Monday, March 29, 2010

ze most important part of ze wedding ez ze kek*

Me and my posse posing beside the cake we all created for Mallory's wedding. These ladies were fantastic to work with and show much promise as cake decorators. Love you, Stace and Syd!

The wedding was so lovely and with such attention to detail. The great buffet, the ancestor photo table, the vintage wedding dresses displayed, the Balloon strewn dance floor, the pom pomery, and the Candy table (my fav) - it was all so charming and festive and bore further proof that the Larry Arnett gals have some serious event planning skills.

*Franck Egglehofer (Martin Short) from Father of the Bride.

monday share

Check out incharacter.

This article confirms what I have long held to be true: self-esteem is poppycock. But self-respect, well, that is an entirely different matter.

...the self-esteemist demands the recognition of others - "respect," in the lexicon of the slum hoodlum - in order to prop up his self-esteem. Unfortunately for him, the world of others still usually insists upon some kind of achievement before according recognition: achievement in a broad sense, but achievement nonetheless. But the self-esteemist wants to skip this arduous requirement; the result is that he is an angry and bitter soul.

There's more. Go read it. The last few paragraphs pack a punch. Why I need to crawl out of my jammies before noon and quit wearing sweatpants to the store. Read the whole article, it's searingly true.

For many years I believed that how a man dressed was unimportant; it was the man within that counted, not the man without. My belief excused me for being myself rather scruffily dressed, which was very easy and convenient for me in terms of effort required. But I now think that I was mistaken, for it does not follow from the fact that outward appearance is not all-important that it is of no importance at all.

The small matter of cleaning one's shoes, for example, is not one of vanity alone, though of course it can be carried on to the point of vanity and even obsession and fetish. It is, rather, a discipline and a small sign that one is prepared to go to some trouble for the good opinion and satisfaction of others. It is a recognition that one lives in a social world. That is why total informality of dress is a sign of advancing egotism.

Self-respect requires fortitude, one of the cardinal virtues; self-esteem encourages emotional incontinence that, while not actually itself a cardinal sin, is certainly a vice, and a very unattractive one. Self-respect and self-esteem are as different as depth and shallowness.

The whole thoughtful article can be found here:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

this from RS today

The lesson was on the Creation so you can see the topic veered. I am glad. I needed the reminder.

What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

How you treat your spouse.

How you take care of yourself.

How you speak to others.

What's important to you.

How you handle stress.

How you cope with hardship.

Who you spend time with.

What you spend your time on.

Your order of priorities.

How you speak of others.

What you value.

What you don't value.

Having a checklist mentality is probably not the best way to measure or gauge progress in discipleship. Still what we do day in day out reflects who we are. And who we are influences others, whether we wish to or not. The checklist is sobering.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


So I've been in touch with our resident family event planner (Linds) and we're hoping we can have an Easter gathering while some of the fam are in town for Mallory's wedding. I'm thinking along the lines of a traditional egg hunt, maybe hat parade in honor of Grandma Ethel and then possibly this:

Easter Bum decorating. Would give whole new meaning to Booty Charades, eh?

Friday, March 12, 2010

a mouse moral

Yesterday one of the featured books during Storytime at the library was Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young. Puppets made the telling absolutely delightful. We were fortunate as the volunteer story teller happened to be an accomplished puppeteer. Cate loved the big reveal at the end.

In the story seven little mice each examine a different part of the elephant and decide they know what the object is. However, it isn’t until the seventh mouse runs across, around, up, and down – over the entire elephant that its true identity is discovered.

The story ends with the moral: “Knowing in part may make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole.”

Seven Blind Mice is a great little book for many reasons. The color references, the days of the week, and the ordinal numbers all lead to great teaching lessons. The reference to the obvious moral that we don’t always see the “big picture” and make incorrect judgements, that's easy. But I think equally important is to note and discuss that the mice were blind. Their blindness kept them from seeing the whole picture.

Spiritual blindness can cause us to reject the truth until we become satisfied and smug to exist in the darkness of our own incomplete perceptions. Perceptions are not always the truth. Each mouse in the story was happy to believe that the elephant was something else. At least, until another mouse, who had a different idea and perspective, challenged his perception and then the very state of his blindness was revealed.

I have to remind myself, so many times, that what I know about God and the gospel is limited. My understanding is mortal. He has only given enough information to get back home. I can live with that. But I love the idea that someday we will see more clearly instead of through a glass darkly and the mortal perceptions we formed that caused us to be confused sometimes, caused us pain even, will be seen through new eyes.

The journey to knowing God of course is through His Son, the healer of the blind. But then over and over, the Lord tells us that 'walking by sight' is not one of the essential senses required in this life. There is another sense more powerful than sight we are to develop here. Faith, the kind born by the spirit, can inform us and help us see clearly. But that is unexplainable to some.

