Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Wow It's been a year

A year went by soon very fast.  The last time I wrote we had just moved and EJ just left for his mission a few weeks before.  A lot  has happened this last year.  To much actually so I will have to just highlight the happenings.

Lets see...

1.  EJ has been out on his mission now for 15 months, he will be back this November (2016 0_0)  Already.  He is doing well in Fresno.  EJ is now a Zone Leader in the area and working in the Young Single Adult area.  We miss  EJ a ton.  He is very happy.  When EJ comes back,  he will go right to school in either Idaho (BYU Idaho) or Utah.  He is still back and forth about where to go although he has been accepted already by BYU Idaho.

2.   TJ also went on a LDS mission this year.  He left in August 2015 and is now serving in Orlando Florida spanish speaking.  He went the same training center in Mexico City as EJ.  He was homesick at first but is doing so much better now that he is in Orlando. We miss him a to.   He is also very happy and serving others.  He is doing very well.

3.  I would like to reiterate that I now have 2 boys out on LDS Missions at the same time.  Both left 9 months apart from each other.  I am super proud and honored to be their mom and the great choices they have made.  They have been ANGELS.   All my kids really have been angels.

4.  Last February (2015), I switch jobs and went into a 6 months training to become a surgery recovery room nurse.  I was already working in the surgery center as a pre op and post op nurse but this training has helped me to become proficient in the critical care of surgery which will help me in the future.  It's been almost a year and I love it, although sometime I get a little scared when patients are having serious medical issues after surgery.  That fear will ease with time I know.

5.   Rae is now in running start.  She is in college full time to fulfill her high school credits plus get a associate degree by the time she graduates high school.   She is doing very well and is in her second quarter at the college now.   She is also working part time and is self sufficient.  As a junior in high school she is doing fabulous.

6.   CJ is now homeschooled.   Although the school district was doing the best they could do, CJ was just not thriving.  His grades were tanking and he was just struggling in school.   We thought about it for a few months, and started to test an online after school program/homeschooling that my sister uses for her homeschool.  He felt happier.  He felt he was being successful.  James and I both agreed. So January, we pulled him out of school and started this online homeschooling program full time.   At first he struggled to understand that mom was serious about him having a routine schedule with classes just like public school but know he mostly doing all his classes without to much complaint.  He works on all subjects everyday as planned.   Every Sunday night I set his schedule of modules he has to get done on a daily basis for all 5 subjects including Math, English, Social Studies, Science (Earth), spelling, reading and writing.   He is thriving finally.   I am proud of him and it was the right decision even though I not really into homeschooling in general.

7.  AJ (my baby) is doing well.  In 1 week he joins the young mens program at church.   He is my last to go into young mens.   Its surreal.   He is doing well in school.  He is my little brain yack.  He know a lot of things for being so young.  It is cute.

8.  On December 7th, 2015, I broke my right femur, a distal rotational fracture (complete break) actually.   December 8th 2015, I had emergency surgery and now sporting a metal plate and tons of screws in my right femur and yes I have a scar the whole length of my thigh past my knee.  It hurts 8 weeks later but not like it did when it broke.  The pain was worse then childbirth by far.  My life is forever changed.   This whole process has been a little depressing I will admit.  It's been hard for me as much as I don't want everyone to know that.   I try to keep a smile on my face.   I am getting some good muscles on my arms and can now lift myself up on a chair from a sitting position just using my arms.  I am super women when it comes to going up and down the stairs on my bum. YAY.

9.  I am non weight bearing for another 6 weeks minimum. We will see what the X-rays look like at the next appointment (March 8th) before the doc releases me to weight bear.   My life has changed.  I now sport a old lady walker because the doctor is afraid I will fall with crutches.   I started back to work this past week and its been very tiring.  It is probably a little too soon.

10.  Physical therapy is painful.   I go to PT 3 times a week and it will be my new life for another 3-6 months sadly.  The doctor said not to expect my leg to be normal for at least a year.   sigh.  My leg is always painful at this point as my knee is super stiff and my knee bend is only at 90 degrees right now.  Up from 30 degrees 4 weeks ago.  Yay.

