Saturday, April 30, 2005


I was able to attend two baptisms today. One for a boy in our ward, Michael Matson. I was honored to have him ask me to play piano at his baptism. And the other for James's brother, Cy (Cassidy Kitchens). It was neat! And even though they were completely different services, the spirit and the ordinance were the same.

It was also very awesome to be able to see James officiate the ordinance. He was very sick yesterday and wasn't really feeling very well, but he did it anyway and it was beautiful to watch. It's always such a comforting thing to me to know that the important men in my life are able to hold the priesthood and use it to bless the lives of those around them. Having the priesthood in my home and being surrounded by men who hold the priesthood makes me feel safe.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Spring has Sprung! Posted by Hello

Now that's a tree with personality! Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 21, 2005

True love (or "Me on my soap box")

In the Book of Mormon (Another Testament of Jesus Christ), there is a prophet-father who is giving his final advice and counsel to his son. Included in his words of wisdom is the key to finding and preserving true love. He declares, ". . . see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love". This counsel goes against everything we see coming out of Hollywood, and may seem counter-intuitive. You may ask, "But if I really love him/her, shouldn't I show that? Shouldn't I be willing to share with them the most intimate kind of love?" Of course you should, but if you want to have a real and lasting love, you must do it under the right circumstances. It must be as a married couple, legally and lawfully committed to each other for life (or eternity as the case may be). My own experience shows me that love goes stronger as a couple shows their love and respect for one another by saving the most intimate demonstration of love (the uniting of bodies and souls) until after they have made a lifetime commitment.

On the other hand, unbridled passion leads to heartbreak and broken commitments. Hollywood would have you believe that sex before marriage is acceptable, natural, and even preferable. They would have you believe that sex is nothing special or sacred and that it doesn't really matter when, where, or with whom you do it. However, the rising rate of divorce and the increasing number of broken homes and single-parent families seems to be an excellent indicator of the falseness of this assumption. Lasting relationships are not built on the immediate gratification of physical needs and a focus on the here and now; lasting relationships are built on commitment, a focus on the long run, and a willingness to give up things we want now, in exchange for more important things we want in the long run.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

School is almost over for the semester and I'm feeling so stress free! Almost too carefree, I still have one huge final to take and I have absolutely no motivation to study for it. With my online publishing job behind me, my work on the student journal completed, my internship completed, my position as a TA over with for this semester, and one class already passed, I almost don't know what to do with myself.

All this free time will only last until I find a summer job. So I'm taking full advantage of it. Yesterday I finally watched Miss Congeniality, which I've been intending to watch for over a year. I also played piano and sang for over an hour--it was great (my enjoyment, not necessarily the actual sound) :)

I also got a chance to go to the temple, volunteer at the church cannery, and stay up till insane hours of the night helping brothers with homework. I've enjoyed having time this week to help people other than myself for a change and to spend some time with my family.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


This has been quite a day. I managed to turn in a 16-page paper (which was worth 100% of my grade for this class) without staying up all night, which for me, is quite an accomplishment. In fact, I finished the paper just a little after 12:30 last night. Then I still had time to read over and revise most of it before it was due at 3:00 pm today. That's the first paper I've written as a grad student that I actually had time to review before handing it in. Lots of prayer, combined with better time management, and an outline sped things up considerably. (I've been taught the usefulness of starting with an outline, by my wonderful boyfriend, James. It's amazing what it a difference it makes when you have an idea of where you're going before you try to get there!)

I also experienced a bit of a fiasco today with regards to the student journal I'm working on. I met briefly with one of the authors I edited for and got his signature saying that the article was ok to be published (and that he won't sue us and whatnot). I was in a hurry (due to the looming paper deadline) and didn't communicate very well with him. We are in the final stage before publication, which means that any changes mean a lot of extra work (a point I understood vaguely but not in concrete terms of time). Therefore, I neglected to make the amount of extra work obvious enough in my email to him and he had quite a few suggestions, and since I was in a hurry I just said ok. After emailing them to the chief editor she wrote me a lengthy email explaining why most of the changes couldn't be made, which I stupidly forwarded to the author. This made the author unhappy, (although he dealt with it in a fairly kind way) and I'm sure it made the chief editor unhappy since he sent his reply to her and it was obvious that he was unhappy and slightly offended. So much for good communication. I should know to just set things aside when I'm in a hurry rather than rushing through them just to get them off my back. Sigh!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

One Word of Truth . . .

Today I read an amazing quote by Solzhenitsyn that inspired me to write the following short essay.

