Friday, October 23, 2015


Yes, I work in public education, and yes, this coming week I am taking a vacation.

Perhaps I should explain.

I don't get summers off - in fact it's the peak time in the department I work in as we have numerous projects during the summer.

I don't get fall break off - we are usually finishing what didn't get done over the summer, or we are making fixes from the beginning of the school year (August) that required us to wait until the students were not in the schools to get the work done.

Now, I do have to say, I did get spring break off, so it's not like it's the only time off I've had this calendar year.

It just feels funny to know I will not be working next week.

That said, you may be asking, "where are you going?"  Staycation.  I have so much to do, so much to get done, so much that needs to get done, so many things that are driving me crazy to get done.  

Will it all get done?

Probably not, but I can make a dent, right?

Details and pics to follow.

After I've fed the cats and had some chocolate.

Yes, chocolate.

This has been one of those weeks.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Unfulfilled Expectations

This is from the Compassionate Service/Social Relations manual for the Relief Society.  The manual is no longer in print and this lesson is not on the Church's web site, so I'm manually typing it here.

Unfulfilled Expectations

"Therefore, let your hearts be comforted; for all things shall work together for good to them that walk uprightly."  (D&C 100:15)

Sisters who have some blessings withheld for a time can find peace by trusting the Lord and serving others.

Section 1:
Trusting in the Lord Brings Peace
You know the importantce of a temple marriage and long for an eternal companion, but you have had no worthy opportunity for marriage.  You have been commanded to multiply and replenish the earth, but you are childless.  Your husband is less active now than when you married him.  You desire to serve, but physical handicaps restrict you.  You and your family are in the celestial room of the temple, but some of your children are missing.

Unfulfilled expectations - we all have them.  As ppainful as these situations can be, they need not defeat us.  We can find the peace and comfort that only the Lord has to offer.  As we stretch our souls, learning to place our lives in His hands and to trust Him and His plan for us, we can find joy in our lives regardless of our circumstances.

Most of us have a vision of what our life should be - a vision that includes receiving certain opportunities and blessings.  Sister Ardeth G. Kapp, for example, as a young girl "envisioned living in a small white house with a picket fence.  I thouught I would just take care of the flowers, be active in the Church, friendly with my neighbors - and have lots of children" (quote in Karen T. Arnesen, "Ardeth Greene Kapp: A Prairie Girl, A Young Woman Still," Ensign, Sept. 1985, p.38).  For Sister Kapp the blessing of children never came just as for many of us our expectations are not fulfilled.  We may never have married; we may have been through divorce; we may have suffered infirmity or some other disappointment that has pulled us from the course we have charted.

Some of us may be troubled by certain promises in patriarchal blessings that are obviously missing in our lives, such as marriage and posterity.  President Thomse S. Monson said: "A patriarchal blessing literally contains chapters from your book of eternal possibilities.  I say eternal, for just as life is eternal, so is a patriarchal blessing.  What may not come to fulfillment in this life may occur int he next.  We do not govern God's timetable.  "For may thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

"'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts' (Isaiah 55:8-9)" (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, p.82; or Ensign Nov. 1986, p. 66).

What do we do when our life's plans are not realized?  Some, unable to have the life they desire, might become bitter or angry with the Lord and His plan.  A better choice, however, is to seek teh Lord and His guidance.  "It's the soul-rending experiences that bring us to God," Sister Kapp said.  "Trials lead you into a diligent search; they make you ask questions that only the Lord can answer.  You have to turn to Him and one day the peace comes that compensates for all the yearning" (Arnesen, "Ardeth Greene Kapp," p. 38).

The  scriptures teach us to trust the Lord, not our own understanding, as explained in Proverbs 3:5-6.  Such a trust does not come easily.  Butt it enables us to give up our expectations for our lives and accept the Lord's plan for us, a plan that will make it possible for us to return to His presence and receive all He has (see D&C 84:38).  This acceptance is not mere resignation; it is a full trust that allow us to grow in righteousness and joy in whatever path the Lord leads us along.

Patience, too, is necessary - patience with ourselves as we learn to trust, patience with others whose concern and questions sometimes deepen our pain, and patience with the Lord as we wait for him to give us the desires fo our hearts.

If the solutions to our problems were simple, we would not have to stretch our souls.  We would not have to yearn after our Father and finally learn to love and trust Him enough to give up all our doubts, knowing that "all things sall work together for good to them that walk uprightly" (D&C 100:15).

As we learn to trust in the Lord, peace will fill our hearts.  For most of us, this peace "which passeth all understanding" (Philippians 4:7) will not come all at once.  We may feel it once, then struggle to feel it again.  Or we may be in a testimony meeting and know that part of our testimony includes a knowledge that the Lord's will is being done in our lives.  We may be pondering one day and realize that it has been many months since the old pain has troubled us.  In whatever way the peace comes, we may feel confident that as we live faithfully and prayerfully, it will come, as promised in Doctrine and Covenants 59:23.