11.  James business is going well.  His work is keeping him super busy.  I have kept that man super busy with taking me here and there, driving me to PT, helping me out around the house as I am wheelchair/walker bound.   He's been a saving grace with this bad injury.   Thank you James.

12.  This year will be an interesting year.   Healing leg, a missionary coming home, work, more work and kids growing up.

Well as you can see a lot has happened this past year.  Lets hope this year is less chaotic although I think I will see less chaos in 2017 then this year.  :)

Thanks for listen..


Friday, January 02, 2015

We Moved....Again

I TOTALLY forgot to mention that we actually moved again.  We closed on our house at the beginning of October.    We bought a house again!! WAHHH.  My commute to work was horrendous and it was taking up 3-4 hours of my day.   I had a choice, I could quite my cushy job in which I have weekends and holidays off or move.   We decide it was time to buy a house again.   The house we lived in was just not worth the money they wanted for it in our eyes.  So we moved back down to the Maple Valley area and bought a 5.75 acre property with a 3400 sq foot house and a second detached garage, total of 5 car garage.  It's a great house and a great location.  Close to town, but far enough out to have some privacy.   The kids are adjusting very well moving back to MV, we have had little complaints.   Life feels less crowding down here and more at home.   Here are some pictures of our move.

6 Truck loads later and this is what we moved into:

Our second garage for a total of 5 car garage

Large Kitchen

Large Family Room open to kitchen.

Living room, we needed to stretch the carpet again!

Master Bedroom (part of it)

Beautiful fall day!

Street where we live

First snow, November 2014

First Christmas in our new home 2014

My Elder!!

Ethan and his new company, Elder Allred
Ok so I have not written in a long time.  I just don't know why I don't have a desire to write much.  It is probably because I am super busy with working 4 days a week, 5 children and getting Ethan out on his LDS mission. Not to even mention Christmas.   Boy time does fly.

So first off, Ethan left on his mission on November 19, 2014.  He went to the Mexico City Mission training center (MTC) to learn Spanish better and how to be a good missionary.   He left for Fresno, California on New Years Eve and will remain in the area for the next 2 years.  What an example he is setting for his younger siblings.   We are so proud of him.   Here are some pictures from the last 6 weeks:

This is the day he left for his mission!! 

In Mexico City MTC

In Mexico City

Ethan and his MTC companion

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Remember when I said....

Remember when I said and thought that people who went gluten free were absolutely ridiculous? Yes you hear of people having allergies to gluten (wheat) but never really truly believed it.   Yep!! I remember saying some negative things on occasion, and even told James I thought it was wrong to stay away from wheat products because it was "essential" and "a very important grain".

Well this girl is eating her words......  because this girl has a ......

ALLERGY to WHEAT.   Blood test don't lie, dang nabit.

and  then I found out another dreaded fact..

This girl is also....

ALLERGIC to CASEIN (milk protein, (nerd alert) which has similar molecular structure to wheat). Which means dairy is out, since practically all dairy has casein in it.

The long and short of this dramatic post is that I have spent a week now trying to figure out how to change my diet and not feel all I can eat is fruit, veggies and meat.

So how did this all start.....

I have had off and on headaches for years.  It use to be I'd get them 1 time a week.  Within the last year I have had mass debilitating migraine headaches almost every other day.  It was getting to the point were I would drive into work nauseous and about ready to puke.  Then I would spend the whole day just trying to get through work, smiling, and then go home and be absolutely drained all night.  It was almost like my body had to recover from having such a mass headache.  I was also feeling like I had a constant brain fog.  The bought of my stomach hurting (you get my point) was also concerning.  I am not one to start thinking to stress about medical issues but I was starting to worry there was something very wrong with me.

So I decided to go to the doctor. 12 vials of blood later and low and behold I find out I have a wheat and casein allergy.   Not only that but I am have some serious vitamin D deficiency (welcome to the North West!!).   Only a words and my life has changed forever.

The first day I mourned (ask everyone at work).    Why would I mourn for something so trivial?  I just mourned for the fact that I could no longer do what other people do.  I can't eat that yummy monthly cake that sits at our work counter, I can't eat the delicious chocolate cake from costco, and I can't have thai food (which is my favorite).  It going to take some getting use to as I not particle to the taste of gluten free foods.

