The Life of Bon: April 2013

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The 411 on the Mormons

There's a lot of stuff out there about Mormons.  Quite frankly, there's a lot of weird stuff.  I have read some of the craziest, wildest stuff that Mormons do and it has come as quite a shock to me, being that I've been Mormon my whole life and never remember half the stuff the world says we do.  I wrote this post last July about some common Mormon misconceptions. But I feel like that post was very spotty, jumping from subject to subject and not covering any one thing very clearly.  So today I want to give you in its purest and simplest form what Mormons believe. My goal is to simplify it completely so that it's easy enough for a child to understand.

I write this with some hesitancy.  Mormons have a history of persecution, like any minority group, I suppose. It is scary and vulnerable to put things out on the world wide web that are sacred and special to me.  I know some people don't like to talk religion on blogs, but I believe strongly in education, awareness, and an open mind.  It is with that attitude that I hope you will read this post.


CHRIST'S CHURCH AND APOSTASY.  Mormons believe that when Christ was on the Earth he established a church with his power and authority.  After He and His apostles died, no one was left with Christ's authority to run that church.  There were a lot of great people trying to follow Christ and live his teachings the best they could, but Christ's authority to have the church wasn't any longer on the Earth.  This period of time is known as apostasy.

JOSEPH SMITH.  Mormons believe that in 1820 Jesus Christ brought the authority to have his church back.  He appeared with God and gave the power and authority to have his church to Joseph Smith.  Mormons don't worship Joseph Smith, but we see him as a prophet and a tool used by God to bring Christ's original church back to the Earth.

PROPHETS AND APOSTLES.  Mormons believe that this power and authority that was given to Joseph Smith was transferred down prophet to prophet until today.  Thomas S. Monson is the current prophet and he holds that power and authority to direct God's church.  We believe in having the same organization that existed when Christ lived- that's why we have one prophet and twelve apostles.

BOOK OF MORMON.  Mormons believe that when Christ lived there were people living in the Americas.  They were inspired by God and wrote down many great truths. They buried all their records and when Joseph Smith was prophet, he was led by God to these records. These records are known as the Book of Mormon.  We study this book just like we study the Bible and we believe that both books are the word of God.

NICKNAMES.  Mormon is a nickname for church members Mormon was the last man to write in the Book of Mormon, so he named it after himself. (Well, wouldn't you?!) People started calling us Mormons because they know we read the Book of Mormon.  The official church name is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and we sometimes call ourselves LDS for short, but let's face it, "Mormon" is the easiest of all to remember.

REVELATION.  Just like God talked to Noah and Moses, God talks to our prophets today.  We don't believe that God will only help out his children who lived 10,000 years ago. Some may hear that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ  and immediately question it because it seems too far fetched, but accept with no problem that Moses saw God on a mountain.  The only difference is how long ago these two men lived.  If God will talk to His children in one time period, why not talk to them in all time periods?  The belief that God leads and directs this church is a source of great strength and comfort to me.

TEMPLES.  Temples are different from regular churches.  In temples we make sacred promises to God and are given promised blessings in return.  We believe that God holds us accountable for these promises, so we only make these promises when we fully understand all the doctrine in the gospel and are living accordingly.  One of the most important temple promises that God makes to us is that we can be with our family forever- even after this life.  Since my dad's death, this is one of the doctrines of the church I have clung most desperately to.

ALCOHOL, COFFEE, DRUGS, ETC.  Through modern day revelation, we believe that God has asked us to not use any of these substances because they are not healthy.   We say, "Alright. Fair enough."

SEX.  We have sex.  Just not before marriage, and not with anyone besides our spouse.  We believe that this brings happiness and confidence along with strong, concrete families that can provide the kind of support and love that children need.

MISSIONARIES.  We believe that we have a message that makes us supremely happy.  It brings us tremendous comfort and joy and peace and gives our lives a great sense of purpose.  That's why sometimes Mormons can be a bit over anxious about talking about their religion.  I know some people have had bad experiences with Mormons trying to "push" their religion on them, but the fact is we've just found a source of great happiness and want others to have it.  If you don't want it, that's fine too, and we respect that.  Young men and women can choose to dedicate two years when they are 18-25 years old to sharing about the church full time.  They usually go far from home and don't see family during that time.

ATONEMENT, PRAYER, AND OTHER CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES.  We believe we can talk to God and receive inspiration from Him, just like other Christian religions.  We believe that Christ paid for our sins and we are forever indebted to Him.  We play in repentance, overcoming weaknesses, and becoming better people. We believe in love and charity and bettering the world around us.  We believe that God loves us more than we can ever understand and that we have incredible potential to be happy in and after this life.

See now, that ain't so weird, is it?

P.S.  If you want to know more, this is the Mormon official website.  Of course, I can have a free Book of Mormon or a strapping pair of young missionaries at your door in no time.  Just say the word, my friends.

P.S.  If you're Mormon (or even if you're not!) I would love you to share this post in any way possible.  Knowledge is power!

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Cat Woman (+$25 to Target. WOOP!)

I stressed myself out sick today.

Literally sick.

I don't really want to talk about it except for when a student came in to ask me if she could look at her grade after school I snapped, "Can't you look up your own grade?  I'm not in the mood!"

And then felt bad for it immediately after.  Somehow I have let this job search drive me almost to my breaking point.  Blame it on a Monday?

(In my defense, all students have their grades posted on the internet at all times.  I have no idea why they always want me to look it up for them)

I came home and begged Greg, "Tell me everything is going to be okay.  Please.  Tell me we'll be fine."  To which he replied, "Everything is going to be okay.  We'll be fine."  And then he went and beat me soundly at tennis and somehow it made everything feel better.

I don't know why I can be such a stress case.  I have to stop.  I have to remind myself how important it is to slow down and look at blessings and realize that everything will fall into place.  IT WILL.

