Sunday, November 16, 2008

My child is so smart.

Well, maybe not so much......................

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Coo Coo

I was telling the kids tonight about our trip to Philadelphia for Thanksgiving and how we decided to spend a couple of days in New York City and see fun stuff like the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and Wall Street ( Sounding super enthusiastic, "You know kids.......remember that TV channel I watch every morning? CNBC? That's filmed on Wall Street!" Shameless. I know. I can't help it. ).

The kids started getting excited and exclaiming things like, "That's so cool!" and "We'll get to ride the train!"

Lauren even brought up the story she likes to tell about how she has been to New York City once before for New Year's Eve 1999.....back when she was the size of a grape in my tummy. She admits she couldn't actually HEAR anything though..........

And then Jack said, "YAY! Can you buy Coo Coo clocks there?"


Well, I suppose you could find a place that sells coo coo clocks there if you really wanted one. In fact, I'm sure you could find just about anything in New York City if you really wanted to. I reminded him that if he REALLY wanted a coo coo clock that maybe daddy could get him a real one while he is in Switzerland rather than buying a cheap imitation in New York City.

Seriously. With a Tiffanys, Barneys and FAO Schwarz........and he wants a coo coo clock?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Lessons from our Forefathers

I'm writing a post that is a little different than my norm. I've been mulling over ideas and thoughts in my head for the last couple of weeks regarding the new direction our country is heading. I thought it was time to put my thoughts on paper, so to speak. If you aren't one for political drama, I urge you to move on. Otherwise, this is my blog and as long as our first amendment rights are still intact, I can freely express my feelings. More importantly, I want my children to know how proud I am to be an American.

Over the last two years, we have witnessed history in the making. We watched as the democratic nominees duked it out between a potential first woman president, Hillary Clinton and first black president, Barack Obama. We watched as the media vilified Hillary who ironically, came across as pretty conservative next to Obama. Then it seemed, all of the sudden, Obama took the lead along with unprecedented donations and ran with it, never looking back. He was marketed very well. He was put out there in front of people with prepared scripts and talking points. He began using the term "progressive" instead of "liberal".

I soon discovered that any attempt for an intelligent debate with those who chose to vote for Obama was met with immediate words of anger and hostility along with claims that anyone who doesn't like him are intolerant and judgmental. Ironic. Some even told me that I only get my views from right-winged news like Fox. As though I'm not capable of forming my own opinions. I didn't find a single person who could tell me specific reasons why they were voting for Obama, but rather heard words like "change", "different direction", "he's not Bush", "it's none of your business" and "hope". Their cries were emotional instead of analytical. This was further evidenced by observing the hoards of people who gathered and chanted at his rallies truly believing that Obama would take care of them.

Obama spent more time at his rallies joking about Bush and McCain than saying anything of substance. I often wondered if people really understood the depth of this man's values. Do they really know his belief in partial birth abortion? Do they really understand that their friend who is a dentist or landscape company owner or any other small business will probably have to close down or at the very least, lay employees off because of the higher taxes that will be imposed on them and that the excess tax increase will be passed on to us as the consumer? It seemed as though some were more anxious to be a part of history by putting the first black man in office rather than looking at his record and the potentially high price of losing ourselves as a nation.

I watched within the Republican party, as Huckabee stubbornly refused to back out thus splitting the conservative Christian votes with Romney allowing McCain to take the lead. I can't help but wonder what our election would have looked like if Romney had won the Republican nomination. Romney, a proven leader in hard economic situations as well as a Mormon which may have been interesting with the marriage constitutional amendment propositions in CA, AZ and FL. I saw following the election as McCain's advisers demeaned Sarah Palin arrogantly claiming she was a drag on the ticket instead of acknowledging that there are many of us who only voted for him because of Sarah Palin. She was the only thread of conservative values afforded us to hang on to. And might I add that the hypocrisy of the women's liberation movement baffles me.

It seemed that in the final two weeks of campaigning, we saw a glimpse of what an Obama presidency would look like and it frightened me to the core.

Here are a few of the highlights:

1. The treatment of news anchor, Barbara West at a Florida news station and harsh reprimand for daring to ask the questions people like myself have been wanting to ask. Where is the ACLU claiming "Free Speech" and "Freedom of the press?"

