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Stance f o r t h e f a m i ly

An Invitation to Take a Stance with Faith, Hope, and Charity See page 8

The Domicile Dilemma: Provo or Springville? See page 12

Five Principles American Leaders Could Learn from American Families

See page 14

From the Editor

We, the Stance for the Family staff, are thrilled to unveil our very first issue of the Stance for the Family magazine. We created this magazine to reach an audience yet untapped by our academic journal and our blog—you! However, our blog and an online version of our journal can be found at, and I would encourage you to read through what we have to say in those venues, as well! The Stance for the Family magazine will be published four times each year: we will produce an October/November issue (like this one!) and a December/January issue every fall semester, and we will produce a February/March issue and an April/May issue every winter semester, in keeping with Brigham Young University’s academic calendar. In this issue you will find the first installments of features we intend to make standard in every Stance for the Family magazine— • Feature Articles, in which authority figures (be they professors, public figures, or businesspersons) will enumerate their opinions on important topics relevant to the family;

• Around the World, where we will inform you of noteworthy happenings that affect the family; • In the Community, where we will discuss and illustrate the importance of local happenings; • In the Kitchen, where we will share with you, dear readers, some of our favorite recipes; • In the Home, where we will relate personalized thoughts, tips, traditions, and tricks for the season; and • Book Reviews, where members of the staff will review and recommend their recent reads. Like the other Stance for the Family publications, we at the Stance for the Family magazine are committed to raising awareness for and promoting the family, as it is the most basic and most essential unit of society. In this effort, we would like to thank the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and our other supporters for their wonderful help. We hope you’ll join with our family as we work to inform and uplift yours.

Contents Features 8 An Invitation to Take a Stance with Faith, Hope, and Charity 14 Five Principles American Leaders Could Learn from American Families 12 The Domicile Dilemma: Provo or Springville? Stance for the Family Staff Academic Advisor: John P. Livingstone Editor in Chief: Dustin Schwanger Managing Editor: Emily Smith Magazine Editor: Adrienne Anderson Design Director: Caitlin Schwanger Assistant Editors: Sara Bitterman, Lanae Carmichael, Rebecca Hamson, Melissa Hart, Jenna Hoffman, Shannon Wallace

Around the World 3 Election 2012

In the Kitchen 10 Dinner in a Pumpkin

In the Community 4 Scenes and Sounds from General Conference

Autumn in the Home

16 Traditions for Halloween and Thanksgiving

Book Reviews

17 The Writer’s Workshop 17 The Well-Trained Mind

7 Her Leaf Pile 19 An Affair with the Sky

Articles express the opinions of their authors alone and not necessarily of Stance as an organization, Brigham Young University, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Unless otherwise stated, all photography is in the public domain.

Do you have comments, compliments, questions, or concerns? Contact us at Connect with us through our blog for updates on current issues as well as other useful information:

Election 2012 The elections are coming. But I didn’t have to tell you that—each one of your friends on Facebook has been reminding you of that for the past six months. But, even though we are constantly bombarded with election-day information, how many of us actually know what are on the ballot in our own state? Listed below is a sampling of some of the most important social issues up for vote this November. Many of these races are tight, so an absentee vote from a college student a thousand miles away could make a huge difference. For more ballot issues and information, you can visit

Abortion Florida – Amendment 6 – This amendment to the state constitution, if passed, would ban all public funding “for any abortion or for health-benefits coverage that includes coverage of abortion.”

Education South Dakota – Teachers Union Veto Referendum, Referred Law 16 – A vote for this referendum would uphold a bill signed into law by South Dakota governor Dennis Daugaard that established a rating system for teachers, created a bonus program for exemplary teachers, and eliminated state requirements for teacher tenure. This bill also funded a scholarship program for college students who commit to teach in South Dakota’s critical needs areas. Maryland – In-State Tuition Referendum, Question 4 – This bill, made law in 2011, would grant illegal immigrants in-state tuition at community colleges, provided they fulfill certain requirements pertaining to high school attendance, tax filing, and intent to apply for permanent residency. A vote against this referendum would be a vote to repeal the referred law.