Now, for your viewing entertainment I've got Whitney for you.  I half suspected Whitney to be straight up crazy when I read her post admitting that she likes the smell of cat breath.  But I was also intrigued.  Very very intrigued.  I knew I had found someone truly unique in the blog world.  She's a breath of fresh air and as real and can be and that's something to love.  Not to mention, homegirl's giving away $25 to Target.  We love her already, don't we?!?


Wow! My verrrry first guest post!

Hmmmm...honestly, guys, I have no idea where to start with this. Guest posting is hard! Seriously, I've racked my brain for the last week trying to come up with something that would be interesting, funny, and that would tell you a little about me all at the same time. Now I'm just rambling...great start to my first guest post, huh?

Anyways, I decided it was most important to say hi and thank you to all of you guys first and foremost! I know Bonnie has very loyal readers and that you guys look forward to coming here to read what she has to say on a daily basis, not what some stranger has to say. So, again, THANK YOU for letting me take over Bonnie's blog and, if you have gotten this far, not clicking away just yet.

Back to that "reading what a stranger has to say" thing. I don't want to be a stranger. I want to be friends with each and every one of you. So, I decided that I was going to share 5 things that my very best friends know about me. You know, so that way we aren't strangers any more. 

If we were best friends, you would know that...

1. I am originally from Texas and have a pretty thick Texan accent. I say things like "y'all" and "fixin' to" on a daily hourly basis and I'm not sorry. My accent is pointed out to me on a pretty regular basis, especially when I say words with a long I sound such as like, bike, Magic Mike. You get the point.

2. I'm tall. 5'11 to be exact. Oh! In order for us to be friends you have to be below 5'4. All of my very best friends are. No, really though, I would LOVE some tall friends. Any one out there that is tall and needs a tall friend as well? Pick me! 

Me and my best friend Brittany:

3. I did the cheesy thing and married my high school sweetheart. If you want to know more about this, you can check out our love story. Or one of my three wedding posts. It's up to you.

One of our very first pictures together:

4. I'm a cat momma. Garrett and I have two tabby sons...Harley and Junior. Harley is 6 and Junior is 4. They are like our children.

5. I love Taylor Swift. This is something that people learn about me pretty quickly, I tend to randomly bring her into conversations. I've liked her since she first started and even more now. In fact, I am going to her Red tour twice and have VIP tickets for one show! SO excited! She is definitely my girl crush!

Now we can be the very best of friends! You know all there is to know!

Still don't want to be my friend? Maybe I can bribe you!
I am giving away a $25 gift card to Target!
Enter below!

{Thanks to Bonnie for letting me take over her blog today!}

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Summer goals.


Okay, so I know it's not summer yet.  But it kind of feels like it, right?  With weather this weekend in the upper 70s, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

The beautiful weather got me itching for summer and long, hot days with no schools and no tests to grade.  I couldn't help but start to think about all the books I plan to read this summer, the tennis lessons I plan to take, the vacations I want to go on, etc.  Yesterday I was reviewing my new years resolutions, and it hit me! I need to make some serious summer goals!"

Also.  I am going to consider my summer May- August.  Four months.  I know it's a bit optimistic, but hey, when it's your favorite season you've got to drag it out a bit, right?

READ.  Read a book a week.  That means 16 books from May to August.  On the list are:

1.  Silver Linings Playbook (May's blog book club selection)
2.  Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian (Reread. Young Adult- Banned Book club selection for May)
3.  Seriously, I'm Kidding (June's blog book club)
4.  The Help (Reread. July's blog book club)
5.  Life of Pi (August's blog book club)
6.  Speak (Re read. Young Adult fiction- my seniors are reading this in May)
7.  The Happiness Project (Memoir/ Self Help- so interested in this book!)
8.  Autobiography of Malcolm X.  I've heard it's fascinating.
9.  Fast Food Nation (Non fiction.)
10.  Bird by Bird (Anne Lamott book on writing)
11.  Z (Book about Zelda Fitzgerald- wife of The Great Gatsby author.  I just finished The Paris Wife about Ernest Hemingway's first wife and absolutely loved it.)
12.  Lolita (Heard it's weird, but feel like I need to read it.)
13.  Slaughterhouse Five. (Reread)
14.  Something by Hemingway... Possibly The Sun Also Rises.
15.  ???
16.  ???

Fifteen and sixteen are where you feel in the blanks.  What do I absolutely have to read this summer?  I am considering rereading  Catch 22 because it is one of my faves, but would also like to read something totally new.

WRITE.  I want to keep up with my schedule now of blogging five times a week.  I need to do more than just post on this blog, though.  I need to submit articles and guest posts to some of the big sites.  I would absolutely love to write for Babble, but first I would need to pitch some kind of amazing article idea to them. I'm drawing blanks.  I know there are plenty of places that pay for articles- I need to start submitting mine.  I am hoping summer will be a good time to really get my writing into gear.

CAMP.  Go on at least one old school camping trip.  Tent and all.

GO ON A VACATION.  We've got tickets booked to Hawaii for the last week of June with Greg's family.  It'll cost us a couple of pennies, but what's the point of working every day if you don't have stuff like this to look forward to?

GET A TEACHING JOB IN CALIFORNIA   or...  ACCEPT THAT GOD MAY HAVE OTHER PLANS FOR ME AND BE OK IF I DON'T FIND A JOB.  The truth is that the job search for teaching positions in California is getting oh, so frustrating.  I have applied for 17 jobs (I'm a nerd and I write down every job I apply for) and haven't heard back from one of them.  It's a lesson in humility, a lesson in patience, a lesson in all sorts of things I don't have that God wants me to have.  I am trying my best to have faith and understand that God will watch and protect if I am doing everything I'm supposed to be doing.  He has a plan for us, even if I can't see it or understand it right now.

SERVE.  I used to be more giving of my time.  Now I am so selfish with it.  So utterly possessive of every minute I have.  I would like to start giving more time to others.  I used to volunteer with special needs kids for an hour a week, and although it certainly wasn't much, I felt like that one hour kept my life a little more balanced.  I need that in my life.

