Thursday, September 27, 2012

Random Thoughts Thursday

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The other day I got up and discovered that I'd been wearing my underwear inside out for the last 24 hours.  That was an interesting way to start the day.

Today I had to be finerprinted for my new job.  They don't use ink to do that anymore, just computers.  It was kinda space-age.

Vicki is learning to play "The Phantom of the Opera" on the piano.  When she practices just the left hand it sounds a lot like Mr. Bean in the Olympics Opening Ceremonies.

On Monday, our neighbor promised Ellie that she'd have her sprinkler on this afternoon so Ellie could cool off on the way home from school.  Not only did Ellie and her friend Katie get soaked to the bone by the sprinkler itself (good thing it was 80 degrees this afternoon!), but Ellie got even more soaked when she slipped on wet stone and fell in the pond.  Good times.

School started for me on Monday.  I'm feeling a little frantic, but mostly under control right now.  I just have to keep telling myself I can do this.

I read this article last night.  It's scary.  Why do little girls need to think that sexy is good?  What's wrong with just being cute and sweet and wearing clothes that were made for children?  I hate shopping for clothes for my girls and having to shop around the mini hooker clothes.  The slideshow at the bottom almost made me cry.

But, to contrast that scary article, how about this awesome one?  Marcos's mom is a teacher at the girls' school.  What an amazing, levelheaded kid.  His parents are bursting with pride, and rightly so.

Your turn!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Random Thoughts Thursday (evening edition)

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I've been in training each morning this week for my new job.  I don't actually start the job until the second week of October, but the training has been good.  I'm going to be a reading tutor at the girls' school.  It's more intensive than I expected at first - I'm not just tutoring, but actually teaching kids to read, from the very beginning.  I think it will be a lot of fun.

Short e is a hard sound to teach.  Say "egg", and chances are you didn't actually use a short e at the beginning, but more of a long a.

I don't like really hot weather, but I'm not sure I'm ready for cold, wet weather, either.  Maybe just mid-70's and partly sunny.  That's not too much to ask, is it?

I want to update my phone's OS, but it says I don't have enough free space.  I guess it's time to take off all my pictures.

Ellie just showed me how she can wiggle all four of her loose teeth at once.

I love the fact that all three of my girls have used their own means (bikes or feet) to get to school every day so far this year.  And the only days I've picked anyone up in the car have been Lexi's dance days.  That will likely change, but it will be nice while it lasts.

Classes start on Monday, so I figured today would be a good day to go buy my textbooks.  Nobody told me it was New Student Orientation.  Yikes.

Our insurance company changed our network, and now we have to choose between staying in that network and finding new doctors for Chris & me or changing networks and finding a new pediatrician.  Considering we've seen the ped. considerably more often than either of us have seen our doctors, it looks like I'm in the market to replace the doctor I just found in May.  Good times.

Your turn!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Random Thoughts Thursday

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Yesterday I reported three cars for being illegally parked in the bike lane by our house.  That sort of thing didn't bother me until I started riding the girls to school every day.  So not safe.  At least whoever owns the cars won't know it was me who reported them.  That is, unless they saw me taking pictures of their license plates...

This morning Ellie somehow managed to get peanut butter on her one clean school shirt, and while I scrubbed it off and ranted and raved and begged to know how exactly she'd managed it, she said, "A magician never reveals her secrets."  I have no idea what I'm going to do with that girl.

This week the girls started back up with their extracurricular activities.  I've been to the dance studio twice and head to piano this afternoon.  I also started back up with some of my volunteering duties at the school.  And all yesterday evening I couldn't figure out why I was so tired.  I already miss the nothingness of summer.

School starts for me in another week.  Not sure if I'm ready yet...

One of my eyes sees more blue tones and one sees more red.  Am I weird for noticing this?

My house is really quiet.

I think I have successfully brainwashed Vicki to the point where she's actually looking forward to the Les Miserables movie.  Lexi sings Phantom of the Opera songs to herself, and Ellie keeps talking about wanting to watch Hairspray again.  My work here is done.

I can't read lips at all, but I imagine if I tried the results would be something like this:

Your turn!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

She's Not Me After All

I think parents are always looking for a little bit of themselves in their children.  "She has my eyes!" "He looks just like me when I was that age." "She's her father's daughter." "His hair is just like mine, poor kid."  I do it with my girls all the time.  Ellie has my bone structure, Lexi my sensitivity.  And Vicki...well, Vicki is the most like me.  I see myself in every part of her.  She has my hair, my eyes, my love for music, my sense of humor, my optimism, my voracious devouring of books.  Apparently we also share the same awkward run.

