June 2009 in Review

1st – Lydia sits in my lap and proceeds to manipulate my hand so she can give me “five” and she’s so proud of herself.

3rd- I was cleaning up the kitchen and the living room, and without being asked John found things he knew how to clean and cleaned up all by himself!

– John dipped goldfish in ketchup.

4th – John and Lyddie have a BLAST playing with the swing box.

5th – John decides that Teddy Grahams would make a good cereal… I can’t say I disagree.

7th – Lydia is definitely more of a walker than a crawler.

8th – Went to the Shawan’s for dinner. We hear Heather, their 3-year-old, yelling, “Bring back my underwear! Bring back my underwear!” Then we see Lydia walking into the room proudly showing off the underwear in her hand.

11th – Omi came to town!

12th – Visted the Tracey Aviary and had a great time.

– John purposefully puts his shoes on the wrong feet.

13th – John, sitting on the bathrrom floor, poured baby oil on a brush and brushed hair, which lead to an empty bottle of baby oil on himself, the floor, and consequently VERY oily hair.

14th – It’s been rainy (and cold) for almost 2 weeks, but when we walked out of church it was beautiful and sunny. So, Aaron decided we should go out and get a cheap grill so we could cookout and have a nice dinner on our patio. So, we went to Walmart, picked out a grill, got some hot dogs and finally drove home… Only to have it start raining as soon as we drove into the driveway.

15th – My mom took John to the potty. Afterwards he gets a prize and he picked out both a chocolate and a car. Mom asked if he got both and I said, “No, only one.” When John heard me say that he proceeded to pick out another car and another chocolate.

Papa came to town!

16th – I went to the youth retreat until the 19th.

– After I left, my parents drove to and explored Park City. They stoped in at the Chocolate Factory. While my parents were paying for what they had picked out, John as quiet as a mouse, slowly sneaked over to and around the counter and with a very mishcevious, “I hope no one catches me” look on his face, he was slowly reaching his hand into the chocolate case when my mom caught him just in time!

17th – I’m caught outside in a hail storm!

18th – At the youth retreat we were separated into teams. Darren, our youth pastor, and I were on the same team, however he was officially the team leader. On this day, however, he needed extra time to work on his talks that he gave during the week. Wouldn’t you know they did a relay where the leader, now me, sat with an empty 2-liter bottle on top of their head while the students filled it up with water until it was full. We won, but Darren sauntered (ok, walked and innocently didn’t realize what had happened) back just in time for me to be completely soaked.

20th – John and Lydia emptied my pantry and dumped my rice and instant mashed potatoes into the sink.

21st – After church my parents took John outside to play for a bit. He rolled down a little hill and I went over to get him. I told him to go see Omi and Papa and he started running straight for a muddle puddle so I yelled, “John don’t run through the water!” He didn’t divert his path. Instead, as soon as his foot hit the puddle his hand covered his bottom knowing what was coming from his disobedience.

– John dumps out and he and Lyddie play in the rest of the bubbles.

22nd – John, walking up the stairs to the house, was in the shade. When he saw the sunny part he walked across the step into the sun and continued walking up the stairs.

23rd – Over at the Summer’s house. John, James, and Chloe are all the same age. At one point, all three of them, one at a time, came up the stairs crying/screaming draging a stuffed animal behind them. It was almost as though they choreographed it!

25 – Got back late and had to take Maggie home, meaning I had to wake up the kids and take them with me. John was still awake (although lying quietly in bed) but I let him get up before we left. He had so much energy he was like the ball in the pinball machine.

26th – The kids were playing with the water in the blow up pool as I pulled weeds. When I went to put the weeds in the trash I realized that they had my cell phone and were playing with it in the pool  water. My cell phone is dead.

27th – Being both clumsy and a dancer, I’ve become pretty good at turning a trip into a dance move or a graceful fall. Well, Lydia just triped and then gracefully disguised it as though she really meant to end up comfortably laying down on the ground.

28th – Found John standing in the toilet.

29th – Got the kids’ pictures taken. There was a river/pond that a bunch of people were playing in. So, after the pictures I took off John’s shoes and pants and let him go at it. He had a great time.

30th – Lydia fell down and started wimpering, so John went over, patted her saying, “Ok Lylia.” hugged her, gave her a kiss and she started crying harder!


Reflection of Oquirrh Temple Tour

* Before you take a tour of the temple they have you watch an informational video about LDS temples and the local area. One of the higher up men in the video made the statement, “I can’t imagine heaven without my wife and children… Heaven just wouldn’t be heaven without them.” That man, has completely missed the point of what heaven is. If he were a true Christian, Christ-centered person, he would say, “Heaven just wouldn’t be heaven without Christ.” His statement reveals an underlying, unsaid way of thinking in the LDS religion, that family is more important than God.

