Sunday, October 31, 2010

We thank thee, O God

Day 3. a photo that makes you happy.


This is the late Gordon B. Hinckley, who was the prophet and president of the Church from 1995 to 2008. He is the "prophet of my youth"...the man who was leading the Church when my testimony truly took root and began growing. Aside from being a wonderful man and incredible representative of Christ, who did so much for the Church, he also had a great sense of humor. And, as the above picture makes clear, he was pretty classy. His smile was the one of the most endearing and contagious I have ever seen. I think this photo captured that well.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 2

Day 2: a photo of yourself a year ago

We were made for each other. Don't you think?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thirty-thousand words

Hi everyone! A blog entry on the Zombie Apocalypse will be forthcoming, but in the meantime, I wanted to get this project started. 

Because I like this idea. They say a picture's worth a thousand words (or something like that), so I commence this little photo project inspired by friend Julie's blog. Thirty days and thirty pictures. So here's Day One:

day 1. your facebook profile photo


(I feel like my skin looks overly-purple in this, but I'm a brunette at the moment! That's fun.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Self-quips

I don't hang out with friends enough and the "blogger world" is making me a blog-snob.

Also, I don't know how to write chemical reactions, but apparently I'm supposed to for my Foundational Science class.

I'm tired of homework. Give me the footlights.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Primary Chronicles, Installment One


Today was Jacob and I's first day as TRUE primary teachers! We were called to teach the 5-year-olds in Primary, and last Sunday was technically our first day, but we spent the whole time practicing for the upcoming primary program, so it was more like crowd control than teaching. We also had an activity Saturday morning, rehearsing the program, and it was fun. We've got a big group of kids, and from the limited interaction we've had with them, we adore them already. I want to tell you about them, but in order to protect their identities, I've come up with a few nicknames. Meet the girls first:

Brown Eyes - Quiet, and often in her own little world. Well-behaved, but mostly because she's too busy just observing and thinking to cause any mischief. But she's got a colorful little personality when she does speak up. We also discovered today that she's a creative and talented color-er.

QT Pie - The little darlin' of the group so far. She's usually got a purse and/or a trendy headband and/or jewelry, and all this makes her sound prissy, but she is the exact opposite. Mature and friendly, she's a real sweetheart. She can be a goofball as well, it just takes her a while to warm up. Her unafraid and open heart make her the ring-leader of the girls, and she's the first to offer her hand when walking to and from class.

Miss K - QT Pie's right-hand girl. They can usually make each other giggle, but never really get too disruptive. K can also be pretty goofy, but she's a good friend, just like QT.

Tooey - A little unsure about her new teachers, but she seems sweet. She tends to get antsy sitting for a long time, and usually ends up twirling/standing/twisting/waving just to get her wiggles out. One of the most articulate speakers of the group, she is usually one to speak up and answer a question, and her pronunciation makes her sound precocious, but she's just being her sweet self.

Queen Anne - We just met her today, but she's QT's other right-hand girl. She's probably the quietest of the group, and since we just met her, she's a little unsure about us, but seems to be warming up. She's happiest when giggling with Miss K and QT Pie.

And for the boys:

Kid B - Determined from Day One to despise us, and would downright glowered whenever we made eye contact for the first little while. But he's decided that we're okay now, and he's the catalyst for much hilarity. He's got a lot of energy, and sometimes it's hard to get him to sit still. He's not TRYING to be bad, he just doesn't see the point of reverence. But we're getting there.

J Town - Pretty quiet and shy, so we still don't know him very well yet, but he seems like a good kid. Well-behaved, and eager to help. He prefers to watch from the sidelines, and sometimes dislikes the insanity of being a part of a big, rowdy group. But he listens well and is a great balancing force to our class.

D Dog - A little shy, but still your fun-loving 5-year-old. On the first day we were in Primary, he got a little too enthusiastic jumping up to sing "Follow the Prophet," smacked his face on the chair in front of him, and cut open his gums. But with a hug, a few swishes of water, and a moist paper towel, he recovered well.

Ace - Still getting to know him as well. I'm really grateful that I'm taking a class on Exceptional Students and Learning Disabilities right now, because it's helping me recognize and deal with any difficulties. I think Ace might have some hearing deficiencies, based on the way he talks. He can be hard to understand, but he always cheerfully contributes, whether you understand him or not. It takes him a little while to warm up, but once he's there, he has a blast.

