Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Autism: Scientists Reconsider What They Think They Know

This is one of the most moving stories I have read this year. Apparently, the video has been out for a while, and I am just jumping on the train. I just have to say....this is what I am dedicated to. My job is to open communication so that people who are used to an 'acceptable' way of communication can see that any communication should be deemed as acceptable and appropriate (whatever the definition of acceptable really means).

Here is part of the article from Wired, The Truth About Autism: Scientists Reconsider What They Think They Know: "In a synthesized voice generated by a software application, she explains that touching, tasting, and smelling allow her to have a "constant conversation" with her surroundings. These forms of nonverbal stimuli constitute her "native language," Amanda Baggs explains, and are no better or worse than spoken language. Yet her failure to speak is seen as a deficit, she says, while other people's failure to learn her language is seen as natural and acceptable.

The video clip is 8 minutes long, but after I watched it, I really started to understand that to quote..."
the autistic brain is not defective but simply different-- an example of the variety of human development."

read more | digg story

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

True Love

I have been contemplating True Love...and sometimes the quote from Princess Bride pops in my head, when the minister says: Mawwaige is what Bwings us Togeva today....and Wuv Twue Wuv...will follow you foreva.

As I have been doing research on this topic, I have run into some very interesting perspectives about love. This first article was posted in the Arizona Republic on February 26, 2008. I thought it had some interesting points.

Baby You're on My Mind

Feb. 14, 2008 12:00 AM

I get no kick from champagne
Mere alcohol doesn't thrill me at all
So tell me why should it be true
That I get a kick out of you

- Cole Porter

Neuroscientists would direct the songwriter to the ventral tegmental region of the brain. When people fall in love, that's where the gray matter sizzles.

This fits nicely with Porter's reference to champagne. The brain circuits that engage when you can't concentrate on anything but the next rendezvous are the same ones involved in addiction.

You really do get hooked on that feeling.

But it doesn't last, right?

Conventional wisdom says love fades. Research has also found that romantic love steadily declines each year, falling most sharply in the first 10 years, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

Yet some long-married couples can be seen holding hands and exchanging what appear to be longing glances.

Who are they kidding?

Their brains.

Research is showing that brain scans of these folks reveal activity in both the "in-love" ventral tegmental center and another part of the brain that appears linked to long-term relationships and bonding. It's called the ventral pallidum.

The ripening of love, as Rhett Butler might have put it, does not have to supplant that can't-get-enough excitement.

What's more, the research suggests people can cultivate that old magic.

Arthur Aron, social psychologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, has studied these things for years.

He says the brain's taste for novelty is the key.

He designed experiments to test the theory, according to a recent article in the New York Times. In one, some couples were assigned to simply walk around the room, while other couples were required to crawl across the floor pushing a ball as they went.

The couples who crawled reported higher levels of love and satisfaction after the exercise. The walkers reported no change.

The scientists think this has something to do with injecting novelty into a marriage.

We think it might be something best described by the songwriters.

Even if the goal is silly, that sense of working together for a common purpose brings out the spirit of "You and Me Against the World."

And that's the stuff of hearts and flowers.


Now I wish to define true love in the only way that makes sense to me. I know that true love is a divine feeling that enables us to really understand a little snippet of true love that God has for us. How lucky we are to feel this in our lives....

Whether love for a friend, love for a brother or sister, mom or dad or the person I end up committing my life is an incredible feeling and should be treated as such.

The Great Commandment
by Joseph B. Wirthlin

"Sometimes the greatest love is not found in the dramatic scenes that poets and writers immortalize. Often, the greatest manifestations of love are the simple acts of kindness and caring we extend to those we meet along the path of life.

True love lasts forever. It is eternally patient and forgiving. It believes, hopes, and endures all things. That is the love our Heavenly Father bears for us.

We all yearn to experience love like this. Even when we make mistakes, we hope others will love us in spite of our shortcomings—even if we don’t deserve it.

