I used to go blues dancing at a house in Provo, Utah on Thursday nights. I had happened into the group of people who sponsored the dances because they were also in the local Lindy Hop scene, and they were such a funny, eclectic group of people that I really enjoyed myself there. Blues nights were held at an older house with wooden floors that some absurdly large number of college boys rented together; they would clear all the furniture from the living and dining rooms and, with a little help from Lou Rawls, would transform the place into a vintage Chicago juke joint for the night.
It was at blues nights that I first met a friend who I’ll call Nate. Nate was all smiles, but quiet, and usually parked himself at one end of the room. He was friends with the exotic-looking Isabelle, a tango dancer with tattoos and piercings and those hippie pants made of hemp that brought back memories of my teenage years in Missoula, Montana and the smell of patchouli and marijuana. He and Isabelle started showing up at blues nights when the organizer had decided to include some tango lessons and they’d been there regularly ever since. I was curious about the two of them and where they’d come from. It’s safe to say that in Provo, Utah, you don’t meet all the same patchouli and hemp pants sort of people you meet in Missoula, and I wondered about what they did in this area and what had brought them here. I would chat with Nate from time to time when he’d ask me to dance. I found out he was a fellow vegetarian (not sure how that comes up in casual conversations, but there you go) and that he worked at an animal rescue farm somewhere in the area. He also told me about a vegetarian Chinese restaurant in Salt Lake which I was really excited about. He was such a happy and pleasant person and I probably should have made more of an effort at the time to get to know both him and Isabelle, but I would soon find myself whisked away to Taiwan for an 8-month internship. Continue reading
I listened to this episode of Mormon Matters on my hour-long subway ride yesterday. It’s always nice to have a little conversation going on that I can invest my time in during a long commute. (Yay public transportation! But that’s another post.)
I appreciated the discussion between three very wise and thoughtful ladies – Fiona Givens, Joanna Brooks, and Jana Riess. I look forward to reading the Givenses’ book (maybe I can talk my husband into us “needing” the Kindle edition). But I do want to share my thoughts about the dissatisfaction expressed toward the correlated Church curriculum.
It’s interesting to spend Christmas in non-Christian countires. I’ve lived in Japan, Taiwan and China during the Christmas season, and it’s surprising at first to see how much they do celebrate Christmas, though to us Westerners it’s in funny ways. It involves statues of Colonel Sanders dressed up like Santa, festive cakes with strawberries and tiny bearded figurines, and shopping malls decorated with Christmas trees and colorful tinsel and bells, but not an extra shopper in sight. The best I could describe Christmas in China to a friend was, “It’s kind of how Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo. A fun, foreign-themed party with some indulgent food and drinks after work.”
But it’s thought-provoking, when you’re living here, to reflect upon what makes Christmas significant to us as Westerners and to us as Christians. A lot of it is nostalgia and happy memories and culture, but for religious people, what would Christmas in the Non-Christian world really mean? What should it mean? What should we do about it?
If you’re not a religious person, you may expect from the tone of my post that I’m about to expound upon “the real reason for the season” and how we need to “put Christ back in Christmas” and you may be tempted to stop reading here and go on to something less predictable. And while I’m the sort of person who would typically nod in agreement when people express sentiments like that, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I would explain my thoughts about the significance of Christmas to friends who weren’t religious or came from a non-Christian faith background. I kind of did this when I was a missionary in Japan, though at the time I don’t think I really had the language skills necessary to fully communicate what I meant. Hopefully, I can do a little better in English, though how helpful my explanations will be still waits to be seen. Continue reading
This isn’t an easy thing to write, but I’ve been thinking about it and I think it’s best at this time for me to write. There are two different things I’ve been wanting to say, so I’m hoping to conclude this part, some thoughts of mine along with some thoughts on scripture, today. Tomorrow my plan is to write about the second subject on my mind, which has to do with ways of knowing.
This story is a little personal and a little melancholy, which I suppose is a good thing to tell you before you read it in case you would prefer to spend the next few minutes of your life doing something pleasant. If you’re looking for recommendations on pleasantness, might I suggest Pinterest? It’s a little unnerving how much power Pinterest holds over my moods and motivations, but for whatever reason it can transport me to a world of color and theoretical cake that can dull all but the most serious of pains and worries. And sometimes in life we need colors and cake, and sometimes we need pains and worries. Continue reading
This is a cross-post from my graphic design and illustration blog, but I’m trying to share it to Pinterest from there and it doesn’t want to cooperate. So let’s take a break from seriousness and share cartoony little teaching aids!
These are a series of teaching aids for the Plan of Salvation (Preach My Gospel Lesson 2 for LDS Missionaries). I made a similar set on my mission in Japan and used them often – they’re especially fun to use with kids, because the “spirit body” slides in and out of the “physical body,” making them like paper dolls, but it works well in lessons for adults as well.
I wanted to offer a variety of languages for those who want to use them on missions – they’re easy to cut out and laminate and you tape together the physical body with clear packing tape (this works best if the physical body is laminated and the spirit body isn’t, or if you’ve trimmed very carefully and left a little extra room on the physical body).
If you or someone you know wants to request another language, just send me a comment – I might even be able to change the doll’s outfit to another cultural costume if you like. Feel free to share it around!
The only trick is that, for now, they’re sized as A3 (international paper size) and so if you print them in the US you’ll have to make sure you scale it to fit on 11×17 paper. Your local print shop should be able to help you do this and they usually offer heavier papers (like glossy cover) that make it look really nice.
Here are the links to download the PDFs:
Chinese – Traditional Characters (Taiwan)
Chinese – Simplified Characters (Mainland China or international)
Now, this is a touchy subject. For some reason, it ranks right up there with politics and religion as the type of thing you only bring up in polite company if you’re fairly sure that your friends already like you and trust you to say things they disagree with. Because for some reason, it’s a subject that has hair-trigger traps that propel people into feelings of profound indignation and defensiveness. I’m not quite sure why it should be such a tender topic for us to discuss, but maybe the fact that it is speaks volumes about the chemical roots of our emotions. Because the subject I’m going to dare to broach today is: what we eat. And what we should be eating. (The nerve!) Continue reading
Well, as of today my life’s work has hit a plateau that it may never revisit again. This pinnacle of my effort and dedication is immortalized in the public conscience. That is to say, a meme I made up with a stock photo and lettering in Impact was seen and chuckled at by several thousand of the kind of dorks who laugh at science memes:
It got even more gratifying to my easily-gratified little ego when I found it had been reposted by a facebook page with a not-so-savory word in its title that nevertheless expressed a rather, um, vehement love for science. A friend of mine spotted both posts simultaneously on her newsfeed: Continue reading