Section 2:
We Can Grow As We Learn to Reach Out to Others

As we learn to trust God, our love for Him grows.  Loving Him helps us to love others and to reach out to them even when our own unmet desires might tempt us to turn inward.  To help others in the midst of our own pain, said Elder Neal A. Maxwell, "is like the generosity of Jesus on the cross.  Empathy during agony is a portion of divinity...[So many of our sisters] do not withhold their blessings simply because some blessings are now withheld from them" (in Conference Report, Apr. 1978, p.14; or Ensign, May 1978, p. 11).

This empathy contains nothing of bitterness or martyrdom.  It is a forgetting of self that leads to reaching out to others.  But, like trust, it may not ocme without some soul stretching.  "As I look back," said Sister Kapp, "I think often that it really might have been easier to remain depressed and despondent and full of self-pity, thinking that the fact that we didn't have children wasn't our fault anyway so why should we have to go out and serve (talk given to a married students' stake at Brigham Young University, Oct. 1981).

But Sister Kapp did not give in to such feelings.  She concentrated on putting others' needs before her own.  As she did so, she discovered that while self-pity might have been eaiser, serving others was more rewarding.

Concentrating on the purpose of life rather than our own desires will help us reach out to others.  One sister said, "One day I realized that the Lord wanted me to want something in addition to marriage.  I had  spent so much time hoping for marriage that I had lost sight of the real purpose of this life - to live so as to return to our Father.  Although marriage is necessary for exaltation, faith and charity and a host of other qualities and began to work on them, my anxiety lessened.  I knew that if I remained faithful, the other blessings would come."

President Gordon B. Hinckley identified ways in which we caan serve:  "There are so many out there whose burdens you can lift.  There are the homeless, there are the hungry, there are the destitute all around us.  There are the aged who are alone in rest homes.  There are handicapped children, and youth on drugs, and the sick and the homebound who cry out for a kind word.  If you do not do it, who will?

"The best antidote I know for worry is work.  The best medicine for despair is service.  The bst cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired" ("To Single Adults", Ensign, June 1989, pp. 72-73).

To serve in this way - to reach out to others when our own arms are empty - may take more than we have to give, but it will not take more than the Lord has to give us.  He has "descended below them all" (D&C 122:8), and He can lift us up.  As we allow Him to touch our hearts, we will be more able to reach out to others, for He "comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God" (2 Corinthians 1:4).  He who gave His life for us can help us give our lives to others.

Suggestions for Teachers:

1.  Read Proverbs 3:5-6.  Ask:  Why is it sometimes difficult for us to trust the Lord in the guidance of our lives?  How can we increase our trust?
2.  You may want to ask a sister to discuss how an unfulfilled expectation has helped her learn to trust the Lord.
3.  Read Philippians 4:6-7 and Doctrine and Covenants 59:23.  Ask the sisters to share their testimonies of the peace that the Savior gives even at times when blessings are withheld.
4.  Read 2 Corinthians 1:4 and President Hinckley's statement.  Ask:  How can we gain the strength to reach out to others when all of our own needs are not met?  What blessings can result from this service?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Planners, Planners, Planners

Yes, I've made the leap into buying an actual planner.

Granted, I haven't gone whole hog on this, however I do still have my Franklin Covey planner from my pre-Decker days.  If they still sell the inserts, I might invest in that next year when I will have paid off the car loan.

Instead I picked up something that was simple and basic.  I can't handle complicated with my work schedule right now.

Instead, I got the Blue Sky Lianne planner in blue from Office Max and I'm really enjoying it, although I would really like to have accessories (like an elastic band and plastic bookmark strip).  I've made a semi-useful band out of some pretty lace border that would be used on a fancy dress.  It's not elastic, so getting it on isn't too easy, but it does in a pinch.

I'm finding all kinds of appointments and events to put in this thing, maybe it will help me to better plan for events.  This all remains to be seen, so I'll let you know.  I'll also post pictures later, once I get to one of those items on my to do list:  clearing off the dining room table - again.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Now About That Audiobook...

Picture courtesy of


This book is awesome!

Ruth Soukup is a wonderful Christian sister who, through her own life experiences has found out what the "good life" really means:  more love, more joy, more time spent doing what would make God happy and less time and money spent pursuing "things".

She uses humor throughout the book, and packs the book with information, as well as links on her web site for worksheets to use to help anyone achieve more balance in life and finances.

I would give this five stars, and highly recommend this!

iOS 8.2

This is just a warning for anyone and everyone planning on running the upgrade to iOS 8.2 on their Apple devices.  I ran it last night and found that it deleted my music, my playlists and my audiobooks.

One of which I hadn't had a chance to backup.

So I spent roughly an hour chatting with the nice guys at Apple who re-set the download on the latest audiobook.  This one was a fabulous one and I didn't want to lose it.

Needless to say, I got it back and it has now been backed up - on three different drives.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Which Side of The Road?

I guess it's because this week is Educator Appreciation Week that I am finally getting around to writing this, but it's something I've been wanting to address.

Am I an expert in education?  No.  Even my degrees are in business.

