Saturday, November 29, 2008
The digging pits were definitely the favorite part for everyone. There were 4 huge sand pits filled with cement fossils of varying size and shape. You could unearth an entire skeleton there. The area was equipped with shovels, scoops, and paintbrushes for removing the sand. It was pretty fun and it was really hard to leave.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
This is Nathan's favorite holiday of the year because it's the one time he can cook without restraint and abandon all moderation. As a tradition, we seek out and invite any people we can find who may be alone for the holidays or those who would otherwise not enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner. It's great fun and each year we entertain a nice blend of people with a variety of backgrounds. Our guest list this year included:
4 women from Nigeria
A friend from India
2 Mormon missionaries
a family of 5 we know via work and church
a single mother and her daughter
Shameka, Lisa's best friend
We made 100 rolls the day before Thanksgiving. It was great fun. Nathan taught the children how to form the rolls. We all had fun working together to form them.
Nathan roasted 2 large turkeys, and I must add that his recipe for turkey defies all competition. The white meat is juicy (not like the cardboard-hard and dry white meat you usually get) and the dark meat is tender (not th slimy stuff you're used to). His recipe starts 6 hours before the roasting time and everyone ALWAYS loves Nate's turkey. Even the people who usually avoid turkey found themselves getting seconds. It may have something to do with his fantastic cranberry dipping sauce, thanks to Alton Browns recipe.
The pies are a particular favorite. Nathan loves making pies. This years pie list included:
2 pumpkin (the classic)
2 pineapple cream
Black forest pie
2 Paradise Isle (Lion House recipe)
Butterscotch (I've never made butterscotch from scratch before....it's really not like what I expected, but delicious!)
Much to Nathan's disappointment, my favorite dessert was the Rasmalai that our Indian friend brought. It was SO GOOD! I love Indian desserts and I was so tickled with her dessert that I went back for more and skipped the pies. I raved about it to her and she agreed to teach me how to make it. I'm so excited at that prospect!
This year we made nut cups for each guest as place cards. Nathan had the idea and we did a family art night to make them all. We cut out paper to make each cup into a little turkey and the kids helped us put them all together. It took too long to cut out snoods for each turkey, so I was skipping that step. Matthew was so disappointed that his turkey didn't have a snood, so we made a special-order turkey for him. We drew name tags on the turkeys belonging to the Elders. :)
I set the tables an hour before guests came, just so I wouldn't have to worry about it later. Daniel was so excited to eat that he promptly climbed in a chair and asked if we could say prayers yet. I explained that dinner wasn't going to start for a long time and he should go play, but he was so determined to wait it out. He sat there for 30 minutes, asking every 5 minutes if it was time to pray yet! I tried to rock him to sleep for a nap before dinner, but he was too excited to relax and he would fight to get away. When guests did show up, he fell asleep right before dinner. He was sitting up listening to us chat and his eyes just dropped and he fell asleep sitting up. Poor guy! I felt bad that he had waited so long just to miss it all anyway. He woke up at the end of dinner, so he had the table to himself while he ate.
As a family activity for FHE this month, we had the children tell us things they were thankful for and we wrote their statements on laminated leaves to decorate the tables with. Some of their statements were:
Sarah- Maps so I don't get lost. The color pink. My bedroom. Primary teachers.
Matthew- Food so I can stay alive. My parents. My stuffed monkey, Lawrence Abu Kingsley.
Daniel- Jesus. Sugar. Glue. Prayer.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I agree that we should tolerate other people's choices and freedom to act according their own conscious, but 'tolerance' does not mean 'agreement'. I don't have to agree with other people's choices, and the very nature of the word 'tolerance' implies a disagreement. I can still respect and serve people I disagree with, and indeed, that happens every day in my neighborhood and family. We have a homosexual couple living two houses down from us. They are kind men and I enjoy talking with both of them. We take gifts over at Christmas and bring treats around the year to them. My daughter loves playing with their dogs and one of the men literally saved an elderly neighbor's life. They are decent people and I consider them to be good neighbors. I don't agree with their lifestyle choices, but I can still respect their agency and individual worth.
Some opponents to Prop. 8 have been so full of hate and violence and that is really disturbing to me.
How is a Christian to respond to people who attack our standards in the guise of tolerance?
“To respond in a Christlike way cannot be scripted or based on a formula.
The Savior responded differently in every situation. When He was confronted
by wicked King Herod, He remained silent. When He stood before Pilate, He
bore a simple and powerful testimony of His divinity and purpose. Facing the
moneychangers who were defiling the temple, He exercised His divine
responsibility to preserve and protect that which was sacred. Lifted up upon
a cross, He uttered the incomparable Christian response: ‘Father, forgive
them; for they know not what they do' (Luke 23:34).”
Challenges to our faith are not new. Nor are they likely to go away anytime
soon. But, as Elder Hales reminds us, “True disciples of Christ see
opportunity in the midst of opposition. We can take advantage of such
opportunities in many ways: a kind letter to the editor, a conversation with
a friend, a comment on a blog, or a reassuring word to one who has made a
disparaging comment. We can answer with love those who have been influenced
by misinformation and prejudice – who are ‘kept from the truth because they
know not where to find it' (D&C 123:12). I assure you that to answer our
accusers in this way is never weakness. It is Christian courage in action.”
