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.

Favorite Things: Girls’ Camp


(Please note – this post is by Lara, not Kellie. Kellie tried to get WordPress to cooperate, but it didn’t go in Kel’s favour…)

Girls’ Camp is one of my favorite things! I went four years as a young woman, and this was my fourth year as an adult leader—I love camping, I love crafting, I love nature, and I love working with the young women. Though we aren’t supposed to covet, I could spent the rest of my life going to Girls’ Camp, and be perfectly content calling-wise.

First of the year I was asked to be the ward camp director for Girls’ Camp. Our Young Women’s program is currently very small, so some of the things I would usually do in this calling weren’t on the agenda, such as a fundraiser. For the camp skit, our ward was combined with another small ward, and their ward to the heavy lifting on that, and for camp itself the stake assigned me to be a leader for the second year girls. Additionally all certification was taking place at camp by leaders specifically assigned to teach. This meant there wasn’t much for me to do except go to a few meetings and wait for camp. Still, I wanted to serve, and I know what I gained when I was a young woman and that was worth giving to others.

My daughter turns twelve one day before the camp cutoff date, and I was genuinely glad I was going to be there for her first year—she hadn’t been away from home before, and that way if she was worried or homesick I was close by—but I found myself not looking forward to camp in the weeks leading up to it. In the past, there has been lots to do to spark that excitement, this time not so much. I felt like there was going to be a lot of down time, and with many responsibilities and upcoming events I needed to deal with at home, I wasn’t convinced camp was going to be a useful expenditure of my limited time and energy.

The first afternoon, after a grueling hike on the tail of a sleepless night, all I wanted was a nap! But I sat at a devotional and listened to a speaker say exactly what my soul had been needing to hear for weeks. The next morning it happened again. Three devotional talks a day felt like warm embraces from my Heavenly Parents, reminders of who I am and what I needed to be doing, and what I am doing right. I had gone to camp to serve the young women, but over and over again I heard the Spirit telling me that I was called to camp this year for me.

The last night at our testimony meeting, my heart was broken as I listened to the struggles and heartache being faced and endured and overcome by the girls in our stake, and the Spirit spoke again—if once a year, we can give these young women a single week where they feel safe, cherished, protected and loved, it is worth any sacrifice made. For some, it’s the only time they have this security. I’m already looking forward to next year, hoping to go again, for myself, and for them.

What is the calling you’d be happy to have forever? Have you had an experience of having your heart change during an experience of service? Where do you feel most safe and loved?

Favourite: Sheer Stubborn Perversity

The image that started it all…

This past week my Facebook and Twitter feeds featured the above picture of daisies.  Most of the related clickbait headlines or comments were practically glowing with panic and horror, like “Japanese radiation deforming flowers!”  “Contamination mutates nature!” “Flowers, fruits and animals suffering years after tsunami-caused nuclear disaster…” “I think these are GMO flowers #seriously #eatrealfood #gmoisdeath #coconutwaterislife”  (these aren’t real quotes, just general summaries of ones I saw).

After a quick click or two to check that the flowers had apparently been photographed in the area claimed, I stopped reading the wheezing, shrieking pieces that went along with it. But I found myself thinking about the photo every day.

I LOVE those little flowering champions!

Stubborn: adjective stub·born

: refusing to change your ideas or to stop doing something

: difficult to deal with, remove, etc.

In the face of all sorts of challenges, that plant just got on with living. Deliberately, stubbornly pushed its roots a little deeper down, in order to better stretch for the sun. Then, using its inbuilt DNA and resources, flowered.  In spite of changes in radiation levels, not being in a nurtured garden, it just got on with life.  And not only did it manage one flower, but several, and in bold and surprising ways.

Perverse: adjective per·verse

: wrong or different in a way that others feel is strange or offensive

Of course, humans freaked out because all the flowers weren’t normal – some were weird, perverse, wrong looking and not how they were meant to look, at least according to the people freaking out online. I’m betting that flower doesn’t know, doesn’t care, and (unless one of those pesky humans has come and dug it out or cut it up) it’s still there, photosynthesising away, flirting with the bees and hoping for rain. Continue reading

Peculiar Treasures: Looking Forward, Back and Inside Out

How’s your week looking? How was your weekend? We’ve gathered some links for you to consider while you go forward or linger a little closer the week that was.

For a wonderful proof of magic and music being there if you look for it, check out how some birds resting on a power line became a wordless song.

If looking for your first pioneer is further back than yourself or grandparents, as in a pioneer ancestor who crossed the plains, this website may give you insights and information you never knew about them.

Looking at the women in the scriptures, we have two links this week.  First, this quick list of 5 women called prophetesses in the Bible. A good list to think about, seeing as The Exponent is holding a Midrash short story contest – which is calling for short stories about the lives and back stories of women in scripture.

Depression changes what is seen and felt, even what we know we know. This post links eleven posts, podcasts or talks from people of faith about holding faith close in the dark.

Looking at google images for decades hoping to find her birth mother’s face, read how a DNA test and Facebook lead to success.

