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29 November 2008

Monkey Loves Construction

Installing a driveway - double time.

German steamroller

Add for a steamroller. Narration's not great, but I learned from it so it was interesting anyway.

28 November 2008

Sleeping Gear

Monkey likes to take things to bed with him. Usually it's pretty normal stuff. Books, stuffed bears. A water bottle. Last night he wanted to sleep with his head in his laundry basket. We took it out of bed after I took the picture.

This afternoon, he's been helping Dad fix things. They worked on both of our toilets. Monkey loves the socket wrench. Amazingly, "socket" and "chocolate" are very hard to tell apart when he says them. But, when Daddy couldn't come and put him down for his nap, the socket wrench was an acceptable consolation prize.

At the Temple

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. -Genesis 2:24

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. -Matthew 16:19

Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. -1 Corinthians 11:11

Thou shalt live together in love... -Doctrine and Covenants 42:45

Swiped Another Meme

A-Attached or Single: Attached (very)
B-Best Friend: Andy
C-Cake or Pie: ice cream
D-Day of Choice: day with family
E-Essential Item: internet
F-Favorite Color: blue
G-Greatest Accomplishment: work in progress
H-Hometown: where my family is
I-Indulgences: dark chocolate
J-January or July: January
K-Kids: Monkey
L-Life is incomplete without: family
M-Marriage: happy
N-Number of Siblings: 7
O-Oranges or Apples: apples
P-Phobias or fears: bees
Q-Quotes:“The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.” - Thomas Jefferson
R-Reason to Smile: innumerable
S-Season: spring
T-Tag Friends: anyone that wants to be tagged
U-Unknown facts about me:
V-Very favorite store(s): Barnes and Noble
W-Worst habit: putting off cleaning my bathrooms; bossiness
X-X-ray or Ultra Sound: ultra sound
Y-Your favorite food: ice cream
Z-Zodiac: Aquarius

27 November 2008

"Separation of Church and State"

I just read a great article about this. I learned a number of things:

1. Separation of Church and State is a phrase from a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote. It's not in the Constitution at all. I should have known this; I just read the Constitution recently, but I hadn't picked up on it and I'm glad that the article's author spelled it out.

2. The First Amendment, like so much of the Constitution, is about balance. Here's the text of the amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

They call the first part, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" the establishment clause, and the second part, "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" the free exercise clause. They're supposed to balance and complement each other. Congress doesn't get to choose our religion. They don't even get to pick a favorite religion and give them special status. That's the establishment clause. Congress also doesn't get to make it difficult for us to practice our religion. Say, by telling us when and where to pray. Or not to pray, in the case of prayer in school. (That's also a violation of freedom of speech.)

3. There was a bunch of other interesting stuff too: a Supreme Court Justice that was also a member of the KKK, and the founder of the ACLU was a member of the Communist Party of America. Oh, and also what Jefferson was really talking about when he wrote about the separation of church and state. He certainly wasn't saying that churches should be barred from the political process! I highly recommend the article!

23 November 2008

Wisdom from John Adams

"It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives."

—John Adams, Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1756

Someone posted this quote to a homeschool list that I'm on, and I just love it! "If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives." How true!

This afternoon in Relief Society we talked about the importance of learning "by study and by faith" and visited one of my favorite scriptures:

"Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.

And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come."

If these things are important for us as parents to remember, to make sure that we are continually learning ourselves, how much more so that we remember to teach them to our children, to teach them to value learning! Joseph said, "Knowledge is necessary to life and godliness."

Our lesson today was about gaining knowledge of eternal truths, specifically about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but there is a great deal of truth out there to be had! Brigham Young talked about that:

"A fact is a fact, all truth issues forth from the Fountain of truth, and the sciences are facts as far as men have proved them. ... There is not truth but what belongs to the Gospel. It is life, eternal life; it is bliss..." Discourses of Brigham Young pg 3

In addition to the vitally important study of Gospel truths, the Lord commanded Joseph to study all sorts of things: "obtain a knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man, and all this for the salvation of Zion."

20 November 2008

Big Party Noodle Salad

Mom asked me to bring noodle salad to Kate's open house, and when I asked around (we don't typically eat noodle salad at my house) I got this recipe that was used at a recent Women's Conference. It's a bit of an expensive salad at this time of year, but in the summer when grapes are in season it would be considerably better. Monkey was awfully happy to see those grapes though! He's been asking and asking for them!

