Merry Christmas...

from our family to yours!


First Trimester Thoughts

Tomorrow I'll be 13 weeks pregnant and "officially" out of my first trimester. I've done a lot of thinking about how this pregnancy has gone so far, and I can honestly say that I've been surprised. I know they say every pregnancy is different, even for the same woman, but I really expected some similarities between my two pregnancies. Here are some of my observations.

--My early pregnancy symptoms were not as pronounced this time. In fact, they weren't much different than the PMS symptoms I'd been having for months. The only reason I thought to take a test is because I was charting my BBT and my temperature had been elevated for 17 days (an elevated temp for 18 days almost always indicates pregnancy).

--I haven't been NEARLY as sick as I was with Kyle. With Kyle, I had constant, gut-wrenching nausea; this time, the nausea has been mild and really only noticeable if I let myself get too hungry. I got sick at least once a week (which isn't that bad, really) with Kyle; this time, I've been sick twice total.

--I've been far more tired this time around. I know some might say it's because I have a 2-year-old to chase around this time, but when I was pregnant with Kyle I was working and going to school full-time, which is pretty exhausting, too.

--I thought I'd start to show pretty early since this is my second pregnancy. I remember at this point in my pregnancy with Kyle I was already starting to look "fluffy" and feel uncomfortable in non-maternity clothes. This time around, my pants only feel snug if I have a big meal and have a "food baby" in addition to the real baby. I've only recently (i.e. in the last week or so) started to have a baby bump, and it's pretty small. (This could be because my body managed to "save" all of my lower abdomen baby fat--even losing all of my baby weight and then some didn't get rid of it!)

--I haven't gained any weight so far. I think I gained 5 or so pounds in my first trimester with Kyle.

--I've been a LOT more emotional this time...I cry at the end of pretty much any movie with a happy ending (Elf and Bolt have been the two most recent). I can't watch any movie about pregnancy or childbirth without falling apart. I cry at commercials, radio ads, billboards...anything with the smallest amount of sentiment, really.

--The skin on my face has been SO off-balance. I've always been extremely fortunate to have minimal acne and pretty regular skin. With Kyle, my skin got BETTER, if that was possible. With this pregnancy, I've gotten more zits, more blotchiness, and terrible dryness.

--My hair is not nearly as good this time around. With Kyle, I pretty much stopped losing hair (losing 100 strands a day is normal) and my hair got thick and shiny and just felt healthy. This time, I'm still losing hair like I normally do, and my hair's balance is just off. It doesn't take much to make it feel greasy or oily, and it just feels lifeless.

--My nose has been congested constantly. I haven't been sick more--my nose is just ALWAYS stuffed up. I read somewhere that this is normal in early pregnancy (due to excessive estrogen and expanding blood vessels), but it didn't happen when I was pregnant with Kyle.

--I've craved produce and peanut butter this time around. With Kyle, I craved salty foods, like peanuts and french fries (which contributed to my nearly-40-pound weight gain!). This time, all I really want is a nice, juicy, tart apple, or a couple of clementines. My super favorite has been celery sticks with peanut butter. Yum.

--I haven't gotten a solid vibe on what the sex of this baby is. I KNEW Kyle was going to be a boy. I knew before I even got pregnant that my first child was going to be a boy (actually, I knew before I even got married to Cole that I was going to have the first Christensen grandson, but that's another story...). Right now I'm leaning towards thinking this one is a girl, but that could be because my mom and grandma think it's a girl (because of how different this pregnancy is from Kyle's). Plus, I'd have to say that I hope this one's a girl (but I'd be perfectly happy with a boy, too!), so I'm not sure if my impressions are wishful or not.

I can't believe how fast this pregnancy has gone! Someone once told me that being pregnant through the holidays always makes it go faster, and I think that's true. I have another doctor's appointment next Wednesday, and then, at my next appointment at the end of January, we could find out the sex of the baby!


Thanksgiving Weekend

We had an awesome Thanksgiving. It's actually been more like a whole week of festivities rather than just a weekend, actually.

Wednesday afternoon was our first appointment at the doctor to see our new little "Cantaloupe." It was pretty exciting to confirm that there was actually something IN there (I'd been afraid I'd be like Terri Schuester, if you get my Glee reference) and that he/she was growing on schedule. Everything looked great, and the doctor was pleased. We got to spend Wednesday evening just hanging out with Cole's parents, grandparents, and younger brother. All we did was sit around and play cards, but we had the best time.

