Sunday, December 16, 2007

Personal Update, and an Admonition to Blog!

First, I would like to joyously announce that as of Thursday, I have successfully completed a paralegal program! This is huge for me because it's the first ray of sunshine I've had in my path toward the bar. (The law kind, not the alcohol kind.) I'm now looking for a job in a law firm, so that I can quit my current dismal job. If everything goes according to plan, I should be able to go back to law school in the fall. Thank you to those of you who have kept me in your thoughts and prayers. I appreciate it.

I've been blogging now for a little over a year, but it's been sporadic. I'll go through periods where I'll be writing a lot, and I'll go through periods where I'll just read what other people have written. There's been talk around the Bloggernacle about whether the leadership of the church reads our blogs. Elder Ballard, in a talk given at the graduation for BYU-Hawaii, confirmed that they do. Students were admonished to start blogging about the church, because the conversation will happen whether or not we participate in it, and our voices need to be heard.

I would like to give a shout-out to Bookslinger. He's on a quest to flood the Earth with the Book of Mormon, and his blog was referenced in Elder Ballard's remarks. Keep up the awesome work!

I don't have much new to add. This talk is being discussed on several of the larger blogs in the 'nacle. It has renewed me with a desire to publish more often. I'm going to remember the theme scripture I chose for this blog, and I'm going to talk about the gospel throughout the day, and write it on The Posts of My House!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Give a Water Buffalo for Christmas

Janet over at Feminist Mormon Housewives has organized a donation drive for Heifer International. The Bloggernacle is teaming up to raise funds to help. The funds will be used to purchase livestock, which will be given to communities and individuals in need.

Wikipedia's entry on Heifer International reads:
Animals such as goats, water buffalo and camels are “seven M” animals: they provide meat, milk, muscle, manure, money, materials and motivation. Once its immediate needs have been met, a family is free to sell any excess at market. Heifer International provides a breeding animal along with the gift animal so that it can produce offspring. Participating families are required to “pass on the gift”, that is: they must give at least one of the female offspring to a neighbor who has undergone Heifer’s training. In time, that neighbor will pass along one of the offspring of its animal, and so on.
We're trying to raise $1,000 for the "Milk Menagerie". If you want to participate, you can join Team Bloggernacle by clicking here.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Happy Thanksgiving! I've decided to do a gratitude post, because I have so much to be thankful for. I was pondering on one of my favorite scriptures, found in 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
A lot of times it's easy to give thanks for the things we enjoy, but it's more difficult to give thanks for our trials. In Corrie Ten Boom's book The Hiding Place, Corrie and her sister were in a concentration camp, and they were living in a flea-infested barracks. Corrie was complaining about this, but her sister reminded her that we should be grateful for everything. Corrie decided that she was going to thank God for the fleas. What she didn't find out until later is that because of the fleas, the guards left the barracks alone, leaving them free to hold Bible study groups without interference.

In the spirit of Thessalonians and The Hiding Place, I'm going to list some things I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful for my extremely stressful job caring for developmentally disabled individuals, because it is helping me gain patience and charity.

I'm thankful that I had a chance to step back from law school and experience other things. This has helped me to know that law is really what I want to do, not just some default I picked because I can't do other things.

I'm thankful that my experience of being treated unjustly by my law school has given me compassion for others who have experienced injustice, and a greater desire to help them.

I'm also thankful for the traditional things that people are thankful for. I have a wonderful family, food on the table, a roof over my head, gas in my car, freedom to do as I please, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am truly blessed indeed.

What are you thankful for?

Friday, November 16, 2007

I'm Still Here...Really!

Once again, I have neglected blogging in favor of real life. Shame on me. ;-)

It's been a busy month. I got my LSAT score back, and I did better than before. Now I just have to get my applications in. I'm a few weeks away from graduating from a paralegal program, which should make me employable while I'm waiting to get back into law school. I don't really have the time or mental energy for a proper post, so I'm going to re-post a lengthy comment I placed on Mormon Mentality this evening.

It was an introductory getting-to-know-you thread with a bunch of questions for everyone to answer. So, without further ado, I present to you the life and times of Keri Brooks.

1) How did you find the bloggernacle, what drew you to blogging?

I don’t remember why, but one evening a little over a year ago, I was googling Christian Feminism, and I happened upon Feminist Mormon Housewives. I liked the lively conversations, and I started reading some of the other blogs, too.

