Monday, December 29, 2008
This is the nativity scene they had set up on the reflection pond.
They humored me and let me take them on a tour of the Church History Museum children's department. The exhibit takes you through the stages of life and teaches about Christ. The beginning is a hospital room where the kids play the nurses and doctors taking care of newborn babies. Lacie couldn't resist picking out the Black baby she'll never have.
JT and I have to hold on extra tight to that iron rod! If only it weren't so narrow...
Boys will be boys. They always want in to that great and spacious building.
Partaking of the tree of life together.
We were there, I promise!!!
Last Sunday we received the news that JT's grandmother would most likely be passing away before nightfall. This was really hard and the siblings immediately came together to comfort one another. They were all worried about each other. Yes it was breaking the Sabbath, but we decided to go out to the Olive Garden together. We planned to go to Joe and Christina's afterwards. Looking through our pictures of the Olive Garden reminds me of how important family is, especially in moments like this.
JT decided that Lacie needed some help eating her salad. The table next to us gave us a dirty look
I think this picture is one of those "you had to be there to get it" ones. All Lacie wanted to drink was a Coke and a lime. Simple right? This delightful little lime was "rotten:. As hard as she squeezed, absolutely NOTHING would come out. With our then-current moods, we found it absolutely hillarious!
Another thing we thought was funny at the time: Lacie's aversion to the smell of kalamari. We thought she was going to puke. The worst part was that we didn't even like it all that much and barely ate it.
JT being forced to eat the offensive kalamari
Funny Stephen. I've never seen anyone's eyes do that before.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Thursday afternoon I got out of class and headed out shopping for JT's Christmas presents. Since JT had the car for work, I rode out on his scooter. I prefer riding his around town since it can at least reach 45 mph. Anyways, I figured that the concert started at 7:30pm so we would need to be on the freeway by 6:30pm. I had plenty of time right? Ha! No. The darling scooter broke down in the Staples parking lot. Dead. The alarm button wouldn't even work. I already quit Staples! There should be no reason for me to spend a prolonged amount of time there. JT wasn't able to reach me until 5:30, at which point he took the scooter and left me the car. I had to finish up my shopping before heading home. We were not on the freeway until 6:45. I was stressed.
We made it into Salt Lake City and parked with 10 minutes to spare. The only problem was that in order to avoid bumper to bumper traffic, we parked 5 bajillion miles away! We ran all the way there--and I was in heels. We were freaking out!
Five minutes past 7:30, we entered the conference center only to find that the concert didn't start until 8! I about chucked somebody over the railing! At least the company was wonderful! We really like spending time with Chris and Amanda.
The concert was great. The headline singer was Brian Stokes Mitchell. We had never heard of him before, but it seemed like everyone else had! He sang JT's favorite song for the night: "The Friendly Beasts". He was really funny.
My personal favorite was the telling of the story behind "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day". It was the most moving thing I've heard all Christmas season. Then again, I've always loved that song and I've always loved that actor. The actor was Edward K. Herrmann, aka Richard Gilmore from "Gilmore Girls"!!! I wish that I had brought a season for him to sign! It was awesome!
After the concert we had dinner at the Garden in the Joseph Smith Memorial building. If you have not been there then I highly suggest making the attempt at some point. It is great food and the glass windows look over top the temple! Beautiful. We laughed and talked the entire time. We are really enjoying our time out here--regardless of finals!
Friday, December 12, 2008
Then they score!!!
Friday, December 5, 2008
AAARGH! So today I drove to school on my scooter. Not as fast and cool as JT's, but I manage. At the end of classes (NOT the end of my scholastic day unfortunately) I went out to the scooter parking lot and started it up. I stupidly looked left and began to pull out of the lot. Yes, I know you're supposed to look BOTH ways, but for some reason I thought that left was enough. Plus, no one is ever coming from the right since it's a huge hill with only 5 employee parking spots at the top. Chances are you aren't going to meet one of those employees on your way out. Unfortunately, I did. Don't worry-I saw them WAY ahead of time and hit the brakes. However, the hill I was on has such a drastic incline that with my momentum and sudden stop, there was no way someone of my size could steady the bike. Hence I took a small tumble. The people in the car watched me fall and watched the bike crash on top of me. They drove on. The people walking down the hill watched it happen. They walked on. I had 2 rescuers. They saw me from the VERY top of the hill-they hadn't even left the staircase yet. They took off running and reached me before I had a chance to gather my senses and stand up. One of them was even on the phone and holding a box of cookies while steadying my scooter! My two heroes helped me up and moved the scooter back into the parking lot for me. They helped me assess the damage (which was minimal) before accepting my thanks and leaving.
