Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A disgrace to our country (and I thought I was doing so well...)

I received this email from my TrashtoTreasure (kind of like freecycle) group.

If these people want to wave their flag they need to do it in Mexico! I don't illegally move to Mexico and hang my American flag, and expect the hard working citizens there to support MY family! America is so gullible, what about the Legal Citizens rights? WE HAVE NONE! Now if Mexico is so great, why don't they go back and wave their flag where it belongs?
Where is "La Migra" when ya need 'em?
(If you don't like my opinion on this, you are more than welcome to leave my group, because a true American would agree fully!)
See Forwarded Message and Pictures below...

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This combined with other junk email forwards encouraged me to take the group owner up on her invitation to leave the group. I hit reply-all with this:

A true American huh? Last time I checked America included Mexico (and Canada...etc...). I am leaving the group. Not only because of this message, but because I find it very inappropriate for an email list meant for selling/buying items to get used so regularly for forwarding junk.

Fairly innocuous, I thought, and here was the reply I got (along with a message saying my message was not approved, so it was not sent to everyone on the list (bummer):

I am tired of legal citizens paying for these illegals, I am tired of
going to the park with my kids and having my things stolen by people
who cant even speak english, having to listen to circus music. the
only flag that belongs on our schools flag poles is the American
flag. Who pays for your childs education? It sure the hell isnt an
illegal because they dont pay taxes... they just lay around and suck
the life out of America .... Why dont ya just move to Mexico then? If
they want to be Americans they need to act like it.... glad you left
my group I dont need ya
You are a disgrace to our Country...
Sure America is made up of many people of all backgrounds, but when
in America, Wave our flag, not Mexico's
I guess you felt it was ok for those High School Students to disgrace
our American flag by putting it upside down and below the Mexican

Here is my final reply to the group owner:

Whoa! I see this is a hot topic for you. I agree that the students who raised the mexican flag shouldn't have done so. They certainly are not helping their cause by doing such things.
I just dislike seeing all HUMAN BEINGS who have come here the only way they could (because they wanted a better life for themselves) all classified as criminals. Very few break other laws.
The US is made up of people who came here as immigrants. It is because the US has not addressed the immigration issue for so long that we have the problems we do.
Most people who are here illegally do pay taxes, they usually have fake ss numbers and so they also pay into the social security system, which they will never benefit for.
What do you think would happen if all of a sudden we "shipped" everyone back to where they came from? The cheap labor market would be gone, and everything you are so used to buying for so little money would become much more expensive. I can appreciate your frustrations with your experiences with those here illegally, but I don't understand the mentality of calling me a disgrace to my country because I disagree with you.

I don't imagine that's a pleasant way to live life.
Please don't email me again.

It's a little disconcerting having someone call me a disgrace to our country. Of course, if I took anything someone like that had to say seriously, I might really feel sad.

I am disappointed that everyone else on the list didn't get to see my reply (and even better, her very loving reply).

Friday, April 21, 2006

Moving Day

The chickens are settled in their new house. It's currently in the garage, since they still need the heating lamp and the dog run isn't ready for chickens yet. It will be fun to watch when they can go outside in their run though.

The nesting box and food/water box are blocked off until a)They are old enough to lay eggs, and b)The mister builds the feed/water trough that he is thinking about. For now the feed and water dishes we bought are big enough.
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This picture is from the back end, so you can't see where the door is or the ramp to get up to the door. The door is also blocked off, since we don't want them leaving the house for a couple more weeks.
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They looked so big in the plastic storage bin. Now that they are in a larger space, they look pretty small. We are using sawdust in the floor, and it's great. I haven't cleaned it yet, and it's been three days. It doesn't smell bad and looks clean, since the chickens mix the poop up in the sawdust so well. (Attention woodworkers, we will need more sawdust eventually)

I can hardly wait to start harvesting the compost materials (how often do you get such a nice source of 'greens' and 'browns' so nicely premixed?!), oh, and the eggs too...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Today, as we were driving to preschool, my four-year-old said to my two-year-old, "I love you". The two-year-old replied, "I love you too".

