Thursday, November 29, 2007

To the Women of the Church

From President HInckley:

Some years ago President Benson delivered a message to the women of the Church. He encouraged them to leave their employment and give their individual time to their children. I sustain the position which he took.

Nevertheless, I recognize, as he recognized, that there are some women (it has become very many in fact) who have to work to provide for the needs of their families. To you I say, do the very best you can. I hope that if you are employed full-time you are doing it to ensure that basic needs are met and not simply to indulge a taste for an elaborate home, fancy cars, and other luxuries. The greatest job that any mother will ever do will be in nurturing, teaching, lifting, encouraging, and rearing her children in righteousness and truth. None other can adequately take her place.

It is well-nigh impossible to be a full-time homemaker and a full-time employee. I know how some of you struggle with decisions concerning this matter. I repeat, do the very best you can. You know your circumstances, and I know that you are deeply concerned for the welfare of your children. Each of you has a bishop who will counsel with you and assist you. If you feel you need to speak with an understanding woman, do not hesitate to get in touch with your Relief Society president.

To the mothers of this Church, every mother who is here today, I want to say that as the years pass, you will become increasingly grateful for that which you did in molding the lives of your children in the direction of righteousness and goodness, integrity and faith. That is most likely to happen if you can spend adequate time with them.

For you who are single parents, I say that many hands stand ready to help you. The Lord is not unmindful of you. Neither is His Church.

May He bless you, my beloved sisters who find yourselves in the situation of single parenthood. May you have health, strength, vitality to carry the heavy burden that is yours. May you have loving friends and associates to bear you up in your times of trial. You know the power of prayer as perhaps few others do. Many of you spend much time on your knees speaking with your Father in Heaven, with tears running down your cheeks. Please know that we also pray for you.

Do the best we can, we know our circumstances, the Lord is mindful of us all. Read Sister Beck's talk, see what you can take from it to grow and learn, but know that God is mindful of us. Know that he wants us to do our best, not more than we are able. He loves us and doesn't want us to drown in the despair which satan would sneak into our minds.

Man (and woman) is, that he (and she) might have joy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Blame the Men!

Continuing off of my last post about Sister Julie Beck's conference talk, Women Who Know, I'd like to talk a little bit more about why it is that so many women feel overwhelmed by what they view their roles as being as a woman in the church, and no I'm not blaming the men (entirely anyway).

Conner Boyack has a post right now that talks about the role of men in the family. After reading from an article by Brent Barlow, he says, Barlow notes several trends that are still (if not more so) applicable 35 years later. One such trend is the diminishing of the role of fatherhood in the family. A prime example of this situation is found in modern sitcoms that revolve around a family. Whether it be The Simpsons, Everybody Loves Raymond, Family Guy, or Home Improvement, the father is portrayed as a witless buffoon. He is just another one of the children that the wife/mother has to look after and care for. If women are viewing their husbands as an extra child to clean up after and care for, no wonder so many of us are feeling overburdened and under-appreciated.

I'm blessed to be one of six sisters-in-law in my husband's family. While this may not always be easy for our mother-in-law, it is wonderful for us to get together and share joys and frustrations (especially where many are the same), over Thanksgiving the we talked about the need to ask our husbands to watch the kids. I talked about it more with my parents recently and they have experienced something similar. Fathers, when they have an activity they want to take part in, have a much easier time going and participating. Mothers in similar situations either end up taking children with them, or asking fathers to watch the children, because it is assumed that the mother is the main caretaker. In the discussions with my sisters-in-law we one of us mentioned how her husbands first thoughts when planning anything revolve around his needs, and he's not doing that to be selfish, at least not intentionally, while her thoughts revolve around how the activity will affect the children.

How do we get to where we are truly equal partners? Equal doesn't mean that we do all the same things. Connor quotes Elder Oaks saying, "The family proclamation gives this beautiful explanation of the relationship between a husband and a wife: While they have separate responsibilities, “in these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners". I think equality means that we recognize each other as having equal worth and value in our separate responsibilities (and by separate responsibilities I am referring to however a couple has worked things out for themselves).

I truly don't mean to male bash. I have a wonderful husband who does so much to make my life easier. I think, most of the time, we have things right. We're partners working together trying to get through life as easily and happily as possible. I do think that men and women need to be careful and make sure they are sharing the burdens and the joys that come along with raising a family in the church.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Julie Beck and Women Who Know

I just re-read sister Beck's talk, after reading a post at Red State Blues. I remember when I listened to it the first time thinking that people were going to be upset over it, but reading it just now, I don't think there's really anything to be upset about. Church leaders have said repeatedly that individual circumstances require people to do what works for them. Sister Beck is just highlighting what our priorities ought to be if we are in a circumstance that allows it.