Over the weekend, I did find out things I can and can't have.  Headaches (and feeling awful) are my trial and error now in regards to food.  Everything out there has wheat and milk in it.  Even the gluten free products say "made in a factory that also produces wheat and milk etc etc.   It was fun looking through Fred Meyers, trying to figure out what i could eat. I also found a whole gluten free store in Kirkland.  I will venture out there this weekend.   I did find some soy and almond milk yogurt.  I also found a goats milk yogurt.  I am not sure about that one as I dislike the taste of goats milk  but I will try it too.

I await more of my test to come back to rule out celiac disease and 100+ food allergies.  I can see it happen, I am allergic to more of the food I love.  :)  Won't surprise me at all.

On another note, the family is doing good, my work is going good, and James company, Ottemo, is doing well.     We are 3 months away from EJ leaving on his mission, TJ is now in the process of hiking Mt Olympic with his church group, Rae is at girls camp, EJ and AJ are hanging out with us old folks.  All good.   Life is good.

Update:  My test came back a month later and I am weak positive for Celiac Disease!!! Great.   It is now January 2nd and I will admit I feel so much better then I did a few months back, and have even lost 30 lbs not even trying.   I do get a weekly headache to but mostly it is related to accidentally eating something with milk or gluten in it.  Fun!!.  :)

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Where does the time fly. A year ehh.

First off I am so excited to announce that EJ received his mission assignment to Fresno, California, spanish speaking.  He leaves for the Mexico City, Mexico Mission training center on November 19th.  He will be in Mexico for 8-10 weeks in which he will learn the spanish language in more detail.  EJ did take 3 years of spanish in High school so it shouldn't be to hard for him.  We are all so excited.   He is going to be a great missionary for the LDS church. He has worked hard to get there.

EJ -  

While we are talking about EJ, we might as well mention that he also graduated from High School a few weeks back.   We have an adult in the house :)  He has been accepted to Brigham Young University Idaho and will go there when he gets back from his mission in 2 years.   

TJ - 

TJ has been traveling all summer with Seattle Starz playing lacrosse.  He has been to Denver Colorado and the east coast in which his team has done really well.   His Starz team won the championship at the the Denver University this past month.   TJ will be a senior this fall.  I see senioritis in the stars at our house.  :)  Here is the picture of TJ's team winning the tournament.  TJ will be spending a week at BYU Elite Lacrosse recruiting camp and at the BYU Lacrosse tryouts in September along with going on a mad hiking trip with his youth group.  

Rae -  

Rae is now 15 yrs old.  She is doing great.  Rae did really well in school and received a 3.6 GPA.  She has doing gardening projects (the tomatoes look great!!) and going to church dances.   She is moving up to the High School this fall now that she is going into 10th grade.   I am so impressed by how well she is doing in all her subjects at school.  She puts her big brothers to shame when it comes to study habits and grades.  This summer she will be attending EFY in Rexburg, Idaho and will be going to girls camp with our ward at church.  

CJ -

CJ just finish 7th grade with a bang.  He did so well this year.   This summer he is planning on programming a computer game and spending time with the family.  The end of this year CJ will be 14 years and will start attending the Youth LDS dances.  I can't wait to see him blush, as he is a shy guy.  :)   He will be spending his summer at scout camp and taking some weekend scout trips with his Scout troop.   He has found a passion for his gas power remote control car.  He has tinkered around trying to fix it up with James and loves it.   He is doing so well.

CJ, AJ and EJ at Newport Beach, OR.

AJ - 

AJ is Mr. Minecraft man.  That boy knows how to creates worlds with the best of him.  He has some plans up his sleeve to start programing a 1st person shooter game this summer with his brother CJ.  How can I say no to such creativity even if it is a 1st person shooter game?  I can't.  This year AJ had some changes.   We found out he was blind with 20/200 vision.   So this boy is sporting new RayBan glasses (that he picked out all on his own mind you).  

