All posts by Kellie

About Kellie

(Blog Editor) lives way on the other side of the planet in her native Australia and gives thanks for the internet regularly. She loves books, her boys, panna cotta, collecting words, being a redhead and not putting things in order of importance when listing items. She credits writing at as a major contributing factor to surviving her life with sanity mostly intact, though her (in)sanity level is subject to change without warning.

Peculiar Treasures: Who, What, When, Wheres and Whys


Where love is multiple chairs all around a neighbourhood.

Why you should think again before you wear skinny jeans before helping out for a couple of hours.

How a father’s advice to “Go do something. Even if it’s wrong” leads to discovering his box of shells.

What happens when you take two Smithsonian palaeontologists to see Jurassic Park? “They definitely supercharged the mosasaur and made the pterosaurs way stronger than they would have been in real life.”

Who’s life included a duel, enlisting in the Spanish navy, going to war to defend the pope, getting shot twice, being kidnapped by Algerian pirates, writing about a certain Don Quixote, and finally being buried under a convent?

How “grief illiterate” do you think you – or your culture – are? Here are some clichés and scripture verses you may want to avoid.

When there’s no card or balloons, but “My mother’s dementia gave me the best birthday I ever had.”

When “I fear I’ve fallen asleep on the comfortable couch of ingratitude” – a letter of appreciation.

When there is beauty in bugs – First draft poetry brought gorgeously to us by Melissa Y.

I felt that tickle on my arm this morning,
the one that is either a hair or a bug,
and my hand flashed out,
before my mind registered the turquoise blue
of the tiny body,
the iridescence
of its wings

and I felt my friend Regret
watching me,
not for the act,
but for my thoughtlessness–
for the instinct to destroy
rather than walk five steps
to the door
and release.

Oh please,
I muttered to it,
I must be reading too much Mary Oliver
and Thich Nhat Hanh
if this dead bug
has invited you into my head.

I should not have to care
about the ethics of smashing a gnat,

or wonder why
it was only beauty
that gave me pause–
why an average bug,
equally as crumpled,
would not have mattered

this gnat
should not be worth
be worth a poem

but later,
eating breakfast on the back steps,
another gnat landed
on my arm,
plain black,
and I paused,
and blew it off

here’s the thing,
I know myself,
know that I don’t like bugs
crawling on my arms,
that spiders,
and wasps especially,
will never elicit sympathy

but I also want to believe
that what I know about myself
isn’t all there is

that the instinct
(if that’s what it is)
to smash
can be inhaled
and blown out
in an infrequent

that iridescent wings
can extend awareness
to all the other
ordinary unbeautifuls

and that a thousand crushings
can change in a breath

How To: Wish Someone Happy Birthday


I believe in the importance of birthdays. Not birth (space) days, although those are wondrous and terrible and astonishing all in their own right.  No, I believe in the importance of celebrating each subsequent birthday, especially after the age of about 26.

I hope you are spoilt with brilliant books, exceptional friends, fantastic food and the inescapable evidence of how awesome you are, told by everyone around you (and people on other sides of the planet). I hope your year is counted in kisses, and laughter, and an abundance of cake/joy/satisfaction/everything. I hope this year tackles you with enthusiasm, sincerity and random acts of spectacular. I hope this year is as wonderful as you are!

Why 26? Because usually by that age you have more than enough going on to realise that you may have to celebrate it on the following weekend, or maybe after tax season, or who really cares, you have kids to clean, a job to get to, a deadline to meet, dog hair in the hallway, a loved one who will never see you older than you are right now…, and cake is the LAST thing you need right now thanks anyway.

I know it’s your day but I’m still delighted it’s been another year I’ve had to know you, read your words and be cheered by your encouragement. C, I hope this year smears wonder and beauty all over you face and home, beside and amid the hugs and kisses of your loved ones. I hope no hand smaller than yours finds a permanent marker, no run attempted without staggering you with beauty, no day leaving you without some measure (however hard fought) of satisfaction, victory or heart song.

I disagree. I don’t just disagree, I hugely disagree, hugely as your worries and as stubborn as a stain on your favourite shirt. The idea that we grow too old for birthdays is stingy, stale and mean-hearted. I refuse to wait until someone hits an age with a zero on the end to make a big deal of them, and – as sure as I eat cake for breakfast whenever possible – I am not going to wait until someone has left the world before I tell anyone how amazing they are to me.  I don’t even want to wait a year between love notes to be honest.

