• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Thursday, July 10, 2014


For my 1st English class we had to write a "This I Believe" essay, and make a short screen-cast. For me it was very difficult. I had never done such a thing before. The result did get me an excellent grade but I was very stressed. I did not publish to the 'This I Believe' website.

I have finally decided to share the essay and screen-cast. If the link doesn't work just copy this information ( ) to your browser and wait for the screen-cast to load.

FDEng 101~ 66
Elisabeth Thomas
14 October 2013

Pencil . . . and Erasures

I like short pencils. I don’t break pencils in half on purpose, but I prefer that length; and yes, I most often write in pencil. My husband, on the other hand, likes new pencils. We are a pair.

As his long pencils become “too short,” I acquire perfect just-my-size pencils to wear out. Let me, however, clarify. I believe in pencil—not pencil as a noun: an inexpensive “instrument having a tapered point for its application”[1] in drawing, marking, or writing; but pencil as a verb: a process of action and ongoing change for the making of non-permanent impressions, as may occur during the use of a pencil (or other objects) to “outline, sketch, or delineate.”[2]

“Pencil” is the easily-smeared, simple-to-change and re-order, uncommitted-gray evidence of evolving life. It is what occurs prior to inked permanence. Pencil is readily “rubbed out, effaced, expunged, and obliterated.” It can “utterly cease to exist.”[3] Pencil is the ability to tentatively try, erase mistakes, and try again to improve error and success. I like that erasures eradicate. Pencil permits me to experiment, to attempt all things without the necessity to be perfect—yet. It may begin with a clearly defined point, but often finds its greatest value long after, down among rounded, fat, smudged, hasty scribbles jotted before (and even as) the scratching wood compels a pause that re-sharpens or shapes an instrument, thought or action.

At heart I am an artist. I revel in music, art, dance, and literature, yet can only execute discordant notes, simple sketches, and stumbling steps; and when I write, words pile upon hasty words spilling directly from mind to page. I am a novice.

Although I accept I have not (and may never) master any endeavor, I am in awe of talent of all kinds. I love sports, but you would pick me last to be on your team.Science and mathematics astound my mind, but I fail to grasp more than the edge of a vision of possibilities.

I do have talents. They begin with what I do best—trying. I do what I can to satiate my visceral hunger to perfect my existence by focusing on what I can do—leaving ignored absolutes of cannot. When accidents took my ability to run I learned, with great effort, to walk. After multiple piano teachers asserted, “lessons are wasting your money,” I continued to teach myself—constantly accessing new resources to train my mind and hands. I continue to practice.

I live in the same manner. In admiration of the greatest and noblest ideals, constantly seeking to follow inspiring examples, I pencil my ideas and acts next to those of the masters. I am continually comparing, erasing, adjusting, rearranging and re-ordering myself—I know I can become something more than I now am. I am not ready to be inked yet. I am willing to do and become better. I believe in pencil . . . AND erasures.

[1] Oxford English Dictionary, I 2
[2] Ibid I b
[3] Ibid see Erasures

Friday, July 4, 2014


Today is Friday. My favorite holiday is on Friday.

My favorite holiday is Good Friday.
What does that even mean?

I can only answer that for myself.
We must each find such meanings in our private ponderings.

I find expression of some answers in words spoken in Oct 2006 by Joseph B. Wirthlin, Apostle of Jesus Christ, and member of the Twelve Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

     "I think of how dark that Friday was when Christ was lifted up on the cross. On that terrible Friday the earth shook and grew dark ... evil men who sought his life rejoiced ... the veil of the temple was rent in twain ...

     "On that Friday the Apostles were devastated. Jesus, their Savior - the man who had walked on water and raised the dead - was Himself ... [seemed] overcome by His enemies.

     "On that Friday the Savior of mankind was humiliated and bruised, abused and reviled. It was a Friday filled with devastating, consuming sorrow that gnawed at the souls of those who loved and honored the Son of God  ... of all the days since the beginning of this world's history, that Friday was the darkest."

I have dark days in my life.

Days that seem like all light and hope is extinguished. Days and/or nights that seem to have no end.

Times of utter despair.

I suspect you do also.

I hope not, but also know it is part of living and dying, loving, serving and trying.

With rain, sometimes, we may ... if we wipe our eyes and lift them to look -

glimpse a rainbow, God's promise of hope to man.

Elder Wirthlin continues,

     "Each of us will have our own Fridays - those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.

     "But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death - Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.

     "No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, in this life or the next, Sunday will come."[emphasis mine]

I join my voice to Elder Wirthlin.


And every Sunday I will look again at the white cloth covering the sacrament table and remember the corpse of the Savior and then eat and drink the symbols of His triumph! His triumph that dispels my darkness. Dispels all darkness of all such 'Fridays'.

And with Elder Writhlin I will rejoice and

     " ... live in thanksgiving for the priceless gifts that come to us as [children] of a loving Heavenly Father and for the promise of that bright day when [I] shall rise triumphant from the grave. No matter how dark [my] Friday, Sunday will come.

     "The Resurrection transformed the lives of those who witnessed it. Should it not transform ours? We will all rise from the grave. On that day we will know the love of our Heavenly Father and will rejoice that the Messiah overcame all that we could live forever."

For now I listen to the advice of Isaiah in chapter 24 (verse 14) and sing in the darkness, "Glory to God on high ... tell what his arm has done, what spoils from death he won ..Praising His name ..." hymn 67

After the cold of Winter, Spring brought the change of seasons - the daffodils - the birds - the green - the light ... and now Summer has arrived,

And Sunday will come - even should seasons fail - even in the dark!