Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gratitude

"This is a wonderful time to be living here on earth. Our opportunities are limitless. While there are some things wrong in the world today, there are many things right, such as teachers who teach, ministers who minister, marriages that make it, parents who sacrifice, and friends who help. . . . We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues."
—Thomas S. Monson, "An Attitude of Gratitude," Ensign, Feb. 2000, 2

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Make Me Babies.com

I found this cool website on my friend's blog. :)

This is what it predicts our children will look like . . .

Daniel Wells Collett


Jill Halley Collett

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving :)

Well, I missed having a big family Thanksgiving; I've never been at one this small before. All in all, it was still wonderful. I did the dishes about 6 times, and Jeffrey basically made all of the food that was our contribution.

Jeffrey did the turkey and created a delicious marinade for it to bake in. He also made mashed potatoes from potatoes instead of a box, along with homemade rolls, funeral potatoes, and stuffing. My contributions were turkey gravy and jellied cranberry—haha. The ham, corn, apple pie, and cheesecake were contributed by Jason and Amy.



We played Euchre, Aggravation, and Settlers, and we had a grand ol' time. Funny story, Jason preheated the oven and spent all morning trying to determine the best way to bake his ham, and then he finally was ready. He opened the ham to plop it in the oven, only to discover it was already baked, and he needed a new plan of action. :) His glaze was delicious! And Amy's homemade apple pie was scrumptious. Jeffrey's grandma (Scherer) had a tradition of eating slices of cheddar cheese on her apple pie, which Jeff and Jason love, so I gave it a go. :) Jason searched the internet and discovered it's German thing. I don't know if I prefer the cheese to vanilla ice cream, but it was good.



There we are, quite full of food and content.



They look pretty happy too, although Amy might be in danger of a punch . . .

The evening was rounded out by watching some Colbert Report and The Cosby Show, and of course some football.

Monday, November 24, 2008

What's Wrong Right with Teens Today?

I read this article on one of my favorite sites, and I was really impressed.

What's Wrong Right with Teens Today?
By: Bob Smithouser

Are you tired of hearing people talk about Generation Y in terms of Generation Why? "Why are so many kids sullen and apathetic?" "Why are test scores falling and dropout rates rising?" "Why do teens harm themselves, disrespect adults and shoot classmates?" These are valid questions if we hope to turn things around, culturally. Still, not every teenager fits the "Gen Why" profile. Allow me to introduce a few young heroes I've read about recently.

You won't find many teens more selfless than Terry Miller, a 15-year-old boy who came to the rescue when a propane-fueled explosion set a neighbor's mobile home ablaze. A badly burned, panic-stricken woman stumbled into the yard, pleading for someone to help her children. Terry raced inside not once but three times to find and retrieve her 4-year-old daughter and 9-month-old son. Blinded by intense smoke and heat, he succeeded by homing in on the children's cries.

Then there's Trevor Robinson. While walking through a parking lot, the 17-year-old high school track star noticed a car veering toward him and his friends. He shoved two girls out of the way and took the full impact himself. Trevor survived significant injuries, but his promising track career didn't fare as well. Just days after the accident, he had to miss a big race that was won by Tim Carr. Carr, aware that his winning time was several seconds slower than Trevor's previous best in the same event, visited Trevor in the hospital and graciously gave him the gold medal.

Here's more reassurance that teenagers haven't gone to the dogs. When T.J. Moehler (16) saw a large pit bull attacking a 10-year-old boy, he sprang into action despite having a broken arm. The vicious animal's jaws were leaving deep wounds in the child's legs and feet when T.J. pulled the dog away, pounding it with his cast. Then it turned on him, biting T.J. and forcing him to seek sanctuary atop a parked car. His arm re-broken, he would need a screw inserted in his wrist. But T.J. considered it a small price to pay to help someone in need.

Elsewhere, a Greyhound bus carrying 38 children careened off the highway when the driver suddenly passed out. Fortunately, 16-year-old Laura Simpson was sitting several seats back. She'd never operated a passenger car, much less a Greyhound, yet Laura grabbed the wheel and straightened it out, managing to rouse the driver enough that he let up on the gas and stopped the vehicle.

