Friday, June 29, 2018

The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

There are many reasons for a person to lie, but to have a reason to tell the truth, you must have a deep belief and great courage... Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Executed by one of Hitler's illegal courts, Helmuth Hubener, a teenage Latter-Day Saint, was one of the Reich's youngest enemies. He told the truth, published it, and distributed it until he was beheaded in October 1942.

Good books about moral courage are rare gems. This book is a gem. Truth is real and of increasing value.

When The Emperor Was Divine by Julie Ostuka

One family's experience as they are shipped off to camps in Topaz, Utah during WW2. Beautifully written.

“But we never stopped believing that somewhere out there, in some stranger’s backyard, our mother’s rosebush was blossoming madly, wildly, pressing one perfect red flower after another out into the late afternoon light” [p. 139].

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Jordan Peterson

This is an interesting book. I'm still thinking about it and I will re-read some of the chapters.  I also think the chapter on parenting is worth the price of the book.

There are plenty of thoughtful quotes. I loved this one:

To tell the truth is to bring the most habitable 
reality into Being. Truth builds edifices that 
can stand a thousand years. Truth feeds and 
clothes the poor, and makes nations wealthy 
and safe. Truth reduces the terrible 
complexity of a man to the simplicity of his 
word, so that he can become a partner rather 
than an enemy. Truth makes the past truly 
past, and makes the best use of the future's 
possibilities. Truth is the ultimate, 
inexhaustible natural resource. It's the light in the darkness. 

See the truth. Tell the truth.

Saturday, October 07, 2017


Darling film. This is a sweet story of a little girl desperate to help her blind brother. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Pioneer Family

THEY rise to mastery of wind and snow;
They go like soldiers grimly into strife
To colonize the plain. They plough and sow,
And fertilize the sod with their own life,
As did the Indian and the buffalo.

Hamlin Garland
#loveboxes #pioneers #LDS #faithineveryfootstep

Friday, July 21, 2017

Picasso Calla Lily

I hope that real love and truth are stronger in the end than any evil or misfortune in the world. ~Charles Dickens

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Glimpse...

Sometimes I get to see pictures of the wedding. Congratulations beautiful bride. I hope you will always be happy!


The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression by Amity Shlaes

During the Great Depression, my grandfather was a young farm boy in the west. He recounted a story to me on several occasions about when a portion of Roosevelt's New Deal was forced upon the farmers in his area. There were friends who were not getting enough food, families who had gone without meat for over a year when agents of the federal government came into the valley rounded up the yearling calves, slaughtered and burned them with the idea that scarcity would prop up markets. The waste, the loss of liberty,  and the idea of being commanded what to do with your private property bothered my grandfather his entire life.

In Doctrine and Covenmants 134:2 it reads:
We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.
The famous economist, Dr. Thomas Sowell wisely quipped, "It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it."

I believe that. I believe that we can do more good with less government and more freedom. I think those who believe they can manipulate markets and send every little problem to central planning need to study a bit more history. The loss of liberty is a disaster, always.

This is the second time I've read this book. It was worth reading again and I think it's time I ought to purchase my own copy and stop borrowing one from the library. Schlaes also touches on the the history of education in this country and where it went wrong and the men and ideologies that affected that change. The history of John Dewey requires more time than I have but THIS is helpful to understand his influence.

The following quote seems to have been the inspiration for the title of the book. It's the forgotten man that pays. He pays for the the failed programs that cost dreams and freedom and for vast failures for which no one is held accountable.  The real history of FDR's administration isn't taught in the public schools and it is important information to know. This is a book I will purchase and keep.

"As soon as A observes something which seems to him to be wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then propose to get a law passed to remedy the evil and help X. Their law always proposes to determine what C shall do for X, or in the better case, what A, B, and C shall do for X…. What I want to do is to look up C. I want to show you what manner of man he is. I call him the Forgotten Man. Perhaps the appellation is not strictly correct. He is the man who never is thought of…. He works, he votes, generally he prays—but he always pays…. —WILLIAM GRAHAM SUMNER, YALE UNIVERSITY, 1883" 

— Amity ShlaesThe Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Noah Webster, Man of Many Words by Catherine Reef

Noah Webster became a devout Christian after his marriage and a few children came along. Despite the sad fact that this book makes only cursory references to this aspect of his life and its role in his mission, I loved this book. It seems written for the 10 and above crowd, but any fan of Noah Webster may enjoy it. It would make a wonderful gift for a young scholar. The book is nearly two hundred pages, but double-spaced and easy to follow. It's full of interesting show and tell items; maps, portraits, and other curiosities from Webster's life and times. The life of the man is heroic. He was as determined in his efforts as Columbus was. His calling was, I believe, as important and the book captures some of that.

What few biographers seem to understand is the current importance of Webster's 1828 dictionary, which is still in print and widely used by Christian families. While certain parts of our language change with new discovery, Webster's definitions of marriage, education, and many others contain truths that have been lost in our current culture. The language of the 1828, heavily influenced by the King James Bible, is foundational as we work to preserve both Christian morality and liberty in this country. It is said that he who define the terms, controls the debate. Webster looked to the bible to define those things that matter most and to God to define the debate. I am grateful that Webster's 1828 has a prominent place in my home. It is an integral part of our study of the scriptures and the history of the founding of the United States.

Webster's dictionary was his gift to the United States, the country he loved, and its people.