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Same-sex Marriage Maine – Same-sex Marriage Question, Question 1 – The language of this question reads, “Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?” This law, as it seems, would not protect dissenting clergy and adoption agencies. A midSeptember poll from Public Policy Polling (PPP) found 53 percent of those polled supported the measure while 44 percent opposed. Maryland – Maryland Same-Sex Marriage Referendum, Question 6 – This referendum is a response to the Civil Marriage Defense Act. A vote against this referendum would be a vote against samesex marriages. This act does, however, preserve the right of clergy to choose not to perform same-sex marriages. It does not, however, protect Christian adoption agencies from refusing adoption to same-sex couples. A Washington Post poll taken October 11–15 shows that 52 percent favored the referendum while 43 percent opposed. Minnesota – Amendment to Article XIII of state constitution – This proposed amendment would preserve marriage as a union between one man and one woman. According to an early October PPP poll, 46 percent of Minnesotans favor the amendment and 49 percent oppose. Washington – Same-sex Marriage Referendum, Referendum 74 – As in Maryland, this referendum is in favor of same-sex marriages. This referendum would protects both opposed clergy and adoption agencies from a mandate to provide their services to samesex couples. The most recent Elway Poll shows that those polled favored the referendum by a twelve-point margin—52 percent to 40 percent. compiled by Dustin Schwanger


Scenes and Sounds from

General Conference Photography by Alissa Strong and James Voss

A sure witness from the Holy Ghost carries far more certainty than a witness from any other source. President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that “the Spirit of God speaking to the spirit of man has power to impart truth with greater effect and understanding than the truth can be imparted by personal contact even with heavenly beings.” The Holy Ghost is also known as the Comforter. During times of trouble or despair or simply when we need to know that God is near, the Holy Ghost can lift our spirits, give us hope, and teach us “the peaceable things of the kingdom,” helping us feel “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding.” – Elder Craig C. Christensen, Of the Presidency of the Seventy, “An Unspeakable Gift from God”


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When it comes to living the gospel, we should not be like the boy who dipped his toe in the water and then claimed he went swimming. As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we are capable of so much more. For that, good intentions are not enough. We must do. Even more important, we must become what Heavenly Father wants us to be. Declaring our testimony of the gospel is good, but being a living example of the restored gospel is better. Wishing to be more faithful to our covenants is good; actually being faithful to sacred covenants—including living a virtuous life, paying our tithes and offerings, keeping the Word of Wisdom, and serving those in need—is much better. Announcing that we will dedicate more time for family prayer, scripture study, and wholesome family activities is good; but actually doing all these things steadily will bring heavenly blessings to our lives. - Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, “Of Regrets and Resolutions”

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The importance of gaining knowledge is an eternal principle. The Prophet Joseph Smith “loved knowledge for its righteous power.” He said: “Knowledge is necessary to life and godliness. . . . Hear, all ye brethren, this grand key: knowledge is the power of God unto salvation.” All truth and knowledge is important, but amidst the constant distractions of our daily lives, we must especially pay attention to increasing our gospel knowledge so we can understand how to apply gospel principles to our lives. - Sister Ann M. Dibb, Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, “I know it. I live it. I love it”

The gift of faith is a priceless spiritual endowment. “This is life eternal,” Jesus prayed, “that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”2 Our faith is centered in God, our Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. It is bolstered by our knowledge that the fulness of the gospel has been restored to the earth, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that prophets and apostles today hold the keys of the priesthood. We treasure our faith, work to strengthen our faith, pray for increased faith, and do all within our power to protect and defend our faith. – Elder Neil L. Andersen, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Trial of Your Faith”