GET GOOD AT TENNIS.  Last year I took beginning tennis lessons.  This summer I'm moving on to intermediate.  Greg beats me every time we play.  By the end of the summer it will be different.

SAVE.   I don't want to work at a crappy restaurant or paint hot apartments all day like I did in summers' past, but I do want to pick up extra money and save for our big move.  The fact that I don't have a job secured yet has me a bit stressed about our financial situation.  We have saved and been smart with our money, but I am still hoping to pick up some extra work and put extra money away.  Anybody got any times of enjoyable part time summer work?

SLEEP OUT ON THE TRAMPOLINE.  At least once.  It's summer!

LAUGH.  I guess the absolute truth is I am a little bit scared of summer.  Last summer was the most trying time of mine and Greg's marriage, and I am dreading a repeat.  The extra time in the summer makes me stir crazy.  Not having to go to work is awesome for about three weeks, but then I start to feel unproductive and grouchy and lazy.  I get cranky when I don't go to work.  Ain't that weird?  I am hoping to stay busy and productive this summer, but also to have fun and let myself relax too.  I want to go to the water park and watch movies late at night and play on the lawn with my nieces and nephews and just have a carefree summer like back in the day.  Is it possible?

And last but not least....


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Your most memorable spring break?

In honor of spring, I am offering 20% off May medium ad spots now through Sunday.  Hit me up if you be interested:

Has spring come to your neighborhood yet?  In my neck of the woods, spring is doing a whole lot of teasing.  Like that pesky old boyfriend that will never quite give you a commitment. He comes for one day then goes for a week, comes for two days then leaves for another five.  Today he is here.  And I love him.  I'm begging him to stay.  I've heard rumors he's leaving after the weekend, but I need him here always, dang it!

That got weird.  Moving on.  These sponsors below are here to tell you about their most memorable spring break.  Tell us in the comments which spring break story you like the best- the winner will get free ad space in May and so will one lucky commenter.  Win win my friends!  Oh, I love it when everybody wins!  (Oh, and while you're commenting why don't you tell us you're best spring break story?!?)

Blog:  She Does Justice is a blog and shop that rallies around organizations who are doing great work loving the least of these.

Most memorable spring break:  When I was in 4th grade my family took a trip to Florida. It was my first time in the ocean and I was stung my a Portuguese Man of War...go google an image! It was terrifying and I had an allergic reaction to the poison. BUT...I went into the ocean just a couple of days later because I am hard core like that. ;)

Blog:  I write a lifestyle blog where I primarily discuss relationships (marriage in particular), faith, my battle with body image, and the little in betweens. 

Most memorable spring break:  My best, but most strange, spring break was my honeymoon.  We headed to Lake Tahoe on the Nevada side and it was COLD! It was snowy and super windy and the most ridiculous spring break getaway anyone could have chosen. It was also pretty awesome. I don't have any wild and crazy spring break stories for you, but I can tell you this: It's unusual to get snowed in on a spring break trip, but a couple of newlyweds sure can have a good time with that ;)

Blog: smart. serious. snarky.

Most memorable spring break: My grandmother and her brothers each bought a cabin on the frying pan river in Basalt, Colorado. we used to spend every christmas there. we spent a lot of spring breaks there, too. when my grandmother passed away, the cabin went to my mother, her brothers and her nephew. after several years, my uncles and cousin didn't want it, so we sold it to my great uncle. the month or two before, my brother, his wife, a group of our friends and i went to the cabin for one last spring break. they went skiing. i walked around basalt taking pictures of everything so i wouldn't forget. of course, i used my mother's digital camera. and she wiped the memory card before i could save them. but fortunately, the wife of one of my great uncle's grandchildren took this lovely photo, and that's memory enough for me. that and that week with my brother.

Blog: A peek into our little world!

Most memorable spring breakMy husband and I got married while he was still in dental school so I got to have "spring break" several years after I started working. For our first spring break together as a married couple, I accompanied Forrest on a dental  mission trip to Costa Rica. It was SUCH a beautiful country and we had an amazing experience. We went to 5 different villages and the dentists helped countless people for free. My job was to sanitize the instruments, which was perfect for this germaphobe! At first, I couldn't watch the dentists perform any of their procedures (I'm a lawyer, I don't do blood), but on the last day, I got to give an injection (supervised) and pull a tooth! It was a totally fantastic trip, not only because we were able to see a new country, but because we got to play a role in changing so many lives!

Blog:  A blog about life with kids...and trying to see the silver lining in everything.

Most Memorable Spring Break:  I'm going to date myself now and say that my junior year of college (in 1998- yikes!), I went to Daytona Beach with my roommate and her boyfriend.  My boyfriend (at the time) was already in Daytona for Spring training (he played baseball) with his college team.  We spent one day in Orlando and went to Universal Studios.  The rest of the time, we spent in Daytona.  We did the club thing.  We did the beach thing...all of it was fun, but no wild and crazy stories.  Frankly, I barely remember it...I guess that's cause there was a lot of drinking.  The only other part I remember is singing at the top of our lungs on the drive down.  Although it wasn't particularly college roommate and I are still best friends and have made plenty of other amazing memories together. 

Blog:  With a little bit of love, and a little bit of coffee, I get through life one day at a time.

Most memorable spring break:  My first spring break in college (as well as my second and third!) were not spent on a warm beach. Oh no. Instead, I opted to go with a group from school to the Appalachian mountains to do some service work. While most college students were busting out their swimsuits and partied in hotel rooms, we layered up in old blue jeans and sweatshirts while huddled around a space heater in the 90+ year old house we were tearing apart because it didn't have any heat and there was snow on the ground. Basically... it was awesome. We slept in bunkhouses, took cold showers, made our own meals, line danced with the locals, listened to folk songs about roosters (no joke), and tore down drywall. There was so much dust in the air when I blew my nose for the next week black came out. (You think I'm joking but I"m not...) But then, to the envy of all of the girls on campus, the hot senior carried me up and down a mountain (TWICE!) to see the sunrise. Needless to say - mountains trump the beach for spring break!

