Monday, June 12, 2017

Little Lord Fauntleroy by Francis Hodgson Burnett

As a child,  I read The Secret Garden, A Little Princess,  and The Lost Prince more than once. For some reason, the title of this book had not appealed to me. Too bad. We just finished reading it and it is a lovely story, quite possibly my favorite.

But only be good, dear, only be brave, only be kind and true always, and then you will never hurt any one, so long as you live, and you may help many, and the big world may be better because my little child was born. ♥️

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Utah Pancakes

Utah Pancakes

1 1/2 cups milk
4 tablespoons vinegar
2 eggs
4 tablespoons salted butter 
5 tablespoons sugar
2 cups flour 
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 

Mix wet ingredients, mix dry ingredients 
Makes pancakes for 4

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Justin Morgan Had A Horse by Marguerite Henry

Every time I read a book by Marguerite Henry it becomes a new favorite. I've never yet opened one I didn't love. Her stories are sweet, beautifully written, and carefully researched. You will learn something. They are engaging enough for adults and children alike. They carefully introduce vocabulary. They teach virtue.

I was a horse-crazy little girl. I wish I had been able to read more of these wonderful stories.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

A Hobbit a Wardrobe and a Great War by Joseph Loconte

Tolkien and Lewis lived through a time when, "all the horrors of all the ages were brought together." The Great War decimated a generation, robbing it of its finest young men, its leaders, its priests, its fathers, while leaving those who returned broken in body and mind.

How could God allow such suffering? How could there be a God at all? Generational cynicism fueled the appetite for Darwinism, Atheism, Communism, Feminism and all the other "isms" of doubt, the idols of the modern age.

Over pots of tea, the Inklings grappled with these questions and wove them into their epic fairy stories steeped in the truth about the way to redemption and salvation.

"There is no shortcut to the land of peace, no primrose path to the mansions of the blessed. First come tears and suffering in Mordor, heartless violence at Stable Hill, and horror and death at Golgotha." To preserve essential liberty, war is sometimes necessary.

Lewis and Tolkien believed that every life falls under the shadow and that adventure finds those who are quietly minding their own business. The adventure will test us beyond our limits and test our friendships. In the struggle, we become something more corrupt or more pure than we began. How does the heart respond to the roar of The Great Lion, the Son of the Emporer-beyond-the-sea?

"Is everything sad going to come untrue?' asks Sam[wise Gamgee]. Here we find, beyond all imagination, the deepest source of hope for the human story. For when the King is revealed, 'there will be no more night.' The Shadow will finally and forever be lifted from the earth. The Great War will be won.

This King, who brings strength and healing in His hands, will make everything sad come untrue."

Thursday, June 01, 2017

The Brain's Way of Healing by Norman Doidge, M.D.

Both of  Dr. Doidge's books are absolutely fascinating. They discuss how the science of Neuroplasticity is helping people with Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, chronic pain, depression, autism, stroke patients, and more.

While his books only hint at this issue, as a teacher I am concerned about how our children are wiring their brains. This current generation is the first to be truly immersed in technology and I see some concerning trends in the classroom.

That said, I hope that the therapies discussed in this book will become more widely available for more people and that the results discussed here will be replicated millions of times over.

"When we learn, we alter which genes in our neurons are “expressed,” or turned on. Our genes have two functions. The first, the “template function,” allows our genes to replicate, making copies of themselves that are passed from generation to generation. The template function is beyond our control. The second is the “transcription function.” Each cell in our body contains all our genes, but not all those genes are turned on, or expressed. When a gene is turned on, it makes a new protein that alters the structure and function of the cell. This is called the transcription function because when the gene is turned on, information about how to make these proteins is “transcribed” or read from the individual gene. This transcription function is influenced by what we do and think. Most people assume that our genes shape us—our behavior and our brain anatomy. Kandel’s work shows that when we learn our minds also, affect which genes in our neurons are transcribed. Thus we can shape our genes, which in turn shape our brain’s microscopic anatomy.” 