I know a lot of religious faiths united to pass Prop. 8. The list of supporters included Evangelicals, Catholics, Jews, Muslim, and atheists. I'm so pleased that people are starting to understand what power society has when good people of various faiths unite. I have several friends of different faiths, such as Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, and atheist. I meet twice a month at a Baptist church to support and strengthen mothers in our area. I respect our various friends and sincerely appreciate their efforts to improve society. I learn a lot from them and enjoy their friendship. We invite these friends over for game nights and parties as often as our schedules allow it. I think God sorrows when people allow religious differences to bar friendships or goodwill.
I think we'll soon discover that good people across the nation will have to unite more often to protect our basic values. I hope we won't wait until the next 'Proposition' vote comes around before we unite with our brothers and sisters in Christ(Or Allah). Invite someone over for a BBQ or strike up a conversation with someone of another faith. There's enough negativity to last a long time, what we need is more goodwill, regardless of personal beliefs. United we can change the world, just like we did this month in California.
Though Proposition 8 has caused divisiveness in California and within the Church, one incredible by-product of this campaign has been increased brotherhood and unity among Christian churches. While the LDS Church has been under attack, prominent priests, ministers, and writers—as well as common members—have come out against such attacks and shown their support of the Church.
The following blog entry, communicating such support, was recently posted by John Schroeder, a well-known Evangelical writer, on his Article VI blog:
Proposition 8 is now a part of the California constitution!
That is probably the best news from an otherwise difficult election for conservatives and Republicans. In very large part, we Evangelicals must thank our Mormon cousins for that fact. They, along with our Catholic brethren, were better organized than us and that provided a base from which we could ALL work together to get this job done What more, as we have chronicled here, Mormons took the brunt of the abuse, derision, and even threats of physical harm that came with this effort.
And like us, they have given thanks to the Almighty that is ultimately in control, even if their understanding of that Almighty is a bit different than ours.
I cannot help but wonder how much more thankful we ALL might be today if we had been more willing to embrace these religious cousins a few months ago - but alas, politics is always about governing today and looking forward to the next election.
“In the battle for the family, however, traditional Christians have no better friends than the Mormon faithful. It would be wrong if that support were taken for granted. We are intolerant of the false attacks on Mormon faith and family. We stand with our Mormon friends in their right to express their views on the public square. We celebrate the areas, such as family values, where we agree.
“A heart felt thank you may not win points from other friends who demand one hundred percent agreement from their allies, but it is the decent and proper thing to do.
“Thank you to our Mormon friends and allies!”
Hard to do better than that. The “Ruth Youth” ministry proclaimed yesterday “International Mormon Appreciation Day.” Very appropriate, yet still inadequate.
In addition to our thanks, Mormons deserve our protection. They have been oppressed in ways during the Prop 8 campaign that this nation has not seen since the 1960’s and the civil rights movement. The rhetoric has been deplorable, but moreover. we have seen instances of vandalism, property destruction, and some leaders in the fight currently find themselves with armed protection because of the threats made against them and their families.
Our nation will not and cannot tolerate this sort of behavior - it is incumbent on all of us to stand against it, and the best way to do that is to stand between the Mormons and the forces that would perpetrate such evil.
Now I am sure the Mormons can, and probably want, to take care of themselves, but as a Christian, it is my duty to protect the innocent and free the oppressed. To turn a blind eye in this circumstance is not only ungracious, it is simply un-Christian.
Make all the theological distinctions you want, but in the political arena we are yoked with the Mormons (he said borrowing some religious imagery) and it is darn well time we started acting like it.
Absolutely, positively thank the Mormons - but don’t stop there. Stand up and be counted against the evil that has been perpetrated towards them in this campaign.
As Christians we can do no less.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
They found a dying grasshopper and very solemnly constructed a burial site for it. They made a perfect little cemetery plot and laid a tulip leaf over the mound of dirt. They lined it with tiny white pebbles and made a cross headstone out of twigs. Then everyone went to search for the best flowers to adorn the grave with. It was beautiful and they were so proud of their work. It was so fun they decided to hunt down more grasshoppers just for burial! They were very serious and meticulous about the entire affair. By the end of the afternoon, there was a tiny row of grave sites all marked with crosses, pretty stones, and tiny flowers. What a fun way to pass the day!
After that they constructed a play house out of scrap wood from an old barn. They all worked together lifting and moving the large pieces of wood. They lined out the walls and garage (Matthew made the garage. He was SO proud of his work) and made a 'moat' (aka mud puddle) to deter strangers. The true entrance to avoid the moat puddle was around the back through Matthew's garage. They made a sign painted on a board, nailed that to a pole, and propped the pole vertically by stacking large rocks all around the base. They were very industrious for over an hour on this project and they were so giddy when it was finished. I was given the grand tour and each person proudly explained their contributions. I loved it! they're so excited to go back and make the house even better.
I loved watching them be creative and work as a team to make something big and fun. They had so much fun and were absolutely exhausted when we made it home! What a great way to spend the day!!