28 December 2006

I'm a mom....huh? Since when?

Have you ever had one of those moments where you realize that something is really real even after a long time of living it?

Yesterday Rachel and I were eating lunch and she asked me a question--I think she wanted her toast cut or something--and I fulfilled her request happily and then kept eating my lunch. All of a sudden I thought, "I'm a Mom! When did that happen?" Uh, over 2 years ago, dummy!

Sometimes when I look at her I know she is my daughter and we are forever related, but sometimes the whole "this is my kid for the rest of my life" aspect doesn't always sink in. I know I'm supposed to take care of her and love her--which I do more than I ever thought possible, but sometimes it still seems like she's just some kid that's always around.

This happened all the time when I was first married. I'd go home to our apartment after work and start to make dinner when Spencer would get home. I knew he was coming home and we would eat and spend time together, but sometimes it would just hit me and I'd say to myself, "Whoa! You really are married!" I think it took me about 2 and 1/2 years for the reality to really sink in.

I guess if I follow this same pattern Rachel will almost be 3 by the time I can fully accept that I'm really a mom! How about you? Did it soak it right away or do you still have these moments?

15 December 2006

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas from Spencer J, Jamie J and Rachel J....and of course, Santa!

09 December 2006

New Chruch Marquee Quote

Good news! Our neighborhood church has a new slogan on their marquee:

'Try our "Sundays"
Details inside'

Ohh, ice cream sundaes? I'll try 'em! Finally they're giving away real treats!

02 December 2006

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Rachel! I can't believe it's been 2 years since you joined our family. We are looking forward to many more birthdays with you. We love you very much!


Love, Mama and Dada

30 November 2006

Stupid computers

Sometimes I really despise computers. Don't get me wrong, most of the times I think they are one of the greatest inventions but it seems the times they act up negates all the benefits it normally has.

Yesterday my mom was over and found out we had a song on iTunes that she had been looking for. So I got out the blank CDs and she picked a few more songs from that artist she wanted and I clicked the "Burn disk" button.

"Please enter a blank CD." Umm, yeah did that already. So after a number of times--Rachel got some fun toys to play with--restarting iTunes and the computer, it still didn't work. So we gave up. I just thought the computer was having a bad afternoon or something and would be back to normal later that evening.

No dice. I tried to burn a CD again and no luck. I just uploaded a CD on this computer last week so I know it was working recently. So on the phone to HP I went. Let me tell you this computer is just about a year and a half old so it hasn't had much wear. So back to the phone call...After being hung up on once and getting stuck in the phone tree, I finally made it to a person. I told him my issue and the guy says my warranty is expired. I already knew that but was hoping for some help anyway. He tells me he can help me for $45 for two weeks or $99 for another year warranty. Yeah, no thanks. Then I remember something the operator said before I was connected. I can chat on-line or email my problem. So I ask him if those cost. No. Umm, okay I'll choose to not pay. Thanks anyway I tell him and hang up.

So after successfully loading their chat program and waiting for someone to respond, I decided to open another internet window. Bad choice. The chat window closed out. So I did it again and started a conversation with Rico V. (sweet name) He was helping me trouble shoot the problem but nothing was working. One particular point in the conversation he was taking a seemingly long time to give me more instructions so I decided to check my email. Bad choice #2. Apparently HP has a monopoly on the active window. If you can't wait for our reps to get back to you, them we will terminate your chat session.

Ahh!! 30 minutes of chat details down the drain! Luckily they have a record of your sessions so the next girl could pick up where I left off with Rico V.

So after 5 minutes of me staring at the green bars load over and over as it refreshes at the bottom of the window while she gets up to speed, she finally gives me some instructions. Delete the driver, restart the computer and follow some more steps.

Well nothing worked. Something I'm supposed to download is not working properly. Plus I have to burn the disc, but hello, that is why I'm calling! My drive doesn't work! I tried to fix it for an hour last night and still no luck.

So today I got back on the chat program for some more help. This guy took like 20 minutes to get up to speed on the chat transcripts from last night. I was afraid to open any windows for fear I would lose him that I just sat at the computer staring at the chat window waiting for him to respond. Eventually we got the program burned on to a CD on our laptop but the desktop couldn't read the CD.

His conclusion after another hour: buy a new drive. After almost 2 hours of troubleshooting and that's all I get?? Um, I'm sorry ma'am, but your drive is malfunctioning. Have a nice day!

Thank you very much...It's a good thing they are only $30 bucks.

28 November 2006

Help! I oversalted my beans!

I really did and I need to know how to counteract the saltiness! It all started last week. I have bags and bags of pinto and black beans in my pantry. Last week I decided to be frugal and instead of buying beans for our bi-weekly mexican food night I thought I'd make them myself. So Monday night I stuck the beans in a pot with the required amount of water and let them soak overnight. The next morning--not as early as I should have--I turned on the heat and cooked them.

I was watching another little girl at the time and probably had the heat up a little too high, because about 45 minutes into cooking time, I smelled burning. Oh crap! I ran into the kitchen and grabbed the pot off the stove. The smell was horrible! When I dumped out the beans there was a 1/4 inch thickness of burnt blackness at the bottom of my pot. I thought my good pan was ruined forever! Luckily after much scrubbing and boiling vinegar in the pot--really--all the black spots came off.

I wasn't sure I wanted to make beans again, but last night I decided to do it again. This time I actually didn't burn the beans and they actually cooked pretty well. Then it came time for seasoning. I added some salt, some chili powder, garlic and cumin. Then I tasted it and it just needed more salt. So I put more in. Then it was TOO salty! Now I'm not one to know how to cook without a recipe. If you give me a recipe with measurements I can pretty much pull off whatever I'm trying to cook. But if you tell me to cook by taste, anything could happen, as we saw today.

Tonight I decided I would just eat the beans anyway. I made a couple burritos with guacamole, sour cream, cheese, lettuce and the salty beans. I made it through the first one before I could not take any more and scraped the beans off the second one. Luckily Spencer wasn't home to taste the horridness of the beans.

Anyone know how I can counteract the saltiness of the beans so they are edible? I don't want to throw another bag of beans down the sink. Or maybe I should just give up on bean cooking and leave that to Rosarita.

18 November 2006

Pure Inspiration

Rachel will be two years old in two weeks. Whoa, two weeks already?? That just blows my mind. Anyway so we've been dealing with a lot of the things that come with being two: she doesn't want to get dressed, then she doesn't want to get undressed, she doesn't want to eat certain things, she only wants to watch videos, she doesn't listen, and the list goes on and on.

In the past when she doesn't listen I've threatened her with her getting put in her crib for a time out. Inevitable this includes screaming and crying on her part and frustration on my part. Plus I get mad at myself because I can't find a way to clear up the conflict between us calmly.

Well the other day something just came to me like pure inspiration. Rachel wasn't listening for the umpteenth time that day and instead of getting mad and throwing her in her crib, I told her that she had to sit on the couch and she couldn't get off. No one was crying or angry, and the miracle of all, she actually sat there. I had to tell her firmly she couldn't get off and she didn't.

I told her she could get off when she was ready to do whatever I had asked her to do and eventually after she thought about it for a minute, decided to subdue. We both won! And one other super awesome thing about this is it has continued to work! This morning she wouldn't get dressed and she was watching The Incredibles. So first I turned the movie off, then took away her blankets and told her she had to stay on the couch. Eventually the time spent without her "yellow" and "pink" was too painful and she got dressed without any struggle.

I claim no intelligence on my part because lately I've just been praying so hard to be able to find some way to deal with her so I don't spend my whole day frustrated and she doesn't spend it all in her crib. I also don't expect this to last very long, but I'm taking full advantage of it while I can.

The Power of the Haka

Yesterday in the Wall Stree Journal there was an article about a high school football team in Texas that has incorporated the Haka into their pre and post game routine. Reading this brought me back to when I went to BYU-Hawaii in 2000.

It was a Friday night and the Basketball team was playing our rival University of Hawaii. The game was close and this was a pivotal game in the season. During half time we had our normal "dancing girls"-as my friend Bubba used to call them-do their routine. It didn't take the whole half-time though so there was some time left over. We were all talking amongst ourselves waiting for the team to come back on the court when a loud scream grabbed our attention.

I looked down on the court and there were about 15 guys all lined up facing the opposing teams seating area. With fire in their eyes and their tongues sticking way out they chanted loud and intimidating words at the UH fans. Then they started crouching really low and slapping their thighs and their chests all the while taking steps toward the UH fans.

