Friday, January 31, 2014

And Just Where Are Our Priorities?

I watched two different news stations lead with the story of the demolition and transformation taking place at Fashion Place Mall.  That was their lead story, I kid you not.  Both stations.  The second story on one of the stations (but further down the line of the other) featured budgeting for the homeless – what can we do for them?  Hey, here’s an idea: take the money that is being spent for the super Dillards and provide those many homeless with jobs – or build a place that the “homeless” might be able to afford.  It chaps my hyde when so much money is spent for unimportant matters.  

Oh, I suppose for Dillards executives, the number one story was great news to their ears.  What awesome publicity.  And I suppose there are some shoppers who will be equally excited.  As I have previously mentioned, I hate malls.  I hate commercialism.  I hate the chaos and materialism.  How great it would be if we could all provide for ourselves without interference from taxes or collection agencies or watching people struggle while so many others go about buying the latest “toy” and passing their old kindlefires down to their children with more promises of better things to come.  Because, hey, technology is constantly changing and so that computer you purchased two years ago?  It’s quite outdated buddy.

Ever watch a movie from the 1980s in which the characters use cell phones or computers?  Laughable by today’s standards.  But the toys that were made 50 years ago were made so much better than the garbage sold today.  Toys from the 60’s were made to last.  Kayla and Corey played with the same toys that Patrick and I had.  And so did Patrick’s kids and my Jenna.  And probably my granddaughter would be too – if we hadn’t had to sell mom’s house and get rid of all the possessions it contained. 

Today’s toys don’t even make it to next year – let alone decades from now.  As a whole they don’t seem near as entertaining or educational.

Remakes are lame.  Take “operation” for instance.  

 The Operation game back then was a lot more challenging that today’s lame excuse of what used to be fun.  And why did they have to change the name and shape of the bones? Neither Jenna nor I get the names for today.  And I don’t think even my (almost) four year old niece would be challenged with removing the plastic piece without hitting the buzzer.  It is quite disappointing to say the least.

I am sickened by all the spending that is done by the government . . . making mistakes and then trying to fix them by forking out even more money?  Come on.  My opinion is that almost all of us need to save up and stop spending.  Stop investing in things and start investing in humanity.  Bring back a wholesomeness that is so desperately needed.  Bring back the prices and the quality that we had before.  When it was possible to live without lap tops and cell phones.  When entertainment was entertaining and didn’t require wires or monthly bills. When we enjoyed one another’s company and could actually communicate face to face and weren’t surgically implanted to devices that have replaced personalism.

Jenna asked me the other day, “Mom, will I-pads and stuff replace books completely?”
All I could say to her was, “I hope not.”


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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Taking Comfort in His Tender Mercies

There are some people who are so gifted in being in tune and teaching by the Spirit that the words they use just seem to flow so eloquently through their mouths and everything they say is so profound.  And you know that you can really learn from what is being taught.  That is how it is with my sister Sunny.  There are also several leaders in our ward that have that gift.

I know that there are a few posts in which I mention that I co-teach the youth Sunday school class.  There is no longer a manual provided.  Leaders and instructors are given general themes and guide lines of what is to be taught each month.  This is to help us to get in tune and teach by the Spirit – though I haven’t always felt that I have been prepared enough to teach by the spirit. 

I think I have attended all but two classes since I accepted my calling.  I don’t always teach, but choose to sit in on the days that Kelly teaches. Kelly does not attend each week and so sometimes we end up teaching from the same exact references. 

The leaders of the young men have chosen to sit in on the Sunday school lessons along with their youth – which I do truly appreciate as they both seem to invite the Spirit as they speak.
Most of the youth are very quiet and, though they appear to be listening, don’t participate a whole lot.

Before I gave my lesson last week I typed up my lesson and cut out parts to pass to the youth and would ask them to read or share his or her own example.  The lesson was on tender mercies, and I had used some examples out of two of Elder David Bednar’s talks and some from Corey’s blog (in case I needed more with my quiet class)

         The way I had tried to involve my class last week didn’t fly really well and I really didn’t feel the Spirit as I have with previous lessons.  I obviously had not been directed by the Spirit to hand out lesson parts to get my youth to participate. Kelly had told me that she’d be out of town and so was not there when I presented my lesson.

