Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas time '08


This year, I had two very good reasons to be so thankful: My sweet wife, Brynn, and our new little man, Jericho. Christmas is one of my favorite times of year, mostly because I usually notice a little more charity, more empathy, and more acts of kindness than at other times of the year. I have to say that, this year, I didn't notice it as much. That may be because people weren't feeling that way as much, or it may have been because I was too wrapped up in my own little world to notice. Truly, NOTHING in the world is more important to me than my little family. Brynn is so great. She's so thoughtful, so full of love. She knows how much I admire my Grandma Haskell; how I think there's no person closer to God than that lady. But I've also told Brynn that she and my little sister Chelsey are in the same category as Grandma. Amazing people.
Jericho has changed our lives, just as everyone said he would. It's not just that we have another little life to look after; it's that Jericho is so special. He is so beautiful. I'm amazed every time I see his handsome little smile. I think, "You really came from me?" He's lucky to have his momma's good looks. I know they say that having a baby is not the answer to making a bad marriage a good one. But I will say that our baby has made our good marriage even better. When I look at my son, his cute little smile, I not only think of how amazing he is, but of how much I love his mom.
Although Jericho is too young to have cared what day it was on the 25th, he is changing and growing so much. He'll be 8 weeks old on Tuesday. Already he will smile back, nearly every time I smile at him. And he's trying so hard to talk. Now, it's no where close to actual words. Can't even get a "da-da" from him. But he makes these beautiful little mutterings and noises. I know he's saying stuff---even if he doesn't know what he means; I think he realizes that he's trying to have a conversation with me. And it's the best stuff I've ever heard anywhere.
We had our Christmas in Vernal this year. Brynn's family is from there and nearly all of them still live there. On Christmas Eve we went to a family dinner. After the meal, Brynn's mom and some other lady did this little performance where Brynn's mom was Joseph's mom, and the other lady was Mary's mom. Sort of gave a new perspective about the historic events that led to the birth of Christ. It was spiritual and I really enjoyed it. I needed it.
On Christmas morning we got up and waited for Brynn's sister and her husband and kids to come over and then we opened some presents. It was simple and sweet; just my style. After that we headed over to her grandparents' home for a delicious pancake, eggs and ham breakfast. It was great.
I noticed this year, more than the previous ones, that Brynn has a very special family. They are all kind, generous, and just plain good-hearted souls. They were all so kind to me and really made me feel welcomed and like I fit in as one of them. And I know how lucky I am to have this type of relationship with in-laws.
Anyway, it was a good Christmas. Wish this time of year would find everyone so lucky.

P.S. Just had Sunday lunch with some close friends of ours. And as promised, I'd like to give a shout out to Jarin and Jami and their 2 cute kids. What's up guys? Hope you made it back to Santaquin OK.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

4th installment of Short stories by Wade, Now with pictures




Over the past 1 1/2 to 2 years, there has been debate about wind machines going up in different Utahn locations. One of which is at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon. Most people seemed for the idea, especially with the ever-increasing cost of power. A vocal minority, mostly from the canyon area, were against it, using noise pollution, the incidental deaths of birds, and the blocking of their view, as their arguments. Well, the debate came and went and we now have a wind farm, which includes 9 HUGE machines. I haven't done much research on the exact size of these things, but I'm guessing that each blade of the propellers is about 150 ft. They are a spectacular site. I am glad to see some forward thinking ideas coming to fruition in Utah, a state sometimes known for it's anti-progress attitudes. Anyway, I believe this particular farm is owned by Rocky Mountain Power and the electricity generated is being sold down the grid to California. Recent rumor is that another, much larger farm is going up in the West Desert, somewhere out by Bonneville Salt Flats. Can't wait to see it.

I've been doing some side projects lately; some for family and some for friends. Recently, a friend of ours asked me to make some window shutters, which they wanted for a Christmas present to an in-law. I hadn't done any before but the 2nd photo is what I came up with; closest thing to what she had described. I think they turned out well. Perhaps I'll do some more for our house.

The next picture was another small project, and another first. I've installed fireplace mantles before and I've helped my boss build some. But I had never done it myself before last week. My sister and brother-in-law asked me if I could build a mantle, one that was a bit better, more rustic perhaps than what they had. (Wish I would've taken a picture of the one I removed). Anyway, this was a fairly simple design I came up with. It was easy to install. (Because it is a smaller design, I built and installed it as 3 separate pieces; the actual mantle and the 2 legs). I don't think it's the best one I'll ever do but they seemed really happy with it and I enjoyed doing it.

Last picture is one I took the other day of my friend Jed holding Jericho. Jed is a native of Payson--my hometown, though he's now a resident of Alaska. (Wish I could say the same for myself). Anyway he's in town for the holidays and this was his first time meeting our new son. They get along great already. Jericho will be lucky to have an Uncle Jed. I met Jed quite a few years ago when he was managing our local bike shop. I began riding with him and trying to pick up a few of his mountain biking skills. He has become one of my best friends since and I always wish he was here instead of 3000 miles away---or else I wish I was 3000 miles away with him. (Come on Brynn--you know you want to be there too). Anyway, Jed is the best kind of person there is. He's a true friend and someone you could trust with your life. This photo will be of great value, especially since we only get to see him for a few days each year.

And that concludes this, the 4th installment of Short Stories by Wade, Now with pictures.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Jericho is being a baby.


OK, so being a parent of a new born is pretty hard sometimes. Jericho has been having a bit of trouble going to sleep at night. He eats right before we go to bed and looks like he's going to fall asleep and then, "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh..." I joke and say, "Why are you being such a baby?" The obvious answer: Because he IS a baby.

But seriously, it's been a great experience so far and I look forward to the future with my little family. When I came home from work today, Brynn and Jericho were in our bed playing and talking--well on the level of a 3 week old. When I talked to him, I swear he smiled; Or at least, he tried to. I'm pretty sure at least. I mean, I realize that sometimes babies just look like they're smiling when really they just have gas. But I really think he was trying to contort his face into a smile to match mine. And, what's more rewarding than when your kid cuddles with you while you're both falling asleep in front of the TV, late at night--or anytime for that matter. I love that part of being a dad.

I know that these last 3 weeks have been so tough on Brynn. She probably gets like 2 hours of sleep at night--so she can't even get into the good, deep sleep her body so severely lacks. Luckily, she's started pumping a bit of milk and Jericho is fine to eat from the bottle. So, soon he can bottle feed all night and she can sleep. I wish I could help her more. How do moms do it, really? Anyway, my wife is amazing. I love her more than anything and my feelings for her have only intensified since adding Jericho to our mix. We don't live in a mansion, I don't have a million bucks, my f-ing work van won't start right now and my hair gets thinner every year. But I'm living the dream.

To Brynn and Jericho, what more can I say? I love you both.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Building up aggression...

6 weeks. Are you kidding me?!?! 6 weeks!!!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

2nd Installment of "Short Stories by Wade; Now with pictures."





The first picture is one of Brynn--love of my life--with 2 kittens; one a black panther and the other a tiger. (I guess they call them cubs--not kittens). Anyway, this was taken while we were on our 2nd cruise. We went to the Mexican Riviera, which included Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. This shot was taken while we visited the Puerto Vallarta Zoo. It was different from most zoos in the states. We never saw the zoo keepers. There was no pavement; it was all dirt. But it seemed quite authentic, especially since we rented a 1970 VW Beetle Convertible to get us there. And the zoo was at the end of a dirt road, past some shanties and the tequila factory. Anyway, there was some guy--not a biologist or zoo keeper--who had a little booth at the zoo with these several species of baby cats. And, for like ten or twenty bucks you could hold them and take pictures. It was a fun cruise.

Next is a photo of me making an ass out of myself trying to do the "Flowrider." This is this awesome surfing machine--it's huge--on the back of the Royal Caribbean "Freedom of the Seas" ship, which was the largest passenger vessel on the ocean at that time--2007. I'm not sure if the current largest ship is actually sailing yet, but I know there is one being built at least. Anyway, you could either stand up and try to surf or you could lie down and boogie board. Both were a lot of fun though I never got very good at either. (Imagine the boy raised in Haskellville, UT not able to surf). Well, this was our first cruise and we went to the Western Caribbean. The ports of call on this one were Cozumel, Mexico (amazing snorkeling there); Georgetown, Grand Cayman; somewhere in Jamaica (can't remember), and Labadee, Haiti, Royal Caribbean's private island and my least favorite. It was far too commercialized and there was nowhere to go. It was a fun vacation though.

The next one is a photo of the Lake Louise Hotel, near Banff, Alberta Canada. A day after Brynn and I were married, we moved to Alaska--for a short 6 months. (I had previously lived up there before I met her back in Utah). Anyway, I've driven the Utah to Alaska and back routes several times. And I'm convinced that the best way is skipping Calgary and Edmonton, and turning west through Banff and Jasper National Parks. Honestly, the scenery in these 2 parks rivals anything I've every seen in Alaska--and I LOVE Alaska. I hiked about a mile or so from a parking lot in Lake Louise and this picture was the rewarding view. I haven't stayed there yet but I plan to. Beautiful.