Most memorable spring break:  During college I was a Resident Advisor in the dorms, so most of my spring breaks consisted of crushing the hopes and dreams of rebellious freshman who wanted to drink and do drugs. I also knitted a lot during that time. And yeah, I was super popular.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April Book Club Discussion: Great Gatsby


Ah, The Great Gatsby!  Possibly my favorite book of all time and you chicas voted to read it for our book club this year.  That's why I love you.  You're smart cookies.

The other day my mom asked me why I liked this book so much, and it surprised me that I couldn't really answer her.  "It's just good..." I stumbled.
"What's it about?"
"It's basically about all these really despicable people ruining their own lives and each other's lives."
I could tell I wasn't exactly selling her on it. 
"It's like the Kardashians of the 1920s."  I tried to elaborate.  I was selling it to her even less.
"Yes, but what lesson does it teach?"

And I guess that's the problem with Great Gatsby.  There is no lesson.  No moral.  No "now I want to be a better person" from the book.  Instead, the whole time you read the book you feel sort of sorry for all these pathetic characters and their pathetic lives.  It's a book full of booze, cheating, and partying.  And yet, I love it.

It's not just me, either.  America decided that this is one of our classics.  This is in our American literary canon as one of the greatest American books.  So then it has to be about more than just drinking and cheating, right?

I love Gatsby because of the way it is set up.  Early in the book Nick and Jordan have a conversation where Nick tells Jordan she's a bad driver.  Jordan says she agrees, but the thing is that everyone else will watch out for her on the road and so she'll never get in a wreck.

"And suppose you meet someone as careless as yourself?" Nick asks.
"Oh I hope I never do!  I hate careless people!" Jordan answers.

I think this is the perfect metaphor for the entire book.  The whole lot of them- Jordan, Nick, Gatsby, Daisy, Tom, Myrtle- they're just the worst drivers- metaphorically speaking.  They're just living their lives, cruising around, not caring who they hit or cut off or how recklessly they drive.  I feel like the first six chapters are us just watching all of these careless drivers and holding our breath because we know that they are all going to crash at some point.  I love telling my students, "You've got six of the worst drivers on the road together.  You know at any second they are all going to come crashing into each other!  Just hold your breath and wait!"

The scene where Gatsby gets Nick to arrange a meet up for Gatsby and Daisy:  I especially love how Gatsby runs out the back door and around to the front door because he's so nervous to meet Daisy.  My students always laugh out loud at that part and there is something magical about students laughing out loud at a book.

The scene where Daisy throws all of Gatsby's shirts and cries, "They're such beautiful shirts!"  I know it's just a little, short scene, but I feel like it symbolizes everything Daisy wanted with Gatsby and lost.  The shirts!  The shirts!  There are beautiful shirts!  As if somehow because Gatsby has such a beautiful wardrobe everything can be returned to what it once was.  This shows Daisy's unsatisfiable lust for money, but also her desire to be with Gatsby.

The flashback to the day before Daisy marries Tom:  She's crying in the bathtub, grasping onto a letter from Gatsby, the letter getting totally soaking wet.  She throws away the $300,000 pearls and yells, "Tell them Daisy's changed her mind!  Daisy's changed her mind!"  This is the one time where I think you can see the complexity of Daisy's situation.  She loves both men, perhaps Gatsby more, but feels such intense societal pressures.  It's not always just about "love"- there are so many other things that play into the equation.  I have to admit, though, I do hate her for going through with it all.

The scene in the hotel where Tom finally comes out with it and asks "What kind of a row are you trying to cause?" to Gatsby.  I love Tom's character because he's so bold and outright- just straight up asks Gatsby what is going on.  And Gatsby's reaction is so classic, "She never loved you!" .  The entire battle that ensues over who Daisy loves more is priceless.

The scene where Myrtle is hit by the car, Gatsby killed by Wilson and Wilson killed by himself.  Who could ask for a more dramatic ending?!?  I try to hype my students up for the ending as much as possible, "YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE HOW THIS THING ENDS!"

One thing that makes The Great Gatsby so unique is that it has such an unusual narrator.  The book isn't third person- it's first person because Nick is telling it.  Yet it almost feels like third person because Nick isn't directly involved in anything that happens.  It almost feels like some stalker who follows these guys around and writes down everything that happens to them.

I always ask my students how they feel about Nick- if he should be more involved.  He says one of his "stengths" is that he doesn't pass judgment.  But should he pass judgment?  Should he try to stop the madness, try to help the people, or is it okay that he just watches all the tragedies unfold?

What absolutely amazes me about this book is that I hate every single character in it, and yet absolutely adore the book.  As far as book recipes go, having every character be despicable is a sure fire way to have a failure of a book.  Yet somehow I love them for my hatred for them?   Makes no sense.  The only one I kind of like is Gatsby because he's just so dang desperate for Daisy that you have to feel sorry for him.

Everytime I read the book I try to figure out who I hate the most.  Nick for never intervening?  Jordan for being a dumb blonde idiot?  Tom for cheating on Daisy in the first place?  Daisy for letting both Tom and Gatsby fall in love with her?  Gatsby for never leaving his past?

I think my answer is Daisy.  But I'll change my mind soon, I'm sure.  I hate Daisy because she is responsible for Gatsby's death- because she leads him on (twice!) when it's pretty clear she never has much intention of marrying him.  I hate her because she is the one who hits and kills Myrtle but she doesn't fess up to it, causing Gatsby's death.  She's so selfish and spoiled and refuses to take responsibility for her actions, resulting in the death of one of my favorite characters ever.  Oh Gatsby, Old Sport, you didn't deserve it.

