Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Service Challenge

For the next 28 days our family is taking a Service Challenge. Our goal is to perform an act of service (simple or great) each day through Christmas day. At dinner each night, we will share with each other how each of us served that day. Tonight was our first night to report. Here is a sampling of that conversation:

My Son: "For my service I offered to help Derek with a job at school."
Me: "That's great!"
My Son: "Yea, but I didn't actually end up doing it."
Me: "Why?"
My Son: "I got busy doing something else."
Me: "That was a good try... Next time you should try to do what you said you would do."
My Son: "Ohhhh, okay. I also talked to someone I don't normally talk to."
Me: "That's great."

Me: "For my service, I drove my son to school."
My Son: "Yea, I wrote about that in persuasive writing."
Me: "Really?"
My Son: "Yeah, cause you know, I had to kind of whine to get you to take me? That's what persuasive writing is. Persuading someone to do something."

[Pause- My thoughts at this point: 1.) That rascal KNOWS what he's doing! 2.) Good thing he isn't playing his cards too close to the chest... I don't think I'll alert him to that fact. 3. What am I up against?] 

Me: "I drove you to school because I wanted to. Not because you whined." (Which whining, for the record, was minimal and a huge improvement in attitude from the past couple of weeks.)
My Son: "Oh. It was your service?"
Me: "Yes."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Flood

The other night, my son went swimming...

In the bath tub...

Filled 3"  from the top.

This resulted in a flood of water covering our bathroom floor, soaking the bathmat and my son's clothes, and creeping out into the hallway. My husband and I were of course shocked, and took advantage of the opportunity to teach my son how to clean the bathroom. Funny how certain chores force themselves into your schedule without your planning.

In retrospect, my son calling me from the bathroom asking for his swimming goggles should have been the red flag to go investigate, instead of casually calling for him to hurry up and get out. However, as aggravating as the situation was, it brought back vague memories of my own baths at that age, and deep down I could empathize. When you're a kid, baths are much more fun and much less practical than an adult's.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

You Have What it Takes

The following quotes come from a commencement address given at LDS Business College by Elder Paul V. Johnson. I found the address in the January 2011 Ensign. He was speaking to graduates but I think his words are relevant to anyone:

"Your future is not determined by the conditions around you. It is determined by your faith, your choices, and your efforts. Yes, you live in challenging times, but so did Mary, Moroni, and Joseph Smith. You don’t have to be carried along in the current of the times. The Lord can and will help you set your own course. The challenges you face will serve to strengthen you as you move forward with your life. Each of you has a bright future, a future you cannot now fully comprehend."

"There are no better days than these days, because 'these are [your] days' (Helaman 7:9). You are here on earth at this time for a reason. You have what it takes. You have skills, knowledge, and natural talents given to you from God. If you live righteously, you will have access to the inspiration and strength you will need to triumph over any challenge you face. You will have the protection of a worthy life; guidance from the Lord through the Holy Ghost and prophets, seers, and revelators; and the power of sacred promises that are yours because you keep your covenants."

These quotes actually reminded me of something Julie B. Beck taught.:

"With the Lord’s Spirit, weak and simple women can know what to do. I have been to places in the world where women aren’t able to read. They haven’t had the opportunity or have not been taught, but because of the Lord’s power that is placed upon them, the covenants they have made in the temple, and His Spirit that is poured out upon them, they are powerful women. They can discern His will, solve major problems, and feel peace, comfort, and guidance in their lives. Education is wonderful, but being able to feel the Lord’s power and Spirit upon us is the highest education we can achieve. With that, we have power and influence. Without it, we will not be able to navigate in this life. The adversary will pick us off one by one, and we will be drawn off course by the many, many voices that are out there distracting us. With the Lord’s Spirit upon us, we are strong and solid and will be able to walk with Him."