Lastly is a photo that Brynn took. When we drove back home from Alaska, we wanted to make the trip as scenic and wild as we could, which would mean camping instead of hotels incidentally. A side note: We camped in the snow, down a logging road, just north of Jasper and had a coyote come in and bark and howl all night. What an experience that was. Well, we tried to hit Waterton and Glacier National Parks as well but were turned away at the border crossing by the Canadian Mounties because we reached the gates at 6:02 PM. (They closed at 6:00 PM at that particular crossing). And there was nothing we could do but drive east about 70 miles and cross at Carway. We got into Montana and decided to go into Yellowstone at Gardiner, MT. Somewhere in the park, we came across this picture. Since it was October, it had already begun snowing and there was plenty of fog. Brynn took the picture, though I've tried to take credit for it several times. I'd say it's worthy of any Yellowstone calendar.

And this concludes the 2nd installment of "Short Stories by Wade."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Wade's short stories...





OK. So I've blogged about politics. Obama won. I'm content to give it a rest for now. I've blogged about having a baby and being parents. There will most certainly be more of that to come. I've blogged about nothing at all. There were my installments of "Quote of the moment." And now, I'm adding some pictures...just pictures at random...and telling you about them. Going to call it "Wade's short stories; now with pictures."

The first one of a picture of me after my first MMA fight. Pretty brutal. I was in no kind of shape for what turned out to be a 9 minute fight. (3 Rds x 3 min.) As it turned out, neither was he, though he seemed to be able to stand on his feet after the fight. I had to be helped out of the cage by my two corners. My opponent had a very solid chin. I couldn't knock him out, though I tried quite a few times. I ended up out pointing him throughout the fight and pulling off a decision. Fighting has just been a hobby for me--a release. I've been training for about 2 years, off and on. I use wrestling, ju-jitsu, mui-thai kickboxing, and just plain boxing. It's fun, though finding the time to train is proving difficult. I'll probably take 2 more fights before I give it up for awhile, if not for good. My next fight will likely be the end of this month or maybe not until December.

The next picture is of me and my dog Jake. He's an Alaskan Malamute. I've had him for 10 years, since he was a puppy. Jake has truly proven to be my own "man's best friend." I got him during my first marriage. (A topic for another time if requested). After the divorce, it was just me and Jake. He was the only thing in my life, at that time, who/that was always there. We know each other well. He knows when I'm happy. He knows when I'm down too. I know when he doesn't feel good, or when he needs some attention. I adopted a companion for Jake last year. She's a 4 year old Siberian Husky mix. We'll showcase her in another blog down the road. I got her, mainly to keep Jake feeling youthful and alive. It's worked so far, though he can't stand her. When I take them out for exercise, they are a team, though he hates her. Anyway, I love Jake. He's getting into his doggy sunset years and I can barely gut the thought of him not always being around. I love that dog. Hopefully we still have a couple of years together.

Next, we have a picture of "Ol' Betsy." Kidding. I haven't actually named my bike. And if I did, it's name would be more like, "The Hulk," or something to that effect. It's tough as nails and has taken plenty of abuse. For any bike enthusiasts reading this, it's a 2003 Santa Cruz Bullit. It's a great bike, mostly for downhill. I'm used to keeping a bike for 2 years, selling it an getting a new one. But times are tight and a new bike isn't my first priority--though it's not my last by any stretch. I think my first bike was a Murray Moon River or something. A fifteen speed, it was pretty awesome at the time. My second was a Specialized Rockhopper, in 1991. It was better, but not by much. The parts broke down all the time. I was glad to upgrade to my next bike, which was a Giant ATX 770. I actually still have that one, though I turned it into a touring bike for the road. After that, I wanted a nicer mtn. bike and bought a Kona Pahoehoe. It was a hard-tail, which weighed 23 lbs. (I no longer care about weight). But it was awesome, until I crashed into a tree, off a jump, and bent the frame. Kona warrantied it but with a different color that I didn't like. I soon realized, if I was ever going to keep up with the friends I rode with, I had to get a full-suspension bike. So, I sold the Kona, and bought a Specialized Enduro Expert. It was great. I raced it once at Sundance. I rode it for two years, at the end of which I had decided I wanted to go bigger, heavier and more DH rated. So, I bought the Bullit I have now. I love it and it'll be around for another season.

April 29, 2006......one of the happiest days of my life. A day I once never thought I would see. My wedding day with Brynn. It was a very happy day. We were married in Vernal, UT in her parents' backyard. The day was beautiful and we were surrounded with many friends and family. (By the way, the other couple is some of our best friends, Joel and Angela Thomas---I don't have any of our professional pics on here yet.) Brynn is amazing, in every way. I know I am inadequate as her husband, but she continues to make me better and, I guess, sees something in me that I could never see myself. She's my best friend and now, the mother of our child. I'm in love with her.


That concludes today's installment of, "Wade's short stories." Look for future installments, which will be coming up soon.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Blessed/lucky/fortunate/what-have-you...



Today was our first full day at the house with Jericho. It went pretty well, though he had a tummy ache last night and didn't sleep as well as we had hoped. Brynn is so good to know what to do. She has been my only source of confidence that "yes we can," when it comes to raising a baby. But, that's what 6 or 7 years of nursing experience will do for you. She was also very kind and took Jericho out of our room and didn't even wake me to help. (I'm feeling kind of guilty for that one). But, I did get caught up on sleep and was ready to spend today being the lucky dad.

We are truly indebted to my mother-in-law, who has, so far, been with us every step of the way. (I must admit to feeling special for being the only one allowed in the operating room during the birth). Grandma Ellie is a pro at EVERYTHING. There is literally nothing she doesn't seem to be able and/or willing to tackle. I don't know if that's always been her nature, or if it can be attributed to her being a tough-as-nails cancer survivor. I feel fortunate though to be getting to know her so well and we can all attest that it's certainly more productive to get along with our in-laws than to be at odds with each other. She has taught us the how-to's of diaper changing and baby sponge baths. And she's tirelessly been cleaning our house. Again, I don't know who keeps messing it up, but my eye is on Frank, our cat. At any rate, I love her dearly and will be forever thankful to her, for being here, allowing me to spend this very short time bonding with my son.

Our friends keep dropping by, wanting to see the baby and offering their support, advice, and even food. Keep it coming guys. And we sure love seeing you. Thank you for all you've done and continue to do for us.

I have to thank my boss, even though he'll not likely read this, as he's really not a blogger. A few weeks ago, I had been wondering how much time to take off---how much I could afford. I was wondering what it was going to be like, and worrying about how tough it was going to be on my wonderful wife. Well, out of the blue, as Rich (my boss) and I were building a railing, he said, "When that baby comes, I want you to take that entire week off and I'm going to pay you for it." And then he continued on about how a boss once did that for him and how much I would appreciate this time. Well, he was right. This has been an amazing, irreplaceable time. My son and I have become friends. We know each other. I know what his cries mean--so far. I know when he's happy, tired, or uncomfortable. And he knows my voice, my blurry appearance, and my scent. (Don't worry--I shower and wear cologne--it's a good scent). And I can't get enough of him. I don't know what I would do without the kind people in my life--the genuinely great people like Rich. Thanks Boss.

Well, there are still some of you who we'd still love to see, but haven't because of illnesses or because you live far away. Get feeling better and when you can make it to our house, please do.

I hear the cooing of my strapping young son. Until next time, Cheers!

Friday, November 7, 2008

My heart is fragile...

Well, we have finally made it home. And our life is changed so dramatically already. On the trip home, a guy in a big truck was being awesome--as a lot of guys in big trucks are--and tailgated me for a ways, before speeding out and around me and giving me a dirty look. Normally, I do have a short fuse and would've sped up and gave him his look right back. But, I was quickly telling myself, it's not worth it; I have a little life to protect and that's all that matters. So, we drove home peacefully and we're happy to have our bed back and our privacy.

Jericho is doing well. He's eating a ton. He gained 6oz. yesterday! And he's been wanting to eat about every 90 minutes instead of every 2 hours. He's such a cute baby. And he's already showing his cranky personality. I'm trying very hard to be mature and to not get my feelings hurt. It sounds so lame. But now that he's eating so well, whenever I pick him up, he quickly realizes that I don't have anything he can use and so he starts fussing until I give him to Brynn. For the first couple of days, he seemed to love when I'd pick him up and hold him. Now, I've either got to hope MY milk comes in too, or just be OK with him doing some extra bonding with Brynn and a little less with me. I am happy that he's healthy. And, people have told us we're so lucky that he came out knowing how to eat and that he's already putting on weight. (Not that he didn't have a pretty great start on the weight, being born at 9lbs. 1oz.) Who'd have thought I'd be cherishing changing his diapers?

We're so lucky to have Brynn's mom staying with us for the week. And she is more helpful than we could hope for. She'll be such a great grandmother to Jericho. He is a lucky boy. She's also cleaning our house, non-stop. The thing is, the house was clean when we left for the hospital on Monday. So, who has been making a mess? Our cat, Frank?

We're looking forward to sharing our new experience and new addition to our family with all of the rest of our family and friends.

P.S. We're also pretty excited for my sister, Chelsey and her husband Jared. Their first child was also born this week, just last night. He seems to be healthy and doing well. We're so proud of Chelsey, as she never gave up on getting this sweet little boy here. We know she'll make the greatest mom and we're excited that Jericho has such a cool aunt.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's cot heaven for me tonight.


Well, after spending 3 nights in a chair, I lucked out and our nurse has brought in a cot for tonight. It's about time! My back is screaming at me right now. I'm going to need a massage soon.

We were hoping that we'd be going home today but it looks like we're here until tomorrow. Jericho is doing so great. He eats really well. And, according to my diaper count--20 to this point--his digestive system functions just super. He seems like a really good baby; He's usually content and we already have established that when he won't keep his binky in his mouth, it means he's hungry. And when his binky does do the trick but then he cries, it means his diaper is ready to be changed.

