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Easy Date

[Sam walks into my office late Friday afternoon.]

Sam: Hey, honey, do you want to go on a date?

Samson (16): Is is that easy?


Overheard at the Boys’ Second Breakfast

Talking to his 15-year-old brother, Samson.
Caleb (12): It’s called skills, bro.
Mom: “It’s called skills, bro”?
Caleb: That’s what you say when you totally own someone.
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Kicking It Old School

[Driving to karate with the boys. Trying to find a radio station they like.]

Mom: How about this one?

Caleb (12): Well…not really.

Mom: What about this one?

Caleb: No.


Caleb: Mom, really I only like songs from 2010.


Not Getting Married Today

Mom: Samson, what was your favorite part about Saturday’s Warrior?


Samson: (15): Monica.

Mom: What was your second favorite part?


Samson: Her husband.



Sass In Your Frass

Caleb (12): Mom, just so you know, I’m going into my teenage years. So it’s not my fault if I’m sassy. It’s just biology.

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Tickets to Provo City Center Temple Open House

The Provo Tabernacle was a staple of my youth. When I was a child (pre-stake-center days) our stake conferences were there. My parents took us to see the Utah Valley Symphony a gazillion times in that venue. (The first, second, and third chair had each been my violin teacher at one time or another.) My sister first soloed with a symphony there. Kim and I practiced for our stint in the children’s choir singing in the (last ever) June General Conference in the tabernacle. I sang there with the BYU A Cappella reunion choir in (I think?) 1998. I watched my nephew sing in Amahl and the Night Visitors there. I had the convocation for my BYU graduation—complete with my blow-up doughnut, having just given birth to my oldest child—in that building. And on and on.

Provo Tabernacle BurningThere are hundreds of fond memories from that building floating around in my subconscious, not the least of which was sneaking away from my parents to run up and down (and up and down) the spiral staircases in the corners. In spite of it’s rather dilapidated condition, I was very sad when it burned.

Sam and I and four of our kids attended the temple open house last week. The new temple is utterly glorious. The pictures do not do it justice. [click to continue…]


Mormon Hacks: Preschool Edition

Thanks to Common Core and other cultural problems—you know, like legal mandates that allow boys to use the girls’ dressing room if they feel strongly enough about it—we’ve had a massive onslaught of new homeschoolers coming down the pike. As with most experienced homeschoolers (we are finishing up our 22nd year), I am getting endless questions about how to start, where to begin, what to do. (I do homeschool consulting at the same rate as blog consulting, if you’re interested.) From personal experience I know it can seem overwhelming to think you will direct the education of your own children when you have only known the government school paradigm, as I did.

Mormon Hacks: Preschool Edition

All the discussion has me distracted from my real life (where my “baby” is 12 years old) to thinking about early education and foundational philosophies. If you’re thinking about enrolling your little tyke in preschool or otherwise getting formal about schooling your little ones, please read on!  [click to continue…]


The world is full of idols, athletes, entertainers, people famous for no reason at all, and people famous for all the wrong reasons. It’s easy for our kids to get lost in the glamour and glitz and to idolize people whose examples are not worthy of being emulated.

Real Heroes

Some attempts have been made to encourage Mormon kiddos to look up to scripture heroes as their models by creating plastic figurines for Samuel the Lamanite, Nephi, etc. It’s a noble cause, but you might notice that almost every such figure (due to…you know…the dearth of women in the scriptures) is male. Even all the missionaries are male. Phhhttt. (I did find a Sariah figure, but that’s all I can see to represent the female half of the population.)

What can we do?

First, we can do is to acknowledge that no person is perfect. No person other than Christ should be our exemplar. Downplaying the hero worship of popular culture icons can be done by discussing how everyone has some talents, but that doesn’t mean we copy everything they do. We might want to learn to do a layup like Johnny Moe, but we don’t have to dress, talk, and philander like he does.

Second, we can look for those who do good in many ways and show their examples. Using examples of people who have made a positive difference, blessed others, shown Christlike love and then discussing how we can emulate them can be a great motivator. These good people come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages and that diversity can help our children look for good wherever they find it, not just on the court, stage, or magazine cover.



Primary Songs


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Happy New Year! And Happy 13th birthday to Mormon Momma!

If you’re looking for some motivation, a nudge, a push, a shove, or just a little incentive to start 2016 off with a bang, here are some great resources for your consideration.

Mormon Hacks: New Year's 2016 [click to continue…]


Tolerance Is Not a Virtue

Cliff Notes version of this post: Tolerance (inclusion, acceptance, etc.) is not inherently virtuous. It is only virtuous to the extent that the thing being tolerated (included, accepted, etc.) is virtuous or to the extent that tolerating (including, accepting, etc.) the non-virtuous has a virtuous outcome.

Tolerance is Not a Virtue

Failing my own rule #4 of Sacrament Meeting talks, I am going to begin today’s lesson with three definitions. This is an equivocation-free zone, so read carefully.

  1. Tolerance: a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices, racial or ethnic origins, etc., differ from one’s own
  2. Acceptance: favorable reception; approval; favor
  3. Inclusion: the state of being part of the whole

Tolerance, acceptance, and inclusion can mean:

  • All economic classes are permitted/approved/welcomed (without regard for ability to pay)
  • All ethnicities and/or cultures are permitted/approved/welcomed
  • All phsycial and/or mental abilities are permitted/approved/welcomed
  • All races are permitted/approved/welcomed
  • All species are permitted/approved/welcomed
  • All genders are permitted/approved/welcomed
  • All sexual orientations are permitted/approved/welcomed
  • All non-traditional claimed gender spectrums are permitted/approved/welcomed
  • All manner of dressing, non-dressing, cross-dressing are permitted/approved/welcomed
  • All political persuasions are permitted/approved/welcomed
  • All religious groups are permitted/approved/welcomed (or, more likely, equally shunned)
  • All _________ is permitted/approved/welcomed

Ohio State University, Cornell University, and University of Tennessee-Knoxville (among others) recently crowded the PC bandwagon to help their staff and students be the best in all the world at including (specific) things while also excluding (specific) things (of course, without acknowledging the latter). They did this by outlining the best ways to celebrate the holidays while being “inclusive, respectful, and festive.” Interestingly, these types of rules are generally put forth by the offices of “Inclusion and Diversity” (which, one would suppose, supports embracing a range of…something) and yet they demand homogeneous conformity. Weird how that works.  [click to continue…]