Sep 21, 2012

Feeling Fall

At Mueller Park on Monday.

I love fall.  I love the nip in the air, and I love the colors.  I love the beginning of the holiday season, and I love football season (well at least I used to, this season is trying my patience!)  The kids have been back to school for three weeks now, and we are kind of in a routine again ( I have never been super skilled at establishing good routines).  So this seemed like a good time to give a quick update about happenings in our household.

Ashley is loving school this semester.  She is absolutely loving sign language, and is excited about her writing class and human development class as well.  She only has a couple of music classes this semester as she is trying to take care of some carpal tunnel issues. She loves singing with LDV (institute choir).  She gets to sing and have her testimony strengthened-it's a win/win in her book.  She has been coming home a lot, even though she has only been at school for 4 weeks. 

Alexis loves BYU.  She has some great classes, and even likes her Stats teacher.  She is taking a class from Lloyd Newell of Music and the Spoken Word fame, she says he's great even though he assigns a lot of homework. She works at the MTC and was recently called as the Relief Society pianist.  She is a huge football fan, so if last night was any indication this semester might be rough for her.

Jared is loving high school.  He is running cross country, and can usually be found icing something when he is at home.  He is hoping to wrestle as well.  He constantly has girls texting him, but he says he will not have a girlfriend in high school. (We'll see how that goes-although he did give me permission to have his Dad hurt him if he does) I am constantly impressed with his maturity.  He goes to bed so much earlier than his sisters did at that age.  He is often wise beyond his years.  Now if I could just get him to make his bed and do his Eagle Project!

Breanna is in 8th grade, and seems to be handling the stress better this year. She is a peer tutor and loves the time she spends helping out the girl she has been assigned to.  She talked me into letting her take dance again, and practices the piano because she can't use pinterest until she does!

Grant is still the ever happy one.  He is so content to ride a bike or a scooter, and has so many good friends.  We just signed him up for his first merit badge we go again. He is pestering me about replacing our Wii that broke this summer.  For some reason I am dragging my feet...

We went to Mueller park for FHE on Monday with my family, and then yesterday as I drove to the temple I was loving the colors. I know they won't last long, but it is just another reminder to me that God's hand is in creation no matter what Bill Nye or the pompous English atheist might say.  Daily there are reminders for me that God is real and that He is aware of me and my family.  Life is not easy, there are risks and trials around every corner, but I am trying to always find joy in the journey, and truly there is much to be thankful for.

Sep 19, 2012

Ending the Rivalry

WARNING: This post is long, and probably won't mean anything to you if you haven't ever lost your cool at a sporting event.  If you have lost your cool at a sporting event, especially the big rivalry game, this post may tick you off.  Just know you have been warned.

I have heard a lot of talk about the BYU/Utah rivalry, imagine that, since the big game was last Saturday.  Because the Utes and Cougars are no longer in the same conference it appears that the game is no longer a guarantee.  How do I feel about that, being an avid, passionate, ardent, true blue BYU fan.  I say good riddance.  You may say that is because my team has lost more then it has won in the recent history, but honestly that is not why.  Yes we lost the game, yes we were given sooo many opportunities and couldn't convert, but that is not why...

As a child I grew up in Brigham City, there weren't many Utah fans around.  I had no idea what the rivalry was, it was just another game on the schedule.  I loved BYU because my parents did.  My parents have degrees from BYU, my sisters all went to BYU, I wanted to go to BYU.  I did go to BYU, and I met my husband there.  It is my alma mater.  I didn't really care about the rivalry until one year I went to a BYU/Utah basketball game.  I had graduated from BYU, but my husband was still attending.  We went to the game, and happened to be sitting by a very large group of Utah fans.  As is the custom at BYU, before the game began, a prayer was said.  This large group of Utah fans screamed throughout the entire prayer.  I was disgusted, even livid.  I decided right then and there that Utah fans were the scum of the earth and therefore all their fans were and the University as well. I have had other experiences that just cemented my opinion and I felt justified in my feelings and my often inappropriate reactions. ( I do not tell this story to incite hatred, or to somehow justify or prove anything.)  After moving up to Davis County the rivalry became a more contentious thing.  It was everywhere, with Utah fans and BYU fans going after it in church, in the grocery store and at my kid's schools. ( Now of course not everyone participates in this, my hats off to those who didn't need to hear Pres. Uchtdorf's talk about how we justify our bad behavior as it applies to sports.) We were die hard BYU fans and to me that included hatred of anything red.  Honestly I started to feel a little uncomfortable at the level of hatred in our home before the night that Tony came home from priesthood meeting telling me what Pres. Uchtdorf had said, but after that  I knew that a change had to be made.

The change hasn't been as hard as I thought.  I always knew that Utah was a good school.  I don't have a problem with admitting that Utah has owned the rivalry for awhile now.  They have enjoyed a lot of success in the recent past.   It makes it even easier for me now because really nothing is riding on the game.  We have no conference title to fight for, we don't even play the same teams for the most part.  It isn't even the end of the season, so there is plenty of football left to enjoy. So why would I say good riddance to this rivalry and to this particular football game?  Because it is still ugly.  It is still mean-spirited.  And if you only think it happens on one side or the other you need to take off your red or blue colored glasses whatever the case may be.  I don't like that I have to explain to my child why their teacher would call them a loser when they have never done or said a thing to them.  I don't like having to defend my religion because of a football game.  I don't like that this football game turns makes people think that the golden rule is not applicable during sporting events. I don't like that I have to fight with myself to not become an idiot ( a fight that I have all too often lost).