Oh, it is wonderful to know that our Heavenly Father loves us—even with all our flaws! His love is such that even should we give up on ourselves, He never will.

We see ourselves in terms of yesterday and today. Our Heavenly Father sees us in terms of forever. Although we might settle for less, Heavenly Father won’t, for He sees us as the glorious beings we are capable of becoming."

How do I Love Thee?
Jeffrey R. Holland

"The first element of divine love—pure love—taught by both Paul and Mormon is its kindness, its selfless quality, its lack of ego and vanity and consuming self-centeredness. “Charity suffereth long, and is kind, [charity] envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own” (Moro. 7:45).

The second segment of this scriptural sermon on love in Moroni 7:45 [Moro. 7:45] says that true charity—real love—“is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity.”

Think of how many arguments could be avoided, how many hurt feelings could be spared, and, in a worst-case scenario, how many breakups and divorces could be avoided if we were not so easily provoked, if we thought no evil of one another, and if we not only did not rejoice in iniquity but didn’t rejoice even in little mistakes.

Think the best of each other, especially of those you say you love. Assume the good and doubt the bad.

Third and last, the prophets tell us that true love “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things” (Moro. 7:45). Once again that is ultimately a description of Christ’s love—He is the great example of One who bore and believed and hoped and endured. We are invited to do the same in our courtship and in our marriage to the best of our ability. Bear up and be strong. Be hopeful and believing. Some things in life we have little or no control over. These have to be endured. These are not things anyone wants in life, but sometimes they come. And when they come, we have to bear them; we have to believe; we have to hope for an end to such sorrows and difficulty; we have to endure until things come right in the end."

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tribute to Bette Midler

I was watching ABC family the other day and stumbled across one of my most favorite movies. Call me crazy, call me enlightened, call me a woman with a young heart….but I have always loved
Hocus Pocus! There is just something about the genius behind the witch characters…especially that of Bette Midler. Wow, I remember watching Ruthless People, Outrageous Fortune and Big Business and absolutely falling in love with this woman. Her genius and ease in front of the camera captivated me. Here is this woman who is completely WOMAN! Then to find out that this woman had vocals….incredible. I never really considered myself to be completely addicted to her, until I watched Hocus Pocus for the umpteenth time. I couldn’t help but thinking about what was happening behind the scenes…you know, if she thought she was better than this…to make a movie that certainly wouldn’t win her any Golden Globes. But you know…if she thought that, she completely fooled me. To see her in such a role just built up my opinion of her. Down to earth, funny, successful and downright good person….just to hear her say: My ungodly book speaks to you. On All Hallow's Eve, when the moon is round, a virgin, will summon us from under the ground. Oh Oh! We shall be back, and the lives of all the children of Salem will be mine! I can’t escape her genius. Sure, not so much of a fan of the ‘crass Bette,’ but she still has my undivided attention. I would like to pay Tribute to Bette Midler for taking chances and not letting what anyone says stop her from even little roles like Hocus Pocus.

Ruthless People

Barbara (Bette): So, when do I get out of here?
Sandy: As soon as Mr. Stone pays the ransom.
ra: What's the problem? What is the ransom?
Sandy: Well, we asked for $500,000.

Barbara: That should be no problem.
Sandy: He wouldn't pay.

Barbara: He wouldn't pay?

Sandy: Then we asked him for $50,000.

Barbara: Yeah?
He still wouldn't pay. So now we're lowering our price to $10,000.
Barbara: Do I understand this correctly? I'm being marked down?
[Starts crying]

Barbara: I've been kidnapped by K-Mart!

Outrageous Fortune

Lauren: Where are we? We've been going for miles and I haven't seen a single white person on the street.

Sandy (Bette): There's one.

[Lauren looks out of taxi cab window]

Sandy: Oops. They got 'em.

n: That's not funny.

