Finding Our Unique Purpose

How to Find Your Unique Purpose

If you were a body part, which would you be?

Maybe you would be the:

  • Mouth because you like to talk
  • Foot because you like to move
  • Eye because you like pretty things

Think for a moment, because sometimes we feel boxed, defined, and even trapped by who we are–or who people think we are.

So . . . what do you do?

Check out the full post here:…/finding-our-unique-purpose/

(Based on a presentation I did for Bloomfield Hills and Westland’s Stake Relief Societies.)


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MBM: 5 Reasons to Get (or Not Get) Your MFA by Sarah Belliston

March Book Madness hosted by Rebecca Belliston

Welcome to the second day of March Book Madness! (For a complete schedule and explanation, see below this post.)

Today I have my wonderful sister-in-law, critique partner, and friend, Sarah Belliston as a guest presenter. Sarah was one of the first people who read my first manuscript, the first to give me encouragement in writing. Seven years later, her input and suggestions on my writing are invaluable. Plus, she puts up with me in so many ways.

I love her.

Sarah has written several novels and stories and she’s a regular contributor on She graduated from BYU with a degree in English, and she was recently accepted into an MFA program in Kansas. I’m very excited for her–and me, since I plan to live vicariously through her. :)

So here she is.

5 Reasons To Get Your MFA by Sarah Belliston

5 Reasons to Get (or Not Get) Your MFA by Sarah Belliston

The decision whether or not to get a Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a big one. I have helpfully given you 5 reasons to get one, and, not so helpfully, 5 reasons NOT to get one.

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Prioritizing: It’s As Simple As Rocks and Sand



I’ve been hit and miss on the internet recently. I’ve been hit and miss with writing, too.

Here’s why…

I love those kiddos. Every last one of them. BOY, GIRL, BOY, GIRL, BOY. Ranging from 16 to 4. That’s my five kids. 


They are my life. (Oh, and my hubby is my life, too. I can’t forget him. ;)  )


Recently, I gave a lesson to some teens that was as much for me as for them. 

It goes like this:

We have a thousand things vying for our time each day; things that can be categorized into three groups:


  1. Important things.
  2. Semi-important things.
  3. Not-so-important-but-kinda-fun things...


The important things in our life are like rocks.


The semi-important things are like pebbles.


The not-so-important-but-kinda-fun things are like sand.


But our day only has so much room.

Like a bottle.

Once it’s filled, it’s filled.

Though we know what’s important to us,

we often throw things into our jar in the wrong order.

The not-so-important-but-kinda-fun things consume half our day,

and suddenly we can’t make it all fit.


“I don’t have time!”


But if we put the most important things in first,

schedule family, spirituality, or whatever matters most to us first,

we find time for things we used to “not have the time for.”


The guilt dies.

The happiness grows.


(ie: Writing books and interacting with great people on facebook, twitter, and my blog are what I do when my kids, my family, and my priorities don’t need me. NOT VICE VERSA.)

And the best part is,

when we put first things first,

suddenly we realize we can make the other stuff fit, too. 

At worst, we might lose a few grains of sand, but really,

who misses those lost seconds on facebook watching other people live their lives?

If you’re living yours, you won’t.


So sit down.

Make a list.

Prioritize your life.

Then schedule your days and weeks accordingly.



Coming from someone who spent a summer putting the rocks in first…(literally)…

…I promise you’ll be happier for it.


What do you do to put first things first? Any tricks you’ve learned through the years?

Share your thoughts and comments here.


Choose to Have a Good Day!


My daughter was telling me this morning that the announcements came to her class last Friday. I asked her what that meant and she explained, “We got to lead the Pledge of Allegiance for the whole school. Then we said, ‘Choose to have a good day’ right after.” 

Choose? Surprised, I looked at her and said, “That was a nice thing to add.” 

She said, “We say that every day after the Pledge.”

Maybe my daughter has told me this little ritual about her new school before, but for some reason it stuck with me today. 

“Choose to have a good day” 

Not “Have a good day,” or “I hope you have a good day,” which are two phrases I use often as my kids rush out the door.

Her school doesn’t even say, “Try your very hardest to have a good day and chances are, you will.” But they use the simple word, “choose,” and they use it each and every day.

Interestingly enough, I taught a lesson yesterday in my church about this very thing. I teach an adult class on the Book of Mormon every Sunday (Gospel Doctrine)–which I love–and yesterday’s lesson was about a young man named Nephi.

Nephi was the fourth son of a prophet who lived in Jerusalem around 600BC. This prophet, Lehi, was told by the Lord that his family must leave their home, their beds, their gold and food, and travel into the desert. Nephi’s older brother’s weren’t too keen on this. In fact, they complained quite regularly throughout the journey. In all fairness, their travels were under extreme conditions–think Saudi Arabia in mid-July without any modern-day conveniences. They’d probably never lived out of a tent before. Probably never walked that far in their life. There wasn’t much fresh water or shade. There wasn’t a Delta Airlines flight to take them where they needed to go. There wasn’t even a Taco Bell around the corner when they ran out of food. So when Nephi’s bow broke–their only source of food–the complaining went hog-wild (without the hog). 

I tried to picture myself in the heat of a desert, without food, watching not just myself, but my entire family including my little kids starving.

Quite frankly, I would have been in the front of the line at the complaint department.

Even the prophet Lehi was dragged into the murmuring. But not Nephi, good old Nephi. He had this attitude that the Lord commanded them to leave, so they might as well make the best of it. He went out, found some wood (in the middle of a desert) and made his own bow and arrow. All without complaint. Needless to say, he came back with enough food to save his entire family, including all the complainers.

In short, he chose to have a good day. 

