Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas 2008

Icicles on our house showing how the winds blows.
Beautiful babies on Christmas morning. And finally me with my nephew's wife at the family party.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mormon Bishops

My dad was a bishop. Most of the people who read my blog are LDS, but there are a few who aren't and may not quite understand the role of bishop in the typical LDS ward. They are sometimes called the father of the ward. Like fathers, they do a lot for the people they serve--without a whole lot in return. Bishops donate oodles amount of time to the community they've been called to preside over. They should be spiritual, compassionate, organized, a good leader, a good teacher, a model father and husband, a friend to the youth, kind to children. Well you get the idea. They should be about everything good--and nothing bad. Being the child of a bishop was a little bit of a pain in the neck, because if I was a smart alec in Sunday School, the teacher would pull me aside and remind me that I should be setting an example. I should've reminded the teacher that my dad was a smart alec too, so I came by it naturally, but I didn't. Usually, I just said I would try to do better, but I said it with a scowl and roll of my eyes--or a smirk.

Since that time, I've had at least a dozen bishops. In varying degrees, I've liked all of my bishops. Some I've known very well since my husband often served in the bishopric with them, well about six times, he's been in a bishopric. A bishopric consists of about 6 men who are counselors and clerks who help the bishop, but ultimately the responsibility of the entire ward of several hundred people lies squarely on the bishop's shoulders. The others can only do so much. I've worked closely with a few bishops in some of my own callings. Without exception, these bishops I grew to respect.

In Grouse Creek, our bishops wore cowboy boots, big buckles, and had an obvious tan line, typical of ranchers who wears hats and work outdoors. We've had bishops who drove school buses, farmed, taught, ran businesses and so forth. They can come from all walks of life. So where am I going with all of this? Bishops often set the personality of a ward. I'm in a new ward. Adjusting to a new ward is a challenge. For many of the years we've been in Paradise, we've been in the same ward and have made a lot of friends. I've been in a bit of a funk in our new ward. I feel a bit invisible, and even unloved. This is no ones fault, well except maybe mine. People are nice enough, but they don't know me. However, Mick and I are both happy with our new bishop. Yeah, we know it doesn't make any difference in whether or not the church is true, but we think he's pretty cool. Here's a picture of him with his family---trick or treating at our house. See?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Power of the Individual

For anyone who has stopped believing in the human spirit, the joy of service, and the power of the individual this book is for you. Or even if you believe in all that and want a good reminder of how it is done, then this book, "Three Cups of Tea" delivers.
Basically, in 1992 Greg Mortenson failed in his attempt to climb to the top of K-2. Exhausted, he stumbled into a small remote Pakastani village, where he was taken care of. He was surprised and shocked to find out that kids gathered for school in the open air and studied without a teacher. The village couldn't afford to pay 1.00 a day to hire one. He promised to return and build a school. In an effort to rasie the funds, and without any knowledge of even the basic functions of a computer, he wrote to hundreds of rich people and celebrities and only received 100.00 for his efforts. He sold all that he had and made a little over two-thousand. He needed 12,000. This story tells how with that beyond meager beginnings, he eventually was able to build nearly 80 schools and is still going strong. He learned the customs and traditions, worked with the people to accomplish unsurmountable odds. It really is a thrilling adventure and one everyone should read.

One thing that stood out to me, is Mortenson's belief that educating a girl is the way to change society. By educating a girl, you educate a family, and a village . . . and so on. His schools now are mostly built for girls.

The title of the book comes from this great line. "Here (in Pakistan and Afghanistan) we drink three cups of tea to do buisiness; the first you are a stragner, the second you become a friend, and third, you join our family, and for our family we are prepared to do anything--even die."
Haji Ali, Korphe Village Chief, Karakoram Mountains, Pakistan

If there were more people like Greg Mortenson, then peace could be more than a dream.

Monday, December 1, 2008


There aren't many photographs of my growing up years. The story is that every time anyone got the camera out, I stomped my feet and started to cry. The consequences are that the record of my life is sparse. This was one of my favorite photos of me. I look happy, my brother is laughing at me, and I thought the plant in the background was my hair. I loved that my hair stuck straight up!!!

This week I learned some more about consequences. The local newspaper doesn't like being told they "caved in." (see previous blog) I received no less than three less than friendly phone calls from the managing editor of the Herald Journal. It's clear that he believes bullying people who criticize them is the best way to do business. I was not prepared for the unprofessional confrontational tone the editor took with me. Somehow, I wrongly assumed that a newspaper would be used to criticism, after all they certainly make their living publishing the faults of others.
I still stand by everything I wrote. And for those of you not in the area, the letter. with a few word changes to satisfy the legal department was published last Wednesday. My letter to the editor was purposely disabled from access in the online edition. Yes, every other letter of the week was there, but not mine. After a phone call from a citizen and some emails, the letter is now available.
Numerous people have told me thanks for writing the letter. There are people who are continuing the cause of helping Mayor Atwood. There are people who are ready to keep digging until the truth is found out and justice is served. I like to hope that my letter might have stirred some action.