Sunday, December 8, 2013

Still my Father's Daughter!

One more evidence that I AM my father's daughter.

This last week, my parents have been dealing with a vehicle issue- one is in the shop, and the other is used pretty much full-time by my dad for his work. So he's been taking Mom to work in the early morning, picking her up in the evening. Given her schedule as a school bus driver, this is kinda lousy for Mom, but it is what it is.

My husband and I have been asked to help out while Mom can't come home during her breaks. See, Grandpa lives with them. He isn't who he used to be. He has a hard time remembering.. a lot of things- his sons' birth-order, how long he was a scout master, my name, even though I'm his oldest grandchild and I've been around an awful lot in the last 10 years.

Anyway, the request is for one of us to go over about noon, visit with him, maybe encourage him to go on a walk or drink more water. Put together his lunch and eat at about 1:00, and make sure the kitchen is cleaned up afterward.

Wednesday, as I was getting in my car to leave after lunch with Grandpa, a neighbor lady drove past. (Note: She moved into the neighborhood about the same time my parents did.. about 30 years ago, so I know her well!) Her car was making an awful racket! I could see that something was dragging on the front of her car, but I couldn't tell what it was. I hopped in my car and followed her all three houses away, parked on her curb, and rushed up as she was getting out of her car.

While she was saying, "I'm sorry, no, I don't know what it is..."
I was saying, "Hang on, Ruth. Something's hanging from your car. Lemme see what it is, see if I can fix it!
I plopped myself down on the cold cement in front of her car. As I laid there, I realized again, "I'm becoming my father!" Ruth laughed as she stood over me when I said that.

Ruth, our "other grandma"
There was a plastic shield just behind the bumper that should have had two bolts/nuts holding it up.. but only had one. Quick fix.. if I could find a bolt and nut that would fit each other.

I explained this to her and we went inside to see if she had the necessary hardware. She didn't. She had some bolts that would have worked perfectly.. but no nuts to fit the threads.

"I'll take this bolt over to my dad's and see if he's got a nut to fit. I'll be right back."

"Is he home? Do you really think...? Well of course he would have something that will work!" She knows my dad well!

I ran back to my dad's garage (where he was still fighting with Mom's car) and asked what he had to help me. He pulled out a #10 can with various odds and ends in it. He didn't have a nut to fit the bolt I'd brought, but he had another bolt/nut that he gave me. I dropped Ruth's bolt in his can and ran back to her house.

I went directly to her car port, and laid down in front of the car. I hand-tightened the bolt/nut into place then went inside.

"So did he have something that will work?"

"Yeah.. it's fixed."

"Already? You work faster than you talk!"

We visited for a little bit longer, and then I left. It felt good to be able to help in such a simple but important way.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Talking about Hard Things

When I was on my mission, I saw all kinds of family dynamics. Some were so good I took notes because I saw qualities I wanted in my own family. Others were heartbreaking and I cried when I got back to my apartment.

One family in particular really struggled. The mother and father weren't on the same page. At one point, the dad suggested a solution to some of their struggles. But she couldn't see his perspective. She took it as a baby-step rejection and she was very hurt.

I decided then that communication was a vital key to keeping a marriage sturdy.

Communication is a funny thing. We talk all the time, but how much do we truly communicate to and with our fellow man? It takes two parties... and patience on the part of both the sender and receiver so that the meaning is delivered with integrity. It takes willingness to open up and share things that make the sender feel vulnerable. It takes trusting the receiver won't misunderstand or assume things that weren't meant. It takes a desire to understand.

There are lots of things we communicate about- chores and tasks, ideas and principles, plans and desires, concerns and needs. Sometimes, there are things that are uncomfortable or hard to talk about- acknowledging hurts and troubles, embarrassments and ugly deeds and words that have been said.

Those hard things aren't fun to deal with, but when hard things happen, strong people are willing to talk about the elephant in the room. Because if the elephant isn't talked about, it just keeps crushing everything in the room.

My mom's side of my family has an elephant. Depression. All four of my brothers deal with it in their own ways- medication, exercise, other treatments. Mom and her sister are both on medication, as was Grandma. From observation and research, Mom and Grandma were pretty sure Grandpa had depression, as well as Mom's grandparents.

All five of us in 1987

It's important to know this problem runs in my family, so that when I have children some day, I can be pro-active in caring for them if they begin to show signs of this burden... and it's ignorant to pretend it's not there.

