Thursday, October 23, 2008

I Was Tagged

My friend, Janine, tagged me to go to My Pictures, 4th folder, 4th picture and blog about it. This is it! It was uploaded on June 17th this year. We were in an orthodontist's office, getting professional opinions of my children's teeth. We've decided at this time, that none of them need braces badly enough to pay thousands of dollars for them, although the orthodontists probably would say otherwise. If my kids were uncomfortable with their teeth or had other issues that were problematic, then I would reconsider. What we saw were a few cosmetic things and I can live with that. Who's perfect anyway?

Why did we have a picture of this anyway? An orthodontist's office isn't usually a great picture place. I think it was simply because I was carrying the camera with me everywhere this summer and we had nothing better to do while we were waiting. Pretty boring, huh?

Well that's it. Now I tag Andrea H., Trisha R., and Lindy E. Have fun!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Riley's Story (Funny)

(Written by Robert)

There are some very real, very powerful joys that come from being a parent. Watching your baby take their first shaky steps, watching them ride a bike, and listening to their observations about life are some of the most joyful parts of being a parent. As our children get older, their assignments in school become more challenging. No longer are they supposed to "color three chickens," but they are getting into algebra with fractions, cellular biology, and hairy word problems involving two trains, one leaving Chicago at…. Well, you get the point…

This week Riley was given an assignment to write a short story. It had to be about Halloween and it had to use some rather difficult vocabulary words. I fancy myself rather good at vocabulary, but there was one word I had never heard of before, and one word I had the wrong (but very very close) definition for. (To be honest, I think 99% of the people who use the word, use it incorrectly, after looking it up in Webster's…) If you want to play a game, post what you think, before you read the story, the definition of "Ambivalent" is in the comments. Don't cheat and look it up, just write what you think it means.

Well, Riley wrote his story, used all his vocabulary words, and reading it brought Laura and I to laugh until we almost cried. It was honest, simple, and used words that I bet most folks have never heard of. Good job Riley. I hope others find it as wonderful to read and your mom and I did!

The vocabulary words have a link to the definition just in case you need it.

Halloween Story
By Riley Neal

Once upon a time there were four kids who were all friends. Their names were Josh, Dylan, Emily and Lyndsie. Josh was a belligerent fellow; he was 5ft. 1in. and always bouncing off the walls. Dylan was a cordial boy; he was very tall and skinny, 6ft. to be exact. Now Emily was ambivalent. She could never make up her mind about something; “I could go do this but this might happen.” Lyndsie was abstruse and altruistic; nobody really understood what she meant. She always had a metaphor or simile that never correlated with the subject they were talking about.

These kids lived downtown in an archaic and austere neighborhood so they always got together in their fort by an abandoned factory. I guess you could call this neighborhood daunting because of being antiquated. Living downtown means a lot of people and that leads to a lot of candy on Halloween. They lived in an arid place but just barely arable for wheat. Well anyways, they waited for what seemed forever until Halloween came around the next year.

This year was different than all the other years. This year Josh broke his leg one week before Halloween. The cast adhered right to the gauze. The cast was like a large conflagration, flaring red. He had to use a wheelchair for Halloween! This ruined the whole group’s plans. They were going to go from house to house to house, but now they couldn’t. Josh told them to go without him, but they said that if one person’s not going, nobody’s going. So they corroborated this ingenious plan to push him around in his wheelchair and he could be an old man. Josh would wear long jeans and get a white wig and get bags full of candy. In the end, Josh got three times as much candy as the other three and they all had a happy Halloween.

This might not have been the kind of Halloween story you were expecting. Nobody got scared, nobody died and nobody was condemned. It was just a happy Halloween. Josh, Dylan, Emily, and Lyndsie had one of the best times of their lives.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

General Conference

(Written by Robert)

It was General Conference Weekend. It is interesting the different feelings I have had over the years about this event.

When I was 8 - it was to be avoided like the plague. It wasn't only worse than church (longer, more boring and irrelevant) but it had the audacity to take away my Saturday too! Nothing ever did that, ever. It was bad.

When I was 16 - I had a testimony, and knew I should spend time listening but it was hard with all the things a 16 year old has to do. I didn't so much mind Sunday, but Saturday was simply too much. Did the Lord really expect me to waste all that time, when I had things to do?