Big Party Noodle Salad
4 c (32oz) cooked chicken, diced
12 oz box (6 c cooked) bowtie pasta
1 1/2 c green grapes, cut
1 1/2 c red grapes, cut
10 oz can pineapple tidbits, drained
2 c thinly sliced celery
1/2 c scallions/green onions
2 c cashews
2 c craisins

16 oz (1 bottle) Hidden Valley coldslaw dressing
1 c mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients except cashews & crasins. Whip together dressing. (Original recipe called for 1/2 c mayonnaise and 1/2 cup miracle whip, but we substituted.) Pour over salad; marinate 12-24 hours. Add cashews and craisins just before serving.

Serves 20-ish

17 November 2008

Temple Protests

From "Temple Protests Go Too Far" by Bob Lonsberry:

In the name of tolerance, great intolerance is shown. The biggest bigots in our society are the ones who routinely accuse others of bigotry. ...

Those who favor abortion rights do not protest outside the parishes and cathedrals of Catholicism. Those who denounce militant Islam do not march around American mosques. Supporters of Palestinian rights do not shout through loudspeakers outside synagogues.

If they did, we would be offended as a society, and see the impropriety of their deeds.

But thousands can hatefully mill outside the gates of the sacred buildings of Mormonism and do so with impunity, knowing that their actions and motives will go unchallenged, that the evening news will bring them nothing but the publicity they seek. ...

Which is why this is taking place. In an act of bigotry against houses of worship, supporters of the homosexual agenda are sending a shot across the bow of every church, mosque, synagogue and temple in the country.

Either keep your mouth shut, or get what the Mormons are getting.

Here’s hoping that that warning will be ignored, and that people of conscience will have the courage of their convictions – that people of all faiths will stand their ground. Contention must be avoided, but not at the cost of capitulation.

Americans do not lose their civil rights because they believe in God or worship with their fellow believers. People of faith are as free to vote and speak their mind as anyone else.

What this episode teaches is that people of faith had better stand together in the defense of their rights, or they will be picked off one by one.


16 November 2008

High School Meme

I swiped this meme from my cousin.

1. Did you date someone from your school? Nope, but still I actually got engaged to a boy from church at 16. It was a bad idea.

2. What kind of car did you drive? I sometimes drove my folks' 12 passenger van, and I did some time in an old car that had a bit of a leak in the gas tank. Don't fill it more than about 1/2 way. There was also the car with the oil light. If the "check oil" light got too persistent you pulled over & added more oil & it went away. I didn't get to take the Metro much, Dad needed it.

3. What was the most embarrassing moment of HS? I don't know. The whole thing was pretty bad. Might have been coming in last in the mile (again) and then being unable to breathe for hours after. Might have been when they did the scoliosis testing... and I had it. Nope, sorry, that was junior high.

4. Were you a party animal? I wasn't terribly interested.

5. Were you considered a flirt? Not that I know of.

6. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir? Yes (french horn), no, yes.

7. Were you a nerd? Hmmm. If nerd=good grades & socially awkward, then yes, I guess I was a bit of a nerd. But I didn't use a pocket protector or anything like that.

8. Were you on any varsity teams? Does lettering in band count?

9. Did you get suspended/expelled? Are you kidding? My death would have quickly followed - my parents would have killed me!

10. Can you still sing the fight song? Do people do that? It was on the wall in the one school's gym, but I never figured out why.

11. Who were your favorite teachers? Maestro. He was the Spanish teacher at my 2nd high school. Also taught signed Spanish. I'd just finished studying American Sign Language with an interpreter at the old school, and it was a huge advantage. He was great: immersion from day 1. Sadly, we didn't stay at that school long.

12. Where did you sit during lunch? With a book.

13. School mascot? Panthers, can't remember, and Penguins.

14. Did you go to homecoming, and with who? No. I was never asked. And I'm not sure I'd've gone anyway: I just didn't get the whole homecoming Thing.

15. If you could go back and do it again, would you? Are you kidding??? NO.

16. What do you remember most about graduation? It was pretty boring. Lots of hype. Bad music (the band wasn't very good at all). Probably was a waste of time.

