Sister Pollyanna in the Nursery

By Karen Austin

I have recently decided to lie to the parents of the children enrolled in senior nursery. Our ward has more than twenty children who are nursery age, so we have two classes. I have the senior nursery children. We have a visual agenda, and we change tasks about every fifteen minutes. I don’t introduce chairs …

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When Your Kids “Stray”

By Lisa Meadows Garfield

I joined the LDS Church as a teenager and was utterly jubilant to find a church home that deepened my Christian faith walk in ways I’d only longed for till then. I come from a long line of deeply religious Southern folk; I was born with Jesus in my blood. But as I grew and tried to make sense of Protestant doctrine, I just couldn’t reconcile the Bigness of God I felt inside me with my (admittedly juvenile) perception of the weak, nonsensical faith structure of my pewmates. So when I encountered the rich depths of Mormon doctrine, it was welcome nourishment to my starving soul. As an instinctive truth-seeker, I felt I had found that pearl of great price I sought. That was decades ago, and I have never had cause to regret my choice, even when the quirks and mistakes of my chosen church upset me. I still experience the doctrines of the Restoration with gut-confirming surety. And the further along the path I get, the richer and wider the vista, the more real and clear the promises.

I have always been grateful that I joined the Church early enough in life to allow me to go to BYU, marry in the temple and raise my children in the Church. I cannot tell you how deeply pleased I was to be able to teach my children not only to look to Jesus (many do that) but to be able to give them many more pieces of the Divine Puzzle, to explain the Plan in much richer detail and confidence. It never once occurred to me that they might not recognize the gospel and the Church (which I always understood as separate things, both “true”) as a pearl worth giving all you had to obtain. I never imagined that someone might not want it. My innate desire for truth, my love for Jesus and my gratitude for the Church were not hard-won; they were so obvious to me that I could not imagine a different perspective.

Well, guess what? It is not obvious nor innate for everyone. Not even your own children.

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Help! A UFO Took My Teenagers!

By Terresa Wellborn

We ached for the creek and our future running across the wet stones, smooth and round. But when we found the water again, we stood at the bank— all of us afraid to enter. –Robert Lee Brewer, Cold Water   I’ve lost my parenting chutzpah. So I’m turning to Sharon Olds, Louise Erdrich, Rita Dove…women …

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Passion: Helping Our Children Choose Passion

By Lara Niedermeyer


I took a childhood education class a few years back, and the teacher had us take several different personality tests, multiple times (for ourselves, for each of our kids, and for our spouses). As I pondered this new information and what to do with it, Julie talked about how we live in a society where being “well-rounded” is considered a top priority by many. We don’t just want our children to enjoy sports, do adequately academically and graduate from high school and/or college, and learn to express themselves though the arts . . . we wanted them to be successful—often equally; who doesn’t love a straight-A student—in every endeavor. She asked us to think about this; whether it was possible, whether it was worth it, and what we would be giving up for ourselves, our families, and our children, if this was the path we choose to lead them on—the path of being jacks-of-all-trades—instead of allowing them to choose their passion, and supporting them in it.

I’m a dancer and a dance teacher. Ballet is one of my passions and it has been since I was a child. I was in junior high school when friends I had been taking class with for years began to drop out. For many, it was a change of interest, or a financial situation, but for some it was something else. Their parents had decided that their passion wasn’t worth the investment. As one friend tearfully told me, they logically explained that since she wasn’t going to make it a career—because no one does that, really—they weren’t going to pay for her to dance any longer. It was time for her to put away childish things, and focus on that which would provide a safe and useful future by their estimation. To say she was devastated was to put it mildly. It changed the course of her teen years, and not necessarily in a good way.

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Letter To My Younger Self

By Julia Blue

Dear Little Blue, You don’t really need this letter, because you’ll eventually figure all these things out on your own, but if I could share a few insights with you, I’d let you know that even though it feels like there’s not a soul on earth who’d really care if you ceased to exist, in …

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Patriarchal Blessing

By Melissa McQuarrie

In a couple of weeks my youngest daughter will receive her patriarchal blessing. She’s only thirteen, but for six months now she has been pestering me and my husband about getting her blessing. At first I brushed her off, thinking she wouldn’t be able to understand the blessing’s significance at such a young age, and told her it would be best if she waited until she was a little older. But she persisted. To her credit, for the past several months she has researched patriarchal blessings on her own, read talks and articles, asked me and my husband questions, fasted, pondered, and prayed. Her desire for her blessing has never waned, nor has her insistence that she is ready.

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“Is Not This the Fast that I Have Chosen?”

By Melissa McQuarrie

Like most of you, I’m guessing, I haven’t always understood or relished the law of the fast. On Fast Sundays as a young girl I hated that hollow, gnawing feeling in my stomach and I passed the time in Sunday school fantasizing about my favorite treats—custard tarts, vanilla slices, lamingtons—always resolving to buy two of each at school the next day. After church, while waiting in the car for my parents to finish talking and drive us home, I’d lie on the backseat, moaning, my fingers pressed against my protruding ribs, absolutely certain that once we got home I’d be too weak to walk into the house and I would be left to starve to death in the car. One Fast Sunday I found my brother, Todd, outside in the backyard, standing underneath our mulberry tree, his lips stained with berry juice. Mulberries aren’t particularly tasty, but they are a food source for starving children, as Todd—who was normally a fruit hater—discovered, and soon we were all asking to go outside and play on Fast Sundays.

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It’s Coming…

By Sunny Smart

Friends, the Summer Break is almost upon us. Swimming pools, lazy mornings, popsicles, anytime cuddles, late breakfasts, and warm nights are just around the corner. And like an evil twin follows messy bedrooms, bored kids, days upon unscheduled days, and endless bickering. I am caught somewhere between counting down the minutes until we are free to do as we please and dreading the unceasing hours of nothingness which I, the mother/summer camp leader, am expected to magically fill. We need order, routine, and plans and we need them fast!

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Pointers for Nana

By Linda Hoffman Kimball

I am expecting my first grandbaby, a girl. Her due date is April 2nd which also happens to be my daughter’s birthday. My daughter will get all sorts of tips and attention as a new mother. The baby will bask in the glow of gushing and cooing – heaven knows I’m providing my share already! But I stand at the brink of this new role with trembling knees. (Of course that could just be my arthritis.) I haven’t been around babies much for 25 years now, and I fear all my expertise is out-dated. I hereby recruit your aid. Hit me with your tips and pointers!

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A Simple Wish

By Jennifer Whitcomb

I stumbled through the dining room this morning, bleary-eyed and hung-over on last night’s dose of cold medicine.  My vision was cloudy, but I laughed as I passed the wooden box with the word “simplify” written decoratively across the front.  It is overflowing with cords, spare chargers and every unclaimed accessory to random electronic gadgets unclaimed or misplaced.  It seemed a box of irony to me.  We have been counseled on many occasions to simplify our lives, and this tangled nest of wires and adapters stared at me as if to mock the carefree life overflowing with free time that hovers always out of reach.

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