Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A blind date....

Cory wrote this for one of his classes...its not exactly how I remember it, but it gets the gist of it the picture was taken right after Cory's mission.--before we broke up. (Yes we did break up!!)

Blind dates, that seems to be the way it works in my family. My mother and father were set up on a blind date and three days later they were engaged to be married! If my dad had had his way they would have been engaged after two days, but he had to wait for my mom to make sure it was right. They have now been married for 40 years.

In my senior year, my wife and I met on a blind date as well, but we did not get engaged three days later. I had been set up with Bonita (my wife) so that her friend (Cheri), the one we were double dating with, could check me out. After our blind date, I dated Cheri for a while but then I realized that Bonita was the one that I wanted to be with.

It was a lot of fun reading this chapter and looking at it in the context of meeting my wife and dating her former best friend. I was able to go thru all of the stages of relationship development that Knapp and Vangelisti talked about in the book. In this paper I will look at each of the coming together and coming apart, as it pertained to me meeting and getting together with my wife.

First was the coming together. After our first blind date the three of us did a lot of things together. This started the initiating stage and we all became good friends. Then Bonita went to Salt Lake for a few weeks in the summer to stay with family. This left me alone with Cheri and of course we moved to the experimenting phase. She would keep asking me more and more things about myself that I was not sure I wanted to share with another person. I knew that if I did, it would open me up to getting close to her. Finally, I decided that I would open up to her and that moved us into the intensifying phase. I believe that the interaction phase came when Bonita came back from Salt Lake and saw us holding hands. Luckily for me I knew that the bonding phase would never happen, because after getting to know Cheri I knew that I could never live with her.

As soon as I knew that It was not going to work out, I began to feel the stage of differentiating. I started to look at all of the differences that we had and how those differences moved us farther apart. Then we moved to the circumscribing stage where we limited our communication. It seemed like we had nothing in common to talk about anymore. This is the stagnating phase. When she moved away to go to college we moved into the avoiding stage. I don’t know if this was technically avoiding or more logistics. Although even with her moving away, she would come back on weekends and brakes from school and would try to act like we were still together. So I had to take it to the last phase and terminate the relationship by having the dreaded breakup talk.

It was nice to finally brake up officially Cheri so I could allow my feelings Bonita to express themselves. By the time this happened Bonita had gotten involved with another boy from her symphony group. We ended up in the initiating and intensifying stage for a lot longer then what it was with Cheri. Finally Bonita was talking to her "boyfriend" on the phone one day and said something about me to him and he said "you are always talking about Cory. Cory this, and Cory that why don’t you go be with Cory?" She said ok, and hung up the phone, never to be with him again. I just so happened to be there at her house when she had this conversation with him and she let me know what had happened. We tried for some time to continue in the “just good friends” phase for a time because I was going on a mission and could not get married until after that. All of the experimenting and intensifying just naturally moved our relationship into a coming closer together in our interaction. There was never a formal “Will you wait for me?” but we both knew that we would be together. After a long two years on a mission and a few bumps in the road after I returned (I wont go into detail or this paper will be way to long), we got engaged. This was an interesting experience for us because as far as Bonita was concerned we had broken up. We went right from the circumscribing and stagnation phase of coming apart to the bonding phase. Almost all of the people that knew us were amazed because they thought it was over. Now twelve years later and three boys, with one more boy one the way, we still know that we are “meant for each other” and that knowledge keeps us going through all of the hard times.

The other day I was in my social psychology class and he was giving us a test about schemas that are easily active in are mind. He asked us to write five things down about ourselves, then about our best friend, and then about our second best friend. When he got to this part I did not know what to do. I just sat there staring at all of the other people in the class writing things down. I realized that my wife is my best friend and I have no second best friend. There are many people that I would call acquaintances or may even introduce them as my friend to others, but there are no other people that I would call my best friend. That is reserved for my wife and none else.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Knights...err..Soldiers of Freedom activity

