Monday, November 19, 2012

Hall of Fame

My new favorite hobby is studying awesome people.

Last summer I discovered the book "Lessons from Great Lives" by Sterling Sill (but if you want it, get the old edition since the "co-author" of the new one took out half the people, though he did add in two, including a chapter on Sterling Sill).  For quite some time I've watched for great qualities in people that I want to emulate, but Sill talks about creating his own personal "Hall of Fame" of people with qualities he wanted to build in himself.  It's an inspiring read, and it's helped me to see history in a new, more real light.  Sill wrote biographies of over 100 people for his own benefit.  As he states, "A person who provides a good example has the blessed ability of arousing a desire in others to develop their own talents and aptitudes to their upper limits.  The tremendous upward pull that one personality may have upon another might be compared to the attraction that the planets exert as they hold each other in their orbits."  

From Sill, I learned about another source on great people.  Elbert Hubbard wrote the "Little Journeys into the Homes of Great..." series, which includes great scientists, orators, teachers, women (because they were written a long time ago when we needed our own book), reformers, musicians, etc.  Lucky enough, these are in the public domain and free for use.  I've only read a few of these, one that I thought was odd because it didn't have nearly enough about the person, and two others that I really enjoyed.

Then a couple months ago we had just walked into Deseret Book when I noticed the book "10 Great Souls I Want to Meet in Heaven" by S. Michael Wilcox.  I carried it around the rest of the time we were there telling myself to put it back, but when I didn't, I googled for a coupon and bought it.  Very glad I did.  Wilcox mentions that when he initially started making his own list of great people, he began with family, then thought of people in the scriptures, historical figures, and even great characters in literature, but for the book he chose historical figures.  One quote from the preface that gives me chills (referring to things like Psalms 8:4-5), "Sometimes it is difficult to believe such lofty thoughts are describing us and our fellow human travelers.  It is certainly true we have, as a race, often not lived up to these divine potentialities.  Yet man was created in the image of God, not only outwardly, but also inwardly, in the qualities of the soul.  Humanity was the last act of creation, its crown!  We shouldn't be surprised to see evidences of glory and honor in our fellowmen."

I've been able to teach about and discuss some of the great people I've been studying during Vanguard, our homeschool group, but I've decided I need to keep a better record of that for my own Hall of Fame, and maybe to spark the interest of others that might want to learn about some of these greats as well.  Stay tuned.  (This might actually get me blogging somewhat regularly again.)

P.S.  Here's an interesting article I found with a "discussion" between 10 greats.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Today is my second Sunday in a row home from church.  Last Sunday I was sick and kept Madeleine home with me.  Today Madeleine is sick (with different junk), Erin is coughing a lot, and Carolyn was complaining about a headache.  Interestingly enough, last Sunday was harder to be home, I think because it's no fun laying around on the couch.  Today I can at least take care of my sickos, and make some bread to take to the bishopric when I pick up the other kids (they've got an extra long day today).

While working on the bread I was listening to some general conference talks.  With the big announcement regarding missionary age during conference this fall, many of the other speakers mentioned the announcement.  Conference is always a great time for personal evaluation, but knowing that I have one less year of mothering before I send my sons (and now, more potentially my daughters) to the world for 2 years, the evaluating was especially necessary.

My first thoughts were temporal - we need to vamp up cooking practice, piano lessons, and things like that so they can take care of themselves (not that playing the piano is necessary for survival, but for some reason that thought came along with those).

Next, I asked myself if as a family we are doing everything we need to do to help support their spiritual preparation.  Are we having family scripture study daily?  Family home evening every week?  Family prayer?  Gospel discussion and sharing my testimony as often as possible without overkill?

My last strong thought on the matter wasn't necessarily evaluation, but still part of their preparation.  During the announcement and press conference afterwards it was mentioned that the discussion and decision regarding changing the missionary age had been kept very tight between the first presidency and tweleve apostles, and that this was news to virtually everyone else.  I realized at some point that this announcement was a surprise to Satan as well.  He also just lost a year - a big year really - when he can turn young men and women to things other than a mission.  We all know someone where that year was the difference, right?  And I'm sure he's ticked.  I'm sure he's pulling out all the stops, and will be doing all he can to get our kids even earlier.  Time to be far more watchful, prayerful, and careful than ever.  Be the lioness, and fight.  (For some especially inspiring words about that, read Sister Beck's 2010 women's conference talk).

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind."--2 Timothy 1:7