They don't always get along, and often there is screaming (on both sides) over the favorite toys, but it's nice to know that they can love each other anyway.

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Painting the Chicken House

The chicken house is just about done.
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These Ladies are eager to expand their environment...
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Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Diet and Example of Jesus (An Easter Special)

At church today, the primary children were singing easter songs during their singing time. Last year my 4-year-old had learned the primary song Did Jesus Really Live Again. There's a verse (if you don't have time to listen at the link I posted) that says "...and of the fish and honey comb, he did truly eat..."They sang it today, and sure enough, Jesus and my 4-year-old share a common interest in a breakfast cereal. It appears that honeycombes have been around for a long time. :)

On a more serious note, we had a wonderful speaker in sacrament meeting. The talk was about following Jesus' example through painful or challenging times.

Jesus had every reason to feel betrayed and hurt by those around him. Despite what we might view as "justifiable anger", Jesus didn't withhold his love, he didn't take offense. Jesus suffered for the sins of the world, and while he was doing that, he must have realized that some of those sins he was suffering for were the sins of those who would crucify him.

There are so many things that we can get upset about. Maybe a family member said something we didn't like. Maybe a driver cut us off in traffic. Maybe a neighbor acted irresponsibly (and noisily) when the baby was napping. In the scheme of things these things are minor. When we feel justified in returning bad behavior to those who have behaved badly toward us, we are only hurting ourselves. Withholding love from others makes our own lives less rich.

There are many things that surround us in this world, which we cannot control. We can always, and should always, control how we respond.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

More art!

Last week it was Picasso.

This week it's Van Gogh. My four-year-old picked these while I worked in the garden this morning (in between his bike riding).

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Peas in the garden!

I planted my peas a couple of weeks ago, and the last few days I've noticed them coming up!

What could be better than fresh peas from the garden?!

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I was planning on doing potatoes in my raised beds, but it's been so rainy that I haven't gotten them in yet. It's a good thing though because I recently heard that I could plant them in 5 gallon buckets, that would save some space in my garden!.

(does anyone have any 5 gallon buckets that they want to get rid of?)

The Hen House

The chickens are getting so big that they are starting to get on each others nerves in their small space. They peck at each other and are generally disagreeable.

They need a bigger space pretty soon, so the Mister has started the hen house. He built most of the frame last night. He just needs to frame the box that will hold the food and water (it will be next to the nesting box (which is the little box that sticks out the back side)).

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Chicken Feathers

The chickens have been going through what I hear, is known as the "ugly stage". I think they are still pretty cute (although when I can see bald spots it may be the kind of "cute" that only a mother can appreciate).

Here's Chickie. She's the skinniest of the three.
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Here are the three of them together.
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They turned 2 weeks old yesterday. I hear chickens experience a growth spurt at about 4 weeks. With the rate at which they have been growing an actual "growth spurt" is a little scary. Hopefully the house is finished soon so they can go outside.

How are we living our lives?

In general conference last weekend, David R. Stone gave a talk titled "Zion in the Midst of Babylon".

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Here are a few excerpts, click on the title for the full talk.

"One of the greatest challenges we will face is to be able to live in that world but somehow not be of that world. We have to create Zion in the midst of Babylon.
Zion in the midst of Babylon." What a luminous and incandescent phrase, as a light shining in the midst of spiritual darkness. What a concept to hold close to our hearts, as we see Babylon becoming more widespread. We see Babylon in our cities; we see Babylon in our communities; we see Babylon everywhere.
And with the encroachment of Babylon, we have to create Zion in the midst of it. We should not allow ourselves to be engulfed by the culture which surrounds us. We seldom realize the extent to which we are a product of the culture of our place and time...