2) Where were you born, are you LDS, were you raised in the church, how do you characterize yourself?
I grew up in San Jose, CA. I am LDS. I was not raised in the church, but I was baptized shortly before I turned 13. I characterize myself as a Christian, libertarian, feminist, sci-fi fan, head-in-the-clouds type, I guess.

3) Do you have a college degree?
Yes. BS in political science. I am doggedly pursuing a JD, but it’s taking longer than I thought.

4) Are you married? Kids?
No, and no. I am currently one of the rare breeds of YSAs insistent on attending a family ward despite great cultural pressure to attend a singles’ ward instead.

5) Where do you live?
Fremont, CA

6) Favorites:

1. Food- Burritos
2. Color- Blue
3. Movie- A Civil Action
4. Book- Atlas Shrugged
5. TV show- Bones
6. Blog- This is a tough call. I’m partial to both BCC and M*.

7) What is your most embarrassing moment?
I wasn’t raised in the church, but my grandparents are highly active members. When I was about 5 years old, they took me to primary one day. During sharing time, the primary president was trying to elicit answers from the kids. She asked, “What is the really big word we talked about last week?” Nobody said anything. I, of course, wasn’t there the previous week, so I didn’t know the answer. However, that has never stopped me from saying things. When it became clear to me that nobody was going to respond, I piped up with the biggest word I knew at the time: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

8 ) What’s your pet peeve?
When my roommate uses my dishes and then leaves them in the sink without washing them.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Marathon Weekend

This past weekend was a marathon. I re-took the LSAT, and I participated in the Bloggernacle Marathon Relay Race.

The LSAT wasn't that bad the second time around. I felt better prepared, and I arrived in plenty of time to avoid the stress of potential tardiness. Of course, they say that getting there is half the fun. I had to travel from Fremont, CA to Fresno, CA. For you non-Californians, here's the lowdown. Yes, they're both in the same state. They even start with the same letter and have the same number of syllables. Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how well you like Fresno, with its smell of agriculture) they're nowhere near one another. It took me 2 1/2 hours to get there (liberally interpreting the speed limit), and 3 to get home. Fortunately, I had my iPod, and I listened to the New Testament. (Not the whole thing, but I knocked out a good chunk of it.) I ended up putting over 300 miles on my car, and using a whole tank of gas. I feel really good about the test, though. I should get my results in a few weeks.

I'm really out of shape, but I did my best to help out team M* in the Bloggernacle Relay. As of the writing of this post, we're in the lead, but a few teams haven't reported in yet. I normally don't like to run, but being part of a team made it fun. I told my family that I was training for a race, and naturally, they wanted to know more about it. They don't know about my participation in the Bloggernacle, so I just told them that some of the blogs I read were sponsoring a race. It felt all subversive. Gotta get my rebellion in somewhere. At least I'm sticking to mostly harmless pursuits. After all, it's not like I'm running for BCC. ;-)

After running one of the legs of the race, I decided I needed to have the afternoon snack of champions. I took a still life photo of what I ate to refuel.Not the healthiest option, but Boo Berry cereal brought back nostalgia from my childhood. I bought it on impulse from the grocery store.

In all, though it was an exhausting weekend, I enjoyed it.

Note: The dig at By Common Consent (BCC) was meant in jest. It's a common Bloggernacle passtime to poke fun at BCC. It's actually one of my favorite blogs, and I'll explain why in an upcoming post.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Bloggernacle Relay

I must repent of not posting. I've decided to write about the other blogs I read, and what I like about them. Each day for the next week, I'll highlight a few blogs. Today, I'll start with two: Times and Seasons, and The Millennial Star.

Times and Seasons bills itself as "Quite possibly the most humble, yet enigmatic, onymous Mormon group blog in history." Of course, if you refresh the page, you might get something like, "Quite possibly the most irrational, yet chiastic, onymous Mormon group blog in history." or "Quite possibly the most black-and-white, yet commented upon, onymous Mormon group blog in history."
I enjoy the blog because it has a large group of intelligent and thoughtful bloggers. The permabloggers cover a wide range of opinions, so it generates some good discussion. I feel smarter by osmosis after reading.

The Millennial Star is another thoughtful blog. It's a bit smaller, which makes it nice. Comments don't tend to get lost in the discussion. They're fielding a team in the Bloggernacle Relay Race, and I'll be running with them. You can, too. Click here to see how.