Of course, working with 5-year-olds has some pretty memorable moments. Exhibit A:

Last week, Kid B noticed that a boy sitting in front of us had pants that were riding a little low. Kid B's got some trouble with his l's and r's (they're all w's), and he turned to me and said "Guess what?" (the way he starts all his stories) "His pants awe fawing down and he isn't awaew (aware)."

Also, Saturday, I was sitting next to Brown Eyes on the stand as we practiced for the Primary Program, and we had the following interaction:
Brown Eyes - (pointing to a few people leaving the chapel) Where are those guys going?
Me - I don't know. Maybe they're going to the bathroom.
Brown Eyes - (with a sudden look of surprise and concern) I have to go to the bathroom!
Me - Can you hold it?
Brown Eyes - (vigorous head shake) Uh-uh.
Me - Okay, let's go!
It was as if she didn't realize that she had to go to the bathroom until the subject was brought up, and then it was a desperate situation.

Today's primary program went splendidly, by the way. All the kids remembered their parts, and Brown Eyes and Kid B effectively destroyed the hearing of half the congregation with their enthusiasm at the microphone.

The other funny thing that happened to day was during Closing Exercises. The kids did well in sacrament meeting, so we all got to sit on the floor and eat snacks and color for the last half of Primary. In his short trips to get a different colored crayon, Kid B was stomping around like Godzilla. He was making noises too, but because his mouth was full of food most of the time, I didn't realize what he was saying for a few minutes. Then I finally made out, with a Godzilla stomp on each syllable, in a deep and throaty Godzilla voice: "I can fowwow Deejus Cwist!" ("I can follow Jesus Christ!")

At least he's enthusiastic about it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Re: Carrie, or "Autumnal Angst"


In response to Carrie's recent "Fall is awesome" post, I have this to say:

Dear blog world,

I am about to rain on your squash soup recipe/cute leaf-based crafts/darling fall boots parade. Here's why.

I hate autumn. It's the end of summer, which season I do not hate. Autumn signals the death of all living things, people. Including sunshine. Don't get me wrong -- I dig colorful leaves. I dig carving pumpkins. I dig sweaters.

But, Carrie. "Blustery days with no sun"? How is that "happiness"? That means being cold and having Vitamin D deficiencies and not having picnics because you won't be able to feel your fingers by the end of the meal.

Perhaps I was just born with lemonade and the Pacific Ocean in my veins. I love to be barefoot and outside and communing with nature. But when being barefoot and outside and communing with nature is causing me to lose circulation in my extremities, our friendship tends to get a little (pun intended) chilly.

Here's the thing. Autumn leaves really are pretty spectacular. Autumn has its merits...scarves are fun, and woolen hats, and hot chocolate. I enjoy a walk in the crisp air, crunching leaves beneath my feet and admiring the Jack-O-Lanterns on various porches. But I love all of those things if the sun is still out. And in Rexburg, is that often? No. No, it's not.

So, I cling to summer, with everything in my lemonade, West Coast heart. And when I can't hold on any longer, I grab a book, close my eyes, and wait for the sunshine to return. If I could wave a magic wand and make autumn and winter last only last one month each, I would do it. But, as Carrie said on her own blog recently, "I can't be a wizard. So I'm a blogger."

(Valerie, if there was a way to "tag" you in the blog world, I would with this post.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dinner dilemmas

I was really good at making dinner for Jacob and I for the first month of our marriage. But I've kind of lost steam a little bit. Already.

But it would be much easier to plan exciting and interesting (and even consistent) family meals if I wasn't the PICKIEST EATER IN THE WORLD.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Los Cielos

This week in my online science class, we're studying the universe. (Not, like...ALL of it...just the basics of the Big Bang Theory and the history of the telescope and the nature of galaxies and stuff.) Anyway, I just watched one of the required Nova documentaries. I'm so humbled and amazed by the scope and scale of the universe, and by our minuscule understanding of it.

There are some things that I cannot find adequate words for. There's something that my mom always says...What if, just if, in all of the enormous immensity of space, ours is the only world like this one? What if there's no other planet in the billions of galaxies, each of which contain billions of stars, that is similar to our earth? 

What a unique and incredible place. What a blessing to be here on it. There's so much that we don't even understand...I'm so astounded by the beauty of God's creations.

