Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Contest with author Laura Bingham!

Visit Laura Bingham's blog and enter her contest with tons of cool prizes (mostly books, yay)!

I loved reading Laura's first book, Alvor and can't wait until NEXT month when her long awaited sequel, Wings of Light, comes out. Twins Erin and Bain have become ELVES and continue their quest to find their mother.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Little Women, The Opera

I went to the opera last night with my husband and 3 of our 4 little women. (The 15 year old really, really didn't want to dress up and listen to people singing all night.) It was better and worse than I expected.

They started with Laurie coming back from France married to Amy. Jo became upset with how things change and turned back time a few years. They didn't cover the younger years but picked up where John Brooks has taken Meg's glove and will soon propose to her.

First favorite, the way Mr. Brooks was portrayed was great. He became almost a romantic figure instead of the awkward, half developed character I never liked in the book. He was never really a problem in the book--I just never liked him much. In the opera he sings a sweet little love song and captures Meg's heart.

I also liked the insight into the relationship between Jo and her Aunt March. There's not much time spent on it but there is a well defined connection that makes sense when Aunt March leaves Jo Plumfield.

Negatives, they left out two of the best lines in the book. First, the one where Beth is dying and says she gets to be the brave one for once and go first, and second, Mr. Behr's proposal.

Also, confession, I didn't love the music. It was fine, and probably wonderfully modern, and there were parts I enjoyed, but I really would have liked to come away with some tune in my head I could hum. (Sorry for the run on sentence, that's how I think.) It was moving and did a great job evoking emotions--which is the point I think, but a couple of memorable melodies would have been great.

Grades from the kiddos:
18 year old-enjoyed it
12 year old-okay
11 year old-wished she hadn't come (but I'm glad she did)
I very much enjoyed it and so did my husband.

Hmm, maybe I like the opera. Who knew?

Secret Sisters

"Ida Mae Babbitt didn't know what kind of cookie to serve with bad news."

With an opening line like that you know it's going to be great--and Tristi Pinkston doesn't disappoint. I LOVED this hilarious book. Here's the blurb from the back:

Ida Mae Babbitt, president of the Omni 2nd Ward Relief Society, didn't mean to become a spy. But when visiting teaching stats are low,andshe learns that one family under her care is in financial trouble, she'll do whatever it takes to make sure they have what they need. If that includes planting surveillance cameras in their home and watching them from a parked car in the woods . . . well, isn't that what any caring Relief Society president would do?

With the help of her counselors, Arlette and Tansy, Ida Mae soon learns that there's more to the situation than meets the eye.

But it's all in a day's work for the Relief Society.

The zany antics of this well-meaning grandmotherly wanna-be detective keep the story moving as Ida Mae works to uncover what's going on at the Dunn's house. She's helped along the way by her nephew and her two counselors. There are also other important happenings in town and Ida Mae's got her work cut out for her trying to keep everything organized and everyone fed.

This is a great read.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Open Letter to My Daughter

Dear Sam,

You’re off to spend a fun, exciting week at Jr. Miss.

I am proud of you, I love you, I miss you . . . and I worry about you. To be honest, I worry about all of the girls there. How will you/they come away from your week? There are not enough prizes to go around; some will walk away with nothing. What would that do to you—to walk away with nothing after all your hard work and time spent? What will that say about you, to you?

Here’s what I hope for.

Please know that your worth is not dependant on your talents or how good you make a dress look. It is true that every girl there is talented and beautiful and beloved to her family. But the girls back home—the ones who didn’t make it to State or who never even tried—have just as much worth as each of you beautiful and talented girls. You have to understand that your importance as a human being does not depend on how you look or what you can do. It’s inherent, simply because YOU ARE.

Now don’t get me wrong, what you do with yourself, how hard you work to improve yourself and develop talents is very important. You are in the process of creating yourself and who you can be. Your hard work will create of you a masterpiece, but really, it will all be for naught if you can’t recognize the beauty inside yourself and everyone around you. It is our differences that make the tapestry of humanity so interesting and perfect.

It is one girl’s privilege to walk away as the winner at the end of the week. She will have scholarship money and many responsibilities—that each of you, no doubt, would happily accept. But 33 of you will walk away with less. Less scholarship money, less responsibility, fewer pats on the back, but hopefully not less in your feelings of self worth. I believe it is one girl’s destiny to walk that path, but for the rest of you, your path will be different. Some will walk away with nothing . . . but the memories of your great experiences and hopefully a greater appreciation of who you are and who you can become. The feelings you walk away with are entirely up to you.

Make a lot of friends, enjoy your experiences, learn to interview well and balance your life, learn to appreciate and serve those around you, and bring your changed self home to bless the lives of those around you. Enjoy this experience that few will have, and learn to see the beauty in every person, no matter what talents they have, how much money, how they look—and sometimes even how they behave.

I would say this on behalf of every mother of every girl there this week: We love you and are proud of YOU—for what you have accomplished but also for who you are. Have a GREAT week, no matter what happens at the end of it.