Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2019

Phone Safety

Norm & Kristina Nelson (Editor's note: usually I write a mess of words and then ask Norm to clean it up and edit it for publication.  This topic is important enough to both of us that we wrote it together.) On social media lately, I've had at least five friends ask for phone advice. Their kids are about the same age as mine, usually with the oldest entering middle school.  They're debating if it's time to get a smartphone."What do you do when you give your kid a phone?" or "What rules do you have in place?" or "What works for your family?" These are great questions. Here are a handful of things we've discovered through trial and error during recent years, and from asking our friends the same questions. First let's talk about kids who don't have phones: This is Amber "playing" on her pretend phone, which is actually an old Palm Pilot.  Remember those? Also notice her stash of paper, tape, markers, etc. She&

Yertle the Turtle

Yertle the Turtle by Dr Seuss This book has three gems inside, and my favorite is  Gertrude McFuzz. I love Gertrude McFuzz! Gertrude is a girl-bird with one feather, who sees another girl-bird who has two feathers. In her jealousy, she consults a doctor and convinces him that she needs more tail feathers. He tells her where to find a pill-berry bush and she starts eating.  When she has two feathers she decides that three would be even better.  Long story short: she eats enough pill berries to sprout dozens of feathers, which are so heavy that she loses her ability to fly. Her friends come to help her: "To lift Gertrude up almost broke all their beaks And to fly her back home, it took almost two weeks. And then it took almost another week more To pull out those feathers. My! Gertrude was sore! And, finally, when all of the pulling was done, Gertrude, behind her, again had just one... That one little feather she had as a starter, But now that's enough, because

Fanny's Dream

Fanny's Dream By Caralyn Buehner Pictures by Mark Buehner I love this story. In a generation where princess stories are the main staple for little girls, Fanny Agnes is a sturdy girl from a wild Wyoming town. She wants to go to the ball but ultimately realizes that life is great without it. She wishes for a fairy godmother, but when that doesn't happen, she chooses to marry and have a family.  Life is hard, and at one point their son Davie sticks his socks in the toaster and the house burns down. She and her husband Heber rebuild. It's a metaphor for real life, not for the fantasy fairy tale where people get married and ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. (spoiler alert: I especially like the ending where a fairy godmother finally appears and gives her the option to choose a fancy life, and Fanny chooses to keep her family and keep working hard with her husband and children.)

Meek Warhorse

Norm's last church talk/sermon in Utah before moving to Texas July 2018, Lehi UT, Traverse Mountain 8th Ward Hello brothers and sisters, it’s my privilege to speak to you today.  I guess this is our good-bye address even though we haven’t moved yet, which I’m taking as a personal sign that the bishopric can’t wait for the next family to move in.  (that was a joke, guys) In my remarks today, I’m going to cover an alternative definition of meekness that really struck a chord with me.  Once I’ve introduced this idea, I’m going to share my supporting argument for meekness as a strength, and then I’m going to talk about how I believe we can develop this form of meekness in our lives. As Kristy told you, our topic is “being meek and lowly of heart” which, in the terms I normally think of meekness or lowliness, is a subject that does not come naturally to me.  I am not naturally what I consider to be meek, quiet or, as Kristy would tell you, all that well behaved.  While I

Meekness in trial, Conductor metaphor, and ward choir

Kristina's last church talk/sermon in Utah before moving to Texas July 2018, Lehi UT, Traverse Mountain 8th Ward My message today is based on two great sermons.   In the April 2018 general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, Elder David A. Bednar spoke on meekness .   And in 2013, Elder Ulisses Soares, then of the Presidency of the Seventy, also gave an address titled,  Be Meek and Lowly of Heart .   Both of these talks are worth reading again, probably multiple times.   I’ll share my favorite parts of each address, as well as some of my own thoughts and experiences. I’ve also spent some time thinking about the songs in the hymnbook that teach about humility, reverence, a broken heart, or being meek and submissive.   My remarks are specifically based on the line from Hymn #131 More Holiness Give Me , where the author Philip Paul Bliss says, “more meekness in trial, more praise for relief.”   Whenever I find a song where the composer wrote both