Lessons from Death Row

What is the difference between a violent murderer on death row and me, or any other law-abiding citizen for that matter? Some of the characteristics most murderers have in common include dysfunctional families, absent dads, being loners with few social connections, and suffering from childhood abuse. While those traits tug at my sympathies, they never excuse or fully explain brutal crimes that take innocent lives.  But a recent glimpse into the mind and soul of a notorious killer in Utah … [Read more...]

Give Me Some Attitude

A couple of weeks ago I taught a lesson to teenage girls about improving their attitudes at home.   When I told them the topic of the lesson, I saw them subtly but noticeably fold in the middle, giving me the teenage attitude slump that said, “This is the last thing I want to discuss.”   Then I rephrased the topic and called it,“10 Ways to Control Your Parents or at Least Melt Their Hearts.” Then, they became curious.   Girls and attitudes must go together just … [Read more...]

Things you don’t say…

My oldest daughter just turned 21 years old. She is home for the summer working to bulk up her bank account after draining it with a semester abroad in London with side trips all around Europe. (Oh, to casually say, “When I lived in Europe…”) I’ve noticed a new maturity about her since she came home.  Some are small things like how she makes her bed, whips up masterpiece desserts in the kitchen, and actually seems to enjoy being a mentor for her younger sister. There are the big things … [Read more...]

Things Have a Way of Working Out

I remember the day I heard former LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley say, “ Things have a way of working out.” It reminded me of my favorite quote, “Everything will be okay in the end.  If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” Isn’t that the essence of faith? I recently spent a week in Utah with my family and had proof that President Hinckley was right. My proof was undeniable, irrefutable, gorgeous, and soul satisfying. Sometimes we get stuck in life’s dark tunnels and have to grope our way … [Read more...]

Hard Hearted Hannah

Growing up, my mom called me Hard Hearted Hannah because I rarely cried. I still don't cry very often, at least tears of sadness. I cry at happy things. I get choking sobs stuck in my chest and then in my throat over the silliest things. Proud mom moments bring them on regularly. When Annie was about eight years old, I remember watching her race down the soccer field toward the goal with her blonde pony tail flying in the wind behind her. (Her coach used to say, "Take it for a ride, right … [Read more...]