For knights this week we had been reading about Stonewall Jackson. I had no idea that he was such a powerful character, not only that but a very devout Christian. He only went to school a few months in his life, but was still able to graduate the top of his class at West Point. The entire story was amazing to me. And to think that it was friendly fire that eventually took his life. That was the turning point in the Civil War that let the Union eventually win.
I had the boys bring an item in a paper bag that reminded them of what they had learned in the book. It was so fun to see the different items that the boys picked up on. One boy brought scriptures, another boy brought sticks (from when he lived on the Mississippi and cut wood for the steamboats), another brought an old gun and one boy brought a big stuffed fish from when Tom would fish for the whole community. The boys made hardtack and johnnycakes, and I had a costume for the boys to dress up in like a civil war soldier boy to take their pictures in sepia, but we ran out of time to do this...bummer! I had also gathered stories of some of the children who were in the civil war, i had a big activity planned with this but we didn't have time for that either.
HOWEVER, we had the ROTC come and do military drills with the boys and the boys loved it! It was interesting to see the boys slouch and act like little boys when the Sgt. started, but by the end of the hour they were standing up tall, walking erect, and acting so organized and sharp! It was great!! I reminded me of something from Taming of the Shrew (I did learn something) that if you treat people a certain way, they will act a certain way.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Taming of the Shrew

I have just finished reading the story Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare and have found myself utterly confused. Not only was I confused about how my entire bag of dark chocolate had disappeared, but I was confused about the story line and for the life of me I couldn’t fathom why in the world was I choosing to read Shakespeare. I don’t hate Shakespeare, but I have never had that burning desire to read anything by him, attend his plays, or to even try to understand him. The urge simply wasn’t there. So, as I have attempted to understand this complex plot of switching characters, who loves who, and a play within a play, I have tried to find something that would spark some sort of craving to enjoy more Shakespeare. It reminds me of the first time I tried dark chocolate. The first time I didn’t like it, but I had heard how good it was so I tried it again. The next time it wasn’t so bad. But by the third and fourth time, I had developed a longing for that sweet, bitter, intense long lasting flavor of dark chocolate. Milk Chocolate was not chocolaty enough for me, I needed MORE.

That is why I was grateful for the character of Kate in this play. She was the type of character that when you first meet her, she didn’t come across as a likeable character. Binding her sister up and slapping everyone who crosses you, isn’t the best way to make a good impression. But, nonetheless, that was her choice of reputation. She was harsh, difficult to be around, and an overall not somebody that you would want to be around upon meeting. It reminded me of my attitude towards Shakespeare. She continued to be like this until someone was determine enough to find her otherwise. Petruchio’s first design may have been about the dowry he would have received, however, upon further study, he was able to have an enjoyable woman that was tamed to his preference.

I still don’t understand everything that happened in the play within the play, however if compare it to my favorite dark chocolate, I think I will be able to take another bite and enjoy it a little more. I will savor this bite and continue to try to understand it. Then I will take another and another small bite until I am able to find the intensity of Shakespeare that I can understand and enjoy.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Knight of Freedom Summit!!!

For the past two days we finally were able to defend our Kingdom of Kolob against the rebellious Ceredic. Ceredic, the Queen's brother, has been causing trouble in the kingdom, spreading rumors that he was the rightful King. However, because of his rebelious behavior, his father bestowed the crown upon the noble and wise Igraine. Ceredic stormed the castle and demanded the crown, which he was promptly denied, and escorted from the castle. For two days our brave knights trained for the danger that looked eminent, and sure enough, Ceredic demanded the kingdom and they were ready to fight for their queen. Our brave knight were successful, and Ceredic chose to remain in the kingdom and to stop inflicting rebellion in the hearts of its residents.

It was a great weekend!!!