Happy birthday H! May the year ahead have really short lines to the best BBQ, a ready availability to Mountain Dew (unless you’re avoiding each other, in which case may there be an ocean between you), may your nails never crack, split or have smudged polish, and may every room reno you do take half as long and look twice as good as you hoped! May your sass continue and shine ever brighter, your lippy never fade or dry out, and may your year ahead be as brilliant, fantastic and gorgeous as you are!

Because isn’t there a wonder to birthdays? The thrill that hopefully most people have, given way back in miniature history, when you were celebrated? As we get older, I think there should be more festive carry on and jubilation. Hooray! You made it through another 365-ish days of routine, chaos, dreaming and constant breathing in and out! Let’s have cake, or ice-cream, or a bunch of kale and play your music and realise even for 10 seconds that there are people who are glad that you exist, right now in this point in time. Continue reading

Peculiar Treasures – Dive In to the Ins!


Rest in peace, you wonderful man. He’s gone, but how he saved the farms of interred Japanese during World War 2 will be remembered.

Love in the wilderness – how a family learnt, loved and changed with a child’s change.

Women in history – bringing women onto history’s page

Wonder in darkness – caves for your deep reflection…

Honesty in the journey – an honest testimony and journey to conversion

Value in stubbornness – lessons learnt from parenting a strong-willed child

Salad in Judy Garland’s own words – some history and a recipe

Africa in faith-filled art – colour, faith and patterns in a South African woman’s art

Support in our different faith journeys – how unity and connection is vital along the way

All in good time – a 92 year old Mom adopts her 76 year old daughter.

Transformation in dirt – how gardens are changing prisoners and lives

Raising in kindness – Are you raising nice kids?

Patience in conversion – why Shia Leboef’s faith looks different to yours (and similar, too)

Change in nothing much – four habits to bring definite change from “nothing”

Lessons in sweetness – ideas on how to teach kids about sugar

Beauty in paper – an amazing look at a heritage, patience and tiny cuts made magnificent

Poetry in the rough – First draft poetry today by yours truly, inspired by the previous link.


I’m tired, you know

of the constant hiss and sting

all the new aches and biting realities

my fraying curves pushed against the edges

So not the way I wanted to go

Instead pressed firmly, sharp

direction into a new crease

Full suddenly of holes

that let in


Peculiar Treasures: Old Favourites, New (Old) Heroes, Empty Arms and Size Isn’t Everything


Got any plans this week? Maybe consider why you really should reread a book you loved as a kid, or supporting the exploration and celebration of the literally countless women in LDS history in a fascinating Kickstarter!

If you live somewhere with warming outside weather, learn the true signs of drowning, and if gardens are more your thing, download this app to identify plants you come across.

If you want to flex your heart and empathy muscles, read about empty arms and the book for those struggling with that weight, and consider how the talk and doctrine of family can be uncomfortable and painful for more people than you may think.

Then, when fulfilling the measure of your creation does and doesn’t work out as you planned, when the size of your life isn’t the size of your happy, and a wonderful letter by Hugh B. Brown on what doubt contributes to faith.

Then, wonderfully, the latest Segullah journal is live online!

This week’s First Draft Poetry is created by Melonie about a woman pioneer wondering if angels are with her, mused from the She Shall Be An Ensign opportunity.

Pioneer Angels

Who lifts my tired hands

and laces these worn shoes?

I watch the lacing bob

through the eyelets –

my fingers have a will of their own.


I move forward.


my legs will seem to swing themselves

into the wagon

and bend as spoons, filled with the day.

Who lays me down?

Who pulls the quilt,

ragged and thin as a moth’s wing,

over my bony shoulders

against the perfect cold?

a cough

echoes in the chambers of my chest

and I wonder which reaches God first –

the rattle or the murmured prayers?

a crackle from a fire,

an ember leaps like a shooting star,

I sleep.

My dreams are breezes

being carried over the tops of yellow prairie grass

by a weightless hand.

Who is there?

Who is there between day and night?

sleeping and waking?

present and future?

The morning finds me.

I am lifted again.

I squint into the sun.

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!