Unfortunately, Brynn's red cell count keeps testing a little on the low end. We even had our fingers crossed for this last test but it still tested low. If we really wanted to press the issue, I think the doctor would release us. But he's recommending sticking around for another night, just so we're a little closer to treatment if any is needed. I have to say, the first time I met Brynn's doctor, I was a little unimpressed. He seemed too new; maybe not enough experience. But, he's proven me wrong. He seems very good at his job and he's very personable and easy to talk to. Maybe it's his Payson roots.

So, we're here for another night. We certainly are appreciative of all of your emails, phone calls, and visits. We feel incredibly fortunate to have so many generous and loyal friends and family. It has made this wonderful experience even better.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Jericho is here!!!





My son, Jericho, was born at 12:20 AM, November 4, 2008. He was born via c-section, and it's no wonder; He weighed in at a whopping 9lbs. 1oz.----and 20 inches long. We haven't yet decided on who he got what characteristics from, but we agree that he is one good looking baby.

Brynn is so tough. It was a stressful pregnancy, mostly due to pre-term labor at 6 months along. After a month of bed rest, Jericho seemed a little more content to stay in until closer to the due date. Brynn continued to have contractions--strong contractions--though at every check up, there was no change in her cervix. Our due date was Oct. 31st, which came and went but didn't worry us. She finally went into labor on Monday afternoon, and we were at the hospital by 7:45PM or so. Within a couple of hours she was dilated to 8cm. We were so happy. After 3 tries, an epidural finally eased Brynn's pain and put us at ease. An hour later though, she had digressed and was dilated only to 5cm. The doctor was pretty sure that the baby wasn't going to fit through her pelvis. So, we agreed to a c-section. And, at 12:20AM, Election Tuesday, Jericho was born.

I had imagined how cool it might be if Jericho was born on the same day Barack Obama became elected President of the USA. And, that's what happened. Such a thrill. I feel so great about our future progress as a nation and as cohabitants with the rest of the world. I truly think Obama is going to do great. He may not be able to solve our every problem, but I think he's going to change the way we think, change the way politics are done, and forge good, much needed relationships between America and our friends around the world. Could a more peaceful world be in our future?

Anyway, Brynn and I feel so fortunate and blessed right now. What a wonderful day our son's birthday was. What a wonderful feeling to have a baby. I was thinking today; The way I felt about Brynn, back when we were dating and just giddy every moment, wanting to spend every second with her, extremely "whipped," is the way I feel about Jericho. I love him to death and this feeling came instantly, the moment they put him in my arms. Brynn is going to be an amazing mother. Of this I have no doubt. And, she'll show me the way and will make up for my inadequacies as a new dad. Ten years ago, I wouldn't have thought my current situation to be possible. Now, I am a husband--a dad--a part of my own family.

Lastly, I have to say thank you to our families. We totally appreciate your help and encouragement. To all of our friends--all of you--thank you for your friendship, your gifts, and your advice; I will be calling many of you in the future to ask why my baby is crying or why the poop is yellow this time. To those who can, please come see us. You mean so much to us and we of course want Jericho to know you.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Randomness

I love the rain. I LOVE the rain. It makes me feel like everything is going to be OK; like there will definitely be a tomorrow, because with rain comes new life. Plus, it smells good. Our roof has leaked since last spring. I really cannot afford to redo the whole thing right now with the baby coming. I finally got up there a few weeks ago and patched it good. Today, it's been raining like mad but we're nice and dry in the house. Praise Jesus for the technology of roof patch.

Halloween was a couple of days ago. Isn't Halloween strange? You put on a mask to hide your identity and then you go knock on random doors and you're like, "Yeah, this is my mask. Do you have any candy?" Isn't that bizarre? I decided to research the history behind Halloween. While I couldn't find any connection to the candy, I did find out a bit about the scary masks. Originally, Halloween was a Celtic tradition--and wasn't called Halloween. But it happens when it does, Oct. 31st, because that is generally when the Summer and Fall Harvest turns to the dead of Winter. And, traditional belief was that, at this time, the "veil" between the dead and the living is at its thinnest. Anyway, it eventually spread to other regions and evolved into holidays like All Saints Day, Day of the Dead, and Halloween. So, I get it. But the current tradition, while fun and fine with me, is bizarre.

Was cleaning out the garage today, in order to make room for my work van, as well as my wife's Subaru. I think I'm a pack rat. I've brought home so much in left over finish materials from various job sites, that half of the garage was useless until today. I finally moved it all out to my shop. I also hung up our bicycles--3 of them--which made more room. Our "2 car" garage is sort of lame, though it's the only garage I've ever had. Even when it's tidied up a bit, it BARELY fits 2 vehicles. Well, I'm thankful to have a garage anyway. Certainly better than nothing. And my van appreciates being kept in a warmer, drier environment.

What's with our unborn child? I mean, what is so great about my wife's uterus that he doesn't ever want to leave? Doesn't he know that he's going to have a lot more square footage on the outside? Also, there are a few people who really want to meet him, not the least of which are me and my wife. (Well, technically, she knows him pretty well by now). I wonder what he'll look like. If he has my wife's curly hair, I want him to grow it pretty long--like a big Napoleon Dynamite afro. My wife hates the idea. But I always wanted long hair and my mom was always trying to sneak up on my mullet with her scissors. So, I think I'm going to let this kid have all the hair he wants. I wish I still had lots of hair. I hope I still have a few strands of hair on my head when our kid graduates from high school; I'll be 51!

Went on a bike ride yesterday; likely the last one of the season up Payson Canyon. We're so lucky to have such amazing trails a mere 30 minutes away. It's been a great year for riding. I didn't make it to any of the races I had planned on doing. But I feel like I've added a few more skills and gained some more confidence in my riding and in my bike. My bike kicks ass. I think I should post a picture of it.

I love this time of year. Fall. Leafy. Cool. Colorful. Not dying. Just going to sleep for a few months. As the foliage and trees shed their leaves, we can also shed some old, unnecessary part of ourselves. Simplify ourselves making ourselves better, more efficient. Our country is shedding some old things, hopefully some old ways which only weigh us down now. Here's to hoping America's future will be brighter, more colorful, more joyful, more honest, more loyal to her people, more American.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Suzie Homemaker



This is a topic that is very important to me. Wolves are a passion for me. I've studied them and the different populations--Yellowstone and Greater Yellowstone, Alaska, Isle Royale Nat'l Park--for years. This video shows what Palin and the Alaska Board of Game--made up of hunters and guides mainly--call "predator management/control." It is, in fact, not predator control. Sure, some of that has to be done as well--but it should be based on pure science and good numbers. This is based on money and politics, hoping to artificially inflate the moose numbers, so as to continue attracting huge revenues from out-of-state trophy hunters. Palin recently made it so the Board of Game can make all of their "management" policies without consulting state biologists or the Dept. of Fish and Game. Is this the trend she'd live by as VP or, gasp, President?

Monday, October 27, 2008

I dont' have anything to say...

Quote of the moment, which took place during the 31st minute of the 23rd hour of the 27th day of the 10th month of the year 2008:

“(Nationalism is) a set of beliefs taught to each generation in which the Motherland or the Fatherland is an object of veneration and becomes a burning cause for which one becomes willing to kill the children of other Motherlands or Fatherlands”
-Howard Zinn-



Howard Zinn is a prominent and well respected historian and a professor at Boston University. One of the greatest history books I've ever read is "A People's History of the United States," written by Zinn. I wish people would read this book before they vote, just to really get a better picture of our great nation, and to be better informed. Howard Zinn is one of my heroes.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Quote of the moment:

Quote for the moment, which took place in the 59th minute of the 17th hour of the 21st day of the 10th month of the year 2008:

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."
-Barack Hussein Obama-

I love this quote. This election is about no longer waiting for the government to save us from war, from a poor economy, or from the government itself. It's about us--We The People--doing what we have to do to make this a "more perfect union." It's up to us--this generation of Americans--to turn this country into the place we've always claimed it to be. I think this quote is going to be one of the great ones.

Who's "in charge" of the U.S. Senate?



Are you kidding us?!?! Palin, you are not in charge of ANY legislative branch. You are not, according to the Constitution, (You know, that thing you'd have to swear to uphold and defend) a part of the legislative branch. You are sort of ceremoniously the president of the Senate. But your ONLY job is to vote in the event of a tie in the Senate.

Oh my. People, this lady is not that far away from going to Washington and helping to lead our country. That scares me to death. Please, vote. Tell all of your friends and family to vote. Anyone but McPalin.

You know; I thought Bush was sort of.....um......not smart. But this lady takes the whole stupid cake.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Quote of the.......moment.

I was thinking about how much I love good quotes. I love them all. Wise ones. Funny ones. Dumb ones. (Get a lot of these from Dubya Bush). And, I thought about doing a sort of "Quote of the Day" type thing on my blog. But, I know I won't do it everyday. So, it's just going to be whenever I think of it or want to. Thus, quote of the moment.

Quote for the 23rd minute of the 19th hour of the 20th day of the 10th month of the year 2008:

"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone."
-Thoreau-


I really like the philosophies of Thoreau. Christopher McCandless, the subject of the book and recent film, "Into the Wild," often quoted Thoreau and, it is widely believed that he lived by many of Thoreau's teachings. I loooooooovvvvvvvvvvvveeddddd this book, as well as the movie.

