Friday, November 28, 2008


We had a great adventure today. A family friend helps run a large farm out here in Utah. We took the kids up to see the farm. They were harvesting feed corn, and we all got to not only watch the tractors at work but to ride on the tractor and the combine to see the process close up. Luke was particularly delighted to get to ride on the farm machines. Like many three-year-old boys he is fascinated by trucks, tractors and machines. After we left the farm he told us all about how the combine cuts down the corn and puts the kernels into the tractor trailer, which then puts them in a truck, which takes them to the dairy farm where the cows eat them.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Natural Resources

I wasn't planning to post again today, but my kids are making me laugh so I had to share. Luke has been walking back and forth between the sandbox in the back yard and the refrigerator in the kitchen with a small bucket. The reason? The most child-accessible source of water in our home is the water dispenser inside the refrigerater--I guess he needs water for his sand constructions. I like watching my kids solve their problems creatively :-)

15 things you might not know...

Mary Anne tagged me awhile back to write a list of 15 things you might not know about me. With Thanksgiving coming up I'm planning to take a little break from blogging, and I thought this might be a fun post before I go. Of course, what you don't know depends on who you are...I'm generally not a good secret keeper! So here's a list of 15 things you may or may not know about me, in no particular order...

I celebrated my 6th birthday in Mexico, my 10th in Guatemala, 13th in France, 16th in Bolivia, 18th in Austria, 21st in Jordan, 22nd in Japan, 23rd in Nicaragua...the rest you'll have to guess.

I once won a grapefruit-eating contests by finishing off 10 grapefruit halves for breakfast.

I also won a water-chugging contest by drinking a glass of water faster than anyone else.

All three of my children were born without epidurals or any other form of medical pain relief.

I majored in Archeology in college.

When I graduated I accepted a commission in the US Air Force (archeology doesn't pay well...); They didn't know what to do with an archeologist so they put me in charge of lodging.

My greatest accomplishment as an Air Force officer was getting the cable TV fixed in time for a visiting General to watch an all-important football game.

The most fun I had in the Air Force was driving a bulldozer.

I happily changed careers when my husband and I were blessed with our first beautiful baby. Now God is my employer, my children are my stewardship, and my salary comes in hugs and kisses.

Thanks to my 3-year-old son, I still get to drive bulldozers; now they are the kind that push sand around at the park.

I also have many opportunities to use my archeology training, unearthing lost and buried treasures (that missing shoe?) around the house.

I have lived in 17 cities, in 6 countries, on 4 continents, in 2 hemispheres.

In the first year after I met my husband I asked him out three times. He asked me out once. (He later made up for the discrepancy).

I have had some success in learning to speak French, Spanish, and Japanese. I have had much less succes in attempts to learn Russian, Cantonese, German, Arabic, and Hebrew...

I have read the Bible cover to cover at least twice. I have read the Book of Mormon cover to cover at least 10 times. The Book of Mormon is a lot shorter.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Why are all my kitchen chairs lying on their sides?

I'll give you a hint. The kids didn't knock them down. I did.
Esther has taken to climbing everything in site. My lightweight wooden kitchen chairs are one of her favorites. She climbs up onto the seat then tries to climb the rungs on the back. As you can probably imagine, this is an accident waiting to happen: baby climbs up chair, chair tips over, baby end up with a concussion from hitting the hard tile floor head first. Possible solutions: 1) supervise baby at all times--ideal, but in a household of three children impractical; 2) removed kitchen chairs to an inaccessible location--also impractical, especially since we need them at least 3 times a day; 3) eliminate the tipping hazard by pre-tipping the chairs. I chose option 3. I'm sure chairs on their sides present hazards of their own (tripping?) but after three close rescues this morning I'll take what I can get.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Anyone with blogging know-how?

