Mar 31, 2016

One Plus One Equals Three (or More)

By Kari Diane Pike

A couple of weeks ago our oldest son shared a conversation he had with one of his professors. Kenny has a Bachelor and Masters degree in philosophy, and a Juris Doctorate.  He recently returned to school to obtain a doctorate in philosophy. This semester he is taking nine credits and since he is married and the father of four children he teaches four college classes (12 credits) and works twenty hours per week as a research associate. This particular professor, while reviewing our son's schedule and work load, proclaimed that it was not possible for Kenny to accomplish all of those things. It simply couldn't be done. What made him think he could do all that?

Kenny's professor is not alone in this line of thinking. Another son of ours walked away from a six-figure scholarship to a university in Dallas, Texas when he read in their "terms and conditions" that if he got married before he graduated he would be removed from the program because a married student couldn't possibly keep up with the work load.

I don't remember Kenny's response to his professor. What I do remember is what he wanted to say, but couldn't without offending. Kenny knows he can accomplish his work because he has a loving and supportive spouse. While this single (unmarried) professor goes to work every day and returns home to cook, clean, do laundry, etc., Kenny and Aprilynne share their duties and responsibilities. Kenny can focus on school and work to support his family while Aprilynne takes care of things at home. This arrangement works the same way for Aprilynne. When she has work deadlines, Kenny is right there to care for the children and the home. They are team, and as such, they work together to accomplish their goals - far more than they could do if they lived alone.

A few days later, a friend told me about an experience he had while serving a mission in Nauvoo. He attended a demonstration of working draft horses. The handler gave some facts about the size of the horses and the amount of weight they could pull and under what conditions. He explained that one draft horse could pull about ten times their weight for a very short distance or about one tenth their weight for about eight hours, if the ground was level. He asked the audience how much they thought a pair of those fine animals could pull. Almost everyone agreed that two horses would pull twice the weight as one. The handler then demonstrated how a pair of working draft horses can pull not just double, but three and sometimes even four times the weight that a single horse can pull. He told the audience that the horses that had been raised and trained together could pull the most weight.

I've been thinking a great deal about how this concept of unity applies to my life and my relationship with the Savior.   The Family: A Proclamation to the World states:

By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. 

If my spouse and I are unified in purpose and action (living gospel centered lives) we can face challenges and grow together in love and understanding. This unity applies to all the relationships we have with other people - at home, at work, at church, and in our communities. What we create together can be far greater than the sum of what we can do on our own. As we fully rely on the Savior and His redeeming Atonement, there is nothing we can't accomplish.

Life is magnificent!

Mar 26, 2016

Writing Tip #6 By The WWD

by Cindy R. Williams

Writing Tip #6 By The WWD

If you choose to write a book with another human, make good and sure you have a rock solid relationship allowing give and take because you are in for a wild ride.

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.

Mar 22, 2016

Horror in Brussels

by Terri Wagner

Most of us woke up this morning to a fresh round of terror attacks in Europe. This time in Brussels...and again more than one. The photos sear into my brain. And like most people I cannot comprehend any belief system that would encourage people to commit such atrocities. Three LDS missionaries were wounded in the attack. At the moment that's all we know.

Decades ago in the 1970s when climate change was global cooling, there was an overwhelming end of the world sub culture everywhere. I remember one of the ultimate predictions was that the Lord would call back the missionaries and His attention getters would begin. I tried to imagine a scenario where the world would be in such a state that missionaries (of any religion) would not be able to travel. At times then and in the ensuing years, I would think of many different ideas that would make this occur. I never figured anything out, and with the calls for an increase in missionaries, I stopped thinking about it. 9/11 changed that for a while, but then the calls kept coming, and again, I stopped thinking about it. Now, that wondering is back.

Is it as simple and as horrifying as terrorism? There seems no way to stop it except from a religious perspective. As George Bush said, we have to be lucky every time, they only have to be lucky once. All the defense in the world can't stop a determined person from murder. And whatever their motivation is, it is murder.

Solemn thoughts but it is becoming yet again a solemn time.

