Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Book Review: The Hunger Games

Holy cow! This was a great book! Probably one of the best I have read all year. Buy it--read it. Seriously.

The sequel, Catching Fire, was equally well written. And I am looking forward to reading the third in the series, Mockingjay.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 3:4-11

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons #41

Have a fun weekend everyone!

And feel free to friend me on facebook :-); I promise I am not a puppy!

Scripture of the Day: Jude 1:4

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Good Advice

"If your lips would keep from slips,

Five things observe with care:

To whom you speak, of whom you speak,

And how, and when, and where.

By: W. E. Norris

Scripture of the Day: Revelations 3:16

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Few Fun Sites

I have been surfing around a bit today--I am trying to find a good idea for 2011 birthday gifts for Primary kids (the theme is about scriptures next year). I have not found a good gift idea yet, but I have found a few new interesting sites.

Check these out:

LDSscripturetools.com - this site will help you design a reading plan. You can enter what you want to read and the time frame you want to finish it in--and then it will put together a schedule for you. It also has a scripture memorization help.

Scriptures4kids.com - This is a fun new site that is growing. There are some LDS kid-friendly games to play (yay for a new Sunday afternoon activity), coloring pages, FHE lessons, and it even had a fun summer scripture reading challenge with a reward from Deseret Book. The best part about this site, though, is that it has an illustrated scripture reading tool for kids (with four different reading levels). It will even read it aloud to them if needed.

Readthescriptures.com - Another great site to help assist in getting your scripture study in each day. On this site you create an account and then tell it what you want to read and how much. The site will e-mail you that portion of the scriptures to read online each day. Once you have read it you click a button at the bottom of the e-mail to tell the site you have done so. Additionally, the site has a way for you to maintain a scripture journal.

And here is a fun pdf scripture reading chart - too bad it was for 2010, not 2011.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I Survived

Yesterday was my first day teaching at MCC. I have two communication courses, back to back. And I was so nervous! Although I have subsituted before, having two complete classes to teach for an entire semester scared me. But I survived. Here is a summary of the experience.
First, what did I wear? Of course, that was one of the most primary decisions I had to make. I made sure I had a good outfit to wear before I even put together my lectures! (Yes, I am certifiably crazy.) But back to the question at hand. I wore my favorite colors: navy blue and white--blue dress pants and heels with a white cardigan over a white top. I felt like I looked nice, which boosted my overall confidence.

I arrived 35 minuted early to pick up the photocopies of my syllabus in the faculty work/lounge. It was a good thing I arrived early because the syllabi were stapled incorrectly and it took me 20 minutes to get them reorganized and stapled properly. As a result I did not have time to photocopy a game I intended to play to illustrate a communications principle. I decided to try to get along without it last minute.

Afterward I headed off to my first class, Com 100. The smaller classroom was full once all 27 students were seated. It was also pretty warm in there. I started off by introducing myself and by going over the syllabus. At that point I was running early time wise and decided I had better come up with some other game as time filler or else I would be done way too early (not that the students would have minded). I opted to play a game my family played growing up that is similar to Scattergories--having the students do one round on their own and then a second round in small groups. It worked well and put me back on track time wise. At that point I went through a brief lecture based on the first bit of Chapter 1 of the textbook. In the end I still finished five minutes early, but felt fine about that.

Immediately after class ended I was off to Com 230--Small Group Communication, but stole a few minutes to photocopy the game I had not been able to utilize before. On the way to class two students asked me where the classroom was, so (feeling somewhat like the Pied Piper) I said to follow me as I was their instructor.

This second class was held in a room twice the size of the first class, but was still on the warm side. Before starting class I opened up the computer to use the PowerPoint file I had spent an hour preparing that morning. However, when trying to use the computer it asked for a password, which I had not idea of what it might be. So, at that point I knew this class would be somewhat more off the cuff. To help take up more of the time (would I be able to remember everything in the lecture without the visual notes?) I went through the class roster to try and get to know each student individually. After doing this, going through the syllabus, and then playing the game I brought, I only had eight minutes to fill with my "lecture" (and I use that term very loosely).

So I survived. By the time I got to the car and headed off my head started to pound with a stress headache. All the tension finally got to me. I popped some headache medicine and did some deep breathing exercises. Still, I was wiped out for the rest of the day.

The first day was done. And I survived.

Good thing I get to do it all again on Wednesday.