Rae and AJ (with his glasses)

James - 

James new company Ottemo, Inc is going well.   They are ready to launch their first Ecommerce software this fall.   He is so excited. James has worked so hard to finally have a business of his own (with partners of course) as he has been talking about it for years and years.  We will see what the future holds in terms of it's success.  James also also had a passion for getting that darn gas powered remote control car working with CJ.  It's been a project of having to buy new parts every few days.  Fun Fun.   He loves the challenge for sure.   He has also been tinkering with all our cars that seem to have died on us this year.   My BMW Z3 died in february and has been sitting in the garage waiting for a new head gasket.   He has been my dad's sidekick while the engine is pulled apart and parts ordered.  Hopefully I will have my car back in the next few weeks.  Back in April our Tundra had engine problems too but it seems to have fixed itself.  When my dad went to go check the compression on the cylinders we found that we did not have engine problems like previously thought and the truck is running smoothly.  A total miracle in and of itself as we thought we had 2 cars with damaged head gaskets.  James has been a champ at fixing all our broken down parts on the cars from alternators, manifolds, to change head gaskets out.  Fun!

Me - 

Well the year for me has been learning how to manage my time, which I am not doing a very good job of now that I am working almost full time.   I do love my job at St Francis Hospital.   I have learned soooo much over the year as I learn how to be a good recovery, surgery RN.   It is been a fun but stressful year, hence why I have not written a blog spot in over year.   Working full time is no fun when you have 5 kids that need to you.  Nonetheless, I have had a good year.   I am now preceptoring (training) new staff nurses and was elected to the Unit Based Council at work.  Last week I also became the secretary of that UBC.   I love teaching and being a leader.  It fits me well.   I will be finally going down to a 0.8 FTE which means I will only work 4 days a week instead of 5 so hopefully that eases my stress a little.  My commute has been crazy this last year and hope to remedy that soon.  With my BMW Z3 out, we went ahead and bought a new car because we were down to only 1 car.   Here is our new VW Passat TDI SEL.   It gets awesome gas mileage (diesels tend to do that) and it is a smooth ride.  

Anyways... That is all for our family.   Thanks for taking the time to check out our blog.  I will edit this post for grammar later.   

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New Job Alert!!

Yes this is my new badge, terrible picture but what can you expect :)

Yes this girl is changing jobs!!  

 It was almost like clockwork...

... as soon as I got that bachelor degree I got tons of interviews for nursing jobs all over the area.  I had a few offers, but I finally pick the job that would interfere the least with home life and NOT keep me gone at night and weekend.  I will be working at a pre/post op day surgery unit on the day shift.   I will be home before the kids get home from school each day and they won't even know I am gone.  I am nervous and excited.  The only down part is I will be commuting 40 minutes each way but it will be worth it to be home with the kiddos and not have them realized I've been gone for work.  I will be still subbing at the school district here and there to keep my options open in the future but for now it is best I work in a hospital setting to gain that experience I really need as a RN.    YAY!!

Monday, April 08, 2013

Who's the Bachelor degree nurse in the house!!.. ME!! :)

Yes it is official, I am done, I am finished, I am finally have a Bachelor Degree in Nursing!! What can I say.  This semester has been a rough semester for me, working 3 days a week and going to school full time.  My house is a mess, my weight is up but I now ready to get life going.    It has been an exciting but stressful 4 1/2 years since I first started nursing school...   Do you remember this post.... Acceptance letter.  It's has been a little over 4 years ago since I wrote that small post.

So what am I going to do now in no particular order ....

  •  Spend time with the family
  •  Gut the house
  •  Relax
  •  Get my kids back into good graces with their schools grades wise
  •  Exercise 
  • Get this weight off once and for all!!
  • Sign up for a 1/2 marathon or 2
  • Start back up my weight loss challenge
  • Go travel this summer all over the country with the boys for their lacrosse tournaments
  • Catch up on all my favorite shows and things to do
  • Take a BREAK!!!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Yes, it's my LAST semester!! and update


I am in my 3rd week of school and can't even believe it's my last semester before I finish my degree in Nursing.   This time though I will be getting a Bachelor's Degree!!..  Just saying those words are surreal.  It's been a long road.   I have been going to school since January 2008, either full time or part time.  These last 3 semesters my full time status has helped me to finish faster.  I am going from a Associated Degree in Nursing to a Bachelor Degree in one years time!!   I will be the first in my ADN graduating class with a Bachelor Degree!!!