What I was watching was completely new to me considering I'm from a small sheltered town in San Diego and didn't have much exposure to Polynesians growing up. I instantly felt the power that the Haka can bring to a group. All the BYU-H students were immediately on their feet cheering these Kiwi's on in their cultural war dance. There was no doubt that these guys were serious and the second half of the game was going to be nothing but business.

I have never seen anything like the Haka incite such excitement in fans and teams like this does and such fear and intimidation in the opposing team as well.

If you are ever going to battle or playing a super important game, I suggest you and your teammates learn the Haka and see what power it has on the fans and the other team.

If you have never seen the Haka done before check out this video.

12 November 2006

Blogiversary

I just realized today is my one year Blogiversary! Happy Birthday I Love Flip Flops!

A Fitting Tribute

I didn't write anything yesterday about Veteran's Day because I can never seem to put my feelings about the sacrifices that people have made for my freedom into words. I just have so much gratitude in my heart for all those that serve our country. This morning on Music and the Spoken Word they had a beautiful program that summed up my feeling exactly. It brought me to tears.

I can't link to the actual program but go to BYU TV and click on the 9:30 Music and the Spoken Word.

Thank you Veterans from the bottom of my heart.

09 November 2006

Greetings from India

For the last couple months I have been doing work for Geoff my brother-in-law. I have the opportunity to communicate with hotels all around the world on a daily basis. One of wich called me at 5am this morning. Luckily I fell back asleep after praying that I would (since we are going to the Temple tonight and I hate falling asleep there!), but poor Thouroughly Mormon Millie wasn't as fortunate.

Anyway it's been fun getting to know the different styles of email etiquette in each country. I got the most awesome email from a hotel in India the other day and I wanted to share a part of it. After many other fun phrases interspersed in the email, this is how he closed it:

Looking forward to an ageless business relationship with your reputed reservation portal.

I love the way they phrase things and use words in India. Wouldn't it be so cool if we all spoke like this?

08 November 2006

If Only...

If only I had three arms...two two clean the bathtub and one to scratch that annoying nostril itch that comes because my bangs are too short to be in the ponytail and they tickle my nose and you can't get by wiggling your nose or scratching it with your shoulder.

07 November 2006

You can't always get what you want

Life is interesting. As soon as I think I've got my life figured out I get thrown a curve ball. I can't say that things are bad right now, just a little frustrating. Also I hesitate to complain because life really has been happy for me for a long time. Rachel is turning two next month and so a few months ago Spencer and I decided it was time to try to start making another baby.

For a year I've been having some problems, but I thought they were finally under control. Apparently not. Because of this it looks like the baby making is not going to happen for an indeterminate amount of time. Today I just about had enough of my disfunctioning body and asked Spencer to give me a blessing. Beforehand I prayed though. I felt like I needed extra help for what was going to be said. I knew what he was going to say. I knew he was going to say eventually I will be healed, but not right now--and he did. The blessing did give me some comfort because I know that Heavenly Father is aware of my situation, but for some reason it doesn't make it easier for me right now.

It's not that I want a baby super bad. I want our family to grow, but that's not what frustrates me so much. I just want my body to work right. I want it to do what it is supposed to do when it it supposed to do it. I know that Heavenly Father is ultimately in charge and the words that I will eventually be healed give me peace. I just wish it was on my time schedule.

27 October 2006

A heck of a lot of stuff you didn't want to know about me!

FIRST NAME? Jamie

WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Um no. My brother's middle name is my Dad's first name and my sister's middle name is my mom's name, but did I get named after anyone? No. Am I bitter? Yes...I mean, no.

DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Yeah, though it changes a lot. It depends on how much I'm writing and how fast. When I start writing my journal it's really neat but the longer I write the messier it gets.

LUNCHMEAT? Ewwww. I'll eat a turkey sandwich if it has avocado and jalepeno jack cheese

KIDS? Yep one. Maybe more someday.

COULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOURSELF? I would be really sad if I couldn't.

DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Yep, I write in it maybe a few times a year now though

DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? I refer you to this.

DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yes I do.

WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? I don't think so. I've made great progress when it comes to my fear of heights but I don't think bungee jumping is in my future.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Raisin Nut Bran. Yummm, nutty covered raisins....only it's super expensive and I only get it every once and a while.

DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES BEFORE TAKING THEM OFF? Not usually, I just like to slip them off. I'm a flip-flop girl usually anyway.

DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Sometimes. "I'm sorry, I used to be much stronger." (First person to name that movie wins!)

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Peanut butter cup and Cookies and Cream.


SHOE SIZE? 7 1/2.

RED or PINK? Hmm, I used to hate pink, but since I had a little girl it has grown on me. I think I'll say pink.

WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? I have a short temper when it comes to my daughter not listening.

LAST THING YOU ATE? Monterey Jack quesadilla.

WHAT COLOR PANTS & SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Pants: blue jeans. Shoes: beautiful, free bare feet. Shoes are restricting.

WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TOO RIGHT NOW? Rachel talking and singing--but supposed to be sleeping--in her crib.

WHAT COLOR OF CRAYON WOULD YOU BE? Pacific blue.

FAVORITE SMELL? Orange blossoms and my Gingerbread candle

WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON THAT YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? Lianna.

THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO? Their eyes or their teeth.

DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT YOU THIS? I don't know her, but I'm sure I would!

FAVORITE DRINK? Strawberry lemonade.

FAVORITE SPORT? To Play: Swimming and Volleyball. To Watch: Baseball

HAT SIZE? I have no idea. Hats are always too small for me and come too low over my ears.

DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Nope, never have. I thought about it though, just haven't gotten to it.

FAVORITE FOOD? I love most anything Mexican, Lasagna, Ice Cream (Ice cream's a food right??), brownies and chocolate chip cookies with whole wheat flour.

SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Ooooh, both! I like suspenseful scary movies, but I LOVE a sweet happy ending that makes me cry too!

LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED AT THE THEATER? Curious George. Rachel and I went to the Free Wednesday they showed it in August.

COLOR SHIRT YOU ARE WEARING? Salmon.

SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer!

HUGS OR KISSES? Kisses. I'm not a big hugger.

FAVORITE DESSERT? Brownies with peanut butter and ice cream.

WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING? Gilead, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, and Making the "Terrible" Twos, Terrific

WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT? Nothing. All we have is a dvd player.

FAVORITE SOUND? My daughter's laughter. Brightens my day everytime I hear it.

ROLLING STONE OR THE BEATLES? Beatles. I grew up on the Beatles. They are forever a part of my childhood.

FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN AWAY FROM HOME? Hawaii

WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? Umm, I can pop my shoulder out of socket. That's a talent, right??

WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Provo, Utah, September 27th

25 October 2006

Church Quote Series

Almost every day Rachel and I go somewhere. I usually have to go somewhere or I get stir-crazy by the end of the day. When we go run errands we either go north or south on the nearest main road obviously depending on where we are going. If we go north we usually get a little treat on the way home.

I'm not talking edible treat. I'm talking about a treat that can only be read. There is a church on the way home that displays it's name and hours on a marquee right on the street. Not only are the name and hours listed, but usually each week they put up a gem of a quote for the driving travelers to feast their eyes upon.
I always wonder who thinks these quotes up. Sometimes they are thought provoking but others are a little odd.

This post marks the first in a series of a local Community Church marquee quotes. Each time I see one interesting enough to blog about, I will. I hope you enjoy! And feel free to add your interpretation.

Quote 1: God hates gossip. Ventilate vertically.

Discuss...

23 October 2006

Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam

I got a new calling yesterday. Not much else has been on my mind since Sunday morning. The pressure associated with this calling is really weighing heavily on me. It's something that I've never done before and is really going to take some effort on my part. What is this new high-pressure calling you ask?

Sunbeam teacher. (For those who aren't familiar with how our church works, the Sunbeams are the 3-4 year old children.)

Now before you spit whatever you are drinking out your nose and all over your keyboard, let me tell you why I feel this way. First of all, I'm super bad at relating to young kids. I play with my daughter (she's almost 2), teach her and read to her, but I have a hard time really getting on her level. Spencer on the other hand is down on the floor with her playing puppet show or some other kind of pretend game. He has her laughing and giggling and totally enthralled in what he's doing. When we have to sub in the the Nursery (18 months-3 years), he is the one all the kids gather around because he's so stinkin' fun!

Second, these kids are like sponges. They soak up and spit out whatever they see or hear. There is some serious pressure to make sure what I teach them is correct. On the other hand I want them to remember what I teach so I can't just sit there and blah, blah, blah my whole lesson. A couple years ago I taught the 15-16 year old Sunday School class. I absolutely loved that calling! I felt like I could relate to those kids. Five 3 year olds though, I'm not sure I can.