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Her Leaf Pile by Lanae Carmichael Orange, yellow, brown, and red Fall upon her little head. Speckles in her windblown hair Rosy cheeks kissed by autumn air Crispy crumbles cascading down Crashing to colorful crunches Piled on the ground. Gathering the autumn leaves Another handful she heaves Higher and higher her prized heap grows, Higher and higher under her toes. Up the ladder and onto the slide Sitting swiftly on her backside Brighter and brighter her smile glows; Tighter and tighter her green eyes squeeze closed -whooshing Down the shiny slide, Riding through the air She glides. Into the pile she collides Tumbles of laughter Tumbles of leaves Crunching crisply underneath The light touch of her bare feet She stops to smile I fall to my knees Not much I can give her But You gave her the leaves

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An Invitation

to Take a Stance with Faith, Hope, and Charity

by John Livingstone, PhD I am honored and delighted to serve as advisor to the Stance For the Family publications. I read the Summer 2011 issue of their academic journal with great interest; the talent, insights, topics, and stories were both impressive and interesting. The student editors have done a magnificent job monitoring content of this publication and choosing articles that are in harmony with BYU standards on issues related to the family. Current societal pressures related to the family are heavy and agenda prone in today’s society. Even the very elect may become confused by the pressure to be politically correct in the present atmosphere of the nation.

The Relationship Between the Plan of Happiness and Agency It is my firm belief that Heavenly Father’s plan is a very romantic plan and that marriage and equal partnership between a man and a woman maximizes human happiness. To then bear children, rear and imbue them with gospel truths, and surround them with love and respect creates the potential for heaven on earth. To examine a converse situation, three years ago, several colleagues and I created a book entitled Understanding Same-Sex Attraction. This publication attempted to examine same-sex attraction through the lenses of religious doctrine, science, and personal witness from those who had been in and out of the homosexual lifestyle. Participating in this effort gave


me a new perspective on an age-old issue, and it helped me see that deciding whether to follow a faithful gospel path or go another way is a personal decision. We are responsible for our beliefs and our faith. We ultimately decide what we will believe and how we will act on those beliefs. Incidentally, many who struggle with controlling their behavior will often change their beliefs rather than try to change bring their behaviors and bring them more under their personal control. Furthermore, each of us has been endowed with talent and potential, weakness and propensity. Consequentially, our moral trajectory is determined by our agency. Father Lehi proposed that the course of the natural man is downward, and he therefore encouraged us to “not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom” (2 Nephi 2:29). It is an undeniable fact that each of us experiences the shortcomings and temptations of the natural man. However, we are not obligated to succumb to these temptations simply because they are presented to us—learning to control and manage our mortal body is a challenge we all face. And quite frankly, we cannot overcome human nature without a spiritual rebirth. Spiritual rebirth involves a determination to “train” the flesh (Proverbs 22:6), and perhaps ultimately an endowment of power given in a temple of God. This

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power allows us to see through the “mists of darkness” (1 Nephi 12:17) and prepares us to live the lifestyle of our heavenly parents. Even with this endowment of power, we are still responsible for our determination to do good, the strength of our faith, the use of our agency, and our resulting behavior. That such an organization as Stance For the Family exists to help us learn to behave in ways that encourage strong faith, proper use of agency, and appropriate behavior is a testament to the commitment of BYU students to swim upstream against the current of the surrounding world. By the same token, I believe that many of our ancestors would stand aghast against the challenges we face living in today’s American society. After all, it is a wicked world.

Change and Correction with Charity However, simply labeling someone or something as wicked does not in and of itself encourage the change from wickedness to happiness—in the case of an unrighteous individual, separating the person from the problem is usually essential in order to begin the change. Nuancing the conversation is a necessary first step in helping others to recognize their plight and then to institute changes that will help them overcome the problem or problems they are facing. Articles published in Stance for the Family can facilitate this process. When we provide accurate information, proper interpretation, and appropriate application, many, if not all, of life’s problems can be positively affected. Similarly, young mothers and fathers soon learn that their children will not stand for disrespectful correction; the same is true of any relationship in which one person is trying to correct the other. Interestingly, even slight prejudices of the person doing the correcting will be sniffed out by those who have become sensitized to the vulnerabilities inherent in their own weaknesses. They do this because they do not want to be disrespected by