Yesterday, though, she told me about something that happened in school that made me glad she's not just a mini-me after all.

Apparently this generation's New Kids on the Block is a band called One Direction.  I only know who they are because I happen to be friends with a great number of middle-schoolers on Facebook.  In our house, we listen to what the girls sometimes call "old people music".  Some of it is, but not everything.  Our kids are exposed to a multitude of music genres, old and new, but contemporary pop is definitely not one of them.

I guess yesterday in Vicki's band class, a girl was wearing a One Direction t-shirt.  Although my daughter can identify all four Beatles at a glance and tell you which musical any given song is from, she had no idea who was on this girl's shirt.  Now, if it had been me in band class that day, I would have just kept my mouth shut, but Vicki innocently said, "Who's on your shirt?"  After feigning shock, the girl told her. At this point, if it had been me, I would have laughed like an idiot and said something super intelligent like, "Oh, right, duh!  I totally love them!  I...just...didn't recognize them...'cause your shirt was wrinkled...and...yeah."  Vicki, on the other hand, said, "Oh.  I don't know any of their songs." At which point every girl in the room went into heart failure and then expressed their deepest sympathies to Vicki, who I'm sure they now all assume must clearly be repressed.

I would have died of humiliation on the spot.

Vicki thought it was absolutely hilarious and will probably now ask the same question to every other One Direction shirt-wearer in the school.

She is not like me, because she doesn't care at all what other people think of her.  She is proud, strong, and confident in who she is, and she doesn't let anyone take that away from her.  I wish I could have been like that at her age.  Dang, I wish I was like that now.  I don't know where she got that confidence from, but I'm so thankful she has it.

I love this kid so much, and I'm glad she's her and not me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Common Word - Thoughts on September 11

Eleven years ago, I was watching Sesame Street with my then 10-month-old baby girl.  When the show ended, I flipped the channel over, hoping to find something a little more grown up to watch.  What I found instead changed the world forever.

I thank God that I was not personally affected by the events that took place on September 11, 2001.  I was living in Salt Lake City, surrounded by all my family.  I didn't know a single person in New York City or Pennsylvania, and the closest friend I had to Washington D.C. was a teacher in Northern Virginia.  Everyone I knew and loved was safe.

Even then, though, I still felt pain.  Pain, shock, horror, and disbelief at what was done to my country, to my fellow men.  I also felt overwhelmed at the response of so many, both by Americans and by people from so many other nations.  I remember seeing American flags proudly wave from homes, cars, and buildings all over the world.  I remember hearing "I'm Proud to be an American" (a song that, as a former expatriate, already had a dear place in my heart) play over and over on the radio.  Most of all, I remember the amazing sense of kinship I felt with all my fellow Americans.  Everyone came together to stand united in the face of such tragedy.  That feeling of unity is something I will always treasure, a beautiful rose risen among the ugly thorns of terror.

I wrote the following post in March of 2009, and I've reposted it on 9/11 once before, but I feel it is appropriate to post it again today.  Enjoy.

A few months ago I read a book called The Faith Club. It was written by three women – a Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew – who met together in the wake of 9/11 to discuss their beliefs and to try to come to an understanding of each other. It was fascinating to follow the journey each of them made as they learned and reached out to each other. What on the surface seemed like a simple thing – a social gathering, a time to build friendships and learn a little from each other – became a turning point for all three as they struggled not only to understand the beliefs of the other two women but also to gain a deeper understanding and testimony of their own as they were challenged in ways they had never been before. It was inspiring. I have a friend who is an Orthodox Jew, and we’ve discussed our religions, and their similarities and differences. Reading this book made me wish I knew a Muslim woman, too, so I could start my own faith club. Of course, I’d probably include another Christian, of the more mainstream variety (I already have one in mind!), since Mormonism is different enough to warrant some discussion there as well.

Anyway, since reading this book, I have had such a desire to come to an understanding with people of different faiths. I’m not looking to agree with them, or have them agree with me. I just want to understand and find common ground. All three of these major world religions come from the same beginning. We are all Abraham’s seed. There are major doctrinal differences, things that will probably never be agreed upon, but we all pray to the same God, whether we call Him by the same name or not.