~Norman Doidge, The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontier of Brain Science

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Forgotten Founding Father by Joshua Kendall

"Every civil government is based upon some religion or philosophy of life. Education in a nation will propagate the religion of that nation. In America, the foundational religion was Christianity. And it was sown in the hearts of Americans through the home and private and public schools for centuries. Our liberty, growth, and prosperity was the result of a Biblical philosophy of life. Our continued freedom and success is dependent on our educating the youth of America in the principles of Christianity."
~ Noah Webster

This book was a bit of a disappointment. While I am glad I read it and it was filled with interesting information about Webster's life, it missed some critical points explaining why the 1828 is such a treasure. 

The 1828 is unique in that it is not a dictionary of common usage. Webster's effort was to elevate the American language based on the usage and meaning in the bible. He was familiar enough with the King James to have made his own revision. 

The 1828 is an invaluable resource for students of the King James, The Book of Mormon, students of the Founding Fathers many of whom took classes from Webster, as well as those who study Emily Dickinson and her contemporaries.

Look up the words education and marriage in a modern dictionary and compare the definitions with the 1828, you will see why anyone who takes an interest in character education prefers Webster's 1828. Webster's dictionary defines over 1,000 words from the King James bible that are not in common usage today. The dictionary is a priceless American and Christian treasure to this day.

The entire preface of the dictionary, which is brief, is well worth reading. Here are a few of its beautiful lines:

It satisfies my mind that I have done all that my health, my talents and my pecuniary means would enable me to accomplish. I present it to my fellow citizens, not with frigid indifference, but with my ardent wishes for their improvement and their happiness; and for the continued increase of the wealth, the learning, the moral and religious elevation of character, and the glory of my country.
To that great and benevolent Being, who, during the preparation of this work, has sustained a feeble constitution, amidst obstacles and toils, disappointments, infirmities and depression; who has twice borne me and my manuscripts in safety across the Atlantic, and given me strength and resolution to bring the work to a close, I would present the tribute of my most grateful acknowledgments. And if the talent which he entrusted to my care, has not been put to the most profitable use in his service, I hope it has not been "kept laid up in a napkin," and that any misapplication of it may be graciously forgiven.
~New Haven, 1828 N. Webster

Fusion Wedding

#handpaintedloveboxes #brideandgroom #weddingcaketoppers #pegdolls
I remember hearing this as a child. I love this story.

In “The Vision of Sir Launfal,” an interesting story is told of a young knight who rode out into the world in search of the Holy Grail (the cup which the Master supposedly drank from at the Last Supper). He had dedicated his life to the quest. He was young, handsome, and strong, clothed in bright and shining armor, mounted on a gallant white charger. As he crossed the drawbridge riding out into the world, a beggar (who was a leper) put up his hand to him, begging alms. The young knight reached into his pouch, took out a gold coin and flung it to the beggar as he rode on, but he really did not give the beggar very much because no one would accept even a gold coin from a leper.
The young man searched for the cup; of course he didn’t find it, although he spent his life in the quest. He did, however, learn a lot, and at the close of his life he was returning to his castle, no longer young. He is now shrunken with age. His armor is no longer bright; his mount is no longer a charger but just a tired old gray horse. As he was about to cross the drawbridge into the castle, once again a beggar put up his hand begging for alms. This time Sir Launfal stopped, got down from his horse, reached into his knapsack and took out the only thing he had—a crust of bread. He then dipped his cup into the stream and gave the crust of bread and one cup of cold water to the beggar.
The wooden cup from which the beggar drank turned into the Holy Grail for which he had searched, and the beggar turned into a Christ and said a very interesting thing. He said:
“Not what we give, but what we share.
For the gift without the giver is bare;
Who gives himself with his alms feeds three,
Himself, his hungering neighbor, and me.”
(“The Vision of Sir Launfal,” James R. Lowell.)

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Road to Character by David Brooks

Neal A. Maxwell once wrote:

How intellectually amazing the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is! The gospel is truly inexhaustible! It is marvelous! It is a wonder!

Yet orthodoxy is required to keep all these truths in essential balance. In orthodoxy lies real safety and real felicity! Flowing from orthodoxy is not only correctness but happiness. Orthodoxy is especially vital in a time of raging relativism and belching sensualism. The world’s morality is constantly being improvised. Some views are politically correct one day, but not another.

