Category Archives: Daily Special

Favorite Thing: Red

Rain spills off the asphalt in front of our house and into the canal, drenching the last red tulips, soaking the grass, giving life to the leaves spiraling out of black cherry limbs beside my window.

I think of my favorite things, and I think of red. Red, in all its splashes of joy.

I love so many things that are red.

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The tulips with black and yellow bellies, still rising in cold corners of our yard.

The barstools tucked under our kitchen counter, waiting for children to come home from school.

New rain boots, knee-high, so I can wade into the canal in search of kids who’ve explored too far. Continue reading Favorite Thing: Red

Lending a Hand: Deciding How and When to Serve

BettyBalzarhandsServing others is central to declaring Christian faith. How to serve, when to serve and when not to serve is subject to interpretation.  Serving from time to time in Relief Society presidencies gives me additional cause to think about service since I end up observing more need and more acts of service.

How to serve.   Sometimes people serve others based on their particular talents and resources. You know the person with the truck. The person who can cook for a crowd.  The person who can fix a dryer. The person who can revise a resume.  The person who can offer rides.  Other times, the need dictates the service. For example, I am not particularly good at conducting music, cooking, gardening, sewing, or teaching teens, but I have been invited to serve in these areas.

I admit that I am often the person with the hammer who treats every situation like a nail. In other words, I try to find a way to write a newsletter, type a flyer, compose a group email or set up a phone tree—no matter what the best course of action might be.  These acts of communication aren’t always the appropriate way to address a need.

When to serve.  This is a very tricky aspect for me to negotiate. When am I helping and when am I enabling?

Continue reading Lending a Hand: Deciding How and When to Serve

seeds in your life just waiting to bloom

EI3C0941-copy1In May, people stop and stare at my garden. Pedestrians ask questions, cars often slow and take photos. And if you’re in the neighborhood, feel free to cut some roses for a bouquet– I have plenty.

I love tending my garden, calling my plants by both their common and Latin names, pulling weeds, adding compost, moving plants from one spot to the other. And while I’m almost drunk with beauty during those May blooms, I love my garden most in those first days of Spring when what was dead comes to life.

EI3C6860 copyPeony shoots literally break the soil, pushing toward the sun, sticklike trees with sprout new buds. Every day, every hour, I watch the world transform. Hope. Life.

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Maybe you heard about the Superbloom in Death Valley last month? The hottest, driest place on the North American continent, Death Valley usually sports an impressive dirt patch. But every ten years or so the perfect combination of sun and rain produces a superbloom where the desert bursts into life.


As one ranger said, “It’s interesting to see all the seeds that have been waiting beneath this dry, dusty valley just waiting for a chance to bloom.”

Maybe you’re just coming out of a hard winter, a ten-year drought or even a 40 year trudge through the desert, but I promise there are seeds, wonders, beauties just beneath the surface waiting to bloom.

In my garden last week I surveyed an old rose bush– dry, brown, canes full thorns. I was ready to rip it out of the ground when I spied one slender green shoot.

Through the light of Christ, the gift of the Atonement even the most dry, dusty, thorny life will burst forth into fields of blossoms, armfuls of bouquets. Maybe, probably, not until Christ comes again. But keep planting the seeds, nurturing the soil, praying for rain.

Christ will come.

Have you seen blooms after a barren season in your life?

How can we maintain faith when we don’t see results?




Do You Strive?

I heard the word “strive” six times at church on Sunday. The idea of striving — of trying, of struggling — is a bulwark tradition of our faith. We are an industrious bunch, like bees in a beehive (except for those worthless drones.) Some of you will recognize one of the temple recommend questions in the words Do you strive . . .? I always cringe at the question. Because I know the “right” answer is Yes. But I can’t say Yes. I say, “No. I don’t really “strive”. It’s counterproductive for me. I simply nurture my divine desires and then I surrender to God the best I can.”

Continue reading Do You Strive?

April Journal is Up!


We at Segullah look forward to the latest literary journal every month. In case you have not already clicked on the handy button on the home page, sure to head over to the journal and check out this month’s offering. With prose by Nanette Rasband Hilton, poetry by Markay Brown, artwork by Katrina Berg, and an editorial by Sandra Clark Jergensen, April’s journal will leave you feeling rejuvenated as spring carries on towards summer.

Here’s a direct link: April 2016 Segullah Journal