Thursday, May 29, 2008
Back when I worked at The Summit Group, I worked with an non-profit foundation called the 100% For Kids Credit Union Education Foundation that gave money to schools to help purchase educational tools, supplies, books, etc. I loved working with them so much that I now find myself working for another company that is dedicated to improving communication through sign language education.
With that, I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to go back to school to get a master's in public administration (MPA). I have an idea of what I want to concentrate on including lobbying for improvement in special needs education, as well as putting creative programs back into schools! I don't know if you recall my post about whether current school curriculum is suppressing creativity and if that has an effect on education in general. Anyway, I still have to decide what emphasis. I am also looking into the program more to get a clearer picture of what I want to do...but I just had to share!
Here are couple articles of some of these non-profits doing some awesome things with education:
Miami Herald: Web Charities Help Teachers Equip Classrooms
Salt Lake Tribune: Granger Students Buy Airplane
Deseret News: Bids for Kids to aid teachers
USAToday: He 'cons' them into learning
Friday, May 23, 2008
With the recent news of the newest American Idol, there have been some pretty great articles about the decision. Obviously, a huge topic here in Utah, I heard that several people were disappointed with the fact that David Cook won over cute, little, innocent David Archuleta.
I, personally only having watched one episode of American Idol, thought that David Cook went in already thinking he was a winner. He played the part well. I didn't see too much of the show though to really make a judgment on who I thought has a better voice! David Archuleta was so darn cute (in the one I saw at least) and so grateful.
Anyway, this article ran in the Salt Lake Tribune today and just thought I would share it!
Kirby: Mormons are ready-made for reality TV
By Robert Kirby
Salt Lake Tribune
Another Mormon bites the dust. After a brief and heady run at fame, "American Idol" candidate David Archuleta got his walking papers from the voting public.
Brother Archuleta joins the ranks of other LDS reality TV almost-weres, including "Dancing with the Stars'" Marie Osmond, MTV's "That's Amore's" Kathleen Flager, and presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Still, Archuleta is proof that Mormon reality screen performance is improving. Ten years ago, our claim to reality TV fame was a Mormon couple performing a human bagpipe trick on "David Letterman."
I didn't see this one myself, but apparently a woman from Murray put a balloon in her mouth and her husband inflated it by blowing through her nose.
You don't get public performing talent (or even a lack of shame) like this without years of training. From an early age, Mormon kids are encouraged to be something other than just another member of the congregation.
For this reason, stage fright is not a common LDS ailment. By the time we hit puberty, Mormon kids are used to praying and testifying from the pulpit. Many, like Archuleta, perform music during church services.
The rest will have appeared in a countless number of singing programs, skits and talent shows. Even untalented kids like me managed to entertain, typically by being dragged from these meetings by a leg.
When I was a kid, there were ward road shows: amateur theatrical productions that involved the entire ward and provided an outlet for all that performance energy. Quality ranged from pretty good to lynch-mob awful.
I was Farmer No. 3 in our ward's production of "The Wizard of Odds," a spoof on a young girl carried off by a whirlwind to Brigham Young University where she had all kinds of strange but faith-promoting experiences. My costume was a leaf rake I brought from home.
We practiced the songs for weeks and almost made the bishop's wife go inactive. She worked and prayed and once even broke down and cried, but we still sounded like a pack of loosely focused coyotes.
The show ran for two nights. It would have gone three but the girl playing Dorothy got mono and the only other girl who could sing above a misdemeanor couldn't fit into the costume.
Road shows are mostly a thing of the past now. LDS ward houses built today don't even have stages. They still get basketball courts, though.
Maybe there's a connection. Despite our commitment to basketball, you don't see many Mormons in the NBA.
And even though an increasing number of Mormons are showing up on reality TV these days, not all of them are to our credit. Church leaders might want to think about bringing back the ward road show as a safety valve.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I just got back from my super fantastic trip to San Francisco! There were really only two things I wanted to do when I was there…and I ended up doing more! My friend Ben and I got on a plane last Thursday and we partied like crazy until we left.
Some highlights include:
- Riding our bikes over the Golden Gate bridge-I have to admit, I was really proud of myself for going up these huge hills without getting off my bike or anything. Ben was a doll and carried my backpack the whole time even though it didn’t match his outfit. The bike ride from the bike rental place next to the wharf, to the little town over the bridge called Sausalito was about 8.6 miles. It was awesome to go over the bridge and see how many other people were just thrilled to be there. We almost got hit a couple times on our way to Sausalito, but we didn’t let the 45 miles an hour cars get their fair share of us…we kept plugging along, stopping at the most random places to take pics.