The good thing about this calling is it's going to take real planning and pondering so that I can get the inspiration I need to teach these kids. This will help me to rely on the Lord more throughout my day. I have to be sensitive to the Spirit when it whispers little ideas into my head. The thought came to me today that one purpose of this calling is to prepare me for what lies ahead with my little daughter when she turns 3 in a year. My callings as of late have been less than difficult so I guess the Lord knew it was time for me to be challenged. I hope I can live up to that challenge!

22 October 2006

You are beautiful

Have you ever looked into the mirror and wondered why you don't look like those people on TV, movies or magazines? I'll tell you why. What you see isn't the reality; it isn't who these people really are.

Just check out this link. What I want you to click on is the Portfolio, Agree then the Before/After. Make sure you click to see the before. What is in the magazines and on screen has been so doctored up that it can be argued that it's not even the same people that we are seeing. For example, on page 2 under the "Composite/Manipulation" link, there is a picture of Tom Cruise. In the Before picture there is a person with him. In the After picture he's just sitting on the couch alone. In the original picture his right arm is around the girl and his leg is bent under him. In the After he's sitting there comfortably. What they did, was take his left arm and leg and flip them over to create the other side of his body. The right half of him didn't work so they just made a new one!

Now I'm all for Photoshop. I think it's a super cool program and I wish I had $400 bucks to spend on it. But come on...editing and retouching has gone way too far.

It's no wonder we are all so concerned about how we look. Because of this we have such a skewed view of what beauty really is. There's no way we could be as beautiful as these people are pretending to be. So next time you look in the mirror and see those wrinkles on your face, or that extra weight on your belly or legs, remember that you are one of God's children and you are beautiful just the way you are!

**Thanks to LammyAnn for the link. Here's another one if you want to see more

12 October 2006

A letter to a neighbor...I wish I had the guts to send

Dear Loud Downstairs Neighbor,

I'm so glad that you felt it your need to be my wake up call at 5:30 this morning (even though I normally sleep until 7). It's so great to hear families having discussions together. Thanks for shouting so I and all the surrounding neighbors could feel included in your family activities.

It took me a while to figure out where the yelling was coming from--no wait, I could hear it very clearly coming from below. Thanks for listening when I said, "Be Quiet!" out the balcony window. Oh and also when I pounded on the bathroom floor. You are so considerate of my feelings and my sleep. I didn't need that extra hour of sleep, I'm on exactly the same schedule as you are.

Tomorrow, please resume your screaming and yelling at each other so I can wake up to enjoy it with you.

Yours Sincerley,
Jamie J
Your UPSTAIRS Neighbor

07 October 2006

A Lesson From the Past

Yesterday I woke up early in the morning. I don't know why I couldn't sleep, I was up super late the night before. Spencer got out of bed at 6 to take a shower and I just laid there thinking. I started thinking about sleeping and how I was always so tired in High School. Between sports, homework and Seminary how is an LDS kid ever supposed to sleep during the week? Thinking about sports brought me to the time when I was a sophomore.

I loved volleyball and was fairly good when we played in the church for mutual and stuff. My sister had played so I decided to try out for the team. Now I was small. I mean 5'2"-and-barely-packing-100-pounds small. I had never played sports seriously besides one year of softball when I was 9 and half a season of soccer when I was 5. I loved sports though and was constantly playing games with my friends or at church.

Despite my size, I think I did pretty well in those tryouts. I kept up with the girls in intervals and drills, but the one thing I couldn't do at all was the overhand serve. I tried and tried but it would always fall short of the net. I had a wicked-stalling underhand serve but no one wants only an underhanded server on their team.

So because of this I didn't make the team. There were 14 girls trying out for JV and they only need 13 to fill their roster. The coach offered me the equipment manager spot because I was the only one she had to cut. When I told my mom that, she got so mad and told me not to do it. That it would be lame and a disgrace to be just the equipment manager. I listened to her and told the coach I wouldn’t do that.

I've thought about that a lot since then. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t listened to my mom. What if I had taken the manager spot? Coach had said if someone couldn't play, they would have put me in-well at least on the roster (no guarantee of playing). Plus I would have trained with the team making my chances to play the following year better.

Well as it was I didn't do it and never tried out again. Instead my junior year I was on the swim team. I was still small but this was a sport I could do. Practice was over 2 hours long-most of that swimming-and I started to gain weight. I was eating TONS during the day but it was okay because my body was finally gaining the weight it needed. Within a couple months I was up to 120 but most of that was muscle from swimming. My legs were strong but especially my arms and shoulders.

Imagine my surprise when a couple months into the swim season we were playing volleyball at church and I tried an overhand serve and it hit the BACK wall of the gym. I was strong! I kept serving over and over again to make sure it wasn't a fluke and proved to myself that I finally could do it (this was about a year and a half after I originally tried out). Now all I had to learn was how to control the ball so I could serve it where I wanted. By this time it was way too late to try out for the volleyball team. I would have been a senior and had to play on the varsity team which I was not ready for. I swam my senior year again instead and loved it.

So why bring this up? Why hash up the past? I often wonder how a different choice could have changed my future. If I had been the equipment manager I might have gotten play time. I might have been able to play my junior and senior year. I might have made different friends. But I might not have done any of those things although still I wish I hadn’t listened to my mom and taken the position anyway. I think often there are times when we are given opportunities to do things that at the time don't seem like the best prospect so we don't do them. In my case I don't think my mom wanted me to "stoop so low" and it was kind of her way to stuff it in the coach's face. Looking back it seemed like a good stepping stone but I didn't have the guts to say so myself at the time.

I guess my point is don't let opportunities pass you by just because they may not look good now. Life is not about just living in this moment. It's about piecing all those little moments that may not seem big into a huge puzzle. I am comforted that God knows what my puzzle looks like. I just hope I can make the right choices so at the end of my life it's complete and looks beautiful.

28 September 2006

Just a little kindness

Today I was at Target doing my normal errands with Rachel. They didn't have everything I wanted so I packed her and our other stuff into the car. Then I looked to the other side of the parking lot and saw Party City. I thought they might have what I wanted so I decided to go over there.

When we got inside there was just so much fun stuff to look at and touch that Rachel was going nuts. She wanted to take all the packages of plates off the shelves and bring me every color. I tried to get her to hold my hand but she wasn't cooperating. Then I said I would pick her up if she didn't stop (she hates that!). Well she didn't so I carried her around the store following the guy that was helping us.

This led to a melt down as I was looking at the stuff they had. Eventually I decided that what they had wasn't what I wanted and decided to take the screaming, whining kid in my arms back to the car. On the way out the door, one of the workers asked Rachel if she wanted a balloon. This made her day; changed her mood 180 degrees.

I was so grateful to this nice lady. Instead of giving us dirty looks for having an upset child in the store, she helped make the situation better. Just a little bit of kindness goes a long way.

16 September 2006

I am blessed

I’ve just been so impressed lately how good I have it. I have so much in my life. I have a loving husband, a beautiful daughter. Both my parents are alive and healthy. My brother, sister and I are all on good terms and we speak on a regular basis. So many people don’t even have this.

I had never been to a funeral until about a month ago. A man that Spencer and I respected greatly passed away unexpectedly leaving a wife and 6 kids behind. It was a beautiful tribute to an honorable life but still bitter sweet. It is sad that those kids won’t have their daddy with them on this earth anymore. I love my daddy so much and he is such a huge part of my life that I can’t imagine not having him with me.

I went to another funeral today. My uncle Bob passed away on September 11th. He was married to my dad’s sister. Here is another family that has lost a husband and a father. He was a good man who loved his family and learning. My young cousins will not have their father at their wedding or when their first children are born. My one cousin said the family prayer at the funeral home and you could just feel how much he misses his dad. How could you not miss someone who has been such a huge part of your whole life?

I don’t mean to be depressing; I’ve just been hit with hard reality lately. On the other hand these two experiences have made me think a lot about my life. They have made me more grateful for the small things that I otherwise would have taken for granted. I have become more aware of how good my life really is. Life is a fragile thing. It can be taken from us at any moment. Those of you surrounded by family-whether it be only our immediate family or your extended family as well treasure the time you have with your family when you have it. You never know how long you have.

11 September 2006

5th Anniversary

Today is the 5th anniversary of September 11, 2001. Like I even have to say that. Five years seems like a long time, but in reality it isn't. The pain, the shock, the anger, as well as the respect, love, and reverence for those lost, they are all still so fresh.

I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing the morning I found out. I will never forget that day. One thing that really struck me during this emotional time was on the National Day of Mourning a couple days later. We all gathered in our church building and sang and prayed and remembered those who lost their lives and who showed so much honor and courage. The last two verses of America the Beautiful sum up how I feel perfectly.

