Thursday, January 30, 2014

o how glorious, glorious [Scripture Mastery Times: Moses 1:39]

The first scripture mastery of the Old Testament is Moses 1:39.
For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
I still have this one memorized; it's so nice and short. It's fairly easy to see why it's a scripture mastery: it tells us, straight from His mouth, what God is for, what He does, what He loves. It also lets us see what our purpose in life is: to gain immortality and eternal life. The basic doctrine this illustrates is "Plan of Salvation".

I can't remember what we discussed in Gospel Doctrine about this verse (except that there was quite a bit of discussion that I thought, "Oh I should probably keep this in mind for when I start that SM series," about). Then that week, or the next, I was reading the April 2013 General Conference and came across a talk by Elder M. Russell Ballard that is actually titled "This Is My Work and Glory." A couple of thoughts from that presentation struck a chord with what I need to learn from this verse, even though I couldn't remember which talk it had been when I finally sat down to write this post (you'd be surprised how many people mention 'glory' in General Conference).

Elder Ballard quoted D&C 81:4
And in doing [righteous service-y] things thou wilt do the greatest good unto thy fellow beings, and wilt promote the glory of him who is your Lord. (emphasis and brackets mine)
 I have an unfortunate tendency to want to take credit for, well, everything. If I ever had missionary or shepherding experiences I would be tempted to see primarily my hand in the effort, but that is wrong. Every good thing I do is for the glory of God. In return He gives me the greatest gift (not to mention all my other blessings)--so why should I not sing His praises all the day long?

Because it is His glory.

(There is so much in this verse I could talk about for so long, but at least for today, I'll keep it short.)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bible in [Scripture Mastery Times]

At the beginning of the year, I started thinking that maybe I should start discussing Scripture Mastery verses. I thought perhaps I would start with Old Testament, since that's what we're studying in Sunday School this year. And it's a very good place to start.

Well, it's still January, but if I had any plans to coincide my posts with the Gospel Doctrine lessons they're long gone. But I still feel like I should start this series, even though I can't even finish my WWIS posts and I didn't even make a Mormon Monday yesterday!

(It's there now because I took a break from this post to write it.)

But it'll be a good thing for me, and hopefully for some of you. Many of you may not have been aware that they updated and changed many of the verses to better align with the Basic Doctrines (many of you were almost certainly not aware that the Basic Doctrines are a thing).

I may or may not combine these with MMs if I need to, but I also don't want to limit myself either way, so these will come randomly as I remember about them. Hopefully it doesn't make the blog too heavy on ill-organized religious thoughts.

First off: Moses 1:39!

Monday, January 27, 2014

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 26]

Over a month ago, I told you about the special fireside for sisters I had the opportunity to attend. I also said I'd have more to say about it, but what with Christmas and copping-out, I'm only just getting to more discussion.

Possibly my favorite moment was a comment my friend made. I've known her since I moved in the ward and the more I know the more I like her. She is wise.

We were talking about trials. She brought up the example of the Provo UT Tabernacle, which burned down in December 2010. God didn't cause the fire, but the result of the fire is that this beloved building will now be a temple (which I think we all have to admit is a step up).

When we have trials, God will use those as opportunities to make us truly better people, even though He does not specifically give us the challenges.

We can go from this:
Provo Tabernacle Ruins 1
To this (except we won't just be artist's renderings):
source that happens to be a great informative article if you're curious

And while we may have liked being cottages, I think we will find that being a heavenly mansion is so much happier.

Monday, January 20, 2014

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 25]

So here's the thing. You know the cop-out I posted last Monday? I've actually been thinking about it more.

(Here's the picture again.)

What I like about it is the font. I really don't know why the picture shows someone holding the quotation on a card over a wood floor. Memes are so weird that way. But look at the font!

The "thing we think we want now" is hollow, and faded. That's how sin (or bad decisions) feel when they're done. They're not fulfilling like we thought they would be. In contrast, what we want most is filled in.

So there's another piece of insight, just in case it escaped  you when I posted it last week.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

now we are used to this confusion

Here's a few unrelated anecdotes. That are actually related because they're all about me.

1. A couple weeks ago I got back from lunch and someone had stolen my pens off my desk. I had a black pen and a blue pen and I distinctly remember placing them neatly before I left because sometimes I have a hard time finding them. No one has been willing to admit to the thievery. I've been using my green pen exclusively since then.

2. I forgot to ever say that my big plan for Epiphany (January 6, so it's been almost two weeks now) was to delete all the drafts of emails that I've had hanging out in my drafts folder for lo these many months. Tying it in to Epiphany because that's kind of what all of them were. Or at least they were attempts at elucidating my feelings. But I never sent any of them because I felt like the recipients just wouldn't care. And so they've been sitting there, mocking me for my lack of communication skills (not that that's a new problem). They won't ever be useful. So I'm deleting them. (Yes, two weeks later. I forgot, and then I got scared. It's hard to admit that my feelings don't matter.)

There. They are all discarded. All 18 of them. (Not all of those were feelings drafts. Some of them were old to-do lists telling me to learn the bones of the human body to confidence. Guess what never happened?) Please be proud of me.