I'm trying to create a button for the Quest for Simplicity meme I am starting. You can see the image on my sidebar right now, but I haven't yet figured out how to turn it into a button that would link to the meme home page. Does anyone know how to do this? I'll figure it out eventually, but I don't have much time this week.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Emulating Mary and Quest for Simplicity

I would like to add two new features to my blog;
Emulating Mary posts would focus on efforts to live a gospel-centered life, with Mary, sister of Martha, as our example:

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Luke 10:38-42

Quest for Simplicity posts would focus on eliminating unnecessary clutter--both things and activities--from our lives to make room for the most important things.

If people are interested, I think it would be fun to do this in meme form. Anyone who wants could write an "Emulating Mary" or "Quest for Simplicity" post on their blog, then sign the Mr. Linky on my page. I've got to figure out how to set that all up, so we may not be starting right away.
Please let me know if this is something you would be interested in by leaving a comment. Other suggestions are welcome as well!


I have a little mandarin tree in a pot. I bought it sometime this spring, and it seemed to be thriving, it even had a mandarin or two growing. Then the tree suffered and accident; I was carrying the pot and dropped it, the tree fell on the ground and the entire top broke off. All that was left was a bare trunk.
This all happened when we were in the process of moving, and the little mandarin tree was left with other plants for several at a friend's house before we were able to bring it to our new home. When I saw the tree a few weeks later I was astonished; several new branches had grown and put out leaves, and once again the tree appeared to be flourishing. Interestingly, there were a few branches at the top with large leaves, and several growing from the side of the trunk with thorns and small leaves that never got any bigger. And as I continued watering the tree, I noticed that only the branches with the small leaves and thorns continued to grow and put out new leaves. I did some research and discovered that citrus trees are generally grown on a graft. The fruit-producing tree is grafted onto the root stock of a hardy wild citrus type, which provides a good root system (but on its own produces inedible fruit). Apparently, the shock my tree had undergone had stimulated the root stock to put out branches. I was concerned that only these "wild" branches seemed to be growing, sapping the tree's resources, so I pruned them off. Within a week or two, the larger "tame" branches were once again putting out new leaves and growing. I'm hoping for some mandarins next year.
This morning I was thinking about how to prioritize my time and efforts so that I can attend to the things that are most important to me. Recently I feel like I am barely holding on, trying to do too much and not doing any of it well. What I want is a peaceful, pleasant home where my children can learn the gospel and develop their talents. I want my husband to be able to come home from work in the evenings and relax and enjoy being with the family. Instead, meals are usually late, dishes are never done, laundry is is various piles, toys are on the floor...I think I have too many wild branches growing and I need to figure out how to prune them off so that I can devote my energy to those that will bear fruit.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Lily was happily enjoying her bath this morning when I told her it was time to get out and dressed as we needed to leave for church in ten minutes. Her response? "All right, I'll be out in nine minutes."
Procrastination develops early...

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Because we moved in July, I wasn't sure if I could have a garden harvest this year. I planted anyway, in August. We have had a very warm and sunny season here in Southern California, and I was delighted this morning to pick the first zuchini from our late planting. Who knows, if it stays warm for a bit we may even get some tomatoes!

Qualified Commandments?

My favorite reading copy of the New Testament has this Carl Bloch painting to to illustrate the Sermon on the Mount. As I was reading Matthew's account this morning, I kept coming back to the picture; I noticed that some of the listeners seem to be accepting what is said, while others are portrayed turned half away from the Lord, as if they don't like what they hear. Perhaps they find they can only agree with part of what the Master says.
I wonder how often we accept a commandment in principle, but add private qualifications?

Thou Shalt Not Steal (but cheating on a tax return is OK)

Thou Shalt Not Kill (unless it's an unborn child)

Thous Shalt not Commit Adultery/whosoever who looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery already with her in his heart (But if it's just internet pornography it isn't important)

Thou shalt have no gods before me/Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart (but if you favorite sports team is playing on Sunday it's OK to miss church to watch)

Love thy neighbour as thyself (unless you hear a really juicy piece of gossip about them; then it's OK to pass it on)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs "Mom" Help!

This week I’d like to invite you to share what YOUR “Mom” help is. Some drink coffee, soda, or chia-tea. Others check email or read their favourite blogs. Some talk a walk…. what do you do when you need to clear your head and take a breather?