Cheers. Have a great Labor Day weekend.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

His Burden Is Light

I haven't posted in over three months, but I'm back now. It's been crazy, but God has done some miracles in my life. Here's a quick recap of the past year of my life, to give background.

In June, 2006, after completing over half of my law school education, I was, through no fault of my own, not invited to return. I was devastated, because I had pinned all my hopes on finishing school, and I was afraid that this spelled the end of my legal career before it had even begun. The university offered me a chance to appeal the decision, which I did. After two months, they decided to deny my appeal, and they sent me packing.

I told very few people about this at the time. I told my parents and sister, a few close friends who ended up in the same situation as me, and my bishop. When nosy, but well-meaning people in the extended family, or at church asked me how I was doing, I put on a brave face, said I was doing fine, and that I was taking a leave of absence from school.

The differing reactions from the people I told were interesting. Some people offered the usual platitudes about everything happening for a reason, and how I would look back on this experience and be grateful. (It's probably true, but I certainly didn't want to hear it at the time.) Some people joined with me in blowing off steam by badmouthing (in confidence, of course) the administration, the professors, the school, etc. And some people just said, "I'm so sorry. This [stinks]," and they mourned with me.

I thought about picking up the pieces and moving on to another law school, but I found out that I would either need permission from my old school, or I would need to wait for two years. (This rule is set forth by the ABA, not by the individual schools.) I contacted the university to ask for the letter of permission, and the dean informed me that writing such a letter was against school policy, but that I was invited to re-apply for the fall term. (Fall 2007, that is.)

I considered becoming a patent agent instead of an attorney, and I even went so far as to sign up for and begin attending the science classes I needed to supplement my education. After a month or so, I discovered that it wasn't for me, so I started looking for a job. I've spent the last 9 months working 60 hour weeks to pay the bills.

I re-applied for the fall term and was denied re-admission. At this point, I felt like I was at the end of my rope, and I cried until I was out of tears. I was so mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted, and I just wanted to crawl into a cave and sleep. Then the miracles began. I was pondering on how tired I was, and a verse of scripture popped into my mind. Matthew 11:28-30 (emphasis added):
"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

This has always been one of my favorite scriptures, but it hit me with extra force this time. Christ promised me rest if I came to Him. Although my burden was heavy, His is light, and He offered a trade. I wasn't sure how exactly to do this, so I took some time alone and prayed. I basically told God everything that was on my mind, and I didn't censor myself. I told Him how I felt, why I felt that way, what was bothering me, etc. By the end, I was tired, and I went to sleep.

When I woke up the next morning, it was like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I was still working long hours, and I was still unable to fulfil my dream of finishing law school, but I felt peace and rest. To quote the words of Alma, "I could remember my pains no more." Throughout the week, I pondered on what had happened. Being a scientifically minded person, I wanted to figure out exactly what I did, so that I could repeat it if necessary. After a few days, I realized that I didn't do anything; God did it. I was the unmistakable recipient of grace.

I am so grateful that I have a Savior who came to this earth not only to suffer for my sins, but to bear my pains and sorrows as well. Every time I think about it, I am humbled.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Ephesians 2:19, part I

A verse of scripture that has been on my mind a lot lately is Ephesians 2:19. Earlier in the chapter, the Apostle Paul was recounting how the Gentile Christians had previously been strangers to the covenants God made with His people, but that through Christ, they were welcomed into the fold. Verse 19 reads:
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God."

What does it mean to be a fellowcitizen with the saints?

When someone becomes a citizen of a nation, he or she renounces allegiance to other nations. However, Christ told us to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. This seems to imply a sort of dual citizenship in both our nation and the Kingdom of God. What are we to do when the obligations of citizenship conflict?

This post is part 1 of a 2-part series. My next post will focus on the household of God. I tend to come up with more questions than answers, so I would be interested in what you have to say on the topic.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Welcome to my blog. My goal for this blog is to discuss religion and spirituality as it relates to my life. Sometimes these discussions will be practical in nature, and sometimes they will be abstract and academic in nature. It all depends on my mood for the day.

The title of the blog comes from Deuteronomy 6:6-9. The Lord is establishing His covenant with His people.
"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them dilligently to thy children, and shall talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down and when thou risest up.
And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
And thou shalt write them on the posts of thy house, and on thy gates."

Feel free to comment, but please keep it civil. I look forward to discussing religion with you.