3. The line between me and the crazy disheveled people that walk around downtown is embarrassingly thin. They talk out loud to themselves as they walk, their hair is a mess, they don't necessarily smell very good...These are all things that can describe me. I talk to myself constantly. Even in public. Even while I'm watching the crazy people talk to themselves, I mutter, "Man I'm glad that's not me." The other day while I was waiting in line at the cafeteria I started singing the song that was in my head before I realized that's not something normal people do. My roommates have learned to just go with it. But lately I've been thinking that maybe I should try to...not do that as much?

Monday, January 13, 2014

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 24]

Today I'm giving up something I want later (a good MM post) for something I want now (to not write one). So here is an image from Mormon Channel instead.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

reading line by line

I started off this year reading the Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner, backwards, starting with A Conspiracy of Kings. It's making me question whether I want to keep track of all the books I read in 2014, or just the new ones, or maybe just the good ones.

Especially since I got a bookshelf for Christmas and as part of my New Year's holiday I brought down from home most of my books. Well, at least half of them. And quite a few from home that aren't mine (mostly those are ones that I need to read). But having so many of my favorites in such close proximity makes it all the more likely I'll reread a lot of them.

Since I reread books fairly regularly I thought about making my criteria for what I recommend from 2013 "Books I would read again" but life is kind of short and I really enjoyed a lot of books I don't need to read again.

So that's been my dilemma, and that's why it's been more than a week since I said I would post my recs. But I'm going to do it.

From the last quarter of the year I would highlight: The Chaos of Stars, Shadows, All Our Yesterdays, For Darkness Shows the Stars, All the Truth That's In Me, The Clockwork Scarab.

But you know what I didn't include in that list? Sequels to books I really enjoy!

So here is my list of Favorite Ongoing Series of 2013:

  • Sammy Keyes by Wendelin van Draanen -- this series is almost over and I've almost outgrown it, but I'm determined to stick it out through the end
  • Finishing School by Gail Carriger -- the first two books in the series are out, Etiquette & Espionage and Curtsies & Conspiracies and I have enjoyed them both. It's nice to have a YA story set in this world.
  • Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein -- Both of these books are masterpieces. I discovered them because someone on the internet was lambasting another WWII-era female protagonist novel for being exceedingly wrong about historical facts and they said "If you want accuracy about what women did during WWII read Code Name Verity." So I did.
  • The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater -- The first two books in the series are out (The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves), and I hope they don't stress you out as much as they do me (in the best way, though!).
  • The Woodcutter Sisters by Alethea Kontis -- When I first read Enchanted I thought it made a great one-off novel that mashed all the fairytales together just the way I like. This year the sequel Hero came out and I just realized I remember about nothing of this book. But I'm still interested in the series.
  • The Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson -- Good news! This trilogy is now complete. Now I can reread it.
  • Elemental Blessings by Sharon Shinn -- I fell hard for Troubled Waters when I got it for Christmas lo these many years ago. I was very excited for an unexpected sequel in Royal Airs and it didn't disappoint. I have been trying to decide if there's going to be another one in the series, and my gut says "yes."
  • Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer -- Cinder and Scarlet are out. The next one, Cress, comes out next month. I'm pretty excited about that. (Also how clever is it to call a Rapunzel-like character "Cress"? I love it.)
So there's a touch of recommendation from me. Not meant to be comprehensive (I'm pretty sure it's impossible for me to be comprehensive about books people should read).

Monday, January 6, 2014

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 23]

In August our Relief Society compassionate service committee issued a challenge for us to read the entire Book of Mormon by the end of the year. I did pretty well -- much better than the time President Hinckley issued the challenge my freshman year.

I timed it just right so that on the last day of the year, last Tuesday, I sat on the train (my preferred Book of Mormon reading location), finishing up the book of Moroni on my way to work.

In the last chapter, Moroni gives readers an exhortation from the bottom of his heart:

3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
(The exhortation I'm discussing is actually in verse 4, but I just love verse 3 so I had to include it.)

I can't remember where I first heard it, if it was over the pulpit or at a Book of Mormon class (I've taken so many over the years), but someone once encouraged that every time I come to the end of the Book of Mormon I should pray and ask if these things are not true, even if I already know the answer.

So I did.

And guess what? I got an answer!

It is entirely possible to have a spiritual experience on a (not-all-that-busy) train.