Randy said that he’d be giving a talk and invited me to come to his ward. Turns out our meetings are at the exact same time. I didn’t realize it was ward conference or I may have found a way to attend his church in Magna.  During my lifetime I have realized that ward conferences are either really very good or else I leave church very unfulfilled.  Fortunately most of it was positive for me.

Since I have been teaching in this ward, the most people we’ve ever had attend a youth class has been eight.  But today we had nine leaders (most visitors from the stake) and five youth squashed into our tiny room.  I was so grateful that it was Kelly’s turn to give the lesson. Turned out to be the same one I had delivered last week.  Same references and stories from Elder Bednar.  But with an added touch of stake leaders making comments in addition.

After the young men excused themselves and Kelly finished up the lesson, I used an example I had used last week (as only one youth remained that had heard it last week) I also realized that I’m not as out of touch with the Spirit as I think I am – not if Kelly and I keep landing on the same page of example.  So at the end of this particular lesson, I felt his tender mercy for myself.  And I am grateful to understand that now.

In Sacrament meeting the speakers are assigned the same topic throughout the month.  Our bishop went first and then there was a beautiful musical number – a medley of “Come Follow Me” and “Lord, I Would Follow Thee” played on violin.  It was awesome.  Musical numbers often are.

The second counselor in the stake presidency (who also happens to be a member of our ward) stood up and stated how he doesn’t like to follow the musical number.  I can so relate to that.  

I enjoyed his talk very much.  He had prepared two talks – one on the assigned topic of the month but chose to give the other as to not repeat anything.  Right away he had my attention.  And as Jenna spent the night with Randy and attended his ward this morning, I was actually able to listen to his wonderful talk.

Five things stood out as he began his talk:

1              “Don’t miss the boat!”

He said the boat is the ward thus
2              “We are all in the same boat!”
3              “Noah built the ark before it started raining.”

4              “We all need to work at our own pace.”
5              “The ark was built by armatures, the Titanic was built by professionals.

Food for thought.

Mommy, Take My Picture!

She seemed fascinated
with the toilet.  I thought
she’d train early. 
She didn’t.

She took off
after she turned one. 
How cool to
move herself
with her feet, to go
from room to room. 
To explore. 

                                                      She collected balls and rocks.

Whenever we’d go
out walking she would climb
on fire hydrants and
pick up anything
she found in her path. 

She loved roly-polys. 
They resembled small balls. 
She did attempt
to put one in her mouth.

                                            She collected whatever she could carry.

She started preschool
when she was three. 
We’d walk to school. 
She would balance
on the way, walking over walls
as though she was on a tightrope. 

I would entertain her
with imitations of circus music
and emcee her “daring moves”
and I would take her picture
She dawdled
as she explored every yard
between our house and the school. 

                                                    She collected rocks and pinecones.

She loved each season
and enthusiastically greeted
anything that was new. 
The wind,
crunching leaves,
snow banks,
 fascinated with
every part of nature. 

                                                    She collected rocks and leaves.

Today she dawdles
much as she did when
she was three.  She explores
whatever God has created. 
She climbs trees and
snow banks and continues
to make snow angels. 

She continues to
balance on walls as she did
when she was three
and asks for me to make the sounds
of the circus as she performs
on her “tightrope” and ask
"Mommy, Will you take my picture?"

                                             She collects Pokémon cards and rocks

She will stand on top of
 rocks and stumps and ask me
to take her picture
lying on balls and
fire hydrants still exploring
as she had when
she was three

                                                        She now gives her rocks faces.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Interpretation of Dreams . . . but not always

This post is different from  average - at least in this blog.  Perhaps you have an opinion?  And then we could have a discussion

I dreamt that I was at some kind of convention – a BYU education week perhaps.  I believe I was in Provo with a mass amount of people.  For some odd reason I had been toting around some bedding (at least two pillows and one afghan) something I would NEVER do in real life.  For some reason there was a group of us ended up waiting for one of the instructors at his home.  And while we were waiting several dressed like hell’s angels decided to do some kind of aerobic activity on the instructor’s lawn.