My involvement with the building of the Manhattan temple gave me the opportunity to be in the temple quite often prior to the dedication. It was wonderful to sit in the celestial room and be there in perfect silence, without a single sound to be heard coming from the busy New York streets outside. How was it possible that the temple could be so reverently silent when the hustle and bustle of the metropolis was just a few yards away?
The answer was in the construction of the temple. The temple was built within the walls of an existing building, and the inner walls of the temple were connected to the outer walls at only a very few junction points. That is how the temple (Zion) limited the effects of Babylon, or the world outside.
There may be a lesson here for us. We can create the real Zion among us by limiting the extent to which Babylon will influence our lives.

Over the last week, I have had some thoughts that go along with this talk. All over the world Temples stand as reminders of God. They are things of beauty. The things that occur within the temples draw us closer to our Heavenly Father and help us to create the "zion" that Elder Stone speaks of, in our hearts.

If we create a zion within our homes and in our hearts, our hearts and homes also become shining reminders of God and the blessings he has for us if we are obedient.

Just because we are limiting the influence babylon has on us, doesn't mean that we should stop trying to have a positive influence on the babylon around us. There are many things which surround us, that we have very little to no control over. That doesn't mean that we should stop trying. We do the best that we can, and pray for help and guidance. If we do not give up, perhaps we will be able to make a difference.

We can be hopeful for what the future will bring. Hopelessness, despair, and resignation to mediocrity are tools that satan uses to keep us from becoming all that we can be, and all that we can help others to be.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

You Can't Fix Stupid

Every once in awhile I read a letter to the Editor that I can really identify with. Click on the title to read it.

The other day on a local talk radio show, I actually heard someone suggest that all people who are here illegally should be locked up in jail.

Say What?

That makes sense. Lets focus all our law enforcement on locking people up who aren't likely to break laws that actually injure other people. Lets forget that we are all human people. Let's forget that the majority of people who come here illegally are only trying to make a better life for themselves.

I think everyone who thinks like that caller should be gathered up and sent to live in mexico or peru for a couple of weeks.

I don't have a fix-it-all solution, but there has to be something better than what we have now. I hope that whatever it is, happens soon.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

What is Art? (Or Product Endorsement)

In college, I took a philosophy class to fill one of my general education requirements. The midterm paper was 5 pages on "What is Art". I stayed up late the night before and wrote the whole thing. I got an 'A' because I am so good at recognizing art, apparently.

I had an opportunity recently to recognize a form of art that has been around for as long as there have been children and writing utensils.

My sweet children found a pencil and a black permanent marker. There were pencils scribbles all along the walls and inside the closets at about a two-year-old's height level.

There were some marker streaks on the walls, a little on my brand new windowsills, some on the bigger toys in the family room (that's where the two-year-old was caught), there was marker all over the wooden bunk bed. Then, the pièce de résistance... on the bedspread of the lower bunk, was spelled out (in 4-year-old fashion) "dady" and the names of my angel children. The writing was decorated with lots of lines and swirls and scribbles (which I'm guessing were the 2-year-old's addition).

The paint in the affected bedroom was supposed to be a "special" paint that will allow marker to be wiped right off. Apparently "marker" didn't mean permanent marker or pencil. With very little hope, I bought a Magic Eraser. (I actually bought the Target brand, which was about half the price.)

I brought it home and I was very pleased with how well it cleaned the marker off of the wall. Then I thought, what the heck... I might as well try it on the bed too. I was amazed! Three magic erasers (and very sore hands and shoulders) later, the marker is almost completely gone. The bed spread will not come clean, but it is reversible and can be turned over.

I may not know art, but I know what I like.... I like that magic eraser.

Update on the Chicks

They are growing so quickly. Their tail feathers are coming in, and their wings are getting bigger. They've been flapping their wings trying to fly. I'm amazed that they are growing so much since they don't seem to eat enough to create the amount of poop that they do.

Luckily, baby chicken poop doesn't smell as much as I have heard grown-up chicken poop does.

Aren't they adorable?

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From left to right.... Red, Mack, and Chickie.