We spent the big day itself with Cole's family. It was the first time we'd ever had Thanksgiving at his parents' house since we've been married, so it was fun to have a new experience. Dinner was FABULOUS, and I ate more than I probably should have. I was in charge of making the pies, and I ended up making WAY too many. I made two apple, two pumpkin, a coconut cream, and a chocolate buttercream. They turned out AMAZING, if I do say so myself. :)

Friday I actually had to work, but Cole hit the stores bright and early to get a few awesome deals. He actually got threatened by a lady over a $4 mini food processor!

Saturday was my brother's open house. He's leaving on his mission soon, so I helped my mom set up a GINORMOUS spread for friends and ward members to come give their well-wishes. We also listened to the all-important BYU-Utah game, and we were not disappointed by the outcome. Go Cougars!

Sunday was Nathan's farewell talk. He did an excellent job. My entire family provided the musical number, and we even mostly held it together (we're a HUGE bunch of criers). We had family over for lunch yesterday, and then crashed hard for a few hours.

Now, we have a couple of days to get back to "real life"--that is, until Wednesday. We have a fresh batch of family togetherness planned for Wednesday and Thursday, since Nathan leaves for Africa on Thursday morning.

We do have a bit of exciting news from the weekend: we're buying a house! Through a set of miracles, we've had our offer accepted on a cute split-level in West Valley that is just perfect for our growing family. We're meeting with our lender tomorrow, and if all goes as planned, we'll close before the end of the year. We honestly weren't sure if this would ever happen for us, so this is a huge blessing.

So, this year, we're thankful for many things. We're thankful for our healthy, happy two-year-old and for our "Cantaloupe" on the way; we're thankful for families who accept and love us unconditionally; we're thankful for the opportunity to buy a house; we're thankful for stable jobs; we're thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and for the many young men and women who are spreading it forth throughout the world; and we're thankful for each other and the prospect of etnernity.

We hope everyone else had a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Have You Heard About This?

I came across this news article the other day, and I was EXTREMELY alarmed:

In case you don't want to read the whole article, it basically says:
--Most women in their 40s should not routinely get mammograms.
--Women 50 to 74 should get a mammogram every other year until they turn 75, after which the risks and benefits are unknown.
--The value of breast exams by doctors is unknown.
--Breast self-exams are of no value.

These guidelines were proposed by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a government entity designed to "evaluate the benefits of individual services based on age, gender, and risk factors for disease; make recommendations about which preventive services should be incorporated routinely into primary medical care and for which populations; and identify a research agenda for clinical preventive care," according to their website. Now, I'm sure this task force is typically good at what they do (since they are considered experts in their respective fields), but if you look at a list of their members, there isn't a single oncologist on the panel.

There are several reasons why I take issue with this recommendation. Three years ago, at the age of 46, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went in for a routine, yearly mammogram, and the technician saw basically a blip. It turned out to be a cancerous tumor, and although it was very small (1 cm or less), it was an extremely invasive form of the disease. Because it was caught so early, she was able to avoid having chemotherapy. If she had waited 4 years until she was 50 to begin getting mammograms, who knows how far the disease would have progressed.
Even more serious, I know of many other women who were diagnosed with breast cancer in their 30s or early 40s and DID receive extensive treatment. Without doctor exams or self-exams, I doubt these women would have even detected a problem until it was nearly too late.

Since my mother's diagnosis, we've attended the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure every year in May. They have a survivor's parade, and it is shocking how many recent survivors are in their 20s or even in their teens. Would these women have survived if they followed the current guidelines?

It is my understanding that seeking thorough preventive care is instrumental in reducing the future medical costs of an individual. Yes, yearly mammograms starting at age 40 may result in more "false alarms and unneeded biopsies," but wouldn't you rather be safe than sorry? I would. For me, the risk of a missed or late diagnosis is too great.


As Promised...



For All You Ladies Out There...

I want to hear your opinions on this, because it's something I've heard a lot about lately...
When is a good time to announce a pregnancy?

For those of you who have been pregnant, at what point in your pregnancies did you start to share the good news? How did you decide whom to tell? What were your motivations for going public at that particular time?
For those of you planning on being pregnant in the future, at what point in your (future) pregnancy do you anticipate you'll make the big announcement?
I know the answers will differ with each woman, but I'm interested to see if there will be a consensus.


