Wednesday, August 19, 2015

She's Up to Something

It's been a long time since I've blogged on a regular basis.  I'm not sure why, but I do partially blame an uncomfortable computer chair.  But I want to try to blog more often, even if it is just to document my life.
So what have I been up to?
--I have once again started an independent study program to get my bachelor's degree.  I am short 38 credits.  Actually, I have 100 credit hours, but they are so scattered in subject that I need to do more to fulfill the requirements for my major.  I struggled the first time I started this.  I had difficulty with the logistics of test taking, and also with managing my time studying while fulfilling heavy church responsibilities.  My son graduated from BYU in April with a degree in computer engineering.  As I watched him walk across the stage to accept his diploma, it struck me that I am now in a great position to finish my own degree.  I have the time, and I am living close to BYU, so can test there.  I'm taking American Heritage right now.  It's a great class!
--My mother still lives with us.  Her dementia is slowly progressing, but she isn't too bad.  She can still enjoy life.  She would like to live alone, but that just isn't possible for her, and frankly I think she would be unhappy alone.  I keep telling her that you can never go back.  She usually agrees with me on that.
--We planted a vegetable garden abd it is doing very well!  This is my first time to start seeds in the spring.   I over planted cucumbers, but luckily my neighbors are all happy to get them.  I have 7 cucumber plants!  I know, what was I thinking?!  I have 7 beans plants which seems about right.  2 zuchinni, 2 yellow squash, 8 tomato (they aren't doing that well) 6 basil, 6 bell pepper, 4 hot pepper, 1 cantelope, 1 watermelon, and some volunteer tomatillos and cherry tomatoes.  I have also harvested about a gallon of black berries and a bushel of peaches.  Our apricots got frozen, and our apple trees are sickly so didn't produce.  I was out of town and missed the raspberries.
--I currently have 3 church assignments.
     --humanitarian service coordinator. (I organize humanitarian service projects for our Relief society)
     --my husband and I co-teach the high school seniors in Sunday school.  I love this calling and love these great kids!
     --My husband and I have just been called to work with the "SNAP" program in our city.  SNAP stands for "Special needs activities program". We will be working with the special needs members who live in this city.  We have a church activity with them every week.  Some are youths, but some are adult age who are mentally challenged.  I'm looking forward to this calling and I think it will be a great experience.  Our first activity is a kick off dance.  :)
--I have several projects that I am working on at home.  In June we acquired our first grandchild!  I'm working on a quiet book for him, as well as a quilt.  I hope to have them ready by Christmas.
Well, I hope to blog a little more often in the future.  I'll try to get a picture of my garden.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Defending Marriage

I just attended a rally for marriage, and a friend of mine wanted to understand more about why I don't believe in same sex marriage.  I decided to write my explanation here so that I can fully explain.

Before I get to the explanation, I feel the need to talk about some mechanics of debate.  One very common tool of debate is to attack the character of the opposing person.  So there are many who, in an effort to avoid real conversation, call me a hater, or a bigot.  By attacking my character, they think they can easily dismiss my beliefs.  So if you read hateful comments in the comment section of this post, just know that those are people who have no other argument, so are relying on name calling and character assassination instead of actual debate. 

To understand my view of marriage, I must first discuss what marriage is.  Some might say that marriage is the union of two people who love each other.  It is not.  Two people can love each other without getting married.  Some might say it is two loving people who make a commitment to each other.  It is not that either.  Two loving people can be committed to each other without being married.  Some would say that it is a legal institution that allows people to share benefits.  It is not that either.  Many States allow LGBT couples the legal right to the benefits provided by their partner's employment without having to be married.  So what is marriage?  I submit that marriage, at it's very inception, was a religious ceremony, instituted by God.  Marriage is more than just an agreement between two people.  In the beginning, it involved making a sacred covenant between man, woman, and God.  A covenant is a binding agreement between man and God, and in this case, between two people.  It is a sacred, religious ceremony.   The Bible gives instruction about what marriage should be like. " For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh." (Eph. 5:31)  "Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Matt. 19:6)  This union, was the very foundation of the family.   To say that marriage is between two men, or between two women, is to redefine marriage as it was originally instituted.  

