Book Review: The Year My Son & I Were Born

I read this book quite awhile ago, relatively speaking, and meant to write a review immediately, but it got stuck in a pile of stuff in my office and I’ve lost so many “to-to” lists I’ve probably killed a whole forest.

I came across it yesterday as I was looking for something else, and I want to let you guys know about this book while it’s still in front of me.

Kathy Soper, who put together (beautifully!) the books “Gifts” and “The Mother in Me” has written a book about the first year of her life with Thomas, a son born with Down Syndrome. Read more »

Choose Your Own Adventure: Part 3

You missed Part 1 and Part 2.

Much to their surprise, Debbie and Daniel quickly became the kind of Utah Mormons to break-up with Utah. Read more »

Doctrinal Commentary on Especially for Mormons #3: “The Duke and His Subject”

EFM.jpgThe third installment in a continuing series in which the author probes the hidden treasures of wisdom in that bastion of seminary education, Especially for Mormons. The previous two issues can be found here and here. Today’s text: “The Duke and His Subject.”

Abstract – Two recently discovered manuscripts reveal how translation and copy errors over the centuries have led to erroneous interpretations of this influential text on honoring one’s parents, resulting in widespread apostasy and false doctrine.
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That Incredible Shrinking Food

I have noticed over the last couple of years one trend that is bothersome. The size of food packages I buy at the store are shrinking, but the price has not. For example, ice cream used to come in half gallon containers, then suddenly they became 1.75 quarts and now they are down to 1.5 quarts, but the price has not moved lower. Other places I have noticed this is in cold cereals – the weight keeps shrinking and at some restaurants – the portions have decreased in size (e.g., Panera Bread). While this may be good for overall obesity trends, it is not great for my wallet. Anyone else noticed these trends?


Today is Pioneer Day and while Pioneers are totally awesome, I think more of us modern day Mormons are more affected by the pioneering ideas of our religious practice. I would love to hear what pioneering makes you smile. Read more »

Racism and the Black Good Ol’ Boy Network

Earlier this week, a Cambridge, Massachusetts resident called the police to report that two men were breaking into a neighbor’s home. When a police officer responded to investigate, the man who broke into this home berated, browbeat, and made racist statements to the police officer in front of numerous observers and fellow police officers. Because the man refused to get himself under control, the police officer eventually arrested him for disorderly conduct.

In a typical instance, a man with no previous criminal convictions would have (at worst) been released on his own recognizance, given a suspended sentence, ordered to do community service and pay court costs, and come back later to have everything dismissed provided that no further infractions occurred.
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Did you ever run away from home?

I did, when I was 14. I was walking down the street one evening and saw my mother staggering up the street, dead drunk and calling my name. I broke, hitchhiked to Las Vegas, totally intent on San Francisco and Haight-Ashbury (it was 1967). Got picked up the cops, never made it to San Francisco, which is a blessing because I’d probably still be there living with Timothy Leary till he died. Read more »

Bloggernacle Misses Its Nomination For The Dictionary

Ok – I decided to break up the Anne show as much as I have enjoyed it.

Recently I heard on NPV that the Merriam Webster Dictionary had added new words for 2009. It reminded me to check to see if any new Mormon words were added. Sadly, neither Bloggernacle nor Niblet have been added… Oh well, I guess we are not as important as we think :)

However, there were interesting words added (from my perspective) and those are shown below with the year they came into the language in parenthesis. It amazes me how dynamic our language is and how often new words are added.
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My Own Private Screwtape

…continuing the annegb show on Mormon Mentality (where is everybody?)….

I had a Mormon psychic tell me once that I had many very close friends who left with Satan and they know me so well that they know just what buttons to push. I suppose that’s true of all of us, but she says I was particularly conflicted. Which makes perfect sense to me, always trying to control others and make them do the right thing. I can see me being really devastated when they left. Read more »

Wolfgang Puck’s Frozen Pizza

I love this new frozen pizza. Besides that, I love the cheap ones–Totino’s, which I get for 88 cents sometimes. I can eat a whole cheese one of those, with milk. But the new Wolfgang Puck brand is really good pizza. I like the thin crust and the sauce and meat are both great.

I also love Klondike Heath bars and we’ve discovered the Drumsticks–the kind with the caramel inside. Yum! Read more »

Becoming A Foster Parent

Five years ago, my wife and I had two Haitian teenagers live with us for two years as foster children or as we called it – godchildren and they called us godparents. They were siblings with the boy being 16 and the girl 14 at the time. We made every attempt to treat them as our kids and looking back on the experience 5 years later we still have a great relationship with them and still view them as part of our family. However, it was not an an easy experience for any of us, but that is a story for another day. As my wife and I got to know the foster care system it was rather depressing.

