Home

Toni Morrison’s Writing and Listening When Others Speak

By Karen Austin

Writing in the wake of Toni Morrison’s passing on Monday, August 5, 2019 is a daunting task. Her craft outshines my ability to describe it. Nevertheless, I want to gesture to her writing, which is powerful in both form and content. Be it grand or slender, burrowing, blasting, or refusing to sanctify; whether it laughs …

Read More

Tallying Comments in Relief Society

By Karen Austin

I talk a lot. In fact, my anxiety disorder (GAD) manifests itself primarily through compulsive talking. Also, I have worked as a college teacher for decades. Consequently, I have to create systems in order to check myself.  For example, when I’m in small group settings, I often keep tally sheets to ensure that I’m not …

Read More

Superpowers for Nelson

By Linda Hoffman Kimball

Happy birthday, Nelson. You turned one this week, you adorable person. May your hair always flame out like a halo. May your smile be broad and welcoming – even when you have a few more teeth. May you still  make your cousins laugh even when you’re all in your 80s.

It’s not an easy road, being a boy. At least the kind of boy that I’m pretty sure God, your parents and Grandpa and I hope you will be. No pressure, though.

Read More

Earth Says

By Merrijane Rice

From foothills, Earth spreads bare toes into desert valley sand, smooths red-gold skirt over mountain lap, twists ribbons of morning mist and frost across yellow field grass. Come sit, Earth says.So I stop: Wood smoke on the wind threads through damp, decaying garden. Sluggish crickets creak a song for brittle, brown zinnia bones’ rattle-crack dance. …

Read More

Compassion: A Heavy Heart

By Karen Austin

Photo by Quinn Dombrowki

I learned a long time ago that if I pray for patience, I invite trials.

But I am just gaining an understanding of what happens when you pray for compassion.  You gain two things: a great awareness of your own shortcomings as well as a great awareness of other peoples’ pain and suffering.   If I start thinking that I have it all figured out compared to other people, I am soon receive a reminder that I am a beggar before God (Mosiah 4:19).  Ah.

Now I understand the scripture that pride precedes the fall (Proverbs 16:18).

I’m trying to find a stance in relation to the suffering now made visible before me because I’m serving in a Relief Society presidency.  As an oldest child, type A, ambitious person, I am tempted to rush in and take over when others struggle.  However, I can’t rescue people from the hardships of their lives.  If I did, I would be unable to manage my responsibilities to my own family.  More importantly, I would deny others the opportunity to claim their own successes.

It’s an act of vanity on my part to try to rescue or fix someone else. True compassion means that I support them as they work out their salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord  (Philippians 2:12).  I can only stand as a witness to the growth they experience with the help of divine assistance.

Read More

The Future is Now: Three ideas for enriching the days ahead

By Linda Hoffman Kimball

        Christmas will be here in just a few days! The end of the year is nearly upon us. Then all the media outlets will do the inevitable rehash of the good, the bad, and the ugly of 2012. Some of us may make New Year’s resolutions. For what they’re worth, here …

Read More

Wasn’t there supposed to be more to it than this?

By Rosalyn Eves

Our UP CLOSE topic this month is on motherhood.  We are pleased to bring you this piece from guest author Rosalyn Eves.  She is a (mostly) stay-at-home mom to two young children, currently living in Southern Utah with her chemistry professor husband. She has a BA in English from BYU and an MA and PhD in English from Penn State, which she puts to  use by teaching the occasional composition class at a local university. In the little spare time that she has she reads, writes, occasionally runs, and generally avoids housework.

Before my first child was born, a good friend took me aside and warned me, “One of the hardest parts about being a mother is the boredom.” I looked around me at her comfortable home; at her two blond-haired blue-eyed children looking at a picture book near our feet; at the quilting project slung half-finished over the sewing machine; at the partially constructed puzzle on the floor–and I didn’t believe her.

Then I had my son. Once the initial shock and exhaustion wore off, I started to wonder if maybe my friend was right. Sure, there were those exalted moments when I snuggled my cheek against his, when I watched the tiny play of movement across his face while he slept, when we read books together and he laughed–but in between those moments were other, less exalting events: countless iterations of diaper changes, settling–again–in the chair where I seemed to nurse endlessly, and even, sometimes, trying to play with my son. Although he was fascinated by the colored blocks I offered him, there was only so much interest I could sustain in them.

This wasn’t exactly what I’d pictured when I signed up for motherhood. Wasn’t there supposed to be more to it than this? Wasn’t this supposed to be the most fulfilling thing I would do with my life?

Read More

The Winds Will Blow; I Will Listen.

By Jennifer Whitcomb

I was a young-married with two toddler sons and we were on a two-year adventure on the pacific coast when my maternal grandfather died. I remember thinking about my Grampy in the evening of his life, the build-up of the tempest, far-away and non-threatening. His death became somehow anticlimactic because it happened 3,000 miles east of where we were. I knew we wouldn’t be pulling funds from our small budget to fly home for the services.

I silently mourned his passing, feeling remorse and regret at not being able to sit with him and tell him I loved him. I suffered silently, not wanting finances to produce clouds of guilt. I felt lost in the shadow of an event gone by—pushed back by the winds that mark the end of the storm.

Read More