I recently watched Elder Holland's talk given at the recent CES fireside.  If you haven't watched it, Watch It!  It is classic Elder Holland.  YOU NEVER CHECK YOUR RELIGION AT THE DOOR!  Yeah listen to the whole bit.  Yes the story he told was referring to BYU fans who checked their religion at the door at a basketball game, but I think his meaning was much deeper.  We check our religion at the door whenever we stop being Christlike.  Sports are tricky, competition often brings out the worst in us. A perfect example is Max Hall.  He totally checked his religion at the door when he went after all Ute fans and even the university.  Everyone that went after him and BYU, checked their religion at the door too.  The animosity and hatred that poured out from BYU and Utah fans alike was amazing.  It went on for weeks. Honestly I was ticked when he said what he did because it took away from my celebration of the victory. What was my responsibility in this situation though, what was the appropriate reaction? My responsibility was to forgive him, not judge him, and move on with my life.  He was a kid, and an obviously passionate one, who ran his mouth off, and a good person too.  Who hasn't lost their temper or done something stupid. I can't be throwing stones. What I have come to realize is that there is never an excuse to check my religion at the door no matter the provocation.

So why am I ok to end the rivalry?  For some reason this games turns people on both sides into people that are not fun to be around.  People who think it's ok to make others feel bad. People who would never do an unkind thing in normal life, but who will become hateful and vitriolic about a football game. I don't need this in my life, and I don't need the temptation to join forces with stupidity again and again.  I apologize to all those who love the rivalry game, enjoy it, and can handle themselves appropriately, but for me it can end right now and I will not shed a tear.

Sep 17, 2012

Political Ponderings

Is it November yet?  I get so sick of campaigns spewing promises and constant attacks on their opponents.  Honestly it makes me not want to vote for anyone.  I am a skeptic by nature, but really is anything that comes out of a politicians mouth ever true?  Oh they say they care about the American people, but then they spend their time in office working their own agenda and doing whatever it takes to get reelected.  I get so sick of the whole thing, both republicans and democrats.  I watched some of both conventions.  Lots of talk, is any of it true?  Why should I trust any of them?  When Obama won the election last time, I was not happy.  I didn't agree with much he campaigned on, but I decided I would give him a fair chance.  Unfortunately he has proven to be worse than I could have imagined.  The national debt troubles me for my children's future, and yet he just keeps spending money, and now he wants me to give him another chance?  His wife told a lovely tale of how their simple upbringings mean they understand us regular people.  "We were young and so in love, and so in debt."  Oh cool she does understand me, except we were young, so in love, and in debt, and couldn't afford a mortgage for eight years after we were married.  Her dear husband went to a private high school whose tuition is more than my kids college tuition.  Yeah he understands me.  So what if he did understand what it was like for me, that doesn't mean he knows how to run a country or get us out of the current economic mess we are in.  If those are the necessary qualifications then Tony could be president and I could be the first lady.  Then everyone could talk about us and judge us, especially me and the $10 dress I bought on clearance.

So my big question is can I trust Mitt Romney to be any better?  He is making an awful lot of promises too.  I know he is a member of my faith, but I can name other politicians who are, who I wouldn't vote for even if it was the only name on the ballot.  As I learn more about Romney, I believe he is a genuinely good person.  Reporters keep digging for dirt, but don't seem to come up with anything.  I am fascinated by people being bothered by his financial success.  Doesn't that mean he is smart and economically wise.  I saw him come to Utah and salvage an Olympics that was a financial  mess and the scapegoat of Olympic scandal.  Did he salvage it.  With flying colors!  Does all this mean he will be a good president?  Don't know, but I do know that he clearly has a head for numbers.  Being a president is more than that though, even though I feel it is our most pressing issue.  I am glad he is a good husband and a good father, but will he be a good president?  Can his personal economic successes translate into successes for our country?  Will he get a chance to show us?

I have no answers, but one thing I do know if we continue on our current course- I don't know how my children and their children can have much hope for the future.Our current government feels the need to control everything and mortgage away people's futures that they will never meet. Does anyone in Washington really care what happens to real American people? Stop saying you care with your mouth, and start showing it by your actions!

Sep 11, 2012

9/11 Memorial

 As part of our trip this summer, we made a stop at the 9/11 Memorial.  As I remember the events of that day 11 years ago, I think about our time spent there.  Yes the skyline in New York has changed, but as the new tower stands tall above the rest and the beautiful pools remind us of the past it seems a perfect metaphor for us.  We must always remember the past, but never fail to build our future.

Sep 4, 2012

First Day Of School already?

Summer is officially over as I sent my three youngest off to school today.  Ashley and Alexis both started college last week, so the day after returning from vacation I was moving Lexie down to Provo, and then later in the week I moved Ashley up to Logan.  Thanks goes to Jared who willingly provided the manpower to empty the Suburban two different times.  I have 5 kids and all 5 are at a different school.  We have a senior at USU, a sophomore at BYU, a sophomore at Viewmont High School, an 8th grader at Centerville Junior high and a 5th grader at Reading Elementary.  For the past 17 years I have taken at least one child into their classroom to meet their teacher and get them situated.  This year my son said, Mom I know where my classroom is, you don't need to come in.  So today I dropped him off at the curb and came back home to my very quiet house.  I really don't like summer coming to a close.  I mean I know I will get a lot more accomplished with them all in school, but I miss them and the quiet is almost overwhelming.  In a few days it will just seem normal, and we will be back in a routine, but I just don't love change.  Change is everywhere around us though, and you never know when major changes are on the horizon.

We enjoyed our last two weeks before school started with family gatherings, the Brigham City Temple Open House, Cross Country meets, canning and FOOTBALL!!!  Remember how I love football?! We made the trip to Provo for the late evening game, and enjoyed every minute of it (well except when we kept scoring field goals instead of touchdowns-might want to work on that boys).  Football and school means fall and the leaves are already changing. Life is always changing, someday I will learn to get used to it.