The Wilderness

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

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And now for something completely different

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:

English

Spanish

Japanese

Chinese – Traditional Characters (Taiwan)

Chinese – Simplified Characters (Mainland China or international)

A fulness of food

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

Published for the Lolz: Or, Why it was OK that the Age of Rationalism Ended

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:

Image

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

Entitlement

These are the continuations of thoughts that I began to explain in my previous post on balancing our political and religious beliefs.

I live in a tiny apartment in the middle of a large city in China. My husband and I are here for a year, living off of a government scholarship and while we’re amply provided for, money sure does have to stretch and since our visas don’t permit us to hold jobs while we’re here, we’re very quickly learning the ins and outs of a shoestring budget. Continue reading

“I don’t know how any X could believe Y … “

I’m not interested in making political enemies. This makes it pretty tricky to talk about issues that I believe in these days or to share articles I enjoy because particularly during election season everything in our discourse is charged. If I were to share an article that implied sympathy towards a cause that one party supports, those who identify with the opposite party would perceive it as an attack. It doesn’t help that our human-contact-free method of relaying information online is totally void of the interpersonal cues that would normally tell us the tone in which something is intended. We’ve gotten used to snide, barbed polemics and so now the things that we read are necessarily weighted as part of that kind of discourse.

So I hope to be taken seriously when I say I am not interested in making political enemies. I had originally intended to limit this blog to environment-related issues, colored from a Latter-day Saint perspective. There are other things I’ve been longing to talk about, to explain from my point of view, but I’ve hesitated because I don’t want to be perceived as a partisan pugilist who spends all my time congratulating those I already agree with and making snide jokes about those I don’t. So after a bit of an explanatory introduction, I’d like to be able to share some thoughts I’ve had lately on very personal reactions to things going on in the American cultural and political scene. Continue reading

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Bang?

When I was a teenager, I felt that I was beginning to learn about the vast realm of human knowledge and venturing into higher education.  I was also a good Mormon girl, attending church and Young Women meetings in my rural Rocky Mountain town and had learned much and been influenced greatly by the good people in my church. This led to a rather black-and-white view of the world and an assurance that there were good guys and bad guys, truth and lies, and that it was my job merely to join the right army and toe the line. The developmental state of my adolescent frontal cortex made it clear-cut and simple. I was also exposed to a lot of speculative, and what I now like to call apocryphal, Christian belief, from spooky books about the Book of Revelation and the Gulf War to video series about how ridiculous evolution is. At the time I was easily swayed and frightened by what I saw as the great anti-religion secret combination at work in the world. And Carl Sagan was my arch-enemy. Continue reading