Author Archive

I’m Proud to be an American

It has been my observation that it is only those who are very patriotic that feel that their country has lost its appeal to outsiders before it really has.  Yes America (as we know and love it) is in decline and the things that we hold dear and sacred as its citizens are becoming threatened.  However, there is much of the outside world that is yet to achieve those freedoms and the amazing opportunities that are available here.  America is still worth "running" for, just ask all those guys down south who daily risk their lives to cross the border… 

When I stood and said the pledge of allegiance at my citizenship ceremony there was something inside of me that wept for joy.  I was so "proud to be an American".  It seemed strange to me to sense that not everyone in that room or in this country shared my feelings of patriotism.  Heck, I’m not even sure if our President feels privileged to put his hand over his heart in gratitude to our Founders.   I sat there and cried as Lee Greenwood sang the familiar tune that became a regular radio favorite after that infamous day in September.  It’s a shame that it takes an awful event to remind us that we’re proud to be American and of our duty to uphold it’s ideals.  And yet, in classrooms across the country that pledge is now absent from the schedule. 

One of the main reasons why I am determined to home school is because I want our children to be patriotic. (Even though at this time, with a two year old asserting his power at every opportune moment, I wonder at the sanity of that decision :))  I want them to say the pledge of allegiance, I want them to study the values upon which this country was founded and the lives and morals of the founding fathers.  To know that these men feared God and desired not only to be free themselves, but to make that gift available to all.  They fought for, lived, and died, for the freedom that is the backbone of this country. 

Sadly, I think that modern America has gradually come to misunderstand freedom as the "freedom" to do as you please without regard for others rights and without an acknowledgement of consequences.  We take on debts we can’t pay and want a bail out as soon as reality threatens our greed.  We take the lives of innocent children in the name of "freedom of choice" and we teach our children that as long as you are expressing yourself anything goes.  But freedom is not that superficial.  It is rooted in discipline, accountability, and the obedience to and fear of God. 

"America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great" (commonly attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville).  I want to assure you that from a former foreigner’s point of view there is still so much good about it.  But it is up to us, those who want to uphold the principles of it’s founding, to teach the next generation what makes it good.  I am confident that even if we see democracy crumble and this nation fall in our lifetimes, the spirit of America, that spirit of freedom, liberty, and justice will stay alive in the hearts of children whose parents were true patriots and taught their children well.  It is up to us as individuals, parents, and families to uphold those values and freedoms and keep America free.

Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing!

“A person is a person, no matter how small…”

This week (hopefully) we will welcome to our family a little girl.  We don’t know what she looks like yet, how much she weighs (hopefully not as much as her brother did…ouch!), or what she will accomplish in her life.  However, we do know one thing for sure…she is a daughter of God and has something to offer this world no one else can.  Even though we don’t yet know her, we love her, and are so happy she will be joining us.  

I only hope we can teach her that same love for life.  In this world, so many people are confused about who they are and how to treat others, what is right, and what is wrong.  Society’s values are really messed up, and will only get worse unless we make a stand in our communities, schools, and families.  Wise words come to mind when I think about having a daughter “when you save a girl, you save a generation.”  
This world is a wonderful place, but it’s also a tough one, can you blame her for staying inside as long as she possibly can?  Even though this pregnancy has been hard on my body, I am grateful that I can have a child.  It is a priviledge and an honor to help give someone life.  There are too many people in the world who do not see it as such, and yet so many others who long for the opportunity to have a child and cannot.  I found this video in my email and felt like it hit the nail on the head.  Everyone should watch this, and think about how they can make a difference….

The Freedom of Choice Act kills people!

I’m writing to let you know about a terrible piece of legislation called "The Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA).

FOCA would establish the right to abortion as a fundamental right (like the right to free speech) and wipe away every restriction on abortion nationwide.

It will eradicate state and federal abortion laws that the majority of Americans support and prevent states from enacting similar protective measures in the future.

