Thursday, October 30, 2008

Utah Trip & Jen's Wedding

Ellie and I took a week long trip up to Utah and had a great time. It was so nice to go to a place that really is enjoying fall and it was beautiful temperatures in the 60's the whole week and sunny! I loved seeing the fall colors and having it cool down at night. It was quite the shock to come back to the 90+ temps again.

One of my old roommate's and close friend Jen got married last weekend in the Mt. Timpanogas temple. We were roommates for over 2 years down here in Arizona and went on lots of trips together and had lots of fun (and not so fun) adventures in single life together. She looked absolutely BEAUTIFUL and I think her husband Larry is perfect for her! I'm so happy for her.

It also ended up working out very nicely that my dad and Debbie were going to be in town this same weekend in Utah as well. We were able to have a yummy breakfast with the whole family (minus Kevin who is on his mission in Korea still) at Magleby's on Saturday morning. Kory and Tysen both live in the Provo/Orem area (Kory at BYU) and then Trent came down from BYU-Idaho for the weekend. My dad and Debbie took Ellie for pretty much the entire rest of the day (even to a BYU football game) so that I could go to the wedding and wedding dinner. I didn't really know what to do with myself without Rob and Ellie with me!

On Sunday afternoon we celebrated my dad's birthday at my aunt Misti's home with wonderful soups, bread and a divine chocolate cake. Misti's family has egg laying chickens for pets and it's hilarious to see her little kids just pick them up like it's a dog or a cat. Ellie liked them from a distance but wasn't too fond of them after they tried to peck at her food! My little cousin Tempe is only a few months younger than Ellie and they either get along well or are fighting. Hopefully they will grow out of that one and be friends one day.

My brother Kory quickly became Ellie's favorite and all I heard about for days was "Kor-ee". I think he's winning the favorite uncle spot for now at least.

We were also able to visit with Christianne another good friend from BYU days and her little boys Wesley and Dylan. (And Christianne was even nice enough to let me borrow one of her dresses to wear for the wedding!). Ellie is still learning how to share but she did have fun most of the time that we were there visiting!

Poor Ellie was exhausted from all the things I dragged her too. One night she just climbed into my bed with her bear and fell asleep. I couldn't resist snapping a picture!

It seemed like the week went too fast. There was a lot of people that I really wanted to see but time didn't allow. So I apologize! Hopefully next time I'm up there.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Great Article on Prop 8 (and 102)

I was reading this article by Orson Scott Card and thought he did a great job of explaining the religious stance on Prop 8 (which applies to 102 also) and wanted to share it. It was printed in the Deseret News last week.

Disagree but don't be unkind
By Orson Scott Card
Published: Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008

Some people have misunderstood the LDS Church's position on Proposition 8 in California, and its opposition to gay marriage. They think that we are "against homosexuals" -- that we think of "them" as our enemies, and that individuals who have entered into "gay marriages" pose a direct personal threat to us.

The unfortunate thing is that some of those who have this false impression are Mormons.

So let's set the record straight.

1. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a long and successful history of rejecting social customs in the surrounding culture. We Mormons are pretty good at going our own way. We are as likely to be able to keep our children from embracing gay marriage as we are to keep them from smoking, drinking or taking drugs.

It's easier, of course, when the surrounding culture is not propagandizing against our values, but we tend to get more stubborn in defense of our faith when we are up against opposition. So our concern in this legal struggle is not for the church, but for the health and well-being of society at large, of which we are only a part.

2. We do not believe that homosexuals, by entering into a "marriage," are personally hurting anybody. Where the law makes such a thing available, even temporarily, those who "marry" are not our enemies. We believe the law is wrong and the marriage is not, in any meaningful way, what we mean by marriage.

But my family and I are perfectly able to deal with such couples socially and keep them as friends, as long as they show the same respect and understanding for our customs and beliefs as we show for theirs.

I speak from experience: My family and I have close friends who are gay, some of whom have entered into lawful marriages. They know we don't agree that their relationship is the same thing or should have the same legal status as our marriage, but we all accept that strong and clear difference of opinion and move on, continuing to respect and love each other for the values we share.

