Thursday, October 25, 2007

Jennie Hansen, Family Home Evening, and a Big Fat Newsletter

One of my more memorable posts this week for has been my interview with Jennie Hansen. She was truly delightful to visit with, and several people have told me how much they've appreciated reading the interview. She's become a very respected LDS author over the years. Two of the three installments are currently up; one more is on its way.

I have to say that along with that interview, I'm pretty proud of myself for getting the jpegs of Jennie and her books to fit in with the published blog.

Another blog entry I put up recently was called "Family Home Evening Basics." I wrote that one after talking to a friend who is an LDS convert. She admitted that she didn't really know how to hold a family home evening. And it got me thinking...when you attend church enough, you might pick up on how to give a talk in sacrament meeting, or how to give a lesson in Relief Society. But family home evening is something you don't see modeled so often, since it takes place in the home. The good news about that is, since it takes place in your home, you don't have to worry that the family home evening police will arrest you if you don't do it "right." The important thing is to take the time for your family.

In other news, I've been compiling the LDStorymakers New Release Newsletter for this month and it's just about ready to go. I'm thrilled at all the books announced in it; the LDStorymakers members have been busy! So check it out (click here to subscribe) and find yourself some good reading material. You can also visit the blog version at (And remember that even though you won't see my name on it anywhere, I put the whole thing together. Unless, that is, you don't like it.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Am I Old Yet?

All right, all right. Even as we speak, my child is laughing at me for referring to a portable stereo as a "ghetto blaster." He thinks that's the funniest thing he's ever heard. Compound that with the fact that he sees no reason to carry one of those things around with him, in this day of the iPod. Why would you need to haul around something so huge with external speakers that force everyone else to listen to your music?

He thinks Pac Man is lame, too.

And if you think so,'re probably younger than I am.

Thursday, October 18, 2007, or Adventures in Blogging

I started blogging for a couple of weeks ago. The site launched just last week and already it's grown into something pretty big. Right now I'm covering both the "Gospel & Doctrine" and the "LDS News" categories. I've already made some great contacts, I've got some fabulous LDS author interviews lined up for the coming weeks, and I've been pushing myself to up my output. It's been quite an experience already. I've been impressed with the site as a whole and the fine content that people have been posting.

So come on over to and check us out! And then come again! As the site evolves and we add more blogs to the mix, it will only get better and better.

Monday, October 15, 2007

New Website Glossary Shows Autistic Behaviors

For a disorder that I don't think I'd even heard of until I was nearly grown, diagnoses of autism have become astoundingly common. According to an article on, one out of 150 children have some form of autism. You may know a child--or several--diagnosed with the disorder.

One of my more memorable encounters with a student with autism came when I was helping in a high school special ed class. A young man with autism had been keeping busy alone with a book on tape. I went to check on him--and saw him sitting in front of the tape player without his pants on.

He wasn't able to speak, but when I asked him (calmly, I hope) about his missing trousers he showed me that he'd spilled something on them. Then he went back to his tape.

After my initial surprise, I realized that this kid saw what he'd done as perfectly logical. He'd spilled something on his pants, so he couldn't wear them anymore. He'd completely missed the social mores that require you keep your pants on at school--but in his eyes, he'd done the only logical thing.

Folks with autism may follow the rules. Their rules just leave some of the rest of us a bit baffled.

That's where the new video glossary at Autism Speaks comes in. They have videos illustrating various autistic behaviors to help people recognize them. This is potentially very helpful; articles and books with descriptions of these behaviors abound, but actually being able to see them is a completely different experience.

Critics caution that some viewers will jump to conclusions upon seeing any of these behaviors in others. It's important to leave making diagnoses to the professionals. In fact, every child is different and some of these autistic behaviors will occasionally be manifested in non-autistic children. So it's important not to appoint yourself a psychologist. But approached rationally, this new video glossary can go a long way toward educating the public about the true nature of this condition.

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