Scripture of the Day: Helaman 4:11-13

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons #40

calvin and hobbes cartoons Pictures, Images and Photos

This cartoon is to help me get in to the proper frame of mind for teaching this week. Wish me luck! I will need it.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Scripture of the Day: 1 Ne. 13:26

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rad/Not Rad -- Crazymama Style

A friend of mine often writes blog posts called Rad/Not Rad, which I always enjoy reading. Generally her cute kids are doing funny things and she blogs in a way that is true to life. I admire her for that ability because when I try to do it that way it comes off as whining. Somehow it doesn't seem like whining when she does it. Oh well. But any way, here is my day done Rad/Not rad Crazymama style. (Thanks for the inspiration, Crazymama!)

Rad: Finishing both of my class syllabi (is that the plural of syllabus?) and getting them turned in for copying.
Not rad: Driving to MCC and getting such a nervous upset stomach on the way there -- I almost thought I would have to pull over to throw up.

Rad: Meeting a very helpful cool secretary who was willing to hand-hold me through some new procedures. Audry rocks!

Rad: Finding a Downeast Basics navy blu and white skirt 40% off at Seagull Book.
Rad: Going to the temple for a quick hour of service.
Not rad: Having to wait 30 minutes to get my quick hour in.
Not rad: Leaving with oily hair!

Rad: Having time to read some of Heather Moore's new book Alma the Younger.
Not rad: Having to put the book down to do laundry.

Not rad: Sweetie Peach complaining about Patch teasing her.
Rad: Me getting Sweetie Peach to smile by telling her I was going to buy diapers for Patch to wear to punish him for teasing her. She thought that was hilarious.

Rad: Going to Zumba--Kathya had great music tonight subbing the class!
Not rad: Leaving with oily + sweaty hair!

Guess I had better go hit the shower!

Scripture of the Day: 1 Timotht 4:1-3

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thank you, Ben Franklin

Last night, just as I was finishing up dinner, the power went out. Living in a desert generally means weather disturbances are quite rare. But yesterday we had a little monsoon action and the power outage--at least to begin with--made it seem all the more exciting. We ate our dinner while watching the rain outside and feeling pretty excited.

After dinner, with still no power, but some light from the windows to enjoy, I had the children get their homework out. I lit a few candles to add some extra light and the homework was completed within short order. Come to think of it, faster than usual...

The children got out their umbrellas and danced in the rain. Patch even jumped off a brick half wall we have out in front around the porch, pretending to be Mary Poppins with an umbrella. The excitement of wet weather and the power outage was still very much alive.

Two hours after it started there was still no power and our house was starting to feel rather warm. My DH opened all the windows to enjoy some of the slightly cooler, but very swampy, air from outside. I worked on my laptop some (love that they have batteries!) and got a class syllabus 99% done. I wished the whole time that the ceiling fan could work.

Around 8:30 pm there was still no power, so we put the children to bed in the family room with doors and windows open. DH fell asleep in there as well. By 9:00 pm I went to my own bed and tried to sleep while sweat kept creeping down my neck and back.

I'm not sure if I ever quite fell fully asleep, but at 10:05 when the power came back on, I was startled enough to know I was not fully awake either. The air conditioner started cranking away so I walked around closing doors and windows and re-setting clocks.

Then I knelt down and thanked Heavenly Father for Benjamin Franklin.

And whoever it was who invented air conditioning.

Scripture of the Day: D&C 112:23

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Book Review: Divinely Designed

Rachael Renee Anderson is the author of Divinely Designed, a fun LDS YA romance that takes place when recent college graduate Kennedy Jackson moves to start a new job as an interior designer in Tempe, Arizona. The first chapter does a fabulous job of drawing the reader in and firmly establishing Kennedy's personality. From start to finish this was an enjoyable read with a charming plot, realistic relationship challenges, and some thought-provoking commentary on having faith in Heavenly Father's plan for each of us.

From the publisher's (Cedar Fort) website:

It all begins with calamity, faith, and a flat tire. When kennedy bumps into a handsome stranger on the highway, she starts the ride of her life on the road of divine design that will lead to her dreams if she only has the faith to follow it. This delightful tale by Rachael Anderson combines with and romance with the reality that change is difficult, but it can bring about some of life's greatest adventures. Divinely Designed is a sure antidote for gloom and a light-hearted reminder that even the darkest forks in the road can lead somewhere brilliant.