My husband has another elephant. There's not as much information about his elephant, and it concerns me for the sake of his (future) grandchildren. There are those within the extended family unit that aren't willing to hear what information there is, that there are others in the family that may have had this elephant in their lives. There are those who blame the individuals suffering from the elephant for their own pain, and there are those who demand the elephant never be mentioned.

That kind of communication stonewall is foolish at best, prolonging suffering of family and loved ones. In some cases, it could be deadly to deny or reject vital information.

In fact, that very thing happened between my mother and her sister. My aunt had some problems, went to her doctor and started taking medication to treat the issue. My mom had the same problems... but because my aunt insisted that her health was "none of your business," Mom couldn't benefit from her sister's doctor's insight... and Mom endured another 20 years of heartache and frustration with her body!

Health isn't the only hard thing that needs to be talked about. Another kind of hard thing that often is not discussed is behavior: I don't know anyone who likes  to hear negative things about those they love. And its not fun to be on the receiving end of a comeuppance.

But wise people accept those truths quickly and with humility. I struggle- I accept these kinds of things... but not generally as quickly or with as much humility as I know I should.

So I pray for that wisdom and humility. And like praying for patience brings opportunities to exercise patience, sometimes I wonder if its such a good idea.

How do you handle those tough conversations?

Monday, September 23, 2013

As Freedom Destroys Itself, by Sarah Palin

I recently read an article written by Sarah Palin. I know she's a pretty divisive character- those who like her really do like her, and those who don't like her REALLY DON'T like her! There is very little fence-sitting when it comes to opinions about her.

Frankly, I've always been in the first camp. She's intelligent, honest, and understands the Constitution and her duties as a leader.

Here's her article.

As Freedom Destroys Itself

All of us were horrified by the murders at the Washington Navy Yard this week. Once again, in the aftermath of a shooting, a new installment of the debate about gun laws has broken out. But what we really need is a new discussion about what kind of people we are and what kind of country we want to be.

It’s no secret which side I’m on in any debate involving the Second Amendment (or the whole Constitution, for that matter). We call Alaska America’s Last Frontier, and firearms are a big part of our lifestyle here because they are part of our frontier tradition. And, as I tell my daughters, the ability to use a firearm responsibly and to defend yourself is also part of our heritage as American women.

The iconic musket over the fireplace wasn’t just for the menfolk on the frontier. Those stalwart women who crossed oceans and wilderness to settle our country knew how to protect themselves and their families. (One of my favorite scenes in the miniseries John Adams is when Abigail Adams, alone with her children in besieged Massachusetts while her husband is away at the Continental Congress, shoulders the family musket to protect her little ones when she hears the distant sounds of battle. That’s our heritage, ladies.)

Hunting is an integral part of our lifestyle in the 49th state. Using guns isn’t just recreation for us; it’s how many of us get our dinner. Granted, today, with a grocery store on virtually every corner, there isn’t the actual necessity to live a “subsistence lifestyle” that there was a generation ago in Alaska when I was growing up, but my family still lives by the motto “We eat; therefore, we hunt.” We live off the healthy organic protein provided by Alaska’s wild fish and game.

Todd and I have taught our kids how to handle firearms responsibly, just as my dad taught me. In fact, we took our girls for a special hunt on Mother’s Day this year at our cabin looking out at the distant majestic peak of Mt. McKinley, and we had a blast teaching twelve-year-old Piper mounted shooting in warm Montana this summer.

I’m proud of my frontier heritage, and I’ll fight vehemently against anything that would limit the constitutional rights of Americans. But I can certainly sympathize with the many well-meaning Americans who desperately feel the need to find a way to prevent these senseless killings. Who among us doesn’t feel sadness, anger, and even despair after these tragedies?

But we must remember that emotion won’t make anybody safer or protect our rights. Beware of politicians who exploit our emotions in an attempt to pass laws that even they admit wouldn’t have prevented the violence.

CNN’s Don Lemon recently saw the light on this issue and highlighted the Centers for Disease Control study showing that so-called military assault rifles account for a small fraction of gun violence. The overwhelming majority of gun-related deaths are inflicted with handguns, but a ban on handguns is not only politically untenable; it would also hinder the ability of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves (especially Americans who live in troubled urban areas where the police are slow to respond to emergency calls).