Only when a gay friend demanded that I agree with his or her point of view or cease to be friends has the friendship ended. What is odd is that in every case they called me intolerant. They misunderstood the meaning of "tolerance."

Tolerance implies disagreement -- it means that even though we don't agree with or approve of each others beliefs or actions, we can still live together amicably. When we agree, we aren't being tolerant, we're being uniform.

It's uniformity or submission these former friends wanted, not tolerance at all.

It makes me sad when people are so intolerant that they cannot bear to be friends with anyone who disapproves of some action or opinion of theirs. But I believe that if we could only be friends with people who never disapprove of something we do, we will end up with "friends" who either don't know us very well, or don't care about us very much.

3. Even if we fail to overturn the current legal movement toward gay marriage, we can treat our opponents politely and kindly, even when they do not extend the same courtesy to us.

4. Only those who try to use the force of law to promote homosexual behavior and homosexual marriage to our children, and who would forbid us to publicly teach and express our belief that marriage is only meaningful between heterosexual couples, move into the category of enemies of freedom. And that will be because of their attempt to suppress religious freedom, freedom of speech and press, and the right of parents to control their children's moral education.

Supporting Proposition 8 in California is a political action, which we undertake as citizens.

Preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ -- including our beliefs about marriage and the proper conditions for acts of procreation -- is quite separate.

We do not think that any belief system, whether it calls itself a religion or not, should be imposed on other people by law -- we won't impose ours on them, and we won't let them impose theirs on us or our families.

Instead, we believe that as long as we are citizens of a free country, changes in the laws and institutions of our society should be made only by common consent, after a free and candid discussion.

There is no place for any Latter-day Saint to be unkind to, or speak slightingly of, those who disagree with us. Just because someone else is engaging in conduct that we believe is wrong does not give us the right to hate them or mistreat them. We preach the gospel of Christ to any who are willing to listen, but we will force our beliefs on no one.

However, we do have the right, as citizens, not as Mormons, to try to persuade our fellow citizens to vote for good laws based on sound principles. We have a right to advocate laws that we believe will lead to the greatest happiness for the greatest number.

We would never try to force our beliefs on an unwilling majority, and we hope that our opponents on this issue will have the same respect for democracy and the Constitution.

In fact, I believe that even those who absolutely believe in gay marriage should join us in opposing any law that is forced on an unwilling majority by the dictates of judges. For those that are wise will recognize that once judges are given such power, that power has as much chance of being used against them as for them.

What are the reasons that we, as citizens, oppose gay marriage?

Legalizing gay marriage has huge legal implications far beyond letting same-sex couples enter into marriage contracts. Once "marriage" has been so radically redefined, it will become unlawful and discriminatory for schools or any other public facility to favor, for instance, heterosexual dating or dancing.

Since our culture (like all human cultures throughout all of history) is oriented toward promoting the maximum opportunity for reproductive success for all members of the community, but channeled in a way that will best promote the survival of the community, such a radical change should not be entered into lightly.

Yet serious examination of scientific, historical, and legal issues has been all but drowned out by name-calling and demands for "rights."

Why do we oppose legalizing gay marriage?

1. Homosexuality itself is simply not understood. The available evidence suggests that bisexuality is far more common than exclusive homosexuality, that same-sex attraction may be a phase in some individuals and is merely an option for others.

2. Even where individuals feel they have no option except same-sex attraction, we do not understand the cause. The available evidence argues for at most a genetic contribution, with other -- probably environmental -- causes involved. The best evidence is that children are most likely to be reproductively viable -- i.e., able to mate successfully in circumstances likely to produce children who grow up to be reproductively viable -- when they have two parents, one of the same sex, and one of the opposite sex.

3. Growing up with opposite-sex parents, but in a society that has normalized and actively promotes one-sex marriages, will certainly affect the children of opposite-sex parents, potentially tipping the balance for children whose sexual identity is still formable.

4. Those who promote gay marriage have already shown a disposition to insist on uniformity of thought on the topic, and will certainly attempt to use the power of the state to suppress any attempt to publicly express a preference for heterosexuality, even (or especially) when such a preference has a religious basis, making this a potential religious-freedom and freedom-of-speech-and-press issue as well.

