Art: "Art is Not Necessarily Entertainment" by Gaynell Parker
My version of performing arts is plays or theater, concerts, and movies.
I especially love movies. I think movies are amazing with what they can do with computer generation and cinematography -- this in itself is an art form. We are big on collecting movies to watch as a family. We don't watch television and don't have cable -- we watch DVDs.
Last week, though, we decided we'd had enough. It was either ferret out the movies that were iffy, or choose another option. Not that we had that many PG13 or even R movies -- (the Patriot, Saving Private Ryan) but we decided it was time to be more selective in what we allowed in our home. -- Read More
Books: "Caught in the Headlights by Barry K. Phillips" by Alison Palmer
Remember my comment about not liking to read self-help/improvement books because they depress me? Shockingly, I have just finished another one. I was tricked into it, I tell you! I got this seemingly innocent email asking if I want to review a book called Caught in the Headlights by Barry K. Phillips. Taking one look at the title, I laughed out loud and didn’t read any further to find out what type of book it was. Hey, give me a break the title totally described my life that day.
When it arrived, I narrowed my eyes suspiciously at the cover— Caught in the Headlights: 10 Lessons Learned the Hard Way. “Huh” says I, “It’s another one of those.” I consoled myself with the fact that at least it was short (105 pages) and flipped it open. I was immediately hooked. Not only was it short, it had cartoons! Okay, okay, it’s the little things in life, ya know? Before I knew it I’d read another “how to make your life better” books and had a blast doing it. Sneaky author. -- Read More
Rabbi Boteach, who teaches at Oxford University in Cambridge, England, asked his students if any of them would like to be President of the U.S.A. They ALL wanted to be President. Then, he told them that he had no desire to become President, rather, he would like to be the man to whom the President turns when he needs advice. They were surprised, because today's students are taught that cream rises, and, if you don't rise to the top, you are not the cream. (I'm not sure what that makes you, skim milk, I guess.) The Rabbi's message is that facilitators, those who forward the fortunes of others, at the apparent expense of their own, are accorded little value in today's world, because they have no ambition to be top dog.
This "rising to the top" can have disturbing ramifications. For one thing, we have discarded our supposedly outmoded value system and become a society that measures human worth in fortune and/or fame. The most depraved of humans now enjoys extreme adulation, if he is a famous star. His followers require neither integrity nor human decency; their only demand is that they be allowed to worship him; worse, in the minds of many of his devotees, his status is sufficient to acquit him of the most reprehensible wrongdoing. -- Read More
Jewelry: "Casual Summer Days" by Nichole Giles
I have a confession. For as much as I love jewelry, I don’t wear a lot during the summer. When I say a lot, I mean my normal amount. What I consider regular might be a lot for someone else, but I guess it’s all subjective.
My favorite bracelet—a tattooed steel cuff—gives me an odd tan line in the middle of my forearm, just from driving around in my car. And even though I have several watches, I find that during the summer I feel the need to watch the time less and less.
I can’t decide if it’s vanity or practicality that drives me to leave so many of my favorite pieces sitting in my jewelry box. On the one hand, tan lines on your wrists are obnoxious to look at, and hard to get rid of. On the other hand, I try to wear sunscreen—which has a lot of metal-harming oils—that can be really hard on jewelry. And lets face it, only supermodels in catalogues actually wear jewelry with a swimsuit. It may look cute, but even so, I highly doubt even those models wear jewels to the beach or pool. -- Read More
LDS Department Store/Gardening & Landscaping: "Lasagna Gardening, Part 2" by Heather Justesen
A few days ago, I talked about creating lasagna beds. Click here to read that post first if you missed it.
In my area, we have a mushroom plant, I can pick up a truck load (or trailer load) of spent mushroom compost for $15 or $20—a great deal. I put down the layers of newspaper, laid out three or four inches of mushroom compost, then added shredded paper or leaves (I scoured several people’s yards to pick up leaves that hadn’t been raked in the fall), and manure I picked up at the race track (spread thinly since I wasn’t sure how well composted it was—fresh manure can burn you plants’ roots), I threw in egg shells, banana peels, and anything else from my kitchen that would work (again, nothing from an animal). Finally, I laid on another several inches of mushroom compost. Ideally, you should end up with twelve to fourteen inches of bedding when you are finished, though that will compact over time. -- Read More
In the parts of the world where it is now summer a lot of people are into gardening, whether it be in pots or plots. Recently quite a few people have been asking me about the possibility of saving seeds and whether or not saved seeds will they grow.
Every time someone asks, it is a déjà vu moment. Saving seeds and waxed paper is one of the fondest memories I have of my grandfather back on the little farm in Ohio.
Yes, you can save seeds and yes, they will grow. Whether or not your reasons for doing so now is the nasty economy or the fact that it has sort of developed into a fun fad, or you just want to know if it will work for you or not. -- Read More
LDS Outlets/Dutch Oven: "Another Solution" by Keith Fisher
While having lunch in the park one day, a pickup truck pulled up. Two men jumped out and unloaded a backyard, propane barbecue. They rolled it over to a table, then rolled it across the park to another. They cooked food for a family on it and lay on the grass to nap away their full stomachs.