Please read the expert analysis by Americans United for Life (AUL) and sign the Fight FOCA petition at:

Thank you!

Luke: “Why does everything taste like grape?”

So Luke has the croup, or whooping cough, or something.  He’s got medicine for croup (Orapred) which is notoriously bad tasting.  He actually started out with a generic version of the drug that tasted much worse (so they say), and Luke wouldn’t have any more after the first taste.  He was quite adamant, using his tongue and teeth to keep us from putting anything in and took more desperate measures when we held his mouth open. 

Apparently the pharmacy can add flavoring to bad tasting medicines, and grape was the recommended cover-up flavor.  Luke likes grapes, so we took it.  It didn’t help.

Today Luke even refused unadulterated strawberry ice cream, presumably for fear that we’d tampered with it to trick him into taking his medicine.

So I went down and got the genuine article Orapred, in chewable tablet form, still flavored grape, that’s supposed to taste better.  I stuck the tablet in the middle of a piece of Mounds candy bar.  He ate it.  Yay!

Tonight he refused the same technique.  I distracted him as much as I could, and eventually he took it and put it in his mouth.  I thought he’d eaten it.  But several minutes later when I moved him from his place on the couch, I found chocolate mixed into the cushions and his PJs. *sigh*  I’ll have to come up with something else to stick the medicine into for tomorrow morning.

I can just hear Luke thinking tomorrow: "Why does everything suddenly taste like grape??!"

A Look Back at 2008 – It was the best of times, it was the ….well, you know..

With the first birthday of our first child in March Luke showed us that cake can be eaten with your toes and that balloons are way more fun than any more expensive toy we may have gotten him.  We have learned that parenthood is a mix of both teaching and learning. Luke has been such a joy and surprises us daily with how smart he is.

Attending Nathan’s wedding in California reminded us that true love comes to those who are patient and if we treasure it, can last forever.

With the discovery of a misaligned tub in our bathroom, a 15-year-old leak, and 60 square feet of mold we learned the luxury of privacy and having our own bathroom. Hooray for nice neighbors and deodorant!We also learned that nice new tile can result from suffering without that privacy and bathroom for a month and a half. 

As we visited the wild bushvelt of South Africa, we learned how wonderful it is to revisit places and people. It is amazing to experience another culture and the beauties of another land, even if it takes more than 24 hours of traveling with a small child on your lap…thank you Benadryl!

We found out we were having another child and felt truly blessed to be parents again especially to a little girl who will no doubt teach us lessons her brother has not (due Feb 23rd).  She had better learn how to wrestle and play with cars really quickly!

When Cheryl finally got her citizenship we were reminded of what patriotism should mean and how many people (including the Mackrory family) sacrificed to come to this great land.

As we attended Andrew Mackrory’s graduation ceremony we were impressed with both his persistence and smarts as none of us had any clue what his thesis was about except that it had something to do with fire.

When we (Cheryl for the first time) voted this year and saw great change in our country, we were reminded that we answer to a higher power and that all things will work together for His purposes.

We put our condo on the market and after 6 months decided we’d given it our best shot.  We learned that the people in the house matter more than the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. We also realized how much stuff we have and how little we need it all, however, we will keep most of it….just in case…

When we attend Sean’s wedding and celebrate our own anniversary of 5 years we will look back and realize that we have learned so much about one another and ourselves. It has been full of the events of life and we have weathered them all by leaning on each other.

As we visited with our friends and family, slept in your beds, used your bathrooms, and strengthened our ties, we learned most of all how much we need and appreciate each one of you. Thank you so much for being there when we needed you and for the light you bring to our lives. As we finish up this year and celebrate the miraculous birth of our Savior, our prayer is that each of us will look back with fondness on the memories of this year and be reminded of the blessings that came from both the celebrations and the trials.

