4 (1 cup) servings at 3 Weight Watcher's points apiece.

Scripture of the Day: Joshua 22:5

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Naughty Words

Apparently some naughty words were written on school property over the Christmas break. Yesterday the principal asked the students to report any vandalism they saw so it could be cleaned up. This morning I had this conversation with Sweetie Peach (age 5):

SP: Mom, we need to go early to school so you can show me where the principal's office is.

Me: Why?

SP: Because some bad kids wrote naughty words on the school and if I see them I am supposed to go and tell the principal.

Me: Maybe you could just tell your teacher and then she can show you where the principal's office is, or will tell the principal for you.

SP: Okay. But how will I know if they are naughty words? Would you make a list of naughty words for me to take to school? Then if I see some I can know and tell my teacher.

Me: I don't think your teacher wants me to send a list of naughty words to school with you. If you are not sure if it is a bad word, just ask your teacher.

SP: Okay. If I am digging in the sand on the playground and I find a word, I will run and get my teacher to see if it is a naughty word.

Me: {trying not to laugh} Good girl.

Scripture of the Day: 1 Nephi 16:3

Monday, January 5, 2009

Mark E. Beecher's Education Week Address

I stumbled across this article last month and thought a reprint might prove helpful. The article (written by Lacie Hales) summarizes an Education Week speech about scripture study given by Mark E. Beecher. Brother Beecher is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology in the Counseling and Career Center at BYU.

"Classes during Education Week offer a variety of topics for people to sharpen different skills.

"Mark E. Beecher is giving a series of classes to help people improve their scripture study habits.

"He said he would focus on techniques later in the week, but he wanted to spend Tuesday's class focusing on the "why" of scripture study.

"'I hope there is a deeper 'why' when we're done,' he said.

"Beecher said his classes aren't going to be as much lecture as other classes during the week because he wants participants to take responsibility for their own learning.

"He started the class with a story about a boy who dove for pearls. One pearl he found was exquisite, and after many offers, he decided it wasn't for sale. He had the pearl set into an engagement ring for the girl he loved. One day she happened into a jewelry store and was offered a trade for a very expensive diamond setting.

"Beecher stopped there and asked the audience if she should trade the ring.

"The reaction from the class was that the ring had more than monetary value because of the personal relationship it represented. Beecher said the scriptures represent a similar relationship between people and God.

"'It's not about being intellectually stimulating,' he said. 'It's about a relationship.'

"Beecher gave the class a formula for studying the scriptures and then had the class separate into groups to apply the formula.

"First, he said to find the promise contained in the scripture.

"Second, find the verb that describes how to receive what is promised.

"Last, he said to evaluate what those two things teach about scripture study.

"Beecher then asked a few people to share what they had learned from their groups. He said he didn't want to be a teacher, but a guide in the learning process.

"'That's the power of the scriptures,' he said.

"Beecher shared a quote from a leader in the LDS church that compared scripture study to an interview with Deity.

"'It's more than just study,' Beecher said. 'It's about building a relationship with God.'

"Beecher said it is important to learn to be like the Savior, not just learn about him in the scriptures."

Scripture of the Day: 1 Nephi 15:25

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Year of Miracles #37

Last month I blogged about miracles in relation to stem cell treatment for those with cerebral palsy. Our family joined in fasting with my brother Jeff's family to know if this was a course of treatment they should pursue for my nine-year-old nephew Harrison. That fast Sunday Jeff shared his testimony in his ward and briefly mentioned their desire to explore stem cell treatments for Harrison.

As Jeff and his family were leaving the ward building after church a fairly new member of the ward approached them. It turned out that this new member is a doctor and is in charge of a stem cell research study at a local hospital. His study was not in relation to CP, but this ward member asked if my brother's family would allow him to search out potentially appropriate research studies that may help Harrison. He has already met with their family and it looks as though a German facility may be the best option out there now. This was truly an answer to prayer and fasting for all of us.

Hopefully this will be "to be continued" with even more miracles! I will keep you updated.

For another remarkable miracle that happened this past week, visit Amazing Becky's blog and read this.

Scripture of the Day: Luke 21:8

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Little Spring Cleaning

Today I was putting more Christmas tree stuff away and decided I was sick of the drapes in my living room. The drapes are more like sheers with lace insets. They came with the house and I have never liked them; I have just been too lazy (or too poor? why are curtains so expensive?) these past five years to replace them. But this morning I couldn't take them any longer, so down they came.

And then I could see how badly my windows needed cleaning. So I got out my handy dandy Housekeeping book from Martha Stewart (a gold mine of information, if I do say so), read quickly the best way to wash the windows --which is to use equal parts vinegar and hot water-- and set at it. Steve took the screens off for me and I did both the inside and outside. They look SO much better. I even squirted the screens off.