5. Gay marriage has been instituted in three states (so far) only by judicial decree, and without even the pretext that the constitutions involved were ever written with the intention of promoting or allowing gay marriage. This has happened even in a state (California) where a large majority of the people had already rejected gay marriage at the ballot box.

No serious attempt has been made to consider anything more than a general feeling that "tolerance is good" and "discrimination is bad." Yet we are proceeding headlong into a vast social experiment whose consequences, as far as we can see, risk serious damage to many in order to create only the most marginal benefit for a few.

What's the hurry? Why the hostility toward even the slightest opposition? Can't our opponents wait to get their way until they have persuaded a clear majority? Can't they listen to people with ideas that are different from theirs?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Prop 102 and Prop 8

I know I'm not the first one to bring up the above issues on a blog, but I feel like I need to share my thoughts on the above propositions that we will be voting on in Arizona and California (and I think Florida has a similar one on the ballot as well). I have taken lots of time to study these issues and why they are so important and feel like there are still a lot of people that are confused as to why they are important. And we had our Prop 102 sign that was in front of our house - stolen this weekend. So I know there are lot of people that are against this particular proposition!

I was reading in the Arizona Republic some articles and while I know they are not very positive about the Mormon point of view - I just want to set the record straight. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or Mormons) we've never been told how to vote on anything. It is always up to US make the decision. But we have been strongly encouraged on these particular propositions because of our personal beliefs on family and it's role as a fundamental unit of society. Prop 102 in Arizona and Prop 8 in California can have an impact on our lives for years to come so it is our responsibility to take action now.

Prop 102 (and I think Prop 8 in California is similar) is trying to redefine the constitution in Arizona to state that marriage is between a man and a woman. It's a very simple 25 word proposition. I've heard people ask well why would this matter to me and question whether we are discriminating by supporting such a proposition. Prop 8 in particular still provides for marriage-related benefits to be given to civil unions and domestic partnerships. The only thing that is different is it allows my RIGHTS and Beliefs to stay the same. This is just one video that discusses this:

Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and being in opposition to same-sex marriage neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility towards homosexual men and women. Protecting marriage between a man and a woman does not affect our Christian obligations of love, kindness and humanity toward all people (taken from the website). I think it's very important for people to realize that we are not against people who chose to live an alternative lifestyle. The important issue is protecting our own rights. Some of the rights that we stand to lose if these propositions fail are:

- Churches could lose their tax exemptions and benefits if they do not embrace same sex unions. All donations would then be taxable.

- Schools could be required to teach both heterosexual and homosexual relations as morally neutral and further erode our ability to teach our children traditional standards of marriage. No parental permission would be required (this has already happened in other states).

- Church adoption agencies could be forced to allow adoptions to both heterosexual and homosexual couples. This happened to the Catholic adoption agency in Boston and, as a result, rather than be forced to allow adoption to homosexual couples, Catholic Charities stopped offering adoption services in that city.

- Married housing for same sex couples could be required at universities, including religious schools and universities.

Above are just some of the examples of my own rights that could be taken away. The failure of these propositions degrades the traditional status of the family as a fundamental unit of society.

The article here at: discusses what I believe as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

And this link: takes you to the pro and cons of Prop 102.

One of the greatest blessings in my life is my family and for this reason I feel very strongly about this political issue that is at stake. Please study the issues and make a vote yes on Prop 8 and 102. And spread the word!

And for whoever stole my sign from my yard - thank you. It was just the encouragement I needed to finally write this blog post and spread the word!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Birthday Celebration

Last week would have been my mom's 52nd Birthday so in honor of her day, I took a little time off from the cleaning and other household responsibilities and had some fun with Ellie. My mom loved spending time as a family doing things together and I can rattle off tons of things she did to make life fun for us as kids. I aspire to do that and fear that I get a little too wrapped up in non-essential things sometimes but I'm working on it! :)

Anyway - Ellie and I had a picnic at the park. Granted it was the day that it was close to 100 degrees still but we had fun eating lunch on a blanket underneath a shady tree for the five minutes of Ellie's attention span.

Then it was off to the playground that we had completely to ourselves.