And don't forget Michael Evans, age 13. He and 10-year-old pal Dustin were playing behind a palmetto scrub when Michael felt an unmistakable sting in his flesh. The boys had wandered into a rattlesnake pit. Immediately, Michael hoisted Dustin onto his back and carried him more than 60 feet to safety, suffering three more snakebites along the way. He nearly died during a three-week hospital stay yet blushes at the term hero, stating, "To me the heroes are the men who died and tried to save lives in 9/11." Isn't that just like a hero?

Ryan Hreljac's noble act wasn't birthed from a sudden crisis and rush of adrenaline, but there's no telling how many lives he has saved. As a 1st grader he learned that millions of Africans lacked clean drinking water, so he created the Ryan's Well Foundation. Ten years later, it's still going strong. Ryan (16) has raised nearly $2 million and dug more than 300 wells in 14 countries. In addition to providing clean drinking water, his foundation works with the locals, emphasizing sanitation, health and hygiene.

We come into contact with teens every day. Most won't make headline-worthy sacrifices or risk their lives to save others, but many are heroes just the same. For telling the truth. For keeping a promise. For deciding that an extra hour of studying beats peeking at a classmate's test, or that sex is a precious gift worth saving for marriage. They're young people of character, and they're all around us.

Coincidentally, as I sit writing this column on a snowy morning, I've noticed our teenage neighbor shoveling our driveway. Not for cash. Not for praise. Just to be kind.

There's a lot of talk about what's wrong with teens today. I'm thankful for young people who show us what's right.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

BYU Lost

So, the Utah/BYU football game was today. It was a let down. I hoped to see some really good football, but it didn't happen. I watched my Cougars mess up repeatedly and the Utes take full advantage of all of our foibles. Oh well. There's always next year. I feel bad for Max Hall. Not the best way to end your regular season. I hope we'll still go to a Bowl game, even if it's not a BCS Bowl.

Ryan and Brooke


The pregnant wives: We were there for the food, win or lose. :)


Zach is still fully invested. :)


Aaron plying his skills.


Jeff is coping with the loss by pouring his misery into billiards.


Despite the loss, Ryan remains in good spirits.


Someone creative made this video about the BYU/Utah game. It's funny, but then it's kind of weird, because it's Hitler, and well he's scary, not funny. But if you put that aside, my favorite lines are "We've never lost a fireside" and "Where's our reward for righteous living?"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Basketball is Back

Well, BYU Men's Basketball is back. Jeff and I went to the exhibition game on Tuesday and were excited by what we saw. Tonight, we went to the home opening game with the Bellows and the Poultons and had a lot of fun. I assumed that Long Beach would be an easy team to beat, but they proved that they were not to be taken lightly! Lee Cummard saved the game for us in the first half, and he ended up with over 30 points! Tavernari finally got his game together in the second half and ended up with 19 points I believe. I was also impressed by some newcomers this year: our pointguard, something Jr., and Emery, who apparently is not a complete newcomer because he played before his mission.

Yup! He's a Cougar fan. :)

The boys were pretty happy to get to go to a game.

The Poultons are happy that their baby is coming soon!

We were happy that basketball games are half as long as football games!

After the game, we headed over to the Creamery where the Poultons and Bellows enjoyed some tasty treats. Jeff and I purchased some groceries and then came home and made Chicken Panini Sandwiches. I love eating panini sandwiches, but I hate the word, because it's Italian, and in Italian panini is already plural. The singular form is panino. So, I always want to say paninis, but I know that's not right in Italian, but then it's an American term now, right? So I can say it? Anyway, I know I'm like the only one who cares, but yeah, it's a struggle every time as I have an inner debate on what to say.

An addition, Long Beach played a top 25 team on Sunday and only lost by a few points, so apparently Long Beach is just a really good team, so I don't have to be as worried about us not absolutely killing them.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Mothers

"Being a mother has never been an easy role. Some of the oldest writings in the world admonish us not to forsake the law of our mother, instruct us that a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother, and warn us not to ignore our mother when she is old (see Proverbs 1:8; 10:1; 23:22).