- Ferry Ride- We took a ferry back to the main wharf. We met this sweet lady that was in town for a 5-day wedding extravaganza. Included in the wedding was a 5k, where people dressed up in all kinds of outfits and walked from one side of SF to the other. She also let us borrow some of her sun tan lotion since we were burning up! Thank you Liz!
- Fine Arts Palace: This was the place I wanted to visit the most. I remember seeing it for the first time in So I Married and Axe Murderer and have wanted to go ever since. Some of it was under construction, but for the part that wasn’t…it was so gorgeous. I loved how it took me back to France….ah, a time I will forever miss! It was absolutely beautiful.
- Ethiopian Jazz Restaurant- For my b-day, Ben found this incredible Ethiopian restaurant. He knows that is my favorite food. Combined with the Jazz…it was pretty much the most fantastic place ever. We got down with the locals and listened to a little bass guitar.
- Yoshi’s-I can’t remember the name of the brothers who played, but we went to this Jazz club featuring two brother’s from Japan that totally jammed out on 3-string citar-looking instruments. It was amazing. While were there, we ordered a desert that was…get this….caramel ice cream on top of a brownie. Sounds pretty normal, right. Oh wait…it gets better. The ice cream had some kind of a Japanese spice on it that included some kind of chili powder, maybe some basil-like substance….to top that….the brownie was resting on some kind of popcorn and seed mixture. Don’t worry, they didn’t forget the caramel topping. It was very intense! Would I eat it for pleasure? Probably not, but it was worth the try.
- Legion of Honor - Ah, another French moment. Ben told me that for my birthday, he was going to give me part of the world….or at least the part I love. Along with the Eiffel Tower necklace he gave me, we went to the museum where I met Paul Mounet! Paul…oh, Paul, how I love thee let me count the ways. Have you ever had this complete connection with someone where all you can do is just stare and feel a burning in your heart!? Yes, I had this with Paul. Too bad he was a painting and he died in the 1800’s. Seriously, the connection with this piece was something I have never felt before. I felt like I had met him before. Seeing pieces by Monet, Rodin and Picasso was also pretty fantastic.
- Golden Gate Park – we were able to go to GGP and visit the de Young museum. We went into an exhibit hall where we had to leave post-haste because there were pieces that I didn’t care for. Ben, my editor, forgot he needed to edit along our art journey. However, we made it to the other exhibits that made up for it! Again, saw Picasso and some of his sketch-books. It was pretty awesome. We walked over to the Conservatory, where a dance group dressed in black and white danced. They all had jingle bells on their shins and choreographed their dancing. I don’t know what it was for, but they danced to accordions, fiddles, tambourines and drums. It was very Bohemian!
- Crab at the Wharf - I always wanted to eat crab-legs at the wharf…so we did! I was hoping to get down and dirty with the crab legs..you know…breaking them open and stuff, but the crabs came d-legged *sniff. Too bad, but it was totally good. Ben and I pretended to rate the food based on plating, originality and taste, just like the do on the Food Network. It was pretty fun.
- Pearls and Cold! It got really cold on the wharf. As we were deciding what to do, we kept ducking in and out of little shops along the pier. We stopped by one of the shops, where Ben bought me a pearl. I got to choose the oyster and then we opened it and pulled out this beautiful white and pink pearl! My first real pearl…and so pretty!
- Church - when we went to church, we walked in and these men were wearing Fijian skirts and leis. People were all in the chapel chatting and I asked a sister if we missed sacrament meeting. She told us it was stake conference. We came to find out that we were at the Tongan/Fijian stake conference! There was Tongan princess that represented Tongan royalty who was there. We were given headsets for translation. Kids from primary-young adult age were all involved in a choir that sang exuberant and lively songs of Jesus Christ. I have never heard so many youth sing with such enthusiasm and vigor. It was pretty incredible especially as the youth harmonized….wow…it brought tears to my eyes!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I said I would get back to you about my experiment with men's mood swings in response to the article Your man’s mood swings by Elise Nersesian and so, here I am...getting back to you! I would love to hear some experiments of your very own too...
I must premise that I said I would conduct the experiment with 3 boys that I am dating...well, it just so happens that I am currently not dating nor interested in anyone in order to form the results desired. However, I did not give up on the experiment and tried a couple things with other boys in my life.
