Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Discerning Truth

I came across this 1972 talk by Harold B. Lee, "A Time of Decision", doing some research, and found it very enlightening. I have put a link to it, and other talks I find inspiring, on my sidebar. Here are some of my favorite points (with my own summaries):

"Today we are constantly hearing from the unenlightened and misguided, who demand what they call free agency, by which they apparently mean, as evidenced by their conduct, that they have their agency to do as they please or to exercise their own self-will to determine what is law and order, what is right and wrong, or what is honor and virtue.

"These are frightening expressions when you reflect upon what I have just quoted from the revealed word of God. A moment’s reflection will help you to see that when one sets himself up to make his own rules and presumes to know no law but his own, he is but echoing the plan of Satan, who sought to ascend to God’s throne, as it were, in being the judge of all that rules mankind and the world. There has ever been, and ever will be, a conflict between the forces of truth and error; between the forces of righteousness and the forces of evil; between the dominion of Satan and the dominion under the banner of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ."

"Now in the exercise of the God-given right of free agency, or freedom of choice, how may one distinguish between what is truth and what is error?"
  1. The Light of Christ (conscience/"the voice of the divine within one’s own soul")
  2. The greatest weapon against false philosophies are the positive teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ / Have faith in power of God, not the wisdom of men (1 Cor. 2:5)
  3. " your business by the voice of the people" (Mosiah 29:26) / Be active in business and political interests. The greatest danger is apathy.
  4. Vote for men who will ask, “Is it right and is it good for the country or the community?” instead of those who may merely ask, “Is it politically expedient?” / Pray for our leaders (D/C 58:22)
  5. Use eternal gospel principles to detect truth from error (Moro. 7:16-17),
"But through the lights and shadows of my life, I also have the assurance that aided by God’s holy power, doubts can be resolved into certainties, burdens can be lightened, and a literal rebirth can be realized as the nearness to my Lord and Master becomes more certain..."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Black and White

In college, I became acquainted with a 1997 conference talk by Henry B. Eyring entitled "Finding Safety in Counsel". There is one quote, in particular, that seared my mind because of its power and plainness:
"When we reject the counsel which comes from God, we do not choose to be independent of outside influence. We choose another influence. We reject the protection of a perfectly loving, all-powerful, all-knowing Father in Heaven, whose whole purpose, as that of His Beloved Son, is to give us eternal life, to give us all that He has, and to bring us home again in families to the arms of His love. In rejecting His counsel, we choose the influence of another power, whose purpose is to make us miserable and whose motive is hatred. We have moral agency as a gift of God. Rather than the right to choose to be free of influence, it is the inalienable right to submit ourselves to whichever of those powers we choose."

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Incredible Edible Egg

Last week I watched a "Today Show" segment that highlighted several essential foods to include in your diet to boost weight loss. Among those highlighted were eggs. I found this information to be very exciting, especially since they are currently in season...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Red, Red, You Are So Slow...

The following list are examples- from my personal experience- that will ensure you the shortest time possible at a red light. You're welcome.
  1. Try putting on lip gloss. By the time you find it in your purse and get the cap off, the light will turn green. Works every time.
  2. Try reading something interesting.
  3. Your child in the seat behind you has a hand of melted chocolate and refuses to hold the equally messy wrapper any longer.
  4. Your child has dropped a toy out of their reach, and will literally cease to live if you can't get it for them NOW. (The further the toy from your reach = the shorter the red).
  5. Use this time for prime facial hair tweezing.
  6. And if you want guaranteed green lights your whole way home... try hoping for a chance to stop in order to corral a bunch of oranges that have escaped from their bag and are now rolling around your feet!
Any other tips out there?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

El Bandito De Mi Casita!

The other day I was held at sword-point in my home by a masked bandit. After I unsuccessfully plead my loyalties and allegiance to his cause (because we didn't speak the same language), he began to quiz me on my Spanish. Through clenched teeth he demanded: "How do you say 'bed'?", "How do you say 'school'?", "How do you say 'friend'?". After I answered each question correctly, the masked bandit put away his sword and stated, "Good. Now I won't kill you!" and walked away.
I wiped the sweat from my brow and thanked my lucky stars that my pre-schooler just so happened to have learned those words this year, and just so happened to have shared them with me. That's what I call fortuosity!