BTW, This month Rachael Renee Anderson has a second novel being released called Luck of the Draw. I will be looking forward to reading this one too!

Scripture of the Day: 2 thess. 2:2-3

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons #39

Sorry about the lack of good posts this week. Things are crazy in my life. I was hired yesterday to be an adjunct professor at Mesa Community College in the communications department (Yay!); I am very excited, but nervous too. Also, my brother is in the hospital and is not doing very well. My family is very worried about him. These two things, along with school starting, have kept me running. I wish the weekend would mean a little slower pace, but my to-do list is as long as it was on Monday! I will think positive and try to get it all done.

Have a great day!

Scripture of the Day: D&C 82:3

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back to School

Yesterday was the first day of school and I would be remiss if I did not record the momentous occaison! Patch was the first one gone. His first class at junior high is earlier this year, so he had to be out the door by 7:20 am. (I am celebrating that he is NOT wearing basketball shorts in this photo!)

Next were Kitty and Sweetie Peach. All ready for the day!

Kitty, Sweetie Peach, and some favorite friends waiting

for carpool in the front yard. Silly!

Scripture of the Day: Amos 8:11-12

Monday, August 9, 2010

Back to School Prep Work

I have been very busy the past week trying to get the kids ready to go back to school. They love this time of year and I really enjoy seeing them so excited for a new beginning and looking forward to new experiences. Life seems to be more open to possibilities this time of year.

They only thing I dislike about the whole back-to-school process is how expensive it is. I only have three kiddos, but it has cost me at least $400 to do so. Does that seem in line with what you spend??
Here is what is on my list:

1. School supplies (list sent home by teachers of "suggested" items--are they serious?)

2. Haircuts (Steve does Patch's, but the girls need to be taken to a cheap salon)

3. New tennis shoes

4. New back packs (I only do this every other year; this was one of those years)

5. 3 new outfits each

In addition to all of this we had to pay fees to the junior high, made a donation to the PTO, and will have to send in money for lunches (I let them buy once a week).

Whew! I might have to get a loan to pay for all of that. Maybe back-to-school time for kids means it is also back-to-work time for parents to earn enough to pay for it all.

Scripture of the Day: 2 Peter 2:1 and 22

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoons #38

Have a great weekend!

Scripture of the Day: 4 Nephi 1:27

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Messy Garden

(Kitty, Drama Queen Sweetie Peach, and the giant zucchini)

Last night I dreamt about my garden. Not that it is really much of a garden right now. About a month ago I gave in to the heat and stopped watering it. And it has been so hot that I have yet to go out there and actually rip out the plants. So it is an overgrown, brown mess.

Two weeks ago Kitty was in the back yard and came in carrying a huge zucchini and two tomatoes she had found hidden in my messy garden. I was very surprised, considering the plants had not been watered for a few weeks by that point. I surmised that the plants must have roots sucking water up from the neighbor's lawn (the garden is along our back fence).

But back to my dream: I dreamt of my garden just as it is now. Brown. Weedy. Overgrown. But, as I searched throught the garden--lifting up leaves and branches--I discovered beautiful vegetables growing there. And I had the distinct thought that if I looked harder in the garden that I would find other hidden things growing for which I could be grateful. I just needed to search.

When I woke up I realized this dream had a clear message for me to hear.

About the same time I stopped watering the garden I was laid off of my job. And my life has been rather messy ever since (kind of like the state of my garden). I know things are going to work out and everything will be okay. But I think I could do a better job searching out and finding the hidden blessings life is growing for me right now instead of wishing for life to be different than it is.

I may just find another huge zucchini to enjoy.

Scripture of the Day: 2 Nephi 26: 20-21

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Are you lonesome tonight?

This morning I heard a news story about a BYU study that showed sisters are less likely to suffer from depression because of their ability to talk out life's problems with each other. I have thought off and on about this and have been having a bit of a hard time not feeling jealous of women who have sisters.

I have no sisters. And though I have always wanted one, I have never been thus blessed.

I thought when I was younger and unmarried that maybe someday I would have sisters-in-law who might be able to fill those empty shoes. But alas, that was not to be. I have four sisters-in-law, three of which live out of state. And the remaining one is not at all social. I have seen none of these four SILs more than twice yet this year.

