love love love

Ah, it’s Sunday and we arrived home late last night from a glorious Thanksgiving in San Diego. My sister and her family thoroughly spoiled us and I promise a full report as soon as I sort through my way-too-many photos.

In the meantime, I want to share our current obsessions:

Jiggybars— our favorite Jiggystick people created a lotion bar to LOVE. Have you tried lotion bars before? You hold them in your hand for just a moment while you body heat melts the bar just enough to spread the beeswax lotion and forever cure dry hands and cracked knuckles. You may have seen them at Lush where they cost a small fortune (and charge you $3.95 for the tin!); in my opinion, jiggybars smell better and cost less. I may be slightly biased since the jiggystick crew are pretty much the coolest people I know.

Even better, you can buy a gift bundle which includes a jiggbar, three jiggysticks and a small jar of fresh Logan honey. I think it’s the perfect Christmas gift and at $19.95 with free shipping, it’s such a good deal I’m afraid they’ll lose money on the transaction.

Oh, and I just may have written an article about the Garlicks featured on Thanksgiving Day.

James Rasband’s talk on forgiveness– you’ve got to love a lawyer who can laugh at himself, his profession and begin his talk with “Now, to some, any talk from a lawyer that focuses on forgiveness may seem odd… It is true that some lawyers are dishonest, arrogant, greedy, venal, amoral, ruthless buckets of toxic slime. On the other hand, it is unfair to judge the entire profession by a few hundred thousand bad apples.”

But his work as a lawyer seems to have perfectly prepared him to discuss mercy and justice and the atonement of Christ. Most talks on forgiveness are somewhat condescending to those who have been hurt– talking about stolen cream or water rights, but Rasband acknowledges, “forgiveness… can be a hard doctrine, particularly if the sin against us is horribly wrong and out of all proportion to any harm we’ve ever committed.”

He shows immense compassion to those who have been hurt while masterfully explaining how the atonement can provide healing and recompense for grievous harms.

“The non-judgmental worldly phrases “don’t worry about it” and “it’s no big deal” are not illustrations of the doctrine of forgiveness. On the contrary, when a person sins against us, it can be a very big deal. The point is that the Atonement is very big compensation that can take care of very big harms. Forgiveness doesn’t mean minimizing the sin; it means maximizing our faith in the Atonement.”

I’ve listened to this talk so many times now I can nearly recite it from memory. For me, Rasband’s words came as an answer to many anxious prayers. If you have the slightest crumb of interest, just go listen or read or watch. It’s all free.

Les Miserables— my other listening obsession has been Les Miserables. With the new movie coming out this Christmas we all determined to read or reread the book.

I first discovered Les Miserables in high school where I’d heard from somewhere/someone, Victor Hugo’s novel was Spencer W. Kimball’s favorite book. First, I read the abridged version, then the unabridged and then I read it again. I could scarcely talk or think of anything else for months and wrote my senior paper on Jean Valjean as a Christ figure. Little did I know, Les Miserables opened on Broadway that same year. But when I traveled to Vienna on BYU Study Abroad in 1989, Les Miserables ruled the stage. My friends and I traveled into Vienna night after night to buy the Stehplatz (standing room) tickets for $1.50. I still have most of the songs memorized in German.

My children have grown up with the story and the soundtrack (though I deleted the Thernardier’s songs a while back) and most of my boys read the book around age 12 or so.

This time around I listened to the unabridged book on Audible. At 60 hours in length, it was a fairly large commitment, but for weeks I looked forward to cleaning the house, processing photos in Photoshop and running many, many miles to the rhythm of Hugo’s magnificent prose. I was amazed at how much I’d forgotten and the changes made in the musical. Most of the changes are good, but oh how I despise the Thernardiers in the musical. In the book, T. makes one crude joke, in the musical– well, I don’t want to count them. I’m sure Victor Hugo turns in his grave every time they play “Master of the House.” I have great hopes the movie will give the horrid Thernardiers a bit less screen time.

Purists might insist the only way to read Les Miserables is unabridged (and in French!) but I see plenty of reason for the abridgement. As much as I adore Hugo’s long descriptions, I couldn’t expect cute Gabe to read the 1308 page version. Erik is reading the full version right now and we’ve loved comparing notes with Gabe and filling in the blanks left out of his abridgement (they skip the Bishop’s entire prestory! and Jean Valjean burial alive!). I’d like to make my own abridgement. Maybe I will.

Another, much shorter, book to recommend: Steal Like an Artist by Justin Kleon. If you’re a creative type, you’ll adore this book. My sister gave it to me and we read it out loud (with lots of great discussion) on the drive home from California. I’ll be implementing several of his ideas, including stealing video techniques from…

Jason Mraz’s 93 Million Miles. Oh my. If you’re a parent who adores your children and especially if you have children growing up and leaving the nest, you’ll probably shed a few tears during this video. Sidenote: Jason Mraz is a huge fan of jiggysticks.