"This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made. As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made; As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made; And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand. And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; Which alight proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space..." --Doctrine and Covenants 88:7-12

Our generation is now so used to computer-generated images of space...from the first Star Trek original series episodes to Saturday morning cartoons. But when you realize that these are REAL--as if someone with a Kodak sauntered to the edge of the galaxy and snapped a few shots--it's just astounding. The following are images from the Hubble Telescope. More can be found here







Thursday, October 07, 2010

A poem again

(TA DA! Thank you everyone, for your guidance on making blog changes! I've made a few minor changes, but I'm pretty sure we won't change the URL for a while. Also, I'm in love with my digital tablet.)

Another poem for my poetry class...I started this a few months ago, made some revisions, and post it here.

Lunchroom Savior

Wasatch Academy High School, 2010

It is middle school
all over again.
Tables full,
tray in hand,
a labyrinth of jovial disdain.
There are necklaces
and finely sculpted hair,
dakine backpacks,
and I have memories
of the jungle I felt
at age fourteen.

It is Talent Middle School.
Taran Nadler and Christine Scholes
are sucking face
in a cheering circle of their peers,
And I am standing with my tray
in my hands.
Apologetic.

It is Phoenix High School.
I stand surrounded
sumptuous breasts,
obscene thighs.
I watch
and build towers
out of the remains of my lunch.

It is Girl Scout Camp.
Summer of 1999.
And I walk in to a cabin
in time to hear laughter cut short.

I take my tray
and wander again.
Twenty four now,
but still unsure of the jungle.

And he comes.
Bare feet. Long hair. Blue eyes.
He sets his tray down beside me
and for this half-hour,
we are outcasts no more.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Ugh. I know it keeps changing its clothes, but...

Still not satisfied with the blog design. Oh, I have such visions! I don't want to just download a background...I want to be able to design things myself! How do you do these things? Is it all editing the HTML?
All you bloggers out there who walk off the beaten blog path, how do you do it? Do you download a template? How do I change the font for titles and stuff? I'll keep researching, but I'm fumbling in the dark here.

I'm inspired by things like this (not always necessarily by the exact look itself, but by its delightful deviation from the blogger template norm):
The Flowerchild Dwelling
You Will, Won't You? 
Pixies and Bears
Little Mrs. Caruso
Acorn Apron
My Girl Thursday

Also, by way of warning...I think this blog might be "moving." The current dinosaur-themed URL was a lot more applicable when the blog was "The Great Lizacommunicator." But I might change the URL to reflect the change to nude intelligence. This is still in debate. I'll keep you posted.

Also again, a new button shall make its appearance soon. To coincide with whatever else happens. 

Friday, October 01, 2010

V-licious

My friend Carrie is vegan this month. I commend her for a courageous and challenging experiment. However, she’s gotten scathing reactions from several members of the Church who seem to think she’s sinning against the greater light by abstaining from meat.

Exhibit A (Get your laughing belt on...this is UNBELIEVABLE. This has not been edited. I debated about publishing this, since it was sent to Carrie in an e-mail, but after discussing it, Carrie and I decided that the woman must have KNOWN that Carrie would sent it to others, being the cocaine-snorting Pharisee that she is. So I feel justified. I realize I'm being disrespectful, but really...can you blame me?):

Dear Carrie,
I stumbled upon your blog, and I have to say that I am very disturbed by your recent ravings of veganism. I was even more disturbed when I saw that you were LDS (as am I) and were using the sacred scriptures to promote such a vile lifestyle. 
To abstain from meat is to be as the Pharisee's [maybe I'm too staunch a grammarian, but the incorrect use of an apostrophe here further invalidates this woman's argument in my mind] who were trying to live the law of Moses. It is against our religion to not eat meat. For you to further abstain from dairy is something that you seriously need to reconsider and repent from. How dare you be so ungrateful and not take part in the gifts the Lord has provided for you! Your choice to be vegan is just as bad as someone's choice to take cocaine or smoke cigarettes. 
Also, the internet can be used as a great tool for promoting the building up of God's kingdom. I am disgusted at your choice to use it to promote the blasphemy of veganism and being vegetarian. 
You are in my prayers,
A Concerned Sister

Now, this response might have made more sense if Carrie had said "Hey, all you evil Mormons! You're all going to hell for eating meat! Join me in my crusade for Jesus and veganism!" But she didn't say that. She said "Hey, everyone. I'm trying this new lifestyle out to challenge myself, immerse myself in something different, and see how I can learn and grow."

Also, informal poll, LDS readers. The last time you went for a temple recommend interview, did the Bishop ask "Do you follow the Word of Wisdom by eating meat? Are you involved in the sin of vegetarianism or veganism?" Anyone? No? Okay, just checking. 