Next I pulled some plain white sheers out of my linen closet. (I had them hanging in my last house; I don't know why I never thought of using them before, but $0 was a great price. Especially after the overspending at Christmas). I ironed them, and now they are hanging up and I am very much enjoying the improvement. A bit on the boring side, but an improvement. Remember my goal for completing a home improvement project this year? It may well be this living room...

But in the meantime I just need to talk Steve into putting tile on the window sills. And put the Christmas tree away.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 12:2

Friday, January 2, 2009

Police Beat #22

Yay for Fridays!
(I almost forgot it was a Friday, to be honest. All of these holidays have got me a little confused as to which day of the week it really is.)

Sept. 30: A group of three student lacrosse players and two runners got into a fight at the track near Helaman Halls when one of the lacrosse players told the runners to put on a shirt. The students began yelling and then physically fighting. An officer issued citations for assault to two individuals.

Sept. 30: Female students in Helaman Halls complained about a man in a gorilla suit attempting to scare students near the Cannon Center. When police arrived, there was no sign of either the complainant or the gorilla. Students complained again early Oct. 3 about a man in a gorilla mask. The gorilla has not yet been identified.

(Comment: Maybe they could catch the gorilla by leaving a trap with bananas near the Cannon Center.)

Sept. 30: A male student was reported missing by his wife after he did not return from checking his mail. He returned roughly an hour and a half later and said that he had decided to go for a walk while he was out.

(Comment: Does the husband own a gorilla mask?)

Oct. 2: Police responded to vandalism in Wymount Terrace. Slogans such as "I like beer" and "I like Bud Light" were written with permanent marker on some of the doors, causing damage to the buildings. Police currently have no suspects.

(Comment: Don't be fooled by these hoodlums. The fact that the slogans were spelled correctly says they were written by sober, not drunk, vandals.)

Oct. 3: A resident in Wymount Terrace reported a suspicious male looking around the quad. When police arrived, the man explained he was staying with his brother. He had gone jogging and forgot where his brother lived when he returned. The officer gave the man a ride to the correct apartment.

Oct. 4: A dry ice bomb exploded near building 30 of Wyview Park late at night. Police found no suspects.

Quiet New Year's Day

New Year's Eve my three little munchkins spent the night at my MIL's house with some of their cousins. They were so excited and even packed their suitcases as though they were going on vacation. Then on New Year's Day they went straight from there to their Aunt Kim's house to spend the night AGAIN!

Needless to say the quietness was heavenly around here yesterday. I spent four hours putting a chapter together in my manuscript and then went and visited with some of my mom's relatives who were visiting from out of town. I wish I had been able to get more done, but the free time just flew by!

This morning I am heading across town to pick up the kiddos and then I will spend this afternoon putting away the holiday decorations. I think I need to go buy one of those Christmas tree storage bags, and maybe even a wreath bag too. Speaking of those, have you been to the new Container Store yet? Very fun shopping trip! I highly recommend it for your getting organized resolution this year.

Scripture of the Day: Alma 37:44

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Month, New Theme

This month's theme is the Liahona. In the Book of Mormon the prophet Nephi discovers that the Liahona works according to the faith, heed, and diligence of his family to the commandments. So scriptures this month are about faith, heed, and diligence to the commandments.

At my house I will have a large copy of this Liahona. The square at the bottom is cut out and we will be turning a disk behind the Liahona to change the "wording" (scripture) daily, kind of like how the words on the Liahona changed for Lehi and his family. Hopefully I can get this put together today--I have been very busy this past week with extended family get togethers and now I am behind in some of my prep work.

Scripture of the Day: Mark 13:33

Happy New Year

2009 has begun. I did not stay up to welcome its start--my brain does not function well during those deep hours of the night. But I was awake with its first rays of sun and (peeking out from under warm covers) wished the New Year a happy birthday.

I also pondered what my goals should be for this year. I have several I want to accomplish, but I worry it will be too hard to reach some of them. Some are standard ones I try to accomplish every year:

- Attend the temple monthly
- Live within our means

Some are stretch goals:

-Have a date night once a month
- Lose weight (these last 7 pounds are proving to be stubborn)

And some are just big ideas:

- Submit my manuscript for a second book
- Complete a home improvement project

With all these resolutions floating around in my head, I can't help but think that despite all the challenges 2008 brought, it was truly a good year. In some ways it seemed the world started falling apart, but for me personally 2008 was rewarding. I pray 2009 will be the same way, both for me and for you!

Happy New Year!