I find there are a number of things that bring balance to my life. One of my favorites is going walking, running or to the gym, either by myself or with a friend. Of course, with three small children such activities generally have to be planned in advance, when someone else (usually Daddy) can watch the kids. I miss the days when I could put one or two babies in a stroller and go for a long walk while I let my mind wander.
When I need more moment-by-moment encouragement, I turn to music and especially to my favorite hymns. Whether I sing, play the piano, or listen to a recording, I find encouragement and comfort in sacred song. Here is one of my favorites.

Count Your Blessings
When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold.
Count your many blessings, money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your Lord on high.

So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.

Gratitude Journal #2

I really should have posted this on Tuesday, but it has taken me a couple of days to decide what I wanted to say.
I am thankful for all those who have put their lives on the line, over the many years, to make our country strong and free. Since before the Revolutionary War, America has been defended by those who took up arms and put themselves in harms way, so that their families and loved ones would have a chance to live a life of liberty and security. Many have died. Some have fought by choice, many others have taken their place out of duty.
War is a terrible thing. I have stood in the National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb victims in Nagasaki, Japan, and felt the horror of war; the weight of death and suffering for millions of people, each one a child of God, each life infinitely precious. But greater still than the horror of war is the horror of a tyranny of evil reigning unoposed. The evil in the world is real; it does not hesitate to impose itself on communities and nations. I have seen the record of such evil at work. As a teenager I visited the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria, one of the largest concentration camp complexes established by Germany during World War II. In Mauthausen, as in other concentration camps, hundreds of thousands of people were systematically exterminated. Unfortunately, bondage, cruelty, terrorism, and other facets of evil have existed in all periods of time; they continue to exist today. Sometimes, taking up the sword is necessary to oppose such evil. I pray that we as a nation, and others of good intent throughout the world, will have the wisdom to discern when such action may be necessary, and the courage to act when it is.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Mommmmy! My foot hurts!
Luke just came running in with a splinter in his foot. He showed me where it hurt, then said: "kiss it better". I removed a small splinter, kissed the foot better, and he was off. I love 3-year-old boys who believe in the power of Mommy's kiss to make everything all better!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Baby Talk

This little Miss is starting to talk. Just not in English yet. Her most-used word is ga-ging; combined with the sign for milk (opening and closing her hand) it means nurse. She babbles all the time, and does try to imitate some words. Kitty and Doggy are popular, they both come out sounding something like kiiiy! Mamama is mommy, but so far daddy seems to be ga-ga. She's obviously got her G sound down!

Prepared Dictation

I was thinking this morning of a way to combine Copywork and Dictation, two pillars of Charlotte Mason's approach to language arts. Charlotte Mason advocated the use of prepared dictation for teaching spelling and grammar. I am familiar with prepared dications, as teachers at the French school I attended in middle school occasionally assigned them. A passage is given in advance, the student studies the spelling and grammar, then the teacher dictates the passage while the student writes. My idea this morning was, why not use copywork for prepared dictation passages? The approach seems efficient to me--the child practices their handwriting while learning the spelling and grammar conventions of a language, paying extra close attention because they know they will have to write the same passage from dictation later. I believe this approach could be helpful not only with English but with foreign language study as well.
I don't think my kids are quite old enough for this yet, but if anyone decides to try it out let me know how it goes!