I've talked about it before. I won't bore you. If you want to know my thoughts, refer to my blog entry titled, "What's it all for?" I believe the simpler and less cluttered our lives are, the happier we are. Stuff, at the end of the day, is still just stuff.

I think this quote has something to do with that. Honestly though, I'm not sure I totally get it. What do you think?

I've included a video, from youtube. It is clips from the "Into the Wild" movie" set to some music from the soundtrack. The song is simply titled, "Society," and is sung by Eddie Vedder. It's become one of my favorite songs of all time. The message is powerful. More important, I believe the message is true.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A video...




Now, why are you voting the way you are?

Colin Powell endorses who?

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/P/POWELL?SITE=UTSAC&SECTION=INTERNATIONAL&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

This is good news.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thoughts about presidential debate III

Well, this will be short and sweet, as we learned little more in this debate than in the previous two. The most dominating topic was the economy and the two candidates each presented their "new" plans this week.

In a nutshell, McCain's economic policies, including taxation, will look a lot like our current system, under the Bush Administration. It is often called "trickle-down," or, "supply-side." Essentially, the theory is, give the rich people all the tax breaks and they, in turn, will supply jobs and, therefore, money to the rest of the little people.

Obama's plan is, according to him, the anti-thesis of the Bush/McCain policy. His theory says, if you give the majority (95%) of Americans a tax cut, they'll have more money to pay bills and, more importantly, to infuse into the economy by purchasing goods and services at American businesses.

I, like McCain, am no economic genius. I'm not sure either of the two plans will solve our financial crisis very quickly. I think Americans are going to pay, for a long time, for the irresponsible decisions and spending by "the powers that be." However, the Bush policy has been in place for nearly 8 years and has proven not to work. I can see how it might have--had the government put more regulation and checks and investigations on the big businesses to which the tax breaks were given. For example, Exxon/Mobil has made record profits for the last 2 years. We're talking about 12 billion dollars this year. So much, that they gave a former top staffer who "no longer works there" a $400,000,000.00 severance. What?!?! That is outrageous, especially when, admittedly, Exxon/Mobil is not putting any of the money from tax breaks, into research for alternative/renewable energy sources. I'll find fault with that all day long. So, sorry McCain, Obama's got you beat this time on economic policy, even if it's by default.

Again, we've seen the personalities and what seems to be the true character of the candidates this last week and during Wednesday night's debate. How is Obama so good at staying calm and collected during all of McCain's attacks? I think he's doing the right thing--showing that he isn't quick to be defensively reactive. Rather, he's cool and thoughtful under the most stressful of situations. Great trait for a leader of the free world. McCain obviously does not like Obama. He acts like a cornered wolverine--always hungry, pissed, and pissed because he's hungry. He's not the thoughtful, sensible, cool-headed leader we need right now. These times are going to require intelligence, thoughtfulness, and reaching across party lines. Obama has vowed to have both republicans and democrats in his cabinet.

While both sides have run negative ads, I find McCain's side to be more troubling. He's making Palin do his dirty work--inciting hatred and violence at her rallies. When more than a handful of people at your rallies are chanting, "Terrorist," "Off with his head," and "Kill him," at your mention of the other candidate's name, you need to take the high road (Palin) and bring things back down to reality. Instead, the McCain camp has done barely a thing about it. I just saw on the news that a guy has an Obama effigy, hanging from his tree, a noose tied around its neck, and "Husein" written across it, as well as a Jewish Star of David on it's head. It's hanging above a McCain/Palin campaign sign. And this is not an isolated incident on the part of McCain supporters. McCain, you have the support of the KKK and other racist, White Supremacist groups. While you may not belong to these groups, if you fail to publicly denounce these acts, then you are as low as they are in my book. I had great respect for you as a senator and, more so, as a hero P.O.W. Throughout your campaign for presidency, whether by your slander of Mitt Romney or your low, half-truth lies about Obama, I've lost every ounce of respect for you. These are not the actions of an American hero.

Palin, you are every bit the Washington politician you claimed not to become. You've stooped to lower than low levels. You said nothing in response to the calls to kill Obama at your rallies. At least McCain had the decency to swipe the mic out of that crazy lady's hands and say, "No, Obama isn't an Arab. He's a decent man. He's not someone that people need to fear." Please, go back to Alaska and tend to your family. You have a teenage daughter who is pregnant and will need her mom, and you have a special needs child who will need far more attention from you than you'll be able to give if, God forbid, you became VP.

Mostly, I want a leader who is for the American people---all of them. I want a leader who will always choose peace, when war isn't ABSOLUTELY necessary. We've had 8 years of a president who was a C student. McCain graduated at the bottom of his class. Obama at the top. My choice this November 4th will be an easy one.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Minutes from debate III

Why is you economic plan better?

McCain: 52 billion dollars. Buy bad mortages. Tax breaks to corporations. Taxes are bad. Don't tax small businesses. Obama is bad for "Joe" the plumber. Exxon would get additional 4 billion in tax breaks. Obama's plan is class-warfare. ("Spread the wealth around"). Joe will create jobs unless you raise his taxes. Taxation according to what's good for business is better.

Obama: 60 Billion dollars. Added clauses to bailout that CEOs don't enrich themselves while they're walking away. End tax breaks for businesses shipping jobs. Tax cuts for families making less than $250,000. Help homeowners. Let them re-neg. on their mortgages. Still lots of work to do. But have to act quickly. Fix energy policy that gives our wealth away. Fix education system. Trickle down isn't working. Ground up is better. Only if you make more than 250k will your taxes increase. 98% of small businesses make less than 250k. 95% of Americans will have their taxes lowered. Nobody likes taxes but, Exxon/Mobil doesn't need any breaks. The middle-class and poor need a break.

This year's deficit is 455 billion dollars. Won't some of the programs you proposed need to be trimmed?

Obama: The 750 bill, if structured right, taxpayers will get their money back. We've been living beyond our means. Strong proponent of pay as you go. We need to eliminate current programs from our budget if they're not working. Wants to invest in America. Invest in preventing diseases. Invest in education. Invest in energy and technology. We're going to have to embrace a culture of living within our means and being responsible. Spending freeze won't work. We need a scalpel. Some good programs are underfunded. Some bad programs just need to be cut. Earmarks account for .5% of total spending budget. National deficit has doubled while Bush has been in office. McCain voted for 4 out of 5 of Bush's budgets. On the core economic issues, McCain has been a vigorous supporter of Bush.

McCain: Energy independence. "Countries that don't like us very much." Across the board spending freeze. And then I'll use a scalpel. Government spending is way out of control. We owe China a half billion. Veto every earmarked, pork-barrel bill. I can balance the budget. Job creation through energy independence. I have disagreed with Bush and my party. (Climate change, torture, patient bill of rights, Iraq War?)

Are you willing to say the things your campaigns have said about each other?

McCain: If Obama would've done townhall meetings, it would've been different. It's been tough. I regret some of the negative of both campaigns. Some things have been unacceptable. I hope Obama will repudiate remarks made about me and Palin having to do with the worst chapter in U.S. history. Obama didn't keep his word about public financing. Obama's ads are wrong about McCain on stem-cell research. McCain acting like a martyr, as if he's been the bigger man. Obama started his campaign in Bill Ayers living room.

Obama: We expect campaigns to be tough. 2/3 of people think McCain ran a neg. campaign. 100% of McCain's ads have been negative. Nothing wrong with debate about the issues. Not having townhall mtgs. doesn't justify accusations and very negative ads. People deserve to hear talk about what's most important to them. (Economy). Politics as usual isn't solving the big problems in America. Americans are tired of tit for tat. They want to focus on the big challenges they have right now. Obama acting like McCain is just in the way of him being able to take on the big challenges we face: 2 wars, the worst financial crisis. Mr. Ayers has been center-piece of McCain's campaign. He's a professor. He engaged in despicable acts. He's not involved in my campaign. He will not advise me in the White House. Acorn has been illegally registering voters. It had nothing to do with me. I'll be surrounding myself with democrats and republicans in the white house.

People you'll bring into the government. Why did you pick your VP?

Obama: Joe Biden is a fine public servant. Has some of the best foreign policy credentials. Has never forgotten where he comes from. Has been through hard times. Comes from middle-America. Fights for the little guy. Will help working families. Passed violence against women act. Shares Obama's core values. We agree that we have to reprioritize--help families. Stop focussing everything on corporations and business. Make sure kids get to go to college. Palin is capable. She's excited base. It's commendable that she works on special needs. Autism and other special needs will require additional research. (Spending freeze won't be good).

McCain: She's a role model to women. Is a reformer. Was head of energy and nat. resources board. Gives money back to tax payers. Faced down oil companies. She understands special-needs families. She takes on the "ol boys club." That's YOU McCain. Joe Biden is qualified in many respects. But he voted against first Gulf War. He wanted to divide Iraq into 3. McCain thinks that's not going to work.

Energy and Climate change. End dependence on foreign oil. Give a number of how much we can reduce our foreign oil imports?

McCain: We can eliminate Middle-Eastern and Venezuelan oil. Build 45 new nuclear plants. We can store and reprocess. Nuclear, wind, tide, solar, flex-fuel, clean-coal--all necessary. Within 7 to 10 years we can get off the bad people oil.

Obama: In 10 years, we can reduce our dependence---no oil from Mid East and Venezuelan. Right now, we're mortgaging our children's futures. We need to expand domestic production. The oil companies will need to use it or lose it with the 68,000 acres of leases. We need to look at off-shore. Need to develop high fuel-efficient car in America. We've fallen behind. I believe in free-trade. But for far too long, we've taken any trade agreement. We need to start enforcing the rules. The president has to advocate for American products. We have to stand for human rights when we look at trade agreements as well. We need to help the auto makers but we have to make them accountable for energy consumption. We can make 5 million jobs in America just buy investing and researching in clean energy.

