Luxury to Worry about the Less Significant

Last Saturday I volunteered at Salt Lake City’s Color Run. The happiest 5K run on the planet. Volunteers splashed powdered color on runners wearing tutus, rainbow headbands, and striped socks. It was pretty incredible to watch.

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The run benefited two charities.  Global Citizen - a movement, website, and app invested in ending extreme world poverty, and UN Women of Utah – an organization working to help women and children in a variety of ways including refugee services, eliminating prostitution, and advocating education for girls in Africa.

My friend, Nikki (pictured above) is the go-to girl for both. Years ago, through the International Refugee Committee,  she connected me to a Sudanese family that I spent time with during my college years, helping them acclimate to a new life in the United States.

Saturday was the first time in years I’ve volunteered somewhere beyond math facts and reading at the elementary school. And it got me thinking. When I do have a little more time, as kids go to school, and life cracks open a bit, how will I spend it?

My interest was piqued when a friend shared a FAIR talk with me, given by Sharon Eubank, director of LDS Charities. I thought it interesting that she was asked to talk on a subject unrelated (so I thought) to her work. A topic that has worn us out of late: Women in the Church. Continue reading

August Journal




The August edition of the Segullah Journal is up.

It’s been a roller coaster of days, weeks and hours of moving house and life across the country this summer and all the time leading up to it. Moving was/is/will continue to be disquieting , strenuous and leveling, all in a constant upheaval of sanity and satiety. Yet, when I sit and settle myself into good writing or soak in lush art, the world settles a little softer in my soul. It’s the reason I have to have the pictures on the wall and the books on their shelves before my mind and body can be at ease, at home in my new home.

While my house is still a wreck of plastic wrappings and cardboard packaging, I felt at home in my study room catastrophe this evening as I read this month’s offerings of poetry and prose. I was lifted and lighted and settled.

I remembered why I always feel at home here at Segullah.

We hope you do too- here on the blog and in always at the Segullah Journal.

If you are stopping by my new house sometime soon, accept fair warning for the lack of burnished beauty or organization, and mostly for the mess I’m working through as I strive to get my own books on the shelves and art on the walls.  But please, stop in to admire, sink in and soak up the fine things we are hanging up and setting out at the Segullah Journal this month. It’s really great stuff.

P.S. New things are around the corner for next week. Watch for good stuff to come on the blog too.

I Hope They Don’t Call Him on a Mission

P and Elder N

Patrick with Elder Nielson, the first missionary he ever met, 1998.

In the greater Brisbane (Australia) city area, if there is a news report of a stabbing, armed robbery, police car chase or drug-related arrest, chances are it’s in the southern suburb of Logan. So, obviously, that’s where my sixteen year old son was called to serve for a week on his “mini-mission”.

Cue parental heart attack, anxieties and worry.

I dropped him off one Saturday morning to the missionary flat, where two elders came out to the car to help with his bike, his suitcase, backpack and groceries. A final “Bye Mum, love you” tossed over his shoulder and I was driving back home, an hour north of where I’d just abandoned my firstborn to the cruel uncaring world. The entire way home I was praying – pleading – with God to make sure Patrick would be well, and happy, and gain something positive out of his mini-mission (and not be mugged, or hurt, or…) Continue reading

My life in books

Like most avid readers, books aren’t just  a side-note in my life, a mild but harmless diversion. Instead, books often become the backdrop against which I live my life, the questions facing characters raising themselves in unexpected ways in my own life.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this bookish lens. A couple of weeks ago, I read Rebecca Mead’s fascinating, My Life in Middlemarch, a hard-to-classify book that is part biography, part memoir, part literary history–and all about the transformative power of George Eliot’s Middlemarch. In it, Mead describes how reading this book at different times in her life changed the way she saw herself.

I think we’ve all experienced something of the way language transforms our lives, and the lens through which we view ourselves, particularly with scriptures. But I find it happens with other literature too. Continue reading

The Positive Outcome of an Injury

Over eight years ago, I tore some kind of soft tissue deep in my right hip, and it has affected me every day since.  I’ve taken a variety of stances towards this injury, but lately have stood in an unusual place: I’m grateful for my injury.

A thumb injury circa 2006 actually led to my hip injury a few weeks later.

I was cutting carrots too carelessly and cut off the tip of my left thumb.  While that was healing, I took about a month hiatus from yoga.  When I resumed my practice, I foolishly forced my right leg into a half lotus position, failing to realize how much flexibility I had lost over a month. When I shoved my shin onto my lap, I felt damage occurring in my right angle, right knee and right hip.

My ankle and knee healed up completely. My right hip will never fully recover.

Continue reading