Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Brand New B& H Media Blog

Brandon gave a talk on Sunday where he mentioned how we like to watch movies together as a family. Afterward, someone came up and asked us if we would share our list with her of some wholesome movies. So I've put together a blog of some of the movies (and other media) that our family has enjoyed and put on our "good movies" list. If you're interested you can check it out. The site is: http://bhmedia.blogspot.com. Please leave comments about any other uplifting movies that you've enjoyed! We'd love to hear your lists!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Proposition 8 and Free Speech

We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As many of you have seen in the news, the temples of the Church have been targeted for Anti Prop 8 demonstrations & protests. The Church has issued this statement in regards to these protests on November 7, 2008. To read the Article go here.

"It is disturbing that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election.

"Members of the Church in California and millions of others from every faith, ethnicity and political affiliation who voted for Proposition 8 exercised the most sacrosanct and individual rights in the United States — that of free expression and voting.

"While those who disagree with our position on Proposition 8 have the right to make their feelings known, it is wrong to target the Church and its sacred places of worship for being part of the democratic process. Once again, we call on those involved in the debate over same-sex marriage to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other. No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information."

Also on Nov. 7, Bishop William Weigand, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento and former Bishop of Sacramento, offered a statement on behalf of the Church:

"Catholics stand in solidarity with our Mormon brothers and sisters in support of traditional marriage — the union of one man and one woman — that has been the major building block of Western Civilization for millennia.

"The ProtectMarriage coalition, which led the successful campaign to pass Proposition 8, was an historic alliance of people from every faith and ethnicity. LDS were included — but so were Catholics and Jews, Evangelicals and Orthodox, African-Americans and Latinos, Asians and Anglos.

"Bigoted attacks on Mormons for the part they played in our coalition are shameful and ignore the reality that Mormon voters were only a small part of the groundswell that supported Proposition 8.

"As the former bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, I can attest to the fact that followers of the Mormon faith are a good and generous people with a long history of commitment to family and giving to community cause.

"I personally decry the bigotry recently exhibited towards the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — coming from the opponents of Proposition 8, who, ironically, have called those of us supporting traditional marriage intolerant.

"I call upon the supporters of same-sex marriage to live by their own words — and to refrain from discrimination against religion and to exercise tolerance for those who differ from them. I call upon them to accept the will of the people of California in the passage of Proposition 8."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Are We Prepared?

I've thought a lot about preparedness lately. Many of you probably have also. With the drastically fluctuating economy, it's easy to see how anything could happen and it could happen fast. Peace comes by being prepared for whatever lies ahead. In our church, our leaders have counseled us to be prepared. A great resource for helping you become prepared is: http://providentliving.org/. We've used this website numerous times. It contains helpful information about:
  • Family Home Storage - information about storing food and water. On this site you can calculate how much your family will need for a time period you select (a month, three-months or more). Also there is information about how how long food stores and where to go to obtain it. This is an excellent resource!
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response - information about preparing for an emergency or disaster and what to do in an emergency.
  • Employment - helpful information about finding a job and job links.
  • Family Finances - good information about avoiding debt and using a budget.
  • Social and Emotional Strength - overcoming additions, coming challenges that face families including divorce, parenting issues and pornography.
  • Physical Health - Information about exercise & fitness, nutrition & diet and medical care.
This is just a few of the highlight of this wonderful website. Let's seek to become prepared for what lies ahead in all aspects of our life.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Optimistic Thoughts in Troubled Times

This morning I opened up yesterday's paper (I was running a day behind) and began perusing headlines. I don't know if yesterday was just a downer news day or what, but it was a little discouraging. These are some of the words & phrases I read:
  • Economic Meltdown
  • Protest
  • Havoc
  • Racist Threats
  • Prospects Dim
  • Tragedy Endures
  • Struggling
  • Failing
  • Making Matters Worse
  • Confidence Wanes
Almost every news story had one of those phrases in it. These are hard times! And if we read or listen to the news it is shoved in our face every day. Although it's important not to be naive to the negative things that are going on in the world, I don't think we should surround ourselves with it.

I try to put on filtered lenses as I read the paper or hear the news these days. Of course I still see the bad, but I try to look for the good. Here's what I found when I read today's paper:
  • Winds Calming
  • Big Boom
  • Rebuild America
  • Fresh Vision
  • Brighter America
  • Develop Courage
Let's focus on the brighter, rebuilding and booming America. Let's develop courage and fresh vision. These are hard times, but the future is bright.