or even defined by their malady. And some may take a defensive or abrasive position relative to their condition as a result. Charity, the pure love of Christ, facilitates the likelihood of change and is an excellent tool with which to avoid disrespectful correction. In fact, change is actually what repentance is all about—a change of mind and a change of behavior. When individuals begin to exercise faith and try to change, they usually begin to feel hope as well. That hope leads to humble gratitude, which, in turn, leads to charity and compassion for others who also struggle. And so we see that faith, hope, and charity are on the same continuum. Interestingly, the path that leads from faith and hope to charity is mirrored in the path that leads from socializing, dating, and courtship to engagement and marriage. Consequentially, I invite you to take a personal stance for the family and exercise faith in Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness so that it can have its effect in your life. Then humbly share that stance with others who may be influenced by your beliefs and your faith as you speak, as you write, and as you live your life.

Dr. John P. Livingstone helped to produce the carefully researched book, Understanding Same-Sex Attraction: Where to Turn and How to Help.The book combines science, doctrine, and personal perspectives to help its audience understand same-sex attraction.The book is available through the BYU Bookstore or Amazon.The book is also available for download or e-book format through the Foundation for Attraction Research website: O c to b e r / N o v e m b e r 2012


Dinner in a

by Sara Bitterman People generally associate crisp air, colored leaves, and pumpkins with autumn. While colored leaves create an unparalleled beauty, and the crisp air forces you to dig out your coat, pumpkins have become a staple of the fall season and its holidays. Jack-o’lanterns are carved for Halloween, and pumpkin pies are made for Thanksgiving. And let’s not forget those delicious pumpkin-flavored treats! So what sets pumpkins apart from other vegetables and makes them so great? Pumpkins contain tons of nutrients, one of which is betacarotene. Beta-carotene causes the pumpkin to be orange in color and, when consumed, is converted to Vitamin A (an essential nutrient for the body). Beta-carotene is also converted into retinol, which is

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good for the eyes. It is also believed to reduce the risk of heart disease. Pumpkin meat is low in calories and high in fiber; the seeds are high in protein, iron, and Vitamin B. While many people think to make a variety of sweets from pumpkins, there are also many healthier pumpkin recipes that make for a great main dish. A few years ago, my mom found a recipe for cooking dinner inside a pumpkin. I was skeptical at first— thinking that pumpkins were only good for carving and that pumpkin pie filling only came in cans. However, the result was delicious, surprising my whole family. If you want to make a dish that is nutritious and reminiscent of the fall, go ahead and try this recipe.

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1 medium pumpkin (You can also use acorn or butternut squash) 1 onion, chopped 1 teaspoon garlic, chopped 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 lbs ground beef ½ cup chopped celery 2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1 can mushrooms (4 oz) 1 cream of mushroom soup (15 oz) 1 ½ cups cooked rice 1 can sliced water chestnuts (8 oz) Salt Pepper Vegetable oil

1. Cut off the top of the pumpkin and thoroughly clean out the pulp and seeds. Lightly coat the inside of the pumpkin with salt and pepper. 2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

3. In a large skillet, sauté onions, garlic, and celery in vegetable oil until tender. Add meat and brown. 4. Drain drippings from skillet.

5. Add soy sauce, mushrooms, brown sugar, and soup. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 6. Add cooked rice and water chestnuts.

7. Spoon the mixture into cleaned pumpkin shell and replace pumpkin top.

8. Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet. Bake 1 hour or until the meat of the pumpkin is tender. 9. Put the pumpkin on a plate, remove the lid, and serve the ground beef. Scoop out the meat of the pumpkin and serve as the vegetable.