Mar 19, 2016

Road Block

Fear is a great road block. It is excellent at stopping progress and holding you back.  Fear and no faith in myself is what got me to give up writing for two years. Its a good thing I got over that. :D But fear of messing it up or writing it wrong are also great road blocks. Sometimes you just have to go for it. I have a story that I love, that it so amazing to me, something I want to see on book store shelves and I have written it wrong twice. WHAT?! yes I know, twice. its maybe a little out of my writing ability right now, but I keep trying, and I keep working on other projects, and I know it will happen just not as fast as I thought it would. 
So I am here to tell you if you are afraid of writing it wrong, its okay. Write it wrong the first time. As soon as its written you will know if you got it right or not, but don't let the fear of writing it wrong stop you! Because if you do, will it ever get written? I know it stopped me and I almost gave up all together. But my dream was bigger and eventually, my dreams pushed the fear aside, and I am doing my best to keep it there.
Don't let fear stop you, don't let it set up a road block. Find a way to push past it or get out of your own head. You can do it! We belive in you. And if you are afraid or find the fear road bock is a little thick for you to break down by yourself, let us ANWA sisters help. We are here for you.

Mar 17, 2016

Family Roots in Ireland

by Kari Diane Pike

In honor of St. Patrick's Day (and the birthday of our first grandchild - Happy birthday Melissa - who turned 16 today - which makes me feel old) I decided to go on a treasure hunt of the family history kind. I remembered coming across some Irish roots a few months ago and decided to go digging for them (which is why I am posting this late in the afternoon because the more I dug, the more excited I became, which lead to more digging, and... yah. I found gold!). 

Since almost all of my ancestors came to North America between 1590 and 1700, I knew I would have to dig kind of deep. Lucky me. I hit pay dirt in less than a minute. Thank you

The first gem I found was Ferdinand MacVeagh (b. 1625) and his wife Leticia Richardson (b. abt.1631). One website described him as "a prominent physician who flourished in County Monaghan in the central portion of Ireland." His great-great grandmother Christina Kerns MacVeagh, was born about 1540 in Camagh, Queens, Ireland.  Over time, the spelling of the name changed to McVey.

Then I found Moses Williamson, Sr., born in Ireland in 1723 to Scottish parents. My quick search indicates that the family lived near Derry, Ireland. Moses appears to have been about ten years old when he came to America with his parents. He served in the Revolutionary War and was a private in the French and Indian War. 

All along the way, I met other ancestors from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Hungary, Germany, France and Italy. Some sailed across the pond to flee religious persecution. Others sought land and opportunity - the hoped for pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, so to speak. I suspect one or two came to avoid prison or worse. Although one ancestor, George Jacobs ended up on the end of a noose anyway, as the first man hung in the Salem Witch Trials. Whatever their reasons, I am grateful for courageous ancestors who helped build this nation where I am free to enjoy those "'unalienable rights' which the Declaration says has been given to all human beings by their Creator, and for which governments are created to protect."

Where do your people come from? If you don't know, it's really easy to create an account on Warning: It's addicting!

Life is magnificent!

Mar 15, 2016

Do You Want to Be a Writer?

by Marsha Ward @MarshaWard

I came across a great blog by Indie Author sensation Hugh Howey a couple of days ago. In it, he gives the secrets to success as a writer, which a lot of people won't follow because, yeah, they're hard.

Here's how he starts out:
Sitting in your underwear, hearing voices, talking to people who are not there, mumbling to yourself, Googling how to dispose of bodies and the firing rate of an uzi submachine gun. Assuming this sounds like the ideal life for you—and you don’t want to be certifiably crazy but only a little crazy—then the life of the professional writer is what you’re after. And I’m going to tell you how to make it happen.
Then he gives "the #1 secret to success and a career of working in your underwear: You have to work harder than anyone else. Period."

I'll list a few of his bullet points, but you'll have to go over and read the complete article to get the full flavor of the meal. And yes, he says a couple of words I don't use, but nowhere near as many as Chuck Wendig does. They both give great advice.
  • Make a long-term plan.
  • Reading.
  • Practice
  • Daydream.
  • Learn to fail.
And those are just the first five points. If you want to be a writer, go read these and the other five, with their explanations of how to implement them.