Oh, beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!

America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine.

Oh, beautiful for patiot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears!

America, America!
God shed his grace on thee,
And crown they good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.
Thank you to all those heroes who proved themselves on that fateful day and still prove themselves each day to preserve mine and my family's freedom. So today say a prayer for those who lost loved ones, pray for the military who are fighting for our freedom and hug your family. They are your most treasured possesion.

09 September 2006

Why?

Why do you feel discomfort but you are uncomfortable?

Why can't we feel uncomfort or be discomfortable?

Why????

06 September 2006

A Little Update

Labor day has come and gone and with it marks a change. Kids go back to school, the summer is over and the weather starts to change. Life is different for everyone....including me. A lot has been happening in the "J" household recently. Because of all the busy-ness around here I have not been blogging as much as my 6 daily visitors demand. For that I apologize, but I have good reasons for neglecting the blog. Here's my short list:

First as you all recently read, I am trying to become a computer nerd. I started this on-line class to learn HTML and it takes up a lot of time! I spend most of my evenings working on the assignments that are given in the book. Here's my webpage so far if you're interested. It's nothing really to look at--just assignments, but I'm proud of it! This class is cool because it's so hands-on. I love that with HTML I can make things happen. Like for instance before there was nothing there, but because of something I did, there is something. That's just plain cool.

And second, I am working again. I know I tried this before and I bailed out quick. It just wasn't right for me then, but this time I think it will work. I'm doing some work for my brother-in-law on a regular basis. It won't be near as much time as the last job and much more flexible. I've been training for a few days and quickly getting the hang of it. The problem is I can't really dive in fully until we move next week and the lady that does it now is anxious to be done.

Lastly (and this is purely an update, not a reason not to blog) the move was delayed. We went to sign our lease on August 30th and they told us our building will not be completed until September 14th. Great. Everyone else on the property can move in on the 1st, except us. I felt like they said "Here are your keys, everyone, except the "J's." Then they look at you kind of uncomfortably and say, "Um, why don't you just stand over there..." Thankfully our current complex let us just pay 15 days and stay here. Consequently we have boxes crowding our living room and our bedroom anxiously waiting for that blessed day when they will meet their new home.

All in all I have to say I'm busy for good reasons. Plus all these things are answers to prayers--well maybe not the schooling. We were praying to find a place that is cheaper than where we live now and we got it. We were praying for a way to bring in more money each month and we got it. I wanted to take this class and luckily it's paid for. God is mindful of us and our situation and we are truly blessed. I couldn't be happier!

28 August 2006

I Wanna be a Computer Nerd

Last year I started this blog. Before then I pretty much had no idea of what HTML was. In fact my first encounter with it was trying to customize my links. It took me so long to figure out how to make it work. For the life of me I could not decipher what was in all those greater or less than brackets <>.

But finally after trying and trying, I got it to work! Yay! I put in more links and got more and more excited each time it actually worked. Little did I know that that one moment would be a defining moment for years to come. (Okay, it hasn't actually been a year since I started blogging, but who really cares, right?) Seriously though, at that point in time I decided I wanted to learn this foreign language called HTML. I had all these ideas of how to customize my blog and I wanted to be able to do it myself. So a few days after the moment of bliss I headed over to the Public Library to get me a learn-it-yourself HTML manual.

I decided to go with HTML for Dummies because that's just what I was. The first second I had some free time, I cracked open that book to see what pearls of knowledge it could give me. I started reading and very soon was again completely lost in all the coding examples they were giving. Over the course of a few weeks I diligently read the first few chapters but they were mostly introductory chapters dealing with the purpose of building a website. (The authors only considered a business website a decent reason to build one). They were pretty against building personal web pages and since I had just built up all my courage to create my very own blog, I was pretty sensitive. Plus I just wanted to purely learn HTML, not read all the extra stuff. I took the library book back when it was due.

Since that time, I haven't tried to learn much besides try to decipher the coding for my blog until something wonderful happened. I got the blessed course catalog from Palomar College in my mailbox. Each time we get one I page through it just to see if any class strikes my interest and this time I found one. A course simply titled "Intro to HTML & XHTML. " (Queue the angels singing...) I knew that was the class for me! I started looking at the other courses listed under the Computer Science category and they all sounded so interesting! At that moment I realized that deep down what I really wanted to be was a computer nerd. All those programming and networking classes looked so fun! I really enjoy working on computers but have only really skimmed the surface of what computers can really do. So this semester I am enrolled in the HTML class online and looking forward to what I can learn over this semester.

Here's to learning that foreign language of HTML over this semester and finally getting in touch with the computer nerd in me.

22 August 2006

I just gotta laugh at myself

This weekend I went to Utah with my Dad, his fiance and Rachel. We went to my cousin's wedding on Saturday. On the way home I'm sitting in the back just taking in all the beautiful sights of the beating hot desert when I see a sign that says "St. Anthony Monastery". Interesting, I think, a monastery out here in the desert with nothing else around. Guess they really like their privacy. As we pass it I say to my Dad and his fiance, "Look, Stantony Monastery." My Dad goes, "I think that says Saint Anthony, not Stantony."

"Right."

Sometimes I just gotta laugh...

09 August 2006

Moving is for the Birds

We're moving in 2 1/2 weeks...again. This will be our 4th apartment since we've been married. Now that's not so bad if you've been married 10 or 15 years. However, Spencer and I will celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary next week. For goodness sake, Rachel is not even 2 and this will be her 3rd apartment.

Granted each time we've moved we've managed to get more room for less rent. Thank heaven--and I really mean that--for the "Affordable Housing" program they have here in California. We moved where we are now because we qualified for a new two bedroom apartment for a little less than what we were paying for our 25 year old one bedroom. (We made the decision that once we had children I would stay home to raise them. I made quite a bit of money at my job, but gave it up. Consequently, we are poor) Rachel slept in our walk-in closet for the first 5 months of her life so we were pretty stoked to be able to give her her own room.

Now Spencer has cut his hours at work so he can get through school faster--instead of the 10-year plan we were on--so we are in yet a lower income bracket. This bracket allows us to move into a three bedroom for a couple hundred less than what we pay now. We couldn't pass it up! Not even the thought of moving again would make me think twice about this.

Now don't get me wrong, it's not like we'll be rollin the dough now. On the contrary, with this new place we just might be able to not go in the hole each month. It's just a good thing we have (had) a savings account. I'm excited about the new place and am resolved to stay there as long as possible but I just hate moving. I've already started packing a few things so it all isn't left until the last few days. Consequently my living room is a disaster area. After four moves in four years you'd think I'd have this moving thing down pat and be able to organize better, but that's not true. Can anyone give me any moving tips they have? And don't tell me I should be packing right now...

05 August 2006

01 August 2006

Warship built out of Twin Towers wreckage

In a shipyard in New Orleans, survivors of one disaster are building a monument to another.

In a city still emerging from the floods of Hurricane Katrina, a ship has begun to rise from the ashes of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Bringing together America’s two great calamities of the 21st century, the USS New York is being built in New Orleans with 24 tons of steel taken from the collapsed World Trade Centre.

There is no shortage of scrap metal in New Orleans these days, but the girders taken from Ground Zero have been treated with a reverence usually accorded to religious relics. After a brief ceremony in 2003, about seven tons of steel were melted down and poured into a cast to make the bow section of the ship’s hull.

Some shipworkers say the hairs stood up on the backs of their necks the first time they touched it. Others have postponed their retirement so they can be part of the project.

One worker, Tony Quaglino, said: “I was going to go in October 2004 after 40 years here, but I put it off when I found out I could be working on New York. This is sacred and it makes me very proud.” Glen Clement, a paint superintendent, said: “Nobody passes by that bow section without knocking on it. Everybody knows what it is made from and what it’s about.”

The ship is being built by Northrop Grumman on the banks of the Mississippi. It should be ready to join the US Navy in 2007.

Later vessels in its class will include USS Arlington — named after the section of the Pentagon that was also hit by an airliner on September 11 — and USS Somerset, in memory of United Flight 93, which crashed in a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, on the same day as passengers struggled with al-Qaeda hijackers.

Mr Clement said it would be fitting if USS New York’s first mission was to capture Osama bin Laden. He said: “They hit us first, but out of a tragedy a good thing has come, in that we’re building a ship which can help take those people out.”

The $1 billion vessel is one of a new generation of amphibious assault ships capable of landing a 700-strong Marines assault force on a coastline almost anywhere without the need for a port.