I turned to look at the permanently installed charcoal barbecue next to our table. I glanced at the ones next to the other tables in the park and I wondered. I turned to my companions, and mentioned the trouble the group across the way went to in order to barbecue in the park. "But nobody uses those gross barbecues," they responded.
I considered that for awhile. The barbecue by our table was full of ash and litter. The grill was caked with remnants of meat, grilled long ago. Then I thought of other parks I’ve been to. Some of those barbecues had never been used. I wondered why. What is wrong with using a public facility? -- Read More
The Transportation and Safety Administration (TSA) guard at airport security looked at us sternly, opened our carry-on suitcase and rummaged around. “You’ve got something in here that could be a problem,” she said.
There we stood in our stocking feet, feeling vulnerable and wondering what we’d done wrong. We were on vacation, and I’d given myself a two-inch streak of gray hair trying to make sure I’d packed correctly. I knew there weren’t any pipe bombs in there, because I’d used my last one the week before. I’d left my dynamite at home, along with our machete. And all my really dangerous chemicals—hair gel, hair spray and toothpaste—were in a Ziploc baggie that had already been cleared by security.
“Ah-ha,” the guard declared. She pulled out two, one ounce, sealed jars of honey—mementos from a restaurant in Hawaii. -- Read More
Missionary: "Free to Choose" by Rebecca Talley
“We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” 2nd Article of Faith
A basic belief of the LDS church is that we are all responsible and accountable for our own individual actions and choices, not for anyone else’s. The Savior’s plan that was presented to us in the pre-existence hinged on allowing us to make our own choices. While Satan wanted to compel us to keep the commandments, Jesus wanted us to choose to follow the commandments of our own free will. We are free to determine our own destinies. David O. McKay said, “Next to the bestowal of life, the right to direct that life is God’s greatest gift to man.” Of course, with that free agency also comes consequences.
One of my favorite lines in Gone with the Wind is when Rhett and Scarlett are visiting shortly after Frank Kennedy’s death and Scarlett says she’s so sorry for what she’s done, that Frank was Sue Ellen’s beau and that she should never have married him. Rhett replies that she’s just like the thief who isn’t the least bit sorry he’s done something wrong, only that he’s been caught. -- Read More
New Neighbors: "Shots of the Mormon Trail" by Cheri Crane
This week I decided to stick with the pioneer theme of things and share a poem I wrote after seeing a portion of the Mormon Trail for the first time in 1994, shortly before my first book, "Kate's Turn," was published. Eager to explore the Mormon Trail for myself, we made a family trip out of the occasion and drove up to an area in Wyoming known as Martin's Cove. This is the site where so many pioneers lost their lives after a handcart company became stranded during a severe storm.
In that same area, you can see Independence Rock, a rock formation where the pioneers carved their names in the granite face. Nearby you can also see Devil's Gate, a perpendicular cleft between two mountainous cliffs. It was there that I received the inspiration to write the following poem. After I share it, I'll include a few pictures that were taken during our 1997 trip to Nauvoo---we followed the Mormon Trail as closely as we could upon our return. During that trip, we traveled with 2 other families---close friends and relatives. It was a wonderful experience. I'll place captions under these pictures to make it easier for you to understand what you're seeing. First, the poem (Incidentally, the picture above is of Devil's Gate.): -- Read More
Scrapbooking: "Titles and Journaling" by Kim Thompson
Scrapbookers often find journaling the hardest thing to do, whether it’s coming up with a catchy title for the page or writing a description of the events pictured. But, in my opinion, it is the most important part of the scrapbook.
I have a four year old who loves to look through her scrapbook. She often brings it to me and asks me to read ‘her story’. Without the journaling, the book would just be photos. Yes, photos can tell a story. But there are many benefits to adding journaling to your pages.
The simple fact is, you will not always be around to tell your children about the pictures in their scrapbook. And frankly, it’s hard to remember detailed facts about every event, vacation, and holiday for which your family has pictures. -- Read More
Services: "Cut Up That Chicken and Save" by Liz Adair
During one of the many times in my married life when means were very slender, I found a chicken farm that was selling molters for fifty cents apiece. Chickens shed their feathers once a year, and during the process, they stop laying for a period of several months. This farm was replacing its molters rather than feed them through the eggless period when they were growing new feathers. I had a beat-up VW bug, and I found that I could transport twenty-five live chickens (feet tied together, laid out atop newspapers on seats and floorboard). They were all strangely quiet during the ride home, and one in particular, occupying the front passenger seat, unnerved me with her steely stare.
Those chickens were candidates for the stew pot rather than the frying pan. Fryers have to be young chickens, and no telling how old these were. But, they boiled up great, and I used the stock for soup and the meat for everything from sandwiches to tacos to cannelloni. -- Read More
Sports & Recreation/Movies: "College Road Trip" by Linda Scanlan
Martin Lawrence (Are We There Yet?) plays the overprotective father James Porter. Raven-Symone (That's So Raven) plays the daughter Melanie Porter, who has chosen to go to Georgetown University in Washington D.C. Kym Whitley (Grey's Anatomy) plays the role of Michelle Porter, the supportive mother.
Melanie wants to get as far away from her father as she can. She feels stifled under the protective shield of her police chief father. Melanie is smart and plans a career in Law. She plans a road trip with her best friends after she is informed she has an interview in three days with Georgetown. -- Read More