This semester I am taking my Critical Care Nursing class, Nursing Leadership, and a religion class called Family Foundations, which focuses on the importance of the family unit and preserving it.  The class is based of the principles found in the  Family Proclamation.  It's been very insightful thus far and has made me thing about how little I know the true nature and character of God and his plan for us.

These last few weeks I have also been working full time for the school district covering for one of the nurses who has been out.  Spending all my days working and all my nights doing schoolwork and trying to be a mom has been no fun.   It has been stressful!  I don't know how anyone, especially mom's can work full time.   My sub assignment is done on Friday so I am relieved... It's been a very long 4 weeks!!!   I've made lots of money but LONG....  Now I can go back to working 1 or 2 days a week for the district.

The Hubby....

Well everything is going well with James.  He has been working for Julep for 6 month now and has made some huge strides with web development.  They are still working out the bugs with the site but overall it has been a mass improvement from the very limited old site.  There will be more things to come on the site in the next few months.  Much more functionality... Geez look at me, I am talking geek stuff.  :)   Sadly I hear stuff like "functionality" "web development" all the time in my home!! It's rubbing off. :)   James likes his job, he is happier since switching from Zumiez!!

The Kids....

Well we have had a eventful few month,  EJ and TJ made the Elite Seattle Starz team and have been traveling all over the country competing in lacrosse tournaments with their team.  They took silver at the Las Vegas Adrenaline tournament and went 4 our of 6 at the San diego Adrenaline Tournament.  The San diego tournament was amazing!! There were TONS of recruiters there, and they even got approached by someone asking them to come to their recruiting camp this summer, plus many more email invites.   It's been both and EXPENSIVE and a EXCITING few months!!  They both are trying out for the West Coast Starz team  in two weekends, which is a team covering the whole West coast.  They plan to play for Seattle Starz again this summer once their HS season is over.  They will be going to Idaho in regular session as part of their games, which should be fun.  Besides lacrosse, our house has become the teenage hangout location.  We have lots and lots of their friends over every break and weekend.  It's like one continuous party at our house!!  At least I can monitor them and they can have a drug and alcohol free, safe place to hang out at, which is extremely important to me.  I swear this past weekend we had 10+ extra teenagers in our house all weekend at one point or another.   The younger 2,  James and I,  have been kicked out of our downstairs part of the house, but that's ok because I would not have it any other way!

Rae decided to do girl lacrosse this year and is taking a beginner class for the next 6 weeks.  This class will help her prepares for the upcoming spring season.  She will be on the Eastside Eagles Team with her mom as an assistant coach!! 0_0.  Yes, ME!!  They asked me to become a assistant and I was stupid enough to say yes even with my busy schedule.  I better learn the girls game because it is completely different then the boys game of lacrosse!!  Her season starts in March.   Besides lacrosse, Rae is doing well in school, is taller then me now by an inch, loves to shop, loves to cook, and loves being with her friends.  A typical teenage girl!

CJ and AJ are hanging out with James and I a lot now that our teenagers are hanging out with their friends.   They both LOVE playing Minecraft and end up spending most weekend with us up in our room watching movies or going out with us.   They both will be starting lacrosse in a month or so and have been practicing wall ball on our lacrosse rebounder to get them up to speed.   James stepped down as the JV coach for Woodinville so he could help coach CJ's 5/6 team this year.  CJ needed some daddy TLC and lacrosse TLC, so James thought it was best.  TJ will be assistant coach this year helping Dad out.  AJ's 4th session will be on a  3/4 travel team instead of the home team, meaning he will have games all over the area instead of our community.  It is going to be an interesting season with 5 games a week possibly 6 with our teenagers being on the varsity team.

Anyways, I better run.  It's late, I'm tired, and CRANKY... :)    so off to bed I go.  I will proofread tomorrow for errors!!.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

My thoughts on last week school massacre...

     First off I want to say my prayers go out to the families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Shooting which occurred on December 14th 2012.   It pains me to see such young children (6 and 7 year olds) killed plus 6 staff members at this school.   Prayers and loves goes out to the families.