What does it mean to "redefine" a word?  It means to disregard the original meaning, and give it a new definition.  Because marriage has been known throughout the world and throughout time as the union, and covenant between a man and a woman, to now change that definition is to change the original meaning of the word.  This is what I'm fighting against.  

When I lived in California, Proposition 8 was developed to formally define marriage as being between one man and one woman.  I campaigned to support proposition 8, and as part of that support I canvassed neighborhoods, and made telephone calls to voters.  In the end, the State of California, by a margin of 52.3 percent, voted against same sex marriage.  The majority spoke, and the definition of marriage was preserved.  But the United States supreme court stepped in and called the vote unconstitutional.  But was it?  Isn't it society that determines these kind of issues?  This is a country "of the people, for the people, and by the people".  Why was our vote stolen away?  Why did our vote have no weight?  

So some would say, "Why do you care?  It doesn't affect your marriage."  It may not affect my own marriage, but redefining marriage does have a trickle down effect on society.  I particularly like this quote I read on the "Mormon Women Stand" Facebook page.  It is by Elder Boyd K. Packer from the quorum of the twelve apostles of our church:  "One cannot degrade marriage without tarnishing other words as well, such words as boy, girl, manhood, womanhood, husband, wife, father, mother, baby children, family, home."  When you blur the lines of marriage, you also blur the lines of gender.  As it is, we see those in the media spotlight who are deciding to surgically change their gender.  There are those who would like to believe that there is no difference in the genders.  From an evolutionary stand point, such a society is doomed for destruction.

And what about the children of same sex marriages?  Yes, they are loved, no doubt about that.  But I believe that children have a right to be raised in a home with a father and a mother.  Children do not have a voice in our society, so they cannot choose to which family they will be adopted.  Shouldn't society preserve their right to be raised in a home with a father and mother?  Love is a wonderful thing in a home, but it is not the only need.  Children need the role model of a father and mother.  There are those who have lost a spouse or divorced, who do not have that option.  God bless them!  The do the best they can.  But even they would tell you that it is difficult to do without a spouse of the opposite gender.  I have read two separate articles recently of people who were children of same sex marriages.  Both people said that they missed having a parent who was the opposite gender from their same sex parents.  Isn't this a God given right?  Shouldn't we protect this right of children?  Some would say, "Isn't it better for a child to be adopted by a same gender couple than remain parentless?"  I can tell you that there are MANY people waiting to adopt who are heterosexual couples.  Perhaps we could address the issue of the difficulty of adoption instead of saying, "Any parent is better than no parent".  Shouldn't we aim for the ideal?

For me, it's not about "hating" people for their sexual orientation, but is about trying to preserve the very foundation of our society; the family.  It's about preserving the meaning of marriage.  It's about preserving what God intended.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fifty Shades of Immorality

Some might ask how I can write about this topic, considering the fact that I haven't seen the movie, haven't read the book, and plan not to ever see them.  Let's just say that I don't need to wallow in the mud to know that doing so will make me dirty.  And I have some thoughts about why you shouldn't either.

I was thinking about the title of the book, "Fifty shades of gray".  We all talk about "gray areas", and most people use this term to refer to things that are difficult to categorize as either good or bad.  I think the gray areas, in the judgment of our society, are growing, and the black and white areas are narrowing.  As our society continues to lose moral judgment, less and less things are deemed right or wrong.  In thinking of the book and movie, it occurred to me that even though they consist of some perversion, society today would hesitate to call it such.  In fact, I think the word perversion is on it's way out of our vocabulary.  Today's culture would say that nothing is perverted if it makes you happy.  There are those who would still say that child molestation is perverted, but that's about the only area I can think of that society would disapprove of, and label as perverted.  But in fact, there are many perversions in our culture today, and this book and movie highlight some of that.