One writer recently observed that the relativistic forces at work should warm every atheist’s heart. For if God is a socially conscious political being whose views invariably correspond to our own prejudices on every essential point of doctrine, he demands of us no more than our politics require. [H]ow would our worship of [this kind of being] constitute more than self-congratulation for our own moral standards?
The writer continued: As an atheist, I like this God. It is good to see him every morning while I am shaving. [Eugene D. Genovese, “Pilgrim’s Progress,” The New Republic, 11 May 1992, p. 38]
Neal A. Maxwell, The Inexhaustible Gospel, August 18, 1992.

This is an intriguing book that misses the truth in too many instances. Short example: The difference that made Washington great and Eisenhower mediocre is the moderation Brooks praises. Washington was absolutely committed to principle and to God. Eisenhower was a humanist who had to feel his way on his own.

Brooks doesn't seem to either believe in, or understand the principles behind orthodoxy or sin, therefore he can't understand character.  While the book has some salient points and is worth reading, it is still aggrandizing the failed and morally troubling, progressive public policy that Brooks has espoused his entire life. 

The morality Brooks espouses is godless and ambiguous. What represents sin? What represents good character and who decides? Brooks seems to choose society, whose morality constantly shifts while spiraling downward. Can man be good without God? Yes. But, not without adherence to his law. 
Self-reflection is refreshing, were it combined with true principles, it would be powerful.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Bunny Love Boxes

This was a fun project.  This family has ordered an Easter Box for their little girl every year for the past nine years. Each box tells a story about her life, including a tiny love note from dad inside the lid.
#handpaintedloveboxes #Easter

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The Hidden Treasure of Glaston

I can't say enough about this book. The Hidden Treasure of Glaston is an adventure story about two friends in Medieval times searching for the Holy Grail.  The book won the Newbery Honor in 1947. Eleanore Jewett did a marvelous job unfolding the plot, building characters and relationships, and creating a story that's just a lot of fun to read. Delightful!
Great book for 10-12 year old readers that has some good messages, a little bit of history, some interesting vocabulary, a great story, and absolutely no garbage.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017


#IndianBride #southasianbride
#caketoppers #wedding #weddingcake
#weddingdress #handpaintedloveboxes

Peanut Butter Cookies

For years I looked for a great PB cookie recipe. After some fiddling.. this is it. Delish!

1 cup Crunchy Adams Peanut Butter
1 cup butter
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. good Mexican vanilla
3 eggs
4 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Guittard milk choc. chips
1/4 cup granulated sugar to roll dough

°375 for 9 minutes 

Saturday, April 01, 2017

In Search of Beethoven

In Search of Beethoven is part of a wonderful documentary. It seems to end in the middle of the story as if they ran out of money.
That said,  it's well worth your time. It's a story of triumph over trial and faith in God's plan. The world would be far poorer without Beethoven's beautiful music,  without his Ode to Joy.

Endure courageously, millions!
Endure for the better world!
There above the starry canopy
A great God will reward.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Man Called Ove

I  loved this story. All of us are a little broken,  a little crazy. In the end,  the people in this story look into a ginormous heart and see greatness. And, they all get together and bust power hungry, government thugs. Charity conquers all.

"She just smiled, said that she loved books more than anything, and started telling him excitedly what each of the ones in her lap was about. And Ove realised that he wanted to hear her talking about the things she loved for the rest of his life."

Monday, March 20, 2017

Sabbath Scripture Chain

Liberty is synonymous with Christ. Without Christ, there is no liberty.
Unfortunately, the world has this backwards. The world believes that faith is restrictive and commandments make people slaves when nothing could be farther from the truth.

Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free... Galatians 5:1

Long Way North

Creative,  great story, beautiful art. Viewable on Amazon Prime right now.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Baptism & The Gift of the Holy Ghost...

D&C 18:22 And as many as repent and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved.

SAVE, verb transitive [Latin salvo. As salve is used inn Latin for salutation or wishing health, as hail is in English, I suspect this word to be from the root of heal or hail, the first letter being changed. Gr. See Salt]

1. To preserve from injury, destruction or evil of any kind; to rescue from danger; as, to save a house from the flames; to save a man from drowning; to save a family from ruin; to save a state from war.

He cried, saying Lord, save me. Matthew 14:30. Genesis 45:7

2. To preserve from final and everlasting destruction; to rescue from eternal death. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Timothy 1:15.