17. Where did you go senior skip day? Didn't have one.

18. Were you in any clubs? School 1: Debate, newspaper, yearbook. School 2 & 3: I got a job instead.

19. Have you gained some weight since then? Sadly, yes.

20. Who was your prom date? Didn't go.

21. Are you planning on going to your next year reunion? Doubtful. Either they didn't have a 10 year, or I didn't get the memo. I got along better with the next younger class anyway.

22. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself? Don't sweat it: it's gonna be over and then it Just Doesn't Matter. At least, not after you get your ACT score & start college. Also, work harder on that midwifery apprenticeship. That was cool & you'll regret not doing more.

If you swipe the meme, leave me a link, eh? I'd like to read yours!

I Should Buy Some of This Music

First Time Obedience

I first ran into the idea of "first time obedience" in the Bluedorn's book, Teaching the Trivium. It's an intriguing idea, one that I spent quite a bit of time thinking about when I first ran across it. But, like so many things, it's sort of taken a backseat to living life, and I hadn't pondered that for a while. Nor had I really kept up with teaching it to my Monkey.

I ran across this idea again this afternoon. Kendra, over at Preschoolers and Peace (which I discovered when browsing the Homeschool Blog Awards. It's voting time!) Has some interesting things to say about this topic. One of them is that it's a line upon line, precept upon precept sort of thing. What a lovely thought. I think it's a thought that applies to parents as well as children. Learn a bit, apply the bit, the Lord teaches us another bit, which we are then able to teach to our children.

Another thing that she had was a game where she specifically teaches her children, as babies, to come to her. I've been feeling the need to do this with Monkey. I want him to be in the habit of coming to me at home, on a regular basis, when he's called, so that when we're out in public if I for some reason need him NOW all I need to do is ask him. There are so many situations where that would make him safer, particularly in public. And her game looks like fun. I think I'll be playing it with him over the next little while.

Kendra also links to a site that looks interesting: Raising Godly Tomatoes.

15 November 2008

More Quiz Fun

You know the Bible 98%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Take More Quizzes

14 November 2008

Wish I Knew

I wish I knew her dialect.

I wish I knew HER. Her family, her village.

I wish I knew enough to know if she speaks the truth. If her words have been translated fairly.

I wish I knew where our President Elect was born.

America's Constitution: a biography

Cross-posted on The Act of Reading.

I picked up a book from the library, America's Constitution: a biography. I haven't gotten very far in it, but I thought that I'd post a bit from it here & some of my thoughts.

America's Constitution beckons -- a New World Acropolis open to all. Ordained in the name of the American people, repeatedly amended by them and for them, the document also addresses itself to them. It does its work in strikingly clean prose (as law goes) and with notable brevity. Its full text, including amendments, runs less that eight thousand words, a half hour's read for the earnest citizen. The document's style thus invites us to explore its substance, to visit and regularly revisit America's legal city on a hill.

Acropolis. An interesting choice of words. I wasn't entirely certain what it meant, so the first order of business is to get a definition to work from:

Acropolis (from Wikipedia): Acropolis (Gr. akros, akron, edge, extremity + polis, city, pl. acropoleis) literally means city on the edge (or extremity). For purposes of defense, early settlers naturally chose elevated ground, frequently a hill with precipitous sides.

The Constitution, a "New World Acropolis." A bastion of defense. A well defended hill with "precipitous sides." It's a very interesting analogy for a document. What is it defending? What sort of precipitous fall awaits outside the Constitution? It will be interesting to see what the author has to say about this. The Acropolis is a monument, a wonder of the world. I think that the Constitution is certainly no less.

In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Savior declared, “I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose” (D&C 101:80). Friend, Sep 1987, Ezra Taft Benson.

Perhaps the precipitous fall is the fall from Divinely Revealed freedoms into the more run-of-the-mill tyranny of ordinary governments. The loss of freedoms and rights our Maker intended for His children to have. President Benson was certainly clear that the Lord is pleased with the Constitution:

But we honor more than those who brought forth the Constitution. We honor the Lord who revealed it. God Himself has borne witness to the fact that He is pleased with the final product of the work of these great patriots.

