How To: Get a Degree Online

Five years ago I had no plans to go to college ever again, and I thought I would just work part-time until my children were mostly grown. Those plans changed when I got divorced and needed a full-time job. Thankfully I was blessed with some great opportunities and found a career path that I love—working in libraries. The only problem? If I want to move forward in my career, I need a master’s degree in library science. I love school but my life is much more complex than it used to be—I own a home, I have a full-time job, and my kids are well established in their neighborhood school (plus being divorced complicates moving anywhere else). Enter an online degree program to save me! I am about halfway through earning a master’s degree online, and while the work has been hard, it has also been extremely fulfilling. Every year, online education becomes more readily available, and it can be a great option for you if you want to go back to school and can’t physically move to a new location. I would like to share some things I have learned about getting a degree online, both from my own experiences and those of family and friends. Obviously I don’t know everything about continuing education and I urge you to do even more research—I also highly recommend perusing Aspiring Mormon Women for some excellent advice about education and careers. Continue reading

How To: teach your kids (and yourself) to be happy for others

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If you are happy for other people, you simply get to be happy more often.

We are all in each others faces these days. Whether it be Instagram or blogs or Facebook, I’m aware of awards, scholarships, book contracts, mission calls, engagements and prizes. I love hearing about the successes of my friends and neighbors.

Whenever I hear of someone going on a trip, earning a promotion, fulfilling a dream, I’m giddy for them. And I honestly, truly believe when I rejoice for others, more joy comes my way.

Now, I’m not perfect at this. Sometimes I catch myself feeling jealous and petty and scarcely able to congratulate a friend. When those feelings emerge, I know it’s a warning sign about my spiritual health. For me, envy means I haven’t been praying enough, or reading scriptures or expressing gratitude. Continue reading

How To . . . Get Lost

When my dad turned 75, he went skydiving. He loved it so much that he decided to celebrate his 80th birthday the same way, deliberately jumping from a small plane 12,000 feet in the air. But this time, his preferred tandem partner, Peter, was in Puerto Rico that month. So dad went to Puerto Rico on his birthday to skydive with Peter. Dad doesn’t speak a lick of Spanish. He had reserved a motel room — the cheapest one he could find — on the internet. When he arrived in San Juan, he discovered that the motel was an hour’s drive outside of town. So he set off in his rental car through the mad, rush hour traffic of the city, lost much of the time, arriving well past dark.

The jump was scheduled for the next day at 10:00 in the morning. Dad left the motel early, sketchy directions in hand, and set out to find Peter and the plane.  After a very long drive down a lonely road, he began to believe he was lost, so he stopped at a rundown gas station and, using sign language and good humor, managed to learn where the road to the airport was. It turned out to be a dirt road, which stretched on for miles and miles into the wilderness of the island. He saw no sign of civilized life, just vast expanses of brown. It was 10:00. Then, just ahead on the right, he spied a small metal hangar and a short, packed-dirt runway. And Peter, waving a welcoming bandana. Dad loved his second jump even more than the first, perhaps because he willingly surrendered to the adventure of it all. He consented to get lost. Continue reading

Counseling for Beginners


“You’re doing what?” Chad asked.

“Counseling,” I repeated. “I’ve always wanted to go.”

Plus, at the price of “free,” why not? In the month between the first year of grad school and the start of my internship in Omaha, I had some flexibility in my schedule, and I decided to finally take the plunge and sign up for the university’s free counseling sessions. Growing up, I had seen first-hand how much counseling had helped one of my sisters and wanted to have a sounding board for my fears and frustrations. I felt a bit guilty taking up a spot that could go to someone in desperate need, but with it being spring term and fewer students on-campus requesting the service, I figured it was as good a time as any to start. Continue reading

Peculiar Treasures: Words, Coils, Wholes and Hearts


What’s in a word: A podcast on how our expectations change everything around us, a linguist considers the friction in daughter-mother conversations, and fourteen gorgeous untranslatable words from other languages, including my favourite, “gufra (arabic): the amount of water that can be held in a hand”.

This mortal coil: An exploration of the myth of “after” losing weight (there is one expletive in this post), a blind mother to be gets to see her unborn baby, some fun hand clapping games and the plans to finally get photos of Pluto’s shy little moons.

Being part of a whole: How a company’s search for oil cascaded into disaster one little decision at a time, the exclusive club Sheryl Sandberg (and millions of other women) finds herself in, how to stay Mormon when you’re tired of Mormons, and just how many possessions do you have?

Gladden the heart: on why old buildings matter, and a couple sees how they will look in 30, 50 and 70 years… a month before their wedding. (The way the man says “hello” to his fiancé every single time is incredible!)

This week’s First Draft Poetry is by Sandra, in response to the untranslatable words link:

sometimes you can’t quite

say what you might

words can’t reveal

what pictures can’t conceal

only art translates just right

What words do you wish existed? Have any First Draft Poetry to share? Have a great week!