Saturday, April 30, 2016

Admitting you're wrong

We all have these grand story ideas. Admit it I know you do. And we think we have them all figured out. Many times we do and its all great, but sometimes we get it written and then look at it and say its all wrong, or the ending isn't right. At that point we have two choices. Do we #1 say oh well its good enough, or #2 pull up our big girl pants and hit the delete button. YIKES! I know its never fun to loose words on a story. Its such fun thing to see that word count hit 20,000 or 50,00 or more. Who in their right mind would delete a handful of pages. Those who want to get it right. I ran into this problem with my current WIP. I had it all written the way I had planned it, but then the ending wasn't right. It was fine, maybe no one else would feel like I did that it wasn't right. Maybe, others would like it how it was, but for me, it just didn't feel right. I had to decided something then. Keep it the way it was or hit delete. Well I chose the right choice, I think. Its hard admitting you're wrong even if it means sacrificing some word count. I'll admit it it hurt drawing a big X on 15 pages and even ore when a few more went after that, but its worth it. I am still working on the new ending but I already know I made the right choice. So even thought it was hard, it was worth it. For those who are nervous about it, don't delete it forever, keep a copy to refer to if you need to, but do it if your story needs it. Your future self will thank you!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Facing My Own Lion's Den

by Kari Diane Pike

Eight months ago I never dreamed that I would say this: I love teaching early morning seminary. I spent the first six months scared out of my mind. I fretted over every little detail in the lesson manual and spent countless hours trying to "memorize" the content. Every now and then I felt somewhat successful, but the energy in the classroom more often than not could only be described as "ennui." I told myself at the end of each lesson, that at least I wasn't being ripped into pieces!

Discouragement set in and I was ready to give up. But quiet inspiration came to me during an early morning seminary inservice meeting. I realized that I spent too much energy worrying about how the students perceived my teaching abilities and not enough time asking Heavenly Father about what the students most needed to hear and learn. There is not enough time each morning to discuss every single principle presented in the lesson manual. I have the responsibility to discern the best use of that time to strengthen testimonies and help prepare these amazing youth for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Last week we studied Daniel 6-12. I knew the student's were familiar with the story of Daniel and the lions' den and I prayed about how to help them apply it to their lives today. I studied the material in the lesson manual. I read the passages in the Bible. The night before class though, nothing stood out to me. When I entered the classroom that morning I still struggled to know how I could make the lesson more meaningful to the class. Minutes before class was to begin, I decided to test the projector and play a video clip suggested in the manual. The story tells about an experience that Joseph F. Smith had on his way home from his first mission to Hawaii.
 One evening a group of "drunken men rode into the camp threatening to kill any 'Mormons' that came within their path." Instead of running and hiding [as others had done] Joseph thought, "Why should I run from these fellows?" He boldly marched up to the campfire where one of the men angrily demanded,  'Are you a Mormon?' Joseph looked the man in the eye and said, 'Yes, siree; dyed in the wool; true blue, through and through.' Joseph's response completely disarmed the belligerent man who then shook Joseph's hand and said: 'Well, you are the [blankety-blank] pleasantest man I ever met! Shake hands, young fellow, I am glad to see a man that stands up for his convictions," (Life of Joseph F. Smith comp. Joseph Fielding Smith, [1938], 187-89)."
I turned to Daniel 6:3 and reread the words there that describe Daniel as being preferred above the presidents and princes, because "an excellent spirit was in him." While these passages have always taught me about being faithful in all circumstances, that morning I learned another principle - one that I knew the students could identify with and apply to their own circumstances as well. Being faithful includes choosing to be happy and developing a cheerful countenance - responding to people in such a way that they feel the Spirit and Heavenly Father's love for them when they are around me.

I asked the class, "Think of someone in your life who you really enjoy being around. Why do you like being with them? What do they do or say that makes you want to be around them?" All of the students could think of at least one person like that. Then I asked, "What made Daniel so special? And what would have happened if Joseph F. Smith had chosen to respond to the ruffian rudely?"

We had a great discussion about the pressure the students get from friends to do things that would break the commandments and go against the standards the Lord wants them to keep. They have a choice to respond with patience and kindness or to be rude and aggressive. What kind of person did they want to become?