I'm not looking for a million posts asking if I'm ok. What I am looking for is an answer. Where is the love that Black Eyed Peas speaks of?! How can someone watch a person fall and do nothing? There is no kindness. Those two gentlemen (and I think they embody every meaning of the word) seem to be the exception, not the rule. I guess I'm just really bummed. Send me some good news please. Anyone. This is just sad.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Now that Thanksgiving has officially ended we have begun decorating! JT worked really hard on making the lights outside the house just perfect. They're blue and white even though you can't tell.
We also made Snickers hate us. But she looks really cute now!
This is the rest of the decorating we have done so far. We'll post pictures of our tree once it's officially done!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
This is a picture I caught on my way to campus. I like to think of it as the last gasping breath of fair weather in Utah.
Joe, Christina, JT and I all got to go see Twilight on Friday! We were pleasantly surprised with its quality. Its not amazing, but it definitely was worth seeing. Although, we definitely could've gone without the screaming girls the first time "Edward" showed up.These are the BEAUTIFUL roses that decorate our kitchen. JT really does try to outdo himself.
Yesterday was BYU's rivalry game against the University of Utah! Go Cougs! Unfortunately, our quarterback spent more time playing for Utah than BYU. Oh well. We'll get em next year. We did have a fun game day party anyways! JT invited over some friends from work and fired up the BBQ. We had steaks, salsa, salad, and chocolate cheese cake! Yummmmm. They were a really fun group to be around. We'll probably be calling them up again in the future.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I finally have the answer: heroes. War takes the ordinary among us and puts them in extraordinary positions. War is the worst possible outcome of human relations. It brings devastation, chaos, and pain. It is hard to see the goodness in life when you’re surrounded by so much agony. However, the stories our soldiers bring home provide that goodness we speak. Regardless of the odds and consequences they chose to sacrifice. Some sacrificed only a part of their lives while others gave all their life. In a time of so much selfishness and evil we look to the heroes of the ones fighting on the frontlines of history. Whether the cause they served is agreed with or not, their sacrifices cannot be overlooked.
Earlier this year, while working at Build A Bear, I had the opportunity to meet a wonderful gentleman one morning. He looked to be pretty old and I was impressed that he was walking around the mall on his own. He passed in front of me and decided to stop. He began to share his life with me. He told me that he was a WWII veteran. He pulled his medals out from under his jacket—he always wore them. He pulled old photographs from his wallet—drinking Hitler’s wine amongst the ruins of his bombarded home. I was astonished. This man’s body was filled with emotion as he explained that even talking about it brought the horrible stench of the concentration camps back to his mind—a smell he could not get rid of, the smell of death.
His story is not unique. There are thousands more like him waiting to tell their story. Some—especially Vietnam veterans—have been waiting a very long time for any sign of gratitude from the people they served. I entreat us all to remember and honor those who served this day. They all have given some part of themselves so that we could be whole.
Below I have compiled a few letters from my personal research. Please read them. These people had voices that deserve to be heard. The only two wars I do not have are the Spanish-American and the Iraq war. Yes, I do have personal letter from the latter—but those are for some other historian down the road to post.
June 12, 1779
This is the first chance I have had to write you. I am, by the cause of Providence, in the field in defence of my country. When I reflect on the matter, I feel myself distracted on both hands by this thought, that in my old age I should be obliged to take the field in defence of my rights and liberties, and that of my children. God only knows that it is not of choice, but of necessity, and from the consideration that I had rather suffer anything than lose my birthright, and that of my children…
I am, dear son, with great respect, your affectionate father,
May 1, 1861
“My dear Percy
…believe the South like yourselves a unit—and thus we shall enter upon this conflict forced upon us—in our faith—and relying upon God to maintain the justness of our causes, fighting manfully for our houses & rights;--and understand my brother that when the olive branch of peace is next offered, it will be extended by other hands than ours.—
Farewell Percy—and however much we may differ on the present issue—let no unkind word escape—to lacerate the heart of the other. Defend the soil of Pennsylvania if you will. Then, you and I will never meet as armed foes;--cross her Southern boundary—with hostile purpose—and we shall face each other—as brothers never should.