What a great book.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

I can trace all my books [2013]

1. Resurrection Row by Anne Perry
2. Long Spoon Lane by Anne Perry
3. The Widow of Larkspur Inn by Lawana Blackwell
4. Half Moon Street by Anne Perry
5. Daughter of Joy by Kathleen Morgan
6. Once Upon a Diamond by Teresa McCarthy
7. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
8. Sammy Keyes and the Showdown in Sin City by Wendelin van Draanen
9. The Boy on Cinnamon Street by Phoebe Stone

10. The God Who Weeps by Terryl and Fiona Givens
11. Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder
12. A Curse Dark As Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
13. Shadows and Secrets (Annals of Wynnewood) by Chautona Havig
14. Confessions of a Serial Kisser by Wendelin van Draanen
15. The Red Blazer Girls: The Secret Cellar by Michael D. Beil
16. Penelope (A Mad Cap Regency Romance) by Anya Wylde
17. Foundation by Mercedes Lackey
18. Home From the Sea by Mercedes Lackey
19. A Time for Peace by Barbara Cameron
20. Entwined by Heather Dixon
21. One Drink by Max Florschutz

22. Kate's Kisses by Mary Manners
23. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
24. The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
25. Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
26. Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
27. Welcome to Fred by Brad Whittington
28. Always a Witch by Carolyn McCullough
29. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
30. Sunshine Hunter by Maddie Cochere
31. Splintered by A. G. Howard
32. Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger
33. Understanding the Book of Mormon by Grant Hardy
34. Twice Upon a Time: The Only One that Didn't Run Away by Wendy Mass
35. The Seer and the Sword by Victoria Hanley

36. Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
37. The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
38. Spellcaster by Claudia Gray
39. Poison by Bridget Zinn
40. Bees in the Butterfly Garden by Maureen Lang
41. The Wrap-Up List by Steven Arnston
42. Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst
43. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
44. Miriam's Quilt by Jennifer Beckstrand
45. Past Perfect by Leila Sales
46. Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
47. Going Vintage by Lindsay Leavitt
48. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
49. Aunt Dimity and the Family Tree by Nancy Atherton
50. This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
51. Aunt Dimity and the Village Witch by Nancy Atherton

52. Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy C. Bennett
53. One for the Murphys by Linda Mullaly Hunt
54. The Soulkeepers by G.P. Ching
55. Sandwich with a Side of Romance by Krista Phillips
56. Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff
57. The Silent Cry by Anne Perry
58. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
59. For What It's Worth by Karey White
60. The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar
61. Garden Princess by Kristin Kladstrup
62. The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
63. The Body Electric by Allie Duzett
64. A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

65. Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear
66. The Lost Language of Symbolism: An Essential Guide to Recognizing and Interpreting Symbols of the Gospel by Alonzo L. Gaskill
67. Midnight at Marble Arch by Anne Perry
68. The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr
69. Aunt Dimity and the Lost Prince by Nancy Atherton
70. Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike
71. Golden by Jessi Kirby
72. The Maiden of Mayfair by Lawana Blackwell
73. The Game by Diana Wynne Jones
74. My Double Life by Janette Rallison
75. Chalice by Robin McKinley
76. Sabriel by Garth Nix
77. Blood Spirits by Sherwood Smith
78. The Princess Problem by Diane Darcy
79. Banner of the Damned by Sherwood Smith
80. Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst

81. The Writing Class by Jincy Willett
82. Unnatural Creatures compiled by Neil Gaiman
83. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
84. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
85. Ruby Redfort Take Your Last Breath by Lauren Child
86. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
87. After the War by Libby Sternburg
88. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
89. Hiding Out at the Pancake Palace by Nan Mariano
90. The Reluctant Heiress by Eva Ibbotson
91. Goblin War by Hilari Bell
92. Greater Than Rubies by Hallee Bridgman

93. A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer
94. The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters
95. Susannah's Truth by Dana Landers
96. Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer
97. The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison
98. Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike
99. Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
100. Undaunted Love by Jennings Wright
101. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
102. Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

103. Erasing Time by C.J. Hill
104. Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier
105. Felicite Found by Julia King
106. My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison
107. Pride's Prejudice by Misty Dawn Pulsipher
108. Frederica by Georgette Heyer
109. Notes from an Accidental Band Geek by Erin Dionne
110. The Counterfeit Family Tree of Vee Crawford-Wong by L. Tam Holland
111. Cast in Sorrow by Michelle Sagara

112. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
113. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
114. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
115. The Lost Kingdom by Matthew J. Kirby
116. The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
117. Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
118. Shadows by Robin McKinley
119. A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr
120. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
121. Hero by Alethea Kontis
122. Sammy Keyes and the Killer Cruise by Wendelin van Draanen

123. The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
124. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
125. Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
126. The Kiss of a Stranger by Sarah M. Eden
127. Bastion by Mercedes Lackey
128. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
129. Namesake by Sue MacLeod
130. Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelly Coriell
131. The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale
132. Scarlet in the Snow by Sophie Masson

133. Royal Airs by Sharon Shinn
134. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
135. Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
136. Joyfully Yours by Amy Lamont
137. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
138. Unexpected Gifts by Elena Aitken
139. Fall for You (Jane Austen Academy) by Cecilia Gray
140. The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan
141. Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac
142. All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry
143. Wolf Princess by Cathryn Constable
144. The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason
145. The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

I just realized that I forgot to include the two BYU Women's conference books I read this year (2011, By Small and Simple Things and 2006, Rise to the Divinity Within You) but I don't want to put them in the list because I can't remember when I read them. It has nothing to do with my antagonism toward prime numbers.

I'm trying to decide how to structure my recommendations, so I may be back later today (or in a few days).