We also talked about how this didn't mean we had to put on a happy face every minute of every day. Everyone has times when we feel sad or discouraged. That's part of life. But Heavenly Father wants us to know we can be happy and set a good example even when we face our own metaphorical lions or drunken ruffians. By not being afraid to show our obedience to the Lord, we can help others develop a desire to know more about Him so that they too can experience peace and joy.

Did I mention how much I love teaching early morning seminary?

Life is magnificent.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Today's Happy Sayings

by Marsha Ward @MarshaWard

Sometimes I need to read cheerful or cheerfully funny sayings. Often, I find them on Facebook. Today is such a day, so here goes. (NOTE: I may correct or add punctuation, or fix spelling errors.)

"Each time you read a book, a tree smiles, knowing there's Life after Death."

"After all, tomorrow is another day." ~Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

"You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are." ~Lewis Carroll

"I'm having people over to stare at their phones later, if you want to come by..." ~John Hammer, Facebook

"In 1981, a pediatrician saved the life of a 3.2-pound premature baby boy by working around the clock to beat the odds & stabilize him. In 2011, the pediatrician was pinned inside a burning vehicle after a car collision, but was saved by the premature baby, who had grown up to become a paramedic." ~Easy 93.1 Facebook meme

What upbeat sayings did you read today?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Writing Tip #8 by the WWD

by Cindy R. Williams

Writing Tip #8

Always keep a notebook with you. Jot down names you come across for future characters and plot ideas.

When you are having a plot or character issue, often the answer will come when you are doing other things. Don't let it drift away, thinking you will remember it. You may have super powers of "Elephant-like memory", but most of us have more of the "water down the drain memory."

Someone asked me to give them some writing tips. This sure got me thinking. Hmmm . . . I could go online and find some for them. I could peruse my many books on writing and share. Then I realized that I have a few things that have come to me through the school of hard knocks. So I dug deep and came up with these. I call myself  the "WWD--Writer With Desire".  I will post them throughout the year.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Allegory of the Olive Tree

by Terri Wagner

Somehow I seem to get stuck with the tough lessons like the whole olive tree allegory Jacob recorded and Mormon included in Jacob 5. I did a ton of research and found a tiny miracle in the form of a free online book from the Neal A Maxwell Institute of Religious Scholars. There are several articles there that lay out a wonderful study of this important allegory. As always I remind the class that the BOM is for us, so what are the lessons we are to learn from this allegory.

We came up with the following: • Christ loves ALL of the vineyard, all his children therefore good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people, we are all his children and choices make things both bitter and sweet for all of us at different times in our lives. Christ “pruned” everywhere in the vineyard not one spot was left untouched by the master gardener’s hands • Doesn’t matter where you live gospel fruit can flourish • Before the Second Coming, there will be a process in place for all to produce good fruit (for the Millennium), a slow and steady removal of those producing bad fruit and a nourishing of those producing good fruit until there is no more good and evil but only good • This process is both with whole groups of people and with individuals • The conversional process is an individual weeding out of your personal “bad” fruit and a strengthening of your “good” fruit • Part of the pruning process is the reading of scriptures and prayer these two pillars of the gospel can keep you in line with the principles and revelations given by our living prophet. Jacob warns us that by taking this lightly we can be “cut down and “pruned out” or rather as we would put it lose our way spiritually. • Examples of nourishment to a whole group is when the Israelies defied God and demanded a king much to their regret; individually, we have been given the Word of Wisdom that started as a recommendation and is now part of the temple recommend to access your commitment to the gospel • To bring us to where the Nephites once were, a society so filled with love toward one another there was no poor, no sorrow, no hate, no war, no torture, etc. to usher in the Millennium • Chirst in the allegory and in our time has repeatedly assured us the church the living prophet will never lead us astray, there will no wholesale apostasy as there was before, keep your eyes and ears on the brethren • The laboring or missionary work will not be after the pattern of the world • Ultimately the allegory is about being reconciled to Christ through the atonement. The process is surprisingly simple

As aside I discovered there are olive trees in Israel that are 1,800 years old.