Passing Proposition 8 is Not the End

We are grateful that Proposition 8 passed. It was so heartwarming to see the people step up in support of traditional marriage.

While we are aware that many do not agree with our stance on proposition 8, we respect them and their differences. There is no need for individuals on either side to resort to violence, vandalism, cruelty, threats or other negativism.

We realize that we have not heard the last of this issue and we hope supporters will continue to rally together in support of this important cause.

Here is a recent news article from protectmarriage.com:
Proponents of Proposition 8 Urge California Supreme Court to Hear Challenges to Measure's Validity

Friday, November 14, 2008

How can we survive the economic crisis?

I guess we'll step off the soap box now and get back down to earth and it's practicalities. Some of us are feeling the economic pinch right now and some will feel it in the short-distant future. I expect that most of us will feel it before this crisis is over. How can we survive the hard times that we face now and will face in the future? What can we do to keep afloat financially? Where can we cut back?

Here are a few ideas to think about as we trim our budgets:

  • Gasoline - for some of us this is one of the largest expenditures in our budgets other than housing. Although prices have recently gone down, don't be fooled into thinking they will stay for long. Now is the time to prepare for when the prices will go back up. Is carpooling an option? Walking or riding a bike? I'm always surprised at how fast the miles rack up in the car even just going short distances. Save money and walk (or ride a bike). The perk is you get your exercise at the same time!
  • Food - trim your food budget by cutting back on expensive snacks and packaged foods, try not to eat out much and cut back on expensive meats and comfort foods. By simplifying your meals and returning to basic foods, you'll not only save significantly on costs but start to eat healthy as well!
  • Limit Shopping - plan ahead and only go to the store once a week (or once or twice a month if possible). It's a fact that the fewer times you go to the store, the less money you will spend. If you run out of something that you use, try to do without until your next planned shopping trip. As you limit the number of shopping trips you make, you'll also cut back on the amount of money you spend on gasoline and food.
  • Utilities - think in conservation mode as you use utilities. Turn your temperature down and put on a sweater or an extra blanket at night. Lower your water heater temperature. Turn out lights that aren't being used and switch to florescent bulbs where possible. Don't run the dishwasher until it's full. Take shorter showers. And so on. Doing this will not only save you money, you'll be preserving our natural resources as well.
Well there's just a few basic ideas to start with. Do you have more ideas? We'd love to hear your comments.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Americans Have Lived Beyond their Means Long Enough

At this time of economic crisis it's really easy to point fingers at who is to blame. Some claim it's the federal government's fault. Some blame it on the housing lenders. Most of us aren't willing to admit that we as an American people have been altogether too rash in our spending on every level. Greed has plagued the market from the top of of the government ladders all the way down to the basic family unit. Living beyond our means has caught up to us and we will be paying for it in the years to come.

It used to be that wealth was measured, in part, by what one owned. In general, people who were rich dressed better, ate better, owned more and lived in bigger homes. Today, this is no longer the case. In our day, we have seen how the convenience of credit cards and the ease of obtaining housing and consumer loans has blurred status lines. People who make $40K/year can now live in mansions, drive expensive cars, eat at costly restaurants and wear expensive clothing all purchased with credit cards and loans. Greed has led us to believe we must have everything that anyone else has in order to be happy, and we must have it right now.

The American people need to reinstate the basics of wise economic practices. To put it simply, we need to spend less than we earn. It is our opinion that government Band-Aids will not really solve the problems we face right now. In the end, the American people need to solve this crisis. We can start in our own families. We can discipline ourselves to pay of debts and spend less than we earn, no matter how much that is.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

We are grateful...

This is the month of Thanksgiving. Here are a few things that we are grateful for today:
  • ...to be Americans, living in this beautiful free country.
  • ...for the election process where the people can vote according to their consciences.
  • ...that the marriage propositions in California, Florida and Arizona passed and traditional marriage will be preserved.
  • ...for good, kind folks who have spoke out against bigotry and untruthful slander:
    Ruth Youth
    Values Advocacy Council, the Rock Church, Association of Christian Schools International
  • ...for truth and righteousness that still abounds in this country.
  • ...for peace and prosperity that Americans have. We are so blessed!
  • ...for our Heavenly Father and his watchful care over all of us.
We are optimistic about the future and pray that God will bless the new leadership of this country. The election is over and it's time now to unite as a country to make our nation the best that it can be!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008