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. ~Noah Webster


MAR'RIAGEnoun [Latin mas, maris.] The act of uniting a man and woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and woman for life. marriage is a contract both civil and religious, by which the parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them. marriage was instituted by God himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, for promoting domestic felicity, and for securing the maintenance and education of children.
Marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled. Hebrews 13:4
1. A feast made on the occasion of a marriage
The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king, who made a marriage for his son. Matthew 22:2.
2. In a scriptural sense, the union between Christ and his church by the covenant of grace. Revelation 19:7.


EDUCA'TIONnoun [Latin educatio.] The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Establishing True Doctrine

How does one establish what is true doctrine in the LDS church? I think this is an important point to ponder. Many members of the church in different fields have opinions about certain aspects of doctrine, but how do we know what is truth? Here are a few quotes on the topic that may be helpful.

“[We] should [bear] in mind that some of the General Authorities have had assigned to them a special calling; they possess a special gift; they are sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators, which gives them a special spiritual endowment in connection with their teaching of the people. They have the right, the power, and authority to declare the mind and will of God to his people, subject to the over-all power and authority of the President of the Church. Others of the General Authorities are not given this special spiritual endowment and authority covering their teaching; they have a resulting limitation, and the resulting limitation upon their power and authority in teaching applies to every other officer and member of the Church, for none of them is spiritually endowed as a prophet, seer, and revelator. Furthermore, as just indicated, the President of the Church has a further and special spiritual endowment in this respect, for he is the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator for the whole Church.”

J. Reuben Clark Jr., “When Are Church Leaders’ Words Entitled to Claim of Scripture?” Church News July 31, 1954, 9-10

Attempting to understand a doctrine or principle by relying unduly upon a single scripture or prophetic statement in isolation from all else that has been revealed on the subject generally is misguided. True doctrines and principles are emphasized repeatedly in the standard works by the prophets and apostles and through the illuminating and confirming power of the Holy Ghost.  David A. Bednar, Act in Doctrine (2012) p. xvii

Elder Bednar's statement is consistent with scripture where we learn that truth is established by two or three witnesses. Each book of scripture has at least one statement that teaches this principle.

Old Testament: Dueteronomy 19:15
New Testament 2 Corinthians 13:1
Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 11:3
Doctrine and Covenants 6:28

An individual my fall by the wayside, or have views, or give counsel which falls short of what the Lord intends, but the voice of the First Presidency and the united voice of those others who hold with them the keys of the kingdom shall always guide the Saints and the world in those paths where the Lord wants them to be. Joseph Fielding Smith, Ensign July 1972

The Book of Mormon declares the doctrines of the gospel. In his April 2017 conference address, President Thomas S. Monson said:

My dear associates in the work of Lord, I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. as we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven's help in our lives." Thomas S. Monson, The Power of the Book of Mormon, April 2017

If we really do our homework and approach the Book of Mormon doctrinally, we can expose the errors and find the truths to combat many of the current false theories and philosophies of men. I have noted within the Church a difference in discernment, insight, conviction, and spirit between those who know and love the Book of Mormon and those who do not. That book is a great sifter." - Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, December 1988

Understanding true doctrine changes behavior.

True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior... The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. Preoccupation with unworthy behavior can lead to unworthy behavior. That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel. Boyd K. Packer, Little Children, October 1986

If we want to really know, we must do.

John 7:17
If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

One could write a book on this topic, but I think the above quotes give solid direction and are helpful when trying to discern truth from error and in the effort to teach true doctrine.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman

I've been reading this book about the wisdom of French parenting and there are definitely some ideas to adopt. French parents seem to actually believe in the role of parent, rather than the American iteration of playmate or servant. They When they are with their children, they seem to be passing a long values important to their culture without smothering any sense of independence. I admire their firmness. I think the fact that in general they don't over-praise children is a good thing.

However, a great portion of the book is dedicated to singing the praises of government funded early childcare which is essentially to have the state raise children from about two months. I don't want to get too far into my views on this from a family perspective because it would be interminable. But, I will say this, "Who is going to care about your child more than you?"

Bills pushing more and more state funded early childhood education come up every session in Utah. Those who are interested might read this book praising the French state and read it carefully. One thing you won't find... any discussion of cost. In any discussion of what services government should or should not provide one most important truth should be remembered and that is: Government can give nothing it hasn't first confiscated from someone else first. Whether or not they can afford it, whether or not it's convenient, whether or not it's truly beneficial to families, whether or not it subverts goals that would better serve society is never considered or studied. 

Just like 
Obamacare made healthcare available to everyone at an incredible cost both in resources and liberty, everyone was given access to healthcare by the state.... except they weren't and healthcare is less accessible than ever. The same is true in France. If you read the book carefully then you know these public benefits are available to only a small portion of the public... "some pigs are more equal than others." Yet, France teeters on the brink of insolvency.

A viewpoint more inline with my own is this commentary written by an actual French parent entitled 4 Myths and One Truth About French Childcare

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

A Child Is Only A Moment by Earl Brown


Spring will return to the meadow when the long winter's chill fades away
Tomorrow, the blossoms will open their eyes to the skies, of a brand new day
No matter how dark be the nightfall, each day the sun is reborn
To shine on the beauties and wonders that stir with new life every glorious morn
Most of the treasures we cherish can delight us again and again
A rose in a book and the murmuring brook, as it wanders across the glen
The words of a poet that lie on the page can recapture the soul of the past
A song in the heart can be sung and re-echoed, as long as our voices may last
But a child is only a moment, only a snowflake of sweet remember when
Yes, a child is only a moment, a wonderful moment that never comes again
Yes, a child is only a moment, hold on to that moment, for it never comes again.

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