Then get to work!

Mar 12, 2016

Writing Tip #5 ~ By The WWD

by Cindy R. Williams

Writing Tip #4 By The WWD

Don't live your life caught up in your stories. Get them out of your head by writing them. Remember their are real live people around you that need you to pay attention to them once in awhile.

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.

Mar 8, 2016

The Words of Isaiah

by Terri Wagner

I had the dubious honor of presenting the first set of Isaiah chapters in the BOM for our Gospel Doctrine class. I sure thought I had a handle on how to present the material in a way that gave you a place to start. Isaiah requires some getting used to. I reread John Bytheway's Isaiah for Airheads which is an excellent source of information. I had someone give some historical context and background on Isaiah. And then gave them the three keys Nephi mentions oddly enough in 2 Nephi 25 which is after the Isaiah chapters go figure. The last one always makes me laugh out loud. To understand Isaiah you need to live in the last days. So does the fact that we do not understand Isaiah mean we are not in the last days???

I then drew a series of circles circling a larger circle I placed in the middle. I explained that to understand Isaiah you had to read it as a Prezi presentation: no chronological order and no more to least important designations. You also need to know that Isaiah speaks a bit like we do. For example, when he warns Israel they will be destroyed because they are making unholy alliances (specially with the Assyrians and Egyptians). Isaiah is also warning us in the last days not to be lured in to making unholy alliances as a people, as a ward/branch, and as individuals. It is easy to see then the different layers. I have seen wards take sides in divorce situations, and as an person I once had a friendship that was poison for my spirituality. After going through Isaiah's chapters 2-14 not in that order, I finished with the grand finale. If these were Isaiah's words, then what was his main concept? What did all these chapters have in common?

Frankly, I lost my group back at Isaiah's background. It is so hard as a teacher to decide what in a lesson is important. I think I threw too much information at them without really explaining it. I should have stuck with the above instead of trying to do all the chapters. What do you think?

Mar 5, 2016


By Cassie Shiels

This is a word that I didn't think about much, until recently. I knew I didn't like the anticipation of things. I am someone who dosn't do well with it in real life. If I have to get a cavity filled it had better be tomorrow not in two weeks, or else I will freak out about it for the whole two weeks. But what I am realizing is that Anticipation plays a huge role in writing.

Why do we love to read? Could one reasion be, its the anticipation that we feel for the ending that we seek? In romance we all know he is going to end up with her, but its the how, that keeps us turning the pages. In action or adventure we know the hero is going to win, but how? We anticipate, we count on these things to happen, which is why we turn the pages.

When we write we need to try and make sure we are building the anticipation up. It builds more emotion, the reader invests more of themselves into the story. They become more attached to the characters the words, everything when we build the anticipation.

Alfred Hitchcock said: "There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it."

So true. The sound of a gun shot makes us jump but then its over. But the time it takes to read about the bad guy coming into the house, pulling out his gun, and tracking the hero into a cornner that we are not sure he can get out of, and then he pulles the trigger. Wow, that builds the emotion. We care about what happens next, we squirm as the bad guy comes up the stairs. We want to shout to the hero, "No don't go there, how will you get out!"

This works in any genra, but it was easy to use suspense here. Think about how you can use anticipation in your own writing, in your own way. Your readers will thank you! :D

Mar 3, 2016

The Source of All Truth

by Kari Diane Pike

How do phone solicitors know that exact moment when I finally get a second to step in the shower, or on an even more productive day, stick my hands in the bread dough to knead it? Sometimes it's kind of creepy.

That observation has nothing to do with what I wanted to write about today. It's just a thought that has been wandering around in the back of my mind. 

I have a nephew getting married next week and I thought I would pull out a letter I wrote awhile back - giving advice on how to progress in one's eternal marriage relationship. That essay sat on a bookshelf and gathered dust for months until I had this crazy thought about getting organized. I figured I should file it away so I wouldn't lose it. Now I have no idea where I put it. I did find some hidden Christmas candy though...from 2013 (Where's an emoji when you need one?). 