The great tragedy of the book is what happens to the "Great Gatsby".  Throughout the entirety of the book there is a suspcious air about him and you never really know if you should trust him or fear him.  My heart breaks when I realize how much he must have loved Daisy, how much he held on to that dream, even after she had been married five years.  The fact that he moves in to the mansion across the lake and watches her constantly is just awesome.  The line from the book that I think captures Gatsby's character perfectly is, "You can't repeat the past?  Why, of course you can!"  Gatsby lives his entire life trying to recapture what he once had with Daisy and it results in his demise.  Gatsby IS The American Dream.  The constant chasing for something bigger, better than you currently have.  The end of the book states, "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year receds before us.  It eluded us then, but that's no matter- tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther... And one fine morning--"

One of the saddest parts of the book for me is how Daisy and Tom just go on with their lives after all the tragedies. As if none of it ever happened. These careless people living their careless lives. They leave all the mess behind and just kind of move on. In the last pages of the book Nick runs into Tom months later and sees him living his life totally as it was before. Nick comments, "It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made..."

This, I believe is for two reasons.  One is the way it is written.  I don't care who you are, you can't read this book and not agree that it is absolutely beautifully written.  Fitzgerald is a master of the written world.  It didn't come naturally to him, either, the man drafted and redrafted and edited and re edited everything he wrote.  By the time we see what Fitzgerald wrote it was likely rewritten as many as six times.  I admire that about the man- his commitment to finding the perfect word, the perfect sentence.  I read so much that has been written in the past twenty years and I just think, "Lazy!  This author was so lazy!  It was just all about making a buck!"  (The third Hunger Games.  The book was all about money, not about the story whatsoever) Fitzgerald's writing is totally cleaned up and every part of the story comes together. seemingly effortlessly to leave you feeling completely satisfied.

The second reason I believe this is a classic is because of what it represents.  It represents Americans.  The American Dream.  We are a people who are never satisfied, who always want more, who can't forget the past, no matter what the cost.  This book is such an accurate description of what lies in the hearts of American culture- the desire to be rich, beautiful, and happy.  All characters are seeking these things throughout the book, but sadly, come up short.

Whew!  I talked your ear off on that one!  My apologies.  That's what happens when book club chooses my favorite book ever!

If you are having trouble knowing what to write about in your discussion of Gatsby, here are some questions to get you started:
  • Who do you hate the most in the book?  Why?
  • Why is Gatsby so focused on Daisy?  What is it about her that makes him love her so much?
  • Is Daisy's affair excusable because Tom is having an affair?  Why do people cheat and is it ever justified?
  • Why is this book an American classic?
  • Why do you think Fitzgerald chose Nick as the narrator instead of someone more directly involved in the action
  • Did you like the book?  Why or why not?
Don't forget to get involved in May's book club.  Discussion is always the last Thursday of the month, putting us at May 30.  May's book club selection is Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick.  (A full list of book selections for 2013 can be found here.)

Get reading, darlings.

P.S.  If you do a post on the book, leave the url for the post in the comments so we can all check out the other reviews.  Or just comment it up in the comment section!  Whatever floats your boat, people.  Can't wait to hear your thoughts!

P.P.S. Oh- and please copy and paste this button to your post if you write your own entry on Gatsby!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Down for the count

Greg snapped this picture while I was dozing this afternoon.  Buddy is my constant protector.

It started at 1 am.  You know, the gross stuff.  Vomit, sickness, etc. (Don't you LOVE hearing about other people's puke?)  The cycle went like this: fall asleep for an hour, wake up, puke, and then fall back asleep to start the process all over again.  At 5 am I sent in sub plans and officially decided there would be no school for me today.

I kept thinking I would start to feel better as the day progressed.  I didn't.  The puke stopped (THANKFULLY) at 11 am, but my body just wouldn't get better.  My tummy aches, my head is pounding, and I can't drag myself off the couch without feeling like I'm going to pass out.

And just like that, all plans for the day were cancelled.  There was no carpool with Sofia, no end of the book discussion for Gatsby, no gym, no visiting teaching, no big guest post, no dinner with friends.  In a way, though, it is somewhat comforting to know that everything you think you HAVE to do, you don't.  You don't have to do any of it.  The day just keeps on keeping on whether or not you decide to participate in it.

Before I officially pass out from looking at a computer screen too long (Well, somebody around here has to be dramatic!) I will say that feeling so crappy for a day sure does make me grateful for my health.  Grateful to be able to run around, to get up early every day, to feel energy all day long.  Half the time I complain about everything I have to do, but the fact is I love all those "to-dos" and am so grateful for my body and energy that allows me "to-do."

And I'm done.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Grow your blog round three. Buckle up, girls.

First things first.  April sponsorships are going fast.  
If you want in on the action, hit me up at  
My rates are very reasonable and I have such a blast meeting new bloggers.  
Check out here for stats and rates.  

Blogging is the weirdest.

One day I will write a long and detailed post on how blogging is so weird.  You ever try explaining blogging to someone in the outside world?  It's impossible.  That's because blogging is the weirdest.

One weird thing about blogging is that you actually get to make friends.  And don't get me wrong, I love making friends, it's just weird.  Who would think, "I am going to bare my heart and soul on a totally public website and then read the heart and souls of others on their totally public websites and then we're all going to hang out"?  But strangely enough, that's one of my favorite parts of blogging- meeting new people and making friends and gathering together with other bloggers.

That is why I have loved doing the blogging roundtables so much.  I did the first two rounds with Elisabeth but now she is ditching me, so I will have to find other people to fill in.  We'll live, I know, but I will still miss Elisabeth.

At last month's roundtable we talked all about sponsorship- how to sponsor, how to accept sponsorships, when, etc, etc, etc.  The ideas were zip zipping round that table, I tell you!

Pictures courtesy of Bella the Blog.

When we talked to the girls that night about a topic for our next roundtable, everybody pretty much agreed- "We want to know how to make our blog look purty!" they clamored.  "I don't know how to made a header!"  "Why do my pictures always look crap?"  and "What in the world is a button?!?" echoed through the room.

And so, we present to you...

My girl, Deidre, who is always helping me with design questions, is going to show us the basics of making our blogs beautiful.  Design, headers, editing pictures, everything you want to know but don't know where to go to ask.  It will still be a "roundtable" format, but may be a bit different as Deidre will have the stage to show us how to do all that tricky html and design stuff.

