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 ksl.com 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.