As the skies grew dark I found myself on the front porch wrapped in my afghan and sitting on my pillows until I decided (as odd as their particular moves seemed to be) I would join them.  I was a lot thinner in my dream and therefore it seemed more reasonable than if I were to try it now in real life.  I would probably end up lying on the grass unable to move.


Somewhere along the way we had instantaneously moved from the lawn to a room in the house receiving instruction.  I don’t know what the topic was. I can’t imagine that it would have held my interest judging by the group of people that were present – I just don’t think I would have been interested in the same subjects – though it all seemed to make sense in my dream.

I recall walking to the next class with a female association of the instructor’s.  It was no longer dark, but the sun shone brightly as we walked onto the campus for our next class. The class was on physics or psychological disorders or something that starts with “p” although the “p” itself is not pronounced.  Whatever the topic, I am certain that I would have found another class to attend in real life.  


As different students were filing in, I was separated with the woman whom I had walked in with.  She was near one door and I found myself standing by the other on the opposite side of the room. Just before the class started I realized that I had left the bedding behind.  I was a bit panicked at loosing my treasures (the afghan is one my mom had made for me in real life) and wondered how I would recover them. How would I ever get to the Wilkinson Center (a building at BYU) from where I was and be able to find my contents undisturbed? (duh, I was standing by a door – I didn’t have to stay for the lecture, did I?) I then remembered that I hadn’t been at the Wilkinson Center at all.  My belongings remained at an instructor’s house.  I hadn’t paid attention to how I had arrived there and did not know how to go back.  Surely his female associate would know his address.  But I never saw her again.

For the remainder of the dream I searched for someone who could tell me how to get back so that I may reclaim my bedding.  When I awoke both pillows were on my bed along with the afghan that my mom had made many years ago.  Had I shared this dream with Roland he would have asked, “What do you think it means?”

I think it means I was extraordinarily tired.  End of story.


Do your dreams seem to send messages for you?  What's your opinion about this one?

Friday, January 24, 2014

What's in a Name?

I recall a former bishop who has six children – each given a name or names after people that this bishop and his wife had crossed paths with.  I had actually met the two men whom their youngest had been named after.  I was just a youth when one of the men passed, but I’m actually good friends with the man who is living.  What an honor the bishop’s youngest should feel to share a name with such a marvelous man, as I’m certain each individual involved with the lives of their family.

My mom had been given one of those feminized masculine names (e.g. Josephine, Roberta, Patricia, Geraldine, Georgette . . .), which she didn’t particularly care for. It was three syllables long and as she learned to write was too long of a name to fit on the top line of any school paper.

It wasn’t until high school when she decided to go by her unisex nickname (e.g. Joey for Josephine, Bobby for Roberta, Pat for Patricia, etc.) but still did not care for the name. 

After Corey had finished his mission, my mom went to Europe to tour with him before he returned back to the states.  Corey introduced her to several people he had served with.  One was a man whose wife was expecting a child.  They wanted to name the baby after Corey (who’s given name could be feminized quite easily) but said that if they were to have a girl that they would name the baby after my mom.  I think she may have been flattered in a way, but hoped the couple would have a boy, as she was not fond of her name – though she did like the way her name was pronounced by the expecting father.  They ended up giving birth to a baby girl whom they named after my mother.

There are several names now adays that one may associate with being feminine or being masculine that eventually end up on the unisex list.  We would have named Jenna after my father had she been a boy but Roland wouldn’t go for the name for a girl – nor did I know how to feminize it though I had a few suggestions – nothing really felt right.

I really did like the name Jenna – but that’s the only thought that was put into it.  I named her that because I liked the name.  That was it.  I did give her my maiden name as a middle name.  This I did for three reasons:

1)             I could honor my dad with his last name and have a piece of me in there as well
2)             If something should ever happen to me and Roland, it was decided that my family would continue raising Jenna (and the boys as needed) and I wanted her to have the name for family connection
3)              My maiden name isn’t Cannon.  It’s less common (about the 975th most common name) while Roland’s last name is very common (65th most common at the time) and to avoid financial problems and “proof of identity” that may occur later on, I gave her an identity that should separate her from pretty much everybody else on the planet.