Thinking of emoji's gets me thinking about social media and  marriage and families and wondering how different my parenting might be if I were just starting my family right now. Home computers didn't exist when I gave birth to my first child. [Wow. That makes me sound really old!] If I wanted information, I had to go to the library and research through all kinds of books. Or ask a professional. Or my mom. Mom's are so wise. Oh. And pray and study my scriptures. 

Elder Ballard made me smile during a recent broadcast "An Evening With a General Authority." He said, "James 1:5 doesn't say 'If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of Google.'" 

The Internet and social media can bring us instant information about pretty much everything. A couple of weeks ago, my dad wanted to know what the menu was like at a restaurant we wanted to try. I picked up my phone and said, "Ok for Outback." In about half a second, Google gave me a link to the menu. Dad's jaw dropped and he shook his head in wonder. Now he points at my phone and says, "I need you to use that fancy thing and find Scottrade for me." (By the way, did you know that the average cell phone today has more technology in it than those rooms full of computers that put the first man on the moon?)

As helpful as the Internet can be, there are drawbacks. Most of us are wise enough to know that we can't believe something just because it's published in the paper or on the Internet. Along with the good, there is a lot of just plain bad advice and misinformation (or worse) out there. Technology has become so sophisticated that anybody can be deceived. 

I am grateful for the scriptures and the words from latter-day prophets that can help me navigate this information jungle. I am also grateful for the power of prayer and guidance from the Holy Spirit. The gift of personal revelation has given me more strength and enlightened my mind far beyond anything I could ever get from electronic devices. I've had to rely on the Lord to send His Spirit to know the needs of my children and to understand how to strengthen my marriage. Google didn't know when my little boy sat on his bike in the middle of the railroad tracks and needed my help. But the Lord did and through the Holy Ghost let me know that my child was in danger. Google didn't send a text alert to my friend and tell her I needed to know Heavenly Father cared about me and that the way she could help was to show up at my door before eight in the morning with a loaf of homemade bread and freezer jam. The Spirit did that.

Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not anti-technology. Just the opposite. I love having the ability to video chat with all of our children and grandchildren, all at the same time even. I have dozens of friends with whom I would probably lose contact if it wasn't for Facebook. While I do miss the joy of finding handwritten letters in my mail box, I adore getting email - especially when it's from our missionary son. And then there's those amazing evenings I can spend online with a general authority and be reminded, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God." And I remember the source of all truth.

Life is magnificent!


Mar 1, 2016

Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, said the King of Siam

or so I'm told. Someday I'll get around to watching *that movie.

by Marsha Ward

From time to time, I'll see words misspelled in blog posts, or emails, or articles, or on Facebook, and every time, they make me cringe. Yes, I'm that much of a perfectionist. Lucky me.

One I'm seeing consistently is "ect." [sic].

I think the word, or rather, the abbreviation, is so often misspelled because very few people know anymore what the abbreviation stands for, and maybe folks don't have a clue how it is pronounced. They kind of know what it means, but not the rest of it. So much for teaching to the test.

Instinctive teacher that I am, I'm here to offer enlightenment.

First, the proper way to spell that word is "etc." Please note that there is always a period after it, even if it occurs in the middle of a sentence. **Yanno, like Dr. or Mrs.

Second, etc. is an abbreviation of the Latin words "et cetera." Please look closely. The first word is spelled e t. The second word begins with a c. That's where the abbreviation comes from: the first word plus the first letter of the second word.

et cetera

My handy Webster's New World Dictionary (always kept by my desk) gives this information: et cet-er-a [and says the accent is on "cet."] and others; and the like: abbrev. etc.

Now you will never forget how to correctly spell that abbreviation, because you will hear et cetera in your head every time you go to write it.

Have a wonderful day. And don't misspell etc. ever again. Thank you.

* The King and I
** (Miss Snark's way of saying "you know." Miss Snark is the blog pen name of the much-missed, albeit potty-mouthed agent who is no longer entertaining the masses.)