Test #1 - The Sympathetic Dad
Of course the first boy of my choice was my Dad. Sure, a daddy's girl at heart, my dad and I have an interesting relationship. When I call, the conversation is always:
Me: Hi Dad
Dad: Hi Lindsey
Me: How are you?
Dad: Good. How are you?
Me: Well, I am a little sad today?
Dad: Oh, I'm sorry to hear that....here is your Mom.
He has never been one to listen to me when things aren't going so great. I also noticed that my phone calls to him have always been in the morning...a time according to the article when men have all this energy to do physical things...and can't concentrate really on the emotional things. So, I proceeded to call my dad up in the evening to talk to him about my life and tell him how things are going...besides just the phone calls where he asks how my car is, if my air conditioning is working, how the house is! Well, I am proud to report that my dad and I had a great sentimental conversation. I do have to add though, that I had to tell him that I wanted to speak with him and only him and that I needed him to listen fully to what I had to say, before he spoke.
I think had I called him earlier in the day to talk about my life's decisions that other things would have occupied his mind and he wouldn't have been fully present to our conversation.
I would like to suggest that the author was correct in her assumption that this timeframe provided an intimate moment to have an actual conversation with my father that I hope benefited the both of us.
Test #2 - Unwanted advice
Sometimes I like to complain. I wouldn't label myself as a complainer, but I do it sometimes. I find that when I do, I don't necessarily expect feedback. When people complain to me, I let them complain, just to vent. I find that it is not necessarily an invitation to come up with solutions...some people don't want advice. I had a moment like that with a friend...let's call him Fred. I told Fred that I was in a complaining mood (as I am very aware of my emotions), and told him that I just wanted to vent, but wasn't looking for any advice. I should have heeded the article a little better, because -after all- I was talking to him during the morning hours! According to the article, "...guys wake up bursting with testosterone. And aside from the obvious frisky factor, this surge in hormones makes him ambitious and determined." The article points out that men like to feel like 'Mr. Fix-it' and I would like to add that at this time during the day they also turn into the 'Mr. Must Provide Solutions Even Though You Don't Want Them' syndrome.
Needless to say, as the conversation ended with Fred, I was even more frustrated than before. Sure, nothing was wrong, but I perfectly described the intention of the phone call prior to me even drawing out my complaints! What's the deal, right? So, I then proceeded to call Fred to talk about my obvious frustration, but I waited until after 8:00 p.m. During that conversation, he was more attentive and sincere and I was able to complain about my problem complaining....and found that because of his sincerity and 'cuddle factor,' I found solutions for myself and confided in him more because of it. It certainly drew Fred and I closer! I love the after 8 man!
Test #3 - The committed uncommitted
I have yet another friend, let's call him Bill. Bill and I have a very interesting relationship. Sure, I thought we would be awesome together...but things just haven't gone that direction and I am ok with that. See, Bill is committed to being uncommitted. Though he has expressed to me that it is something he is working on, it has taken quite a while for me to really believe him...and really not let it bother me. I just had to realize that he was really just that...uncommitted...and that there is nothing wrong with that!
In the course of our friendship, I have asked Bill to participate with me in many activities, including those where I have tried to hook him up with other girls (remember how we are just friends). Anyway, I would normally call him in the evening. Little did I realize that he was contemplating his life and trying to be sentimental in his decision-making...who knows, but that is my educated guess.
It wasn't until I called him between the hours of 3 and 4 that I got a true commitment from him and he followed through. The commitment was to attend a class with me that truly changed my perspective on life and I wanted so much for him to experience his own little transformation. Needless to say, the class actually went into detail about the commitments we make in life and if we are really committed to them. After the class, Bill began to make and keep commitments he made with me and I found that he normally called in the mid-afternoon.
In conclusion, and through my very little experimentation, I would have to agree with the article written by Ms. Nersesian and will continue my experimentation in hopes to have more meaningful relationships based on open communication that happens only after 8:00 p.m. at night!
Friday, May 9, 2008
|Special report: Women in the LDS Church composing a new role|
|Mormon women seek balance between the modern and the traditional|
|By Peggy Fletcher Stack|
The Salt Lake Tribune
Julie Beck knows a thing or two about powerful women.
In 1958, Beck's parents went to Brazil to preside over its only LDS mission. At the time, there were a few small LDS units but no established congregations, Boy Scouts, youth activities or women's auxiliaries. While her father managed the country's nascent LDS organizations, Beck's mother was responsible for the women - and she didn't really speak the language.