I remember watching an Oprah show once, the topic of which was to do sexy makeovers for women.  Oprah ridiculed the women for wearing normal pajamas and nightgowns to bed at night.  She shamed them for not wearing negligees every  night to bed.  I think this is demeaning on so many levels.  For one, it is demeaning to men, and suggests that they can only get aroused if a woman is wearing a negligee.  Second, it demeans women by telling them that they need to be a constant sex object.

In December I was on a trip to California and was privileged to listen to a radio program of Michael Savage.  I love Michael Savage, he says things directly and doesn't mince words.  This particular program was about pornography.  He opened the microphone to any caller that wanted to talk about the subject.  I've never viewed pornography (outside of the filth we see on public television).  I don't even go to R rated movies.  I don't want to see the violence, nudity, and adult themes, nor do I want to hear the swearing.  So the subject of pornography is kind of foreign to me.  I was very interested to learn about it from a male perspective.  If you really want an education in the subject, download Michael's program from that day.  One of the callers said something that I have thought about so much ever since.  He said that the problem with pornography is that it doesn't show true intimacy.  He said that in pornographic films, you don't see couples kissing, caressing, or even talking.  He said that it sends the wrong message to our youth, that this is how sex is supposed to be.

I do think that our media is flooded with so many perverse ideas of sex that many young women think that in order to be viewed as sexy, they have to look and act like a prostitute.  In the 50 shades movie, it is taken to the level of abuse and bondage.  Is that really the message we want sent to our young women?  I don't approve of the modern feminist movement because some of their values veer drastically from my own, but surely the feminist movement would disapprove of a movie and book that laud bondage sex and physical abuse!    Our media seldom portrays anything but immorality, and it is causing a whole generation to lose sight of the joy of intimacy between couples, that includes, but is not limited to sex.  

I think there are some who would say that sexual purity is prudish.  They would say that everyone should live and let live.  But their moral compass is askew.  There is such a thing as right and wrong. There may be fifty shades of gray, but black is black, and white is white.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Life With Mom

I've been in kind of a funk lately.  I can't quite seem to get my life on track.  I think it's because so much is out of my control.  My mother is living with us, and I'm with her pretty much 24/7.  That goes against my "loner" personality.  I've been realizing lately that I have to make time to be alone so that I don't go crazy.  :)

I'm also having difficulty figuring out what to do with my time.  I know I am the master of my own time, but now I have to think of it as two of us, so it's not really just my time.  I can leave my mother for short periods of time, and she is fine.  But usually I only leave her if someone else is home with her.  I don't think she would be in any real danger if I left her alone, but she starts to get confused and gets a little paranoid.  She has dementia, although it isn't very progressed at present.

There are some sort of amusing sides to the dementia.  Well, maybe it's just amusing to me, but I guess if I don't laugh about it I could get depressed.  But there are things that make me chuckle.  For example, my Mom has gotten kind of suspicious.  She keeps an eagle eye out for everything going on, and then "tattles" if she is suspicious of anything.  When we first moved in, my husband burned out our food processor.  He was going to throw it away, but I thought that we might be able to use the container with a new one.  When I wasn't looking, my husband carted it secretly out to the garbage.  My mother got wind of this and has never forgotten it.  So every time my husband takes something out to the trash, she gets suspicious.  The other day she said, "Your husband was sneaking something out to the trash."  I said, "Um yes Mom, that was the garbage from the house."  Quite often she will come to me and say, "I saw your son sneaking some food downstairs to his room."  I try to explain to her that I don't care if my kids get food when they are hungry, but it goes against her way of thinking.  (Although she didn't control my snacking when I was young.)  Today my oldest son came upstairs and got some food, then went back downstairs.  He happened to look back as he went.  I didn't see him, but my Mom did.  Suddenly I heard her kind of sigh exasperatedly.  I said, "What's the matter?"  She said, "I don't want to tell you."  I said "What's wrong?"  She said, "Someone just came and snuck around the corner, and when they saw you here, they quickly ran back down stairs."  Later I learned that my son came up to get some food.  But in her mind, there was something sinister about it.