No More Knives!

My blogging hiatuses...hiati...er, dry spells are becoming more and more frequent of late. This is not to say that our lives are boring. On the contrary, we have many new and exciting things happening, but all will be revealed in due course...

Anyway, the biggest news I have is that I cut the tip of my thumb off...almost literally. While making dinner on Friday night, my handy-dandy Alaskan knife slipped while I was slicing onions. I cursed (yes, I admit it), ran to the sink, and subsequently passed out. Cole had to carry me to the couch (which prompted him to observe that he didn't realize how much I weighed--the punk), where I sat, in shock, while he ran to our friendly neighborhood Walgreen's for the tools to fix me up. After some rubbing alcohol (owie!), hydrogen peroxide, liquid bandage goo, and about 3 yards of gauze I was in working order again. I didn't include a picture because, well, it would make most anyone queasy, and needless to say, I'm banned from using the Alaska knife for at least 50 years.

In other news, Kyle is my hilarious two-year-old. Yesterday I was tickling him, and he started yelling at me in protest. It took me about a minute to decipher what he was saying, but when I figured it out, I couldn't decide whether to be horrified, angry, or amused. "Amused" won out, and I laughed until I cried.

Yes, my two-year-old shouted, "I KILL YOU!" I still have no idea where he picked that up, because it's not really a common catchphrase at our house.

Halloween was pretty fun. Kyle actually knew what was going on this year, so his excitement was so much fun to watch! He wasn't so good with saying, "trick or treat," but he was a pro at picking his candy and saying "thank you." He also ran from house to house shouting, "Go! Go! Go!" Halloween is definitely more fun when you have kids.

I promise to post a picture of Kyle in his costume, because he was just too adorable for the world not to see. I had a dumb moment and left our camera in the car, so I'll have to pinch a few from my parents. Since you're all "buzz"ing with excitement, I swear it won't take a "lightyear" to get them posted. ;)

Did you get it? Kyle was "Buzz Lightyear" for Halloween! I know, I'm so clever...


The Terrible Twos Begin

I can't believe my little guy is two! Where has the time gone?

We had a birthday party for Kyle on Saturday and invited his grandparents and all of his aunts and uncles. Luckily, everyone had a chance to stop by and wish Kyle a "happy birthday." He also got SPOILED beyond reason. We had cake and ice cream and lots of Kyle's favorite treats: M&Ms, Cheetos, mini marshmallows, Goldfish crackers, and Fruit Loops (for the record: I promise he eats real food. We don't just feed him junk all of the time).

It was pretty cute to watch Kyle. I'm not sure he fully grasped the concept of a "birthday" but he sure understood the presents and cake! He did keep saying "my birthday", though, so maybe he knew what was going on.
Gammy (Cole's mom) brought a Lightning McQueen cake for Kyle, which was just perfect and quite yummy. It kind of distressed Kyle at first (I think it worried him that "Lightning McQueen" was stuck on the cake), but after we sang and he blew out the candle he chilled out.
Gammy also brought this HUGE number 2 balloon. Kyle LOVES balloons, so he thought this was awesome. I'm pretty sure this balloon will float around our house forever, though. It's pretty sturdy.
I had to help Kyle open his presents, since every time he opened one he'd stop and want to play with it. My mom bought him some Buzz Lightyear shoes that light up when he walks. After testing them out by hitting the bottoms to see them light up, he insisted that I put them on him immediately.

Cole's brother, Jon, and his wife got Kyle this ginormous, TALKING Buzz Lightyear toy...that doesn't turn off. Kyle, of course, loves it. We're starting to hate it.
My brother, Chris, and his wife got Kyle this AWESOME red Radio Flyer tricycle. Kyle's been riding all over the house on this thing. We've just got to teach him how to use the pedals and then he'll be in business!
Cole's brother Dave and his family got Kyle his very first Transformers toy! Kyle LOVES Bumblebee, so this toy was mega appropriate. The coolest thing about it: it transforms by itself! You set it on its end and it turns into the robot, then you set it on its bottom and it turns back into the car. Pretty sweet.
My mom stained this little table and chairs set for Kyle's room, and it turned out so adorable! Kyle loves having a place to sit that is just his size.
Kyle got three of his (current) favorite movies from two of his uncles. Cole's brother, Adam, got Kyle Monsters vs. Aliens, and my brother, Nathan, got him Monsters Inc. and The Incredibles. Chances are, if Kyle's watching a movie, it's one of these three.
Kyle LOVES games. My brother, Daniel, bought Kyle a box of dice (because Kyle will carry dice around and think he's playing a game) and this sweet tire-stacking game featuring Luigi from Cars.
My sister, Stephanie, bought Kyle a little play tent...which Kyle now sleeps in (almost) every night. He also likes to watch one of his favorite three movies in there.
Gammy and Bumpy (Cole's parents) got Kyle this HUGE Tonka fire truck. There's even a knob to turn the lights on and off and one to make the ladder move.
Cole's brother, James, and his family gave Kyle a sweet hot rod. The wheel rims light up, it plays music, and it goes by itself.
My brother, Nathan, also got Kyle this shake 'n go Doc Hudson. You shake it, it talks to you, and then it drives by itself. It's pretty cool.