2. The treatment of Joe the Plumber for daring to ask a question about his livelihood should Obama become president. The immediate attacks to discredit the private citizen was nothing short of Chicago thug politics.

3. The treatment of news reporters from the Washington Times, New York Post and Dallas Morning News. These were reporters ( different than those who write opinion pieces ) who had been travelling with Obama since the beginning of the campaign and were kicked off three days before the election because their papers endorsed McCain. Where was the outrage in the media over the censorship?

I was embarrassed for our President-Elect as he gave his first press conference the other day. It can't be good sign of things to come when he has to apologize to a former first lady for his classless, tacky remarks. It was fitting to see the mass of people standing behind him as he spoke, much like the puppet and his puppet masters. I must admit, he can orate a prepared speech in his serious, arrogant, preacher tone very well . It is painfully clear, though, that once off topic, his true character can't help but come out as well as the "Uhs and Umms" with every other word. His responses such as the one with regard to his thoughts about Iran's President congratulating him on his nomination and claiming to not have seen the letter showed that he has no idea how to think for himself. His typical reply, as seen throughout his campaign whenever he didn't have an answer was, "I don't have any knowledge of that. I'll need to look into it but what I do know is that I don't want to have a knee-jerk response". Translated means, "I need to check with my people about what to say and get back to you." How about a naturally instinctive thought like, "I will not accept his letter and words of congratulations. I will not have dialogue with dictators."

Obama campaigned under the slogan, "Change". I find this ironic for a couple of reasons. One is that his first cabinet appointment was given to Rahm Emanuel. The same man who was an advisor to President Clinton and who pushed Clinton to sign off on NAFTA ( sending jobs overseas. The same jobs that Obama is ridiculing American companies for sending over seas and wants to punish with higher taxes). Another reason is that this is the same man who was on the board of directors of Freddie Mac during the heyday of the housing boom which is the root of the economic turmoil we are facing today. That's not exactly what I would call, "change". I am a firm believer that the true test of one's character are the friends they keep. Also, I've heard people who didn't vote for Obama say that they hope that he follows through on his promises. If he does, that will mean we will have higher taxes to spread the wealth, socialized healthcare and retirement accounts, more government control, fewer jobs, and befriending terrorist dictators. Why WOULD we want him to follow through on those kinds of promises?

The "new direction" he spoke of so often, would lead us back to the form of government that our forefathers fought so hard to get away from. The same government that caused our founding fathers to lose everything they had including their lives and fortunes in order to create a better future for our country. A God-fearing country free from tyranny and suppression.

I have a tremendous love for this nation. I love our traditions and our history. I get teary every time I hear our national anthem. Even as a child, I enjoyed creating our own neighborhood parades for the fourth of July. Those feelings became stronger as I lived among the early American historical sites throughout my teenage years. Walking around Gettysburg and Valley Forge were very solemn and spiritual experiences for me. I remember when I was 17 years old, I sat just a few rows from the Prophet, Ezra Taft Benson, when he came to speak in Philadelphia to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Constitution. It was that day that I made the discernment that my reverence for my country and our Constitution is as strong within me as my reverence of the gospel. I hold them sacred. They were inspired by God for the restoration of the Gospel. I know this to my core.

I have seen the emotions of my country escalate throughout the course of this campaign and witnessed the hatred and claims of intolerance. I have heard over and over how our war in Iraq is costing us billions of dollars and thousands of lives. How does one put a price tag on the cost of freedom? What a slap in the face to our military who have helped change people's lives for the better. Money, really? This, coming from a man who raised over 650 MILLION dollars for a presidential campaign? Are we really supposed to believe that those heroes who lost their lives on the battlefield would feel they died fighting a made-up war over oil rather than freeing a nation from an evil dictator? Have we forgotten the thousands of innocent lives lost on September 11th? I have wished that we could be the same country we were just a few, short years ago on September 12th, 2001. Remember? Remember the flags taped to almost every car window? Remember the intense feeling of patriotism? Remember the words to the song, "And I'm proud to be an American, because at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died who gave that right to me....." Remember the ribbons claiming, "We will never forget....."

But we have forgotten.