Scriptures have been quoted to her, and while she and those who are supporting are more amused by anything else by such violent reactions, I feel it necessary to defend her from a logical and doctrinal standpoint. So here it is. A treatise on MEAT.

(A note to any readers who are unfamiliar with the Mormon faith…we have a set of scriptures called The Doctrine and Covenants, which contain modern revelations from the prophets of our day. Mormons abstain from drugs, alcohol, and tobacco because of section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which can be found here. However, there is a lot of confusion among the “laymen Latter-day Saints” regarding other parts of the scripture. That’s what I will be discussing.)

The scriptures that have been mentioned to Carrie have included Doctrine and Covenants 89, Doctrine and Covenants 49: 18-19, and 1 Tim 4:3.

D&C 49: 18-19
It’s important to a) make sure we understand the language in order to understand their meaning, and b) put the scriptures mentioned in their proper context.
Here's what it says:

18 And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God;
19 For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance.

LANGUAGE

It seems that the more archaic language used in verse 18 is causing some confusion. Let's break it down:
“Whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats” is NOT the same as “Whoso abstaineth from meats.” The Lord is condemning those who forbid people to abstain from meats. I apologize if this offends anyone, but in order to clarify the language, let’s put it this way.

Person A: I am abstaining from meats!
Person B: I forbid you to do that!

The Lord is saying that Person B is not ordained of God, not Person A. In simpler terms, I apologize again to any who may be offended, but I think you just condemned yourself in your attempt to condemn Carrie.

CONTEXT
In D&C 49, the verses mentioned are a part of several admonitions. Let’s pick up in verse 15:
15 And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man.
16 Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be bone flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation;
17 And that it might be filled with the measure of man, according to his creation before the world was made.
18 And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God;
19 For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance.

It’s important to understand that all of these things are related to man’s free agency. The Lord wants His children to be able to choose for themselves. Forbidding marriage infringes on rights to create a family, forbidding the abstention of meats is infringing on mankind’s agency to choose for themselves what should go into their bodies.

1 Tim 4:3
This scripture is similar in wording and meaning to the scripture in D&C. Speaking of those that will “depart from the faith,” “in the latter times” we learn that they will spend their time:

Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

See above arguments for D&C 49.

The SOURCE (The Word of Wisdom): D&C 89
The use of meat is specified in verses 12 and 13:

12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;
13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

It seems that many antagonists of vegetarianism and veganism are selective in their reading of these verses, paying attention only to the phrase “Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man.” However, that’s only ONE THIRD of the information provided regarding the use of meat in our diets. The other TWO THIRDS specify that they are to be used sparingly, and—here’s the kicker—the Lord is pleased when they are NOT USED, except in times of winter, cold, or famine.

Just to make sure we’re all clear here: Carrie is not in a state of famine. It is neither winter. Nor cold. THEREFORE, “it is pleasing unto [the Lord] that [meat] should not be used."

Closing Thoughts
1. I think part of the violence of readers' responses stem from unconscious associations made from being steeped in the extreme "political right" (as in the GOP)...people hear "vegan" and think "crazy, tree-hugging freak who throws fake blood on fur coats." While there undoubtedly are some crazy, tree-hugging freaks who throw fake blood on fur coats, there are also some very good people who simply abstain from animal byproducts. I encourage readers to beware the difference between connotations and denotations...veganism/vegetarianism are often associated with left-wing extremists, but it does not mean that every vegan/vegetarian IS a left-wing extremist.
2. In today's society, motivation in abstaining from meat may not be as much about eating meat, as it is about the process by which the meat arrives at our tables. To speak personally for a moment, I have no problem with eating eggs, milk, and beef/chicken/fish. What I do have a problem with is hormonal injections, confining living arrangements, inhuman treatment, and dishonest marketing practices. Fellow liberals strike me down, but I believe that the Lord did provide animals for our use, to sustain and fulfill us. But I believe we should take a closer look at the stewardship we have and they way we're treating it. If someone gave you a puppy as a Christmas present, it would be unreasonable to cage it inhumanely, inject it with hormones, or otherwise mistreat it with the justification of "It was given to me for my use." If the Lord we worship knows of the fall of every sparrow, surely He is aware of each cow, pig, chicken, fish, and goat. And I can't think that He is pleased with the sense of entitlement with which we treat the "gifts" he's given us.

(Hey, Carrie. Instead of an "I am a vegan for a month" button, you should make an "I support Carrie being a Vegan this month" button. I'd post it.)