Another thing that is happening is that she keeps hearing noises in the night, and imagines all kinds of things.  This kind of thing happened when she lived with my sister last year.  She is always telling me that she is hearing the front door, or back door open.  She often thinks she is hearing voices.  She is convinced that my sons are sneaking out in the night.  What she doesn't realize is that I live here too, and I'm not hearing any of this.  I explained to her that my one son is almost 22 years old, and legally he can do whatever he wants.  But he is also a kind of a couch potato, and I know he isn't sneaking out every night.  Not that he would have to sneak.

We do have one standing argument.  My mother is convinced that she was present when something happened when we lived in China 20 years ago.  My oldest son was about 4 years old at the time, and he kept doing dangerous things.  My Mom is convinced that she was present when these things happened.  I logically showed her how she could not have been present.  She was serving a mission in South Africa when these things happened, and couldn't have been there.  She and my father did come visit me on their way home, but that was long after these things happened.  I explained to her that I did show her the places that they happened, and she did meet the babysitter I had, but that it had happened a full year before she came to our apartment.  .  I explained that sometimes when someone tells you something, you picture it in your mind, and before long, it seems like a memory that really happened.  I proved it again by calling her on several points of dispute in the story that she claims she was witness to.  But you can't deal logically with dementia, so I think she still believes she was present.  And I just have to laugh.

My Mom really wants to go back to her own home to live. I have tried to give her reasons that she shouldn't, but she insists she will be going to live alone.  The other day I told her that she will miss our dog.  I really think she would.  She even hinted that maybe we could give him to her.  But considering the fact that she only weighs about 15 pounds more than him, I don't think that would be a good idea.  :)

The other thing that occupies my mother's mind is that she would like to adopt a baby.  I explained to her that given the fact that she is almost 90 years old, and wouldn't live to raise the baby, they won't let her adopt one.  She said she would just leave it for me to finish raising.......   She is so baby hungry.  Everywhere we go, she is drawn to babies.  And she gets SO upset when she sees kids that aren't dressed properly for the cold weather.  Surprisingly, many parents do not dress their kids very warmly.  We often see babies without jackets or shoes.  The parents are usually dressed in coats and warm clothing.  I don't know what they are thinking.  My Mom about blows a gasket every time she sees it.

The last thing is probably the most embarrassing, but then again, all I can do is laugh about it.  When I was young, whenever we went to play outside, my Mom would come out the door and whistle for us when it was time to go home.  She can whistle VERY loudly.  Now that she is aging, she uses her whistle whenever she needs to get someone's attention.  So, for example, when I call the boys to come upstairs for dinner, if they don't respond quickly, she goes to the top of the stairs and whistles for them.  I tried to explain to her that they don't know what that means, having not grown up with is, but she keeps trying.  That I don't mind so much, but awhile back we were at a store and needed a sales clerk to help us.  We saw a guy not far away, so my Mom proceeded to whistle at him.....  I wanted to crawl in to a hole and pretend I wasn't there!  lol  Sound embarrassing?  Well, the other day in church........I raised my hand to make a comment, but the teacher didn't see me.  You guessed it, my Mom whistled......   Luckily, it was a very short whistle, and strangely, the teacher didn't even hear it.  I told her the other day that it was pretty embarrassing, so I'm hoping she will stop whistling in church.  lol

Well, at least it's good fodder for my autobiography...  ;)

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Family Ties

For the past 20 something years, my husband and I have lived outside of Utah.  In August we moved back.  One of the things that has been the nicest is all of the opportunities we have had to visit with family and friends.  One of my sons is studying at BYU.  Another is studying at UVU and is now living with us.  My husband's sister and her husband live in our city, and many of their children live nearby.  My husband's Uncle and Aunt live in Provo, as do many of their children.  My sister and her family, and my brother and his family all live within a 2 hour drive of here.  My mother is living here with us.  Because of all of the family near us, we have had many visits.  This is something we haven't had for over 20 years!  I think maybe some people take it for granted, but we are really enjoying connecting with family again.

In addition, we have had the opportunity to visit with old friends who have passed through town.  Because we were away from family for so long (except for brief visits in the summer), many of these friends have become sort of replacement family.  One set of friends will be moving in to the area soon.  And because we are in a central location, we have the chance to visit with them all.