How Parenthood Changes Us

I was mulling over our experience at the amusement park on Saturday and contemplating the fact that, for us, it was all about the kids. In fact, although Nathan loves roller coasters, he didn't go on a single adult ride at the park and neither did I. As any parent knows, you don't take the family to an amusement park for your own amusement. We and the many other parents there were having a wonderful time watching the kids enjoy themselves.
Interestingly enough, even in the children's section of the park, there were a number of young adults, people who looked to be between the ages of about 17-25. They were wandering around among the game booths and going on the kiddie rides. I'm sure had we gone to the more exciting parts of the park we would have seen many more.
I started thinking about the changes that parenthood makes in us. We see all around us, particularly among teenagers and unencumbered young adults, a rather intense focus on self. The time spent worrying over clothing, appearance, social status, and other self-absorptive concerns is substantial. I occasionally stumble upon the blog or social networking page of one of these people who obviously thinks the world does or should revolve around themselves.
I'm not trying to slam teenagers or young adults as a class, as I also know many who are generous, kind, and service-oriented. I do, however, think there is a great shift that takes place in the thinking and attitudes of many people when they become parents. All of the energy that might previously have gone into thinking about oneself now goes in concern for a child. In the process, I believe many of us discover a great truth: seeking for the happiness of others is in fact much more fulfilling, and therefore brings us more happiness, than seeking for our own happiness could do. With this in mind, I wonder what the implications to society are of the trend towards delayed marriage and even further delayed child bearing. The effect seems to be that we extend the po0rtion of our lives that is dedicated to ourselves, and put off those experiences that teach us the joy of selfless service. I would not be surprised to learn that one result is a society where selfishness is normal and expected.
Certainly the parents at the amusement park, ourselves included, took great delight in watching our children's delight.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Playtime at Knott's

We went to Knott's Berry Farm yesterday

On Squirrels and Primary Presentations

I've been wanting to catch a picture of this fellow for awhile. This is our friend Squirrel Nutkin; he hangs around looking for crumbs and such and has more than once been know to come into the house to steal fruit, if we ever leave the back door open. This morning he was caught red-handed trying to break in--he's climbing on the screen door. The sliding glass door was closed, so no squirrel-bitten apples this time.

Church this morning centered around the annual Primary children's presentation. Lily had a part to read, and did it very well (once she recovered from a minor panic attack when all the children were walking to the front of the chapel). She actually read most of this on her own, she only needed prompting on a few words; can you tell I am proud of her?

"I know I am a child of God. I am glad my parents have taught me about Heavenly Father and Jesus. I know that all people are children of God and he loves each of us. We can tell other people about Heavenly Father and Jesus. When they learn about the gospel they will be happy. We will be happy too.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. "

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Building Bridges

These past several months have seen an unusual degree of cooperation among people of many different religious persuasions as we have fought to preserve traditional marriage and families in California. Evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons, among others, have come together to work towards a common cause. We have stood up for our faith, for God-given truths, for the sanctity of our own homes and families.
I have great hope that this cooperation will lead to increased friendship and understanding among us. There are differences in our beliefs and practices, I do not wish to minimize them. But there is also much that we share. In an increasingly secular world, I pray that those who are witnesses to the power of God in our lives, the power of prayer, the moral truths of the Bible, and the sanctity of human life, will stand together against the oncoming tide.
I personally have benefitted greatly from the testimony of faith in Christ, reliance on scriptural truths, and power in prayer I have seen in so many faithful Christians who are not members of my church. SHS sisters, you are among these and I thank you for accepting a Mormon in your midst. I admire you for your faith and diligence in living in accordance with your respective beliefs. I have learned so much from you and hope these sweet associations will continue.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Since this seems to be our week for field trips, we went to the local aquarium yesterday. I repented of my earlier negligence and actually took a camera this time!
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Ethics: out of Sight, out of mind?