Trader Joe’s Chocolate Covered Jojos— need I say more? And we get our own Salt Lake City store this Friday!

Last two– The Secret Keeper. Since I’m a prude, I rarely find modern novels I like, but I love Kate Morton’s beautifully written, multi-generational, historical, family centered mysteries. This one was so good, as soon as it finished I went right back to the beginning and started over again. Also on Audible.

And finally, The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life by Terryl and Fiona Givens. So excellent,  I bought an extra copy which I’m ripping up and sending to Ben a few pages at at time. Why do I love this book? I hardly know where to start, but this seems like a good place to end. And please, leave me your book or music or jiggystick recommendations in the comments. It’s always good to find something new to love love love.

November 20, 2012
November 30, 2012



  1. Jeanelle

    November 26, 2012

    I’m SO glad you had a nice Thanksgiving…hearing that makes me almost as happy as it makes me to hear you’ll be getting a TJ’s soon! I need to make the drive to my nearest one to get peppermint jo jo’s for holiday baking. So good. I’ve never read Les Miserables in book form – it intimidates me. But if Gabe is reading it, how can I be afraid? I have seen the musical twice and have loved the 10th anniversary PBS special for years (the 20th? Not so much. The Jonas boy, while sweet, cannot be Marius. Ever.) I agree with you about the T’s. It will be interesting to see how they are portrayed in this film. I want to figure out a way to go see it on Christmas day but not sure I can fit that and everything else in that day. I shared your Kate Morton recommendations with my mother – she is always looking for a new, clean author to read. Ramble ramble…that’s enough. xoxo

  2. Laurel C.

    November 26, 2012

    I saw your article on last week and loved it! It was so well written and about such inspirational people. A truly wonderful job.

  3. Lisa

    November 27, 2012

    Well I’m obsessed with listening to the unabridged Les Miserables as you well know. And thank you for the push to make me committ to it! I’m going to finish before the movie comes out in a month…it’s one of my Filthy Fifty. I adored the part of Marius falling in love with our Cozette. And I did not know that Jean Valjean was buried alive either! I come up with excuses to clean, drive, or exercise just so I can sneak a few more minutes in. Thank you thank you for the jiggy bar shout out! I’m so happy you approve. You are the best,

  4. FoxyJ

    November 27, 2012

    James Rasband was my bishop freshman year at BYU. I still remember him for being a compassionate, helpful man who had an impact on me and probably has no idea that he did. Thanks for pointing out that talk–I needed it.

    I had been disappointed by the last Kate Morton book I read so I didn’t expect to love The Secret Keeper but it was so, so good. I am tempted to read it again. I should probably emulate your prudishness in my reading 🙂

  5. Becky

    November 27, 2012

    I just listened to “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. Such an amazing story, a must-read for everyone. I loved the narrator too, Edward Herman.

  6. Emily

    November 27, 2012

    What a fun post to read! Thanks for sharing your favorites so we might find a new favorite thing too!

    A few years ago I made it about 2/3rd through the unabridged Les Miserables and then my book group was cancelled and I didn’t finish it. I remember a few lengthy sections that might be tricky if I’m trying to re-read before the movie is out. Could you recommend a good abridged edition please? I’m seeing mixed reviews for various ones. Thanks!

  7. Laura Petty

    November 27, 2012

    Honestly, one of my favorite loves is your blog. I love reading these wonderful thoughts and enjoying your beautiful pictures. You never cease to inspire. I always believe that I can do a little better after visiting. Thank you.

  8. Tracy

    November 28, 2012

    As soon as I get paid this weekend I am buying some Jiggy for my kids, moms and teachers. Love you. xoxo

  9. Sharlee

    November 28, 2012

    Just ordered a Jiggystick gift pack! I can’t think of two women I admire more than you and Lisa. Love to both of you.

  10. Judi

    December 2, 2012

    I hope you received my text..but thank you so much for my birthday gift! I loved it! xoxo

  11. Selwyn

    December 3, 2012

    Do you suppose Jiggysticks would be posted internationally? I’m serious!

    I haven’t read Les Mis. Steal like an Artist has been on my wishlist for months now.

    Something I’m loving at the moment is the first cd by Book on Tape Worm (Dalene recommended it to me). I love the music, the lyrics, the feeling of the songs, and the cd case is a true work of art and whimsy.

    And that talk is brilliant.

  12. Kerri

    December 3, 2012

    I planned to comment long ago, but forgot. Thanks to you, I’ve ordered Secret Keeper for a couple of people for Christmas. I’ve been planning to read The God Who Weeps for a while, and now it’s on my Christmas list.

    Loved the article on the Garlicks, of course.

    I downloaded the Rasband talk on forgiveness after you mentioned it to me. It was BEAUTIFUL. I loved it.

    And I’m a total space cadet and forgot to send you the numbers I promised. They’re on their way now. So sorry!!!!!! Please forgive me. 🙂

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