By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Thinking About Writing a Book Review?

Have you ever thought about writing a book review of some of your favorite books for your blog? Or for your local newspaper? I have--the blog part at least! But I didn't feel I knew where to start or quite how to write one. For my sake and yours, I have added two new links to my sidebar, under "Writing," to help us do this. One is How to Write a Book Review and the other is Writing a Book Review. There are a number of bloggers who already write interesting book reviews, but I felt inadequate to the task and thought some of you might want some help, too. Maybe I'll eventually tackle one! Or two!

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Lessons Learned or Not

What are some lessons/skills you wish you had learned when younger or would like to learn now?

What are some lessons/skills you did learn and are very glad you did?

I wish I had been able to take piano lessons, but my brother and I did get accordian lessons so I can read music and play a keyboard. And now I have a piano and can practice.

I had Spanish classes off and on in school, but let it get rusty. Now there are more people around me that I can practice on, so I am trying to brush up my skills enough to try some conversations.

I learned lots of homemaking skills (sewing, cooking, cleaning, etc.) for which I am most thankful. I learned basic good manners and took business courses in high school. I've had a couple of computer classes (Word, Excel), but wish I knew more. Still, I can figure a lot out with the help of a friend or a book or an online site.

There are online sites that can help with cooking, sewing, computers, language, and all sorts of things. It seems like a person could at least make a start on learning these things with online lessons, books, CDs/DVDs, and then get help from a friend on occasion when hitting a snag.

I really wish I had learned to discipline my mind to think in a more orderly way. I wish they had offered Latin in high school. I wish I'd payed more attention in composition classes, learning to write essays.

I would like to learn a martial art, for the exercise and discipline as well as for self-defense. My dad taught us to shoot pistols and rifles when kids, plus I had a class in archery and riflery in college, but I would like to take lessons in all that and brush up my skills. I'm not interested in hunting particularly--I would just like to be able to handle weapons safely and do target shooting.

I'll probably think of more later! Tell me about you.


Sunday, January 08, 2006

A Few Thoughts on Current Events

Our world grows more and more complicated, with many events and trends competing for our attention and our time.

Regarding the bird flu, a possible pandemic is of great concern. From what I have heard, a vaccine cannot even be started until enough victims of human-to-human transmission exist to provide the virus form needed to prepare the vaccine. Then it would take months/years to make enough vaccine to begin vaccinating the public. One suggestion I have heard is that if every family had a minimum of 2 weeks of food/water/other necessities stored--and preferrably 4-6 weeks' worth--then if there was an outbreak, people could stay home, out of the way of infection, until it had blown over. That would be something each of us could do that would have a realistic chance of lessening the impact of the spread of bird flu. Naturally, it also reminds me that there are more uses for storing food and other necessities than just some end-of-the-world scenario and that our prophets, President Hinckley and his predecessors, are very much worth listening to.

Iraq. Views are all over the place on this topic. It is not an easy war, not a simple war. But I feel that we are doing a good thing in rescuing the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein and his sons and their ilk. There are insurgents and they are doing damage, but they are the minority. I also feel we have at least partially disrupted terrorist activity.

Education. I am not affiliated with any school or college. I am not a student. I have no husband or children to be students. One might say I am a spectator. I am greatly concerned, though, when I read that most teachers/professors are liberal/leftist/Marxist in their views and that conservative views are shut out, denounced, ignored. I thought education was meant to be a true mix of a wide variety of viewpoints. I thought education meant learning to think things through and reach our own conclusions. Are students truly being taught those things or are they being indoctrinated in leftist ideals with no acknowledgment given that there are other views, other ideals? Are students limited in what they can study and write about if they want to succeed in academia? If so, how does that foster truth? How does that open the field to all sorts of ideas in the search for solutions to problems that society faces?

Science. One likes to think that science is objective, realistic, truthful. But is the competition for grants and other funding from the government and other sources causing certain theories to be emphasized, regardless of the truth, regardless of the evidence? Is there too much outside influence dictating what science "should" find?

Politics. On both sides of the aisle, it seems there is too much political rhetoric and not enough real debate of real issues. Whenever one or the other party is involved in a scandal of some sort, the other party is often all over it, pointing fingers and saying, "See? We're better than they are!" Only the next time, the positions are reversed. I long for simple discussion of real issues, don't you? What can we do to improve society? What about economics? Education? Public health? Foreign policy? What solutions have the best chance of succeeding, never minding their political source?

What can we, as individual citizens, do? It's almost impossible to be active in all the various issues, but we could at least choose one that is near and dear to our hearts and minds and become active in that issue. Join a responsible group that fits your ideals. Write letters/emails. Blog. Discuss with friends and neighbors. Write articles or a book for publication. You may not succeed in everything, but you could very well make a difference. Whatever sincere views we hold, if we will get them out there and support them, others could get a real feel for the issue from all sides and begin to find solutions.

My two cents. Respectful comments supporting any and all viewpoints are welcomed.

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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!!!

May all your dreams come true.