The best role for a female Shakespearean actor is Hermione in The Winter’s Tale.  Hermione, though absent for much of the play, dominates it with her nobility and grace.  Unlike Rosalind or Portia or others of Shakespeare’s strong women, Hermione never puts on a man’s clothes to show her power.  She is already empowered.  She states it herself when she is brought to trial for adultery, of which she is innocent. Since what I am to say must be but… Read more

This is a serious post. I personally hate book signings.  I did my first one twenty-six years ago.  I know when it was, because my twenty-six-year-old daughter was in a baby carrier.  I was still carrying the “I just had a baby” belly and trying to look glamorous.  There was another book signer next to me.  She was actually glamorous, and she had a prop which was not a baby.  She had a beauty queen.  A real one.  Crown on… Read more

This is a guest post by Kendell Coburn, a young man who was called to be a missionary in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and served in Cameroon. He was in the MTC branch which my husband and I helped with. When I was filming in the Congo last August, I met a young Cameroonian man, Jean-Claude Olama, who had just finished his mission and was headed back to Cameroon the next day. I mentioned Kendell Coburn’s name, and Elder… Read more

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to cast a play at Brigham Young University with a predominantly black cast? Of 30,000 students, there are 300 blacks, African and African American. Five years ago when we were mounting the play I Am Jane, I nabbed Charlie Beacham, a friend of mine, African American, who had been an important influence on my son when we we were doing a semester abroad in England. He said he couldn’t act, and… Read more

I did a guest post for Jana Reiss. Read more

The final scene in the Kickstarter video for Heart of Africa shows two young men, one white and one black, embracing tearfully. The audience surely senses their closeness, but won’t know their history. Jared Wigginton, the Anglo in that scene, was in the Missionary Training Center branch where my husband and I served. He was one of the missionaries headed to the Democratic Republic of Congo. When he let us know that we could email him, he became the first… Read more

Robert Wallace Blair was raised with one sister (Carolyn) and many animals—including this horse, Jupiter, and a dog, Trixy, who would follow the boy on his horse to uncharted territory in Santa Barbara, California. He had a gift for language and a hunger for faith, and united both in his LDS mission to Finland from 1951-1954. Upon his return, he attended the largest marriage academy on earth: Brigham Young University. Julia Gay Groberg was a musician, an actress, and often… Read more

The answer to the title’s question is NOT QUITE FOURTEEN. Juliet was two weeks shy of her fourteenth birthday. However, because of Shakespeare’s play, people assume that most women were in their mid-teens when they married during the renaissance. My husband has shown, after decades of research, using mostly primary documents, that the typical age of marriage for women in the renaissance was twenty-five or twenty-six. Men of the time were around age twenty-seven at marriage. Likewise, many assume that… Read more

I was doing garden work when two of my children ran up to me, panting. “Somebody got hit by a car!” my daughter managed. I inhaled sharply. My immediate reaction was to be sure my own children were safe. At these unthinkable moments, our deepest fear is that it was OUR child who was hurt. (more…) Read more

“Do you actually believe in GOD? Do you PRAY to him? Do you think he lives in the clouds?” These were the chants of my parents’ students in Shandong, China upon learning that Mom and Dad were Christians. The questions mocked–as though the askers had been collectively coached in how to deride religion. But outside the classroom, the questions and the tones changed. The year was 1980, just a decade after the Cultural Revolution. Mom and Dad, accompanied by my… Read more

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