In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith on August 6, 1833, the Savior admonished: “I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land” (D&C 98:6).

I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document. To me its words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed His stamp of approval on the Constitution of this land. ibid.

America's Constitution beckons -- a New World Acropolis open to all. Ordained in the name of the American people, repeatedly amended by them and for them, the document also addresses itself to them. It does its work in strikingly clean prose (as law goes) and with notable brevity. Its full text, including amendments, runs less that eight thousand words, a half hour's read for the earnest citizen. The document's style thus invites us to explore its substance, to visit and regularly revisit America's legal city on a hill.

Most citizens have declined the invitation. Many could probably recite at length from some favorite poem, song, speech, or scripture, yet few could quote by heart even a single paragraph of the supreme law of our land, one of the most important texts in world history.

It's sad, but true. I recently became aware of my own Constitutional ignorance. Talking to others around me has revealed theirs, even to include the lady that was recently elected to the State Assembly! She had no better idea of what is in the Constitution than anyone else I've spoken to. Interestingly, her attacks on her opponent were particularly vicious where the opponent (who was well versed in Constitutional ideas and liberties) was championing limited government. Limited government and personal responsibility have become very unpopular ideas of late.

Reading this book is a step in my plan to correct my own ignorance. I feel that, given that nearly every prophet of the restoration as talked about the importance of the Constitution and the Divine origin of the liberties it secures, I should put some time and effort into getting to know it better, to understand the principles that the Founders were trying to put into practice. Clearly there is more at work here than just some good ideas that some smart men got together and wrote about 200-some-odd years ago.

Most citizens have declined the invitation. Many could probably recite at length from some favorite poem, song, speech, or scripture, yet few could quote by heart even a single paragraph of the supreme law of our land, one of the most important texts in world history. Lawyers, politicians, journalists, and opinion leaders converse fluently about legal dictums and doctrines that appear nowhere in the Constitution itself while slighting many intriguing words and concepts that do appear in the document. For instance, we rarely stop to think about what lay beneath the Constitution's promise of a "more perfect Union," or why the Founders required presidents to be at least thirty-five years old, or how the Fourteenth Amendment built upon earlier bans on "Titles of Nobility" when it made everyone "born" in America a "citizen[]." University professors who teach constitutional law often neglect to assign the document itself. The running joke is that reading the thing would only confuse students. The joke captures an important truth. Without background materials placing the Constitution in context, a modern reader may miss much of its meaning and richness.

I certainly would not be able (yet) to recite any of the Constitution. I'm still pondering what I would like to memorize. I may start with just the Preamble. There's so much in there. It does not surprise me at all that Universities neglect the Constitution itself, even in "Constitutional Studies" courses. The Constitution, to my reading, seems to be diametrically opposed to many of the popular ideas about government. We wouldn't want anyone to notice that our own government is operating outside of its authority, now would we! Of course not. If "We the People" were aware, I like to think that We would reign in the government, force it back to its proper place and size, and many who now enjoy power would loose it. Constitutional principle seems to be entirely missing from education, apparently at all levels! No wonder we have no Patriot-statesmen like George Washington or Thomas Jefferson in our day: we are not teaching the potential patriots the principles that would light the fire in them!

This book seeks to reacquaint twenty-first century Americans with the written Constitution. In the pages that follow, I invite readers to join me on an interpretive journey through the document, from its first words to its last clause. Along the way, we shall explore not merely what the Constitutions says, but also how and why it says these things. How did various provisions at the Founding intermesh to form larger patterns of meaning and structures of decision making? How did later generations of constitutional Amenders reconfigure the system? Why did the Founders and Amenders act as they did? What lessons did they deduce from the distant past and from their own experiences? Which historically available models did they copy, and which plausible alternatives did they overlook or reject? What immediate problems were they trying to solve? Which long-range threats and possibilities did they espy on the horizon, and which future developments did they fail to foresee? What material and ideological resources did they command, and what practical constraints did they confront? How and why did their political opponents take issue with them? Who got to participate in the various decisions to ordain and, later, amend America's supreme law?

These are some very interesting questions. I look forward to seeing the author's answers. Right now most of them are things that I have not previously considered.