It's also good to remember that just because others challenge our perceptions doesn't mean they see the whole either. In fact, most often they do not. I'm reminded of this firestorm:
It makes me laugh. The comments generated. Oh. My.

All this from Storytime at Orem Public Library. he he he

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

geese and glazed bricks

4 am one January morning my mother gently woke me.
It’s time, she said. Hurry your dad’s waiting out in the truck. I numbly pulled on my clothes and rubbed the sleep from my eyes. No time to eat anything, I was promised there would be donuts later.

I stumbled out to the truck in the dark and slipped into the seat beside my mother. The excitement was palpable. We were going to watch the geese in Cibola. My mother had arranged an expedition with a few of her school teaching colleagues, Mrs. Arnold, Mrs. McCreary and another teacher I can’t remember. These ladies were bird watchers extraordinaires and had recruited my mother to join them in their pursuits. But my mother out bird watched them all by pulling this coup. This was high excitement, to see these special geese in Cibola. My Dad, of course, was slightly amused by all this but as always supportive of my mother in all her activities and interests. He drove the truck to Mrs. McCreary’s place where these ladies sat excitedly in the car, clutching their binoculars and waiting for us to show up. They were to follow us to Cibola where my Dad would lead them to where the geese were.

Judging from all the excited chatter, and the whoops and exclamations, the outing was a huge success. My mom earned her bird watching credentials that day and officially became a member of the bird watching teachers club and thereby a member of Blythe intelligentsia.

I did not appreciate then the sacrifices one must make to be a woman of substance. As we sneakily crept up on our bellies with binoculars pressed to our eyes, I didn’t know this was the price one paid. And my Dad watching, amusedly for sure, from a distance. Waiting patiently until they had had their fill of geese. Geese he had seen a thousand times before.

On the ride home he asked me how I liked the birds. Okay, I shrugged. He smiled. I laid my head on my mom’s lap and ate my doughnut.

I happened to think of all this because this morning I came across one of my mom’s scrapbooks. She kept old spiral notebooks and pasted quotes or stories she loved.
This was before blogging, people. Think what her blog would have been, eh?

Anyway. Glued onto a page was this story. Yeah, I know you’ve heard it many times and it’s truthfulness has been questioned. Still. My mom loved it, I see now why. She believed in the principle it teaches. Though her circumstances and environment were limited in Blythe, she always tried to find a way to thrive, to grow. She lived nearly 30 years in the same place and as I sit here, me living in the same place, same house for 30 years I can relate and I appreciate so much her ability to have a rich inner life. She was a woman of substance and thought. She sat on ‘glazed bricks’ all her life but found gladness and things she liked to do. So many things came fairly easy to her, and when she finished, she had more energy than when she started.

The story:

The famed naturalist of the last century, Louis Agassiz, was lecturing in London and had done a marvelous job. An obviously bright little old lady, but one who did not seem to have all the advantages in life, came up and was spiteful. She was resentful and said that she had never had the chances that he had had and she hoped he appreciated it. He took that bit of lacing very pleasantly and turned to the lady and, when she was through, said, "What do you do?"
She said, "I run a boarding house with my sister. I'm unmarried."
"What do you do at the boarding house?"
"Well, I skin potatoes and chop onions for the stew. We have stew every day."
"Where do you sit when you do that interesting but homely task?"
"I sit on the bottom step of the kitchen stairs."
"Where do your feet rest when you sit there on the bottom step?"
"On a glazed brick."
"What's a glazed brick?"
"I don't know."
"How long have you been sitting there?"
"Fifteen years."
Agassiz concluded, "Here's my card. Would you write me a note when you get a moment about what a glazed brick is?"
Well, that made her mad enough to go home and do it. She went home and got the dictionary out and found out that a brick was a piece of baked clay. That didn't seem enough to send to a Harvard professor, so she went to the encyclopedia and found out that a brick was made of vitrified kaolin and hydrous aluminum silicate, which didn't mean a thing to her. She went to work and visited a brick factory and a tile maker. Then she went back in history and studied a little bit about geology and learned something about clay and clay beds and what hydrous meant and what vitrified meant. She began to soar out of the basement of a boarding house on the wings of words like vitrified kaolin and hydrous aluminum silicate. She finally decided that there were about 120 different kinds of glazed bricks and tiles. She could tell Agassiz that, so she wrote him a little note of thirty-six pages and said, "Here's your glazed brick."
He wrote back, "This is a fine piece of work. If you change this and that and the other, I'll prepare it for publication and send you that which is due you from the publication." She thought no more of it, made the changes, sent it back, and almost by return mail came a check for 250 dollars. His letter said, "I've published your piece. What was under the brick?"
And she said, "Ants."
He replied (all of this by mail), "What is an ant?"
She went to work and this time she was excited. She found 1825 different kinds of ants. She found that there were ants that you could put three to the head of a pin and still have standing room left over. She found that there were ants an inch long that moved in armies half a mile wide and destroyed everything in their path. She found that some ants were blind; some ants lost their wings on the afternoon they died; some milked cows and took the milk to the aristocrats up the street. She found more ants than anybody had ever found, so she wrote Mr. Agassiz something of a treatise, numbering 360 pages. He published it and sent her the money and royalties, which continued to come in. She saw the lands and places of her dreams on a little carpet of vitrified kaolin and on the wings of flying ants that may lose their wings on the afternoon they die.