Thank you Bette for finding your wings....keep playing those roles've got what it takes!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Stolen from Timmy: Do you dare??

I have tried some of these and it sure makes for some laughs. Goodness knows I could use some more laughs in life! I dared myself to try some of these until I laughed so hard, my stomach ached...
  1. Swat at imaginary flies any time someone says your name.
  2. Go through every ring tone on your cell every hour on the hour.
  3. Make a paper hat and wear it for 30 minutes.
  4. Copy a memo for each coworker requesting that they refrain from using the copier unless absolutely necessary.
  5. Express concern to a colleague that an office plant might be an illegal narcotic.
  6. Pretend to sign each word as you speak in a meeting. (This is fun in a signing sort of looks like mumbo jumbo).
  7. Wear a black armband for a day.
  8. Hang a sticky note on your lapel with the wordsAsk nicely and I probably will written on it.
  9. Page yourself on the loudspeaker and dont disguise your voice.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What do I know?

This past weekend, my Bishop's wife gave a talk during sacrament meeting discussing the topic of 'proclaiming what we know' as members of The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have been thinking about this topic for some time now and want to echo some sentiments regarding a commitment to spreading what I know!

During his address at BYU Hawaii, Elder Russell M. Ballard said that students should consider sharing their views on blogs, responding to online news reports and using the “new media” in other ways.

“We cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the Church teaches,” he said.

“While some conversations have audiences in the thousands or even millions, most are much, much smaller. But all conversations have an impact on those who participate in them. Perceptions of the Church are established one conversation at a time.”

Here is the newsroom report: Apostle Urges Students to Use New Media

A wonderful tactic for members of the church, but for everyone else too!!

I wish to talk about the power of saying 'I' versus 'we.' When saying the word 'I,' I become a motivating, comforting and relating person. People are the most moved and inspired when someone uses examples in their own life to convey a message. In the words of 'I,' people are the most moved and inspired when I use examples to convey a message. My point and purpose gets across with more clarity and definition.

For example: "We need to be committed to spreading the word on what we know! " This sentence, though powerful, creates opportunities for readers to take the word and spread it, but defeats the action by creating some kind of a 'pull.' With this sentence, it seems as if I am trying to convince the reader that they should do it, or there is some unwritten consequence if they don't.

"I am committed to spreading the word on what I know." This sentence shows that I am serious about this commitment and I am doing something about it. This shows the reader that they too can commit and has a lot more power to motivate someone to do something of their own accord.

It works every time, especially when it comes to telling people what I know. I don't just believe the things I write on this site...I know them. When I practice the 'I' demonstration, it is amazing to see what kind of relationships develop because I was open. It also eliminates frustration when other people try to tell me how they feel about a particular topic.

As a person who is committed to understanding human beings from their point of view, I find that this practice allows me to see what I am clearly committed to, and has also provided a way for communication to blossom for those around me. Everyone, regardless of faith can speak in 'I knows.'

I am sure most of you are thinking how do we know what we know? Well, that is something I had to discover for myself. All I am saying is that once you know that you know....take it to the next level and tell people about it. I find that when I tell people what I know, even if they don't agree with me, they can't refute something that I know.

It just seems more powerful, doesn't it? Just some random thoughts....

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Crossguard Who Waves and Says 'Good Morning'

Every morning on my way to work, I pass by 3 school zones. I don't mind going this way and slowing down 3 times, because there is this one crossing guard who waves and says good morning to every car that passes. I look forward to seeing him every morning! He doesn't have to do that, but every time I pass he points at my car (not just mine, but everyone's), waves and says good morning, talks to students on their way to school and makes sure that everyone gets across the road safely.

I admire this man and wonder if he knows how much it means to me to see his smiling face early in the morning. I miss the days that school isn't in session, because then I don't get to see him! I have also noticed that people love being around him! When I look in my rear view mirror to see how this greeting is received, almost everyone who passes him waves and smiles back. It is as if for one moment, people forget that they are these harsh, lean-mean-driving machines!