There is a new generation of voters now who were raised to believe that everything must be fair and equal. There are no clear-cut winners, just ties. A generation of adults who have never played games like dodge ball. My children can't even play TAG at school in order to avoid hurt feelings. We've taken the responsibility of teaching our children about how life isn't always fair and using the opportunity to teach kindness and love and replaced it with the idea that we need to "protect" our children by teaching them that there are no set of absolute rules. One of my children played a computer game the other day and his turn seemed to go on forever until I realized there were no "lives" enabling the player to never experience "losing". How is it fair that a child needs a permission slip from a parent in order to have an aspirin for a headache at school, but that same child can have an abortion without parental notification? How is it fair that poorly run companies are bailed out instead of allowed to file chapter 11 or go bankrupt? Failure is not an option anymore.

We have become a society tolerant of immorality and possessed with political correctness. Political correctness is a form of cultural Marxism. In Marxist-Leninist vocabulary, the term "correct" was commonly used to describe the appropriate "party line", often called the "correct line". In the 70's we took away the suffix "man" in proper nouns and replaced them with "person". Today, we are a society of Asian-Americans, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans instead of Americans. A country where it is politically incorrect to say "indian style" but rather, "criss cross applesauce" or to state the words, "Intoxicated illegal immigrant" and a person who does is declared to be a racist bigot.

The result of a "no rules" society is a generation with lower morals and standards. There was a time when people rejected a candidate who did drugs. Then it became acceptable so long as they didn't inhale. We now have a president elect who admitted to not only doing drugs but also dealing in his college days.

The bar of expectation has been lowered significantly in just the last ten years. Sadly, I see it amongst the twenty and thirty somethings in the church as well. Many have said to me particularly over the course of this last election, "How does allowing a same sex couple to marry affect ME? If they love each other, then they should have the agency to be allowed to marry." I've even heard it said that the church has no business getting involved in political propositions and that maybe we SHOULD lose our tax exempt status for doing so. I reflect on the revelation given to President Hinckley regarding the Proclamation to the Family back in 1995. At the time, I remember thinking how it was wise counsel, not understanding the conflicts we would face trying to defend that counsel just a few years later. The fact that each of the propositions passed this last year, gives me a little hope, at least until the next election.

I did learn a little about myself throughout this political process. I learned that I will no longer be afraid to stand up for my core values. I will no longer fear what others might think if I have a "Yes for marriage" sign in my front yard. I have taught my children that they can vote for whomever they choose so long as they have a reason why. Saying, "Because he's cool" isn't a reason. I have encouraged my children to show respect by shaking the hands of our men and women in uniform and thanking them for their service to our country. I will not allow some to label me as intolerant and racist because I am a Christian or to think "conservative" is a dirty word. I will not let my morals shift like the wind. I learned that we need to take back the Republican party. We need to encourage and teach people how to help themselves so that they, in turn, can help others by their own free will and choice. We can not allow our country to fall into the hands of socialism. It is Satan's demoralizing counterfeit of the sacred law of consecration. I vow to be counted among those who refused to deny the Savior in the last days and I will not let those who lost their lives fighting for our country and freedoms to have done so in vain.

Russian leader Kruschev to former President Ezra Taft Benson when he was Secretary of Agriculture: "You Americans are so gullible. No, you won't accept communism outright. But we'll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you finally wake up and find you already have communism. We won't have to fight you. We'll so weaken your economy until you will fall like over-ripe fruit into our hands."

Tyler Thomas--1787 “A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasure. From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasure, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Beyond flattered.............

My friend brought over her darling, new six week old baby girl so that I could take some pictures of her in her blessing gown. We took a bunch then sent them over to photo center to have them printed. When my friend went to pick them up, the lady at the counter told her she couldn't give them to her because they were done by a "professional". Some copyright blah blah blah. (It's called a Canon Rebel XT, Photoshop and a white sheet. ) My friend, I think, thought she was kidding and even joked saying, "My friend will be so flattered!". The sales lady apparently wasn't joking and wasn't convinced that they were taken in my living room the day before. The sales lady called for her manager. The manager looked them over and finally concluded that they probably weren't "professional" because they didn't have a studio name on any of the bottom corners. The sales lady finally handed over the prints.