After her nap, Ellie and I watched a video that was done for my mom with pictures of her and our family to the Tim McGraw song "Live Like You Were Dying". Ellie was sweet for a couple minutes of it and even pointed at my mom and said "mama" (her term for Grandma). I try and show her pictures of my family all the time since we don't get to see them often and especially of my mom since she is named after her but I wonder if she really recognized? It was cute nonetheless. I had my cry for the day watching the video a couple of times.

Then it was off to bake some Pumpkin Chocolate Cookies. I always remember my mom making us homemade doughnuts around Halloween time but I wasn't quite ready to tackle that one yet! So we stuck with a fall treat using pumpkin and I let Ellie lick the beater when we were done with all of it. I think she liked that!

I love this cheesy smile I get from Ellie whenever I pull out the camera now! Cracks me up every time.

All in all it was a bittersweet day for me to remember my mom. I miss her every day but I am so grateful for the eternal knowledge I have of being able to see her again one day. And I'm so grateful to be a mom to a beautiful daughter and follow after my mother's wonderful example!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Bounce U & Fall

I am so glad it's October! September just seemed to fly by so quickly. Our ward did it's Primary Program in Sacrament Meeting last Sunday and I'm so glad it's over. It stresses me out every year even though it always turns out well. It's hard to not feel the spirit that the children bring! And we really didn't have anything crazy going on this year and only one child who wouldn't say his part. We had a lot of kids that didn't show up but luckily there were plenty of others willing to fill in on speaking parts. I'm happy we decided to move it up 2 months since it now means that I can relax a little bit now!

Last week Ellie and I met up with our friends Amy, Brooklyn, Christina and Elaya at the Bounce U in Mesa. You have to try this place out! It was so much fun. I think the grown ups had even more fun than the kids. Tons of inflatable toys and slides and everything. They even have a special preschool hour where you get in for 2 hours and they do a snack during that time also. Thanks to Amy for sending me the pictures since I completely forgot my camera that day. I'm so glad Ellie is showing us where her nose is in this picture!

With the marathon I'm training for still quite a few months away I decided that I needed some extra motivation. So I've signed up for a race a month for the next little while! This month I'm doing a small 5k with my dad in Utah. Next month is the Turkey Trot (a 10k) and in December is a 10 mile race. I'm trying to decide what half-marathon I should run in January/February. This week I even had a few days of 80 degree weather on my morning runs but I'm hoping it cools down just a bit more soon. Ellie is such a good sport to go along with me on the runs! A few days a week we start and end our run at a park so that she can play on the slides and swings after we're done running. And a couple days a week we run with Karlie and Sam and Ellie gets to play with Sam and his toys for a little bit afterwards while we are stretching. Hopefully she continues being a good sport since I'm going to have to put in a bit more training time to get ready for these races!

I've also been on a cleaning/organizing streak this week. I found a deal I couldn't pass up on storage cubes which I put together in Ellie's room and moved all of her toys in there and some toys out to the garage that weren't being used. We were beginning to feel like the front room was being overtaken by toys. I'm not sure if this system is going to help since Ellie is really good at clearing everything off and dragging everything to the front room anyway.... but I'm hoping! Then we've been going through everything in the house to see what we can get rid of or give away. The big project will be the garage but it needs to get cooler before that project is attempted!

Ellie is continuing to amaze me with her rapidly growing vocabulary. She is starting to say small sentences and more and more words. This age is so much fun! Saying prayers is still a favorite thing in our house and I was watching the Rachael Ray show the other day while folding laundry and I hear and see Ellie folding her arms and saying a prayer. She saw the food on TV and figured that we have to pray over it! I had to laugh. Nursery is going a little better now too. On Sunday I left her in there crying and my friend Amy was in there with her daughter and told Ellie that she didn't need to cry anymore and so she stopped and was fine the rest of the time. Who knew that all she needed was to be told that she didn't need to cry?

On the flip side, Ellie has also gotten into trouble a lot more now too with her adventurous side. I caught her in my room the other day with a bunch of earrings in her mouth. She managed to pull out the drawers of my dresser and use them to climb up to get to the jewelry! I'm still a little upset because I am missing a pearl earring now that belonged to a pair that Rob gave me the first Christmas before we got married. I am still hoping it will turn up. Nothing is safe anymore in this house!