What did Mommy and Daddy give Kyle? Well, we gave him the boring stuff. We actually got him a little truck potty (which makes truck sounds when he, you know, goes) and tiny underpants with his favorite Pixar characters on them. We're hoping to start introducing him to the potty and getting him comfortable with it so potty training can commence. My parents actually gave him a cute "potty book" to help get that started, too.

It turned out to be a really fun day.


Family Pictures

My family had pictures taken last month, and we FINALLY got to see them! I don't have any that I can post right now, but if you want to take a look, pop on over to this website, click on "Proofs," and then on "Kenner Family." Cindi got some great pictures of us, including Kyle, who (wouldn't you know it) decided to be Mr. Grumpy Pants the whole time.

BE ADVISED: they are still just proofs, so don't expect them to look perfect. I plan on having her take out a couple of chins and the spare tire I have hanging around my middle. :)


The Circus, A Calling, and Africa

We've had a busy weekend!

Saturday I got to attend a baby shower for my very dear friend Devri, which was so much fun! I realized you can find a friend in the person you least expect. Thanks, Ruth, for making me feel less socially inept. :)

Saturday afternoon we took Kyle to his first (and my first, actually) circus downtown. We went with two of Cole's brothers and their families. It was SO much fun! I think we're going to make it a new family tradition. Tickets were actually cheaper than I thought it would be, too (turns out they don't need to charge lots of money for tickets--they get you on the food, souvenirs, etc. that you just HAVE to buy for your kids). Kyle was so funny--the first half he just sat on either Cole's or my lap just watching. I think it was all a little overwhelming for him because there was so much going on. The second half, though, we let him sit by his 5-year-old cousin Ana (whom he ADORES), which seemed to perk him up. He danced and clapped and cheered and waved at the animals and had a grand old time. He really enjoyed riding TRAX, too, so the night was a hit for Kyle.

The only depressing thing about the circus? Realizing the animals they use most likely live a hundred times better than we do when they're not performing.

Sunday morning at church, we achieved a milestone: Kyle stayed in nursery by himself for all of the second hour with minimal crying! He probably would have stayed through the third hour too, but when we stopped by to check on him through the window, some other parents were checking on their own children and they opened the door (WHY WHY WHY?!?) and, amidst all the other children trying to escape, Kyle saw us and broke down. Still, we're making progress. It's a good thing that Kyle will stay during the second hour, because...

Cole and I finally got a calling after being in the ward for 6 months. We have been asked to teach Marriage and Family Relations. We were both surprised and humbled by the assignment, but I think we're pretty excited, too. I decided we got this calling because our marriage needs some shaping up, since it can't be because we're the resident experts on marriage and family relationships after only 3 years. :) It'll definitely be a good experience for us. Hopefully we don't scare the single people in our ward away from marriage.

On Sunday afternoon we had the opportunity to visit with a lovely woman from Sierra Leone (where my brother Nathan will soon be serving his mission). It was an absolutely amazing experience. She lived through a civil war in the late 1990s and saw horrendous things happen to her family members, she found the gospel in Freetown, and, through a series of miracles, served a mission in Temple Square. She lives in Utah now and travels all over the country sharing her story with members of the church, especially those with missionaries serving in or going to Sierra Leone. It was a powerful witness to me of the effects of the humanitarian and missionary efforts of the members of the church.

And that's our weekend recap. Can anyone else believe it's OCTOBER on Thursday?!? Where has the year gone?


