Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Not Gutsy Enough

It's true: I am not quite gutsy enough to post this on Facebook.  My own opinion isn't solid enough to withstand the potential criticism of zealous acquaintances, nor are my personal thoughts intended to be kindling for debate. 

So I am posting here.  Where my friends know where to find my personal thoughts, and where - I hope - I can reflect peacefully.

As so many songs of the season suggest, we're supposed to be headed into some of the happiest days the year has to offer.  And with the recent news that gay marriage has been legalized in Utah, it seems to be extra true.  Me personally, well, I don't think the government should have a say in marriage.  So that makes any other pros and cons moot.  But my feelings today are simple:

How could something that makes so many good people happy be a bad thing?

Yes, I happen to faithfully practice a religion which teaches a tiered postmortal existence, the highest level of which is attainable only by adhering to some pretty specific guidelines.  I've chosen to adhere.  But I've also been taught that all the tiers are pretty great, and that the people in them all get to participate in eternal life.

Yes, I want my friends to get a shot at the box seats in the top tier.  That would be awesome.  But that's not my choice.  Plus, lots of them don't buy into my religious beliefs anyway.  So it seems a bit obnoxious of me to try to force them into a seat they don't want.

What I would really like to see is my friends getting a chance to exercise their agency to weigh their options and make the choices they think will bring the most happiness.  If they've found someone that makes then happy, then I think they should commit, marry, and build a life together. 

Does today's announcement make me happy?  Meh.  It doesn't affect me directly, so I was initially pretty apathetic.

But today's announcement seems to make so many other people happy - and for a good reason - that I can't seem to ignore the added holiday cheer. 

Congratulations to all those who are able to make a legal commitment of marriage today.

I am happy for you.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Balanced Breakfast

Draft from October 2013 - found, completed, and edited in December 2013.

A balanced breakfast this is not.  Quite the opposite, actually.  This is the aftermath of a breakfast badly balanced on my dashboard after my decree that we were running so late for school that the oatmeal would have to be eaten en route.  Thankfully, the spill happened at the end of our driveway, so we were able to run back in the house, quickly trade one pair of uniform khakis for the next, and try our drive to school for a second time.

This sure felt like a bad start to the day.  In fact, for a full 6 1/2 minutes of our 13 minute morning drive, I was pretty certain the entire day would just have to follow suit.  But despite the morning's rocky start, I soon found that while breakfast had not been balanced, my morning would be.

We've been reading from the Book of Mormon each morning on the way to school.  Besides being important, it also goes along way toward Adam's required 20 reading minutes and Al's required 10-15.  (Insert Andrea's non-doctrinally supported opinion here: when kids learn to read using the scriptures as their main text, they are taught by the Holy Ghost, who I assume is a way better reading teacher than any they will ever have at school.)

Anyhow, in 3 1/2 weeks, we've made it all the way to 1 Nephi Chapter 12.  Which is actually not bad, considering it took us the whole first week to read 2 chapters.  But now that Alex could easily pass off the words "and," "it," "came," "to," and  "pass" on any sight word test, we've picked up the pace a bit, and we can actually read a good 25 verses on our drive.

But as we read, I have often wondered where we are on comprehension.  Sure, just the ability to sound out the words in the scriptures has merit, but if we really want any spiritual or scholastic rewards, it would seem comprehension would also be pretty key.

This is where the original post stopped.  I have no idea where I was headed, but I decided to add a story from a month or so later.

Continued on October 29, 2013

It caught me a bit off guard when, this morning, Adam read several consecutive verses in 2 Nephi 4 as though he had suddenly taken the podium and was delivering a heartfelt speech:

30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
 31 O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?
 32 May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road!
 33 O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy.
 34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.
 35 Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I bask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.

The chapter ended, and he returned back to his normal somewhat metronome-like reading voice.  But the moment lingered in the car.  More accurately, I should say the Spirit lingered in the car and testified to me that though the boys may not get the scriptures yet, when we choose to live obediently and make the words of the Lord a part of our daily routine, our whole family will be blessed by the presence of the Holy Ghost.

Thoughts from December 18, 2013

Our speed is improving, and I am particularly impressed with how well Alex reads.  We've worked him into a regular rotation now, since he can handle (albeit slowly) even the hardest verses.  Adam reads almost as fluidly as I do, and we should be finishing 2 Nephi this week.  I feel particularly proud that we've established a habit of scripture reading, and I've noticed a sense of calm that helps me start each day in a balanced way.  And though I don't look forward to any more spilled oatmeal, I don't mind the knowledge that whatever else happens, the scriptures can help us find balance.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

V is for Vampire

One of my favorite things about working at the school my kids attend is the chance I get to hear stories firsthand from the adults in the building.  Most these stories fall into one of two categories:

Adam is the best big brother ever


Alex thinks he's a vampire

So when the custodian approached me recently and began, "I have the funniest story to tell you about Adam," I figured I knew just where he was headed.

Apparently, my son had stopped him in the hallway.  "Mr. Hayes,"...

[I kept listening, but I was already putting puzzle pieces together.  Adam is not the kind of kid to approach an adult in the hallway and just start talking.]

..."Did you know that if you have a 'V' on your hand, then it means..."

[Again, not typical of my fact-based eldest.  Most humans are born without letters on their hands, and no textbook has ever taught Adam the meaning of wrinkles.]

..."you are a vampire?"

[Clearly, this is a story about Alex.]

I politely interrupted.  "You must mean Alex, my younger son?"

Mr. Hayes nodded, "Yeah, the little one."

Reassured that I did actually know my kids, I listened more intently to the rest of his story.

"Alex asked me to show him my hand.  I showed it to him, and sure enough, the lines on my palm come to a V on each of my hands."

[Go ahead... check... I know I did.  I am only prominently V'd on the right palm.]

Mr. Hayes finished, "Well, then Alex looked right up at me and said,

'I always knew there was something about you!'"

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Let it Snow

A little fun from our ward party last week.  We had a lot of fun rehearsing way too loudly way too late at night for this one!