For more pictures see: Misty's Blog

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Chosen

For our book this week we read "The Chosen" by Chaim Potock..I haven't turned in my paper yet..but here it is.....
Solomon Radasky was born in Warsaw, Poland. Out of the 78 member of his family, he was the only one to survive the terrors of the holocaust. He was beaten numerous times, forced to watch others die, and he experienced other horrors that only he will remember. His sisters and mother were killed when they had no money to give the German soldiers. His father and brother were killed when they were caught smuggling bread to the ghetto. His other relatives boarded trains, and he never heard from them again. When he found himself surrounded by Germans one day, he ended up at Auschwitz, terrified of what lay ahead, he decided that he wanted to live each day. One day, he was with a group of 50 men and one of them had snuck a cigarette and smoked it, the guards found out and demanded that they tell who had the cigarette. The group wouldn’t tell. So, the guard took 10 of the men and had them line up on the hanging gallows. Each of the men had to place the rope around their neck and were being told to step off their box. Solomon was one of those men. However, at the last moment, another guard came by and demanded to know what was happening and immediately stopped the proceedings. Solomon was then forced to work in the crematoriums that were murdering thousands of his people. He would bury their ashes with sand from a nearby sandbar. Regardless of the atrocities that he witnessed, Solomon lived to see the end of World War II.

The holocaust was a terrible time in recent history. We have heard many stories of survivors and victims surface for the last 60 years—each one more terrible than the last. I have been taught ever since my early childhood that everything has a purpose, that we must accept God’s will. But I have always had a hard time accepting man made tragedies, such as the holocaust, to the will of God.

Reading The Chosen has awakened some trouble that I have had when dealing with “God’s will.” Was it God’s will that two airplanes struck the twin towers and killed thousands of people? Was it God’s will that my uncle died, who was a deeply religious man with 4 young children under the age of seven? Is it God’s will that the economy is a mess? Is it God’s will that I get a job, homeschool my children, or have pancakes for breakfast? When is it God’s will? And when is our agency the cause of our own destruction.

Lorenzo Snow said that As man is, God once was; and as God is, man may become.” (President Spencer W. Kimball quoting in "Our Great Potential" from the April 1977 Priesthood Session of General Conference) God was once a man like ourselves and has overcome the carnal state. He did this through his own agency. His father did not give him the answers to all of this questions, he had to search them out and learn for himself. In this, agency became such a sacred thing that God was willing to allow 1/3 of his children to be cast out of his presence, knowing that they would never attain their full glory. God would rather allow us to damn ourselves, then to force his agency on us.

Rev Sanders said that the holocaust was God’s will. That it was God’s will for the 6 million Jews to be annihilated. If this was the case then the hate that Hitler had for Jews, and all of those like him that murdered the Jews, must have been God’s Will also. Just because God allows bad things to happen doesn’t mean that it is His will. Bad things have always happened to good people. Other people’s agency has a constant affect on what happens to our lives. It is only up to us to decide how we respond to the situations that we find ourselves. Did Hitler have to choose to wipe out an entire generation of Jews? No. He could have chosen a different life. God gives us laws and guidelines, and then it is up to us to follow them according to our own dictates. Just as we must allow our children to learn and grow with their mistakes, we cannot force them to learn or obey our rules, but they do learn through the mistakes that they make. People make horrible decisions. They choose to surrender their agency to alcohol and drugs, pornography, modern technology, even our own tempers and weakness can affect our decision making abilities. If our children make these mistakes, does that mean that it was our will that it happens?

We must teach, guide and inspire all that we can, but the choices of our children make are still our children’s mistakes. Alma 36:6 says “…behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions..” God has given us a guide written in the scriptures that we may choose to follow, he sent his Son, Jesus Christ to live as an example for us to follow, and he has promised to answer our prayers and to send the Holy Spirit to be a personal guide whenever we need his help. The teachings are there, it is up to us to choose to follow them. To hold God responsible for the mistakes of Man is unfair. Man’s mistakes are man’s mistakes. Not God’s will.

So, what is God’s will? Surely with God’s power he is able to step in and not allow the drunk driver to strike the other car. Surely God is able to send his angels to safely guard the soldiers in battle. He can and He does. Who knows how many time God has lend his assistance to us, his children, as we stumble and we learn to walk in this mortality. God assists us in love, in feeling peace in trials, and overcoming the challenges that we have. Romans 8: 28 states “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” This means that no matter what comes our way, God knows that we will be able to bring good about through it.D&C100:15 “Therefore, let your hearts be comforted; for all things shall work together for good to them that walk uprightly...” Trials, temptations, and tragedies happen to everyone, as nobody is immune to the consequences of ourselves, others and the effect they will have on us. Because of this, God has promised everyone that He will assist us in every way that he can. Just as a loving parent will help their child try again after we fall off a bike, or will patiently help a child learn to read letter by letter, God can comfort and assist us in our trials. Will it still be hard? Of course. God loves us and will strengthen us in our time of need. Deuteronomy 23:5 says . “..but the Lord thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the Lord thy God loved thee”

