All posts by Michelle L.

About Michelle L.

(Blog Team) never folds laundry and her car is a mess. She runs through the streets of Salt Lake City, UT, takes lots of photos, plays Uno with her five fabulous boys and buys way too many dresses for the little princess. Her husband is the most romantic man in the world because he does all the Costco shopping AND hauls it into the house (sorry to make you jealous girls). She writes at Scenes from the Wild.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

We live in a society of broken and struggling families, yet most don’t know how to talk to someone who has been through a divorce, abandonment or abuse by a parent and/or estrangement from a family member. While excruciating in their own right, the pain from these experiences is often escalated by well-meaning friends and family.

I shudder to think of things I may have said in the past– I remember hearing of people who couldn’t be in the same room as a family member and judging them harshly. I remember thinking, “Buck up. Grow up.” That was before I spent a year of my life sobbing on the floor in agony.

If you read nothing else, remember this: extend love; refrain from judgment.

 photo EI3C5664copy_zps5ea912f4.jpg

Continue reading

Seven Billion Ways to Be Happy or Don’t Let the Naysayers Silence Your Song

 photo 140110_1389383109_zps07a2a6d5.png

I am constantly amazed, and consistently delighted, at the many many ways to find happiness in this world: making the basketball team, joining the choir, stitching a quilt, starting a charity, earning an award or an honest dollar…running, inventing, gardening, swimming, hiking, writing or simply just noticing everything and anything good, beautiful, funny.

And yet, in this age of opportunities, where each of us can truly find joy, runs a current of criticism, jealousy, nit-picking and quibbling. The cynics seem to see the world as a pie and any success by someone else, means less for them to eat. But the world isn’t a single pastry, it’s a banquet– lush and full and overflowing, constantly replenished and with new dishes appearing every day. Life offers more than enough love, triumphs and beauty for each of us, no one needs to envy or critique another’s plate.

Each life also holds misery, heartache and disasters– which is all the more reason to tread gently and kindly on this earth.

Words, once published, are like Frankenstein brought to life– they take on actions of their own, free to misinterpretation and abuse.

Recently, the Deseret News introduced new commenting guidelines in an effort to encourage civil dialogue. I found this question and answer especially interesting:

Haven’t you ever heard of freedom of speech? That’s censorship!

Commenting on is a privilege, not a right. If you continually abuse that privilege, you may have your account suspended or banned. But we want your comments and added insight, so keep it civil and we can continue a long and meaningful online relationship.

I applaud the efforts of the Deseret News. Intelligent discussion defines a vibrant and educated society, but the ferocity of condemnation, the excoriation of ‘errant’ writers astounds me. It seems no one can write an opinion of any sort without subjecting themselves to name-calling and mockery.

In the first weeks of this year, I read a beautiful article– God will give you more than you can handle: I guarantee it.– but was saddened to see several comments (I didn’t go past the first twenty or so) both questioning and mocking her faith. Wouldn’t their opinions be better served by writing posts or articles of their own? Why tear apart her expressions of faith and understanding?

A friend compared this attitude to Korihor in the Book of Mormon as he mocked the followers of Christ. The high priest asked, “Why do you teach this people that there shall be no Christ to interrupt their rejoicings?” Alma 30:22. In this world of hardship, why would we want to interrupt any rejoicing?

Over and over, I’ve seen this behavior within discussions about… well, every topic imaginable. Just as we know Facebook taunts never change anyone’s opinion, does any attacker believe their cruel words (on either side of the discussion) will lead to understanding?

Perhaps some might say, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the fire.” To some degree, this is true. But if every sensitive writer/singer/artist stopped contributing, we’d lose so many important voices. Each of us, in whatever we choose to pursue, must block out the voices of opposition. My sister loves to remind me, “The angels tell you to be glorious, but the devils tell you, ‘don’t even try.'”

Yes, we need to ignore the belittlers if we want to go forward. But I’d also suggest we’d all benefit– especially those who spend their time critiquing and reviling– by simply pursuing happiness, spreading kindness, looking for ways to help and create and enjoy this beautiful, beautiful life.

Let’s talk about money honey

My friend Amy lives in a little rental house in a very wealthy neighborhood. Recently a friend visited and as she entered Amy’s house said, “How can you stand to live in this neighborhood with all these rich people?”

Amy pointed to the pot of soup bubbling on the stove and the fresh loaf bread on the counter delivered by a visiting teacher who knew she’d had a busy day, “You have no idea the kindness we’ve received in this neighborhood.”

Over and over Amy’s neighbors have cared for her small children, offered to drive her carpool turn and just generally enveloped her little family with love. “Not once “Amy said “have I experienced a single shred of snobbery from any of these people.” Continue reading

General Relief Society Meeting– if you watch nothing else, just listen to this song

With thirty-two kids eating homecoming dance dinner at my house Saturday night, I didn’t quite make it to the Relief Society Meeting. So, I’ve been listening this morning while cleaning my kitchen. And this song stopped me in my tracks. I ran to my computer and changed from audio only to full video:

Radiant, beautiful, YOUNG sister missionaries singing “Go Forth in Faith/As Sisters in Zion.” Not ashamed to admit I cried like a baby.

As LDS women, it seems there’s a lot to disagree on these days, but we are all ultimately on the same side. We are sisters.

I feel sure someone here has a daughter or sister or friend in that choir, please point her out to us. Also, we usually have some sort of discussion on General Relief Society Meeting. Please feel free to start that discussion in the comments. But excuse me for a minute, I (ducking my head in shame) still need to watch the second half of the meeting while I scrub my dishes.

GLOBAL MOM a memoir by Melissa Dalton-Bradford

First, our book reviews tend to meet with resounding silence, so I’m posing questions at the beginning for you to think about as you read.

How has living (or visiting) in different places changed your view of the world?

As emissaries of Christ, do we have a responsibility to understand other cultures?

Where would you choose to live– for a few years or forever– if given a chance?

How can those of us who are planted in one city gain a world view?

Also, if you have any questions for Melissa, she’ll be checking the comments.

 photo 060copy_zps2f29ba3e.jpg

This is NOT an unbiased review.

Contributing to Segullah since 2007, Melissa Dalton-Bradford is one of our OWN. In fact the acknowledgments read, “…Segullah aided in the development of my voice and the telling of this story.” If you search her name on our blog or literary site you’ll find her gorgeous poems, essays and musings. And personally, I love and adore Melissa Dalton-Bradford around the globe and back. Continue reading