Category Archives: Daily Special

Surprise: I like Fantasy Novels

I first heard about the Whitney Awards four years ago, but that year I did not read all the finalists like I have done in the years since then. I particularly avoided the Speculative category because it would have required reading The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, and I just could not imagine myself reading a thousand-page-long high fantasy novel. Then, this year, the follow-up to that novel, Words of Radiance was picked as a finalist for both a Whitney Award and the Association for Mormon Letters novel award. After years of avoiding Sanderson’s work, I decided it was finally time to dive in.  A few weeks ago I went to the library, grabbed a copy of Words of Radiance, and furtively checked it out—even though it’s hard to be sneaky when you are carrying around a book that has a thousand pages and weighs several pounds. I brought the book home and stared at it for about a week before reluctantly cracking the cover. Although I’ve long been an avid reader, I’ve also secretly looked down a bit on people who read epic fantasy. I worried that my decision to start reading Sanderson would be the first step on a slippery slope that would end with me making my own chain mail. Thankfully, I have been proven wrong and I now repent of my previous snobbishness. Continue reading

The Sun

Our life of late has been a rush and swirl of light, in varying degrees.

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Hospital visits, a child with a  broken leg, twin birthdays, baptisms only a week away, a friend juggling new babies in arms, a new niece about to be born, my mother in the ER, mercies, disappointments, sunsets that stop me in my tracks, and love riding carefully against harsh words – unseen, maybe even unknown.

I could write about each of these, for paragraphs and more. Continue reading

Taking a Leap of Faith

Seven years ago, I sat in a small office, surrounded by several smart, supportive faculty members who were serving on my dissertation committee. I had just (successfully) passed my dissertation defense, and thankfully, the revisions they wanted me to make were minor.

But one of the women had a question. “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

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I was quiet for a moment. The truth was, I had worked hard to get here–but I had an almost-two-year-old son and I was pregnant (though I hadn’t announced this yet) with my second child, a daughter. In five years, I saw myself teaching part-time and otherwise staying home with my children. But this wasn’t an answer I could easily give to this woman in particular, who was pregnant with her first, and who would continue to work full-time while she raised her. And it wasn’t the answer the committee expected, these wonderful people who had invested so much time in me and my potential career.

To be honest, I don’t remember exactly how I answered. But I do remember that paralyzing moment, and the doubt it spawned.

Was I doing the right thing? My husband and I had prayed about it, and while finishing a PhD was right for me, continuing into a tenure track position immediately was not. The real question was not: where did I see myself? But, where did God see me?

Continue reading

Sabbath Revival: “Choose a companion you can stand…”

With Valentines Day in the USA  just behind us, I thought this gem by Dalene back in February 2008 was worth revisiting. The original post has so many wonderful comments I encourage you to read them, but please share any thoughts you have to the comments below.  


It’s not like I attend church meetings looking for stand-up comedy, but when I happen to be indulged with a few good laughs in the middle of my worship it’s a BIG bonus. Kind of like discovering one of the kids took out the trash without being asked or finding there are five different kinds of imported cheeses in your lasagna.

Can I just tell you how much I loved the world-wide leadership training meeting last weekend? The discussion was educational, inspiring, congenial, validating (that’s another post for another day) and even funny. And the best joke was one that wasn’t even intended. Elder Oaks was talking about marriage and he counseled the single adults in the audience to “Choose a companion you can stand… Continue reading

How can I get excited about genealogy when I’m not exactly proud of where I came from?

I keep typiRootsTech-appng and retyping the title of this post. I don’t want it to be about me– but I want to offer a sounding board for others. Everyone seems to be buzzing about genealogy these days (have you tried Relative Finder?  It’s amazing!). And I live in a place where drawing your family tree on the chalkboard in Sunday School has always been the norm.

But let’s take just a minute to acknowledge the unspoken truth– some people come from families that aren’t exactly brag-worthy, some didn’t glean knowledge and values from their grandparents. Some are desperately trying to break a cycle of neglect and/or abuse. While everyone talks about their family walking across the plains, I strongly suspect mine might have been the ones who chased them out of their homes in Missouri.

As one friend said, “I’m sure I have some good relatives; I just need to look past the generations who’ve hurt me.”

In general, how can we get excited about genealogy when when the relatives we know have let us down?