Would you favor controlling health care costs?

Obama: People are being laid off and are losing health care. If you have health insurance and you like it, keep it. We'll try to cut costs by $2500 per year. If you don't have insurance, you'll be provided the chance to choose the same health care plan as the federal employees at a lower cost. We'll make the whole system more efficient/electronic. We'll work on preventative health care. Small businesses will be exempted from the fine for not providing health care. Large businesses won't be exempted--they can afford it. If businesses don't take care of their employees, someone has to. McCain's plan would allow insurances to exclude.

McCain: We need to put health care records online. Obesity is an alarming statistic. We should have physical fitness programs in schools and work. $5000 refundable tax credit to buy whatever plan you want. We've already got too much government. Obama's plan is too much government control. It will take away choice.

Would you nominate a judge who disagrees with you on Roe v Wade?

McCain: Should be left up to the states. I don't use a litmus test on an appointee. Thinks Roe v Wade was a bad decision. Obama voted against 2 good judges based on idealogical differences. I'll find the best, who have the strictest adherence to the Constitution. We have to change the culture of America. Courage and compassion. Attacking Obama's record on abortion/late term abortion. Proud to be pro-life. McCain is an adoptive parent. Thinks Obama's language "health of the mother" is misleading.

Obama: Shouldn't apply a litmus test. Fairness, justice to American people is most important. Believes Roe v Wade was correct. It's a moral issue. Ultimately, women are in the best position to make this decision. Has to do with Constitutional right to privacy. Judges will be an important issue. Thinks judges should have a view about what real world folks are going through. Obama defends his abortion vote by saying there was already a law on the books which protected the unborn and the born. Voted against banning late term because there wasn't an exception for the life of the mother. This is a divisive issue. But there surely is some common ground----try to prevent unplanned/unwanted pregnancy through education and adoption. NO ONE is pro-abortion.

U.S. tests lower than most of the countries of the world though we spend the most on education?

Obama: This has to do with our secure future. Debate is more money? Or more reform? Thinks we need both. Every dollar invested gets huge gains in the end. Need to spend more to recruit better, more qualified educators. Need to make college more affordable. Proposes $4000 tuition credit every year, in exchange for some form of community/national service. Parents need to show responsibility. No child left behind went underfunded so it didn't work. No follow-through on funding. Focus on early childhood education. Thinks charter school competition is a good thing. Doubled the number of charter schools in Illinois. Kids aren't an interest group. They are America's future. Vouchers aren't the way to go. The center-piece of McCain's policy is to increase the DC voucher program. That doesn't help the rest of America.

McCain: It's the new civil rights issue. Choice and competition among schools is what's needed. Charter schools. Reward good teachers. Find poor teachers another line of work. Charter schools provide competition. Throwing money at the problem isn't the solution. Some of the most failing schools are getting the most money. Doesn't make sense. We must improve education in this country. Need to make student loans available and more easily payable. No Child left behind was a great idea to get us started. We need to fix it and reauthorize it. Head start is a great program. We should reform it and then refund it. It needs accountability and transparency. The fact that American education is the most expensive and the least effective cries out for reform.

Closing statements:

McCain: "My friends." These are difficult times. Need new direction. I have a record of reform and taking on other party and own party. I've been a careful steward. We'll make healthcare available and affordable. WE have to stop the spending. You'll have to decide if you trust me or Obama. Look at my record. I've been proud to serve.

Obama: Going through tough times. Administration plus Washington's refusual to tackle problems have led us here. We need fundamental change. Americans are fudamentally decent. That's what's going to get us better. That's why our best days lie ahead. It's not going to be easy. It's going to require ALL of us. It's going to require sacrifice. I will work everyday tirelessly for you and your children.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

As The World Turns...

I love Fall. I wish it would stay longer, though I know it certainly won't. The crisp, fresh air of Fall is becoming colder, stinging. Winter is on its way. Brynn and I rode up Payson Canyon and down Santaquin Canyon last week to see the colors on the foliage. It was beautiful--amazing. I posted a picture or two at the bottom of this page and on my Facebook page as well. I know Winter is coming. I thought for sure that last week would be my final chance to get in a bike ride on my favorite trails. Wednesday afternoon I called about everyone I know--that I usually bike with--and no one was around. I wanted someone to accompany me on a bike ride. After that was unsuccessful, I decided I was going anyway. Brynn took me up and dropped me off. The ride was awesome. It's a great workout and such a rush. Plus, the Fall colors, the leaves on the ground, and just the freshness in the air all made a fun night. I'm so glad I went.

Today, my friend Jack came into town. Brynn, Jack and I went to eat at One Man Band in Santaquin---a late breakfast. Then, we decided to ride, this time, up Santaquin Canyon and down the Payson side to catch the colors again. The world is surely turning, as there was ice in Santaquin Creek and temperature dropped to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. The colors had, of course, changed from last week. The deeper reds have now made their entrance to my satisfaction. It reminded me of Broad Pass, near Denali, AK, though not quite as spectacular. (In my mind, nothing ever will be). But it was beautiful and it was fun hanging out with Jack, AKA TD1.

There's something so amazing and so...natural about the turning of the seasons. Things are always changing; Things coming to life, things dying, and things in states in between. The deer and elk are out, foraging; trying to pack on some extra layers as they surely know the cold season is approaching. Jake and Puka (our dogs) are growing in their winter coats, fluffy and warm. It's always amazed me that Jake has never really NEEDED a house. He has one though. I'll have to post a picture of it sometime--sort of a doggy cabin. But each year, nature provides him an amazingly efficient, fluffy, thick coat. And each Winter, I find him sleeping under the blanket of snow, brought during the night, instead of in his warm house I worked so hard on. Well, I suppose I've got nothing on Mother Nature and her skills.

I feel a sense of urgency at this time of year. It's time to get things done and in order before the snow comes and makes them more difficult. This year, especially, as we have our first baby planning his entrance into our small world any day now. His room is ready. Brynn has done a great job decorating and....nesting. Also, I must say her mom has been very helpful getting the baby room ready. We owe Brynn's parents greatly. Our roof has been leaking and threatening to ruin our wood floor. I finally got up there yesterday morning and patched the bejeezus out of it. I was sort of hoping for rain to come so I'd know if my work was successful. At any rate, we are busy preparing for winter and the new changes that will likely come with our "new addition."

As the world keeps turning, and we're all busy trying to keep up with everything in our lives, let's take time to smell the roses and appreciate the environment we have all around. It wasn't made beautiful for nothing.

Happy Fall.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Presidential debate II

Much better than the first. Obama----------more substance this time-------still gives off an "I can be calm under all circumstances" vibe. People like that. McCain-------giving off the "I know my ship is sinking so I'm using desperate measures--jab, jab, jab," vibe. Even his own base is lost. Really McCain? You want to add another $300 billion to the bailout? The bailout that most people are pissed off about? Really? Really?!?! McCain camp's new punchline: "That one." You'll have to watch the debate on a rerun or just tune into MSNBC, CNN, or Faux News channels tomorrow.

Score: Obama 2 McCain 0

It's certainly not over yet. As I've echoed before, "Never underestimate a democrats ability to lose an election."

In case you didn't know, the third and final presidential debate will be next Wednesday night at 7 on all your major news networks.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Eat, drink, be merry and........GAY!!!

Well, this is one of those hot button topics. It's controversial--especially around here these days. I probably shouldn't say anything about it but I can't help myself. I didn't watch general conference. I'm not sure it was mentioned there. (General Conference = Huge Latter-Day Saints' bi-annual worldwide services). But a friend of mine recently heard this about the church and discussed it with me at work today.

His brother, who is in the bishopric (clergy), was sent a statement from the church's general authorities, telling him to issue callings to a couple of people in the ward (local congregation), in which they will be making phone calls to people in California, telling them to vote to overturn a supreme court's recent ruling that gay marriage is constitutionally legal. Confusing? I explained it as simply as I could.

I should mention that, at this point, this is hearsay. However, I completely trust the source. What on earth is going on here? What is the big deal? What is a "politically neutral, tax-exempt, religious organization doing getting so heavily involved with politics? And why?

We're taught in the faith that, the prophet is the Lord's mouthpiece here on earth and, therefore, we're supposed to support and sustain them. It's not that we cannot question them. On the contrary; We're taught that we should question them if we need to, with prayer and fasting for a confirmation of The Spirit. But this news immediately jumps out to me as somehow wrong, uncalled for, overreaching.

You see, I don't believe that there is a problem with gays and lesbians marrying--entering into deeply, committed, and monogamous relationships with their soul mates, with whom their in love. Do you? What should be the alternative then? We acknowledge that there certainly are sons and daughters of God who are gay. Shall we send the message then, that we'd prefer people be polygamous, having loose relations with whomever, whenever. Is that not the more dangerous alternative? More STDs, more cancers, more confusion.

In The Church, we're taught that we cannot have eternal happiness and joy and all of God's blessings unless we are sealed in a temple ceremony of marriage. Well then, what is to become of our gay friends, brothers, sisters, parents, children, if they cannot marry the one they love? Do we believe that a gay man will suddenly become physically attracted to females instead? From what I've seen, the answer is most probably not. So then, if they cannot marry whom they love, and they're not going to marry someone of the opposite sex, what will be their end? The God I believe in wouldn't rob them of the joys experienced in a committed, loving relationship/family. The God I believe in loves everyone the same. The God I believe in wants the most for all of his children.