Monday, March 22, 2010


So, it seems pointless to even care at this point, but I have to say that I am really disappointed by the passage of the health care bill yesterday. But, hey. A historic president deserves a historic day, right? As you know, I think the approach that Obama has taken towards reforming our nation's health care is inappropriate and an unwise solution for the problems. And no, just because I do not like Obama's bill does not mean I am for the status quo. Government is already a huge problem with the current system (aka: medicare), I really don't think more government will make it better. And I wholeheartedly disagree that health care is a "right". If health care is a right, then why not food? I believe it should be made accessible for all, but not this way.
I have a feeling that the story isn't over yet, so for now, all I can do is hope for the best. Maybe now fixing our economy will become more of a priority.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Design Friday: Texture

Texture is the visual perception or actual tactile smoothness or roughness of a surface. Smooth textures generally suggest more formality, while rough textures often feel more casual. A variety of texture in a room keeps a room feeling interesting and provides a contrast that gives relief to the eye. The key is to have variety, but to make sure that the textures are compatible with the ambiance of the room. Texture can be introduced through accent pillows, upholstery, rugs, furnishings, paint, wood grain, artwork, and window treatments.
It's easy to tell texture by feel, but it's the visual perception that is perhaps a little bit trickier to pin down. For example, a tiny printed pattern can suggest texture from a distance, while being smooth to the touch. So when you're choosing fabric for a space, pillow, etc., it's a good idea to look at it from a distance to get the overall feel of the pattern.

The smooth glassy texture of the floor and furnishings are mixed with nubby, velvety, and loose weave fabrics. Picture from Dec. 2009 "Architectural Digest"

The side chair's fabric is smooth to the touch, but it's small print gives it a visual texture that contrasts well with the smoothness of the bedspread and walls. Also note the rough fabric on the headboard. Picture from Dec. 2009 "Architectural Digest".

The overall effect of the busy pattern on the tile gives a visual texture to this kitchen, when everything looks like it would feel smooth to the touch. Picture from Dec. 2009 "Architectural Digest".

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I'll Always Be Irish!

In honor of St. Paddy's Day, here is a clip from Disney's "The Happiest Millionaire"! A classic in my book.
(The song starts at about 2:45)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fields of Gold

Lately, my son has taken it as his moral duty to pick any dandelion in sight, and give it to me. If he sees the tiniest hint of yellow in a yard, he will literally stop whatever he his doing and march into the yard to pick the flower. I absolutely love it!

I wonder if we could charge the neighbor's for his weeding services...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cooking in the Kitchen with Dinah

This is one of my favorite character descriptions in "Uncle Tom's Cabin". It is about Dinah, a cook in a home owned by an man named Augustine St. Clare:

"Though her mode of doing everything was peculiarly meandering and circuitous, and without any sort of calculation as to time and place,-- though her kitchen generally looked as if it has been arranged by a hurricane blowing through it, and she had about as many places for each cooking utensil as there were days in the year,-- yet, if one would have patience to wait her own good time, up would come her dinner in perfect order, and in a style of preparation with which an epicure could find no fault."

Augustine St. Clare's defense of Dinah's methods:

"Now, there's Dinah gets you a capital dinner,-- soup, ragout, roast fowl, dessert, ice-creams and all,-- and she creates it all out of chaos and old night down there, in that kitchen. I think it really sublime, the way she manages. But, Heaven bless us! if we are to go down there, and view all the smoking and squatting about, and hurryscurryation of the preparatory process, we should never eat more! My good cousin, absolve yourself from that! It's more than a Catholic penance, and does no more good. You'll only lose your temper, and utterly confound Dinah. Let her go her own way."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Uncle Tom's Cabin

I just recently finished reading "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe. This was my first time reading it- and I have to truthfully admit- watching the Siamese interpretation found in "The King and I" was the closest I'd ever been to reading it before! Sad, I know. I knew it was about slavery, but that's about it.
I was blown away. There are several gripping plots within the book, and not only is it a thorough illustration of slavery at the time (slave treatment, opinions/attitudes, etc.) but I was surprised to find that it is largely an inspiring and beautiful story of faith and hope in God. I highly recommend it. I'll be sharing quotes from it in the future, but here's one of my favorites:

"Ye said the Lord took sides against us, because he lets us be 'bused and knocked around; but ye see what come on his own Son,-- the blessed Lord of Glory,-- wan't he allays poor? and have we, any on us, yet come so low as he come? The Lord han't forgot us,-- I'm sartin' o' that ar'. If we suffer with him, we shall also reign, Scripture says; but if we deny Him, he also will deny us. Didn't they all suffer?-- the Lord and all his? It tells how they was stoned and sawn asunder, and wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins, and was destitute, afflicted, tormented. Sufferin' an't no reason to make us think the Lord's turned agin us; but jest the contrary, if only we hold on to him, and doesn't give up to sin." - Uncle Tom