Solomon Radasky had a curse become a blessing in his life because he had the knowledge of gematriya. The same gematriya that Danny and Reuvan enjoyed so much. This simple mathematic concept was the beginning for Solomon Radasky’s will to survive the war. On his arm the number 28232 was tattooed onto his arm. The separate numbers add up to 18. In the Hebrew language since the letters of the alphabet stand for numbers. The letters which stand for the number eighteen spell out the Hebrew word "Chai,"which means life. Solomon chose life and he is one example of understanding that it was not God’s will to have the Jews go through this terrible ordeal. Just as Reuvan and his father knew it was not God’s will. They understood that it is our choice to intervene and make something of ourselves in spite of our problems and trials that come around. God gave us the agency to be a force of good on the earth or bad on the earth. We cannot control God’s will or the will of evil man. All we can do is control how we react to it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tonights dinner...

Ok tonights dinner was a huge success...even Ben had 3 bowls of it. :-D And Cory gave me a big thumbs up. So, I thought I'd share....

Cheesy Corn Chowder--from my Taste of Home magazine June 2008

6 bacon strips chopped
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
2 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups chopped potatoes
2 cups sliced fresh carrots
2 tsp chicken bouillon
3 cans gold and white corn, drained
1/2 tsp pepper
7 tablespoons all purpose flour
5 cups milk
3 cops shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup cubed process cheese (Velveeta)

In Dutch oven, cook bacon and onion over medium heat until onion is tender. Add the water, potatoes, carrots and bouillon; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Stir in corn and pepper. In a large bowl, whisk flour and milk until smooth; add to soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat. Add the cheeses; cook and stir until cheeses are melted.

Side note...we used canned potatoes and instead of the carrots and corn we used a bag of mixed frozen vegetables (those that were on sale this last Plus we didn't have that much shredded cheese , but it still was a very rich soup. My tummy is quite Not a recipe for the dieter.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Adventures in the corn maze

Last friday was homeschool day at the Corn Maze in Washington.
The boys were so excited to go.

The maze seemed a little over whelming at first.

Ben didn't know if he was going to make it!

Thankfully Dad was tall enough to see in all the corn-ness.

And we finally found Luke in the tall stalks.

We did find the bell!! Ben loved ringing it.

Finally! We made it out alive!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Conference bingo...sorta

So the boys played conference bingo this morning, and it didn't go quite as planned. Ben got a little carried away, so the break between conference was it up. Ben is now banned from the bingo game.

Temple in Rome!!!

Ok I'm sure I'm not the only one ECSTATIC about the announcement today of an LDS temple in Rome, Italy. The historical significance to this just blows my mind! With the history of Rome, and religious Rome, I am literally thinking that I never really thought there would be a temple in Rome...maybe somewhere else in Italy, but ROME?!!
In September's Liahona there was even an article featuring the youth in Rome.

"Here is one thing that these youth aren’t satisfied with, and that’s the number of times they can attend the temple. Without a temple in Italy, the Church members in Rome drive about nine hours (one way) to the Bern Switzerland Temple. Trips to perform baptisms for the dead are infrequent. But even though the temple is far away, these youth keep it close to their hearts by striving to hold onto the special feelings they receive when they attend.

When I’m at the temple, I feel at home,” Sami says. “Every time I grow a little more.”

“My favorite part about the temple is that I feel the Spirit very strongly,” says Andrew. “I know that our ancestors are thanking us for helping them. We give them a gift.”

Dalila agrees. “It is beautiful to feel that the people accept what we are doing for them. It’s a wonderful experience.”

Arianna wraps up her friends’ comments: “All the things they said are true. The temple is a holy place on earth, and it doesn’t matter that the temple is in Switzerland or Spain. The Spirit is always the same, and we can grow every time.”