"The scriptures also remind us that what we learn from our mothers comprises our very core values."
—Thomas S. Monson, "If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear," Ensign, Nov. 2004, 116

Jeff had a birthday

Jeffrey turned 26 on Thursday, November 6. He had three exams, a basketball game, and a football game. I had work, volunteering, and choir, so needless to say, we did not do much on his actual special day. I did leave choir early to show up at his football game with donuts though! Both of his teams won their games, so that was a good day for that!

On Saturday, after the BYU smashing victory, some of our friends went with us to an El Salvadorian restaurant on . . . maybe 3rd W and Center (downtown Provo).

The food was really tasty and inexpensive. Jeff and I were full on just $6.00 of food! Interesting, while we were there, a group of teenagers from a church (possibly United Church of God International) came and danced/mimed a song in Spanish for donations. It was unexpected, but great to see teenagers out and about doing productive things instead of like haha the ones Brooke and Zach found skipping school doing surprising things! :D

Candela and Chris Rice who shared the secret of the great restaurant with us.


Brooke, Zach, and Ryan Bellows and Aaron and Brittany Poulton who joined us in the feast of pupusas and celebration of Jeff's birth. (haha)

Birthday Boy and Me!

Amy and Jason joined us at the bowling alley for continued fun.
There is my stud. I believe he bowled around 130 or somewhere for his two games. I randomly got 94 exactly both times . . . I'm consistent at least!


I know, I know, it's no surprise, but I still get a kick out of the size difference for Jeff and I with our shoes! Hehe. Mine are women's size 5, and his are men's size 14.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election

So, it's true. I voted for McCain. I was pretty sure he wouldn't win, and he didn't. The fact that Indiana actually voted Democratic (I'm from Indiana) tells me that things have really changed in this country recently. (As if there haven't been enough indicators.) Anyway, I thought that McCain and Obama both gave very good speeches.

I am well . . . I did not really want either to win. I definitely preferred McCain, but neither of them really inspired as me as someone I wanted running our country.

I do see positives in Obama as our President Elect however. I have a feeling other countries will like us a lot more. It seems that other political leaders will like him more than they like Bush. He is a very good speaker and had good speech writers. That's always a plus—to look and act like a president. I think he really truly wants to do what is best for our country. While I disagree with what he thinks is best for the country, I do appreciate his earnestness and honesty.

That said, I am worried. I try not to be, because worrying achieves nothing and it's too late now. He's elected. All I can really do now is pray for him, which I will do more than I have for any past president.

I will never be persuaded to his side, and I hope, hope, hope that he will for the most part let the states be and not try to make too many policy changes that will actually affect me. :(

On the flip side, California, Florida, and Arizona all passed their marriage protection ammendments! Yay! What did surprise me was the Florida did it with the largest margin. Kudos to them. I'm sad that three cases have already been filed to be heard by the California Supreme Court in an attempt to overturn the law. Will the judges will overstep themselves again and make democracy pointless? We'll see I suppose . . .

Family Watch does a better job addressing some of my concerns with Obama:

Sharon Slater, President

Senator Barack Obama’s victory in yesterday’s U.S. presidential election means serious trouble ahead for the family and family values in the U.S. and internationally as well.

Like virtually all Americans, I am proud that the U.S. has come so far in the area of race relations that race no longer disqualifies a candidate from the nation’s highest office. That said, however, the fact remains that Senator Obama is the most liberal current U.S. Senator.

Obama also has the thinnest “resume” of any U.S. president in modern history, which makes it very difficult to determine exactly where he would come down on many critical family-related issues.

However, we do know enough about him to be very concerned on several fronts. For example, consider this statement he made to a California homosexual rights group:

As the Democratic nominee for President, I am proud to join with and support the LGBT community in an effort to set our nation on a course that recognizes LGBT Americans with full equality under the law. That is why I support extending fully equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples under both state and federal law. That is why I support repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and the ‘Don't Ask Don't Tell’ policy, and the passage of laws to protect LGBT Americans from hate crimes and employment discrimination. And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states.

And how will his goals be implemented? Through Congress and through the courts. It was widely expected that the Democrats would gain seats in both the House and Senate, but how many Senate seats would be picked up was the major concern of conservatives.