So, tonight I sit here a bit lonely and (yet again) wishing I had a sister.

If you are so lucky as to be blessed with a sister, say a prayer of thanks for her tonight.
Scripture of the Day: 1 Nephi 13:26

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Substitute poster, even Steve Irvine

Rebecca is out of town and I am posting in her absence. I am Rebecca's husband, even Steve Irvine.

So why the strange way of identifying myself?????

My point exactly.

I have a potpourri of thoughts today as my first whack at substitute blogging. There are three topics in total and the first of the three is my thoughts about a strange habit we have as Mormon people of making reference to a person by first describing their office/role/title followed by the word even and then their actual name.

Topic 2 is a report on a great High Council speaker we had last month. Topic three is a story of a bad day I had as a missionary.

First topic:
Referring to a person by office/role/title followed by the word even and then their actual name. If you've ever heard General Conference you already know what I'm talking about. If not, pay attention at the next Conference and you'll observe that. I have only heard that practice at Conference and never in any other setting in my life. Mostly it's done in testimony or prayers. I'm not sure why it happens. I expect that because speakers are addressing millions worldwide in a pinnacle religous event they feel a desire to use the most solemn language possible. For our people, apparantlly that takes the form of referring to people in this unusual way. If this post were a Seinfeld episode at this point Jerry or George would coin phrase/name this phenomenon. Since I've never heard it named in the past I propose we call it the "Title-even-name reference".
I think Title-even-name reference would sound a little less funny if we could remove the word even.

Second topic:
We had a great High Council speaker last month. I can't remember everything he said, but I do remember some highlights.

He started by saying that he brings us the love and greetings of our stake presidency. He said they love us and have a concern for every one of us individually. He said they pray for us regularly. Then he mentioned/recognised the presence of two different members of our ward and explained that they had worked with him closely in a church calling many years ago. He explained that they've been great friends ever since. He explained that we had a great ward made up of fine people like the two he discussed specifically. He complimented us and spoke about what a fine ward we had. He made us feel like we were above-average in some way and that we were also particularly blessed.
Then he got into the core if the talk. He read some scriptures and reminded us of the importance of preperation for the eternities. Near the end he read some lines out of a song in the hymn book.

Topic three - account of a bad day on my mission:

I served in a third world country. The average formal education was about 5th grade. If you've lived in such place you know that in the absence of formal education, some people fill in the void by formulating their own theories about how the world operates. Often these theories and ways of thinking are very foriegn to us.

We baptized a guy who had some ways of thinking that were a little more unusual than normal. Otherwise he was great. He threw himself into repentance and reform more than anyone I had ever observed. He even wrote a song about his reformation. He was taking on new membership with a fury. A few days after being baptized we had a meeting at the church with the ward mission leader and the ward missionaries. New member guy showed up because he wanted to attend every meeting possible, even if it was a meeting that the general membership wouldn't ordinarily attend.

So there we were -at the chruch, ward mission leader, two ward missionaries, four missionaries and new member. At this point, let me say that I can only talk about this now since 20 years have past and the anguish has passed. The meeting started. One missionary mentioned having a severe headache, the kind that makes even thinking difficult. He said he was in agony. The meeting went on. New member got up and stood behind the missionary. He put his hands on the missionary's head and started rubbing. After a while he started chanting indiscernible words in a quite voice. The meeting went on. Headache missionary didn't say or do anything. The meeting went on. No one did or said anything. The meeting went on. What was going on??? Didn't anyone notice???? They had to have noticed!!!! The meeting went on and the chanting went on. I sat in horror. What should I do????? No one is doing anything. No one even seems to notice. Do I put a stop to the chanting???? When is the shoe going to fall?????? When is the ward mission leader going to explode?????? Will he explode during the meeting or take me out to the woodshead after?????? The meeting went on. When will the shoe fall???????

There were only a few explanations that I can think of:
Maybe the event is so strange that eveyone is repressing the actual reality?
Maybe they just don't see what's happening? Some ways that seems plausible and some ways it doesn't.
Do they think he's try some kind of massage therapy and don't notice the chanting?
Maybe they just don't want to offend new member??? Doubt it.
My guess is that it's either the first or second option. First ooption is plausible. Second option seems more unlikely, but still plausible.

The shoe never fell.
No woodshed.
On the way home I asked my companion if he had noticed that new member had done something strange. He said he didn't even notice.

The end.