The Constitution has given rise to a remarkable range of interpretations over the years. In the chapters that follow I offer my own take: This book is an opinionated biography of the document. For example, while I try to say at least something in passing about every paragraph of the document, I pay special attention to those aspects of the Constitution that are, in my view, particularly significant or generally misunderstood. Because readers deserve to be told about other views, this book's endnotes identify contrasting perspectives (and also, where appropriate, furnish additional elaboration). In a brief Postscript, I summarize the main areas where my method and substance are, for better worse, distinctive. For convenience, this book's Appendix contains the complete text of the Constitution, keyed to the corresponding pages of my narrative.

Too bad the main stream media doesn't preface its reporting with a similar disclaimer!

Our story begins -- where else? -- at the beginning, with the Constitution's opening sentence, conventionally known as the Preamble. This sentence bids us to ponder basic questions about our Constitution and our country. How democratic was the Constitution of 1787-1788? Did it bind Americans into an indivisible nation? If so, why?

--Pages xi-xii

13 November 2008

Reading List

There's been a lot of discussion on the LDS Classical Homeschool yahoo group about what sort of Constitutional education we should give our children. Or, in several people's case (including my own) our own education. Here are some of the titles recommended:

*The Constitution
*The Bill of Rights
*The Law by Bastiat
*The Proper Role of Government by Ezra Taft Benson
*The Improper Role of Government by H Verlan Andersen
*"Stand Up For Freedom" a Speech by Ezra Taft Benson
*"Protecting Freedom - An Immediate Responsibility" by Ezra Taft Benson Oct 1966 Conference
*Webster's 1828 Dictionary
*Underground System of Education by John Taylor Gatto
*The Making of America by Cleon Skousen
*The 5,000 Year Leap by Cleon Skousen
*Uncle Eric books (Whatever Happened to Penny Candy, How Ancient Rome affects us Today, and more available at www.bluestockingpress.com )
*The Federalist Papers
*John Locke (I think it's 2 treatises on government)
*Someone named "Montesquieu" who influenced Madison
*Study Shakespeare - if you follow his language you'll be able to handle the Founder's language
*Glen Kimber's I Love America series (www.kimberacademy.net)

And some others I've found:

A Glorious Standard by Chris Bentley
America's Constitution: a biography by Akhil Reed Amar

08 November 2008

Obama Citizenship Problems

Write your representatives. Tell them you want some substantial assurances that Mr. Obama is a natural born citizen. He needs to answer the question.

06 November 2008

Third Party Voting Results

Kudos to C-Span for posting some third party election results! It's an interactive map, and although Baldiwn didn't get enough vote to be listed on the main page, if you mose over the individual states he is often listed with the percent he took.

Kudos to CNN too. They have a nice list of total tallies for all the candidates, right down to a Lyttle, who got 103 votes.

Also interesting: the Green Party candidate, McKinney, was a woman. A black woman. Guess it just proves that the media's not really all that interested in third parites. A black woman would have gotten some coverage, you would think.

04 November 2008

It's Just Too Bad

One Last Time, for a Laugh

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at 236.com.

Halloween Party

We had a good time at our trunk-or-treat! It's a bit hard to tell in the picture, but I'm a penguin. I took off the hood when I scared a baby...

We had some great costumes! 3 Musketeers (the candy), a Founding Father, a bag of marbles. It was a good time!

02 November 2008

Sunday Scripture

Behold, it came to pass that I, Enos, knowing my father that he was a just man—for he taught me in his language, and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord—and blessed be the name of my God for it—

And I will tell you of the wrestle which I had before God, before I received a remission of my sins.

Behold, I went to hunt beasts in the forests; and the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart.

And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.

And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.

And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.
-Enos 1:1-6

Yep, That Was Fun

I'm browsing through some pictures from this summer, and I realized that I never posted very many pictures of our trips! I did get a few from our trip west, but I don't think that I ever posted any at all from the trip east we took! So here are a few from our visit to Keeley's place this summer. The kids look great, Keeley looks great, all I can say is that it apparently wasn't my best picture taking day ever. But such is life, right? The memories are fabulous! We went to church, then had lunch & played Killer Bunnies, which is quite possibly the coolest game ever. I bought a bunny for some cookies, which are still to be made at some point. But not forgotten!


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