Category Archives: Daily Special

Book Review: Baptism and Boomerangs


Vegamite, boomerangs, and Mum. How do any of those things connect to a children’s story about baptism? They offer a slice of Australian culture in this sweet and thoughtful book. Tidbits of the land down under flow through the book, setting the backdrop of a little girl, who learning about baptism.

Amara is excited about her eighth birthday and her grandparents visiting for the celebration and her baptism. But between bites of Jaffa cake Amara expresses apprehension and curiosity about what baptism means, and what comes after the ordinance. Her mother and father are perceptive and answer her questions clearly and kindly.  Later her granddad pulls out a boomerang, to play with Amara and her brother. They watch in awe as granddad skillfully throws the ‘rang that quickly returns to his open hands.  Baptism is like a boomerang, designed for return. Continue reading

Favorites: Unexpected Acts of Kindness

A little over a week ago, on an otherwise unpreposessing Monday, I opened my email inbox to find a wholly unexpected gift card for a book.

Four Elkhart Institute Ladies with Book, undated (11467224905).jpgIf you know me at all, you know that books are some of my very favorite things in the world. Even better than chocolate. (Heresy, I know). Sometimes even better than my kids. (Shhh. Don’t tell them I said that. Though of course I love my kids, sometimes it takes a good book to revive me enough to return to the parenting fray).

My morning immediately took a turn for the better, and I spent the rest of the day musing over the perks of an unexpected kindness. There’s something wonderfully validating about finding yourself in someone’s thoughts, for no reason other than that they care about you. Continue reading

Seven Favorite Back-to-School Tips


My Instagram feed features one back-to-school snap after another– freshly scrubbed and slightly disgruntled kids standing on the front porch, sometimes holding up fingers or signs indicating their grade. Pretty much the entire Northern Hemisphere has just gone back-to-school or will in the next few weeks. I’ve queried National Merit Scholars, National AP Scholars, kids with perfect ACT scores, Sterling Scholars etc. for their best back-to school advice. While you might think they’d focus on study tips, the first words out of each person’s mouth was…

1. BE KIND! Be kind. Be kind. No one regrets showing kindness; almost everyone wishes they’d offered more. Be kind to your classmates, be kind to your teachers, be kind to your coaches and your advisement counselor. Everyone on this earth needs affection and sympathy. One of my sons said, “Every time you earn a piece of candy for a good answer or quiz score, don’t eat it. Just save it and give it to someone else. For you, it would just be a moment of sweetness, but to someone else, you can salvage their entire day.” Continue reading

Avoiding Deception

I have long been concerned with avoiding deception. I am a Mormon convert because I am a seeker of Truth. I am not interested in dogma or the masks of God, except as they are useful to leading me deeper into eternal truth. I need to experience God, to know Them, not just learn about Them as conceptualized by any earthly organization. Don’t misunderstand: I am a faithful believer in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I believe the Church is the authorized vehicle to establish Zion on the earth. But, of course, the church is not the gospel. Continue reading