Present-day Rome is littered with broken pieces of ancient buildings, stairways, and arches—pieces of once-grand structures destroyed by stronger forces. The youth in Rome, on the other hand, take the pieces of their lives—the gospel, scriptures, family, standards, the temple—and develop solid testimonies that withstand the negative influences of the world."

I love General Conference, listening to the Prophet is so edifying and it fills my spritual resivor. What a blessing to live in these latter days to listen to a living prophet.

Friday, October 3, 2008

shopping shopping shoppin

Here is today's shopping adventure.
With a grand total of $67.81
We even splurged on a pineapple..yum yum

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Little Britches

I'm taking a night class, and as part of the class we read a book every couple weeks and write a paper about each book. The book that we read and studied this week was Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers by Ralph Moody. This book is truly a life transformational book...if you let it. It can be a simple story of a boy growing up, but it can also be a book that that can teach you to be a better parent.
Ranching is not a new lifestyle to me. I grew up among the alfalfa fields, the truckloads of hay, and the endless cattle and farm animals.
I had the wise dad that would give me advice any time I needed it and there was always a perfect sunset to watch in the evening. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t as picture perfect as I would like to remember but I cherish my upbringing as I cherish this book.

While reading this book I have found myself re-evaluating my character and teaching character to my children. I have always thought that I was brought up on “good” principles. I was raised in a close LDS family and although character wasn’t discussed or formally taught, I do remember having conversations with my Dad about character. I think I was like Ralph in many cases. I remember having the same thought processes and rationalizations that led me to the same amount of trouble (if not more). But now that I’m a Mom, I find it more difficult to teach these things to my kids. Ralph’s dad and my dad seemed to have a talent for teaching right and wrong. This is a talent that I obviously haven’t been handed so I would like to learn and develop it. If Ralph was able to practice swinging around a moving horse, I should be able to learn how to teach character to my children.

So, in taking the advice of learning from the classics, I want to learn from Ralph, his father, and the many learning experiences and see if I can apply them to myself.

One common behavior that Charles had whenever he was disciplining Ralph, was his control of temper. He never lost control of his anger and always seemed to have the “big picture” in mind when talking to Ralph. It was always a matter of “Is this the kind of man you want to be when you are older?” not “What were you thinking?!”(The latter taken from my own story of raising kids.) When Ralph stole the chocolate, Charles didn’t rant and rave about the chocolate, but he calmly and firmly discussed the problem, why it was a problem, and what a better solution could have been. In other situations, such as when he was herding cows with Fanny, Charles would simply point out Ralph’s goals that he had and asked him if his current behavior would help or hinder him in reaching his goals. No yelling or belittling Ralph, just a simple refocus on what his goals were and how he could reach them. I think of my boys and how I discipline them and point out their faults and I realize that I am far from Mr. Moody’s example. I have a tendency to point out their shortcomings in a non-loving, judgmental way that will most likely not produce the same results that Charles Moody was able to have. I think that is why Ralph respected his father so much is that when he was disciplined, it was done privately, amicably, quickly, and then it wasn’t dwelt upon in the hours/days to come. This simple formula of discipline would transform my home. If I would discipline my boys privately, with respect, quickly and then move on, I believe the entire atmosphere would change in my home. Not only would there be less yelling but then I would be able to have those opportunities to teach the character attributes that I would love my boys to have. Instead of dwelling on the problems and situations that arise, to take those situations and try and put a positive spin on it.

One part of the story has been mulling in my mind the past few days. When Ralph comes back from seeing the sheriff and his father says to him that” a man always made his troubles less by going to meet them instead of waiting for them to catch up with him, or trying to run away from them.” (p.147) The more I have thought about this quote, the more disturbed I have felt. I have always been a protective mother to my kids. I am the mother hen with all of her chicks under her wings. Recently I have been involved with a local boys group and a situation has arisen that makes me wonder if I am being over protective and not letting my boys “face their troubles.” Am I teaching them to shrink under pressure and to flee the situation, am I teaching them to not face the bullies but to just leave or quit the group? When do I draw the line between protecting my kids and defending them (as Charles did with the school teacher) or letting them learn their own lessons (as Ralph did with the sheriff). I don’t have an answer to my own question yet, but it has given me reason to ponder the situation more and to reassess my involvement (or over-involvement) as a parent.