(Marion D. Hanks July 1971 Ensign, also Stephen R. Covey and Jeffrey R. Holland have used this story as well).

Oh. And here's a bit of significant irony for our family. :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

cate turns two

Had a little birthday tea party for Cate last night. Kenz turned the planning all over to me as she has been busy growing and delivering Madeline.

Cate had us sing and blow out the candles 4 times, dancing while we sang. We gave her a little Radio Flyer scooter with the helmet. She wouldn't take it off.

Cate loves, loves tea parties. Hence, everything pink, girly and tea party related.

We decorated her little table too. Here she and Meghan using their best fancy schmancy manners.

It was a dress up affair. Cate dons her gloves and heels.

Some very distinguished gentlemen were in attendance, too.

We did fun stuff. Like playing I'm a Little Teapot on the Flannelboard

and a Blowing out the candles fingerplay

We played Tea Cup Bean Bag Toss. Cate won.

How did we know whose turn it was? Easy, peasy. See the little pink and white cubes in the sides of the picture? Those are photo dice, with each family members pics glued on. Roll on your pic and it's your turn! (Remember, people. Cate is only two:)

There was a Tea pot pinata, too. Aunt Megs won. She was fierce.

Though Cate gave her a run for her money.

Oh! and Tea Party Smarty. We played that, too.

It's a match game that looks like this:

For favors we had little construction paper purses filled with candy bracelets, and candy lipstick.

Oh. And Tea Cups made out of marshmallows and lifesaver handles.

The cake.

Cate pronounced it good.

In all I think it was a:

It was a fun party to plan but possibly you noticed something missing: no cardboard. Yup. This party I challenged myself to branch out into new mediums. No cardboard anywhere. I tried to get, uh, creative. Hence, the toilet paper stuffed hangy teapot thingys.

Friday, March 5, 2010

deanna troi musings

Wednesday, driving in the car with jlw.

Me: How do you think married persons with the same first name feel? How weird is that?

Jlw: Whaddya mean?

Me: Like a Robin being married to a Robin. Or a Terry being married to a Terri. Or a Bob and a…uh….Bob.

Jlw: So you are referring to homosexuals?

Me: No, just in general theorizing. I wonder how they handle that. Does it give them pain?

Jlw: Do you actually know any married couples with the same first name?

Me: No, I don’t. But I am imagining and preparing. What if someday someone comes to me for advice and comfort about this issue. What would I say ? Hmm?

Jlw: Well. (long pause) You should keep working on that advice. That could be a real golden nugget.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Egnorance. (n) The egotistical combination of ignorance and arrogance.

The arrogance of ignorance. It’s a scary thing. Where we mistake opinions for actual thoughts.

Real knowledge, of course, is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.

Eliot Butler* contends that
…there is built into the nature of learning a remarkable protection against pride.

Many years ago I first read his excellent “Everybody is Ignorant, Only on Different Subjects”. Click here, you won’t be sorry.
It’s a start in overcoming pride in what we know and reminds us that the truly educated are aware of what they don’t know.
(It’s a free download, and when you get to the page scroll down, there’s lots of blank space at the start.)

The educated person, actively, consciously, and vigorously learning through his own drive cannot be egotistical about what he or she knows. Each step that increases understanding reveals a large area of ignorance than could be seen before. For example, one who has never heard of ancient Greek civilization can have no concept of the extent of his ignorance of that subject. One who knows nothing of calculus cannot begin to appreciate how ignorant he is of the possibilities of reasoning, order, logic, and complex problem-solving offered by that area of mathematics. One must learn some before he can even recognize his ignorance. Will Durant, in an interview at age 80, said it well: “Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing; education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”

And then later this:

…one can soon tell if one is speaking with an educated person. Mark Van Doren points out correctly that nobody who is will ever admit to being educated. This is not, of course, that the person is embarrassed to be educated, but only that he or she is so conscious of many areas of gross ignorance. Will Rogers saw it clearly: “Everybody is ignorant,” he said, “only on different subjects.”

We can all smell and sense an egnorant person a mile away. They are full of themselves. Sort of A.S.S.-like, eh? he he he

*(also has some interesting thoughts on the question “Isn’t it enough to just be good?” Another post for another day)