*All of the paintings, other than that of scenery, were depictions of Bible stories (possibly all revolving around Christ.) why is this a bad thing, you ask? Because the LDS church teaches that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and, in fact, it is more correct than the Bible. If this is the case, than why didn’t your temple reflect that? Why wasn’t there one single picture depicting a Book of Mormon scene? It made me feel like they were trying to hide something or be conniving in some way. And in fact ex-LDS say that after the temple is sealed and only members can go through, they do change the pictures, and hang some of Joseph Smith as well. The LDS church is manipulating the situation, trying to make themselves seem like something they’re not.

*There was absolutely no one to ask questions to. We were given a silent tour. Now, some tours may have guides, but we had a silent tour. Now, they have set up signs telling you which room is what, but 90% of the room say, “Instruction Room: Where people receive instruction about their faith.” or something like that. Well, that’s not very explanatory. Afterwards, you are invited to the reception tent, but besides the people serving cookies, I only saw one missionary, and she looked like she was on a break, eating a cookie. There was basically no one to ask simple questions to. Why?

*Going through the temple did not answer my questions about the secrecy and privacy of the LDS temple stuff, but rather created more questions. What exactly is this room for? What exactly happens when you come to the temple? What are endowments? Can anyone simply come and enjoy the Celestial room? What exactly is instructed in these instruction rooms? Do they really need another temple accommodating about 600 female lockers, and up to four weddings at one time? (Remember LDS don’t have a wedding season, nor are their weddings usually on Saturdays but rather throughout the week.)

*Would I recommend others going and seeing it?  I think it is helpful for those living in Utah and are immersed in the culture. Even if, for no other reason, to spark your curiousity and put a fire under your feet to study  a little bit more than normal about “The Church.” If you enjoy beautiful architecture and find craftsmanship, absolutely go and see it. It is, undoubtedly a beautiful building. Unfortunately it represents something very ugly and deceitful.

Information Before Reflection on Temple Tour

If you are not aware of Mormon culture or the religion, let me explain a few things first.

Mormons = The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints = LDS (and yes, “JESUS CHRIST” is in all caps. They like to point out Christ is in their name because he’s lacking elsewhere.) So those terms are synonymous.

Second, a large part of being Mormon revolves around their temple. To be a good Mormon, one must be “temple worthy.” In order to be temple worthy, you go through a temple recommend interview. I don’t know all that’s asked, but they make sure that you’ve been giving 10% of your income (yes they have financial statements), that you haven’t had coffee, that you aren’t cussing, that you’ve attended a high percentage of Sunday services, etc. etc. If you pass this interview and are deemed worthy to enter the temple, you receive a temple recommend. (Please note: One cannot be worthy to receive the best that God has to offer unless they are temple worthy and have been through the temple.)

If you are single and LDS, you strive to have a temple marriage, meaning both you and your fiance must be temple worthy. And only temple worthy family members can attend your ceremony. So, your best friend, or little sister who is yet too young to get married or take out their endowments, cannot attend your wedding ceremony. While this is a completely foreign thought to outsiders, it’s understandable to those in LDS culture.

If you’ve been married in the temple, then you are also sealed for all time and eternity to each other and all future children. If you became a member after you were wed, then you and your spouse can be sealed in the temple to each other and your children. This idea of being sealed means that you can be together forever with your family in the afterlife. What they fail to mention, is that there are stipulations. If one or more of those sealed family members are not worthy to enter the highest of heaven’s three levels, then you will not be together. (There are a couple other logical fallacies that I’ll refrain from explaining.)

The temple is also used for baptisms for the dead. Their belief is that after earth life there is a spirit prison and spirit paradise. Anyone, who has not received the restored gospel of the LDS church goes to spirit prison. (Since the true gospel was gone off this earth since shortly after Christ, everyone between then and Joseph Smith would be in spirit prison, even people like Martin Luther.) But it’s ok, if you’re in spirit prison because you get another chance to hear and accept the restored gospel. However, one would still have to be baptized and have the laying on of hands (giving to the Holy Spirit) in order to enter a higher level of heaven. This is where baptism for the dead comes in. In the temple, one gets baptized for a dead person by proxy, and then has the Holy Spirit conferred to them. Then the person in spirit prison can choose to accept or reject this baptism in their name. And of course, if you’ve accepted the restored gospel in spirit prison, there’s no reason to reject the baptism done in your name. (There are or at least have been proxy marriages performed too.)