Woody Oge, Northrop Grumman’s director of operations in New Orleans, was keen to play down suggestions that the ship might be used to spearhead invasions.

He pointed out that LPD vessels had been used as much for humanitarian assistance as for war. One such ship, USS Boxer, was dispatched to help to deal with the aftermath of Katrina.

Although the hurricane smashed its way through the shipyard last summer, the half-completed New York survived intact. The same cannot be said for the homes of some of its builders. About 200 are still living at the shipyard in the hastily set up “Camp Katrina”.

They include Earl Jones. More than eight months after Katrina, he does not know if his home in the Lower Ninth ward will be rebuilt. “The insurance company won’t even talk to us,” he said. “We’re having to hire lawyers to chase ’em. I don’t like this, but I don’t want to be out of work.”

Mr Jones’s wife was evacuated to Baton Rouge and is seriously ill with breast cancer and pneumonia. He said: “She ain’t handling very well me being away all the time.”

Katrina and 9/11 are two disasters that continue to produce very different responses from America. Mr Jones does not want his old home enshrined in a $1 billion fighting machine, but a small cheque from the insurance firm might help.

USS New York, USS Arlington and USS Somerset will be part of a nine-vessel fleet of new amphibious transport ships
Length: 208.5m (684ft) — more than twice as long as the Statue of Liberty
Beam: 31.9m (105ft); weight: 24,900 tonnes; speed: 22 knots
Equipment: helicopters, landing craft, amphibious vehicles, missile launchers
Crew: more than 1,000, comprising 361 ship’s company plus 699 marines

24 July 2006

Ever wonder what you truly need?

Just type in your first name and "needs" in Google so the internet can tell you. Thanks to Naddin J for the idea!


Here are mine:
Jamie needs a kid. (Got one of those already)
Jamie needs your vote!
Jamie needs a bit of help to get up on the bed. (oh I hope not yet!)
Jamie needs mental help (ah, dang. I thought I could keep that one to myself!)
Jamie needs a car. (I could use another one, why not?)
Jamie needs to grow up an stop making all of thoes horrible faces.
Jamie needs a nap. (who doesn't?)
Jamie needs some sugar
Jamie needs to radically improve her interpersonal skills and make major improvements to her tone and body language (ouch!)
Jamie needs to learn how to sit up straight (so true. I do have a problem with posture)
Jamie needs to come to California this summer! (Wahoo! I'm already here!)
Jamie needs a haircut soon (yeah, pretty much)
Jamie needs to make sure all the computers are working as fast as they can.
Jamie needs guitars. (I like music.)
Jamie needs a big ole enema. (Um, no thank you!)

Now go find out what you need!

22 July 2006

Women vs. the Priesthood

Today Spencer and I went to the temple. We traded babysitting with some friends so it worked out great. We watched their little girl this morning and they watched ours this afternoon. I love babysitting trading!

Anyway, recently I've been thinking a lot about the role of the woman in the church/family/temple. I never really thought about it before a few months ago, but since I've read a few posts on the 'Nacle I think about it a lot more. Today was no exception. I have to say that I have never had any problem with my role as a woman in my marriage or the church. I've always felt at ease with only the men holding the priesthood. I believe that men and women are inherently different and we have different roles. But--and that is a big but,--we work together as a team. We compliment each other and we cannot survive without each other.

Today that thought was confirmed for me. I was sitting in the session thinking about the fact that Eve barely says anything. I know that is a topic of much discussion among some Mormon women. Then came Peter, James on John on the scene. I noticed that James and John don't say anything but introduce themselves. They let Peter do all the talking. He's the one that converses between Adam and Jehovah. For me this was a perfect representation of the way the priesthood works. There is one main leader, but that leader cannot do anything without the others. In all the times we have seen Peter called to the earth to fulfill a responsibility, James and John are right there by his side. They may not have much to say, but Peter cannot do anything without them. Adam--even though the leader and Priesthood holder--has no power without Eve (and the other way around for that matter). Adam may do all the talking between the Lord and Peter but that doesn't make Eve less of a person. She partook of the fruit and was going to be cast out and if they were separated the world would not be what it is now. They would have no posterity. They both needed each other and Adam understood that so he partook of the fruit as well.

In our family, Spencer holds the Priesthood, but without me, his spouse, his Priesthood is virtually incomplete. We make a team. He may be the patriarch, but as the matriarch of the family, I stand right there by his side. He essentially leads our family, but only because I allow him to have that power. There is no battle between woman and the Priesthood in our home.

14 July 2006

All you need is love...and money

Foxnews.com has lots of streaming video clips about almost anything. You can watch clips about what is happening in Israel. You can watch tidbits on the stock market. You can even watch the clip about Chris Daughtry signing a record deal (yeah!). However, along with these clips you get something else.

At the beginning of all of them is a 15 or 30 second commercial. Now we don't have TV so I rarely watch commercials. I hate them. If I had TV we'd have to get a DVR so I wouldn't have to watch them. When the Fox News commercials come on, I usually mute them because I'm watching a few different videos and I don't want to watch the same one 5 times and I just hate to listen to people trying to sell me something.

This morning I was browsing through the videos and for some reason I didn't mute one that came on. It caught my attention. It starts out with a familiar tune in the background and two people putting filled-to-the-brim shopping bags into their car. They are obviously completely happy with their purchases. They drive away as the announcer starts talking. He says, "No matter what you love, all you need is a Chase Rewards card." The music in the background continues on, "All you need is love. All you need is love. All you need is love, love. Love is all you need."

So are they telling me all I need is love and I can have anything I want? Sweet! Where do I sign? I love a lot of things! No seriously though, this commercial drives me crazy! What has our society come to? It’s obvious by the things around us that we have become a society of immediate wants and this credit card caters completely to those wants. All we need is love? What about money? Who’s going to pay for all the things you buy because you love them? Oh wait, I only have to pay $20 bucks a month for that thousand dollar ‘whatever’. Where do I sign again?

What about actually buying things we have money for? This commercial epitomizes the society we live in these days and I can't believe we've come this far. Now not to toot my own horn, but Spencer and I buy nothing on credit. We have a credit card—and that is all we use—but only because it gives us cash back on groceries and gas. Who doesn’t need that? I do owe a small amount of money on my student loans, but I hate the feeling of having that over my head. I don’t know how people do it with thousands of dollars of credit card debt.

Honestly I think this credit card commercial is advertising a card similar to what we currently use, but the concept of “I like that. I love that. I’ll buy that.” is troubling to me. This is not the message that will bring you what you really want and what is of most worth.

10 July 2006

Monday Meme

Monday MeMe

1. Do you have a particular meal-in-a-pinch? Something you always have on hand that can be whipped up at the last minute?

**Usually that's spaghetti. If I just didn't have time to plan a meal--or just didn't want to--I just make spaghetti. What's harder than boiling water, cooking noodles and warming sauce? Not much...

2. Do you have a Emergency Kit for when and if the electricity goes out?
What is in it? And where do you keep it?


**We have our 72 hour kits in the closet right by the front door. They are the the kind that came already put together and are for emergencies. We have a battery powered radio, flashlights, light sticks, a crank radio and other stuff.

3. Do you save water? Where and how do you store it? How much?

**Not much. We live in an apartment and have a serious lack of space. I do carry around a flat of water from Costco in our car so we have that if we need it. Plus we have water in our 72 hour kits.

4. Do you know how to change a tire on your car?

**Yes, and I have done it within the last 5 years.

04 July 2006

Happy 4th of July!

I love this country. When we sang all three verses of the Star Spangled Banner in church on Sunday I was in full tears by the end. This country has not risen to what it is without sacrifice, without honor and without God. I cannot help but think of all the men and women who sacrificed everything they had--even their lives in some cases--to bring about the freedom we take for granted. This country would not be what it is today without their courage. So I thank them. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

Happy 230th Birthday America!

21 June 2006

Our Lives, Our Fortunes, Our Sacred Honor


This is the "official" unabridged version of the famous speech given by Rush Limbaugh's father. It was obtained from the Rush Limbaugh website.


It was a glorious morning. The sun was shining and the wind was from the southeast. Up especially early, a tall bony, redheaded young Virginian found time to buy a new thermometer, for which he paid three pounds, fifteen shillings. He also bought gloves for Martha, his wife, who has ill at home.

Thomas Jefferson arrived early at the statehouse. The temperature was 72.5 degrees and the horseflies weren't nearly so bad at that hour. It was a lovely room, very large, with gleaming white walls. The chairs were comfortable. Facing the single door were two brass fireplaces, but they would not be used today.

