Here is an opening attempt to catch up from all the December-post backlog. Most of our other tales of Christmas adventure have photos to go with them, but I am not currently in the mood to upload said photos, so please accept my humble offering of just one bit of image-free news from the 2008 Christmas with the Tams.
Over the past couple weeks of holiday, I have burrowed into uber amounts of purely enjoyable bookworming. From revisiting old friends (like Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot) to examining stranger territory (I'm now half-way through The Secret Life of Plants), my reading lately has spanned all sorts of diverse interests. Through all this reading, my brain feels refreshed and ready for a new semester. Never underestimate the value of a quality break from school to stimulate intellectual growth.
Recently BYU asked me to serve as part of a focal group to discuss possible changes in the academic calendar at my institution. Most of the other students in the group nodded along with me as I proposed that there is a need for adequate time off from classes in order to enhance the learning process. "Students need time to contemplate and absorb all the cramming of knowledge that happens during a semester," we decided. And indeed, even during the apparent random selection in my recent reading experiences, I have pondered the themes of my last several classes, and found principles gained during Fall Semester are now lodged more firmly in my heart and mind as a result of my free reading.
Furthermore, I have incorporated reading into one of my New Year's Resolutions. Sweet Husby and I both decided to complete another rereading of the Book of Mormon, beginning at January 1st, and finishing by General Conference in April of this year. We decided to do this "cover-to-cover" reading on an individual pace, because my husband will most likely get a lot of his reading done via audio recording while on his computer at work. Our bishop encouraged the entire ward to adopt this goal, but we Tams made it a matter of personal consideration because we both already had other scripture study programs in place. After some pondering and prayer, we decided to join with many of the others in our congregation to read the entire Book of Mormon in this 3 month time frame. Anybody else care to join us?
A prophetic statement of the blessings that will accompany our endeavor:
Without reservation I promise you that if each of you will observe this simple program, regardless of how many times you previously may have read the Book of Mormon, there will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.
--Gordon B. Hinckley