I have been taught the Gospel my whole life, but I feel like my eyes are just now opening to the strength available to us through personal revelation.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy Veteran's Day

When I was a child, I learned how to play "The Caisson Song" on the piano (this was the original unofficial Army song that was later rewritten to "The Army Goes Rolling Along"). Whenever I played this song within earshot of my Grandpa, he would immediately reward me with a quarter, and on one occasion, one of his field artillery pins. He was a Colonel in the army, and took great pride in his service. This song/tune will forever remind me of him and the wonderful example of hard work, discipline, and patriotic duty that he provided me.

Over hill, over dale
As we hit the dusty trail,
And those caissons go rolling along.
In and out, hear them shout,
Counter march and right about,
And those caissons go rolling along.

Then it's hi! hi! hee!
In the field artillery,
Shout out your numbers loud and strong,
For where e'er you go,
You will always know
That those caissons go rolling along.

In the storm, in the night,

Action left or action right
See those caissons go rolling along
Limber front, limber rear,
Prepare to mount your cannoneer
And those caissons go rolling along.

Was it high, was it low,

Where the hell did that one go?
As those caissons go rolling along
Was it left, was it right,
Now we won't get home tonight
And those caissons go rolling along.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012


Today, I found this article, "Poltical Campaigns and You" from the September 1972 Ensign. It was written with the intent to educate people, particularly 18 year-olds (who would be voting for the first time ever), on how to vote. It is great! I could have used this when I turned 18! 
I've listed the checklist it provides, and some of the points it makes. It's worth reading the whole thing:
  • Reason or Emotion- "Fight to drain your decision of emotion. If you feel strongly about an issue, ask yourself why. If you can’t repeat back substantive reasons for your stance based on facts, you may be motivated by undue emotion. ... Ask yourself: Does this ad portray legitimate and reasonable concern for our problems, or does it exaggerate? Am I being approached as a thinking citizen or as a frightened animal?"
  • Knowledge or Folklore- "Separate your understanding into two groups: Those facts that you can verify from credible sources (knowledge), and those you can’t (folklore). Remember which is which so you won’t use folklore in your voting decision and so you can help correct distorted ideas held by friends."
  • Issues: Legitimate or Contrived- "For each vote you intend to cast, write down what you believe to be the top five problems facing that officeholder... Now as you go into a campaign, write down the top problems each candidate appears to be emphasizing. How do the lists compare? Which candidate most closely emphasizes the problems that concern you and your neighbors? What solutions does each offer? How well thought out are the proposed solutions? How do they compare with what you personally would do to solve each problem?"
  • Image or Mirage- "Our vote is not decided entirely upon issues. A candidate’s characteristics should also be examined. Again get out your pad of paper and write down the five top traits you believe an officeholder should possess...If you get stuck trying to decide, ask yourself: Which candidate do I trust the most? And then: Why do I trust him more than the others?"
  • Strength or Weakness- "As each campaign tries to project a certain image for its candidate, ask yourself not only what they are saying, but more important why they are saying it."
  • Promise or Guarantee- "Distinguish between promises of effort and guarantees of end results. A legislator can promise to introduce legislation and work for its passage, but he isn’t in a position to guarantee it becoming law if the executive says he’ll veto it. Similarly, an executive-type officeholder can promise to ask for authority to institute certain programs, but he can’t promise they’ll become fact if his legislature resists."
  • Standing or Posturing- "Why is a certain candidate running for a particular office? On the basis of his past work, who stands to benefit? How sincere do you believe he is in the reasons he cites for his candidacy? Is he standing for office as a concerned, able citizen, or is he posturing for ego gratification?"
  • Account or Attack- "Ask yourself: Is the charge a legitimate call for accounting or a personal attack? If personal deficiencies are claimed, would they in actuality hinder the execution of duties, or are they immaterial to the office sought?"
  • Action or Reaction- "Ask yourself: Am I acting on the information I have gathered or reacting because of parents or peer group?"
  • Candidate A or Candidate B- "You have now arrived at your decision. Take whatever time you need to mull over the information you have gathered and then make a tentative choice in each race. Now search out acquaintances who have made the opposite decision. Talk with them, ask them why they are voting for their candidates, and volunteer the reasons you are voting for yours. You will find out how well you have thought through your decision."