Instead of offering real solutions based on facts, reactionary politicians offer us the politics of emotion, which is the opposite of leadership. It is the manipulation of the people by the political class for their own political ends. It is so very self-serving, but, worse, it is destructive.

The first thing politicians ask after these tragedies is essentially: “What can we do to limit the freedom of the people?”

And that is the wrong question. The question we should be asking is: “What can we do to nurture and support a people capable of living in freedom?”

Earlier this year I spoke at the NRA convention and reminded a conscientious, patriotic audience that our country’s Founders asked themselves that question and knew the answer. They understood that a free people must either nurture morality or lose their freedom. John Adams wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Not coincidentally, he wrote that to the officers of the Massachusetts militia when the young republic was on the verge of war with France. He reminded those officers who were charged with leading armed men that the freedoms secured by the Constitution take for granted a decent and civil society.

This isn’t just a question for American society. It’s a civilizational question for all humanity. Margaret Thatcher spoke eloquently of this co-dependence of freedom and morality. She said, “Freedom will destroy itself if it is not exercised within some sort of moral framework, some body of shared beliefs, some spiritual heritage transmitted through the Church, the family, and the school.”

I’m reminded of that quote every time I see politicians reach for the easy answers instead of asking the hard questions after tragedies like the one this week. When they seek to strip away our Second Amendment rights instead of suggesting that those who hide behind the First Amendment need to act more responsibly, they are helping freedom destroy itself. When Hollywood glorifies violence with its movies and music, but then underwrites efforts to take away our rights, it is helping freedom destroy itself. When those incorporating virtue into their lives are criticized, mocked, and bullied while pop culture’s kingmakers elevate and celebrate a self-centered “I’ll do what I want and consequences be damned” mentality, those kingmakers and bullies are helping freedom destroy itself. And when We the People shrug our shoulders and duck our heads while society becomes more cynical and our sense of family and community atrophies, we’re all helping freedom destroy itself.

Americans have always had access to firearms. Guns certainly aren’t any more pervasive now than they were back when the Minutemen were stockpiling weapons at Lexington and Concord. But something definitely has changed since then. It’s not the weapons. It’s us.

Instead of rushing to find some magical legislative solution, we need to ask ourselves a few hard questions: Are we creating a culture that can live and thrive in freedom? Do we have bold leaders willing and able to nurture such a culture? Do we have artists whose works reflect and inspire such a culture? Consider the answers to these questions carefully, because, if the answers are no, then we are in much more trouble than any new law can fix.

A decent and moral society is guided by voluntary self-restraint. The less moral we are, the more legalistic we become. But more laws can’t protect a civilization that has lost its way. At most, they’re just tiny speed bumps for a runaway truck.

The solutions we seek won’t be found in the halls of Congress or state legislatures. Might I humbly suggest that we step back from the TV, take a breath, hug our kids, reach out to friends and neighbors, and say a prayer.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Analogies, Parables, and Teaching Stories- Part 8

I've always had a thing for analogies, parables, and the like. As teaching tools, they use every-day situations and ideas to explain complex principles, making those complex ideas a whole lot easier to understand. Often, they can explain ideas that would otherwise be nigh impossible to explain accurately.

Jesus Himself used parables all the time in His teaching. Sometimes this was to make the teaching of a certain principle easier. But often He didn't give an explanation. He simply allowed people to take from the "nice story" what they would- an act of mercy, given that we are each held accountable for following the doctrines we understand.

The first in this series was about ducks. The second one was about medicine.. and salvation. The third was about math class. The fourth was about engines and society. The fifth was about dirt. Number six was about my grandma's puzzles. The most recent, seven was about light- lightning vs. a flashlight.

Today, I'm gonna talk about butterflies!
A butterfly has four stages in his life cycle: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and full grown butterfly.

The egg doesn't do much beyond sitting still and growing from a fertilized egg cell into a squished-up tiny caterpillar.  And to be fair, that's all he can do... and all he needs to be able to do. But there comes a point where he has to hatch and continue his progress or he dies.

So he hatches and is freed from the confines of his egg. He has legs and a mouth! And he uses both! He walks around and eats and eats and walks around... and gets bigger and fatter.

Eating and eating and eating!
Then he hangs upside down and... just hangs there. From all appearances he's dead. But really, inside there is something marvelous happening. His whole form is changing: he is losing nearly all those legs, he is slimming down, his ravenous mouth is changing shape and function... and he is growing wings!!