The moment the door was shut, and it was always kept locked, the room became an oven. The tall windows were shut, so that loud quarreling voices could not be heard by passersby. Small openings atop the windows allowed a slight stir of air, and also a large number of horseflies. Jefferson records that "the horseflies were dexterous in finding necks, and the silk of stocking was nothing to them." All discussion was punctuated by the slap of hands on necks.

On the wall at the back, facing the President's desk, was a panoply-consisting of a drum, swords, and banners seized from Fort Ticonderoga the previous year. Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold had captured the place, shouting that they were taking it "in the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!"

Now Congress got to work, promptly taking up an emergency measure about which there was discussion but no dissention. "Resolved: That an application be made to the Committee of Safety of Pennsylvania for a supply of flints for the troops at New York."

Then Congress transformed itself into a committee of the whole. The Declaration of Independence was read aloud once more, and debate resumed. Though Jefferson was the best writer of all of them, he had been somewhat verbose. Congress hacked the excess away. They did a good job, as a side-by-side comparison of the rough draft and the final text shows. They cut the phrase "by a self-assumed power." "Climb" was replaced by "must read," then "must" was eliminated, then the whole sentence, and soon the whole paragraph was cut. Jefferson groaned as they continued what he later called "their depredations." "Inherent and inalienable rights" came out "certain unalienable rights," and to this day no one knows who suggested the elegant change.

A total of 86 alterations were made. Almost 500 words were eliminated, leaving 1,337. At last, after three days of wrangling, the document was put to a vote.

Here in this hall Patrick Henry had once thundered: " I am no longer a Virginian, Sir, but an American." But today the loud, sometimes bitter argument stilled, and without fanfare the vote was taken from north to south by colonies, as was the custom. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted.

There were no trumpets blown. No one stood on his chair and cheered. The afternoon was waning and Congress had no thought of delaying the full calendar of routine business on its hands. For several hours they worked on many other problems before adjourning for the day.

Much To Lose

What kind of men were the 56 signers who adopted the Declaration of Independence and who, by their signing, committed an act of treason against the crown? To each of you the names Franklin, Adams, Hancock, and Jefferson are almost as familiar as household words. Most of us, however, know nothing of the other signers. Who were they? What happened to them?

I imagine that many of you are somewhat surprised at the names not there: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Patrick Henry. All were elsewhere.

Ben Franklin was the only really old man. Eighteen were under 40; three were in their 20s. Of the 56 almost half -24- were judges and lawyers. Eleven were merchants, 9 were landowners and farmers, and the remaining 12 were doctors, ministers, and politicians.

With only a few exceptions, such as Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, these were men of substantial property. All but two had families. The vast majority were men of education and standing in their communities. They had economic security as few men had in the 18th century.

Each had more to lose from revolution than he had to gain by it. John Hancock, one of the richest men in America, already had a price of 500 pounds on his head. He signed in enormous letters so "that his Majesty could now read his name without glasses and could now double the reward." Ben Franklin wryly noted: "Indeed we must all hang together, otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately." Fat Benjamin Harrison of Virginia told tiny Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts: "With me it will all be over in a minute, but you, you will be dancing on air an hour after I am gone.

These men knew what they risked. The penalty for treason was death by hanging. And remember: a great British fleet was already at anchor in New York Harbor.

They were sober men. There were no dreamy-eyed intellectuals or draft card burners here. They were far from hot-eyed fanatics, yammering for an explosion. They simply asked for the status quo. It was change they resisted. It was equality with the mother country they desired. It was taxation with representation they sought. They were all conservatives, yet they rebelled.

It was principle, not property, that had brought these men to Philadelphia. Two of them became presidents of the United States. Seven of them became state governors. One died in office as vice president of the United States. Several would go on to be U.S. Senators. One, the richest man in America, in 1828 founded the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. One, a delegate from Philadelphia, was the only real poet, musician and philosopher of the signers (it was he, Francis Hopkinson – not Betsy Ross – who designed the United States flag).

Richard Henry Lee, a delegate from Virginia, had introduced the resolution to adopt the Declaration of Independence in June of 1776. He was prophetic in his concluding remarks:
"Why then sir, why do we longer delay? Why still deliberate? Let this happy day give birth to an American Republic. Let her arise not to devastate and to conquer but to reestablish the reign of peace and law. The eyes of Europe are fixed upon us. She demands of us a living example of freedom that may exhibit a contrast in the felicity of the citizen to the ever increasing tyranny which desolates her polluted shores. She invites us to prepare an asylum where the unhappy may find solace, and the persecuted repost. If we are not this day wanting in our duty, the names of the American Legislatures of 1776 will be placed by posterity at the side of all of those whose memory has been and ever will be dear to virtuous men and good citizens."

Though the resolution was formally adopted July 4, it was not until July 8 that two of the states authorized their delegates to sign, and it was not until August 2 that the signers met at Philadelphia to actually put their names to the Declaration.

William Ellery, delegate from Rhode Island, was curious to see the signers' faces as they committed this supreme act of personal courage. He saw some men sign quickly, "but in no face was he able to discern real fear." Stephan Hopkins, Ellery's colleague from Rhode Island, was a man past 60. As he signed with a shaking pen, he declared: "My hand trembles, but my heart does not."
Most glorious service

Even before the list was published, the British marked down every member of Congress suspected of having put his name to treason. All of them became the objects of vicious manhunts. Some were taken. Some, like Jefferson, had narrow escapes. All who had property or families near British strongholds suffered.

**Francis Lewis, New York delegate saw his home plundered and his estates in what is now Harlem, completely destroyed by British soldiers. Mrs. Lewis was captured and treated with great brutality. Though she was later exchanged for two British prisoners though the efforts of Congress she died from the effects of her abuse.

**William Floyd, another New York delegate, was able to escape with his wife and children across Long Island Sound to Connecticut, where they lived as refugees without income for seven years. When they came home they found a devastated ruin.

**Philips Livingstone had all his great holdings in New York confiscated and his family driven out of their home. Livingstone died in 1778 still working in Congress for the cause.

**Louis Morris, the fourth New York delegate, saw all his timber, crops, and livestock taken. For seven years he was barred from his home and family.

**John Hart of Trenton, New Jersey, risked his life to return home to see his dying wife. Hessian soldiers rode after him, and he escaped in the woods. While his wife lay on her deathbed, the soldiers ruined his farm and wrecked his homestead. Hart, 65, slept in caves and woods as he was hunted across the countryside. When at long last, emaciated by hardship, he was able to sneak home, he found his wife had already been buried, and his 13 children taken away. He never saw them again. He died a broken man in 1779, without ever finding his family.

**Dr. John Witherspoon, signer, was president of the College of New Jersey, later called Princeton. The British occupied the town of Princeton, and billeted troops in the college. They trampled and burned the finest college library in the country.

**Judge Richard Stockton, another New Jersey delegate signer, had rushed back to his estate in an effort to evacuate his wife and children. The family found refuge with friends, but a Tory sympathizer betrayed them. Judge Stockton was pulled from bed in the night and brutally beaten by the arresting soldiers. Thrown into a common jail, he was deliberately starved. Congress finally arranged for Stockton's parole, but his health was ruined. The judge was released as an invalid, when he could no longer harm the British cause. He returned home to find his estate looted and did not live to see the triumph of the revolution. His family was forced to live off charity.

**Robert Morris, merchant prince of Philadelphia, delegate and signer, met Washington's appeals and pleas for money year after year. He made and raised arms and provisions which made it possible for Washington to cross the Delaware at Trenton. In the process he lost 150 ships at sea, bleeding his own fortune and credit almost dry.

**George Clymer, Pennsylvania signer, escaped with his family from their home, but their property was completely destroyed by the British in the Germantown and Brandywine campaigns.

**Dr. Benjamin Rush, also from Pennsylvania, was forced to flee to Maryland. As a heroic surgeon with the army, Rush had several narrow escapes.

**John Martin, a Tory in his views previous to the debate, lived in a strongly loyalist area of Pennsylvania. When he came out for independence, most of his neighbors and even some of his relatives ostracized him. He was a sensitive and troubled man, and many believed this action killed him. When he died in 1777, his last words to his tormentors were: "Tell them that they will live to see the hour when they shall acknowledge it [the signing] to have been the most glorious service that I have ever rendered to my country."

**William Ellery, Rhode Island delegate, saw his property and home burned to the ground.

**Thomas Lynch, Jr., South Carolina delegate, had his health broken from privation and exposures while serving as a company commander in the military. His doctors ordered him to seek a cure in the West Indies and on the voyage he and his young bride were drowned at sea.