Ten Reasons Why I Love Camping

10. Snuggling is so much more fun when you do it for warmth.
9. Nobody showers, nobody does their hair, nobody wears makeup, and NOBODY CARES!
8. No TV, no video games, no cell phone service—where else can you completely escape the modern world?
7. Every night is spent sitting around the camp fire, talking about everything and nothing at the same time with the people you love the most.
6. You get to eat lots and lots of s’mores—the best ones are made with toasted coconut marshmallows.
5. You can go to bed WAY after dark, wake up with the sun, and still feel refreshed and energized.
4. The night sky is speckled with millions upon millions of stars not visible under city lights.
3. Food tastes better with a dash of “camping pepper.”
2. Time moves more slowly when you don’t have to worry about a million little things.
1. I feel closer to God when I’m among His creations than I do almost anywhere else.

We got to spend all last weekend up Payson Canyon with my family. I grew up camping, but it always surprises me just how much I love it. We even managed to get all of my brothers and sisters together on Saturday night (quite a rare feat these days). We sat around the campfire all evening and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. I got completely addicted to s'mores made with toasted coconut marshmallows. Yum.

Kyle had the time of his life! He played in the dirt, threw rocks in Payson Lake, fed some ducks, and got absolutely filthy. He also slept better and ate better than he has in quite a while. There must be something about the mountain air...

I'm so grateful I got to have the chance to spend quiet time in nature. I am continually amazed at the beautiful world Heavenly Father created for us. The reverence and peace I feel when I'm in the mountains are surpassed only by the feelings I experience in the temple. It makes perfect sense why the Lord appeared to the prophets of the scriptures in the tops of the mountains.

Forget five-star resorts; I'll take roughing it in a tent ANY DAY!


You've Got a Friend In Me

I now have an interesting view on friendship.

I remember sitting with one of my best girlfriends in high school, talking about what our lives would be like in the future. We saw ourselves as cranky old women, rocking on a porch and yelling at the little kids who ran across our lawns. We imagined we'd be friends forever. It wasn't until later in my life that I realized that I don't think I'm capable of being friends with someone forever.

That sounds terribly negative; I know. It's not a conclusion I was excited to arrive at, but after years of self-analysis and several friendships that I thought "failed," I was forced to conclude that I'm not a serial friendshipper.

There are some people who still have all of their friends from school: elementary, middle school, high school, or college, it doesn't matter. They have met and forged bonds with others that can stand the test of time. Their relationships can weather the storms of change that blow through our lives. No matter where they are in life, they can still touch base with these friends and revert right back into the affinity they had in school. I used to admire these people. I used to be jealous because I don't really have friends like this. Yes, I still have friends from my school days, and yes, we still get along wonderfully, but there's always an element of awkwardness when I get back together with them...awkwardness that comes from time apart and lives going in different directions. Whenever I met up with old school buddies I always left feeling like a failure because I didn't instantly rekindle the closeness I once felt with these friends. I couldn't figure out what my problem was.

Finally, it came to me: what if the close friendships I developed in high school/college were only meant to stay close in those contexts? Most, if not all, of my friendships have been founded on codependence. There existed specific needs on both sides of the relationship that the other person filled. Outside of high school or college, those needs disappeared, and so did our reliance on one another. That doesn't necessarily mean that the friendships died; the function of them simply changed. We didn't need to be so emotionally close to one another anymore. Sometimes, we simply found someone else to fill our needs. For example, the friend I generally regard as my best friend from my college days and I both got married. Our marital relationships are fulfilling, so the need for our emotional connection became obsolete. We are still friends, but the nature of our friendship has changed.

At the same time I came to this understanding, I made a (somewhat) contradictory discovery: I AM capable of maintaining lifelong friendships. As I've gotten older, gotten married, and acquired more siblings, I realized that I have a built-in network of friends who will always be a part of my life. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe that my family relationships will last forever. No matter what paths our lives take, we have an ironclad connection that always keeps our relationship in context: family ties. I know it's cliche to say, but my husband, my parents, my siblings, my in-laws, MY FAMILY are my best friends, and they will stay my best friends for eternity.

It's like a weight has been lifted from off my shoulders. I no longer feel bad about not "keeping in touch" better with high school friends or college friends. Yes, they had a significant effect on my life at one time, I still love them for it, and they're still my friends, but they're not my "best" friends anymore. We don't need each other anymore, and it would be ludicrous to try and regain the closeness we had in school, akin to forcing two non-connecting puzzle pieces to fit together. Instead of wishing for the past, I'm looking toward the future, anticipating the variety of friends I will make and cherishing my forever friends: my family.

