Saturday, April 17, 2010

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

Just going through my English Companion's Tweets ( and found a cool website called The Daily Riff ( - lots of education information. One of the articles that caught my eye was about a book by Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind, and his new book, Drive.( The book is about intrinsic motivation vs. extrinsic. There is a link to an excerpt of the first chapter (maybe the intro, can't remember) in the article. It appears to be an excellent book, one I am going to buy. What really got me thinking as I was reading the excerpt, was 1) how can I be a better teacher by using intrinsic motivation, and 2) Wow! I think that is the way Heavenly Father works!

As I was reading, I realized that most of the gospel plan entails intrinsic motivation. Do we have external rewards for attending church, the temple, paying tithing, living the word of wisdom, etc. ...well, to a degree, but I think they are by-products of these activities, and not "rewards" per se. If we are able to get to the point that we recognize the intense satisfaction of doing good for doing good's sake, we have almost mastered our mortal body!

All through my university training, the debate raged concerning intrinsic and extrinsic--there were also those deriders who claimed that the church, society, our culture, etc. were actually inhibiting our basic human needs and rights, (the natural man?), there were even times when I questioned my motives for attending church, obeying traffic laws, and obeying societal laws. Reading this excerpt has made me stop and realize that I am not happy unless I am doing what I know to be right. There is nothing external in that motivation.

We are so blessed to have a loving Heavenly Father who allows us to find our own way--one of mankind's basic requisites. In the excerpt, Pink states: Human beings, Deci said, have an “inherent tendency to seek out novelty and challenges, to extend and exercise their capacities, to explore, and to learn.” Pink quotes Deci as saying "Rewards can deliver a short- term boost— just as a jolt of caffeine can keep you cranking for a few more hours. But the effect wears off— and, worse, can reduce a person’s longer-term motivation to continue the project."

I'm anxious to read both of these books--but I feel as though I've had an epiphany! If I can learn to teach so as to allow my students to become intrinsically motivated, and if I can live my life to ensure I am intrinsically motivated, then I've won half the battle!

(OK, enough soap-box...)

Saturday, January 9, 2010


I met an old friend at the store yesterday and the first thing she said to me was, "You haven't updated your blog in a long time!" I realized then that I should be better at this than I have been. It seems that life passes me by, but I tell my creative writing students that in order to be a good writer, they should be writing every day. That should be incentive enough for me to write at least every week! I've always told my students I wouldn't give them any assignment that I wouldn't do.'s my assignment! I am going to organize my life to be able to follow my own advice. There is so much to do and so little time, but hey, my shows don't start up again for two weeks...just kidding. (Thanks, Latu for my TiVo!)

Quick update--I finally finished the Special Ed classes..yipee!!! I passed every class with an A or A- giving me a 3.88 GPA. Not bad for an old lady! I just need to take the Praxis II (for my teaching license) and the Praxis for SpEd and I will be officially done and certified. My next goal is to get my Master's in English with an emphasis on Reading. I think that will have to wait until next year, though. I was hoping to start this year, but I'm not financially ready to do that.

Speaking of being an old lady...last week I was in the store with Mason and he said to me, out of the blue, "Grandma, why are you so old?" I said "Because I've been alive a long time." He thought for a minute, then said, "I want a new grandma!" He cracks me up!

Can I just say that I LOVE being a grandma! I'm not anything close to the wise, loving, wonderful grandma my mother was (or her mother, for that point), but I love my grandkids. I have had all the materials to make them quiet books for a year and a half. I have not been able to motivate myself to get them done. I finally figured out why. I am so completely OCD (and ADHD and a bunch of other initialisms) that I can't stand the thoughts their quiet books would look "homemade." I am now in the process of making them tote-bags (a job I can reasonably expect will not look homemade) and I will fill it with all the cutesy things I can find and make to keep them quiet during church. This will also serve another purpose that was upsetting me; I can let the t0te-bag "grow-up" with them. I can add more mature activities as they get older.