      Why did this happen we all say.  Many say the 20 year old young man (Adam Lanza) was evil and deranged.  Maybe he was deranged but I do not think he was evil.   He was a child himself, barely 20.   What made him snap like this to kill his own mom, then turn to 26 other people and then kill himself?  I have been reflecting on it to try to make sense on why someone would just shoot up a school and kill innocent children.   People usually do not do these things because they are evil, especially with the state of mind he was in.

      The more I think about it, I feel this young man was failed by our society.   Yes, he had his own free agency, but if you know young kids you will realized this young man was not mature, had Aspergers Syndrome (a form of autism) and OCD.   Society failed him because he was again put in a situation were he was in a broken home, sad, depressed and mentally ill.  Society tells us that it's ok to get divorce when things are "just not working out".  BUT do we know the ramifications for breaking up the family?  DO we really think about it when adults make the decision to split a family up because of own person needs, wants or happiness?   
I, myself, come from a broken home.  I watched my little siblings suffer after my parents split up.  My family is still suffering because of it, with insecurities, addictions, mental illnesses, drug use, and much more.  Life changed dramatically because of poor decisions of my parents.   I love them to death, but reality is reality, and facts are facts.  Our family changed forever because of it.  Having said that, I do believe in free agency and regardless of what happened in my family, people still are to blame for their own actions, so I am not discounting one's own will.  

    Why do I bring this up?  Because I want to show how broken families can wreck havoc in a young child's life changing them forever.  We are failing our youth in this society because we have taken value away from families and placed them on other things of this world.

     I have been receiving emails from Grassfire.com (Steve Elliott) for the past few years.  Usually I get the emails and just don't even look at it, deleting it right away.  This last week I decided to read his email about the Sandy Hook shootings and couldn't believe he was saying what I was thinking about were our society is and had headed.   Here is the email:

I will make no attempt to "make sense" of the horrific tragedy that devastated the community of Newtown, Connecticut, and has shaken our nation.

How can we make sense of the senseless murder of twenty children and seven adults? How can we make sense of one deranged individual who was in such a dark place that he shot his own mother, murdered children and then killed himself?

Yesterday, my church -- like I'm sure countless places of worship -- paused to pray for the families, their community and our nation. Our president spoke, on our behalf, words of comfort and support.

Now, as we move forward, efforts will be made to prevent this from happening again -- or at least to minimize the risk. It will be a difficult task.

+ + A Societal Cancer

What we face is more like a cancer than a virus. Our society has turned on itself, and these mass murders are the shocking fruit. The perpetrators of these crimes now typically turn their weapons on themselves and have essentially become societal suicide bombers. As the military knows, there is no real defense against a suicide bomber who has reached such a point of desperation and delusion that his own life doesn't matter.

Responding to this specific crisis with legislation would be a mistake that politicians will likely make.

Responding to the root cause of the crisis would be a better way to go.

And what is that root cause?

The destruction of the family.

I'm not discounting any other factors, but to address problems with our mental health institutions or virtual reality gaming or the drugging of our children or our gun laws or the media culture's glorification of such violence and not deal with the root cause of our societal decay are vain attempts to mask symptoms.

The statistics back me up on the destruction of the family being at the center of our national crises, including violence.

Before I cite the statistics, please do not take these numbers as a condemnation of single moms or dads. There is no condemnation. Many single parents are doing double duty and raising wonderful children.

But the numbers are hard to overlook.

+ + Our Family Crisis

Consider what our family brokenness has done to society:

* 3 in 10 children grow up in broken homes.

* In the African-American community, it's far worse: two-thirds of black children grow up with one parent.

* More than half of all babies are conceived out of wedlock.

* Of those conceived out of wedlock, 4 in 10 are aborted. And so, the cycle of violence begins.

* Of the survivors of abortion, half the children born out of wedlock end up in poverty.

Children from broken homes account for:
--63% of teen suicides.
--71% of teen pregnancies.
--90% of homeless and runaways.
--71% of high school dropouts.
--75% of all drug users.
--85% of behavioral disorders.
--70% of those in juvenile detention.
--57% of all prison inmates.
+ + Building Families in Tough Times

As you know, for the past few weeks, I've been on a journey of discovering and sharing lessons from a 2,500-year-old letter written by the prophet Jeremiah to Jewish exiles.