A minute or two after breaking out of the confinement of the chrysalis, he is something entirely different from what he was at the beginning. He has (nearly) complete freedom of movement with those beautiful glorious wings. Instead of crunching leaves, he drinks nectar from flowers with a delicate built-in straw. He isn't even the same color anymore! He's downright amazing!

And its not offensive to the beautiful butterfly momma  when that little green  caterpillar declared that someday, he could be a butterfly.

So it is with us. We also have four stages to our divine life cycle- there was a stage where all we did was learn. But there came a point where we had to leave the confines of our heavenly home to continue that development.

So we came to earth. We walk around consuming information and knowledge, hopefully growing fat in wisdom.

Then one day we die. But that's when the magic happens! Our physical bodies are dead but what was inside of us making us alive becomes something so wonderful. We lose all those physical problems we had (mental illness, physical shortcomings, physical and emotional scars). Our minds are enlightened with the knowledge of who and what we really are. We are preparing to BECOME who and what we really are.

And its not blasphemy to our glorious Father when we as his mortal children declare that some day, we can be like Him!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

All of US Serving You..?

Wow- the economy is rough. People aren't spending. Employers aren't hiring... and we all know it!

And my bank is screwing the destitute.

I guess I should say former bank- I closed my account this week because of a policy change they made at the beginning of this month.

From an email explaining why I had a $6.95 maintenance fee:
Effective August 12, 2013, you can waive the Silver Checking monthly maintenance fee of $6.95 with online statements and $8.95 with paper statements by maintaining a Package Money Market Savings account AND one of the following: Combined monthly direct deposits totaling $1,000+ OR Combined account balance of $1,500.  The combined balance is the total average account balance* of the Silver Checking account and all Package Money Market Savings accounts you own.  Also note: A Package Money Market Savings account and/or a U.S. Bank Visa Credit Card is no longer necessary to maintain a Silver Checking account. 
How do you like them apples? Unless I have $1500 just lying around.. or make enough to have a cool grand in direct deposit each month, I'm screwed out of $6.95. The way I cook, that's a full day's worth of meals. Don't worry, I don't need to eat.

Sure, if you're a student (Start school that I can't afford just so I can keep my checking account?), or if you want one of their credit products (thanks exhusband, guess I don't need a decent credit score.), or in the military (did I mention not employed?), or own your own business (I said unemployed, not self employed), they have options, but otherwise, nope.

Coulda fooled me.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure

Yes, I've remarried. Yes, things went pretty fast. And I'm grateful that they did.

I was single for three years, proposed to six times... or at least there were six guys who expressed interest in making things legally binding and permanent. To some I said no right away. Others, I took some time before answering out of courtesy. And some I realized some things and had to back out.

But this one....

Of all the guys I dated, and I went out on dates every chance I got, not all were LDS.
Of all the LDS guys I dated, not all were worthy.
Of all the worthy LDS guys I dated, not all were respectful.

In fact, only one was. Everyone else was either nowhere near what I wanted, or wanted something from me that I didn't always want to give right away.

This one didn't ask for anything from me except an answer- yes or no. He didn't push, didn't beg, didn't haggle, didn't campaign. He just asked.

What's crazy is his exwife didn't think he'd ever marry. While she remarried, and pretty darn quickly after their divorce, she was surprised when he found someone he felt was really worthwhile.

I suspect she's only now beginning to see what she threw away. For 20 years, she was definitely less-than ideal, to the point that he finally rejected the suggestion of a "separation" and asked straight up for a divorce. From my experiences with him- yeah, he's frustrating (Seriously, how many wives out there don't feel that way sometimes about their husbands?), but by and large, I think he's about the best thing since sliced bread!

Think about this- I was single for three years, and proposed to six times. I wasn't lacking in offers. But I didn't want to compromise. I wanted what I wanted.. and I had a good reason for all the qualities I wanted! So as soon as I found it, I snatched it up!

This guy really is pretty great-

*He is worthy and he takes that worthiness VERY seriously. Which means a priesthood blessing is available at any time of day or night, no need to call the Home Teachers.

*Household rules reflect divine standards... and those expectations apply to all (including us before we married!).
Dinner for the missionaries.

*He cleans! One time, I signed up to feed the missionaries. Dinner wasn't quite in the oven, and the kitchen needed some SERIOUS organizing and the clock was ticking!. He busted tail to help! Sweeping, cleaning off counters, putting papers away, setting the table- he was fantastic!