Before we went to China, we planned ahead and decided that we wouldn't weigh ourselves down with a lot of expensive furniture, and things that would need to be stored.  So when we moved to China, we just gave away all of the used furniture that we had.  Now that we are back, we are slowly acquiring new/used furniture to take its place.  One of the first purchases that we have made is a guest bed.  I think that was one of our wisest purchases because we have already had several people come stay with us for a short visit.

Living in away from family for so long has really made us appreciate the chances we have to visit with family now.  I think being in China amplified that appreciation even more.  It sure is good to be back.  Here is a picture of a recent family get together at a relative's house.

Here is our dog Bane enjoying the winter weather.  I have to admit that the snow is still a novelty for us.  We think it's beautiful!  :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bible Basher

My mother has been reading the Bible again.  She has some dementia, and it almost seems like a fixation for her.  She reads it again and again.  When I say she reads it, I mean she reads it for hours and hours every day.  She did the same thing last year when she was living with my sister, and read the entire book several times over the course of that year. I do believe she gets something out of her reading, but for some reason it bothers me that she spends so many hours a day reading it.  Too much of a good thing?

So come to find out, my Mom has always skipped over "The Song of Solomon" in the past.  Joseph Smith did a translation of the Bible, and he said that "The Song of Solomon" isn't inspired scripture.  But we still have it in our King James version of the Bible.  Well, this time my mother decided to read it.  One day I heard her say, "Why would they put this in the Bible?!  Well, I'm not going to have it in mine!"  I said, "What are you talking about?"  She said, "The Song of Solomon has a bunch of filthy stuff in it and I am not going to have that in my Bible.  I just tore it out."  I said, "Tore what out?!"  She said, "I tore out the entire thing."  Sure enough, she had torn out "The Song of Solomon".  If you've never read it before, Solomon talks about lying with his love.  My mother was horrified.  lol

Part of me wonders what other people would tear out of the Bible if they could......  ;)


We got our first snow here in northern Utah.  I know most people here groan about it, but I have lived the past 20 something years in areas that either didn't get any snow, or got very little.  In Wuhan it snowed a tiny bit, but was melted by the afternoon.  This snow lasted a few days.  But the mountains have snow and have been so beautiful!  It looks like I'm finally going to have a white Christmas!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Ever since I moved to Utah, I've had a terrible time with static electricity!  Everywhere I go, I'm getting shocked!  I notice it most when I go to the store.  I touch the grocery cart and get shocked.  I walk in and take hold of the refrigerator door to get some milk, and I get shocked.  I reach for a can on a shelf and accidentally touch the shelf and get shocked.  The worst is the self checkout.  I touch the computer screen and it shocks me the most!  The other day I was getting out of the car, and when I stepped on to the ground, my foot got shocked!  This happens all day long, and it gets really annoying!

In an effort to save myself, I put out a plea on Facebook for help.  I tried googling it, but I didn't know what to call it.  Anyway, my FB friends came to my rescue and told me what to do.  They even told me what to call it.  I googled it and got some great ideas.  I thought I would share them here:

1.  Don't wear rubber soled shoes.

I bought a pair of "Crocs" when I first moved to Utah, and they are totally made of rubber.  That doesn't allow the static electricity, that has built up in my body, to exit.  Leather soled shoes would be better.

2.  Ground yourself

When  you are getting out of the car, they suggest that before you lift yourself off the seat, you take hold of the metal outer side of the car.  This allows the energy that built up from the friction of the seat to exit your body before you break that connection.  I tried it, and it works.

3.  Try a key

Another tip, which I have found very useful, is to touch the metal object with a key that is held in your hand before touching anything metal.  That allows the electric charge to leave your body before you touch the object.  I have a weird car key that is plastic, so I carry a coin in my pocket, or use the metal band of my watch.  I think a ring would work too.

So there you go, those are my top tips for preventing static shock.  Since learning these tips, I've had a lot less shocking experiences in my life!  :)