I woke up this morning thinking about the "Chicken Statute", otherwise know as Proposition 2, that just passed in California. Proposition 2 requires that certain farm animals (egg laying hens, calves raised for veal, and pregnant pigs) be kept under conditions that allow them to turn in a full circle and extend their limbs. When I was considering this proposition, my thought process went something like this:
If I were raising an animal, let's say a chicken, for eggs or meat, would I confine it so that it could not even raise its wings? Absolutely not. I could never live with myself if I treated an animal so cruely. Does the fact that the hen that produces the eggs I will eat is being kept on a farm (egg factory) somewhere where I will never see it mean that the conditions in which it lives are irrelevant to me? I think not.
It seems to me that we not infrequently sidestep the moral implications of our choices and actions by mentally and physically disengaging ourselves. Examples are myriad. When we choose to leave a shopping cart loose in the parking lot of a store, we cheerfully choose to ignore the burden and inconvenience we are placing on someone else who will have to retrieve that cart. When we buy a cheap pair of shoes made in China we are happy with our bargain because we are not forced to see the miserable conditions in the sweat shop that produced them.
On a more serious note, a woman who chooses an elective abortion to end an unwanted pregnancy is insulated from the true nature of her choice by several distancing layers. In all probability, she will view her choice as "ending a pregnancy" (something abstract and a nuisance to her); since she does not see the beating heart and moving limbs within her, she can comfortably ignore the life she is ending. And since she herself will not perform the procedure that destroys that life, she can distance herself from its reality by viewing it as simply a medical procedure, the moral equivalent of having an unwanted mole removed. Were those layers of insulation removed, were she to see the life and be required to snuff it out herself, I suspect many women would make a different choice.
Because making truely moral decisions is hard and often very inconvenient, we frequently choose another route. We willingly wear blinders that allow us to see only what we choose to see.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Thoughts on the Presidential Election

This is not a political post, it is a patriotic post. Two days ago, millions of Americans went to the polls to elect a new president. The winner of the election was not my candidate; to be honest, I wasn't thrilled with either candidate, but because conservative social values are important to me I picked the candidate most likely to uphold them. Am I upset with the results? Oddly enough, my mood since the election has been largely one of gratitude. Gratitude to live in a country dedicated to liberty. Tuesday's election saw record voter turnout in many areas. We voted freely on everything from who would be the next President of the United States to whether or not a chicken should have enough space to raise its wings. In doing so, we exercised a right that historically has been, and currently is, enjoyed by only a minority of the people of the world. We demonstrated, by electing a President of mixed African-American race, that we as a nation are moving beyond the racism that was so painfully divisive for so long. We supported the fundamental institutions of marriage and families, so important to me personally.
Most of all, we demonstrated that we are Americans, and America is still great.


Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.
But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.
Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are contiually before me.
(Isaiah 49:13-16)

My dear friend Kelley wrote recently about an experience she had with mercy in a traffic court. She had been pulled over for speeding in a construction zone; she didn't deny the charge but went to court to plead for mercy because she couldn't afford the ticket. The judge listened as she explained her situation; her husband had recently lost his job, and they have four young children. He dismissed the charge.
As I read of my friend's experience, and the deep gratitude she felt, I was reminded of the divine mercy that is available to each of us, and how deeply grateful we would rightly feel if we truly understood it. Some day we will stand before God to be judged. On our own merits, we must plead guilty. But there is one who offers us mercy, if we will accept it.
The Book of Mormon prophet Amulek speaking before the time of Christ, spoke of His great atonement:
"And behold, this is the whole meaning of the law, every whit pointing to that great and last sacrifice; and that great and last sacrivice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal.
And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance.
And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption." (Alma 34:14-16)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Explorations and Adventures

Maybe we will set a record for Field Trips this week. So far we have been to a polling place (multiple polling places, actually), on Monday. The same day we made our first visit to the Marine Mammal Care Center. This morning we went back to the MMCC--those northern fur seal babies are sooo cute. I discovered today that it is actually the baby sea lions, not the seals, that sound like sheep. After visiting the MMCC, we stopped at the Korean Friendship Bell Park. There is a huge bell there under a canopy, a gift to the United States for the bicentennial in 1978. I would love to hear the bell rung! The park is beautiful, overlooking the ocean. Pictures would be appropriate here, but as usual I forgot to take a camera.
This afternoon I drove to Lily's piano teacher's house, only to realize after we got there that we were an hour early. I can't even blame this on the recent time change; all my clocks were set correctly. I got in the car at 1:15, I knew the lesson was at 3:00. Somehow in my mind 3:00 comes 45 minutes after 1:15. My only excuse is that I had been up since 2:30 AM (when I heard Nathan get up and turn on the computer to check election results). We watched the early results coming in for Proposition 8, and felt cautiously jubilant as it looked like passing. But I was way to keyed up to go back to bed, so I stayed up doing dishes and laundry (just a few of the things that have been seriously neglected in these last few days of campaigning).
Anyway, the upshot of arriving an hour early for the piano lesson was that we had an hour to kill. We took of to explore the neighbourhood. Less than two miles from the piano teacher's house we discivered a 1844 ranch house (built spanish-style around a courtyard) that has been converted into a museum od that period in California's history. We only got a quick tour, but we will be going back. Maybe we'll go an hour early to next week's piano lesson.