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Choose Your Own Adventure: Part 2

In case you missed it, read Part 1 here.

Motherhood took Debbie by surprise; as the big sister of many young ones, she thought she pretty much had it down. Turns out, being a mom is quite different from being a sister. Lots of the physical skills of diaper changing, swaddling, and bathing an infant were easily transferable, but the actual emotional energy of being in charge of another human forever had not really been a part of being big sister/babysitter. Read more »

Peace In My Environment – Where Do I Turn For Peace?

There are some activities outside of Church (ok sometimes that is NOT peaceful) that just relax me and bring that sense of peace we all crave. First, those quiet snuggly times with the kids (or wife) when they are either sleepy or just waking up. Second, walking on the beach – I love the sound of the ocean and the breaking waves. Third, I love to make bread – it is so therapeutic to knead the dough and create a wonderful bread from nothing. Fourth, I love to mow the lawn. While it is a bit loud, there is something peaceful about mowing the lawn on a nice sunny day, smelling the fresh cut grass, and just having your thoughts all to yourself. Fifth, shoveling snow on those quiet winter days. This is probably the only time our neighborhood is quiet – just after the snowstorm when all is hushed and the only sound is the scrap of the shovel. What are yours?

Dad, We Need To Thank Dr. Seuss

My three year old loves Dr. Seuss books. This morning we were reading “Oh Baby, The Places You’ll Go” which is a compilation of snippets from various Dr. Seuss books, not written by Dr. Seuss but sanctioned by his wife after his death. My son realized that many of his favorite books were written by the same person – this Dr. Seuss. First, he asked if Dr. Seuss was a real doctor or just one like me (PhD). My son then said he should write a thank you note to Dr. Seuss. My son then drew a thank you note for Dr. Seuss and wrote “thanks” and then his name. He wants to mail it to Dr. Seuss – I have not told him that Dr. Seuss is dead. It made me realize how much I have enjoyed Dr. Seuss books over the years. What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book? Why? Have you found any Gospel Principles outlined in them?

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Post-mission Status Symbols: Coveting Thy Neighbor’s Fanny

At first glance, I remember thinking to myself that the place was teeming with missionaries. I couldn’t have told you specifically why just then, but the impression was unmistakable. The more I circulated throughout the building I began to zero in on the cause… the illusion only worked its magic from behind.
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Children of Homosexuals And Their Sexual Orientation

One of the reasons I have heard Mormons use in justifying their stance against SSM has been that the children of SSM parents will have completely messed up sexuality (or become gay like their parents). I have wondered if there was any truth to that and asked the question – does the parental sexuality impact their sexual orientation? There was an article recently on CNN about this issue. In addition, the American Psychological Association summarized several research studies on the issue. The American Psychological Association cited studies showed that most kids of same-sex households describe themselves as heterosexual in roughly the same proportion as conventional families.

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Gene is 91 years old. He turns 92 in September.

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Choose Your Own Adventure: Part I

Hey guys. I thought it might be fun to do a little interactive writing. Modeled on those books from the 80s, you read a bit of the story, then you get to choose what happens next. We’ll just have to vote. Weigh in on the direction you would like the story to take and check back for the next installment.

Debbie was very disappointed about the timing of this baby. She and Daniel had married the previous year during the reading days at the end of winter semester. Although she then had a full year left in school, she had hoped to be rocking a baby in the stands at graduation instead of actually walking through the ceremony very pregnantly. Read more »

A Declaration of Independence… from Church Lesson Manuals

I had been wondering why all my favorite blogs (including this one) and my email have been dead the last couple of days when it dawned on me that yesterday was July 4. I’ve been out of the country for two weeks (and will continue to be so for another six) so I forgot about it entirely.

Anyway, being out of the U.S. is always interesting when it comes to church — I love to notice what’s the same and what’s not. Unfortunately, over the last ten years or so I’ve spent so much time in the country I am currently visiting that I’m not sure I’m capable of noticing differences anymore; it just all seems normal to me now. However, I was struck with two different thoughts as I fought my usual battle with King Lamoni’s disease (which causes me to fall unto the earth, as if I were dead) at church today. One was about returned missionary status symbols, which I will save for later, and the other concerns Sunday School / Priesthood / Relief Society lessons.

I have heard a lot lately about the importance of teachers sticking to the manual. I understand the reasoning behind such an attitude — after all, you never know what kind of priestcraft / apostasy Brother or Sister so-and-so is capable of disseminating. From an organizational perspective, I would probably institute the same policy myself if I were in charge… still, I just can’t bring myself to like it or follow it.
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