*He cooks.. usually breakfast. He doesn't always sleep very well, so he's usually up before I am... and he will make breakfast, usually something hot- hash browns, eggs, or pancakes. It's nice, really.

*He's considerate.. Just yeah :)

*He's cute- and seriously, even from an analytical geometric perspective, he's a pretty good-looking guy! But that's just icing on the cake.

Yeah, I'd say he's a keeper!

Friday, August 2, 2013

We're all Suckers!

Congressional Record--Appendix, pp. A34-A35

Current Communist Goals

Thursday, January 10, 1963
Mr. HERLONG. Mr. Speaker, Mrs. Patricia Nordman of De Land, Fla., is an ardent and articulate opponent of communism, and until recently published the De Land Courier, which she dedicated to the purpose of alerting the public to the dangers of communism in America.
At Mrs. Nordman's request, I include in the RECORD, under unanimous consent, the following "Current Communist Goals," which she identifies as an excerpt from "The Naked Communist," by Cleon Skousen:
[From "The Naked Communist," by Cleon Skousen]

1. U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.
2. U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.
3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.
4. Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.
5. Extension of long-term loans to Russia and Soviet satellites.
6. Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.
7. Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.
8. Set up East and West Germany as separate states in spite of Khrushchev's promise in 1955 to settle the German question by free elections under supervision of the U.N.
9. Prolong the conferences to ban atomic tests because the United States has agreed to suspend tests as long as negotiations are in progress.
10. Allow all Soviet satellites individual representation in the U.N.
11. Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces. (Some Communist leaders believe the world can be taken over as easily by the U.N. as by Moscow. Sometimes these two centers compete with each other as they are now doing in the Congo.)
12. Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.

13. Do away with all loyalty oaths.
14. Continue giving Russia access to the U.S. Patent Office.
15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.
16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.
17. Get control of the schools. use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers' associations. Put the party line in text books.
18. Gain control of all student newspapers.
19. Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.
20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policymaking positions.
21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.
22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to "eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms."
23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art."
24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them "censorship" and a violation of free speech and free press.
25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."
27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with "social" religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a "religious crutch."
28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state."
29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.
30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the "common man."
31. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the "big picture." Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.
32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture--education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.
33. Eliminate all laws or procedures which interfere with the operation of the Communist apparatus.
34. Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
35. Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.
36. Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.
37. Infiltrate and gain control of big business.
38. Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand [or treat].
39. Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.
40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.
41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.
42. Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use ["]united force["] to solve economic, political or social problems.
43. Overthrow all colonial governments before native populations are ready for self-government.
44. Internationalize the Panama Canal.
45. Repeal the Connally reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction [over domestic problems. Give the World Court jurisdiction] over nations and individuals alike.

This is probably available at your nearest library that is also a federal repository. Call and ask. Your college library is probably a repository, an excellent source of government records.

Are we suckers or are we suckers? This is what old-school communists want. How many of these are we giving them??!?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Not Guilty!

I promise- this will be the only thing I write about George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. If you don't want to read EVEN MORE about it, I won't be offended, promise.



For those of you who are still reading, I present an excerpt from Florida law:
A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or ...she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.
A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force
A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

... And a translation:
George Zimmerman was doing nothing illegal when he originally saw a person acting suspiciously in his neighborhood. He'd had previous circumstances where he had called the police and they hadn't responded in time to apprehend, so he followed. Once he confronted the suspicious individual, he had no obligation to leave the area, but rather had every right to investigate (especially considering that he was entrusted with that very task by the neighborhood watch.. which had been surprisingly active) and defend himself against any threat of bodily injury.

Trayvon was first acting suspicious (because he was paranoid?.. hm.. maybe it was the pot the coroner found in his system, or maybe it was that drink in his pocket, often used to make lean (see definition #5), later acting antagonistic, threatening both physical harm and death.

George Zimmerman had every legal right to use whatever force he felt necessary to protect himself from that assault. As the police agreed when they released George after five hours of questioning- it was inappropriate to arrest him. During that five hours of questioning, Mr Zimmerman didn't ask to be drug tested and law enforcement didn't see any indication that a drug test was needed, so none was done.

And that's where things should have ended- a tragic incident and a funeral. Lesson learned- don't act suspicious, don't do stupid things to feel anxiety, and bad stuff won't happen.