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The Domicile Dilemma:

Provo by Dustin Schwanger



Many great things happen as a result of marriage: wedding receptions, honeymoons, babies, and being allowed to live more than two miles away from BYU. Students, for once in their collegiate lives, aren’t forced to live in the same two-mile bubble with the twenty thousand or so other nonmarried undergrads; the entire Utah Valley is open for newlyweds to settle. Even with this newly found liberty, most married students want to stay relatively close to campus—no one wants to fight the incessant highway construction just to get to school. Some even want to live in on-campus married housing, referred to by both believers and critics as the “rabbit hutches.” In the other extreme, some more adventurous newlyweds make the ten-mile trek down to the more rural area of Springville. Most other married students live somewhere in between. But how do you decide whether city or country living is the life for you? Neither location has any major drawbacks, so it is time to look at some specific characteristics of Provo and Springville to help choose.


This is the city that we are all used to and is the easiest choice to opt for once we get married. But, lots of


things change when we get married, and there are many new factors to consider when picking a place to live. In Provo, a few of the important considerations are convenience, ward styles, and social life.


Attending classes, working two jobs, running two student publications, applying for grad school and more jobs, and expecting a baby in March with my wife still in school—I’m a bit busy. This isn’t the married reality I saw before I got married. I thought something along the lines of, “There are two of us now, so maybe I’ll have twice the amount of extra time.” But reality set in, and my time just seems to vanish now. Some of this vanished time can be reclaimed through living in a place like Provo where school and basically everything else—except, maybe, peace and quiet—are close by.

Big Wards

The first Sunday of church, my wife, Caitlin, and I walked into the chapel to see not only the overflow area open but chairs set up all the way to the back wall of the gym. I thought it was impossible that there could be that many people at church—lucky for

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us we got there early. I’ve never seen anything like it, an eight-hundred member ward, with just about all eight hundred members active. Probably not all wards in Provo are that big, but it’s important to consider whether you will be comfortable in a church that size.

Social Life

The bright side of being in such a large ward and community is that it helps newly married couples to overcome the none-of-my-friends-hang-outwith-me-anymore phenomenon. When we get married, we generally have to reestablish a main group of friends. In Provo, there are plenty of opportunities to meet the other married couples through big ward activities and similar activities on campus. This is especially well suited for social butterflies (which Caitlin and I are not) because of the neverending supply of new people to meet in such a densely populated area.

Springville For those that don’t know—I didn’t before I saw a little card advertising an apartment for rent there— Springville is the town directly south of Provo. It is a very different place from Provo. I walk out many mornings to the fresh smell of cow manure and goats. Besides the rural, small-town feel, Springville is great for students who want cheaper housing and peace and quiet. Commuting via the bus system from Springville to Provo can also be a plus for some students.

Cheaper Housing

Our first apartment in Springville was a small studio basement apartment. We paid—including all utilities, internet, and access to our landlady’s washer and dryer—$390 a month. I don’t know of

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a better deal in Springville or Provo. We have since moved next door into a fairly spacious one-bedroom basement apartment and pay about $475 a month— this includes rent and utilities and is another great deal. Neither of these apartments is run down or in a bad neighborhood. Springville is definitely worth looking at if money is tight.

Peace and Quiet

Loud music, people yelling, lots of traffic—these are all reasons that I prefer Springville to Provo. (I’ve tried to stay as objective as I could, but I’ve finally outed myself.) In Springville, we are surrounded by a combination of college-aged couples, families, and older people. There isn’t really anyone to cause a ruckus. We can go to sleep without the fan on or earplugs in.


Buses aren’t for everyone. The bus is one place in Springville where peace and quiet are not. The buses get crowded, loud, and sometimes vulgar. If it gets too loud, I usually just put earplugs in. The benefit that makes dealing with the sometimesobnoxious people on the bus worth it is the chance to read. During the forty minutes I’m on the bus everyday, I can read about twenty pages. I’m reading a 180-page book right now, and I’ll finish in less than two weeks—using just the time that I’m riding the bus.

Summary The choice of whether to live in the faster-paced, more social Provo or the quieter, more rural Springville definitely depends on the couple’s personalities. I have decided that country life is the life for me. But, each couple is different, and no matter what motivates you, make sure you consider all your options.