Love to my poor, dear old Mother—may God bless & sustain her at this terrible moment.—
Your affect brother
Thos F Drayton”
Bainbridge, Chenango County, N.Y.
Aug. 10, 1864
“My Dear Mrs Lynch,
I read in the paper the death of Mr. James Lynch, in the Army of the Southwest and in Gen. Hooker’s Division; who fell nobly daring, at the front of the Great Conflict at Atlanta, pierced by nine balls, five of which went through his heart.
I fear, nay I feel almost sure, it must be your dear husband—and that God in his mysterious Providence called you to bear this great bereavement. My dear friend—it is God’s Sovereign will—and we must bow in submission when our own time comes, or the time of those we love, and must still hold fast our faith in Him. “Though he slay me yet will I trust in Him!”
It must ever be a comfort to you to recall your husband’s words, how he said that we were in the hands of the Lord, and that no one of us knew where danger lay—that he had been safe in the midst of desperate battles, while his near friend, and connection had died by an accident at home.
…And I pray that His Consolations may abound; and that you and your dear children in Your affliction may find your Saviour to be indeed a very present Helper, strengthener and Comforter, and very near to you.
Believe me most truly
Your sympathizing friend
Samuel Roosevelt Johnson.”
*I don’t have anything from the Spanish-American War as of yet.
Here I sit in my little home on the side of the hill thinking of the little church back home, wondering how you are getting along. Don’t think I am down-hearted because I am writing you, but it’s a queer thing I can’t explain, that ever since I volunteered I’ve felt like a cog in a huge wheel. The cog may get smashed up, but the machine goes on, and I know I share in the progress of that machine whether I live or die, and that seems to make everything all right. Except, perhaps, when I lose a pal, it’s generally one of the best but yet it may be one of the worst. And I can’t feel God is in it.
How can there be fairness in one man being maimed for life, suffering agonies, another killed instantaneously, while I get out of it safe? Does God really love us individually or does He love His purpose more? Or is it better to believe he makes the innocent suffer for the guilty and that things will be squared up some day when those who have escaped suffering here will suffer, and those who have suffered here will escape suffering. Sounds rather calculating, doesn’t it, and not a bit like the love of a Father.
What I would like to believe is that God is in this war, not as a spectator, but backing up everything that is good in us. He won’t work any miracles for us because that would be helping us to do the work He’s given us to do on our own. I don’t know whether God goes forth with armies but I do know that he is in lots of our men or they would not do what they do.
Do write me and let me know how the church is getting along.
Remember me to all—especially The Altar Guild, and tell them to “carry on” the war work. My motto is “carry on”. So here’s good-luck to all.
Pvt. Walter T. Bromwich
Company A 6th U.S. Engineers American Expeditionary Forces”
April 3, 1933
Theresa, dear, why don’t you write me sometime more intimately about yourself, what your opinion on things is, what you think about, what your interest are, anything at all so that I can feel I am closer to you when I read your letters, something that will reveal you yourself, in all your charm and sweetness, just say anything at all as long as it concerns you and I will love it…
Recently I have cultivated a taste for poetry, a sure sign that I have become a mere shadow of my stern self and now am as sentimental and love-smitten as all the fellows I used to laugh at in former years. Keats and Shelley are my high-brow recreations now and fine fare they are too…
Speaking of the Bible…perhaps if Hitler read some of its valuable sayings he would be a wiser ruler than he is destined to become.
…There I go veering off at a tangent. I am grateful to this letter indeed because it has caught my interest and made me lose sight of my own mood, blue as blue can be, of an hour ago. I think I feel better now May my slumber be as peaceful as I hope yours will be tonight…so with a tender caress…goodnight. Alex” (Alex Goode)
The Korean War
8 May 1952
“My Dear Little “Bubba”—
Tomorrow you will be four years old—but when this letter reaches you your birthday will be past. Daddy wishes he could have been with you to help you celebrate—maybe next year when you are five Daddy will be there. Anyways, I hope your present came in time. And I hope you will enjoy looking at your books and having Mommie read them to you…
While Daddy is away I want you to eat all of your big man food so you’ll be ready to fish with Daddy when he gets home. And I want you to take care of Mommie now that Daddy is away. Will you promise to be a good boy? I know you will.