If you are in the Provo area (or anywhere close) come join in!  Bloggers of all degrees/levels/commitments are welcome - the last two months we have had a range and it made for such insightful conversation.  I know it is scary to show up at a blogging thing all by yourself to meet random girls you have only seen online.  But I promise within minutes we're all friends and laughing away.  You won't regret it.   I would have killed for something like this in my first months of blogging.  Even now, it is a very valuable resource to me.  Also, I know this title may sound somewhat threatening.  Basically we're just trying to figure out the 101 on how to make our blog sexy.

Interested? Jump on board already! $10 reserves your seat.  Email me at asap because spots be flying like flipping pancakes.  I so want to meet you!

Sunday, April 21, 2013


These are my work besties.  From left to right: Mrs. Harrison, Ms. Lewis, Ms. Vanwagenen (Now Finlinson!) and me!

About a month ago I made one of my worse teaching decisions to date.  I made my seniors read The Alchemist by Paul Cohelo.  Have any of you read it?  Well, my students hated it to pieces, and the truth is, I kind of did too.  It moved too slow and was a little too "Soul of the Universe" for me.  My students test on it tomorrow and then we all promised all each other we would never speak of the book again.  Fair enough, right?

BUT.  There was one part of the book I don't want to forget.  One line out of the thousands and thousands of lines that almost made reading the book worth it.  The line says "When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too."  Pretty simple, but all day today and yesterday I have been thinking about that line.  So you're telling me that if I want all the people around me to be better, all I have to do is be better myself?  

Why that's absurd!  That's too easy! That would mean...

When I am a better wife, Greg is a better husband to me.
When I am a better teacher, my kids are better students.
When I am a better friend, my friends are better to me.
When I am a better worker, my principal treats me better.

Surely it can't be that easy!

I decided to put it to the test this weekend.  I compromised with Greg on something I really didn't want to do last night.  But I knew it was important to him so I relented and didn't complain.  I was trying to be a better wife.

And what do you know?  Today Greg was a better husband! All day long he has been a champion- helping make dinner, cleaning up the bedroom, doing the dishes, walking the dog with me, playing basketball outside, and playing several games of Dominion with me (I'm in love with this totally dorky game that involves witches, thieves and collecting gold coins.  Admit it, you're intrigued.)  He has done everything I have wanted to do today because I compromised with him yesterday.  I tried to be better for him, and then he was better for me.


As I thought about this, one person jumped to my mind.  The best person I have seen do this the best is my work bestie and carpool buddy, Charlotte.  (She's the one sporting the long blonde hair in the picture.)  Charlotte is probably the nicest, most sincere person I have ever met and she is always cheerful.  The craziest thing about it all is that because she is so nice and cheerful everyone is nice and cheerful back to her.  The whole school loves her. Any member of the faculty would take a bullet for Charlotte, I'm sure of that much and the students practically worship the ground she walks on.  And it's not hard to see why- she's just so dang nice that you want to be nice back!

So I suppose I will be putting this theory to the test all week.  If I act better, are the people around me really going to act better too?

A few things I am going to do better at this week:
1.  Cleaning the house.  20 minutes every night.  If I keep clean, Greg will too, right?!?
2.  Responding to blog readers and commenters.  Because I love you guys.
3.  No snappy, rude remarks.  Period.
4.  Forgiving quickly if I have been offended.  I hold on to some crap that I really shouldn't

And that's all for now.  Let's be honest, four is probably more than I can handle.  Of course, if you folks at home want to try this out too, I totally support you!  Is there an area in your life you could do better in, causing everyone around you to do better too?

And why is it so hard to be a good person?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The end of the no spend

Well, folks.  I guess this is the end of "No Spend April".  In my defense, it lasted all the way until April 19!

It was Target's fault naturally.  Isn't everything?

It all ended when I saw these little beauties.

I know what you're thinking.  If I'm on a no spend April what am I doing in Target anyway?  This part I blame on Hubs and all my friends and sister and mom who were all busy on Friday night.  You see, somewhere along the road I got it ingrained in my soul that it is a sin to stay home on a Friday night.  Hubs had rehearsal, my girlfriends were busy, my sister had a date, and my mom was on babysitting duty.  But I couldn't stay home alone!  I must go out!

So I went shopping.  Alone.

But I wasn't going to buy anything!  Truly I wasn't!  I just had to return a shirt to Target and with the money back I was going to buy some cheap o socks that I'm in desparate need of.  Well, we all know what is right next to the sock department, don't we?

The shoe department.

And that's how it happened- quickly and painfully- the way most bad decisions happen.  I'm kicking myself for spending when I promised myself I wouldn't.  The very bossy Bonnie keeps telling me to take them back, but the nicer Bonnie tells myself I haven't spent anything this month and I got them on sale for $25 plus the $8 back from my return... they were really only $17.  Ain't no harm in spending $17, is there?

In other news, I am beginning to fear I am a shopaholic.  Blogging sure isn't helping anything.

+Speaking of Target, Target gave me this revelation that I'm turning into my mom.
+ And once got in a fight with a Target employee about the dressing room policy.
+ I know I quit my job and everything, but now other teachers are fighting for my classroom and it makes me want to hunker down and never leave.
+ I stole my "News" post this week from a "Today" post that I wrote a year ago.  Tricky, tricky.
+ Have you entered this giveaway yet?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Can you smell the weekend yet?

Happy Friday, dolls

Isn't Friday just the greatest word ever?

I've got some really beautiful and extremely generous people here pulling out the big guns with this giveaway.  Compared to past giveaways the quantity of prizes is down, but the quality is up.  I don't know about you, but I'm all about quality!  $50 to Barnes & Noble (I'm drooling as I type this)  $25 American Express gift card, $25 to Sephora.  We've got some goods here, folks.

You know the drill- one winner takes all.  I hope you find some great blogs to follow.  Every month through accepting sponsors I find a couple of blogs that become must reads.  I hope you find a couple too!