To all of my friends in all stages of my life so far, no matter how close or distant of friends we were: THANK YOU. You have changed me for the better, and I hope I've done some good in your lives as well.

Good News!

Cole got promoted!
He will soon be employed at the Dakota Mountain Lodge & Golden Door Spa (part of the Waldorf Astoria collection) in Park City! He has been offered the position of Reservations Supervisor there.
We're really excited. Our hotels are experiencing the consequences of the bad economy, so it's been tough the last few months (one downside to both of us working in the same industry). Since the Dakota Mountain Lodge is a resort, and we're quickly approaching ski season, Cole is guaranteed to be extremely busy. Oh, and there's also a pay raise. :)
Plus, once Sundance time rolls around, he's sure to meet someone spectacular...the Dakota Mountain Lodge is THE premier Park City hotel, and I'm sure all of the diva movie stars will be frequenting the spa (which happens to be the ORIGINAL destination spa and a leader in the industry for 50 years).
Seriously though, I'm very proud of Cole. He is moving forward in his dream career and is doing his best to become an indispensable asset to his company. He works so hard and contributes so much, and I'm so happy that he's finally being recognized. I know he'll do a spectacular job in Park City.


Here's a Good Question...


Insurance: system whereby individuals and companies concerned about potential hazards pay premiums to an insurance company, which reimburses (in whole or part) them in the event of loss.

Water is a potential hazard to cell phones. Water also covers 70% of the earth's surface--and that doesn't include water in plumbing fixtures, bottled beverages, etc. So, I'd say water is a SIGNIFICANT potential hazard to cell phones. In fact, I'd wager a guess that 70% (at least) of damage to cell phones is caused by water, making it the single biggest hazard to cell phones. You'd think that someone developing an insurance policy for something would include a provision for the biggest hazard...otherwise, why even have insurance? That's like homeowner's insurance for mobile homes in Kansas not covering tornado damage.

Obviously, I'm frustrated. Both Cole's and my BlackBerrys died a terrible death this week. His went swimming in the (clean) toilet water, and mine got sneezed on by a bottle of Sierra Mist (as in, the amount of liquid that came into contact with my phone was about the volume of liquid released in a sneeze). No amount of resuscitation could resurrect them.

I'm especially angry about mine. The tiniest bit of liquid and it fritzes out. To be fair, though, it did take a swim of its own in the toilet in April...three whole days after I got it. Fortunately, my techno-whiz brother-in-law was able to take it apart and dry it out. It worked like a charm after that. But still! Argh!

We had to scramble to find old, beat-up phones to use until we can scrape together the money to buy ourselves new phones...that'll take somewhere around a million years.

Of course, maybe we're just better off using the crappy phones. At least we can't do too much damage to them.


Forgiveness and Forgetting

So I have been thinking about this topic a great deal the past year or so, and thought I would formulate it into a blog post. Now once again this is not directed at any particular person in my life, it mostly about others, but I am only eligible to write this post because I have suffered through years of trying to pardon those that have done me wrong, and the harder part of forgetting. Now to bring this topic to order let me state my thought and give some example. Then let’s try to wrap it up with some good quotes and personal experience.

How do you honestly forgive someone? How do you take something for what it is worth and move on? Here is my point, how many of us have truly forgiven people of there trespasses? I myself believe that most of us paint a resolution in just going through the motions of saying I’m sorry or I forgive you. In my own life, I can tell you that I have had some people do some things that would need some forgiving. My problem is that I try to brush it off as not a big deal, and voice it to the person that I am over it or have moved on with no hard feelings. In that way the person responsible feels forgiven and can now move on in there own steps of repentance. But, with in me it still turns and boils, not truly forgiving, but no one knows it but me. Well one day those feelings boil over and hurt that person even more. Why hold onto the pain and feelings of hate and disgust?

For me I had to put myself in the picture and evaluate my life, am I truly happy with the choice of not forgiving. Once you put that in the picture, the outcome is vastly different. You find that you are not as “good” as you thought you were. Once you see the improvements you need in your own life, it clears way for forgiving. True happiness comes from letting go of the past no matter what and looking forward till tomorrow, cherishing every moment as if you had no tomorrow. You can’t do that unless you let go of all the anger and grudges and bitterness that hold you back from being happy.