Five Principles American Leaders Could Learn from American Families by Christy Hinkson Election years have a way of helping citizens scrutinize their government, specifically its accomplishments and progress (or the lack thereof ). We then have the privilege of voting either to retain or to replace the leaders we currently have. As I observe the state of our nation, I can’t help but think that there are some sensible principles which govern successful American families that the government can follow and thereby enjoy greater success. Let’s discuss five principles followed by successful families that deserve emulation.

needs, obligations, and wants, the family often bands together to find ways to save. They bring lunch instead of buying lunch, ride a bike instead of driving a car, or discontinue memberships and other optional services; they cut back so that they are able to meet their needs and obligations. These practices are common sense for a successful family and would also work well on the national landscape.

They live within their means.

When children do things that please their parents, their parents naturally want to reinforce that behavior. To do so, they do nice things in return so that the children will have an incentive to repeat the good behavior. In contrast, sometimes the government makes the mistake of punishing good behavior (e.g., overtaxing successful citizens) and rewarding bad behavior (e.g., offering free benefits and services to those who enter the country illegally). Positive reinforcement of good behaviors could work wonders for our nation.

Parents learn, through either good or bad experiences, that there is a limited amount of money available to meet the needs and obligations of the family. When they spend more money than they bring in, they incur debt and in doing so place themselves in bondage—it is more difficult to get out of debt than it is to fall into debt. When a successful family sees that there is not enough money to meet their

They reward good behavior.

They expect everyone to contribute. In a successful family everyone is expected to help with the household chores; even the young children are expected to contribute. The government could learn from this example by exercising a more fair approach to what it requires of its citizens. Imagine giving your children the following choices, emulating the government’s current approach to taxation:


Work really hard and earn 8 dollars and give 4 dollars to me.

Work kind of hard and earn 4 dollars and keep all your earnings.

Don’t work at all and I will give you 4 dollars.

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What would your child choose to do? What would happen to the child’s initiative? What would happen to your earnings? Everyone is happier when everyone contributes to the common good of the family. The same principle works for a nation.

They teach positive values. Parents in successful families feel a responsibility to teach and reinforce good values in their children. They are not afraid to defend what they consider to be right and good when faced with opposition. Our nation was founded on principles of goodness and has at its roots a strong moral foundation. Social erosion has been wearing away at the very foundation of our nation’s uprightness. In today’s society it has become nearly unacceptable to promote even the most basic good practices (e.g., prayer, worship, morality in the youth, etc.)—the Constitution has even been twisted to prohibit religion even though it was designed to protect religion. If this country would like to succeed, it must have citizens of a high moral fiber who are not afraid to encourage the teaching and practicing of positive values.

subsequent decisions in the future. We know that what we sow, we will undeniably reap sometime down the road. Parents have an inborn desire to make things better in the world for their children. Government, on the other hand, has been accused of kicking the can down the road and acting irresponsibly at the expense of future generations. Sometimes we are critical of the condition of other nations, while at the same time we put into place the identical policies that lead to those exact conditions. Many politicians are more concerned with making a visible change now than they are with making a lasting contribution to a more stable future. Our country would be better off if we took the long view more often. Families do not have a monopoly on these sensible principles; I think that most people have seen the fruits of these principles in successful families, and could achieve similar results on their own. Similarly, incorporating these principles and practices into our government would stabilize our nation. Perhaps we do not need to dream up new ideas to solve age-old issues; perhaps we need only to put into practice these principles of successful families that have been proven time and time again.

They see the big picture. Enlightened families know that the immediate is not the only reference point that is worthy of our consideration. They realize that even though our babies don’t sit up and say “thank you dear mother, I feel so much better now” after every diaper change, we are still doing something important. We realize that our decisions and practices today are building upon our ability to function and make

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Autumn in the Home Perhaps at the beginning of my sophomore year in high school, my mother and I began a search for new ways to preserve our precious fall leaves—while using a flower press was a fine technique for little Adrienne, teenage Adrienne now realized that pressed leaves eventually faded and inevitably crumbled. Our search led us to paraffin wax, and that fall we went leaf-dippin’ crazy! Almost the entire kitchen counter was covered in leaves—it was glorious. And while I have recently reverted back to merely pressing leaves (in various books I know my husband has no interest in reading), I think that Chris and I have been married long enough that I can break out the paraffin this year and preserve my lovely leaves in the manner in which they deserve. – Adrienne Anderson

Preserving Leaves

It was my family’s most unorthodox and perhaps most cherished Thanksgiving ever. It did not end with a stomachache and food-coma-induced nap—it was the year my family did away with the turkey.We went fondue.