Beck witnessed her mother's quiet courage at the daunting assignment. The young wife shared her faith at the first non-Sabbath meeting of Brazilian LDS women, using the only four Portuguese sentences she knew.
"Out of that has grown a wonderful, vibrant, faith-filled body of women in Brazil," Beck told more than 18,000 women at Brigham Young University's annual Women's Conference last week.
A half century later, Beck is the General Relief Society president, directing instruction for the 5.6 million women in more than 170 countries who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the BYU event, Beck's warm, personal style clearly connected with the audience, many of whom came from across the country to drink from the well of wisdom offered by LDS women leaders and writers. Their apparent approval of her remarks contrasted starkly with reaction to Beck's first presidential speech at the church's General Conference last fall, when her advice to women caused a stir among both liberal and conservative listeners. In the speech, "Mothers Who Know," Beck urged Mormon women not to limit or delay child-bearing, said part of nurturing children was cooking, washing clothes and keeping a tidy house and suggested that Mormon women cut back on activities outside the home "to conserve their limited strength in order to maximize their influence where it matters most."
To some, Beck's counsel to mothers demeaned working women and left out the role of men in child care; to others, it was a welcome defense of stay-at-home mothers who often feel marginalized by the working class.
Since then, other Mormon leaders, particularly Apostle M. Russell Ballard, have gone out of their way to say that the church sees no perfect approach to motherhood. But the underlying conflicts revealed by reactions to Beck's initial presentation simmer beneath the surface.
LDS women are getting a "cacophony of messages," BYU sociologist Marie Cornwall says. "The critical issue for many of them seems to be: Is there a place for me in the church given my life choices?"
Joining the mainstream
Ever since abandoning polygamy in the early 20th century, Mormonism has been deeply committed to the nuclear family ideal, says Kristine Haglund, who edited a special women's issue of Sunstone magazine, an independent forum for Mormon ideas.
"Our survival and assimilation into the country depended on the adoption of the 'traditional' family, so it's not particularly surprising that questions about families, and women's roles within them, should be especially fraught for Mormons," says Haglund, an LDS single mom in Boston.
In the U.S., however, warm fuzzy rhetoric about the family is complicated by the way such rhetoric has been deployed in the service of various ideologies and political entanglements.
Consider, for example, how the image of such Mormon families factored into Mitt Romney's recent presidential bid. When attacked by Evangelicals for not being Christian, Romney repeatedly held up his happy family life as Exhibit A of his moral values.
"Mormons largely don't understand the theological distinctions Evangelical Protestants find so distressing, and so a common reaction [after pointing out that "Jesus Christ" is right in the name of our church] is to protest that we have such nice families," Haglund says. "Beyond that, we're political allies in the fight against gay marriage, abortion, and other 'values' issues."
Stressing the importance of motherhood also is a link to these other Christians, who often feel threatened by the feminist movement and its push for more choices for women.
Mormon women are caught in the move toward modernity, Cornwall says, and, ironically, the late LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley's suggestion that women become more educated caused more tension than it eased.
"Now that women are educated, what are they supposed to do?" she asks. "Depending on what your major is and what your interests are, that mandate creates real dilemmas for Mormon women."
Where you live
Recently, top Mormon leaders, male and female, have made consistent efforts to acknowledge the various ways women organize their lives and contribute to society, but such sermons play differently in any given LDS congregation or family.
"There are some things that could make some of the women feel more comfortable, but I just don't run into many uncomfortable women," says Juliann Reynolds, a widow in southern California who writes for the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR). "They are too busy living their lives and trying to be good people. It's all fairly local because that's where you live your lives and that's why our experiences can be so different."
Haglund, too, questions how much general rhetoric about women's roles influences individual choices.
"Mormon women continue to follow national trends in employment, reproductive choices, etc.," she says. "Young Mormon women are making their own choices and composing interesting lives for themselves, whether or not they have [former Relief Society general leaders] Chieko Okazaki or Sheri Dew to tell them it's OK."
Depending on what stories are cited or what framework for judgment is applied, it can be easy to interpret the church's experience and history as misogynistic and oppressive, writes Andrea Radke-Moss, in a recent FAIR essay on the place of Mormon women.
"For every positive story of gendered awareness in the annals of church lore, there are negative stories - bishops who told abused wives to "accept their fate and the authority of their husbands or young women counseled not to go on missions because that's not a woman's place," Radke-Moss writes.
But she is optimistic.