Had I thought about it, I may have named her after Roland’s late wife.  But it really didn’t even occur to me until my sister Kayla was pregnant with her first child.

Through inspiration, Kayla had already suggested to Bill that they should name their first daughter after his late wife.  And thus Anna was named after Annaleigh.  Had she been a boy there was a name reserved that has become tradition for Bill’s side of the first name for I don’t know how many generations. But the boy would go by whatever middle name his parents gave him.  Thus two years later the names were given to my (currently) youngest nephew.  The name he goes by is the first name of my father.

Now pregnant with their third child, they decided to name him/her after mom though the spelling would be different.  I can’t help but believe, though mom was not fond of her name, that she would be honored, as the child should be for being named after such an awesome woman. 

Here is another interesting situation that has occurred in my family:  My maternal grandmother is the oldest of three.  She has two brothers.  Girl, boy, boy.  My mom is the oldest of three children.  She has two brothers.  Girl, boy, boy.  I am the oldest.  I have two brothers.  Girl, boy, boy, girl
My brother Patrick and his wife were the first to provide my mom with grandchildren.  There eldest is a girl.  She has two brothers.  Girl, boy, boy, girl.  I had told Kayla that her first-born would be a girl.  Mine was.  Mom’s was.  Patrick’s was. 

Do you honor the names that you have?

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Preparedness (according to Wikipedia) refers to a very concrete research based set of actions that are taken as precautionary measures in the face of potential disasters. These actions can include both physical preparations (such as emergency supplies depots, adapting buildings to survive earthquakes and so on) and trainings for emergency action. Preparedness is an important quality in achieving goals and in avoiding and mitigating negative outcomes. 

Methods of preparation include research, estimation, planning, resourcing, education, practicing and rehearsing.

         It’s been eighteen years since BYU hosted the imperial tombs of china – an exhibit that my mom and I had gone to.  I found it odd that these rulers would spend their entire lives preparing for their deaths.  But then I suppose to some extent many of us experience a similar thing.

         Oh, we don’t design the interior of our tombs, or have servants weave the jade suit that we will be buried in, or spend billions of dollars recreating an army of statues or select people to be buried with us. Yet there are millions who will send a check to a life insurance company each month so that their beneficiaries may be able to use that money on their burial when the time comes.  Some actually plan out their programs, purchase plots, and even make final arrangements for themselves. And sometimes those plans are carried out.  Others are not.  And it’s not as if the deceased will really be the ones who benefit

         We are also encouraged to prepare to face disaster.  Keep a backpack near the front door so that we can evacuate at a moments notice.  It has happened.  An apartment complex had flooded and the tenants were asked to relocate.  Fires in various cities have kept the residence away – or rather it has been enforced.  
There are a number of reasons why we need toprepare.  We may have invested on creating a food or water storage for example.  We may need it when the weather is great and there are no elements to force us to leave our house. We may use your food supply during the time we are out of work and there is no income.  Roland and I lived off food storage and charity for two years.  And I am grateful that we had the sense to store the food that we had – for it was desperately needed.

         One day last week Roland and I had the opportunity of attending an emergency preparedness class.  I had made arrangements to leave Jenna with a friend, but she said she wanted to go to the class.  I had heard the “earthquake lady”’s demonstration before.  This video will give you an idea of how involved she is with emergency preparedness.

         For Christmas she will give “preparedness” gifts – and while it’s a wonderful thought, I bet the average receiver (grateful or not) would hope that she or he will never have the opportunity to use said gift.  I have a hard time collecting “stuff” that takes up space when I’m having a hard enough time finding space for the essential day to day stuff.


         We were advised to prepare backpacks for each individual in the family.  Jenna took her words to heart  – and though she couldn’t find a backpack to use, has put together the necessary items and had filled a handled bag.  If we were asked to leave the house right now, she is the only one who is physically ready.