I've thought about this a lot. I really have. I cannot think of a reason why we'd deprive someone equal rights, based on whom they want to love.

Whether you believe our sexual preferences come about by choice or by birth matters not. On this there are many opinions. But the FACT remains: THERE ARE GAY PEOPLE. Who are they? They are your co-workers, your distant relatives, your neighbor, your neighbor's kid, your fellow church member's kid, your sibling, your friend. Most of all, they are people. They are humans and they have the same rights as everyone else. (Or at least they should---working on it).

Some of you may think I'll be struck by lightning in my sleep for thinking/writing this way. I've got news for you. I've been thinking/writing this way for a long time and, so far, so good. Worry about your own relationships. Let everyone else worry about theirs. Is your marriage a source of happiness? Why not hope for EVERYONE to experience that? Someone else's relationship will have no affect on yours, negative or positive. If it does, you're doing something wrong. Yeah, it's you, not them.

As far as sustaining our church leaders go, well, on this one, for now, I think this will one day be looked at in the same way we now look at some of Bruce R. McConkie's or Brigham Young's statements about black people. It was wrong to think that way then. It was human error then. And I believe the big stink being made now, asking people to make campaign calls to overturn a supreme court decision that isn't hurting anyone, is wrong now. I could be wrong. But I'm going to err on the side of living and letting live.

I love you ALL.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fall, season of new life?

Fall is really here. It'll be gone before I know it and then the dead of winter will set in. This year is different though. Much different. While most of the vegetation is dying for the year, a new life is right around the corner. Or, right inside my wife's belly. It's dawning on me, more and more each day; I'm going to be a daddy.

Oh my holy shiz! I'm going to be a daddy! I'm going to have a kid. I'm going to be raising someone; another life. What do I think about it? How am I feeling? Honestly? I'm terrified. I'm absolutely afraid to bring a kid into this confusing world. I'm fearful of not being adequate for this job. What if I'm not mature enough? What if I'm too inexperienced? What if I'm too confused myself, to ever be able to put someone else on "the right path?" Somebody help me!

And just when I want to shrink from this whole situation, and forgo the coming experience, I look at Brynn and I start to gain some confidence. I see the way she is fully aware of what's coming. While I've been sort of an outside spectator, she's been very much a part of this unborn kid's life. She actually feels him growing inside of her. She feels him moving around. She senses parts of his personality. She seems to have a relationship with him already. She knows his moods. At this point, she already knows what to do to make him more calm, more comfortable. She is a mom. She's a nurturer. This child is 100% dependent upon her and her actions. She sees to it that he's being nourished. She makes certain that he's not exposed to any harmful medications or foods or air. This must be why I grew up feeling much closer to my mom than my dad.

Majoring in bio-chemistry in college, I've studied the inner-workings of the human body and the immense complexities of life and its origins. I'm am overwhelmingly amazed that this child, our son, began his journey as a single cell. I'm fascinated that this cell knew the exact moment in which it should begin dividing into two cells, and then into four, and so on. Not only that, but those cells knew what type of tissues to become and then into which organs they should divide and form. The cells had a blue-print, formed by chance, and now know what color of eyes, skin, and hair to make. Will this baby have straight hair or curly? Will he grow to be tall, or will he be my size? (I'm only 5'8" or so.) Will he be able to roll his tongue? Will his earlobes be attached or detached? Will he be naturally athletic, or will sports and things come more difficult for him? Will he be smart--the top of his class? Or will he have some learning difficulties? God knows.

I am terrified, and I would continue to be terrified if I didn't have my wife and if I didn't believe that God/Jesus/Mother nature was in charge here. My wife is going to be such an amazing mom. She's a nurse so fixing things, putting band-aids on "owies," and making everything all better just comes naturally for her. There will be a learning curve for me. But I will figure it out. The excitement of having this little bundle of joy---with Brynn---is slowly overcoming my fear. I've heard my friends talking about how there's just something, for which there are no words, about that tiny new life depending on you for EVERYTHING. And they dig it like crazy. I think I will as well.


After reading this, if you are a parent, or not, and you feel like I could use your advice, please feel free to give it. I'll happily accept.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The VP Debate

Well, I realize I've already blogged about Gov. Palin, and why I won't vote for her. But that was before I didn't know about all of these other reasons I can't vote for her, and don't believe anyone else should either.

Last night's debate was pretty good, especially as far as VP debates go. I have to agree with most of the political reporters on this one. (Excluding Sean "I'd cut off my hand for Sarah Palin" Hannity.) I think both candidates did a good job. Biden was able to demonstrate his knowledge, especially that of foreign policy. While he seemed to hold back and cut himself short at times, his answers were polished and were things he obviously believes---not just something the campaign told him to say. Palin "exceeded expectations," though I don't think expectations were very high. She was able to hold her own, and appeal to those whose only mandatory qualification for VP is that "down home folksiness."

Look, Sarah Palin has flat out lied about certain things and she isn't being called on it very well. She has continually lied and misrepresented the story about the bridge to nowhere. She did not say, "Thanks, but no thanks to Congress," until she found out they couldn't give her the total amount for that project. And she didn't give back those earmarked funds. She spent them on other things. During her time as mayor, she allowed the city to charge rape victims for rape kits. She claims not to have known about this.

In her interview with Charlie Gibson, she didn't know what the Bush Doctrine on foreign policy, even though it's what the last 6 plus years of foreign policy is based on. Sure, Joe or Jane American may or may not know what that is. (Many do). But Gov. Palin isn't Jane American--she is someone who is running for the 2nd most powerful position in the world. And don't even get me started on the Katie Couric interview, although I'd recommend you watch it on youtube if you haven't seen it.

Sure, she's folksy. She's down home. (If by that you mean wealthy, living in a governor's mansion most of the time and then at their lake house at Lake Wasilla at other times). She's proven that she can handle being governor---of a state with a few issues and only 670,000 people. But how can she honestly be VP when her foreign policy experience and knowledge are so limited? By her own admission, her foreign policy qualifications are that she lives next to Canada and that you can see Russia from parts of Western Alaska.

I just can't leave the world in the hands of those who seem most folksy and hockey-mommish. I think I'd rather it be in the hands of someone with a legitimate Harvard degree, someone who graduated at the top of his class, and someone who knows a bit about the world and its affairs.

I think Palin would do well and have a huge audience if she hosted her own show like Oprah or Ellen. But I think the country will soon realize the mistake of electing McCain and Palin, if the majority go that route.

As for me, I hope Obama wins and that soon I'll be writing a letter to the editor, telling people how to safely remove their McCain '08 and McCain/Palin stickers from their bumpers.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Presidential debate 1

You didn't think I wasn't going to say something about the presidential debate, did you? Ah, I can't help myself. Plus, this is my blog---I can write anything I want to, eh?

Well, I'm not going to get into the politics of it too much. I didn't think this debate really clarified anything political. In my opinion, it ended up being a display of two very distinct personalities. We got to see how the two candidates react when backed into a corner. I don't think it was a debate where one of the two could be declared winner.

McCain seemed to be the same as we've seen him throughout the campaign--tough, maybe a little stubborn, and unsuccessful with funny. Several times he showed frustration and even a bit of anger. He didn't really show up Obama with his politics. Like most politicians, he refuses to admit mistakes and likes to stretch the truth about personal successes. One thing that showed up in McCain's demeanor tonight is something that keeps me from seriously considering him for president, and that is his itchy trigger finger. He's not a thinker. He's not for study of the issues, looking at the many possibilities, and then choosing the best answer. Instead, he does what he did with Bush and Iraq---he shoots first, and then asks questions later. I commend him for finding the good and the positive possibilities of the Iraq War. But I also think it's imperative to learn from our mistakes. McCain, like Bush, refuses to talk about the Iraq War ever being a bad idea or a bad policy. I don't want someone as president who may or may not be able to get us out of a terrible situation, created by a bad policy. I'd rather select someone who I think will do everything they can to keep us out of those situations in the first place. While McCain seems a bit brighter than his partner, Gov. Sarah Palin, he's still no scholar.

Obama was pretty much cool and collected as always tonight, though his answers came somewhat more slowly than during his many brilliant speeches. Tonight's debate was supposed to be McCain's night, since he's considered to have an edge on foreign policy. Obama could've been tempted to talk "tougher" than usual about this, in order to keep up with McCain. But I was very impressed with his answers. This is a man who is bright, intelligent, well educated and well-spoken. He is obviously confident in himself and in his proposed policies---that they are what America truly needs right now. (With this, I strongly agree). He's a great communicator--someone who seems to handle pressure well. He believes in diplomacy and in talking to our allies, our potential allies, and our enemies. Maybe it's because he's young that he seems to be more optimistic about the world than McCain. He believes we can actually solve some of the world's great issues. He thinks change in Washington is greatly needed. Not many dispute that. And he thinks it's worth the risk to leave behind the old ways of government. I thought he answered question honestly and humbly, choosing not to tangle with McCain in a mud-slinging match. That I can respect.

All in all though, we didn't really hear a lot of different things, from either candidate, that we haven't already heard this election season. Like I said, I think the only thing I learned is the way their personalities are different. And I think personality is important--I think personality shapes policy. I came away, not feeling like McCain was a bad guy, not feeling like Obama was amazing. Just feeling confident about supporting my candidate. (Can you guess which one I like?)