Instead, various national personalities called it a hate crime, claimed that because George Zimmerman was a race different from his assailant that it was simply a foregone conclusion that Zimm MUST hate blacks (completely ignoring his heritage, business associations, and other community volunteer activities), and declared that justice had not been done.

George Zimmerman was then wrongfully arrested, wrongfully tried, and still acquitted. Justice was served AGAIN.

I agree that it is tragic that the boy had to die, but just like those who foolishly choose to go hiking alone, indulge in unprotected sex, and other foolhardy actions, an unwillingness to acknowledge his own foolishness is a deliberate act of ignorance. The greatest tragedy was that a kid that was already troubled, already in the process of ruining his life, will never have a chance to fix it.

Rather than "honor" him by enacting more-restricting firearm laws (which would be contrary to the Second Amendment), let us begin again to teach our children and youth the dangers of drugs and the wisdom of staying in school. Teach youth the art of courtesy and respect. Teach children to be obedient to parents and teachers. Teach youth to address their elders with honor and deference. Let us be their models and be examples of manners and politeness.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Analogies, Parables, and Teaching Stories- Part 7

I've always had a thing for analogies, parables, and the like. As teaching tools, they use every-day situations and ideas to explain complex principles, making those complex ideas a whole lot easier to understand. Often, they can explain ideas that would otherwise be nigh impossible to explain accurately.

Jesus Himself used parables all the time in His teaching. Sometimes this was to make the teaching of a certain principle easier. But often He didn't give an explanation. He simply allowed people to take from the "nice story" what they would- an act of mercy, given that we are each held accountable for following the doctrines we understand.

The first in this series was about ducks. The second one was about medicine.. and salvation. The third was about math class. The fourth was about engines and society. The fifth was about dirt. Number six was about my grandma's puzzles.

There once was a man who traveled for work, coming home each Friday evening. One weekend, a storm rolled in along with the man. Because of the storm, he was later than usual and particularly eager to get home. In his hurry, he hadn't kept track of the fuel gauge on his car and ran out of gas just a couple miles from the station near his home.

Taking advantage of the occasional lightning, he would run as far as he dared, and then he would slow and stumble in the dark, waiting for the next flash of light. It took much of the night to get to the gas station.

He finally got there, filled his gas can, and paid the attendant. As he was about to leave, the attendant handed the man a flashlight. While nowhere near as bright as the lightning, the flashlight gave constant light and the man was back to his car soon.

Like the lighting, the "light of Christ" is given and available to all mankind. It's not constant, not consistent. Its light is only occasional, lighting for just short times. On the other hand, the gift of the Holy Ghost may not be flashy and blindingly brilliant, but it's constant. So long as we keep ourselves worthy, this light will be our constant guide, making progress easier and faster.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Broken Communication

My baby brother's engagement coincided with some less-than pleasant circumstances in my own life. I was definitely not at my best and as a result, his fiance did not get a very pleasant first impression of me... or second.

It took a long time for things to get better between my sister-in-law and me.

I started with a friend request that she didn't accept. I didn't know exactly why, so I asked.

I thank her for what she did next- she sent me an email that explained what I'd done and how she felt about it. I don't know if she realizes, but this was a wonderful gift. It gave me a place to start, something to work with. Before that email, I had no idea that I'd hurt her so badly and in so many ways!

I apologized as best I could and got an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner in return! My apology, incomplete as it had been, had been accepted! I had the opportunity to be in their home, to get to know this new member of our family and some of her many talents. I got to see my brother as a dad, got to know a little about my awesome new nephew. It was wonderful. And I'm thankful for a forgiving sister-in-law who made it possible.

The reality is that lines of communication get broken all the time. But they can be repaired. It takes humility and a willingness to ask what the hurt is. It takes love and a desire to repair the relationship. It requires a willingness to apologize for a lot of things- things you don't remember doing, things you had good reason for doing, and for things you didn't understand. And it takes a willingness to forgive for those same kinds of things, even when you don't understand or agree with or like the reasons that drove those hurtful choices.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Boy Meets Girl

Once upon a time, there was a lonely boy. He wanted a best friend. He used to have a best friend, but she decided she liked someone else more and the boy was left alone and sad. So he went looking for a new best friend.

He looked high and low, in big groups and in quiet corners. Eventually, he found a girl in a quiet corner. She was lonely and wanted a best friend, too.