Well, enough of my rambling. I need to get to work on the tote-bags.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

OK, you may have noticed that I stopped that last blog rather abruptly. I didn't start the blog with any intent other than great it turned into a sob-fest about my mom, I'll never know. I just know that I miss her and somehow everything I do or say reminds me of her. I wasn't able to keep writing about her without seriously breaking down--and I can't break down--can't lose face :0


I am constantly amazed at how good the simplest of foods can be. I was out of money and needed to make breakfast for my three grandkids (I LOVE being a grandma!) so I got online to get a good pancake recipe. I found Alton Brown's Instant Pancake Mix. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven! Of course, like any good cook, I changed it up a little. But not much. Here is the link: and here are the changes I made.
1. I doubled the recipe for the mix and added 2 extra tablespoons sugar.
2. I didn't have a lidded container, so I just put it in my Kitchen-aid and mixed it dry
3. I didn't separate the eggs
4. I didn't really measure the buttermilk, just threw in what was left, it was probably 2 1/2 cups
5. I added more plain milk 'cuz I like my pancake mix a little more runny.

I know why I look the way I do. I have had a long love affair with good, simple foods! My mother and both of my grandmothers were exceptional cooks. Food has always been a big part of our lives. I remember the best breakfast I ever had. I think I was about 7 or 8 and we were spending the summer in New Mexico at my grandma and grandpa Hassell's. Grandma told us the story of Little Red Riding Hood and then made us Bear Porridge. It was sooooo good! All I can remember is that she browned flour in a frying pan, added water, and milk. I tried numerous times after that to duplicate her recipe. I even called and asked grandma for her recipe. Her response? "I don't remember doing that. I never have had a recipe for Bear Porridge. I think I may have been out of food so I told you guys it was Bear Porridge."

I realize now that it wasn't the porridge. It was the story, the love my grandma always gave us, the feeling of closeness to the woman I saw barely once a year. The porridge has come to signify my grandmother. She could take, literally, nothing and make something out of it. Food or people...she worked her magic with our souls as well as our bodies.

My mother inherited that from her mother...she inherited her feistiness from her dad. She was the perfect combination of angel and demon. I really, really, REALLY miss my mom!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I got a phone call from my OCD daughter the other day telling me that I need to stop enabling her. Funny thing is everytime she wants me to do something for her and I remind her about her phone call, she tells me she didn't mean it for this or that, I just need to stop enabling her for everything else. What? does she want me to stop enabling her or not? Then I read her Benjamin post today and I totally understand. She just wants to be in charge of when I enable her or when I don't. She is so silly!

Just a side note - Latu told me I HAVE to post today, it is...he,he,he...gotcha!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Hidden Blessings

I guess I'd better start answering my phone! Yesterday during 8th period I got two phone calls from a 253 area code. I was in the middle of class, and thought it might be from Kenny or Kelly and I'd call them back. Then just as school ended, I had been on hold with the IRS for 15 minutes and they had just answered when I got 3 phone calls from another strange phone number in Utah. Again, I didn't want to give up my phone call to the IRS so I ignored the call. Soon after my classroom phone started ringing but I couldn't get to it because my homeroom team was meeting and they had moved the desks. Once again, I thought I would call back and then promptly forgot. About 1/2 hour later, I got a phone call from Talia. She informed me that Vili and Darl had been in an accident - they didn't have their phone with them - and she was on her way to pick them up and bring them home.

Vili had been in SLC for a doctor's appointment, and I had let Darl go with him at the last minute. On the way home, Vili took a drink of water and it wouldn't go down. He was choking and thought he had pulled the car to the inside emergency lane and told Darl he was in trouble. In actuality, he had blacked out. Instead of relaxing, as a normal person would, Vili became rigid with a death grip on the steering wheel and his leg pushing the gas pedal down. They hit the cement barricade in the median, then cut across the freeway hitting two cars. Then they went down the embankment towards the new theater at Thanksgiving Point, and ended up going straight for the theater. Poor Darl had been yelling at his dad and trying to turn the wheel to avoid an accident, but with Vili's death grip and the fact that he kept trying to turn against Darl's attempts, he had been unable to do anything. They were on Frontage Road at this point and a car was coming straight at them. Darl shoved Vili's hands off the steering wheel, yanked it to the left back up the embankment and was finally able to slam the gears into park. As soon as they got back to the top and the car slammed to a stop, Vili came to. He missed the entire thing! In fact, he tried to put the car into gear and drive on. Darl yelled at him that they couldn't go and took the key out of the ignition. Vili got angry and tried to put the key back in before he realized they were on the opposite side of the freeway from what he thought they should be. They had dragged 400 feet of fence with them and the tires were flat--the car is totaled, but no one is hurt! One of the cars they hit must not have stopped, because it is not on the police report, the other car was hit and the lady went to the hospital, but the policeman said she should be fine, nothing major.