Rethinking the Turkey

The change came when my mom decided she was tired of devoting hours of labor to a meal that would only last thirty minutes (because that is what happens when you feed six teenage boys). The solution was fondue, something out of the ordinary, delicious, and best of all, took a long time to finish. After our traditional Turkey Bowl game, my mom and I busied ourselves in the kitchen. We made a golden pot of velvety cheese, a molten chocolate drizzle, and a satisfying platter of savory meats.The table was set, the lights were dimmed, and we took our seats. Thanksgiving dinner lasted twice as long, had twice as many laughs, and created twice as many memories. Although it made winning our annual weight-gaining contest impossible, it is the most special and fond Thanksgiving I can remember. – Shannon Wallace

One of the traditions my family had when I was younger was simply raking leaves together. Sometimes we would try to rake them up as fast as we could, and other times we would take our time, jumping in piles, having leaf fights, and burying ourselves in the leaves. Some of our funniest moments (and pictures) were created as we all worked together to rake up the leaves in our yard. Even though I’m now living on my own, every time autumn rolls around I have an itching to just go out and rake someone’s leaves! – Melissa Hart

Raking the Leaves


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Missionary Nerds

It was now an hour before the parade, and Jocelyn and I still didn't have a costume yet. The idea came when I saw my little brother’s

church shirt on his bed. There we stood, pens in our shirt pockets, clip on ties and ready to be introduced as the coolest nerds ever. Brother Taylor began to introduce us.“And next we have . . . umm . . . next we have the sister missionaries?” The rest of the night we tried to convince everyone that we were nerds—not sister missionaries. The boys laughed and our brothers kept asking why we wore their shirts. – Danielle Padilla

As a young child in Gaithersburg, A Crown of Maryland, I had easy access to maple Leaves leaves. I also had easy access to many nature-inspired crafting books. One such book, Linnea’s Almanac, had, among other clever crafts, instructions on how to weave a crown of leaves. With my mother’s help, I was able to do so—as evidenced by the picture. As my head has grown bigger (perhaps in more ways than one), finding adequate leaves to make a crown for myself has grown increasingly difficult. But you can bet your pumpkin pie that I will make crowns of leaves for my children when the time comes! – Adrienne Anderson

For years my family has made a “thankful tablecloth” at Thanksgiving.You and your family can do it, too! Take a plain, lightcolored tablecloth, and, using fabric markers, take turns writing what you are grateful for at your Thanksgiving dinner feast.Trace your hands, record the year, write a short story—whatever will help you and your family remember year after year all you’ve been given and all you have to be grateful for. – Rebecca Hamson

Thankful Tablecloth

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An Affair with

the Sky

by Jenna Hoffman I recently moved into a basement apartment. And it’s not just any old basement apartment where maybe you can still look up and out your window and see the tips of a few blades of grass and a sliver of sky to assure you that the natural world still exists somewhere. No, in my apartment, when I look out the window, I see a gray concrete wall, which, in addition to making me feel like I live in a prison compound, also effectively blocks out any feelings of hope or happiness or love or goodwill in general. Nothing above ground level—no rising sun; no setting sun; no airplane, nor bird, nor hot-air balloon; no star; no moon; no raincloud, nor any kind of cloud for that matter—can penetrate that wall. Essentially, inside my apartment, no part of the sky can subsist. Unless, of course, I stand on my roommate’s bed, bend myself in half, and twist my neck 180 degrees. Then perhaps I can glimpse a square foot of the heavens, crisscrossed by an ugly and unnecessary chainlink fence. But it’s not the same. I need the sky. The whole sky and nothing but the sky, because, for me, the