In light of the national discussion that will take place in the coming weeks, as we seek to heal and strengthen our land, I find it interesting that at the very center of Jeremiah's instructions to exiles is an explicit endorsement of family:
"Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease" (Jeremiah 29:6, NASB).
In the midst of tough times, getting married and thinking about the future do not instinctively come to mind. Marriage is expensive. Children are expensive. Yet in Jeremiah's letter to exiles, marriage and child bearing are central to the instruction. Perhaps this is because in tough times -- at any time, for that matter -- the marriage bond is the stabilizing force for individuals, for families, for communities and even for a nation. Marriage and strong families are vital to thriving in exile.

What if our government policies unashamedly focused on the goal of reducing the fatherless and divorce rates? What if our laws profoundly preferred those who get married and stay married?

More importantly, what about you and me? After all, our laws only reflect our culture.

What are we actually doing in our families and communities to strengthen marriages? Is it clear in our social circles that sex out of wedlock is wrong? Are we holding young men accountable for their actions, demanding they take their responsibility as fathers seriously? Do men face any negative societal pressure for putting children and mothers at risk for the sake of fulfilling their own sexual exploits outside the marriage bond? (and women to now a days)

Many traditional wedding ceremonies include an open acknowledgment by all in attendance of their responsibility to do whatever it takes to help this new couple in their marriage. We should take that commitment much more seriously.

Every marriage faces profound times of crisis. Perhaps your prayer, phone call or offer to babysit could ultimately help save a marriage, keep a child from facing long odds and, dare I say, spare a community from another unspeakable horror.

Steve Elliott, Grassfire

Then yesterday, I received a second email from grassfire which clarified his first email which even more complete is inline with what I was feeling about society and with what happened to this young man who felt he had no hope or care about himself or others.  The dark place he was in is sad and we really need to take notice of the mental illness, family situation of our youth.  Here it is:

I want to thank everyone who shared their thoughts and comments on my reflections on the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.

Many agreed with my thesis that the breakdown of the family is the prime cause of the cultural chaos we see so prevalent around us. (I've included a link to that post at the end of this message.)

Some thought I was partly right. And a few thought I was actually far off base.

+ + "I Disagree Mightily With You"

"Gonna have to disagree mightily with you here," wrote Carl. "The disintegration of the nuclear family unit is a symptom, not the cause."

Linda echoed Carl's concerns: I think 'strong families' are good things, but to have that as a primary goal misses the root cause of our national dysfunction and brokenness."

So, what do Carl and Linda (and a few others who responded) think is the primary cause of our dysfunction and brokenness?

In Carl's words:

"In our current society, we have abolished God from everywhere except the church itself. Without His hand over every part of our lives, how can it possibly be a surprise that these things not only happen, but spread like wildfire?"

From Linda:

"I think the big problem is that, as a nation, we have gotten away from God, Christianity and the personal accountability that goes with it."

One of the leaders in my church, Frank, almost re-stated the views of Carl and Linda:

"We miss the glaring pink elephant in the living room that the majority of our mainstream media and political leaders refuse to see or address. WE HAVE REMOVED AND UNINVITED THE FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT, GOD'S WORD AND BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES from our schools and our culture!" (emphasis in original)

So, who is right?

Am I correct that the destruction of the husband-wife family unit is the prime cause of our moral chaos? Or are Carl, Linda and Frank correct in saying that we've stripped God from our public lives, and therefore, moral chaos ensues?

+ + The Correct Answer Is ...

Carl, Linda and Frank make a very vital point, but their conclusion begs an important question. Allow me to explain.

The secularization of our society -- what Richard John Neuhaus called the "Naked Public Square" -- has had profound ramifications on our lives.

President Obama's response to the Newtown tragedy clearly exposes that the emperor (meaning, our society in general and not just the president) has no clothes. We saw Mr. Obama openly quote scripture and appropriately attempt to put this tragedy in some eternal context. Yet, this same president leads a party that stripped every reference to "God" from its 2012 platform (before putting back one reference after some public outcry).

This stripping of a basic God-awareness can be felt in our schools, in our businesses, at almost any public event and certainly on television. In fact, the purge is so complete that we're startled when we hear God mentioned anywhere today. We celebrate a public school holiday program that features sacred songs. We make special note of a TV show that appropriately mentions God.