He read about her and fell in love! She was smart, sexy, AND spiritual.

So he sent her an email... and she answered.
He asked her to marry him...

And she said yes!

And now, neither is sad and lonely!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

How Will They Know?

Our children are being robbed.

They are not growing up in the America this nation was meant to be. I don't know about some, but that's not ok with me that they not be able to partake of the inheritance that was this nation.

They aren't going to learn the glory and wisdom of the Constitution. They won't see the checks and balances our Founding Fathers built into the three-branch government. They won't experience the power and poetic self-regulating equilibrium of a truly free-market economy.

And these things won't be taught in public schools.

Just as faith in God, His love, His miracles, and His power, these things will have to be taught in the home. If the rising generation is to know these things, it is up to us to teach them.

We need to read the Constitution and study it and understand what the Founding Fathers meant. We need to know why it was so important to them to protect these freedoms- speech, religion, be armed comparable to the military and law enforcement, and have a fair trial. And we need to have faith that their ideas were inspired by God.

We need to understand how various economic and political systems work (and don't work) so we can transmit the value of freedom, agency, and liberty to our children.

We need to keep our testimonies and faith in God bright. We need to keep in contact with our Father- praying to Him and reading His word so that we have oil in our lamps to share with our children.

We need to be educated so we can communicate those ideas to our children.

These ideas and ideals will be lost unless WE are the ones who keep them alive by living them, talking about them with our friends and neighbors, and actively teach them to our children.

  1. How will they know, the ones for whom we care,
    That God is love and with us everywhere,
    That life is good, with blessings all can share?
    How will they know unless we teach them so?
  2. How will they learn that, though they go astray,
    God will forgive and help them find the way?
    How will they feel the Spirit day by day?
    How will they know unless we teach them so?
  3. How will they grow in wisdom and delight?
    How will they choose to follow what is right?
    How can they trust the future will be bright?
    How will they know unless we show them?
  4. How will they live when they at last are grown?
    What will they give to children of their own?
    Will they reflect the values we have shown?
    How will they know, as on through life they go?
    How will they know unless we strive to teach them so?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Guilt Trip Tickets on Sale NOW!!

For a while now, I've been observing (and collecting) what I've come to call "guilt-trip" pictures. Mostly on Facebook, they imply that if you do not repost, .. well, let's just take a look.

Because if you don't share, you don't accept Him?
Doesn't He already know what's in my heart??

1- Reliable b/c it's on FB, vs the news
2- If it were my child, I would still want people to be smart about it.

Nope, I have a heart, I just don't feel your manipulative attitude is healthy.

Ok, so I disliked this one a little less as my mom re-shared it.

Well, what if I actually do something for my neighbor vs reposting..
Does that mean I don't care?

Who remembers the chain letters of 20 years ago?
Who remembers the chain emails of 10 years ago?

.. And if you don't, you clearly think it's ok to bully!

Yes, God saw me read this. He also happens to be able to see what's in my heart.
I don't need to repost to prove that He is a part of my life and has a place there.

I'm not afraid to show my support for the Second Amendment.
I just choose to show it differently... like by getting my CC permit!

Nope. I'd rather put pix of Lolcats...
In the meantime, who cares what there's room for on my FB wall?
What about my heart???

Again, the Lord looks on the heart.
I think He's more interested in what's there than on my FB wall.

How heartless to not Like!
Or can you pray without "Liking" ... ?

Nope, I'm totally "size-ist".

Nope, definitely a 97%er who would cheer on the bullies..??

Again, I'm so darn heartless, just because I have better things to do than
spam my friends with guilt-trippy pictures like this.

No respect, either.

And what the heck are parents for??

I love my mom, and I don't feel the need to post this to prove it.

And guilt tripping like this isn't bullying?

Ok, enough sarcasm for the day. Yes, I love and am grateful for those who have what it takes to defend our country and those who know me know it. Yes, I love my mother and she knows it. Yes, I obey and honor my God and He knows it. Yes, I'm against bullying and I'll kick a bully in the teeth if need be. Yes, I'm for loving and protecting pets and my animals were all rescues. Yes, I feel people deserve love, no matter what they look like (color, sexual orientation, size, etc) and those who are in my life know it.

But I refuse to allow others to guilt me into posting something on my FB wall just to prove it to the rest of the world.