Playfull Interludes

Lest anyone think we spent the whole day on election-day activities yesterday, I want to report a great discovery we made in our local area. Actually, it happened thanks to the election--our assigned polling place is a community center in a local park which we had never visited before. As I had already sent in my ballot by mail, we decided to drop Nathan off to go in and vote while the kids and I did some exploring. I had seen an intriguing sign on the way in pointing to a Marine Mammal Care Center, so we drove off in that direction. We found a modest little facility to house marine mammals found in trouble on local beaches. When we visited, the resident guests included two adorable baby fur seals, 6 or 7 sea lions, and one gigantic baby elephant seal. It was a wonderful discovery, and a nice complement to the fun little aquarium down the road from us. The kids want to go back today, so as soon as I get everyone dressed we're off to visit the seals. By the way, I had always heard of seals barking, and I suppose adult seals to. Baby seals, however, make a sound remarkably similar to the "ba-a-a" of a sheep. I kept looking around for something with wool!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Democracy in Action

We're busy today and I hadn't planned a blog post, but I want to quickly write about our experience this morning. We were scheduled to stand in front of a local polling place during the high traffic hours of 7:00-9:00 AM with our Yes on 8/Support Traditional Marriage signs. We arrived to see voters ligned up outside the building waiting for the polls to open, and opponents of proposition 8 distributing handbills (100 feet away from the polling place, of course). We proceeded to set up with our signs, talking to voters to make sure they know what they are voting for (there's been a lot of confusion--people voting no on proposition 8 because they think they are voting against gay marriage). We exchanged greetings with the No on 8 folks, and chatted about non-political things in between times. What I felt, and really don't know how to capture in writing, was appreciation for our democratic political process. It was inspiring to see so many people lining up early in the morning to go cast their vote. It was equally inspiring to be able to stand side by side with someone supporting a position opposite to mine and know that that was OK, we can disagree and even hold strong feelings on an issue, but still treat one another with courtesy and respect.
This is democracy in action.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Gratitude November 3

I'm impressed to see many bloggers using the month of November to express thankfulness. I'm not sure I can commit to blogging about things I am thankful for every day this month, but I would like to keep gratitude in my thoughts and words and write as often as I find opportunity. Who knows, perhaps this could become a gratitude journal extending past November.

Today, as we stand on the eve of what will doubtless be an eventful election, I am grateful to live in a country that extends to its citizens the liberty to live, act, and vote in accordance with our conscience. I am grateful for the freedom to worship God, and aknowledge that for some that means the freedom to not worship God.
I am grateful above all for my own testimony of God's love, for the knowledge the I am a child of God, and that each person here on the Earth is also a child of God. In my personal life, I am grateful for the guidance of the scriptures and of modern-day prophets and apostles, who can guide us through troubling times. I am grateful for the opportunity we each have to approach God through prayer and seek and receive direction for our own lives.
Indeed, I have much to be grateful for.