Daddy will write again later—when he gets to Japan. God bless you and “Sissy.”
Daddy loves you so much.
Daddy” --Captain Molt Shuler
The Vietnam War
Feb. 14, 1968
“Dear Mom and Dad
Hi folks, Well I am sorry I havent wrote to you in quite a while, but if you been listen too news you could pretty well figer out. Sigon was hit heavy and we were to. So they have been keeping us busy during day and night. We were mortared last night and about 4 days ago. Two of the fellows in the Company were wounded but nothing to serious. Now don’t you start worrying about me I am O.K. a little nervos but O.K.
I am not worried that much anyway I been reading the Bible off and on and it helps a lot. I think God is protecting me as much as he can….Mom I don’t know if I should tell you this or not, but I have to tell somebody and I can’t tell Linda because she would worrie to much, and I think you might be able to take it better than her. I think I might have killed a person but I am not sure, we were fired at and I seen some men running with rifles so I opened fire on them and one of them fell to the ground. I just pray to God for forgiveness.
It shook me up quite a bit but I am feeling better now, because we went out to where I seen him go down. We found blood but nobody. I am glad of that…I just hope you can forgive me.
Your Son in Vietnam
P.S. Write as often as possible mail call is all I have to look forward to.”
The Gulf War
Thanks for the birthday card and the pictures! It got turned around in the mail system and so I did not receive it until I had been back at work for a few days. I guess Ishould back up. On the 2nd of April we finally left Saudi Arabia…My sister and mother met me at Camp Pendleton at 3:00 am when I returned. Wow, what agreat homecoming! They had my apartment all decorated up and had already filled the refrigerator for me. I have been relaxing since then….
Thanks again for the card. I did have a good birthday but I am now over the hill (just kidding!)…Please call me if you would like to.
If you would like the rest of the stories or would like more, I suggest picking up a copy of Grace Under Fire by Andrew Carroll.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I am alarmed at the number of Americans who simply choose not to vote. Reasons like "I don't like either candidate", "I can't decide", or "neither of them deserves my vote" abound. These reasons are not reason enough to abandon the principles of our democratic republic. Our government isn't perfect, the nation isn't perfect, and the people are definitely not perfect. It is unfair to then decide that imperfection is justification for apathy. This country is not perfect and will NEVER be unless its citizens make the effort to change it--that requires participation. We have the blessing and opportunity to vote in America. For those of the LDS religion, we also have a religious duty to uphold and support the laws of the land. Are we supporting our country when we ignore its basic tenants that have been provided as safeguards to our freedom and Constitutional liberties? People live and die to protect this country and what it offers. What better way to honor them and the country we love than to exercise the rights they have provided? More and more I begin to believe that civic duty is dead. Thank goodness for those out there who prove me wrong!
Along the same train of thought, I am so excited about the tremendous response to Prop 8 in California! It is a landmark piece of legislation. JT and I both have many friends who oppose this amendment. We respect their opinions and understand that this is dear to their hearts. However, we choose to take a stand voting yes. We believe that marriage is solely between a man and a woman. It is the basic unit of society. We cannot control what others choose to do with their lives and accept that. However, we can control the definition of family and marriage. We want our children to grow up in the same, well...hopefully it's a little better, society we did. We urge everyone to vote to protect marriage and family this November. A second reason to vote yes is education. The no campaign says that they are not campaigning for gay rights education. However, this is wrong. The education of our children is inevitable if Prop 8 is defeated. Homosexuality will be taught in our elementary schools without our consent or right to protest. The San Francisco mayor and schools have already demonstrated this by taking an elementary class to a lesbian wedding for a "teachable moment". This isn't just about free expression of love. It's about changing our society and indoctrinating our youth. We will have NO choice when it comes to our children and a lifestyle that we oppose. That, more than anything, is unacceptable. Please protect the institution of marriage and the childhood of future generations by voting YES on Prop 8!