Too often I get sucked into the popular and all-too-easy notion that things are forcing me to behave a certain way. I didn’t get enough sleep so I’m going to be grumpy today. The kids are fighting so I have to yell back. Yeah. Not cool. But what makes this extremely uncool is that my attitude affects the entire family. My husband might be grumpy, or one of the kids, and the rest of us get along just fine. But if Mom’s grumpy? Forget it. The domino effect takes all of 10 seconds and suddenly the whole family is grouching at each other. It’s horrible, but it’s my reality. It all starts with me. 


I’ve set the goal for this week at least, that I will CHOOSE to have a good day each and every day. It’s a choice. It’s a choice. It’s a choice. Maybe if I tell myself enough times (and put it in writing), it will stick. Like I taught yesterday, attitude changes actions and I’m ready to change some of mine. I’m hoping that if I have a good attitude, not only will I choose to have a good day, but I’ll find a way to actually MAKE it a good day. Or as my friend likes to tell me, “Fake it ’til you make it.”

One of the most inspiring stories of this kind of attitude is Viktor Frankl, a well-known Holocaust survivor. His pregnant wife was taken and killed by the Nazis. His parents, too. Even his brothers. Viktor was stripped of his clothing, his pride, and everything in the world that mattered, yet he chose to remain positive in those concentration camps, which in turn ended up saving his life. He lived to be 92 and spoke often of his experiences. If you don’t know who he is, google him or look him up in your local library. His life is truly inspiring.

One of his most profound quotes is this: 

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the
human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of
circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” 

So today and tomorrow and the next day, I’m going to choose to have a good day.

Attitude changes actions

Anyone else with me? Fake it ’til you make it?

Happy 400th!

When I get online every day, my homepage pops up, which has a quick list of news articles from around the world. Most days I ignore these articles, but today one caught my interest:

King James Bible: Queen marks 400th anniversary.”

My first thought was, why on earth would Queen Elizabeth be celebrating the anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible? And even beyond, why the heck did the liberal media care?
Sometimes I’m really slow. 
Before that, I should mention that I’ve been aware that this year marks the 400th anniversary of the KJV for some time now. I teach an adult Sunday School class in my congregation where we have spent the entire year (to my utter delight) studying the New Testament out of the KJV. My church, the LDS/Mormon Church has asked that all English speaking members use the KJV. So I have grown up with it. To say that I love teaching out of the KJV would be a gross understatement. I eat up every moment of it. It’s been so awesome and I’ve learned so much just this year!
So I’ve been interested in any articles talking about the 400th anniversary of this incredible book. With that, I saw earlier this year that BYU had produced an awesome documentary (no, that is not an oxymoron) that is entitled “Fires of Faith.” It is a three-part documentary going through how the King James Version came to be in 1611. You can check it out here. It is very, very well done and informative. I had no idea how much controversy was involved, or how grateful we should be to have this beautiful translation of God’s word.
But even with all this, I still couldn’t figure out what the Queen of England had to do with anything.
Again, I’m really…really…slow sometimes.
It finally hit me that this is the anniversary of the KING James Version of the Bible, as in King James I, King of England in 1611. As King of England, James I was also the head of the Church of England, and sanctioned this particular translation.
Okay, so that explained why the British Monarch, namely Elizabeth, would want to celebrate. But still, front page news?
Then I remembered that British Monarchy isn’t like our US Presidency. You aren’t elected into it, you are born into it. Or in other words:
Queen Elizabeth II is King James’ great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great granddaughter. (That’s nine greats if you’re counting.) Of all the people in the world to help celebrate, surely she should be one of them. How would you like having your ninth great-grandpa’s name on your Bible? Cool, eh?
I also got to thinking today about how less than a decade after this translation was finished, the first permanent settlers sailed for America. Only 9 years later! That can’t be a coincidence. Especially considering how much of Colonial America was shaped by the Bible. The article above even points out how much of today’s English is influenced by the language of the KJV.
Another thing I learned (can you tell I’m excited?) is that it took 54 scholars to create the KJV. I knew it was a lot, but didn’t know it was that many. Not only that, but those scholars were contemporaries with William Shakespeare who died in 1616. In fact, they could have just walked across the field and asked, “Hey Shakespeare, what do you think of this particular passage?” or more accurately, “Pray tell, Sir William, what dost thou thinkest of said passage below?” Which explains why, at times, reading the KJV feels like you’re reading Shakespeare.
And yes, I agree–partially–with people who say that the King James language can be very cumbersome and difficult to understand. It can, but it is also absolutely, positively beautiful. And well worth it, in my opinion!
For example, in most new English translations of the Bible, the common phrase is rendered “Faith, Hope, and Love.” And yet in the King James Version it says “Faith, Hope, and Charity.” What is the difference between love and charity, you may ask? Well, charity isn’t just any love, it is defined as “The Pure Love of Christ,” which is something far greater than just love.
Apply that to an excerpt of Paul’s great sermon in 1 Corinthians 13. I’ve listed just a few verses side by side to show a quick comparison. The NIV, a popular version of the Bible today, is on the left, while the traditional KJV on the right.  Note the difference in language.
And if you go back and substitute “The Pure Love of Christ” in place of every use of the word “Charity,” the language becomes even more powerful.
“And though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not (the pure love of Christ), I AM NOTHING…Now abideth faith, hope, and charity (which is the pure love of Christ), these three; but the greatest of these is charity…Follow after charity (the pure love of Christ).”
So yes, the KJV can be a bit cumbersome and confusing at times, but it is also incredibly, amazingly beautiful. And poetic. I think it is well worth the effort! But even beyond, I think the King James Version of the Bible has shaped our society, our language, and the history of America more than we will ever know.
Happy 400th KJV!