“Gay marriage ban” reprisals

The vandalism and reprisals in California and across the nation against those who have voted to sustain the traditional form of marriage is hateful. Yes, it’s those calling Utah and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hateful who are the hating ones. The “Mormons”, who make up only 2% of Californians, didn’t define marriage in California. The majority of the people voted to sustain the definition of marriage that thousands of generations have taken for granted for millenia. In the name of ‘tolerance’, these rioteers are showing great intolerance to those who value traditional marriage. Will these rioteers please take a step back, a deep breath, and ask themselves if they are practicing what they preach?

First Presidency Urges Respect, Civility in Public Discourse

Luke’s favorite songs

Recently I discovered, which is a really cheap way of listening to any of six million songs. Luke has his own account where we keep his music. Here’s his favorite.

The many “loves” of Luke

Due to popular demand, we have created a slide show of Luke’s latest and greatest shots.  The little girl in the pictures is his best friend, Makenzie who is a month younger.  She is all girl and he is all boy, so it’s fun to watch them interact.  Mak makes sure he is fed, and that he’s got toys to play with (she’s the woman taking care of the needs of her man) and he gives her hugs and occasionally roars like a dinosaur in her face – okay, so he’s a boy – the energy’s gotta go somewhere!  They are very sweet together.

Aside from playing with Mak he also has some other hobbies.  Mostly they involve either a slide, a plunger, or something with buttons, lights, or wheels.  He loves books very much and has finally kicked the habit of eating them – hooray!

Luke: primary and his crib

Our luck with Luke in nursery ended very quickly.  Within a couple weeks he was crying when we left him and I’ve spent most of nursery time with him lately.  We hope that improves soon.

On the positive side, we recently exchanged his crib rail with a shorter rail that has an opening where he can crawl in and out without our help.  Although he seemed to love the change and crawled into his crib the first night, it was scary the first night as we weren’t sure whether he’d wake up in the middle of the night, forget about the change and end up flipping head first over the shorter railing.  He did great though, in part due to my running in as fast as I could that first night when I heard him crying to help him notice the shorter rail.  Since then he has been an angel.  He almost always goes to bed willingly at his bed-time anyway, but now he occasionally comes to us in our bedroom in the middle of the night if he needs attention — very often without crying at all. It’s so exciting to have a son in our home that is feeling so grown up!

NEVER give away your email password

Do you realize that your email password is probably your most sensitive piece of information?  With your email address and password, I could manage to log into almost every web site you have an account on.  Even if you use different passwords on all those other sites.  I just have to click "I forgot my password" on those other sites, read your email for the ‘reset password’ link, and I’ve stolen your identity.  Even credit card and bank web sites often have this "easy" password recovery feature.  In fact since I have access to your email I could very likely discover most of the web sites you have membership on by searching through your email archives and get them all in just a few minutes.  Have I got you thinking twice about giving away your email password to some site that wants to download your address book yet?

Never, never, never give someone or another web site your email password!  It’s just about the worst thing you can do.  Facebook, LinkedIn, and other otherwise "reputable" sites love to ask you for your email address and password so they can offer you the convenience of spamming all your friends by looking up their email addresses from your email address book.  All they ask for is your email address and password.  Don’t give it to them.  Whether they are reputable sites or not, any person working at that company, in a moment of compromised integrity, could steal your password even long after the fact and rip off everything you own. 

Do you still want to use Facebook, LinkedIn, or these other social networking sites and have them spam your friends?  Fine (I hope I’m not in your address book!).  Most of these sites also offer an option for you to manually export your address book to a .csv file which you can then upload to these social networking sites yourself without giving away your password.  That’s definitely a safer option.

It’s less convenient than just typing in your password, true.  There are upcoming technologies that will help solve that and make it safe and convenient for you to share your address book.  But for now, do it the ‘hard’ way and save yourself a lot of trouble in the long run.

So protect your own identity by not sharing your password.  Give away all your friends’ privacy without asking them by giving away their email addresses to a social networking site that they may not want to join anyway.  But that’s an etiquette issue at least, rather than a hard-core security issue.