**Edward Rutledge, Arthur Middleton, and Thomas Heyward, Jr., the other three South Carolina signers, were taken by the British in the siege of Charleston. They were carried as prisoners of war to St. Augustine, Florida, where they were singled out for indignities. They were exchanged at the end of the war, the British in the meantime having completely devastated their large landholdings and estates.

**Thomas Nelson, signer of Virginia, was at the front in command of the Virginia military forces with British General Charles Cornwallis in Yorktown. Fire from 70 heavy American guns began to destroy Yorktown piece by piece. Lord Cornwallis and his staff moved their headquarters into Nelson's palatial home. While American cannonballs were making a shambles of the town, the house of Governor Nelson remained untouched. Nelson turned in rage to the American gunners and asked, "Why do you spare my home?" They replied, "Sir, out of respect to you." Nelson cried, "Give me the cannon!" and fired on his magnificent home himself, smashing it to bits. But Nelson's sacrifice was not quite over. He had raised $2 million for the Revolutionary cause by pledging his own estates. When the loans came due, a newer peacetime Congress refused to honor them, and Nelson's property was forfeited. He was never reimbursed. He died, impoverished, a few years later at the age of 50.

Lives, fortunes, honor

Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives, sons or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were brutally treated. All were at one time or another the victims of manhunts and driven from their homes. Twelve signers had their homes completely burned. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor, and the nation they sacrificed so much to create is still intact.

And, finally, there is the New Jersey Signer, Abraham Clark.

He gave two sons to the officer corps in the Revolutionary Army. They were captured and sent to that infamous British prison hulk afloat in New York Harbor known as the hell ship "Jersey," where 11,000 American captives were to die. The younger Clarks were treated with a special brutality because of their father. One was put in solitary and given no food. With the end almost in sight with the war almost won, no one could have blamed Abraham Clark for acceding to the British request when they offered him his sons' lives if he would recant and come out for the King and Parliament. The utter despair in this man's heart, the anguish in his very soul, must reach out to each and one of us down through 200 years with the answer: "No."

The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence proved by their every deed that they made no idle boast when they composed the most magnificent curtain line in history. "And for the support of this Declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
— Rush H. Limbaugh, Jr.

My friends, I know you have a copy of the Declaration of Independence somewhere around the house — in an old history book (newer ones may well omit it), an encyclopedia, or one of those artificially aged "parchments" we all got in school years ago. I suggest that each of you take the time this month to read through the text of the declaration, one of the most noble and beautiful political documents in human history.

There is no more profound sentence than this:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness?"

These are far more than mere poetic words. The underlying ideas that infuse every sentence of this treatise have sustained this nation for more than two centuries. They were forged in the crucible of great sacrifice. They are living words that spring from and satisfy the deepest cries for liberty in the human spirit.

"Sacred honor" isn't a phrase we use much these days, but every America Life is touched by the bounty of this, the Founders' legacy. It is freedom, tested by blood, and watered with tears. — Rush Limbaugh
-As published in "The Limbaugh Letter" July 1996 edition

19 June 2006

I'm an Accounting Widow

Spencer started school again today. Hooray, summer school! Okay, I'm really not that excited. I want him so badly to get through school that I'm willing to put up with constant education for 2 more years. We've been through all kinds of classes recently. This summer it's Accounting.

Before Spencer started taking Accounting classes I always thought of it as a pretty easy subject. I mean how hard can it be to balance a checkbook? I do it all the time. I've got our finances down to a "t". But when he started telling me about Accounts Recievable, Accounts Payable, Liabilities, Assets, Stockholders Equity, etc. I knew it was way more complicated than I made out. He is retaking a class that he took a couple years ago so that his knowledge in Accounting will be refreshed for his future business classes.

So, here I sit at 9:30 at night staring into the computer while my husband works his brain solving problems. I've been sitting here for 2 hours browsing all kinds of worthless webpages. I can see my future in this LCD screen: lots of blog reading, myspace browsing, doing stupid IQ tests (stupid thing, I only got 100!) and picking up an occastional book on those nights off. Ahh, the life of a college widow. The good thing is, he's only "mostly dead." At least I'll get him back in 2 years.

07 June 2006

Wonder Years

I found the greatest thing on the internet the other night. Hours and hours of endless viewing enjoyment of the hit 80's TV show the "Wonder Years." Yes you heard me right. The "Wonder Years."

I used to love that show! My family would watch it religiously. My mom used to say that my sister and I had the same relationship that Kevin and Wayne had--of course I was Kevin. For the past couple years I have continually checked new DVD releases to see if that show has been put on DVD. No luck yet. I'm not sure why though--they put way worse shows on DVD for mass release and this one was totally popular during its time.

But no matter now. I've hit my jackpot. I went to youtube.com and searched for "Wonder Years" and 29 episodes showed up! I watched a couple when I did the search because Spencer was watching The Matrix (the clean flix version, of course) and I just don't understand those movies. I haven't had the opportunity to watch any more, but I can't wait until I can! They bring back such wonderful childhood memories.

For those of you who loved the Wonder Years as much as me I provide for your viewing pleasure the first episode. Enjoy.

EDIT: Sadly this video has been removed from youtube.com. Hopefully someone will realize what a great show The Wonder Years was and someday put it on DVD.

26 May 2006

Confession

I have a confession to make: I'm a nosy person. There I said it. Now I can start therapy and everyone can get on with their life. Seriously though, I have this strong need to know what everyone else is doing. I love watching cars come and go out of our apartment complex. My ears prick when I hear voices outside. I love to know what is in people's medicine cabinets in their bathrooms.

The last apartment we lived in was heaven. We were Number 2 on the bottom floor and right in front of the office and mail boxes. One of the main sidewalks crossed right in front of our living room window--the window I could look out of while browsing the internet on the computer. We also had a window directly located so that I could see everything from the kitchen. It was great. I knew when people came home from work, when they got their mail, and who was playing in the common area. We never had those windows closed. It drove me nuts to not be able to see what was happening outside.

We have since moved to a different apartment. We now live on the third floor with a balcony that overlooks the parking lot and a couple other buildings. This complex is much bigger and it took some getting used to. For one thing there are no windows on the wall that our front door is on. Every time I hear voices in the hallway I wonder who is coming or leaving home. Sometimes it gets so bad that I have to get on my tippy toes and peek through the little peep hole on the door to see what is going on. The good thing about where we live is that I can sit on the balcony and look like I am enjoying the ocean breeze and fresh air when in reality I am just eavesdropping on the pedestrians passing by unawares below. The other good thing about living here is our bedroom window looks over the main entrance and exit to the complex. I see most of the cars that come in and out.

Now I'm really not some creepy person who you never want to live near for fear of your personal lives being exposed. I'm really quite valuable. You actually want me to live in your neighborhood. Because I know who people are and what the general activities of the day is, I am more aware when things are out of the ordinary. It hasn't happened yet, but I bet one of these days my skills will be sought after like those of Sherlock Holmes. Who knows, one day I may even stop a crime from happening because of my watchful eye.

12 May 2006

Chris was Robbed!

I know this is a day late and I'm probably the last to write about the latest American Idol drama, but we don't have TV. Consequently I have to watch my favorite show taped on Friday morning--thanks to a wonderful friend.

I could not believe my eyes when they announced the bottom two as Chris Daughtry and Katherine McFee. Now I already knew that Chris got voted off, but to see it for myself is so different! Katherine didn't do a stellar job on Tuesday night, but has a great, strong history on the show. I’m not a fan of her fashion choices, but she has a clear, beautiful voice. Chris I have loved from the beginning when I first heard him sing "Hemorrhage" by Fuel.

That dark, deep, rough sounding voice pierced me to the c ore. I love the whole rocker persona, yet I think some of my all time favorite songs he sang are those where he just held the mic and sang right into the camera with those piercing eyes penetrating your soul. Okay, maybe the soul piercing is a little much, but I loved watching Chris perform every week. He was the reason I watched each week.

Not only was I sad that he got kicked off because he is really talented, but also because of his life. It was so nice and refreshing to see someone married with kids get so far in the show. He was just such a good guy!

The band Fuel has offered him a job as their lead singer but I hope he doesn't take it. I hope that those who can make things happen for him have been watching and recognize his talent. I hope that despite not being number 1 or even number 2, that his dreams can still come true. I hope to be hearing Chris Daughter rocking' out on my radio soon!

11 May 2006

6 Weird Things

Okay, here are 6 weird things about me.

1. I only drink water out of plastic cups and milk and juice out of glass.

2. I'm a picker. I'm contantly picking at Rachel or DH--ears, fuzz balls, pimples, you name it.

3. I hate loose hairs. Drives me crazy to see hair on people's backs or on furniture. It either has to be on the person's head or on the ground.