The last thing, that I’m aware of, that is done in the temple is the taking out of your endowments. What that means exactly, I’m not sure. However, most women take out their endowments and get married on the same day. LDS missionaries will go through the temple and get their endowments before they leave for their mission. It is at this time that you would be given (or have the opportunity to purchase) temple garments (the special underwear). If you stop wearing them, however, you would fail your next temple recommend interview.

There are lots of questions that I do have about the temple, not the least of which is EXACTLY what happens when you “go through the temple.” But they also have the Celestial Room, which is supposed to represent heaven. My question there, is when do you go into the Celestial room? If I’m a “card-carrying” Mormon can I go and enjoy “heaven on earth” at any time, or only after I’ve done some sort of ceremony and which ceremony?

My next post will be about my impressions of the Oquirrh (South Jordan) Temple.

For more information:

http://www.mrm.org/#articles (Look under “The Mormon Temple” there are several different articles)

Airport Adventures

If you’ve never met my son, John Caleb, then you’re missing out on one of the most excited, vibrant, passionate little boys. He has a zest and excitement for life above and beyond other children. Now, don’t get me wrong, this can lead to trouble on his part, but for the most part, it just puts a big smile on my face.

Well, last Thursday, we picked up my mom (Omi) from the airport. As we waited for her, there was a young woman waiting for someone holding balloons. John was excited to see the balloons (“LaLoons”)  and wanted to play with him. So, I told him, “Next week when we come get Papa at the airport, we’ll bring some balloons for him.”

My father (Papa) flew into town today. As promised Omi and I took him to the party store and he picked out three balloons: yellow, blue and orange. (And all the Gators fans say, “Amen!”) We get to the airport and have to drop Omi off at the bathroom. Let me explain a bit about the Salt Lake airport. The parking garage and the terminals are connected by a sky walk, sometimes this creates multiple elevator rides, but we were lucky today. In the skywalk they have one of those conveyor belt people mover things, that I normally don’t use as I push my double stroller.

Anyhow, we got out of the car and I tied the balloons to John’s wrist. We get to the sky walk and step on the people mover. John’s so excited. Then the balloons come off his wrist. Luckily it was a low ceiling, but we’re moving away from the balloons. Not wanting to leave John behind and have him move further and further away from him, I grab his hand, “running” in the wrong direction reaching for the balloons. Now, this only went on for less than 30 seconds, regardless, I must have given someone quite the laugh. So, we step off the belt and go down the escalator. I find the monitors and realize, that we’re pretty late (due to a major accident) and that we should check the baggage claim. As we walk down I see Papa. So, as soon as we get close enough (still pretty far out) I bend down and I point out Papa to John Caleb and tell him to run to him. So there goes my almost-three-year-old son, screaming at the top of his lungs, balloons flying behind him, running as fast as he can to PAPA! It was the cutest thing in the world.

John proceeds to help my dad get his luggage and then insists on pulling his heavy (for a 3 year old) suitcase through the airport, while I’m wondering if I’ll get called in on child labor laws because of how hard his working to pull the suit case. So, we go up the elevator, across the people mover, down the elevator to the rental car place. (John of course loving all of the buttons he gets to push.) As we wait for my dad to finalize the car rental stuff, John simply enoys himself, finding anything and everything to entertain himself with. Right as we’re ready to leave John sees the bathroom and decides he needs “poopoo potty” which doesn’t really mean poopoo but rather simply potty. Anyhow, so I take him in there and he goes peepee on the potty like a big boy. He’s so proud of himself that he claps and screams “YAY”. Which my parents (and everyone else) can hear outside the bathroom.

So we get out of the stall and wash our hands. Now, we come to the paper towels, which are the kind that automatically release a new paper towel after you’ve pulled the other one. So, John pulls it, it gives another paper towel, he pulls that one, it gives another paper towel, “No, John, we don’t…” he pulls it, it gives another, he pulls… “No, sweetheart, we don’t…” he’s able to rip a little piece, it gives another, “John, no, we don’t need another paper towel”, but his yanking rewards us with another one, as I try to physically remove him from this possibly endless repetitive situation.

Now, we’re ready to go. We say goodbye to Omi and Papa and push the buttons on the elevator to get us to our level parking garage. As we enter the garage, John is simply heartbroken that Omi and Papa aren’t with us and doesn’t want to take another step. I finally conivince him to get to the car that we’ll see Omi and Papa in a little bit.

And for some reason, as I finish this story up, I feel as though it could be a Curious George book!