Do you watch what you say? How’s your “vocal fry” or “upspeak”? This podcast discusses linguistic tics and habits (such as apologising in general conversation and other quirks found mostly in women) and the effect it may be having on individuals and the wider community.

Our first draft poetry is by Lara, inspired by the previous podcast.

Google was that number we talked
about in math class, the word texting
did not exist, and now they’ve
decided the way women speak is weak—
too unlike the push and shove of a
man’s moving linguistics so it is

us who must change, taking the
curl of our sympathy, the whisk
of our peacemaking and smooth of
our comfort
out like the stain
of oppression is all in the way we say

I love you
the way we build or decompose,
but butter and Crisco are not the same
thing, sweet creates a different kind of
potato, and there is a reason Granny Smith
is best for pies—

I’m good with repentance, with changing
hearts, with adding nuts to your mother’s
mother’s recipe,
or taking them out, I just can’t get my head
around the need for me to speak and think

and breathe like a man, in a man’s world, in a
shirt too big for me,
in suspenders to keep up his pants,
when I’m a woman and my skin
and my words—even when I tell you
you’re beautiful on the outside

and your dress is cute—
those words fit me just fine,
taste good without
substitution or correction.

Pavlova Meditation


Some cakes I can bang out in under 3 minutes: measure, dump, stir, oil tin, whack in oven. But pavlovas tend to be a more meditative experience. Incredibly simple, only 2 ingredients for the actual pav (and really, you should call it a pav, it’s what we Aussies call it and it’s our unofficial dessert*), but with 2 double handfuls of opportunity to drift off into hushed dreams and gentle musings. Even when I’m in a rush to make one, I’m always side-tracked by the odd thought as I make the gorgeous meringue deliciousness.

Pavs are astoundingly easy to make, and hugely impressive as a dessert. The fact that they are a luscious confound of sweet, light, chewy and melting, let along the ability to dress up elegant or slouch for a casual event, makes it even more worth the simple (and wonderfully hands free) process. The meditation/daydreaming is an extra delight.

You can make pav with a handheld mixer, but a stand mixer is best, with a whisk attachment.  You will need 4 egg whites (make sure there’s no egg yolk lurking in there), 1 cup of fine sugar (not confectioners or icing sugar – caster or white sugar’s fine, brown sugar is a lovely choice too) and that’s it for the actual pav. Seriously, just those ingredients. The decoration on top comes later and is totally up to your own preferences.

So, toss the egg whites into the stand mixer or bowl, and start whipping on medium speed. When they start to thicken just enough to see the beater marks left behind, add in a quarter cup of sugar.  Meditation prompt: How on earth is this going to make a decent dessert? Think about other messes that turned out well.  Mmmm, good desserts… remember great desserts of stomachs past. Continue reading

Peculiar Treasures: Vice and Virtues of Empathy, Discipline, Want, Remembrance, (Screen) Reflection and Sanctuary


Empathy: a rebuttal to the suggestion that empathy is a finite resource “…we believe that empathy is a choice that we make whether to extend ourselves to others. The “limits” to our empathy are merely apparent, and can change, sometimes drastically, depending on what we want to feel.”

Discipline: a new approach and interpretation of better ways to discipline kids “… (those) who aim to control (kids’) behavior—rather than helping them control it themselves—undermine the very elements that are essential for motivation: autonomy, a sense of competence, and a capacity to relate to others.”

Want: how women’s soccer showed more than skill and dedication “What moves me is the players’ faces, and watching women want…We see women legislating, creating, speaking, protesting… But we still don’t often see women in the act of wanting. And we need to see this, because when you’re in the act of wanting something badly enough, there isn’t room for self-consciousness.”

Remembrance: How reading kids books can lead to memories and tears “Whereas children exist in their own endless present; everything takes forever to them. Reading to a child, falling into the rhythm of the words and the pages, is as close as I can reliably get to joining my daughter in her slowed-down kid time. That’s what makes it so painful to turn the final pages of these books and watch a child grow up all at once.”

(Screen) reflection: reflecting on the impact screens have on people around the world “The documentary …highlights the tragic effects on teenagers who become hooked on video games, playing for dozens of hours at a time often without breaks to eat, sleep or even use the bathroom. Many come to view the real world as fake.”

Sanctuary: when Muslim’s during Ramadan are donating to help rebuild burnt black churches in America’s south “The American Muslim community cannot claim to have experienced anything close to the systematic and institutionalized racism and racist violence that has been visited upon African Americans. We do, however, understand the climate of racially inspired hate and bigotry that is being reignited in this country. We want to let our African American brothers and sisters know that we stand in solidarity with them during this dark hour.”

First Draft Poetry this week is from Sandra, in response to the Muslim response to help rebuild the burned churches in the south.

I’ve been thinking lately of sanctuary-
letting the word slip though,
slide through,
settle into spaces
I do not own;
who does?

If I can offer to pay for a few pine boards,
the boxes of nails to rebuild,
or just see you
sacred in your space
then I can make myself one more.

In buzzing hum and swooping song
make the space