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sky is the canvas on which life’s big picture is painted. The sheer expanse of it helps me to see past my need to go grocery shopping, my upcoming test, my abrasive roommate, my bad day at work. It helps me see up and away and into the future. And especially on these crisp autumn days the sky seems, to me, especially magical and transcendent. You cannot argue that there isn’t something absolutely whimsical about that burnt October sunset, streaked with sunlit gray clouds that barely graze the tips of the silhouetted mountains in the west. There is something so refreshing about the yellow light on the horizon on a rainy morning, something so divine about a flock of birds soaring across the brilliant firmament of blue. And I ask you, is there a better way to enjoy such a view than snuggled on the couch, nursing a mug of hot cocoa and listening to Norah Jones? No, there is not. So, I beg you, don’t take your window for granted. Claim that blessing and go indulge in a look at the October sky—for me.

ta n nc c ee SS ta

or r t th h ee ff o

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Book Reviews The Writer’s Workshop: Imitating Your Way to Better Writing by Gregory L. Roper I read Gregory Roper’s The Writer’s Workshop: Imitating Your Way to Better Writing on my own, not as part of a class. This book is set up to work in a classroom environment, with assignments and interactions with classmates. It is set up in a pattern that Roper describes at the start: (1) respond to a prompt, (2) discuss results with classmates, (3) analyze a “master’s” work, (4) rewrite response, imitating master’s style, (5) discuss results with classmates, and (6) repeat, sometimes using the same prompt and imitating different masters to see how the styles lead to different forms of writing.

Although I didn’t use this book as it was principally intended (a supplement to writing courses), I did try some of the exercises and found them helpful—they stretched me as a writer, and I’ve written a lot for my literature major. The insights that Roper sprinkles throughout the text are helpful, if not always immediately applicable. While Roper states that this book can be useful for young writers, I would say that this might be above the level of, say, middle schoolers. Some terms, such as macro- and micro-structure, are not explained well enough for younger readers to get full benefit from using this book on their own. The ideas and structure of this book, however, will work in different settings if the teacher or writer is willing to make certain adaptations. This book offers a fresh angle on composition that writers can improve with and teachers can implement in their classrooms. – reviewed by Rachel Mahrt

The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer have worked together to create a guide to classical education—at home. The Well-Trained Mind is not only a full, pre–12 curriculum guide (including schedules for each year), it also provides a basic summary of the classical education and a list of recommended resources, as well as alternatives and further information for homeschooling families. The book is, of course, intended for homeschooling families, but there is a short chapter devoted to helping parents of public schooled children learn to implement its principles. The book outlines what to do from birth through the child’s senior year in high school. The child’s education is broken up into three stages: grammar (elementary school), logic (middle school), and rhetoric (high school). These stages focus on different aspects of education

O c to b e r / N o v e m b e r 2012

and are based on the child’s cognitive development. During the grammar years, the focus is on content and memorization; during the logic stage, the child learns about arguments and how to evaluate them; and during the rhetoric years, the child focuses on expression, having mastered facts and logic in previous stages. The Well-Trained Mind is inspiring—and a little intimidating. The authors are aware of this and repeatedly emphasize that they don’t expect anyone to complete everything outlined in the book. It is a guide that the parents can pick and choose from. Its greatest strength may lie in the ideal curriculum (including which books and supplies to buy and when to use them) being laid out—tried and tested by a real public school teacher turned homeschooler (Wise) and her daughter (Bauer), a “product” of the curriculum, now a professor, author (The History of the Ancient World, The History of the Medieval World, and The History of the Renaissance World [forthcoming]), and parent teaching her own children. It is a resource for involved parents everywhere. – reviewed by Caitlin Schwanger


Stance for the Family: Oct/Nov 2012  

Would you like to learn about how to strengthen your family while also viewing some of the best seasonal recipes and photography? Stance for...

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