I can't help but appreciate all those people that are waving and smiling at me right now. I have been a downer (which I planned on being), but I can't help but think how lucky I am to have friends and family that have been completely there for me this whole week. Probably one of the most challenging weeks of my life, everyone has truly understood what I am going through.

It seems as if we have all been there before. It may not be the same circumstance, but everyone has their moments of losing someone they love, having a future that is one thing one moment and something else the next, moving forward with faith only to have dissapointed hopes about the outcome, or facing weaknesses only to make them stronger.

I was reading this book my brother bought me called "How to be Totally Miserable," by Jon Bytheway. I was rolling when I read some of the parts and thought I would share some fun quotes:

"The miserable think that what they have is never enough. Like the Little Mermaid, who owned no fewer than twenty thingamabobs, they say 'But who cares, no big deal, I want more.' (How could you be miserable with twenty thingamabobs?) The miserable say, 'If only I had one of those, I'd be happy.' "

"The Imagi-Nation is a little country in your head. When you're young, you go there to play. When you get older, you go there to plan. But the miserable use the Imagi-Nation for only one thing - they go there to worry. Worrywarts are mountains on the relief map of the Imagi-Nation. The miserable listen to their doubts more than their faith. To remain miserable, you must visit the Imagi-Nation only to worry. You mustn't go there to dream, ponder or play. Using your imagination to worry will also ensure that you remain alone-no one wants to be around a worrywart, because worrywarts are contagious."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lyrics of the Heart

Yes, this is a part of the music mix of my life.

I have modified some parts....

See the Sun-Dido

I'm comin' 'round to open the blinds
You can't hide here any longer
You need to rinse those puffy eyes
You can't last here any longer

And yes they'll ask you where you've been
And you'll have to tell them again and again

And you probably don't want to hear tomorrow's another day
Well I promise you you'll see the sun again
And you're asking me why pain's the only way to happiness
And I promise you you'll see the sun again

Come on take my hand
We're going for a walk, I know you can
You can wear anything as long as it's not black
Please don't mourn forever
He's not coming back

And yes they'll ask you where you've been
And you'll have to tell them again and again

And you probably don't want to hear tomorrow's another day
Well I promise you you'll see the sun again
And you're asking me why pain's the only way to happiness
And I promise you you'll see the sun again
And I promise you you'll see the sun again

Do you remember telling me you found the sweetest thing of all
You said one day this was worth dying for
So be thankful you knew him at all
But it's no more

And you probably don't want to hear tomorrow's another day
Well I promise you you'll see the sun again
And you're asking me why pain's the only way to happiness
And I promise you you'll see the sun again

Here are some more things I have been thinking about on this crazy journey of life:

Facing the Future with Hope

by Lowell M. Snow

"When we left our premortal home to come to earth, I suspect that our greatest fear was falling. Although we were glorious beings in heavenly surroundings, our Father desired more for us. He wanted us to gain a physical body, the experiences that go with it, and the opportunity to progress toward eternal perfection. When the great plan of the eternal God (see Alma 34:9) presented us with an opportunity to obtain a body and test our spirits under new and extreme conditions, we no doubt looked forward to our possibilities on earth (see Job 38:7). But I suspect we may have had some uncertainty about the consequences of the required fall.

But our loving Father has reassured us that His “great plan of happiness” (Alma 42:8) was founded on faith, not on fear of failure. It is a plan of mercy, a plan of redemption, a plan of restoration, a plan of salvation, and a plan of deliverance (see Alma 41:2; 42:5, 13–15)."

Look Forward to the Future with Optimism

by Jack H Goaslind

"Even in our darkest abyss, we can find hope in the inner light from the Lord. In a world with an increasing number of trials and challenges, things can look dark and stormy from a certain perspective, dampening our mood and outlook."