"Our hope lies in the ultimate equalizing doctrine of Christ's love and redemption for all his sons and daughters. If we did not see it that way, then we would not choose to stay. We are not sell-outs," she writes. "Daily and weekly we see so many examples of increased gendered reciprocation within the context of the church and its culture that give us cause to hope."
That is what Beck counts on, too, but she is not naive about what it will take to meet the diverse needs of Mormon women.
In March, Beck met with women in BYU's law and business schools to diffuse concerns born of last fall's speech.
Maria Viramontes, a single 24 year old who'll graduate next year with a master's of business administration degree, was in the audience that day. Unlike some women who'd been troubled by Beck's words last fall, Viramontes heard them as "revelations directly from God."
Beck's duty, Viramontes said, is to "teach us principles," but that does not mean women cannot work or pursue their dreams. Beck, in fact, pointed out at BYU that she works 100 hours a week, Viramontes said, and that she has sisters who work, too.
"Girl, go for broke!" Viramontes recalled Beck telling the women who wanted to know they could have careers. "Whatever your dreams are, go for it. . . Sometimes you don't have control over the Lord's time and plan. . . Go for broke, but don't lose site of the Gospel. When the time comes to marry and have children, re-evaluate."
* Tribune reporter Jessica Ravitz contributed to this report.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
I love reading young adult fiction! So, I pretty much plowed through the books because I could see little snippets of myself in each one of these characters. When the first movie came out, I was ecstatic....not only do I absolutely love Alexis Bledel, and America Ferrera...but the other girls Blake Lively and Amber Tamblyn are simply amazing actresses! I have been following this for so long that I just needed to post something! I hope you enjoy.
Monday, May 5, 2008
As part of my MTC (Marriage Training Center) research, I discovered that men have mood swings too! That's right....they do. As part of my training, I am going to conduct an experiment to see if the article pasted below is accurate and true. I will choose three men I am currently dating, and/or just happen to be friends with, and come back with statistics based on my findings. I will report within one-week's time. Let the experimentation begin.
Your man’s mood swings
By Elise Nersesian
Trying to figure out the best time to broach a touchy topic, ask your guy a favor or convince him to do something you know he’ll dread? Well, it’s easier than you think if you learn how to tune in to his body clock, says Gabrielle Lichterman, founder of Hormonology.info and co-author of 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals About Your Love Life, Moods, and Potential. While women, we all know, experience hormone-induced mood swings on a monthly basis, Lichterman attests that men, too, are affected by hormonal highs and lows—only their levels fluctuate daily. Want to get his hormones working for you? Read on.
If you need his help moving, fighting, or fixing something…
Ask: from 9-12 a.m.
It should come as no surprise that guys wake up bursting with testosterone. And aside from the obvious frisky factor, this surge in hormones makes him ambitious and determined, says Lichterman. This is the perfect time to ask him for a favor, particularly one that makes him feel like Mr. Fix-It. Buying a car? Indulge his competitive streak, and drag him along to help you haggle with the salesman and score a great deal. Or, cash in on his peak in spatial thinking and ask him to move your couch, or measure your closet space. He’ll feel heroic, and you’ll reap the benefits.
If you want to get him to agree to your plans…
Ask: from 3-4 p.m.
Trying to convince him to sign up for ballroom dancing lessons, commit to your new book club or otherwise agree to do something that would normally send men screaming in the opposite direction? Then this late-afternoon window is the perfect opportunity, says Lichterman, since his super-low testosterone levels will make him mellow and amenable to pretty much anything you throw on the table.
If you want to broach a touchy topic…
Ask: from 8-10 p.m.
At this hour, another hormone called oxytocin — a.k.a. the “cuddle hormone” due to its intimacy-inducing effects — is on the rise in his bloodstream, says Lichterman. That means this is a prime time to resolve a lingering spat (“It hurt my feelings when you didn’t call today”) or get a grievance off your chest (“Will you please shave your goatee?”). You’ll probably get met with nothing but a sincere apology and the promise to change his ways. Sure, his sweetness may be as much due to timing as a true desire to please, but hey, who cares as long as your wish is his command?
Elise Nersesian has written for Redbook, Stuff, and other publications.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Rachel Coleman, my boss and host of Signing Time, has been nominated for the “Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series,” as part of the 35th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy® Awards.
When she found out, and before she could start jumping for joy, she called called one other person to verify that this was true! The next thing she did was call her mom! We are so excited about this opportunity. I am just completely humbled to work with an incredible company that is dedicated to music, fun and a steller cause!