So yes, I agree with Carl, Linda and Frank -- the stripping of a fundamental awareness and acknowledgement of God in society has made a profound impact on our lives.

+ + How Do We Restore God-Awareness?

But here's the question that begs to be answered:

How do we restore a basic God-awareness to our lives, our communities and our nation?

And is restoring a God-awareness in society fundamentally the responsibility of the government? Our schools? Our businesses? Or our churches?

Here's where I circle back to my original thesis of the destruction of the family.

I would argue that the family unit is, by divine design and practical reality, the primary means by which a God-awareness is established in any society. The family is the prime means for communicating and passing on the fundamental values and beliefs held by a society.

Faith flows through families, and families form the foundation of personal and community prosperity. As the prophet Jeremiah instructed the Jewish exiles:

"Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease" (Jeremiah 29:6, NASB).

Building families is of fundamental importance, especially during tough times.

+ + It's Almost Politically Incorrect to Say It, But ...

My children attend a Christian school. But don't be mistaken -- it is the responsibility of my wife and me to transmit our values and beliefs to our children, not the school's.

I would add that our churches are powerless to restore a basic God-awareness in our communities without countering the tsunami of family destruction.

Yes, it's time to end the antagonism toward faith that's now so prevalent in the public square. It's outrageous that a teacher in a public school should have any concern for his or her job over praying in class or reading the Bible. This is nonsensical and a violation of our fundamental rights. We do not surrender our religious liberties once we step into a public space, and there is no constitutional mandate for a secular state.

But we need to move this discussion beyond the general call to "put God back in our schools" and ask ourselves how this God-awareness can be restored in our society.

It will not happen primarily by legislation (nor should it). It will not happen primarily by an awareness campaign (although those do help).

It will happen primarily in families. A basic God-awareness in our society will happen in and through families.
I know it's almost politically incorrect to say it, but we must restore the family. We must make it our number-one national and community goal to build and support strong, two-parent families. With no apologies.

SO WHY ARE WE NOT DOING EVERYTHING IN OUR POWER TO STRENGTHEN FAMILIES?   Why is ok for our children to have a broken home?  It has bothered me so much that society has abandoned the philosophy that whole families builds a thriving community.  

 I hope with this tragedy, we take the time to truly evaluated what really is important in our lives and were we want to see our families.  I hope we take the time to really be the examples to our children and show them that they MEAN something.   

Thought I would share.... Thanks for listening...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Almost there almost done...

I really have nothing to say really.  I was going to launch into what's been happening at school but it's the same old same old stuff that goes on.  Kids school, my school, sports, life and more.   Everyone is doing great.   We are just living life.   

Then I thought about big changes happening....

And I realized there will be and have been major changes happen in not only our family but with what will happen in the next 2 years.   If you have not already heard, the missionary age was recently reduced from 19 to 18 years old for boys and 21 to 19 for the girls.   That means instead of EJ waiting around for a year, getting bad grades in college, etc, he can now go on his mission as soon as he finishes high school.  This is MAJOR and I LOVE it.  It means he will have a nice 2 year break from school, grow up on a mission and get back to life sooner then expected.  It also means that Rae will have the chance to go on a mission sooner also which is awesome.   

Another major change... church membership in the Seattle area is growing so fast the congregations can't keep up.    Three weeks ago, a reorganization was announced in our Stake with the addition of 2 new wards for a total of 8 wards.   The congregation boundaries changed and we were moved to a new congregation.   Today was our first week in the new ward.  We went from a ward of 1000 people to a ward of 400.   It was SO easy to go under the radar in a ward as huge as 1000 but I am grateful for the opportunity to be in a smaller ward and giving more of my time to this congregation.    

As you are aware in a previous post, EJ and TJ made the Seattle Starz Elite Team.   They have flown back with James to Maryland (Baltimore) this weekend to participate in the Navy Nationals Lacrosse Tournament and the Crab Feast.  The house has been quiet, but miss them.

Not much happening more...except this semester will be done in 3 weeks and I start on my last semester at BYU Idaho.   It's already gone by fast!!  

Anyways good night!!...