Surprise: Body Trials

118HI’ve spent many years struggling with depression and anxiety tied to the ups and downs of my cyclical hormone levels. (The doctors think I’m allergic to myself—how lucky is that?) Sometimes I’m fine, sometimes I feel like I am so deep in the darkness I’ll never find my way out. It’s gotten more predictable in the last few years because I know what I’m looking for, both on the calendar and in my body, but maybe its denial; I’m still frequently surprised when I find myself yet again, in that hole.

I am not a person, who, if asked, would say I am opposed to surprises. I even like them most of the time. In general, I prefer a somewhat unpredictable life, filled with freedom and chances and unknown possibilities waiting to pop up and be embraced. I am relatively adept at curve balls. I wonder as I write this if I would say that before the last ten years of trial had taught me how little power I have over what happens in the universe. Continue reading

“How To:” Our New Quarter Theme


A new month on the horizon means the start of a new quarter theme on the blog. This winter has been Surprise and in the fall we discussed Passion. We are more than delighted to let you in on our next prompt: How To.

This go around we are hoping to hear from you all too.

Offer a tutorial that would resonate with the readers, or take us to a moment when you learned how to _______, or maybe just your perspective on an attempt (successful or otherwise).  Surprise, delight , and inspire us with what you’ve learned! Send your submissions our way. We’ll be publishing “how to” pieces April through June.

P.S. Any requests for “How Tos”? A specific blogger or topic you’d like to see tackled? Let us know in the comments and I’ll see what we can do. 

Peculiar Treasures: Think Again

83HThink diets are a long time solution?
Two spaces belong after a period?
Hair deserves hate mail?
“Bicycle face” is real?

Think again.

Here’s a few other treasures brought about by those who’ve been thinking about how to do things better:

IKEA flat-pack to the rescue!
Ask questions to better spot sexual abuse among children.
Praise and game theory can help  you be a better spouse.
A 10 minute documentary that affirms children all around the world can connect in a way they didn’t anticipate.
Have a meeting, invite creativity and improve your blood flow like so many great thinkers do.

Finally, think you know all about the women Jesus connected with in his final days, or maybe what 33 years worth of collected pebbles amounts to, or perhaps how grief can be read in our children and our own experience?

Please forgive our lack of first draft poetry this week. And humbly accept our suggestion to read 17 delicious famous and favorite verses right now. Go on. Don’t even think about skipping it.

Women’s General Session Open Thread

imagesHey did you remember that the  Women’s Meeting is an official session of General Conference? Yesterday’s meeting was the first under the designation. In commemoration of the twenty years since the presentation of the “Proclamation on the Family” at the General Relief Society Meeting this meeting focused on the importance and role of the family. I appreciated the multiple acknowledgement that families are families even when not in  ideal form. There seems to be no shortage of mentions that the family requires “strengthening,” “defending,” and “is under attack,” but I’d love a more practical discussion (the kind of gritty real talk from those who challenged each day and gulping thinking about the work that lies ahead as they try to make the families they have function, and move forward as a cohesive, conjoined, and co-dependent unit) of how we make the families we have matter, especially when our families are imperfect and not ideal. I like to think that some of that answer came in President Eyring’s talk on mourning with those who mourn. Can we talk about more of it here?

Was there something from the meeting that struck you at its inspiration for you? Perhaps there is something that you’d want to discuss further with the intelligent and thoughtful readers who comment here? We welcome it all. We love hearing from all of you.

The Morning of the Resurrection

For Family Home Evening a few weeks I decided to do an Easter scavenger hunt so my kids could start thinking about the upcoming holiday. After looking at the dark things we collected (dirt, a piece of black plastic, a dead beetle), we read in the scriptures about the storms and darkness that covered the Earth when the Savior died. “Mom, in the movies it always rains during funerals, but that’s not always how it is, right?” one of my kids asked. “No,” I responded, “funerals happen any time, even when it’s sunny.” I thought about the time in my life when every year, and particularly every summer, seemed to bring a new funeral for someone I loved. Continue reading