That said, however, I worked in a low income school for seven years.  There were issues with mental disorders, drugs, abuse, abandonment and even death I saw in those seven years.

Thiis is what I do know:  What has been done in past is no longer working, and for many reasons.

First:  The nature and makeup of families has changed.  We are no longer living in a "Leave It To Beaver" family existence, instead we have single parent families, we have grandparent families, we have same sex couple families, we have foster kids, adoptees and kids born out of wedlock who would have been shunned when I was a kid, now it's common place.  

We have babies having babies.  When my Mother was in high school, she married my Father the summer before her senior year.  Not  because she was pregnant, but because her family life was bad enough that my Father told my Mother he was getting her away from it.  This was in 1951 and my Mother had to attend her senior year of high school at night as the school officials were worried of what she would say regarding sex to her classmates.  They didn't have children right away given the financial circumstances they were faced with and they wanted a more secure life before they brought young ones into the world.

These days, it's not unheard of for girls to graduate high school with a child in tow, regardless of whether they are married or not, and they are attending their classes during the day.

The  bottom line is:  things have changed over the years.

Second:  We have been into a new "industrial revolution" of sorts, where there are more jobs involving a technical knowledge that hasn't been seen in quite a while.

Keep in mind, there were growing pains when wagons and the pony express were replaced with the railroad.  That was the first industrial revolution.  Now we use satelites and an internet, complete with cloud computing, to transfer items, with railroads, airplanes and trucks delivering goods.

With this is requiring a new revolution involving education.  Gone are the one room classrooms that housed multiple grade levels where everyone learned together.  Gone are the days when reading about the world in a book sufficed, and card catalogs were the only search engines.

My point is this:

If you are in the United States, which side of the road do you drive on?

, Ken. highway.jpg. 2008. Pics4Learning. 7 May 2015 <>

If you are driving in Texas and then cross the boundary into Oklahoma do you change sides of the road?  No.

Do those white dotted lines you see in the picture above change to a different color when changing states?  No.

What would happen if it did?  People would have accidents, some fatal.  People would be getting traffic citations from local police and not understand what they did wrong.

How confusing would it be for families who would take a road trip involving driving through several states?

Congratulations, you now know why there are NATIONAL STANDARDS for roads.  Does this mean that local areas have no say in the roads?

To some degree yes, but to some degree no.  States can still decide on where the local roads are located, states can also decide speed limits on federal highways.

My point here is because there are national standards involving these roads, you don't have the confusion.

Don't our children deserve the same respect?

When children move from one state to the next, it's the children who usually pay the worst penalty given that they will end up in a school that is either more advanced than their old one, or less advanced, dependent upon the states the child is moving to and from.

I saw this at the school I worked at.  Students would come to Arizona from other states and the children would be one to two grade levels below Arizona's state standards for reading and math.  The problem is, given that each state (and in some cases districts or charter schools) has their own standards for reading and math, it is difficult to determine if this was due to lower standards in the state they came from, the school was not meeting those state standards, their teachers were not meeting their state's standards, or if this was a case of "educational neglect" on the part from the parents (parents not providing for the educational needs of their children).

Why?  Because while Arizona's state education standards might call for students to drive on the right side of the road, the standards in another state might call for the students to drive on the left side of the road.  The sign posts have different meanings.  The traffic lights are in different colors.

In other words, there are no NATIONAL STANDARDS for a child's education.

Who pays the price?  Everyone.

     The child pays the price in an education that is not equal to other children the same age and grade as them in another state.

     Adults pay when those children grow up.  Those children cannot qualify for better paying jobs, so spending must be cut to pay the bills.

     Cuts in spending mean fewer jobs.

     Those children, working lower paying jobs, require more jobs or government assistance.

     Those children are not making the money required to cover the payments to Social Security needed to pay for the retirement of the Adults.

     Those children do not have the educational knowledge and tools to provide assistance with homework and meet the academic needs of their children.

In case you are wondering, there are multiple studies on this, including this one reported by the Washington Post.

What really bugs me is the bigger outcome:  a loss in better paying jobs for Americans growing up as children of poverty.

Recently there were two actions being taken that I felt were alarming.

The first was the action taken by our Federal Congress to increase the number of H1-B visas for people from other countries to obtain technology jobs here in the U.S.  If you think those jobs are for call centers, think again.

The second is the outcome:  more companies are now hopping on the bandwagon to eliminate the technology jobs of Americans and replace them with H1-B visa holders.

I'm not saying I'm against immigrants coming here to start new businesses and create new jobs in the U.S.  There is a lot to be said about the job creation coming from those immigrating to the U.S.

What I am saying is this:  Why are American children not creating the jobs and not filling the technology jobs if they are in such demand?  Part of it can be blamed on the American culture, however a part of it can also be attributed to the fact that many of these immigrants had the benefit of an education system built on NATIONAL STANDARDS.

Remember this the next time a politician spouts off about how their state's standards are better than everyone else's.

Classrooms Around The World

OECD Report for 2014

US Census Data for Educational Attainment

A few more thoughts...