Brightness of Hope
by Neal A. Maxwell

"Significantly, those who look forward to a next and better world are usually “anxiously engaged” in improving this one, for they “always abound in good works” (D&C 58:27; Alma 7:24). Thus, real hope is much more than wishful musing. It stiffens, not slackens, the spiritual spine. It is composed, not giddy, eager without being naive, and pleasantly steady without being smug. Hope is realistic anticipation taking the form of determination—a determination not merely to survive but to “endure … well” to the end (D&C 121:8).

Hope helps us to walk by faith, not by sight. This can actually be safer. When unaided spiritually, natural sight often shrinks from the odds (see 2 Cor. 5:7). It is immobilized by improbabilities. Mauled by his moods and intimidated by his fears, the natural man overreacts to, while hope overrides, the disappointments of the day."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Looking at myself through a magnifying glass

I am struggling with what my future holds. One day, I had a glimpse into an incredible future and the next day, everything I had imagined, dreamed and hoped for was completely gone. I prayed and sought uplifting and inspiring words from friends, family, prophets, God....and realized that I just needed to be present with my feelings. It is ok to mourn. It is ok to wail. It is ok to cry. I don't know why I thought I couldn't.

Now, I can say "Oh, this is the feeling I am having. Ok, so now that I realize it, I will live it for a time, and then I will leave it behind me." That is what I am doing. I am present with what I feel and I am ok with that. Some people call it, 'getting in touch with your emotions.' Oh, I am so in touch with might seem scary to other people who don't understand. It is nice to know that I am being real with myself though, you know?

So, as I have been contemplating what my new future can hold, a world of possibilities have flooded my mind. Too much to write....

I then began reading over my blog - things that I posted last year when I first started this epic adventure of sharing thoughts, desires, feelings...and this is an excerpt from an article I wrote last March:

I hope that in each of us there is a hope that light exists past the darkness. Sometimes, we can stumble around to find the switch, but other times we have to rely on what we know in order to keep walking, trusting that if we rely on those other sources of light and in the destination, that we will see why that part of the trail - or period of time - was dark for us.

Is it dark because our faith is being tested? Do we have enough faith to get where we want to be? Do we have enough hope that there is light on the other side of the darkness - the darkness not being evil, but the darkness being the unknown?

So, is it safe to say that sometimes stepping out into the darkness is necessary for us to progress on the trail of life? I feel that darkness (or the unknown) is overcome when we decide to step in the direction we know and feel is right - the direction we know holds the ultimate light source.

During this time, perhaps I need to go with what I do know. I know that there is light beyond the darkness. I know that I can't keep thinking 'someday I will be happy' or 'when I am married, I will be happy' or 'when I have kids, I will be happy.' No, I can't do that. BUT, I can hope for it, pray for it...but as far as longing for it....I can't do that any more.

I have the choice to be happy now. I have the choice to be real with myself and realize that I am not going to be happy all the time, but that doesn't mean I am not going to try my hardest. Ask me today how I am doing and I will say I am choosing not to be happy....but come next week, I will choose differently. And the Lord makes that available for me....He always does.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Faith in healing

Things I have been thinking about lately.

"By showing our faith through tribulation, we assure them that the fury of the adversary is not fatal. Jesus prayed to His Father on our behalf: "Not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." That prayer will be answered in Heavenly Father's time and season, according to our faith." Robert D. Hales.
Faith Through Tribulation Brings Peace and Joy. April General Conference 2003.

"Even if you exercise your strongest faith, God will not always reward you immediately according to your desires. Rather, God will respond with what in His eternal plan is best for you. He loves you to a depth and completeness you cannot conceive of in your mortal state. Indeed were you to know His entire plan, you would never ask for that which is contrary to it even though your feelings tempt you to do so. Sincere faith gives understanding and strength to accept the will of our Heavenly Father when it differs from our own. We can accept His will with peace and assurance, confident that His infinite wisdom surpasses our own ability to comprehend fully His plan as it unfolds a piece at a time." Richard G. Scott. The Sustaining Power of Faith in Times of Uncertainty and Testing. April General Conference 2003.