4. I prefer my PB&J sandwiches toasted. Something about melted peanut butter...mmmmmm

5. I hate to touch the bottom of open bodies of water. I love to swim but start to get panicky if I touch the bottom of the ocean because I don't know what's down there. I can't snorkel because of this. I get super panicky and hyperventilate when my face gets too close. I'll tread water in the ocean ALL day if I need to instead of touching the ground--even if it's only 4 feet deep!

6. I clean my ears every day but I use 2 q-tips. One side to dry them after the shower and one to actually clean them. I never feel like my ears are dry enough or clean enough unless I use both sides.

01 May 2006

Freebird

Life is interesting how it plays out. The last couple years has been a whirlwind of action for my family. In 2002 me and my sister graduated from single life and got married. My brother was in a terrible accident but thankfully recovered. He left on his mission early in 2003. He has since returned and found his eternal companion. In 2004 two grandchildren were been born and last year had their first birthdays. The one other defining event throughout all this time has been my parents relationship.

It has steadily declined. In August of 2004 my mom packed up her things and moved to Utah. She told us kids that she just needed a break. She lived with a friend and a month or so later called me to tell me she had filed for divorce from my father. I was floored. The day after she told me I couldn't even go to work. It was devastating to me to hear that my parents, who had been sealed in the temple and married for 30 years, were not going to be together. When my sister had her baby in November my mom came back but we weren't sure if it was permanent. She ended up staying and my parents moved into separate homes in April of 2005. From April to just recently their relationship was on-again, off-again. Finally my parents made the decision to end it and the divorce was final about a month ago.

A couple weeks ago I was having a conversation with my mom about their divorce. I made the comment that I was over it. It didn't affect me anymore. She asked me baffled how I could be over it so soon when it took her years to get over her parents divorce. When I answered, I said the first things that came to my mind. I hadn't really thought about it but somehow the words just came to me and it was very clear.

I told my mom that while married to my dad she could never be who she was. She was married a couple years into college and recently free from her abusive home. She didn't have time to find out her identity. She hadn't lived on her own long enough to really know who she was and what she wanted in life. It didn't help that she had my older sister about 10 months after they were married. Her time of self discovery had to be put on hold while she raised her new daughter in a strange place (Utah) with a (relatively) new husband. I came along 2 years later and that didn't help either. She had one more baby--a boy--in 1983. So she has spent 25 years raising us kids all the while not knowing who she really is as a person. She has only been defined as my dad's wife and our mom. She is a wonderful person but has a hard time believing it much of the time. She has never been truly happy with herself.

My parents were married when my dad had a couple years of college done and worked as hard as he could to finish while supporting his young family. He loved my mom and could see who she was underneath the weathered exterior. He saw her true potential as a daughter of God and tried to help her become who he saw her as. He spent the better part of 30 years striving to make someone else happy. He would do anything for my mom if it would only make her happier. This was taxing on him. Nothing he ever did was good enough--not to mention my mom never believed him when he complimented her. During this time he really sacrificed much of his identity to try to build up my mom's.

Together they were never happy as individuals. The relationship was always a give and take with my dad giving and my mom taking--rarely the other way around. So I told my mom that they needed to be apart to be really happy. They needed to be apart for each of them to find out who they were again. Their individuality had been lost while they were married and separately is the only way they can find it.

This is a comfort to me. I never thought I would come to grips with the divorce. I mean who wants their parents divorced? I don't know what's going to happen, but I do know that each of them is free now to be who they really are and I hope they find themselves.

25 April 2006

Remember

On Sunday Rachel fell asleep in the car on the way to church so I stayed in the car with her until the last minute. To pass the time I read the Book of Mormon that we have there. I read Helaman 4 and 5 and was really struck by the word “remember.” I thought it would be interesting to find all the references in the Book of Mormon that say what we are supposed to remember. I think one scripture really sums up the reason for remembering. Mosiah 4:30 says, “O man, remember, and perish not.”

Here are some of them:

Remember the Words of the Lord
1 Ne 4:14 I remembered the words of the Lord
2 Ne 9:52 Remember the words of your God
Mosiah 1:6 Remember that these sayings are true, and also that these records are true.
Mosiah 1:7 Remember to search them diligently, that ye may profit thereby
Mosiah 2:41 O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

Remember to keep the Commandments
1 Ne 15:25 Remember to keep his commandments always in all things
2 Ne 1:16 Remember to observe the statutes and the judgments of the Lord
Mosiah 13:16 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy
Alma 34:29 Remember to be charitable
Alma 37:13 O remember, remember … how strict are the commandments of God
Alma 37: 35 O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.
Helaman 5:6 Remember to keep the commandments of God… Behold, I have given unto you the names of our first parents who came out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them; and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were good.
2 Ne 10:23 remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life.

Remember the Savior
1 Ne 19:18 Remember the Lord [your] Redeemer.
2 Ne 9:41 Remember that His paths are righteous.
2 Ne 9:40 Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel 2 Ne 10:20 Let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off;
2 Ne 10:24 Remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.
Mosiah 4:11 Remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.
Mosiah 5:12 Remember to retain the name written always in your hearts
Mosiah 16:13 Remember that only in and through Christ ye can be saved
Alma 29:10 Remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me.
Alma 32:22 Remember, that God is merciful unto all who believe on his name; therefore he desireth, in the first place, that ye should believe, yea, even on his word.
Alma 38:5 Remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day.
Helaman 5:9 Remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to redeem the world.
Helaman 5:10 Remember … that the Lord surely should come to redeem his people, but that he should not come to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins.
Helaman 5:12 Remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation
3 Ne 18:7 And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.
Moroni 4:3 That they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
Moroni 5:2 That they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them.
Moroni 10:3 Remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
Moroni 10:18 remember that every good gift cometh of Christ. Moroni 10:19 Remember that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that all these gifts of which I have spoken, which are spiritual, never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, only according to the unbelief of the children of men.

23 April 2006

Angels and Demons

I have hardly done anything the last few days. Why you ask? The couch held me captive so of course I had to read a book to keep myself occupied. The book? Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. It's the precursor to the Da Vinci Code but no one paid any attention to it until the Da Vinci Code became popular. Now people are clamoring to read it. I myself have not read the Da Vinci Code, but I plan to real soon! I started reading this book on Thursday afternoon and finished it yesterday morning. I was spellbound. I could not put it down! I read for probably six hours on Friday--the longest continual stretch being from 7:45 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. As soon as breakfast was over yesterday morning I picked it up. I just had to finish it!

For those of you who don't know what the story is I'll "summup." It's a story about a scientist at a research facility is Switzerland (CERN, that really does exist) who discovers something called antimatter. Basically he proves that the Big Bang did occur but that it was orchestrated by God. A lot of people interpret the Bible creation story of God creating the earth out of nothing. "Let there be light and there was light." Of course to scientists this can never be true. You can never make something out of nothing. But this scientist did and he was killed for it.

The story takes you on a treasure hunt throughout Rome and the Vatican City looking for this sample of antimatter that is buried somewhere in it and also looking for what is called the Church of the Illuminati. The Illuminati were a secret brotherhood of scientists in the 1600's that were constantly at odds with the Catholic Church. Over time the brotherhood evolved into something much more evil.

But that's not why I'm writing this. I'm writing it because I was fascinated by the Catholic Church. There was so much information about how the church works. The book took you all around Rome to actual sites of churches, Catholic libraries, old buildings...etc. There is so much tradition and ritual in the church. The story is set during a time where they are about to elect a new Pope and so there is so much ceremony surrounding the choosing of the new Pope. There are so many things that have to be done just because they have always been done that way. You have to start the Conclave 15 days after the Pope dies, only certain cardinals are eligible (only those under 80), there has to be a 2/3 majority vote and so on. Seems strange that it wouldn't have to be unanimous. I also find it strange that people vie for the position of the Pope. They can vote for themselves (and no doubt they do).

Reading this book I was also reminded of the oath that Catholic priests and nuns take of celibacy. What I know of the Catholic church regarding this (and correct me anyone if I'm wrong) is that the priests and the nuns allegedly "marry" the church. Now please no one get offended but this thought of never getting married or having children kind of reminds me of homosexuality. In each case there will never be any progeny. Now I believe that one of our main purposes on earth is to find a spouse and rear children. Children are the way that we live on and bring so much joy and happiness. It seems that those who should know the plan of salvation the best (priests and nuns) in reality seem to not understand it at all.

This book was fascinating in so many ways. I learned so much about the city of Rome and the Vatican City, much of the Catholic Church and also it was just an exciting story. I highly recommend it if you have 3 straight days to devote to it cuz you won't be able to put it down!