Monday, March 8, 2010

Family History- It's Bringing Sexy Back

I had been waiting for the premiere of NBC's "Who Do You Think You Are?" with great anticipation. Not only did I think it looked interesting (as it follows 6 different celebrities doing genealogy), but I was intrigued by the promo's statement that the show "makes looking for ancestors so hot". That statement jumped out at me, because its an angle I would have never thought to use to encourage people to do their family history. I've heard people use guilt, personal responsibility, and begging as methods to get people to trace their ancestry.... but never the claim of it being "so hot". It's genius! It was right there in front of our face the whole time, too! Everybody knows you have greater success if you market something as "sexy" or "hot". I think we've hit on something here.

I just might rewrite the "Family History" song.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Design Friday: Proportion

Proportion is the size relationship (ratio) of the parts of an object to its whole. This is something that is hard to define, but you've probably noticed it in your surroundings without being able to put your finger on it. Gardner's "Art Through the Ages II" explains, "The experience of proportion is common to us all. We seem to recognize at once when the features of the human face or body are 'out of proportion'." Proportion is relevant to everything, but two examples in design could be exemplified in furniture: like if the arms or legs of a chair are too small compared to the whole chair, or if a lampshade is too big or too small for the lamp base. It just looks wonky.

What's interesting is that pleasing proportion is not just a subjective term, but has actually been defined by the ancient Greeks into a mathematical equation. This is called the Golden Mean or Golden Rule. This Golden Mean has been utilized by artists and architects (especially during the Renaissance) to compose their works- mainly in the form of the Golden Rectangle. This proportion has even been found in nature, such as in the nautilus shell, and the arrangement of branches along a stem.

A golden rectangle is made using a compass by: 1. drawing a square (red), 2. drawing a line from the midpoint of one side to an opposite corner, 3. using that line as a radius to draw an arc , which then defines the length of the rectangle, and 4. completing the rectangle (blue).

You might be familiar with the "Rule of Thirds". This is a rule of thumb that states that something is most pleasing, when divided into or arranged in thirds. For example, if you want to install a chair rail, wainescoting, or divide a wall with two different paint colors, it would look most pleasing at 1/3 the height of the wall, or at 2/3 the height of the wall.

It must be noted that while the Golden Mean is universally accepted as the most pleasing proportion, it is not a hard and fast rule. While it is something you can definitely depend on if you are not confident in "eye balling" things, artists, architects, and designers may purposefully use disproportion to achieve their goals.

Whew! That's about as much math as I can take in a day, so we'll leave it at that!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Something New

Because I don't find great enjoyment in cooking dinner, I like to find new (simple) recipes to try every now and then to make it exciting. Last night, I tried this recipe from Martha Stewart's show. I have to say, it was actually quite yummy and, most importantly, my boys liked it. (But, then again, you can win over my husband with anything if you add bacon). I couldn't find orecchiette pasta, so I used bowtie. Also, I did not add oil at the beginning, and I did drain some of the bacon grease before I added the onions. I am going to try the frittata version of it too. I'm excited that one night's effort can create two meals! (I just need to remember not to leave the leftovers in the oven...)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Grass is Always Cleaner on the Other Side.

I think it is common knowledge that being the primary housekeeper of a home with children can be an exercise in frustration. I have spoken with many mothers who all experience the same feeling: that their trail of cleaning is followed immediately by a tornado of destruction, and that often it seems like the house looks the same, despite their best efforts. As a result, it's easy to loose the motivation to do it. I have often thought to myself how different our house would look, if everything stayed where I put it. It would look like a page out of a magazine.
And then one day I was talking with a friend who lives alone. She honestly stated that she feels no motivation to clean, as there is no one there to impress except herself, and that in a home with more people, you are forced to put things away in order to keep them from being misplaced by another. Her reason for not cleaning was the exact opposite of mine!

And then I realized.... there will always be an excuse not to clean, no matter what my circumstances. I can't blame others anymore.

I can't handle the truth!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Neverland Found

My Son: "Mom, I'm always gonna be a kid."
Me: "Yeah?"
My Son: "Even when I'm a grown up I'll be a kid, 'cause I have a mommy and a daddy."

(How much longer until he becomes disenchanted with this idea and I hear him declare, "Quit treating me like a kid"?)