$25 American Express gift card

$20 Gift Card to Victoria's Secret
2 months ad space

$50 Barnes and Noble gift card

$15 Amazon Gift Card

$15 Target Gift Card

$15 Starbucks Gift Card

$35 credit to shop

$25 gift card to Sephora

2 months large ad space

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


NEWS: Today is April 18.  We are six weeks away from the end of the school year.  This is usually the time of year when everyone- sophomore, senior, and teacher alike- is plagued with a bad case of senioritis.  We ready to be done, let's just say.  I save my favorite books for the end of the year to really power me through.  If I've got Great Gatsby to look forward to every day I can convince myself to make it until June.

IN OTHER NEWS:   Speaking of Great Gatsby, today we read my favorite part of the whole book.  (Spoiler alert!) ( And don't forget book club on April 25 on Gatsby!).  We read the scene where they're in the hotel and Gatsby and Tom are fighting over Daisy and Gatsby says straight out, "She doesn't love you!"  The line comes so unexpectedly and forcefully, my fifth period class let out an audible gasp.  Book magic, my friends.

IN OTHER NEWS:  I am watching the last Jazz game of the regular season.  If they win tonight and the Lakers lose than Jazz will go to the playoffs.  If Lakers win, Jazz are out.  I kind of really hate the Jazz for leaving it to the very last game of the season like this.  Jazz, why you gotta play it so close?  I am telling myself over and over not to hope for playoffs, yet somehow I am desperately hoping for playoffs.

IN OTHER NEWS: Being a sports fan is a tough gig, ain't it?  Unless you are a Lakers fan or a Yankees fan, in which case being a sports fan is pretty much easy street.

IN OTHER NEWS:  There's a nasty cold front going through Utah.  I had to break out the tights that I thought I had put away for good.  Come on, Utah, can you get with the program already?  We're ready for Spring!

IN OTHER NEWS: I sometimes hear my students saying the funniest things.  For example today I heard a kid whispering to another, "Dude. Do you want to see a fight today?  12:20 in the 1800 hall."  All discreet like like he was a member of the mafia. I know it's ridiculous, but don't you just kind of have to love it?

IN OTHER NEWS:  Some people on the internet are complaining about my blog because I put a comma in the wrong place.  This is a legitimate complaint.  Ah, it's a weird blogging world we live in, ain't it?

IN OTHER NEWS:  I haven't been to the gym since last week . And you know what?  I don't plan on going tonight!  I go on these spurts with working out.  I'll go three or four weeks super consistently and then two lazy weeks doing nothing and then pick it up consistently again.  I mean, that's totally the best way to stay healthy, right?  You health nuts out there got some suggestions for a girl who works full time and would rather die than drag herself to the gym at night?

IN OTHER NEWS:  Twice this week I have dreamed I was pregnant and growing myself a cute little baby bump.  I woke up wishing it were true for a brief moment.  Could this be the beginning of baby hunger?

IN OTHER NEWS:  The Jazz are now down by 14.  Which means I'm going to just turn off the TV and go to the gym because this is seriously painful.  According to the announcers, "Not much of a playoff push."  Amen.

Peace loves.

P.S.  You can find me on twitter, facebook, or Instagram (@thelifeofbon), oh my!

$450 Visa Gift Card giveaway

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What I know about some teenagers

Sweater: F21, Skirt: Downeast Basics, Bracelet: Threads, Shoes: Forever Young (similar)

I'm kind of half in love with my sixth period class.

I am doing my best right now to not think that in 7 weeks sixth period will be history and we'll never have the same chemistry and the same laughs and the same "Oh my gosh, what's going to happen to Gatsby?!?" that we have now.

(P.S.  Book Club on The Great Gatsby is next Thursday, April 25.  Eight days away.  If you start it now you can totally finish it on time.  It is in my top three favorite books ever so READ IT!)

I love all my classes, but there is something a tad different about sixth period.  There is a feeling of camaraderie and unity that is rare for self conscious hormonal teenagers.  Sixth period likes each other.  They like the class.  They want each other to do well.

Case in point:  I told the class I would give them a pizza party if every single person passed the class.  Every quarter the same one boy has failed.  The first day of fourth quarter when he wasn't there, someone yelled out, "Where's Adam!?!"
"I think I saw him in the gym!" Someone else yelled.
"I could go check if you want.  He needs to be here..." volunteered another someone.
"Yes.  Go check."  I said.  So the student ran down in search of Adam, begging him to come to class so he wouldn't fail.

When Adam showed up to class the next day, Brad asked him if he had handed in his final poems.  "Not yet," said Adam.  "Well, you better!  They're worth 100 points, you know!" replied Brad.

Yesterday when Adam was absent again, Sam told me that he had texted Adam demanding to know why he wasn't in class.  "I think everyone should text him!" yelled out Gail.  I agreed completely.  So Sam gave me his number and I wrote it on the board real big and clear and I said, "Class!  You have my permission to use your phone for exactly two minutes so you can text Adam and ask him why he's not here right now!"

And so they all pulled out their phones.  Thirty eight texts sent to Adam telling him to get his butt to class so he can pass fourth quarter.

Suddenly I realized, "This goes beyond a slice of pizza.  These kids aren't just going to all this effort to have one piece of crappy pizza from their English teacher."

Teenagers kind of get a bad rap these days.  And some teenagers deserve the bad rap.  But I guess I know something about some other teenagers.  Some other teenagers really do care whether or not Adam passes the class.  Some other teenagers do their reading assignment and come prepared for class and do all their homework.  Some other teenagers try hard to please their teachers and are respectful and kind.  Some other teenagers are nice to all their peers no matter what they look like.

That's what I know about some teenagers.


I'm excited to introduce Bonnie to you.  Yep, that's right.  Bonnie.  It is a cold day in hell when I meet another Bonnie so I was pretty stoked to get an email from old Bonnie.  Especially because Bonnie is a man and that, my friends, is rarer than a blue pig.  And yes, I made that one up myself!