"Often when we pray for help with a significant matter, Heavenly Father will give us gentle promptings that require us to think, exercise faith, work, at times struggle, then act. It is a step-by-step process that enables us to discern inspired answers.

I have discovered that what sometimes seems an impenetrable barrier to communication is a giant step to be taken in trust. Seldom will you receive a complete response all at once. It will come a piece at a time, in packets, so that you will grow in capacity. As each piece is followed in faith, you will be led to other portions until you have the whole answer. That pattern requires you to exercise faith in our Father's capacity to respond. While sometimes it's very hard, it results in significant personal growth."

"It is so hard when sincere prayer about something you desire very much is not answered the way you want. It is difficult to understand why your exercise of deep and sincere faith from an obedient life does not grant the desired result. The Savior taught, "Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name it shall be given unto you, that is expedient for you." At times it is difficult to recognize what is best or expedient for you over time. Your life will be easier when you accept that what God does in your life is for your eternal good." Richard G. Scott. Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer. April General Conference 2007.

"In the eyes and hearts of many people in the world today, there is evidence of doubt, fear, and hopelessness. Much of the insecurity in the world has filtered into our homes and personal lives. No matter what our age or circumstance, we all have a need to know that we have power in the present and hope in the future.

Among the supernal promises of coming forth in the morning of the First Resurrection and inheriting "thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers" are the additional promises of "all heights and depths" (D&C 132:19). The great plan of happiness includes a proverbial roller coaster of challenging times along with the most joyful times. Yes, we all have our moments of difficulty and heartbreak. Occasionally, they are so difficult for us that we just want to give up. There are times when our steps are unsteady, when we feel discouraged and even reach out in desperation.

Elder Holland reminds us that the "symbol of the cup that cannot pass is a cup that comes in our life as well as in [the Savior's]. It is in a much lesser way, to a much lesser degree, but it comes often enough to teach us that we have to obey" (Trusting Jesus [2003], 42).

Every one of us needs to know that we can go on in the strength of the Lord. We can put our hand in His, and we will feel His sustaining presence lift us to heights unattainable alone.

In like manner, the Savior has stretched forth His hand to each of us so that we don't have to run alone. "To those [of us] who [occasionally] stagger or stumble, He is there to steady and strengthen" (Trusting Jesus, 43). As we advance toward the finish line, He will be there to save us; and for all this He gave His life.

Imagine the wounds in His hands. His weathered hands, yes, even His hands of torn flesh and physical sacrifice, give our own hands greater power and direction.

It is the wounded Christ who leads us through our moments of difficulty. It is He who bears us up when we need more air to breathe or direction to follow or even more courage to continue." W. Craig Zwick. The Lord Thy God Will Hold Thy Hand. October General Conference 2003.

One more. I have been humbled....this is about dating....

Monday, February 4, 2008

Technical Difficulties

For those of you looking for the links to the talks I listed sorry, I am experiencing technical difficulties and don't know why. If you go the the link provided, that should take you to a better documented page.

Sorry about that.....

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Many Inspirational Talks of President Gordon B. Hinckley

Thank you Russell for putting this together!!

Everyone, below I have pasted all of President Gordon B. Hinckley's talks.

If you would like to know how to post these references to your blog, please visit Russell Page's online blog for instructions. I am not that technically savvy...all I had to do was follow the instructions provided and viola.

April 1995

October 1995 April 1996 October 1996 April 1997
October 1997 April 1998 October 1998 April 1999 October 1999 April 2000 October 2000 April 2001 October 2001 April 2002 October 2002 April 2003 October 2003 April 2004 October 2004 April 2005 October 2005 April 2006 October 2006 April 2007 177th Semiannual General Conference, October 2007 Links compiled by All Gordon B Hinckley General Conference Addresses/Talks