As an English major I often feel the need to defend my choice of major and explain the value of its study,(sometime even to myself). Although the immediate purpose and use of art and literature production may not be as readily obvious as scientific advancement, the power and importance of literature and art is immense, and that power has been recognized and utilized by dictators throughout time. In Nazi Germany, for instance, Hitler ruthlessly suppressed art and literature. With book burnings (which included books by Freud, Marx, and other original thinkers) and the confiscation of "degenerate art" (art that was not a naturalistic portrayal of a powerful Germany) Hitler destroyed anything that encouraged people to "think outside of the box." He recognized the power of art and kept a strangle hold on its production and distribution.

Culture and Values (a humanities textbook) states, "One great lesson that can be learned from the rise of modern totalitarianism is the vigor with which the total state repressed all cultural alternatives to its vision of reality. The suppression of free speech, independent social groups or churches or civic organizations was total in the Soviet Union, Germany, and Italy. The vigorous antifascist novelist Ignazio Silone once wrote that what the state feared more than anything else was one person scrawling 'No' on a wall in the public square" (Cunningham 567).

This truth is further emphasized in the life of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a Russian author who won the Nobel Prize for literature with his bold and stark descriptions of the Soviet prison system during the reign of Stalin (his writing also earned him 10 years in prison, forced manual labor, and exile, among other things). In his acceptance speech he shared this inspiring declaration:

"We will be told: What can literature do against the pitiless onslaught of naked violence? Let us not forget that violence does not and connot flourish by itself; it is inevitably intertwined with LYING. Between them there is the closest, the most profound and natural bond: nothing screens violence except lies, and the only way lies can hold out is by violence. Whoever has once announced violence as his METHOD must inexorably choose lying as his PRINCIPLE. At birth, violence behaves openly and even proudly. But as soon as it becomes stronger and firmly established, it senses the thinning of the air around it and cannot go on without befogging itself in lies, coating itself with lying's sugary oratory. It does not always or necessarily go straight for the gullet; usually it demands of its victims only allegiance to the lie, only complicity to the lie.
"The simple act of an ordinary courageous man is not to take part, not to support lies! Let that come into the world and even rein over it, but not through me. Writers and artists can do more: they can VANQUISH LIES! In the struggle against lies, art has always won and always will. Conspicuously, incontestably for everyone. Lies can stand up against much in the world, but not against art.
"Once lies have been dispelled, the repulsive nakedness of violence will be exposed--and hollow violence will collapse.
"That, my friends, is why I think we can help the world in its red-hot hour: not by the nay-saying of having no armaments, not by abandoning oneself to the carefree life, but by going into battle!"
. . .
"ONE WORD OF TRUTH OUTWEIGHS THE WORLD" (Western Literature in a World Context p. 1971-2).

Monday, April 04, 2005

Conference weekend

What a wonderful weekend! It all started when, after a frazzling drive from Provo to Salt Lake, James came and "rescued" me and took me to his dad's house to relax and rejuvenate. We had fun watching The Forgotten (during which James actually jumped during the abrupt and scary parts as much as I did) :) It was an interesting show, although in my humble opinion, the show would have been much better if it had been a little less supernatural, and a little more realistic. After the movie was over we talked until way too late--and I enjoyed every minute of it!

My sister Anna, her friend, Natalie, James and I all headed downtown for the second session of Conference on Saturday afternoon. It was a special experience to be inside the Conference Center. The powerful singing is even more overwhelming when you are actually in the Conference Center. When the choir ended with "Come, Come Ye Saints," it gave me chills. It was so beautiful and the Spirit was wonderful!

Sunday afternoon James and I were both impressed by the talk on pornography given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks. He defined pornography as anything intended to arouse sexual desires and appetites, and boldly proclaimed the incredible damage to spirituality, family relationships, and many other aspects of the pornography-viewer's personal life. He shared the experience of a man who had been addicted to hard drugs and pornography. Shockingly, the man declared that it was far easier to quit hard drugs, than it was to overcome his addiction to pornography.

Elder Oaks also admonished women to dress modestly, reminding them not to become pornography. As a prophet and apostle, he was forthright and straightforward in calling to repentance anyone involved in pornography in any degree. However, he also emphasized the power of Christ's atonement to overcome the effects of sin and enable those caught in the dreadful trap of pornography to escape. The talk was delivered by the power of the Spirit of God, without the slightest fear of what others might think. It was awesome! For those interested, transcripts of the talk will be available Thursday at This was, of course, only one of the many inspiring and uplifting talks shared during this two-day conference, but this is the one that left the most lasting impression on my mind.