This brings me to the purpose of this post. Lately I have noticed that a lot of Christians (Mormons included) still seem to harbor ill will towards followers of Islam. The more I see or hear of this, the more it upsets me. I’ve been having a hard time sitting by quietly and allowing these things to go unchallenged. I suppose I can understand the sentiment behind the mindset; after all, terrible things have been done in this world in the name of Islam. However, I firmly believe that these things are being done by people who either do not fully understand the true message of their religion, or who chose to follow only select words, without giving heed to the full meaning in conjunction with the rest of their religious beliefs. I am no expert on Islam, and cannot even claim to be an expert on Christianity or Mormonism, but I do believe that none of these faiths condone the things that are being done in the world today in the name of God. It makes me sad to see the way all of Islam is being lumped together as a religion that tolerates, supports, and even encourages violent acts.

The truth is that, just like there are different sects of Christianity who hold to different sets of doctrine, there is a small portion of Muslims who believe it is the will of God that they engage in jihad, or holy war, against other nations. But this is not true of the majority of Muslims. It amazes me how we Christians are so willing to believe this misleading information when there is so much out there that gives incorrect “facts” about our own beliefs. There are websites dedicated to informing the world that all Mormons are polygamists and all of Mormonism is of the devil, in the same way that there are sites that would have the world believe that all Muslims are jihadists and that all Islam is evil. They’re out there; we’ve all seen them at some point, and when they’re about our own beliefs we’ve all been disgusted and outraged that anyone could be so misinformed and disrespectful about something we hold sacred. Why, then, can we be so willing to believe things about other religions without doing unbiased research. Ah, the appeal of a Faith Club…

I have been bothered by this for awhile now, feeling like I should say something to stand up for a people, who, in my experience and study, I have come to believe are generally kind and peace-loving, but I haven’t known how to go about it. Until yesterday, that is, when I read this article in The Oregonian. It talked about an open letter to Christians written and endorsed by many Muslim leaders. This letter, titled “A Common Word Between Us”, calls for an understanding between Muslims and Christians, using passages from both the Qur’an and the Bible to make its point. It establishes the fact that the two greatest commandments in both Islam and Christianity are to love God above all else and then to love your neighbors – all your neighbors. Who can argue with that? And, given that, who can really believe that Islam teaches unprovoked war with others?

I’m not writing this to start anything. I’m not necessarily even looking for comments this time (although they’re always welcome!) This is just something that has been on my mind for a long time, and I finally found a way to bring it together and put my thoughts and feelings down in print. I have a great love for my Father in Heaven, and for the faith that has led me to that love. But I also have a great respect for those who are strong in their own faith, even though it may not agree with mine. I want to learn as much as I can about those faiths so that I can understand my fellow men, and grow to love them as my neighbors. Regardless of whether you agree with me or not, I strongly encourage everyone who reads this to take a look at the Common Word website, and to take some time to think a little bit about loving our God and loving our neighbors, and allowing all men the privilege to worship how, where, or what they may.

I will leave you with the concluding paragraph of “A Common Word”:

So let our differences not cause hatred and strife between us. Let us vie with each other only in righteousness and good works. Let us respect each other, be fair, just and kind to another and live in sincere peace, harmony and mutual goodwill.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Random Thoughts Thursday

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You absolutely MUST watch this video:

Now visit the website. (from there, be sure to check out the blog and Facebook page.)  There is so much awesome in this idea I can't even begin to express it.  Maybe I need a ProxyVid for that...

School started for the girls this week, Lexi and Ellie on Tuesday and Vicki yesterday.  Since Vicki started after the younger two and yesterday was early release, today is my first full day home alone since June.  It's quiet.  I like it.

It's a little scary to think too much about the fact that I have a 7th grader, so I try not to think about it at all.

I start school in another week and a half, and then I start my new job not too much after that.  I'm going to be a (paid!) reading tutor at the elementary school.  I'm excited!

I was going to clean out the garage today, but I managed to put it off long enough (with good reason) that I think I just need to wait until tomorrow.  Oh, darn.

Lexi, Ellie, and I biked to school on the first day.  Apparently we're trendsetters, because since then there have been more bikes on those racks than I've ever seen in our seven years of going to that school.  How cool is that?

It would be nice if all my extreme Republican friends on Facebook remembered that they have at least one Democrat friend.  I'm just sayin'.

I'm getting ready to order something called the Cansolidator for my pantry (which is actually my garage, which is one reason why my garage needs to be clean out so badly).  Is is horrible that the cheesy name made me search elsewhere first?

Your turn!
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