Anyway, I love watching this stuff. Can't wait for the next one.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pregant is fabulous...

Brynn (my wife, of course) went to get pregnancy pictures today. I'm excited and I've been supporting this idea. I'm glad she's cool with it. I don't know, there's just something beautiful, wonderful, miraculous, and sexy about my pregnant wife and her belly. That's right honey, I think it's sexy. (Don't get me wrong--this doesn't mean I necessarily want to put you in that way again).

She went to friends of ours to have the pictures taken. Our friend Jami is an extremely talented photographer so she was the obvious choice. And we're totally thankful for the deal she gave us. Thank you Jami.

Well, I don't have a lot else to say right now. I'm heading to the gym in a bit. I'm considering training for a mini-triathalon, which is coming up in early November. Nothing solid yet, but I might as well get into better shape anyway. I won't be able to brag about it too much since it's a mini. The swim is only 350 meters, though that might prove to be a lot for me. The run is a 5k and the bike ride is a 10k. But it'll be a good experience I'm sure. I might have to stop drinking Coca-Cola for this one. (Don't count on it though.)

Anyway, good day All!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What's it all for?

You know, when I was a missionary, spreading the good word throughout Los Angeles, I taught, and still believe today, that the purpose of life is quite simple; Become the best YOU you can and, have joy. As I've gotten more experience, gotten older, and had my eyes opened wider, I realize that the purpose of life has become distorted for far too many people. It seems that it now takes more and more to make people feel "happy," and to have joy. What happened?

The so-called "American dream" is an idea that's been around for nearly a century. European immigrants from the early 1900s through the 1920s or so knew about it. Their American dream consisted of living in a free society, being able to take care of their families and, maybe owning a little piece of this great land. Simple. Sweet. And yet, we now, very much, take those things for granted. If we go back 50 years in U.S. history, the American dream had evolved a bit. It meant, having a job with a retirement plan, health benefits, a family, a little extra money for a family vacation, a family car perhaps, and of course, the house with the white picket fence. Still sweet. Maybe sweeter. But not extravagant. It seems that people still had the right perspective about what counted--what really mattered.

Today, our world is much different. People are no longer satisfied with just a good job they can feed the family with. Today's bills aren't just those of the house and the utilities. Now, the bills which roll into one's household are likely those of the mortgage, perhaps a second or third mortgage. They are often those of a couple of cars--but not just any cars. Today's American dream requires the best cars---say a $40,000 SUV. And, it cannot just have tires and wheels; it needs to have the most expensive tires mounted on "20s" or "22s." And it needs to be more than just transportation. It needs to be an entertainment center on wheels, including TVs, DVD players and video gaming systems. And the bills arrive from the credit card company or, more likely, companies. People max out their debt like it's going out of style. Why pay today for the things you can get with the swipe of a piece of plastic? Rather pay cash for things they can afford, people put everything on a credit card that they'll end up paying up to 22 or 24% interest on with monthly payments. And, what about the house with the white picket fence? Please. May as well live in a shanty. Instead, a family of 5 often gets into a house of 5000 sq. ft. or more. Your home needs to have a bathroom for each bedroom. It needs to have a home theater room. It needs to be built as far upon the hill as possible. Most important, it certainly needs to be bigger than those of its neighbors. Moderation in all things, right? Wrong. What in the hell is moderation?

I'm certainly not saying that making a lot of money is inherently a bad thing. It isn't. But what are people focused on? Simple happiness and good, enriching relationships with their families? Being good people? Or is the concern turned upon making more, spending more than you have, and looking better than "the Jones'?"

Really, what happened? Well, I think part of the problem is that we've been trained in our society to make more, get more, have more. Attain, attain, attain. Let materialism be your religion. Let riches be your god. This brings me to another topic; What is the point to it all? Partisan politics aside, why is it so important for the U.S. to remain the world superpower? Why is it so important for us to find more oil, make more money, have a bigger military, develop more technology than anyone else in the world? Before you start thinking about what you learned in your government class, know that I ask this somewhat rhetorically. Because, I don't think it should be important to maintain that list. Did God even intend for there to be countries and all of these global divisions among humanity? Does God care if the United States or, any other country for that matter, is a superpower? Now, to get a little bit political, how many government policies are aimed, not for peace and world betterment but, to make America more powerful, more wealthy?

In the eternal scheme of things, what does ANY of that matter? I think it's important to ask ourselves, as a nation, whether or not the end justifies the means. Because, America didn't rise to world domination by always being kind, being honest, having integrity, or always "doing God's will." Rather, while America certainly has produced some very worthy and great things, it's history is still ridden with slavery, massacres, exploitation, stealing, oppression, and deceit. Does our place in the world today justify our wrongdoings from the past? Will God say to American leadership, "That's OK. You did all of those bad things so you could be 'the greatest nation in the world?'"

Now, I readily admit that I'm fortunate to live in a place of freedom and opportunity. I am thankful for my life and experience here. But have you ever noticed that, there are people, here and elsewhere in the world, who have next to no material possessions, but are every bit as happy as the family of 5 in the house on the hill? In fact, the family with very little has much less to worry about. And so, more of their time is focussed on their loved ones and those few things that are most important. They are perfectly satisfied with their simpler life experiences. Will they still be able to inherit one of God's many mansions? I believe they absolutely will.

I guess I believe in simplifying our lives. I believe that it's more important to use our talents and resources to take care of each other and show our love rather than for making ourselves or our nations more powerful. Next time you vote, when you look at all of the issues talked about by the candidates, ask yourself if any of these policies and aspirations really matter. And if you find some that do, which candidate best represents those important interests. And next time you hear Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh making a mockery of someone's community organizing or talking about taxes as though they were evil or talking about a health care system which is accessible to EVERYONE as though it was the spawn of Satan, call him and ask him, "Why are those things bad?" Is it the money? Is it the contrast to EXTREME, deregulated capitalism? Because what does that matter? And, since Sean says he loves Utahns so much, maybe read Alma 1:30 to him:
And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having NO respect to persons as to those who stood in need.

So, simplify your lives, love you fellowman, love God's creations, share what you can, help where you can help, find joy in your families and the simple but important things, and be happy.

Friday, September 19, 2008

And it all comes crashing down...

Stress. I have it. I think I have a lot of it lately. If it were possible, I would probably have a disease called stressitis. What's the cure for it though? I'm usually pretty good at dealing with it; I cuss like a sailor, I work out, I get some fresh air outside, I watch a funny show. But this is ridiculous.

First of all, the stock market is taking a tumble. Some people speculate that it will continue to tumble until it hits rock bottom. Yikes. Others say, it's going to be OK. We're sliding backward, economically, but we'll bounce back. Our inept commander in chief, Pres. Bush, held a press conference yesterday and said he shares our concern about the economy and he's looking into it. That's it? That's all you got, Dubya? How about telling us why you fought so hard for deregulation. Tell us how that worked out. And for crying out loud, tell us what you're going to do about it. Give us some confidence. Should we "go shopping" like you advised us to do immediately after 9/11? Or should we hold onto our pennies? Should we pull all of our money from the stock market? Or should we leave it in if we can and hope it come back up eventually? Worst president in American history? Well, pretty close at least.

While I was working yesterday, my wife sent me a message that my mom had been taken to the hospital in an ambulance because her neighbors found her passed out on her porch. I took a deep breath and thought, "What will it be next?" I went to the hospital. They really didn't treat her with much. Everything was pretty much fine. One of those mysteries, you know. Then, after they released her, my mom and I got into this huge fight outside the hospital. I was mad about the last 20 years or so and I said a bunch of things that I now wish I hadn't. (By the way, unless you REALLY know about all of this, you might be thinking, "Wow, what an ass!" But if you DO really know me and about all of this, you'll probably understand a little more. Still, I wish I hadn't have blown up like that. I let my frustrations with that situation get the best of me. What do I do now though? One thing I know for sure is, you never ever want to give up on, or abandon, your relationship with your parents. And you hope they feel the same way toward you. Sigh.

When I finally got home last night, Brynn had found our dog Jake to be sick. We always know when he's sick because his personality is predictable. When it's off, we know he isn't feeling good. Nothing much I could do about it last night. I took him to the vet this morning. He hasn't eaten for a day, though he's drinking a lot of water. The vet's thermometer wasn't working out for us so we didn't get a temperature. His nose is wet like normal and the coloring on his gums is the same. (If you're lost at this point, get a dog. You'll figure it out). Well, Jake is acting better this morning. A little perkier. But he's still not eating. The vet seemed to think he must have eaten some bad food. Could be. But one thing worries me more. The freaking neighbor girls from across our back fence have thrown 3 or 4 of their rubber beach-type balls into our yard and the dogs have shredded them. (I'd expect no less). But now I'm worried that Jake may have a piece of rubber stuck somewhere along his digestive tract. I called the vet back with this additional information and he doesn't think I should worry about the beach balls. Well, that dog is a HUGE part of me. And when he's sick, I worry myself sick. I hope he gets better and starts eating soon.

When I called to tell my work crew that I wouldn't make it up to the job this morning, I was told, "Take your time." Apparently, the builder is LOW on money. This project is a 17-plex of custom condos. They're going to be selling each unit for like $350,000-$400,000. For 2 bedrooms! Are you kidding me? Well, I guess they're not selling too great right now and they called my boss and told him to stop everything---that he should submit an invoice so they can pay him up to this point and that may be the end of it. The potential problem? We're already into it for $120,000---just for our finish carpentry. So, the market is horrible--even in Utah. What will become of all of us construction workers? I'd better change career paths sooner than later.

