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Singing in our own voice

A version of this talk was given in sacrament meeting on May 14, 2017.  It is based on Elder Holland’s remarks from the April 2017 General Conference titled “Songs Sung and Unsung.”

Mormon, chapter 7, contains the last words Mormon wrote before he was killed.  As part of his testimony of Jesus Christ, he says this:

“And [Jesus Christ] hath brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father... in a state of happiness which hath no end.” (Mormon 7:7)

That is how Mormon ends the Book of Mormon:  with a promise that we can join the choir in heaven if we are faithful.  It is also the same vision that begins the Book of Mormon.  In 1 Nephi, chapter 1, Lehi goes somewhere to pray for his people and as he does this a pillar of fire appears on a rock.  Nephi doesn’t tell us what Lehi sees or hears in …
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Who says "zany" anymore?

Is news really so hard to come by that people are talking about Mitt Romney using the word "zany" to describe Newt Gingrich?  You'd think Mitt Romney was caught on tape spouting an expletive while smoking a cigarette made by illegal immigrants.

What's next? A flibbertigibbet? A will-o'-the-wisp? A clown?

Apparently, the "z" word is strictly off limits in political discourse and worth devoted coverage when it breaks the lips of a politician.  The Los Angeles Times noted that Romney "lobbed some rhetorical grenades" by using the word.  "With lines like this, just think about what Mitt Romney has saved for Thursday night's debate."

The Daily Mail called the comment Romney's "most personal assault yet on Newt Gingrich."

ABC News characterized Romney's new word as "the latest in a string of attacks" and Ed Rogers, who writes as one of "The Insiders" for the Washington Post, reasons that it "…

A rant with no solutions

A comment I hear every now and again is that no one responsible for the collapse of our economy or the mortgage crisis at its center has ever been held responsible.  I have a few problems with that statement.

First, who deserves the blame?  I'm not informed enough to know precisely who is responsible.  I suspect blame can be shared far and wide from the bankers and investors who concocted shaky financial instruments to  ratings agencies to regulators to the parties taking out mortgages they couldn't afford.  Did I leave anyone out?

Second, it isn't true that no one has been held responsible.  There have been at least three criminal cases and a handful of civil cases brought against various individuals and institutions.  Still, in an environment where so many people are out of work with little prospect of finding sustainable employment, it is hard to feel like justice has been done when you compare the relatively few fines to the billions of dollars in aid that went to fin…


Blue jeans
Grey shirts
Rosemary mint shampoo
White file boxes
White towels
and Her
Brown paper
Pine or pale
Morning mist
Bright ideas
Not new
Just right

Why not both?

Thelma was gone this evening and had Emma with her, so it was the perfect opportunity to let the boys eat food that is normally quite low on Thelma's list of approved dining options. Before driving to the high school to pick up Braeden from play practice, I asked Mark, "Would you rather have Chinese food or stop at Little Caesar's to get pizza?" Then, inspiration struck me while he was agonizing over the choice.

"What about both?" I asked.

 His eyes lit up and I could see he knew where I was going with this.

"How about we make a Chinese pizza?"

Mark started to rattle off a list of ingredients. That kid knows how to build. Usually, it's Legos. Tonight it was pizza.

The original idea for a Chinese pizza came during a recent in-the-van-driving-somewhere conversation. I challenged everyone to come up with a strange pizza combination. Between Braeden and I, we imagined a combination that included General Tso chicken in some form. Braeden dubbed…


miscellanea |ˌmisəˈlānēə|
plural noun
miscellaneous items, esp. literary compositions, that have been collected together.

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I'm not sure which is better: the title of the book ("Fiction Ruined My Family" ) or the title of the book review ("Mom’s a Drunk, Dad’s a Writer: A Recipe for Disaster and a Memoir").

Memoirists impress me.  (And I'm lucky to be married to one.) It seems like an impossible feat to pull off a memoir.  First, you have to have lived an interesting life.  Second, you have to be talented enough to write about it.  Here's an excerpt where the author describes the affects of living with a father who insisted on high standards for language:
I was under the impression clichés could ruin you, ruin your life, your hopes and dreams, bring down your whole operation if you didn’t watch it. They were gateway language, leading straight to a business major, a golfy marriage, needlepoint pillows that said things about your golf game, and a self…

Off the Wagon

This is day 53 of dieting and I finally fell off the wagon.

I was doing so well up until this point.  There have been frustrating times.  Times when it would have been easy to bury my stress beneath a mound of flap jacks or in a giant bowl of chow mein.  Times when I could have given into the siren song of humus or the cold indulgence of ice cream.  I've stared awkwardly at fruit.  I've dreamt of chocolate lava cakes. But I had persevered until this evening.  And I have—or used to have, rather—twenty seven pounds to show for it.

Cumulative Weight Loss:

No one's perfect. I get that. It's just how I fell off the wagon that bothers me. I was pushed off by this guy:

"Little Caesar!?  Really?  The creepy little purveyor of bad pizza?"

I know.  What can I say?  He got me.  I didn't intend for it to happen. I can't believe it myself.  I've had so many opportunities to cheat.  So many better alternatives than a slice that makes it hard to determine whe…