We are taught to forgive all, so that is what we should do no matter how hard it is. Just let it go and move on. I know from personal application that if you just forgive, forget and move on like nothing happened, you will be happier than you were before.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Gandhi

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” – Paul Boese

So be the strong person, be the first to forgive, but honestly forgive don’t expect someone else to do it first, do it yourself, for you! You can’t change the past, you can only take the experiences and turn them into life lessons and build from them. Making you more prepared for future experiences.


Family: Isn't It About Time?

We had family dinner on Sunday night at Cole's parents house, which was a blast! We got to enjoy Bumpy's famous ribs (yum!) and Kyle got to play (read: roughouse) with his cousins.

The kids playing with Kyle's laptop

Jumping on the trampoline (Good supervising, Cole!)

Kyle looking in Gammy's kaleidoscope

Kyle hugging his buddy, Riker...

which quickly escalated into a wrestling match (yes, my son is strangling his cousin)

Sage "refereeing"

All the kids in their jammies

Gammy and her boys (with Kyle attempting to escape)

We had a lot of fun! It's especially nice for Kyle to get to play with his cousins. He's still the only grandchild on my side, so he doesn't have a lot of "kid" social skills (hence the strangling). Thanks to Bumpy and Gammy and Dave and Jill and their kids for a great evening!


Breaking the Blogging Dry Spell

I kinda took an unexpected hiatus from blogging. I've been in an unimaginative, dispassionate place the last few weeks, which left me with topics neither quirky nor controversial about which to blog...and none of the remaining topics sounded even remotely interesting to ME. After a week and a half of vaycay and some recent happenings, my mind is cluttered with some jumbled thoughts. So, it's time for a...

(what lucky readers you are today)

--Vaycay is wonderful! My family journeyed to the far off land of Pagosa Springs, Colorado for a week of relaxation and fun. We stayed at a Wyndham resort in a two-bedroom plus loft condo and had a total blast! All of my siblings save one were there (and his wife came, so for all intents and purposes the whole "fam damily" was there), which was nice, since that will probably be our last entire family vacation for a while, because...

--My little bro #2 got his mission call a couple of weeks ago...to Sierra Leone. If you don't know where that is, it's on the coast of West Africa. AFRICA! I don't think anyone expected a call like that. He reports to the MTC in Ghana, so my parents and he get to jump through the logistical hoops required for foreign travel for not just one country, but TWO. Good thing he doesn't leave until December--they're probably going to need all of that time to get passports and visas approved.

--Having a baby turned me into a baby. Seriously. I cry at commercials. I cry at radio jingles. I cry at warm-fuzzy news stories. Lately, I've been crying when I hear any song that reminds me of little bro #2.

--My family is the shiz. 'Nuff said.

--My one and only sister is moving in with us during her final year at BYU. I'm psyched, and not just because it'll be like having a live-in babysitter. She's the bomb dizzle. However, in order for BYU to recognize our house as "BYU-approved housing," Cole and I have to sign a paper stating we'll live the honor code. For some reason, I find that hugely amusing.

--My family is the shiz, but Cole's family (or, parts of it, at least) are acting like shiz. His family is dysfunctional at best, and, at any given time, we have at least one of his 4 brothers angry at us. Which one it is changes on almost a weekly basis. Luckily for us, we're not really mad at anyone right now, which is good, because...

--I've come to a realization that my relationship with Heavenly Father is drastically affected by my attitude toward others. I can't feel good about my standing with God if I'm experiencing anger or resentment toward someone else, even if that anger is justified. How can I expect God to forgive me if I can't even find it in myself to forgive others? Plus, the feeling of a weight lifting off my chest when I just LET THINGS GO is relief unlike anything I've ever felt.

--I don't understand the justification for being childish. I don't understand the merit in being vindictive. I don't understand the good in holding a grudge against someone far longer than either party can remember the initial offense. "I'm right, you're wrong, and I'll hate you until you admit that" is a terrible attitude to have, especially toward a family member.

--I think it's funny how people let their virtual relationships stand in for their actual relationships. I've recently had people remove me from their friends list on Facebook, which means, "I'm mad at you in real life." These are people with whom I have sparse social interaction anyway, so it's absolutely ridiculous that my feelings were HURT when this happened.

--I want another baby. Apparently, other people want me to have another baby too, because I'm constantly asked, "When are you going to have another baby?" Like it's anyone else's business anyway. I've started telling those inquisitors, "Well, Cole and I are doing our part, so it's really up to God now." There's no better way to make people feel uncomfortable than to bring sex into casual conversation.