I love Bonnie's advice on working from home and his insightful pieces of motivation.  I especially love this piece on using Pinterest to promote your home based business or blog.  Bonnie's blog isn't the run of the mill blog that I follow, but I think that's why I enjoy it so much.  He gives mostly business and practical advice, and it offers a man's voice in this very much so woman dominated field.


When I first saw "The Life of Bon" I instantly knew I wanted be a sponsor on her blog. The name alone did it for me! With my name being Bonnie (and yes, I am a guy named Bonnie), I think it's fun when I run across another Bonnie. It's a rare thing! I blog over at Beach Money CEO and tweet at @boatingbonniec and typically post business tips, work from home tips, motivational pieces, skin care tips and information about my Rodan + Fields business (and how you can have one too). I tweet motivational quotes, happy thoughts, positivity and talk about food a lot... For this guest post, that the fabulous Bonnie is allowing me to write, I want to share one of my experiences from a trip I had to Disney World. My first blog was about my dining and restaurant experiences as I traveled around the country. I was a guy constantly traveling on an expense account, so I enjoyed every night of travel I had to be away from home. The blog was not restaurant reviews, but rather my experiences surrounding my dining experiences. So here is my goofy post:

A Goofy Good Time

I've never professed to know a whole lot about too many things. I think I have decent intelligence, I think I have a good education, I believe I make wise choices for the most part, and I find myself always wanting to know more - at least on subjects I'm interested in. I'm curious by nature and do like to discover new experiences. One of the things I do pride myself on is the vast amount of Disney knowledge I have accumulated over the years....especially for one who is not employed by Disney. I can thank my brother Justin for this. He worked for Disney as the director of Fairy Tale Weddings for many years and he always answered all of my curiosity questions and gave me opportunities to visit Disney World (for free) more than any person could ever dream. Now people come to me for help in planning their Disney trips, and I love to make suggestions about all things Disney. I love Disney World. Matter of fact, I am at Disney as I type this. One of the things I have done for the past five or six trips in order to keep things new and magical is to do something new during each stay. This trip I've even beefed that up a little and I am trying something new every single day. It's still so easy to find new things to do! For the particular experience that I'm writing about, I decided to eat at the steakhouse at the Contemporary Resort that has been suggested to me several times. It fit with the theme of my blog, it was a steakhouse & I love steak and it was something sounded like a perfect combination to me! I had spent the early part of the day with my lazy butt on the lazy river (and a couple of water slides) at Typhoon Lagoon and then the mid afternoon and early evening at Magic Kingdom. This steakhouse was at the Contemporary and I had plans to go to EPCOT for IllumiNations that evening. So a quick Monorail ride over to the Contemporary had me walking up to the podium to ask for a table. As a side note, I'd like to say this is typically not a wise thing to just show up without reservations. The Disney restaurants book up early and my suggestion is to always book your reservations well in advance. But I've found with a party of one and a "pretty please" and kind smile the cast members will typically try to accommodate. ...but there I was at the podium and was told it would be about an hour and a half wait. I pondered the wait for a second and thought "Let's do it!" So I grabbed my buzzer and went and visited the gift shop and then snuggled into a big soft chair in the lounge. Time actually went by pretty fast, but it was every bit of an hour and a half. I caught up on some phone calls, watched the Monorail zip through the concourse, got to watch the sunset and the full moon rise over Bay Lake all the while thinking about the exceptional steak I was about to sink my teeth into. My mouth was watering.

Always observant of my surroundings, I noticed that there were a lot of kids at this steakhouse...but it is Disney World. This place didn't have the same class and dignity as Le Cellier over at EPCOT in Canada or as the Yachtsman's Steakhouse at the Yacht and Beach Club. But it is Disney and they theme things well, and it certainly looked like something one would find at the Contemporary Resort. I was just getting hungrier by the minute. I had steak on my mind. My Buzzer finally lights up!! So I go to the podium, turn it in and they take me for the grand tour. I opted out of the "family picture" they were giving most families and the hostess showed me the buffet and then the dessert buffet. Hmmmmm....something just doesn't seem right. A buffet at a steakhouse? So I asked the hostess if this was the steakhouse. She chuckled and said "we have some roast beef on the buffet, but the steakhouse is on the 15th floor." Instead of the Concourse Steakhouse....I got Chef Mickey's (which is actually located on the concourse right next to the monorail track.) What is "Chef Mickey's" I asked. It's a Character Dining experience. I had waited an hour and a half for a Character Dining Experience??? Not a steakhouse??? It was a new I just went with it! I met MICKEY MOUSE!!! And Donald! And Minnie! And Goofy!! They all stopped by my table for a visit! I totally loved it! I felt like an idiot, and a bit Goofy sitting in a character dining experience....a grown man...sitting by himself...but I just went with it and enjoyed the moment.! If you pay for it, you may as well enjoy it! It was sheer joy to see the kids around me look at the characters with such joy and excitement. It was truly sweet. I even got to see some teens totally loose it when they saw Minnie. Teen Boys...not faking it...they were loving seeing the Characters. Disney truly gives people the freedom to be a kid again.

The food was good. Very good. The Carved Roast Beef was seasoned to perfection and the ham was Christmas Day worthy. They had some stir fry veggies and some green beans....and a salad bar.....and some Turkey Pot Pie. If it's going to have Mickey's name attached to it at Disney World, you know it's going to be better than just good! It may have actually been the healthiest meal I had eaten while here.... until the dessert. They have a buffet full of all of these miniature cheesecakes and key lime pies and Chocolate Mousse Mickey's and brownies that all tasted heavenly. Disney knows how to do food, and especially sweets! Oh yeah, did I mention a build your own Sundae bar?? Genius!! This wasn't a Golden Corral buffet - this was incredibly good food with an incredibly fun atmosphere. Did I mention I met Mickey Mouse?? If you are going to Disney and you have kids (or don't have kids) make it to one of the Character Dining Experiences. And if you want fine dining and a great steak, get the name of the restaurant correct....