Well, thanks to blogging, my stress level has gone from a 10 to an 8.5.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Who can you trust?

With all of the talk, back and forth, among the presidential tickets, compounded with all of the spin put on it by the various media, it's pretty hard to know who you can trust. Be you republican or, be you democrat, do you really know if the politicians have your back?

We're pretty much used to two "teams" in the United States; republicans and democrats. They battle back and forth, disagreeing on nearly everything and standing together for almost nothing. In the 2004 presidential election, there were many issues to talk about, such as immigration policy, government spending, and of course, the Iraq War. All were issues of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, to cause more division between the teams, and to blind the voters, the election was turned into a choice about gay marriage and abortion. Oh brother! Those aren't issues! At least, they certainly weren't issues of any precedence when thousands of people were being killed in a war. Both "teams" were to blame.

I love to read history, particular U.S. history. Having read some great books, I've found that, number one, the democrats and republicans began as the same team. And two, that The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, in great part, to create and maintain divisions among Americans. Basically, they know that, if they can create divisions between us---economic class, race, sex---we'll take our eyes off the ball while they whip a strike by us. How about that Patriot Act? Strike one!

I don't think things in government are so different today. In fact, we don't seem to have come very far from the birth of our great nation. Not only do we have the rich at battle with the poor, the whites versus ethnic minorities, and males against females, we now have republicans versus democrats, so-called "conservatives" versus "liberals." I lived in California during my two year mission for the LDS Church. The political division wasn't that apparent. However, I've also lived in Utah, Montana, and Alaska---all very red states. In these states, if you aren't republican, you're a "leftist, tree-hugging, liberal, bleeding-heart, gay-loving hippie," as someone once called me. Are you kidding me? To be fair, in these same places, if you lean left, you consider most of the republicans to be far-right, ultra-religious rednecks. But are we really so different? On a side note, if you're a Mormon, may I suggest you read, "Why most Utahns are democrat but just don't know it?" I cannot think of the author right now. He's a bishop in the LDS church. Look it up.

The point I'm trying to make is, are we really polar opposites? Or are we just told that's what we are. And, are there really two teams? Or is it all a facade, to make us feel divided and like we have to choose one side over the other? Because the democrats and republicans have traded the same lobbies back and forth over time. And liberal and conservative are no longer accurate descriptions of the two main political parties. I've wondered to myself, "Maybe, in reality, there's not really two teams. Perhaps the legislators aren't really divided. Maybe it's all a big show and, instead of left versus right, it's really the lawmakers versus We The People." I'm starting to believe I'm right about this. I really don't believe there are sides, which is why I'll always register as an independent voter.

I hope people will really study the issues of right now: the war, the economy, the situations in the rest of the world, education, health care, etc...and I hope they'll really choose a candidate who shares their positions on the real issues, rather than choosing the candidate who has an "R" or a "D" next to their name on the ballot. We The People need to rise up, wake up and take the reins back in our own hands. Let's not fall for the trickery of these divisions. Let's not battle amongst ourselves, when we should all be focusing on how WE are going to make our country and the world better.

So, pick your battles, and pick a candidate, rather than a party. Who can you trust? Well, that's a conclusion we all must figure out. But, as a helping aide, I'll tell you to trust the person, not the "R" or the "D" by their name.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Religion: Good, bad, or neither?

Actually, I should post this one years from now, when I actually have more than 3 or 4 people looking at my blog. Because, I honestly want everyone who reads it to share their thoughts.

Growing up in Utah, was there really any chance I'd be raised anything but Mormon? Well, a very slight chance I suppose. But, I was, in fact, born and raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I suppose, before I go too far, that I want to say that I am grateful for how I was raised. I'm grateful, mostly, for how I've turned out and, I owe that in great part to being a Latter-Day Saint. The focus of this blog entry, however, is religion in general.

I have limited experience. I've never belonged to another religious organization so, I can't speak specifically about other people's religious experiences. Hopefully I'll not make an ass of myself if I do speak about another faith.

Here's a question: Why religion? Why do people believe? Why do people have faith--a belief or confidence in the unknown? (OK, perhaps I meant, "Here are some questions:"). What draws people to relgion? And then, what determines what religion people will be drawn to?

Throughout most of recorded history, it seems there has always been religion. But even going back as far as we can find, there have been multiple religions. To me, this means people have always disagreed on religion. And people have always moved on, from one place to another, to find what suits them best; some of the best evidence that PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT. For many, that bolded text is easy to say but tough to truly accept. (More on that later).

I once heard the saying, "Religion is Prozac for the masses." Hmmm....religion is a drug then? Well, that kind of a phrase might get you kicked out of a Mormon fast and testimony meeting. But I can see its point. People do use religion to make them feel calm. It's used to make them feel special. For many, religion is an escape from "the real world." So, yeah; I suppose religion is a bit like Prozac for the masses. I have an aunt who I think is a bit of a religious zealot. I'm sure her first reaction to reading this paragraph would be to gasp with horror. On the other hand, aren't all of those "drug-like" uses of religion good things? I mean, anything which can calm a person, make them feel like it's going to be OK, or make them feel loved, like they're special, is a pretty wonderful thing, especially if it isn't an actual drug. So, I can agree with that phrase.

Are there any other benefits to religion? Of course. Religion CAN BE a good, even great institution. For instance, Christians want to be good, or be better than they are, as a way of showing love and thanks to their deity, God/Jesus Christ. Religious organization is a great way for people to help other people. For instance, and this is definitely a Mormon thing, my sweet wife has been on bed rest for nearly a month. Now, we have rarely ever been big, sit-down-to dinner people. Instead, a sandwich here, a frozen burrito there always suffices. But for the last month, fairly regularly, various members of our local congregation (ward) bring us home-cooked dinners. What's especially amazing about this, my wife has been to church once since we moved here a year ago. (The church people are still waiting for me to show). Religion CAN keep us humble. Simply admitting that we didn't just suddenly appear in this life on our own--that there is a higher power/being out there somewhere who/that is in charge can keep our egos in check. These are just a few benefits that religion can offer.

By the way, I served a mission for 2 years for the LDS Church in Los Angeles, CA from June 1995 to June 1999. I'm sure I'll blog about it down the road. Suffice it to say that it was wonderful and I'll forever cherish that experience.

Most people don't think of religion as a bad thing, even if they're not particularly religious. But history, and the present state of some of the world show that it can, in fact, be a bad thing. Many have died for their own religion. As well, many have been killed, in the name of someone else's religion. (Remember when I said people have a difficult time truly accepting other people's differences?) Sadly, many Americans are presently taught that people of other faiths are "the enemy." Many, some in my own family, are deathly afraid that Barack Obama is a Muslim. There were rumors that he was sworn into the senate on a Koran, rather than The Holy Bible. Oh my! Are there some crazy people of the Islamic faith? Well, crazy is relative. But there certainly are some Islamists that will kill you in the name of Allah. By the way, if you still haven't found out, Barack Obama is a Christian. All better now? I'm not done.

It's very safe to say that more deaths, more slavery, more destruction, and more atrocity has been done in the name of the Christian Church than any other religion. Did that make you open your eyes really wide? If so, better find yourself some better history books to read. A good place to start would be the Spanish Inquisition. Another might be the long version of Columbus' story. Sailing the ocean blue in 1492 wasn't all that guy did. What about the Holocaust? 6 million people killed because they were Jewish instead of White Protestant. How about slavery? The southern states, and many Yankees alike, believed that God was behind them all the way when they enslaved, raped, and whipped their "hired help." So much so, that, in the name of the church, they forbade the practice of the slaves' native, traditional rituals for quite some time. Christianity was even forced on the American Indians. Their alternative to embracing the white man's ways was death. The enforcement of religion upon anyone, if it is against their will, is a bad thing. History has shown us that time and time again.

I don't like that people use religion as a way to justify maltreatment of others. I don't agree with my own church that California Mormons must use all their means to overturn a recent supreme court decision to legalize gay marriage. (If you're unfamiliar, look it up on the internet. Try and find a reliable source though). I don't like how some religions have and do elevate one race of people over another. And many have done it. In a way, the war in Iraq was religiously based. Saddam didn't think or believe as George W. Bush does and that got his country invaded and got him killed. Well, because of that and a little something called fossil fuels. (Don't get mad---I know Sadaam did some really, really horrible things too. He got what was coming to him. I just don't know that Bush was to be Saddam's moral judge). I don't like how different religious organizations assume they are God's chosen and the rest are off their rockers. Instead, how about accepting that "the other people" just moved along until they found what worked for them. It IS OK for people to be different. You can even be really close friends with someone who is "different."

Ramble, ramble, ramble. My brain is spinning and I cannot possibly organize my thoughts in a more coherent manner. Maybe I should take another writing class. Well, religion can be good or bad or neither. I think if you find a religion that makes you really, truly happy, then good on you. Or, if religion just isn't your thing, and you feel perfectly happy and content with that, good on you. My church doctrine says, "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where or what they may." I think that most Americans should believe that way, especially since America was founded on freedom from religious oppression. My philosophy: If it's not hurting anyone else, live and let live.

OK. I realize that, maybe, none of the above makes sense. I know I haven't said everything as well or as complete as I would want to. But, I'm not a good writer and it's late. Also, I really love discussing this topic. Finding out how people believe, and why is a huge curiosity. So, if you happen upon this blog, feel more than welcome to ask me questions or just to leave your thoughts.

Good night.