Yes, I AM flattered......... But a cute subject to photograph makes it really easy.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Go out and Vote!

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money-power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.You cannot build character and courage by taking away men's initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves."
Abraham Lincoln

"I am confident that it was out of what he saw of the bitter fruit of dictatorship that he developed his strong feelings, almost hatred, for communism and socialism. That distaste grew through the years as he witnessed the heavy-handed oppression and suffering of the peoples of eastern Europe under what he repeatedly described as godless communism.
These experiences further strengthened his love for the land of his birth. He had grown up in big sky country, where there was a spirit of freedom and independence. He had grown up in the tradition of his forebears, who spoke reverently of those who were raised up by the Almighty to establish this nation and who had pledged “their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor” to the cause of liberty. He never got over his boyhood love for freedom. Rather it grew within him, nurtured by what he saw of oppression in other lands and by what he observed firsthand of a growing dominance of government in this land over the lives of the people."
Gordon B. Hinckley speaking of the former President Benson

“You and I have heard all our lives that the time may come when the Constitution may hang by a thread. I do not know whether it is a thread or a small rope by which it now hangs, but I do know that whether it shall live or die is now in the balance.
“I have said to you before, brethren, that to me the Constitution is a part of my religion. In its place it is just as much a part of my religion as any other part. It is a part of my religion because it is one of those institutions which God has set up for His own purposes, and, as one of the brethren said today, set up so that this Church might be established, because under no other government in the world could the Church have been established as it has been established under this government.

“I think I would be safe in saying that my fellowship with you in the Church depends upon whether or not I accept the revelations and the principles which God has revealed. If I am not willing to do that, then I am not entitled to fellowship. Anyone else who fails to accept the revelations and the principles which God has revealed stands in precisely the same situation.”

J Reuben Clark Oct. 1942

Sunday, November 02, 2008


I know many of you are sitting there wondering why it is that I've had a bunch of posts this last week after having not posted anything for the whole month. Let me fill you in...........

Our program is DONE! For those who have ever been in charge of one, you know the time and effort that goes in to preparing a primary program. While I enjoy doing it and find it actually kind of fun, it does take a lot of time putting it all together. There's the flow, the programs, the parts, the practice, the seating charts, the kids who don't show for practice which aren't necessarily the same kids who don't show for the program, the musical numbers, the lack of teachers, the making all of the parents happy, the last minute glitches not planned on.............

But ours turned out great. Almost all of the kids had their parts memorized and they sang their songs so well! For our closing song, I created an arrangement using I am a Child of God and If the Savior Stood Beside Me for a few of our teachers to sing. I played the piano and Kirk was part of the ensemble. I received a lot of compliments from it! My mom came to support my efforts and to see Lauren and Jack recite their lines. They did a great job!

For sharing time, my great leaders in our presidency ( sneakily ) put together a sharing time to thank our pianist, music director and myself for our work on the program. It was so cute and so unexpected! Our Primary is truly awesome!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween hangover

I had a good idea. I just didn't execute it well. I thought of doing a Wizard of Oz theme this year with Lauren as Dorothy and the boys as the scarecrow, tinman and lion. Cute, eh?

Yeah. When Wednesday came and all I had put together was a pair of red shoes, I knew my plan wasn't going to come together as well as I thought in my mind.

Off to plan B.

Isn't there some story somewhere about a tiger, doggy, bat and a princess? With the exception of the bat costume, everything else was either recycled costumes or came from the dress up box. I'm cool with that. I'm telling you, a stress-free halloween is TOTALLY worth it!

Princess Lauren

Jack Bat ( made his wings from an umbrella! )

Erik the puppy (too bad it was 90 degrees outside! He was naked as a jailbird under his costume.)

Ian the tiger ( and already sticky from the candy before even leaving to go trick-or-treating. A couple of times, I put my hand in the candy bowl to pass some out and pulled out a half eaten sucker. )

I must confess: I overheard some Jr. High kids walking up our driveway and commenting on my "Yes for 102" sign saying how they thought gay marriage was cool. They got the icky peanut butter taffy and melted chocolate bars from the 90 degree heat from my bowl. That will teach them...............