Peculiar Treasures: When Is Whenever


When statistics become human, emotional stories. When we publically address our mistakes as a parent, or deliberately address where we spend our moralistic anger.

When a girl races her diagnosis, and is literally caught at the finish line. When we realise we all live in Babylon. When we answer this question.

When a love of pi and knitting come beautifully together. When there’s more to Temple Square at Christmas than expected. When generosity isn’t rewarded, but remembered decades later.

When you know which three pieces of advice you would give to YW/YM. When you wondered what would go perfectly on that wall over there

When we read anyone’s first draft – this week’s First Draft Poetry is by Melissa Young, which ties in with the determined runner mentioned before:

“They don’t bloom the first year,”
the cashier warned,
ringing up the small red hibiscus.
but this morning
the first bud (of many)
and though my mind whispers
that God performed no more
than a distant, law-bound creation,
the confluence of these blood blooms
feels to my dry soul
like intimate,
defiant grace

Guest Post: Eve and How to Fall

116e0p8k3w5hkJamie Wood is the mother of five children and is currently stranded in wintry Iowa while her husband completes his PhD in Accounting. She spends her days homeschooling her two oldest, enduring floor wrestles from her three youngest, and sending them all to the basement in the afternoon so she can write. Her first novel, “Bearskin,” has recently been accepted for publication, a fact which still keeps her up at night in utter disbelief. Jamie posts thoughts about motherhood and her writing journey at

“And Heavenly Mother.” he declares.

My son interrupts our family scripture discussion. He’s a regular distraction to the nightly course, but instead of rushing to the bathroom, feet pitter-pattering in long-put-off emergency mode, instead of pointing at his siblings, intent they show a reverence he forgets to practice himself, my son reminds our family to think of Her as well as Him.

It is always he who reminds us to include Her in our discussions of what Heavenly Father wants for our family. His little voice speaks as an echo of the many desires felt by the women in my church. When my sister-in-law questions why her Heavenly Mother is relatively absent in revealed scripture, or how she, as a daughter, is to fashion herself after a Goddess so many are hesitant to discuss, I think of my son. His certainty of his Mother is a gift from Heaven, a knowledge he grasps tightly in his pudgy, marker-stained hands. Continue reading

Let us Pray – a poem

Lutefisk enhanced with bacon

Lutefisk enhanced with bacon

For the fray of the parking lot –
Fuming vultures bumper to bumper:
Lord, give us peace.

For the rehearsals and performances –
And the hithering and thithering thereunto:
Lord, grant us peace.

For the wheedling children –
Who cry “Mine Mine!” finding themselves overcome with wanting (See Daniel 5:26):
Merciful God, give us peace.

For the exchanges of sundry sorts –
Of the cookies, of the festive cards, of the homemade ornaments, of the nasty viruses:
Lord, grant us peace.

For the relatives harboring grievances –
Who will stir up unto themselves gripes, complaints and all manner of lamentations:
Lord, give us peace.

For Mormor Ingrid’s gelatinous lutefisk –
However reminiscent of our Scandinavian family history it may be:
Merciful God, save us no piece.

Of mistletoe and reindeer –
And other traditions melded fancifully with the stable and the manger:
Lord, let us make peace. Amen

Passions: Christmas songs you love, Christmas songs you hate

IMG_4884Over the next two weeks, we’re all going to hear a few Christmas songs. Make that a LOT of Christmas songs. Between next Wednesday night and next Friday morning, I will have the pleasure of attending one junior high Christmas concert, two elementary school Christmas concerts, and two preschool Christmas concerts (in case you were counting, that makes five concerts in 36 hours). By the time they’re all over, I’m sure I’ll be vacillating between cuteness overload and wanting to wear noise-canceling headphones through the New Year.

One thing that most of us can agree on is that Christmas songs are awesome. Part of it is probably because we only listen to them for six weeks out of the year (if we adhere to the “only after Thanksgiving” rule, and I refuse to acknowledge any other kind of people). Part of it is probably because we associate them with all kinds of happy memories. In my mind, Amy Grant equals baking cookies. After performing for a season with The Nutcracker, the opening strains of Tchaikovsky’s ballet will always be linked with the musty smell of my mouse costume as I watched the party scene from the wings. I associate listening to The Forgotten Carols with holiday road trips when I was a teenager (although I gathered my kids to watch a video of the production a few years ago and I was sort of shocked at how bad it was). I’m getting ahead of myself here.  Continue reading

Book Review: Walking With the Women of the New Testament

It’s a good year for books for LDS women.  The Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons, Neylan McBaine’s Women at Church, and the LDS authored, broader appealing Girls Who Choose God just among those we’ve reviewed so far, a lot of women are sharing what matters to them. These books are speaking to the needs of women who want to listen and also feel heard. Add to that Heather Farrell’s just released Walking With the Women of the New Testament. 

Farrell, a frequent reader here is also a blogger herself, writes the thoughtful, inspiring blog  The ideas she began the blog with are extended into this new publication. The book is lush with information: each women (or groups of women) are featured with scripture references and accessible retelling of and suggestion of what each woman’s life may have been like as well personal connections and insights Farrell found from studying each story. The book is especially written as an LDS woman for an LDS audience, references and links pulled from LDS leaders and LDS scriptures (Book of Mormon, D&C, and the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible).

The book is approachable for anyone who wishes to see and know the women in the New Testament as personally as Heather Farrell has. In the process of writing and researching she’s become an amateur scholar and her book is filled with keen observations that have come though her earnest wrestling with the text, research, and asking to understand.

The book is designed to be savored with rich styling and color throughout the book. However, I found Mandy Jane Williams’s art to be a bit distracting: the models and clothes she features in her images look at lot more blond and modern than what hey were ancient women they were intended to imply. Or perhaps the choice was deliberate to help the reader connect with inspiration though the image?

Regardless, the book is deeply personal and thoughtful.  It’s the sort of book that is perfect for gifting to those who want to get more from their scripture study. Each woman’s story is so open, inviting the reader to connect with these women as examples and as friends. Heather’s deep faith and belief enriches the text beckoning all readers to share what she has found.