Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Project Notebooks, details coming soon!

So I've developed a system for writing that works really well for me. I even have a snazzy power point that I've developed to use for presentations. I've given it once, and will tweak it a bit for the teen conference coming up in a couple of weeks.

I basically put together a notebook for each new project I'm working on, and it becomes my bible until the book is finished. When it's done, it's kind of like a cool journal and a good reference to look back on, if needed. It's taken me a long time to figure out what works for me, and everybody's different so my system won't work exactly for someone else, but bits and pieces of it may.

After the teen conference on June 5, I'll post details about exactly what I put in my notebooks and you can see if there are pieces of it that will work for you.

And now, a teaser: I just made the most awesome project notebook for my current work-in-progress! Think all things Greek. :-)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Heather Moore's Women of the Book of Mormon

It's an honor to review this book, not only because I enjoyed reading it, but I've already quoted from it in presentations and lessons. This book is a collection of 12 chapters on the women who are mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Here are some of the highlights that I appreciated:

* Heather is a reliable source on the history of the Book of Mormon, not only scripturally but from a historical standpoint as well. She delves into the customs of the day, presents viable scenarios and situations that likely occurred for these women of whom so little is written.

* The book is meticulously documented in quotations/source material. Very well done.

* Heather does not throw criticism upon the customs of the day, even subtly. She is a good example of a non-judgmental historian who looks back on flawed societies and recognizes that it was what it was. She doesn't allow modern sensibilities to cast aspersions on situations that a contemporary reader might find frustrating.

* Alternatively, the author is still willing to give a "fallen" woman the benefit of the doubt, or at least a sense of compassion. Speaking of Isabel, the harlot mentioned in Alma 39:3, she says, "What desperation and misery drove a woman to the life of a harlot? Perhaps there was little or no choice in the sense that Isabel may have been born or sold into this diabolical practice."

* Eve is mentioned in the Book of Mormon, and as such receives a chapter of her own in this book. The analysis is a beautiful tribute to our first mother, and ties the Book of Mormon to the Bible in a significant and complete way.

* Practical application. In reference to the story of the Queen of King Lamoni's Father, the author says, "In our lives, by delaying our emotional reactions and waiting for all of the facts to come in, we might discover that we had viewed the situation wrong from the beginning. When we wait, pause, or even turn to prayer for guidance and direction, we find that the correct response will often make itself manifest." Each chapter has words of wisdom that tie the scriptural account to an application to modern life.

* The presentation of the book itself is absolutely beautiful. The narrative is coupled with stunning paintings by a variety of artists.

As I mentioned, I've already quoted from this book in a presentation at a women's conference in Idaho and in my calling as Gospel Doctrine teacher. I love that Heather is a contemporary of mine, that she's a woman and is so well-read. She's an amazingly talented writer and storyteller, and this first nonfiction effort on her part is extremely well done. As a fellow author of historical fiction, I appreciate the efforts that have gone into the research used not only in her Book of Mormon novels, but in this book as well.

This book makes a wonderful gift for not only women, but men, too! I highly recommend it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Observations from 13.1 miles

So I just ran my first half marathon. I observed some things along the way.

1. I should have gone ahead and used the porta-potty after crossing the start line. It seemed so prosaic, though, to enter a green outhouse just after beginning my first-ever race.

2. I think I managed to stay ahead of the three octogenarians with the walking sticks.

3. Vanilla Bean Gu, while not necessarily tasty, did not make me vomit. In fact, just as I was to the point where I was thinking I needed to eat something, there it was in the hands of an angelic volunteer like a beacon in the night. Oh good, come to me you gelatinous packet of crap.

4. Vanilla Bean Gu contains caffeine, which I suspect helped stave of the headache I usually get if I haven't had a vat of Diet Coke by about 8:30 a.m.

5. There are many different sizes and shapes of butts. At first, I confess I was mildly concerned about how I looked from the back as people passed me. By mile 11.5, I didn't care what they were looking at.

6. My son drew a happy face on my hand to help me think of him while I was running. Unfortunately, every time I looked at the happy face, I remembered a conversation he had with my daughter when we drove the course the week before:
Anna: I know, Mom. I'll get my bike and hide halfway down the canyon. Then I can join you.
Gunder: I have a better idea, Mom. Stay home.

7. Freddie Mercury makes a wonderful running companion. Were he not dead and gay (and I not married) I might just pursue him.

8. Mark was right--there were people wearing garbage bags for warmth. My guffawing father and I owe him an apology.

9. By the finish line, my fingers were the size and shape of Johnsonville Brats. We could have cut them off and had a bbq.

10. It may be possible, but I highly doubt there's a more beautiful course anywhere.

11. Grant Avenue stretches out in some funky twilight zone fashion between 21st and the finish line at 25th. The more you run, the farther away it gets.

12. It's the most amazing feeling in the world to see familiar faces along the side and hear them cheer. And hoping you're not so tired that you look like an absolute fool.

13. Even though my sister had to not run last minute because of a migraine, I still kept her close by wearing her jersey instead of mine. Plus, hers was a small and my medium was too big.

14. Roughly 140 people in my age group finished ahead of me, yet my husband made such a fuss over me that I felt like I'd beaten everyone, even the tight-muscled Vitruvian man-looking full marathoners that passed me halfway down the canyon.

15. I love my husband.

16. My dad and sister and three kids were at the finish line. It was overwhelming and awesome.

17. I have a medal now!

18. My brother-in-law and high school buddy just ran the full Salt Lake marathon in the same time it took me to go half that distance. I totally don't know where I was going with this and am getting depressed. Next!

19. I loved every single minute of this experience. Absolutely loved it. I ran/walked thirteen miles of my favorite spot on earth. It was divine and wonderful and so much fun. My wholehearted thanks to Catina, who talked to me about doing it, and my husband who overheard and then gave me the paid registration for Christmas in a new pair of running shoes.

20. Please, please bless that when I'm an octogenarian I'll have the wherewithal and physical ability to be doing a half marathon with walking sticks.