Have children if you can. Only an individual (Or couple) can determine what "can" means to them in the context of what our church leaders have said.

Make sure that those children know that you love the gospel (she's not saying we have to have perfectly dressed children, that was just an example of how some women in poor countries were showing their children that sacrament meeting is important to them).

Take care of your children and your homes. She's not saying that men have no part in those things. She's just saying it's important.

Be strong, and lead by example.

Don't miss out on opportunities of teaching your children the things that you value.

Don't get so busy doing good things that you miss out on essential things.

Be strong, and do the best we can. When Sister Beck says that we should be "the very best in the world at upholding, nurturing, and protecting families" she means because we have been given so much knowledge about how to do those things, we have been well prepared. Where much is given, much is required. She's not saying that we should do more than is possible or feel like failures because we are not perfect.

It's interesting to me that the only times I have felt discouraged about my ability as a mother has come from other women. Women in general put a lot of pressure on each other to look good, and have well behaved children, perfectly decorated homes, etc... I have never felt that coming from the church, so I think we need to be less up in arms about the words Sister Beck spoke and listen to the spirit of what she was saying. It's easy to grasp onto one sentence that we don't like on turn off our ears to what is really being taught.

I think if women in Utah really listened and embraced what Sister Beck said, there would be far less need for antidepressants. We don't have to do it all, we don't have to be perfect. What we can do as mothers to really make a difference in the lives of our children is simple, and doesn't involve perfect hair, expensive clothes, perfectly decorated homes, children who always have their hair combed and their clothes ironed. It involves simply loving, teaching, and not giving up.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Power of Suggestion...

A's life is a musical. He sings everything. Today he was singing "I don't know, I don't know, I don't know what I can do" to the tune of Mary Had A Little Lamb. As I was getting ready for the day, I sang, "A knows how to listen to mom, listen to mom, listen to mom. A knows how to listen to mom, because he is a smart boy!".

It didn't take long for him to mix a bit of that into his song.

Maybe I should sing the multiplication tables or something. He'd be the smartest 3-year-old around.

(I'm really thinking about signing him up for a kindermusic class. There's a teacher close to our new house, so that would be really convenient.)

Worth every penny?

The Tribune has a follow-up story on Paul Moore defending his $214,000.00 Salary from the BSA Great Salt Lake Council.

Here's a gem...

Wiping away tears during an interview, Moore was worried that public disclosure of compensation could hurt fundraising efforts and other activities. Scouting ''is a treasured part of this community, and I would hate to think that my compensation damages in any way our ability to make a difference in kids' lives,''-- Paul Moore

If he cares, perhaps he should take a pay cut.

Just a few weeks ago, I donated to our local Friends of Scouting drive. I kind of always figured that the money I donated went to pay for our local scout troop and their activities. After talking to a scout leader, I discovered that is not true. The local troops don't see any of that money, at least directly, and even indirectly it's questionable.

The troops still have to come up with $1600 a year just to be an official troop. All books, awards, and uniforms purchased are done so by the troop, and are not purchased at cost, or anywhere near to cost. It's interesting that I can go to the distribution center and pick up a manual for cost, or very close to cost (I don't know, I haven't researched it, all I know is that they are inexpensive) but if I want to pick up a dinky little merit badge book, they're at least $3. That adds up fast.

Monday, November 12, 2007

H.R. 676

The United States National Health Insurance Act establishes a unique American national universal health insurance program. The bill would create a publicly financed, privately delivered health care system that uses the already existing Medicare program by expanding and improving it to all U.S. residents, and all residents living in U.S. territories. The goal of the legislation is to ensure that all Americans will have access, guaranteed by law, to the highest quality and most cost effective health care services regardless of their employment, income, or health care status. With over 45-75 million uninsured Americans, and another 50 million who are under- insured, the time has come to change our inefficient and costly fragmented non- health care system.

Who is Eligible

Every person living or visiting in the United States and the U.S. Territories would receive a United States National Health Insurance Card and ID number once they enroll at the appropriate location. Social Security numbers may not be used when assigning ID cards.

Health Care Services Covered

This program will cover all medically necessary services, including primary care, inpatient care, outpatient care, emergency care, prescription drugs, durable medical equipment, long term care, mental health services, dentistry, eye care, chiropractic, and substance abuse treatment. Patients have their choice of physicians, providers, hospitals, clinics, and practices. No co-pays or deductibles are permissible under this act.

Here's a link to the full bill: H.R.676

Contact your representatives and ask them why they don't support health care for all.

If you'd like to, please sign the petition at in support of H.R. 676


One more thing you don't have time to be doing.

I'll admit that I only made it to 41 (which is several points lower than some of my gardening friends). I'd not do well in scrabble against my sister(s).