3. To deliver; to rescue from the power and pollution of sin.

He shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

Romans 6:14-18
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

Romans 6:23
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Who is qualified to be baptized?

D&C 20:37
37 And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism—All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of  Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of  the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.

What does the act of Baptism represent?

Romans 6:3-5
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in the newness of life.
5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.

What covenants are we making when we are baptized?

Mosiah 18:8-10
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them; Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life--
10 Now I say unto you, if this be he desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his spirit more abundantly upon you?

Baptism is precede by faith in Jesus Christ (faith strong enough to act) and by repentance. It must be followed by the Gift of the Holy Ghost to be complete.

2 Nephi 31:13-14
13 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and not deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism-- yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his work behold, then shall ye receive the Holy ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.
14 But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came of the voice of the Son unto me, saying; After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost and can speak with a new tongues, yea even the tongue of angels, after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me.

How do we recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost?

1. I will tell you in your mind and heart D&C 8:2-3
2. The Holy Ghost will speak peace D&C 6:23
3. The Lord will give us a spirit of courage 2 Tim 1:7
4. The mysteries of God are unfolded unto them 1 Nephi 10:17-19
5. The Holy Ghost will show us what to do 2 Nephi 32:5
6. The Spirit leadeth to do good D&C 11:12
7. The Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and the Son D&C 46:13
8. The Holy Ghost can teach the truth of ALL things Moroni 10:5, John 14:26

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!

I could give all to
Time except – except
What I myself have held.
But why declare
The things forbidden that while the
Customs slept
I have crossed to Safety with?
For I am There,
And what I would not part with I have kept...

~Robert Frost

Sunday, February 12, 2017


The Proclamation on the Family makes a powerful statement about mothers...

Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of her children. 

What does it mean to nurture?

Webster 1828

1. That which nourishes; food; diet.
2. That which promotes growth; education; instruction. (Ephesians 6:4)
NUR'TUREverb transitive
1. To feed; to nourish.
2. To educate; to bring or train up.

Sheri Dew taught: The word motherhood defines women's eternal roles; it describes their nature as nurturers. Nurture is a rich word. It means to train, to teach, to educate, to foster development, to promote growth, and to nourish or feed. Women have been given the great privilege and responsibility to nurture in all these sense of the word...
Sheri Dew, "Are We Not All Mothers?" Ensign, Nov. 2001, 97.

You are the guardians of the hearth. You are the bearers of the children. You are they who nurture them and establish within them the habits of their lives. No other work reaches so close to divinity as does the nurturing of the sons and daughters of God.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, "Stand Strong Against the Wiles of the World," 101.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Nephi 22:13 And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. 

Doctrine & Covenants 93:39-40 And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers. 
But, I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.
Mosiah 4:14-15  And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.
But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.

Nephi 25:26 We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we teach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophesies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

It's not that important to have a mother in the home to change diapers, make meals, and clean bathrooms because a maid, even a government program can do those things. But, mothers are needed to nurture and no amount of tax-funded boondoggles can repair and replace a missing mother. Too often mothers feel they are relegated to drudgery, they are not. In thinking this way, they miss the mark entirely and miss out on the most creative, challenging, and rewarding work there is; the work of preparing a child in every way for their earthly work while leading them on the path toward their heavenly home, pointing out every glorious vista and star along the way. 

Grandma Rhea's Recipes

If you visit my grandmother, she will make you a delicious, original, and beautiful treat. This is my piece of Strawberry Pudding over Pecan Shortbread Dessert from my visit with Grandma on Saturday.

My cousin has made my Grandma's recipe book available online. So if you love cream and butter, here you are....

Grandma Rhea's Recipes

I love you Grandma!

Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan

This is a wonderful book appropriate for any child who is able to read it. I love how it teaches children that even they can be courageous and do great good.

Wikipedia synopsis: Snow Treasure is a children's novel by Marie McSwigan. Set in Nazi-occupied Norway during World War II, it recounts the story of several Norwegian children who use sleds to smuggle their country's gold bullion to a waiting ship bound for the United States. 

Always remember that you come of liberty-loving people who think freedom is a greater heritage than gold.
~Marie McSwigan,  Snow Treasure

Tuesday, February 07, 2017