Queen Lucy the Valiant

Every girl wants to be a princess, but I personally am not a huge fan of the animated Disney princesses. I think I've found a better dress-up role model (thanks to after-Halloween sale shopping). I give you:
Lucy the Valiant, Queen of Narnia

What's in a name? Proposition 8 and the definition of marriage: A Planetary Discussion

For those who are getting tired of my posts on proposition 8, I have good news and bad news. The good news: we go to the polls tomorrow, and my posts on this issue will probably largely stop after the election. The bad news? I've got about 36 hours left in which to defend traditional marriage, and I intend to take advantage of it!
I read a blog post yesterday ridiculing anyone who argues that semantics matter in the gay marriage battle. This blogger compared the argument over the definition of marriage to the recent argument over and redefinition of the word planet, claiming that since one didn't really make a difference neither will the other. I frankly thought his argument was a poor one, but we might after all learn something from the effort to define the meaning of the word "planet".
When the International Astronomical Union met in 2006 to reconsider the definition of planet, they were faced with two options: 1) define planet in a way that would include the numerous new pluto-like bodies being discovered in the solar system, greatly expanding the number of named plantes in the solar systerm, or 2) define planet in a way that recognizes the unique characteristics of the 8 major planets and distinguishes them from other orbital bodies in the solar system. Here is the definition they chose:
A planet is a celestial body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals
Some people have been upset that this definition excludes Pluto, which all of us learned years ago in the last of planets. The truth is, the IAU did not have any particular predjudice against Pluto. However, in the years since Pluto's discovery and inclusion in the list of planets, many more solar bodies of similar size and orbits had been discovered, including one larger than Pluto. These bodies, including Pluto, differed from the other major planets in significant ways. Astronomers were faced with two choices: 1) expand the list of planets to include all of these objects, or 2) refine the definition of the term "planet" to reflect the differences between these orbiting objects and the other planets of the solar system. They chose to refine the definition of a planet to make clear the distinction between the large planets with their unique properties and the smaller celestial bodies which they renamed "dwarf planets". Why make a distinction? Quite simply, because words are more meaningful and more useful when their definition is more precise. This is particularly true in scientific and legal spheres.
Because the major planets and dwarf planets have different characteristics, if both were simply designated as planets a scientists wanting to discuss one or the other would have to specify in some other way what he was talking about, i.e. "the type of planet that is rounded by its own gravity" or "the type of planet that is too small to dominate its orbit". Clearly, carefully defining our terms from the beginning makes those terms more useful. A scientific observation that applied to one group might not apply to the other, and confusion would result.
The application to marriage laws and definitions should be apparent. Limiting the definition of marriage to the union of a man and a woman makes the term more specific and therefor more useful. Including relationships that have some marriage-like aspects, such as a same-sex union, muddies the waters, and leaves open to interpretation what marriage really means. Are the differences between a same-sex union and a male/female union significant enough to warrant different names? Absolutely. Yes, there are some similarities: both may be close committed relationships between individuals, both may be sexual and romantic unions. But only the union between and man and a woman includes the potential to produce offspring. My marriage to my husband has produced three children; because their father is married to their mother, these children benefit from close and secure relationships with both of their natural parents, as well as with grandparents and other family members. That situation will never result from the "marriage" of two men or two women.
Is the real difference great enough to warrant semantic and legal differentiation? Absolutely. Will defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, as proposition 8 attempts to do, benefit children and society? Unequivicably.
Vote Yes on Proposition 8. It's the right thing to do.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sick and tired of being sick and tired...

We've been sick for the past three weeks--not down in bed sick, but don't have any energy, wish I could breathe through my nose, wish I felt like eating kind of sick. And every time I think we're surely over it someone runs a fever or starts coughing again, or...
Alright, I'm done complaining.

In consideration of our gay brothers and sisters

I have written a lot about Proposition 8 and the need to protect the traditional institution of marriage. I hope people do not think this is because I hate gays or anyone else. I recently discovered a blog that I believe is worth reading for those who want to better understand some of the issues affecting gay people. This particular blog is written by a gay man who is an active practicing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Because of his faith, he does not engage in behavior that violates the commandments of God. But homosexuality is a reality for him, and the perspective and experience he shares in his blog help bring some balance to discussions on this issue.
You can read Clint's blog here.

A fun new blog

My little sister has started a blog, MA's Thrifty Crafts. Mary Anne is good at everything I am not and has some really neat ideas up already--fun, crafty projects that any mom could complete on a shoe-string budget. Stop by for some great ideas!