Friends of Scouting not so Friendly Afterall...

Voice of Utah posted about the salary for Great Salt Lake Council Executive Paul Moore.

I don't personally enjoy sending money to support exorbitant salaries, so I think I might just say no thank you, or pass along a note explaining why I'm not donating the next time the friend's of scouting drive comes along.

I'll happily buy scout shirts for boys who need them, and I'll do anything else I can to support scouts. I'm sure as a mother of three boys, I'll be sending plenty of money along to scout headquarters. But really, $215,000?

I thought there was some sort of salary cap on non-profits...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lets go eat school lunch, e-coli is on the menu...

This story from the Chicago Tribune appeared in the Trib this morning.

WASHINGTON — One federal inspector calls it the "E. coli loophole." Another says, "Nobody would buy it if they knew." The officials are referring to the little-discussed fact that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has deemed it acceptable for meat companies to cook and sell meat on which E. coli, a bacterium that can sicken and even kill humans, is found during processing. The "E. coli loophole" affects millions of pounds of beef each year that tests positive for the presence of E. coli O157:H7, a particularly virulent strain of the bacterium. The agency allows companies to put this E. coli-positive meat in a special category—"cook only."

...Some cooked beef products end up in the National School Lunch Program, which is administered by the USDA. The agency bought 2.8 million pounds of cooked beef in 2006, according to USDA records.

School Reform To Really Leave No Child Behind

I posted this over at One Utah in a post about the fall of vouchers and what comes next. If we don't come up with some ideas (and likely, even if we do) vouchers will be back.

Of course we want to privatize public education! It works so well with health care. A few people are getting really rich and the rest of us are out of luck. Lets do that to our kids too!

Here’s my suggestion (besides smaller class sizes and paying teachers more)… There is a charter school near me that is grouping kids into “pods” for various subjects. If a student excels at reading but is struggling in math, the “pod” they are in for reading will include other students who also do well in reading, and their math “pod” will be with other children of a similar ability so that the teacher can focus on the needs of that group of students instead of trying to teach to everyone and leaving some students bored and some confused.

I think that implementing this type of ability grouping would require smaller class sizes, or at least some teaching assistants so that classes can be mixed and broken down into small groups of children.

As children master a concept as a group, the group can advance, as children master concepts individually, they can move throughout the different groups as needed. No on gets lost in the classroom, and no one sits bored because they have already mastered what is being taught.

It will be interesting to watch test scores at this particular charter school over the next few years.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Quote of the day

“When the people fear their government, there is Tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”
– Thomas Jefferson

Us and Them

I was reading this article on MSNBC about Nancy Pelosi and Iraq financing and troop withdrawl and thought to myself, how did we get this way? The House wants one thing, the president vetoes it, half of the senate wants to pass something, and the other half does all they can to block it. Why do we pay these people?

I'm registered as a democrat. I have family who are registered as republicans. Does it really matter? No one is ever going to agree with another person on 100% of issues 100% of the time, but partisan fighting does nothing to improve our country, or make life easier for the citizens here.

We can disagree on issues and how issues ought to be handled, but when the disagreeing prevents us from getting anything done, it's time to watch Mr. Rogers reruns and learn how to compromise and work together.

It seems like it's time to stop worrying about labels and start worrying about the health and safety of people.


Connor has a great post on President Hinckley's War and Peace talk. I too have heard the same talk used to justify the war and to oppose it, so I really appreciated his thoughtful post.

On President Hinckley's War and Peace.

A One-Issue-Voter

In the last presidential election, I know many people who voted based on one or two issues: Abortion and Same Sex Marriage.

Those were the driving factors behind choosing who to vote for. It seems that strategy really hasn't done much for us. I'm proposing a new one-issue.

Health Care.

Here's a letter I sent to my governor, senators and congressman.

I have been watching my health insurance premiums go up, as the level of service goes down. I watch friends who find out they have illnesses and are told they are no longer covered by insurance because their condition was preexistent (even though they had never had symptoms or been treated before).

People seem to think any sort of socialized medical care is evil, but what is truly evil is the system we have now, where people are going bankrupt because of medical bills, or people are suffering or dying because they can't afford treatment and CEO's are getting rich.

I don't have a problem with people making money doing their jobs, but when CEO's of insurance companies are making millions and those who the insurance is supposed to help are struggling to get the care they need, something is wrong.

Health care has to change. I'm at a loss as to what I personally can do about it, so I'm writing to everyone who represents ME in our government to tell them that access to quality health care for everyone is my number one issue. Too many voters in Utah have made abortion and same sex marriage their number one issues, those things are diversions from issues that we should really be working on.

If you want my vote in the next election, I expect something radical to make sure that all Utahns are taken care of.

