News of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Pittsburgh area, counsel from its leaders, and reflections from its members.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Employment Tips for Summer

Susan Shafkalis of the Detroit office of LDS Employment Support Services shares the following thoughts about finding employment in the summer:

Have you found that while the summer season has kicked into high gear many job searches have slowed to an idle or even a full stop? Think that practically everyone, including hiring managers, is in vacation mode from Memorial Day through Labor Day? Think again. According to Monster Resume Expert Kim Isaacs, few people take long vacations anymore, so for the corporate world it's business as usual in the summer. Many projects hit the ground running in the fall, and employers want new people in place.

Here are 3 tips to help keep your clients' job searches moving forward when the mercury rises:
  1. Capitalize on Seasonal Events: Use personal and social gatherings like festivals, barbecues and weddings to let people know you are looking. Expand your network while you are on that walk, bike ride, at the ice cream shop, the pool, etc. Everyone is out and about. Say "Hi!" and introduce yourself.
  2. Take Stock of Your Resume and Skills: Take a class or two in the summer (don't forget to network with your classmates) to brush up on any skills that may be lagging. Have you assessed and updated your resume lately?
  3. Don't Get Discouraged: Vacation schedules may make reaching the right people challenging but be patient and consistent; leave polite messages. The good news is that the gatekeepers take vacations too so you may connect with that hard-to-reach hiring manager while your competitors are waiting until September!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Debt Trap

The New York Times recently ran a series of articles entitled "The Debt Trap: A series about the surge in consumer debt and the lenders who made it possible." Along with articles are interactive displays that explain how as a nation we got into the amount of debt we now carry, an average of $118,000 per household. The focus of the series is not on how to get out of debt (the Church offers better help with this); rather, it explains the motives and methods of the financial institutions that encourage people to take on debt. Beware!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Famers' Markets and Local Food Production

Don Gibbon, formerly of the Pittsburgh 7th Ward, contributed this on farmers' markets and buying local food:

"You may be interested in this excellent list of Farmer's Markets in Allegheny County, the best list I know of for our area, from Just Harvest. It also shows how low-income folks can use the markets with stamps and other forms of assistance and list buses to get to markets.

"The PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture, with which I am deeply involved, also lists farmers markets around the entire state. There's a free monthly newsletter on all this stuff!"

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Emergency Lighting

Don Gibbon, formerly of the Pittsburgh 7th Ward, contributed the following:

"Tuesday evening at 11 P.M. all the lights for about ten blocks around went out. We got out our hand-cranked radio and flashlights and candles and began running through the options: what to do now? Go to bed, but first check out the neighborhood. When we went outside the only lights we could see were small, bright solar-charged LEDs on a new alarm company's signs in front of our house and several neighbors' who'd bought into the new program too. I took the lights inside to put by the stairs and in the bathroom, just the ticket!

"The power came back on and in the morning I checked to see how and where those little lights were made. They contain a rechargeable AA battery, a solar cell and a solar sensor to make them come on at night and go off during the day—perfect for an emergency light with a manual on-off switch instead. They're made by Litewatch. This small one for alarm signs appears to be their only product, though I've written them to see if they have anything slightly larger.

"In the meantime, I'd done some nosing around and discovered a solar battery charger with a few other accessories, for only $40 this month on sale. I ordered one. I've got a couple of 110 V chargers, but they obviously would be worthless in a power outage. The solar one seems almost fool proof, if such a thing is possible. Now I need to covert as much as I can to LED lighting and I'll have it whipped into pretty good shape."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Addiction Recovery Program Conference

Saturday's 2008 Addiction Recovery Program Conference was a great success. Kathie Schofield, director of LDS Family Services' Detroit MI agency, and Sister Annette Lillrose, a Church-service missionary who serves as agency coordinator for the Addiction Recovery Program, came from Michigan to lead and provide training at the conference.

In the morning we listened to a recorded broadcast of the 2008 conference, held June 21 in Salt Lake City.

Larry Crenshaw, acting director of LDS Family Services summarized the first three of the 12 steps in the Addiction Recovery Program in the words, 1. I can't. 2. He can. 3. I will let Him.

Lili deHoyos Anderson spoke of the importance of the law of the fast in overcoming addiction: "Power comes when we harness the flesh."

Dean Byrd said, "Your addictions do not determine who you are, but your response determines what you will become." He also taught, "Let your vision of the positive alternative be clearer than the addiction. . . . We are spiritual beings having human experience."

Sister Lillrose taught that Addiction Recovery Program facilitators should:
1. Lead by example: "I must have a testimony of my own healing."
2. Let the Spirit do the teaching: "I have been called so that the Spirit can do the teaching. There must be no put-downs." Those who participate must feel safe in the meeting.
3. Teach in parables: "Share my healing as a parable of healing."
4. Love those who participate.

We watched a (real) model Addiction Recovery Program meeting, then listened to a commentary on the meeting that underlined important principles of successful meetings.

President Brennen Murray of the Pittsburgh PA Stake concluded the conference by testifying that there is no limit to what the Savior can do to heal.

Group leaders and facilitators from throughout the Pittsburgh PA and Pittsburgh PA North Stakes attended the conference and left with greater understanding of the true principles that will help them carry out the program as the Lord intends.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Paul Peacock of the Cranberry Ward has developed an awesome list of you-pick gardens and orchards in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Check out the list, and enjoy some of this summer's fresh fruit and other produce!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Web Sites for At-Home Jobs

Sue Shellenbarger's column in this today's Wall Street Journal (D1) gave hints on finding legitimate home-based work. "As gasoline prices soar and joblessness mounts, the nonstop stream of email I get from readers wanting work from home is rising, too. Also multiplying are the online scam artists who seek to profit on that desire." I recommend the column to anyone who wants this kind of employment. Shellenbarger lists the following sites that provide information on finding trustworthy at-home work opportunities: (Click on "For Consumers"),, and (type "work at home scam" in the search box). The article has information on several other useful sites for different kinds of work.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Emergency Preparedness & Response Web Pages

The Church has put up a new channel on its Provident Living Web site called Emergency Preparedness and Response. Though most of the information on the site isn't new, it's well organized and easy to find. It's also very basic, meaning that it is adapatable to many different situations. What is new is the information on pandemics, including the video from BYU-Idaho on prevention of Avian flu.