This morning I had plans to watch/listen to a BYU Devotional rebroadcast, but had 15 minutes during which it was likely I’d forget to turn it on before the show started. I searched my music library for something 15 minutes long (by way of a timer), but that landed me in a list of book chapters (because I have a lot of audiobooks in iTunes). I decided to listen to a story I’ve enjoyed since I was a child: The Fisherman and His Wife from Grimm’s Fairy Tales. (Don’t know if you’re acquainted with Librivox.org—all readers are volunteers.)

When I was young we had this story in a picture book. I’ve searched in vain on the Internet for images from that specific version (black woodcut prints with colors in the background) because I wanted to share its cover, but can’t find it. I’ve had to make do with an image that reminds me of the pose the fisherman took when asking the fish for gifts.

artwork by Delia Mihai

Read More →

This week I’ve been putting significant effort into exercise and scripture study. Instead of motivating myself by promising myself a million dollars (my usual form of self-bribery—I mean, nothing really works, so why not be extreme?), I decided to try the opposite end of the pendulum swing.

Why not exercise and read simply because I said I would? (See this talk, “A Sin-Resistant Generation,” by Sister Joy D. Jones. “‘But if not.’ Consider the meaning of these three words and how they relate to keeping covenants. These three young men [Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego] were not basing their obedience upon being delivered. Even if they were not delivered, they would keep their promise to the Lord because they said they would. Keeping our covenants is always independent of our situation.”)

Well, it’s working. It’s Thursday and I’ve exercised and read every day so far. It’s interesting to me that I have an even harder time getting myself to sit down with the book than I do getting myself dressed and sweaty.

Even though this blog post appears to be about scriptural things, it contains a very, very useful message (at least, I think it’s useful), even for the less-spiritually inclined. Read More →

en- — prefix . . . forming verbs with the general sense “to cause (a person or thing) to be in” the place, condition, or state named by the stem

Joy — noun — the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying

I have had a joyful week. And it’s only Wednesday night (technically Thursday morning, but I’m still up . . . as usual. I’m too happy to go to bed).

Nothing gives me greater pleasure—or joy—than helping other people. The joy piles on when I get to use my creativity and talents and, more especially, when the help and creativity required gobs of difficult but exceptionally satisfying work. Read More →

Had a most unusual experience last night. Sister missionaries from the Utah Orem Mission knocked on my door. I’ve had visits from Jehovah’s Witness missionaries before, but this is the first time I’ve ever been contacted by Mormon missionaries. First time in my whole life!sister-missionariesI invited them in and we had an absolutely delightful visit together. I didn’t realize it at the time because I was a little bit nervous—entertaining angels unaware, or rather, aware—but these young ladies brought a very special spirit into my home. I consider myself a spiritual person and I always hope the atmosphere in my home is peaceful and uplifting, so it was a bit exciting to feel the difference (which I noticed mostly after they left). Sort of like how your ordinarily fragrance-free home would be if you brought in a bouquet of roses. How sweet it is!

Sister Thorsteinson (from Alberta) and Sister Howton (from Sacramento, CA–poor thing, she’s freezing in our Utah winter!) were both serious and fun. I really enjoyed them. Before leaving, they challenged me to do something to bring myself closer to the Savior. That was a bit tricky—I mean, like the early apostles, wise as serpents yet harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16)—they challenge everyone to do a little better. I said I wanted to be less hard on myself, to realize that I’m not able to do everything; I have to embrace the fact that I have limitations (many!) and choose the best things to do, with the guidance of the Holy Ghost. We had a prayer together at the end of their visit, and I think it was at that point I began to be aware of the blessing they were to my home. They prayed for me, my family and friends, and my activities.

How can anyone not want an experience like this? Go out and find the missionaries, they can help you with anything! (Even yard work and snow shoveling, right Sister Howton?)