Through all of this, the only thing I can think of is how grateful I am for all the little things that Heavenly Father blessed us with yesterday. I didn't go with Vili because I had missed work Monday with the flu. I figured he would be alright because he was just going for a check up. Darl asked to go with him and I told him no because he has missed too much school already - when we dropped him off at school, he called and begged to go. I relented without much opposition because for some reason I felt it would be OK for him to go. If Darl had not been there, I know Vili would be dead! Also, I had told Vili to trade and take Latu's Durango because it was bigger - he decided not to and took Pene's car instead. If he had taken the Durango, they would have rolled because it has too high center of gravity, and they would have both been hurt. I am grateful they were both wearing their seatbelts. I am grateful we had insurance, albeit only liability, but we have not always had insurance. I am grateful we had not fixed Pene's leaking radiator (or water pump) yet, because it would have been an entire waste of money. I am grateful Mason did not go with them!

Darl wouldn't go to school today - but that is OK, also. They are both alive, and no one was seriously hurt. I truly have so much to be grateful for!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Out of the mouth of babes

Ok, don't ever tell Darl I called him a baby - he may never forgive me. I just wanted to share Darl's words of wisdom. I write the day and date and a quote on my whiteboard everyday for school. I was putting up my new bulletin boards yesterday and Darl told me he wanted to write the quote of the day for me. I told him sure. Not only did he write the quote, but he made it up! This is his quote: "The choices we make are not only a reflection of our earliest teachers, but also the strength of our minds." I was so impressed! He really is wise beyond his years - but again, don't tell him I said that or I'll never hear the end of it! ;)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Following in the tradition of greatness...

After reading Pam's, Stacie's, Chandie's and Jenna's blogs, I decided I needed to write a few "Mason quotes".

Me: "Mason, get over here now."
Mason: ahma (gramma)- "bye bye"
Mason: with a sideways glance to see if I'm listening - "go house!"
Me: "Did you just tell me to go in the house?"
Mason: running to the sidewalk laughing wildly!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I am woman--hear me roar!

Yesterday some old friends stopped by to say hello. Sila was working on Latu's Durango and Vili and the rest of us were hanging around. While we were talking, the noise got louder and louder across the street. There were four guys and two girls and they were arguing. We ignored them, but all of a sudden Pene said "Mom, he hit her!" I turned in time to see one of the guys hitting one of the girls, he had her down on the ground and was about to hit her again when I yelled "HEY! STOP THAT!" No sooner had I yelled, when my tall strong son, my tall strong husband, and our friend started across the street. You can imagine what would happen if you saw Sila, Vili, and Ron coming across the street after you. They all dissipated except for one of the guys who lives upstairs, (we have a good relationship with them, the other guys live in the basement apartment), who came to tell Vili sorry. The girls took off down the road, but soon they were fighting each other--I have no doubt the girls instigated the whole thing--so I called the cops. I realized how much I have taken for granted my whole life that if I roar--as I am oft to do--my dad, or brothers, or husband, or sons, or friends will back me up. I have no fear, but I might not feel that way if I didn't have the men in my life that I have. As my "men" came back across the road, Ron said to me, "Boy, I wouldn't want to mess with you!" Just a side-note. Pene told me that one of the girls, (not the one who was hit), is her old friend from grade school named Sara. I forbade Pene from playing with her and Pene was furious at me for a while. Now she says, "I'm so glad you didn't let me play with her. She has 3 kids, I don't think she is married, and she is running after guys and in trouble."

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Life keeps coming way too fast! I just want to pull on the reins and say WHOA!!!! Not only am I getting older, but my kids are too! (and grandkids!!!) That's not fair. OK, so life isn't fair. But if I have to get old, I should at least be able to figure out how to manage school, work, family, and church. I just keep dropping things I can't do and I'm too old to bend down and pick up my life. Anyway, I promised Pam I'd blog, so here it is, but now that I've read it I sound like a complainer...which I guess I am in a in keeping with my resolve to be more grateful, I am so grateful for the family I have. You have put up with so much of my stupidity and you still love me. I think of each of you daily even though I don't call or write. I miss my mommy! But I'm glad she isn't suffering and I know she's happy no matter how trite that sounds.
Gotta go!
Love you all!