Everyday Achievement Award Goes To…

By Kellie Purcill

  It’s nearly the end of January and I can’t shake this idea: I’m going to give myself an Everyday Achievement Award. In past years I’ve given myself a report card, or focused on the misses. After all, I can easily think of  five goals I didn’t meet last year, goals I had written neatly …

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Being the “Bad Guy”

By Kellie Purcill


Recently my oldest son and I watched a show on Netflix called Daredevil, and it lead to many weird and deep conversations.  Most conversations involved – at least to some point – the fact that we were strongly disagreeing with each other about a character called Fisk.  On first glance, Fisk (a rich guy with flunkies, body guards, car conveys and huge anger management failures) and his nemesis Matt Murdock (a blind freelance lawyer lying to his friends and also being a masked vigilante beating up criminals and thieves) both actively made their decisions and actions based on their total belief that they were doing it for the good of the city they loved and the people who lived there.  I think Fisk is a sociopath, or a combination of serious psychological diagnoses, whereas Patrick thought he was determined, focussed, using his money and power in intelligent, precise ways Matt was too poor and grass level to even dream about accomplishing.

The series is over, we still disagree about Fisk, and while I’ve forgotten most about the show, there’s one piece of dialogue that I can’t get out of my head.  I keep gnawing at what Fisk says, and it’s guided my scripture study and self-examination ever since.

Fisk said:

I was thinking about a story from the Bible… I’m not a religious man, but I’ve read bits and pieces over the years. Curiosity more than faith. But this one story… There was a man, he was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was set upon by men of ill intent. They stripped the traveller of his clothes, they beat him, and they left him bleeding in the dirt. And a priest happened by, saw the traveller, but he moved to the other side of the road and continued on. And a Levite, a religious functionary, he came to the place, saw the dying traveller, but he, too, moved to the other side of the road, passed him by. But then came a man from Samaria, a Samaritan, a good man. He saw the traveller bleeding in the road and he stopped to aid him without thinking of the circumstance or the difficulty it might bring him. The Samaritan tended to the traveller’s wounds, applying oil and wine, and he carried him to an inn, gave him all the money he had for the owner to take care of the traveller, as the Samaritan, he continued on his journey. He did this simply because the traveller was his neighbor. He loved his city and all the people in it. I always thought I was the Samaritan in that story. It’s funny, isn’t it? How even the best of men can be deceived by their true nature.

FBI Guard #1: What the hell does that mean?

Wilson Fisk: It means that I am not the Samaritan. That I’m not the priest, or the Levite. That I am the ill intent who set upon the traveller on a road…

I was floored by that sentiment, that self-study and awareness, and that scriptural angle. I often poke at myself: my persistent soft belly, evaluating how I’m doing as a parent, how much my calm is damaged in peak hour traffic, if my anxiety or depression needs professional help, which fictional character I’d most like to be… it’s all part of what I consider and try to be regularly aware of.  The same with scripture study – I try to liken the scriptures to myself, so that I’m the repentant prodigal son AND the oldest son AND the father waiting and watching the road… but I had never considered being the bad guy. Not the “before” guy, the ignorant, the uncaring. At least, not unknowingly.

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How To Be Selfish

By Kellie Purcill


Step one: Find something you want to do, eat, read, try, sing, experience, avoid, write, touch, smell, grow, cut, photograph, make, keep, throw out, and/or enjoy.

Step two: Do it.

Step three: Stone yourself with grief and recriminations for doing what you did until you’re emotionally broken and bloody, or soak in the satisfaction, smiling so wide your ears hurt.


 Selfish is a cranky word, all spikes, hisses and barbed wire. I know very few women who haven’t – at some point – chewed their lip or hangnail, worried that they were being selfish. Not because they chatted to their eighty-five year old neighbour for ten minutes, but because they didn’t talk to her for longer (even though they had to pick up the kids from school, or get to work, or any number of equally necessary and/or important responsibilities). Selfish not because they donated money to the latest disaster fund appeal, but because they didn’t think to give more, and cancel the book they’d pre-ordered which was now waiting for them at the bookstore. Selfish for not going to the temple, Relief Society meeting, and Tupperware party this week when she was PMS’ing so badly the cat curdled, the milk molted and she snarled daggers at everyone who dared even breathe in her general direction, let alone suggested she was mixing her metaphors…

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The Mountain Remains Still

By Catherine Arveseth

It is 8:15 PM, my husband is out of town, three glasses of carnations are drinking colored water on the windowsill – part of a science fair project that needed observation and photographing fifteen minutes ago. I’m in the middle of bathing two rowdy boys who just chewed up my favorite taper candle, and my girls are swinging a laundry hamper in circles at such a speed I am positive the hamper will rocket out of their hands and into the wall, leaving a heckuva high-velocity dent.

“Please put the hamper away and get into your pajamas,” I say.

There is no response. No intimation that the hamper is going to stop spinning and land in the closet where it belongs.

“Please put the hamper down and get into your pajamas and come upstairs.”

I’m using my firm voice now. That one that says I mean it.

Foolishly thinking they will listen to me, I head upstairs to comb third daughter’s wet hair. A few seconds later I hear a horrid thud. The perpetrator comes upstairs and asks me not to get mad when she informs me the hamper did indeed fly into the wall. She’s not sure how… it just did.

The dent is bigger than I imagined.

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2013 – A Year of Failing (Maybe Even Spectacularly)

By Kellie Purcill

This time of year, I look back as well as forwards. I even give myself a general, not-looking-at-the-details-too-closely kind of report card as well for the previous year. Didn’t Accidentally Set Anything on Fire: A+ Kept One’s (Mostly) Beloved Children Alive, Fed and Mostly Intact: A Continued Education of Offspring In The Following Electives: Sarcasm: …

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