I've been laughed at for suggesting we do something here like what Canada has. People can say what they want, but it works there, it should be able to work here too. We should be able to take care of each other. It sickens me that in Utah, a state where we pride ourselves on caring for the least of those among us, that we continue to go about business as usual, and let people slip through the cracks. If we don't see it happening, life is fine, right?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Barack Hussein Obama: Oh what a evil man!

I got this email forward today:

Senator Barack Obama, Governor Bill Richardson, Senator Hillary Clinton and Ruth Harkin stand during the national anthem.
Barack Hussein Obama's photo (that's his real name)......the article said he REFUSED TO NOT ONLY PUT HIS HAND ON HIS HEART DURING THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE, BUT REFUSED TO SAY THE in the hell can a man like this expect to be our next Commander-in-Chief????

First off, I find it incredibly irritating that the email assumes we should all be outraged at Obama's name. If he has a name like that he's probably a terrorist, right? Maybe President Bush should just lock him up as a preventetive measure.

Second of all, what does the picture really tell us? It bothers me that things like this are forwarded soley to be divisive and lead people to jump to conclusions.

At I looked up the picture and discovered that Senator Obama wasn't refusing to say the pledge. The picture wasn't even taken during the pledge.

From Snopes: The photograph itself is real, one of several images of the Iowa steak fry event published by Time, and shows Barack Obama standing with his hands clasped just below his waist, while New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, New York senator Hillary Clinton, and Ruth Harkin (wife of Iowa senator Tom Harkin) stand with their hands held over their hearts. It's difficult to judge exactly what's going on from a single still image (it's possible, for example, that the photograph captured an instant just before or just after the national anthem was played, and Senator Obama had not yet raised his right hand or had just lowered it), but other accounts (including the following ABC News video of the event) indicate that the picture is as described:

(It's also not clear from the photograph or the video just what the candidates are looking at. The Flag Code advises that they should be "standing at attention facing the flag," but none of them is facing the flag displayed behind the platform on which they're standing. Presumably there's another flag off to the right of the platform, since most of them are facing that direction.)

Such an act would be consistent with Senator Obama's response when he was asked in October 2007 interviews about his not wearing a U.S. flag pin in his lapel, a gesture which he said he had abandoned in favor of actions he considered more meaningfully patriotic:
The truth is that right after 9/11 I had a pin. Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for, I think, true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security. I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest. Instead I'm gonna try to tell the American people what I believe what will make this country great and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism.

Somebody noticed I wasn't wearing a flag lapel pin and I told folks, well you know what? I haven't probably worn that pin in a very long time. I wore it right after 9/11. But after a while, you start noticing people wearing a lapel pin, but not acting very patriotic. Not voting to provide veterans with resources that they need. Not voting to make sure that disability payments were coming out on time.

My attitude is that I'm less concerned about what you're wearing on your lapel than what's in your heart. And you show your patriotism by how you treat your fellow Americans, especially those who served. You show your patriotism by being true to our values and our ideals and that's what we have to lead with is our values and our ideals.

As for whether this incident was an "accident," whether Senator Obama habitually declines to perform the hand-over-heart gesture, or whether there's any particular meaning to the (non-)action, an Obama campaign spokesperson said:
Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. In no way was he making any sort of statement, and any suggestion to the contrary is ridiculous.

We could not find any information substantiating the claim (made in the text accompanying some versions of the e-mailed photo) that Senator Obama "refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance."

Sunday, November 04, 2007

We all want what is best for the children

I'm moving, and my son will be in a different school's boundaries. We're keeping him where he is for the rest of the year. Moving causes enough trauma, so I'm trying to limit it where I can.

My dilemna has been what to do about next year. The "neighborhood" school that he should be going to next year is nowhere near our neighborhood, and he will have to ride a bus. The school also scores lower on the yearly testing than his current school, as well as both of the charter schools in the area. I'm thinking about applying to the charter schools, but I've tried to get him in before and his name wasn't drawn in the lottery, so who knows.

I could look into a private school, but I'm not aware of any local private schools that are so superior as to make them worth the extra money (vouchers or no).

I've kind of decided that he will be fine no matter where he goes to school. Partly because he's very bright, happy to be in school, and because we (his parents) are involved in his education. I think more parents, when finding themselves in a difficult situation with their children's education, instead of trying to find a better school, ought to first ask themselves how involved they themselves are in their child's education (but what do I know, my kids aren't struggling).

On the up-side, I discovered that the bus drop off is just at the corner of our street, three or four houses down.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ugly Chickens

I went out this morning to check for eggs (there weren't any yet today, or any from yesterday), and it looked like a chicken had exploded. Feathers everywhere! The chickens are molting, and boy are they ugly...