For our international audience, this is significant because it only takes 40 Senators in the U.S. Senate to block virtually any Senate action through what is called a “filibuster.” This is how traditionally both Democrats and Republicans, when they have been in the minority have been able to have some influence on laws, policies and judicial appointments. It takes 60 Senators to end a filibuster.

Before the election, the Senate was divided 51 to 49 in favor of the Democrats. The Democrats only needed to pick up nine more seats in the Senate to make it filibuster- proof. They just picked up five more seats, and four contests are still too close to call. So the Democrats are dangerously close to having the 60 Senate votes needed to literally run roughshod over the minority party. Since they also have a large majority now in the House and control the White House, being able to shut off a filibuster would mean there would be virtually no checks left on the Democrats.

That means that the Democrats, led by very liberal leaders in the House and Senate and the most liberal current U.S. senator as the next president are very close to being in complete control and able to fully implement their stated legislative and policy agenda. That seriously threatens the family and family values.

Among their goals is repealing the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that Senator Obama referred to above. This law prohibits recognition of same-sex marriage for any federal purpose and also protects any state from having to recognize a same-sex marriage performed in another state.

Among the other items on the Democratic agenda:

  • making abortions easier to obtain,
  • abolishing all federal support for abstinence sex education,
  • lifting the prohibition on providing foreign aid to nongovernmental organizations engaged in abortion,
  • passing hate crimes legislation to cover homosexuals and transsexuals,
  • supporting embryonic stem cell research,
  • undermining parental rights, and
  • ratifying bad international treaties such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

In addition to direct legislative action, a complete Democratic Party takeover of the Legislative and Executive branches of the federal government would mean more activist judges will be appointed to add to those who are already destructively legislating from the bench. In this respect, Barrack Obama’s statements again are very troubling. Consider his recent pronouncement:

I’m tired of these judges who want to follow what the Founding Fathers said and the Constitution. I want judges who have a heart, have an empathy for the teenage mom, the minority, the gay, the disabled. We want them to show empathy. We want them to show compassion.

Obama appointees will likely have no compunction about making law from the bench, a practice that is already undermining U.S. democratic government and requiring citizens to go to extraordinary lengths, such as amending state constitutions to try to keep judges in their proper role. This clearly cannot be done with every bad decision.

In addition to such high profile attacks on the family and family values as legislation and court decisions, there will be other less obvious but no less damaging attacks. For example, the instructions to the U.S. delegates negotiating international policies at the UN will change dramatically. I am not looking forward to the UN conferences next year.

Under the Bush Administration, U.S. delegates have been helping hold the line on a wide range of family issues. Now they will be more like what we saw during the Clinton years, when the U.S. delegations were the leaders in creating problems.

Government departments and agencies will also change dramatically as new, much more liberal Obama appointees take over and begin implementing their agendas.

The bottom line is that while there were some truly monumental successes in protecting the family in yesterday’s election, primarily the strong support for the three state marriage amendments, I am not exaggerating when I say that the years immediately ahead will be much more difficult than ever before in U.S. history.

We have been doing some contingency planning for these political developments, and over the next few weeks, we will be outlining for our U.S. members a plan for how we propose to meet these difficult challenges.

Supporters of the family in the U.S. will now have to be much more aware and more engaged than ever before if we are to have any hope of defending marriage and the family. I am hopeful if we redouble our efforts, and implement effective strategies that we can minimize the damage, although unfortunately, we will not be able to prevent it altogether.

Sincerely,
Sharon Slater
Sharon Slater
President

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Grow So Fast

1. Ryan's face plant is pretty hilarious.
2. He's getting so good at rolling over!
3. He's just too cute!



We got to spend some good time today with our favorites, the Bellows and the Poultons. Brittany is due in 5 weeks! I wish I were due in 5 weeks haha. :)

Here I am with my favorite boy, even though he drools on me sometimes. It's been so fun to watch him gain abilities. Like today he held his own bottle! So much personality is already coming out. He loves it when Brooke (his mommy) reads him stories, which I never knew that babies could enjoy that young!