When I was a missionary - There was nothing more important. I tried regularly to bring folks to church. I hoped they would feel the spirit, and understand what we were trying to say to them. But if I could get them to watch 10 minutes of General Conference, they would have an experience that they would never forget. They would see prophets of God, teaching, pleading, not for money or weird doctrines, but rather begging people to be better, be more honest, more patient, more loving. I knew, if I could get them to watch, I could baptize.

When I was a RM - It was an exciting thing to go to Temple Square to watch. I knew the apostles by name, and understood their speaking styles. It was a great time to show girls how spiritual and devoted I was. The trips were always fun too.

When I was a young husband - It was a great time to spend a quiet weekend with my wife. We could watch at our leisure, listen for advice, learn what things we should be doing better.

When I had young children - it was a nightmare. How did God expect me to bring my kids to the church and sit through 8 solid hours of church when 1 hour a week was almost too much to ask! I was horrified to inflict my loud, cry-baby, busy-body infants to the sacred chapels during conference. I wasn't getting anything from them and anyone within 2 square miles wasn't getting anything either.

Now that I have older children - it is a joy again. Especially with the internet making it so I can see and hear. I hear what I can do to be a better person, better husband and a better father. My wife hears things that help her in her life. Even my kids learn. They hear parts of talks that stick to them.

Dad - "Jared, what did you learn in conference?"
Jared - "I liked that jump rope talk. Sometimes we don't know how to do stuff, but if we see others doing it, this it isn't that hard, and I have good examples to show me how to be good. "

I am grateful that Father loves my family. I laughed the other day and I told Laura, "Ya know, I don't mean this to be silly, but God knows us, he know you and me, and I have rock solid evidence that he even knows my phone number!" (more on that later). I told Laura that to me knowing that "God loves everyone (and therefore must know them) is somehow not as intimate as knowing that God knows your phone number!" I love the Bradleys, Thompsons, Riddocks, even my wonderful Sister Kelli, but I have to look up each of their numbers each time I call.
It's good to know we are known and loved. Nothing brings that home more than General Conference weekend.


(Written by Robert)
Last Tuesday Laura and I decided to watch the Vice-Presidential debate. We normally don't watch a lot of TV but I wanted to see what was going on. I had heard a lot of talk before saying "Palin really needs to do well, Palin has to reassure the people, Palin has a lot of ground to cover...". I was amazed that the media (I spend most my news time on made it sound like she had lost before she even stepped up, and that Biden was simply showing up and was already far superior. Well, I watched, and I liked her. I liked her a lot. I could hear in the beginning how her voice (to me) appeared to be trembling, and that wasn't flattering, understandable, but not flattering. But as the debate continued it was like she found her place, she knew her material, and began to feel much more comfortable.

This is a very good thing. People (actor Matt Damon comes to mind) says that this is a nightmare, that because of her lack of experience, it is ludicrous to consider her a viable contender. I find her being an outsider a good thing. A very good thing. She should scare the people who have been around. They are "around" due to money from lobbyists, and they are beholden to them. As an "Outsider" Palin isn't encumbered that way and is free to act as a politician should, based on their judgment and experience, not on lobbyists.

The good-ole-boys club is nervous, and they should be. She is honest, (admitting when she isn't sure) hard working, (got herself to the governorship without the support of the Big-Boys) and down to earth. I am sorry but the world I live in, is full of soccer moms and grocery stores. That IS America. That is what she knows, and I couldn't support her more! Biden has a great smile, but it was mirthless, trained and well executed. Palin knows how to pay a mortgage, run a business, fight off oil CEO's, and raise a teenager (not perfectly, but who does!!!).
I think what made me most happy today was reading the news about the debate. As expected the focus was still on her, and the worst they could say was... "Palin deliverers, but doubts linger..." Was the debate supposed to remove all doubts on all things, from all people! Where is Biden! My doubts linger about him too! The headline is an affirmation, that she is doing a great job in shaking up the establishment and the worst they could say about her is... "she didn't crash and burn". They are right, she didn't, she did great, and I couldn't be happier to vote this November.