--I still hate the word "prego." Funnily enough, the spoof blog "Seriously, So Blessed!" posted this yesterday. A-MAZING.

--Sunburn is c to the rappy. Peeling is l to the ame. I feel like a lizard right now.

I think my train of thought is derailed. Or possibly deranged. Or both.


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Cole and I went to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince yesterday. I have been so psyched for this movie, essentially since the book came out in 2005. This is, bar none, my favorite book of the series, so I was excited to see cinematic life breathed into it.

As with all movie adaptations of novels, I was aware that not everything from the book could be crammed into the 2 hour, 20 minute running time, and I think, overall, it was an excellent adaptation. The producers took creative liberties with the plot, which differed a fair amount from that in the book, but the result was still spectacular. However, as with past Harry Potter movies, I feel like they missed the mark on several important details that will be hard to resolve in the final movies.


First, let's talk about some things I liked about the movie.

1. I LOVED the increased role Ginny had. I was worried how they would develop the relationship between Harry and Ginny in this movie, since she's been relegated to a much smaller role in movies past. She almost felt like part of the trio, and she got just as much screen time as either Hermione or Ron. I love Ginny, so I was thrilled to see so much of her.

2. Jim Broadbent played an almost spot-on, name-dropping, favorite-collecting Horace Slughorn. he was fabulously eccentric, and his transformation from squishy armchair to plump human was extremely captivating.

3. Harry's Felix Felicis scene was wonderful. It was light-hearted and jovial, almost as though he had just spent hours inhaling happy gas at the dentist. One word to describe what was great about this scene? "Pincers."

4. Ron Weasley. I heart Ron Weasley. Particularly in the scene where he's eaten Harry's chocolates that have been doused in a love potion by Romilda Vane. Also in any scene with Lavender Brown. Hilarious.

5. On a related note, QUIDDITCH!!! I can't believe how much I missed quidditch in the last two movies. There was only one match shown, and it was focused mainly on Ron (who thought he was under the influence of Felix Felicis). They also showed quidditch tryouts and the Confundus Charm cast by Hermione to throw Cormac McLaggen off his game. Amazing.

6. I loved the teenage relationships and angst. While they were incredibly overdone, almost maudlin, in the last two movies, they were refreshingly realistic in this movie. Hermione's heart-breaking tears after seeing Ron and Lavender kissing were so honest that it made me recall any and all of my past heartbreaks. Every part of the romantic ties between the characters rang true for me.

7. If I had to pick a "Best Actor" award for the movie, it would go to Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy. He was exquisite at displaying Malfoy's fierce determination and chilling fear while attempting to complete the deadly task assigned to him by Lord Voldemort. He fleshed out the character, once only seen as Harry's archnemesis and foil, and gave the audience a reason to finally relate to him and feel for him. Bravo, Mr. Felton.

8. During this movie, I FINALLY got on board with Dumbledore. I took such issue with him in the last three movies because he always seemed so harsh and unfeeling. In Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore finally became the warm, caring, almost batty headmaster that he is in the books. I finally felt like he actually cared about Harry as a person rather than just as a tool to fight Lord Voldemort. The cave scene and his final tower scene were absolutely wonderful, and Dumbledore was dignified even in his final moments.

9. Fred and George's shop. It was just like I imagined it: colorful, cacophonous, and outrageous...even though one of the twins appears noticeably plumper than the other. Strange.

Now to my gripes and concerns.

1. Very little of the Order of the Phoenix. You only really see them at the Weasleys' house for Christmas, and then it's only Tonks and Lupin (who apparently are already together in the movie. Weird.). This means no battle between the Death Eaters and the Order in the castle after Snape kills Dumbledore. That whole scene was pretty uneventful without the battle.

2. Very little use of the invisibility cloak. We only see it once—during Harry’s “espionage” in the Slytherin compartment on the Hogwarts Express (which was rather well done, actually).

3. Snape. I usually love Alan Rickman, but at the end of the movie, I was less than pleased that he showed no passion or anger when Harry called him a coward like he did in the book. He didn't even fly into a rage when Harry mutilated Malfoy, his supposed favorite student, in the bathroom. This installation of the series was supposed to show the audience just how many layers Snape has, but it didn't seem like he had more than one dimension: flat, monotone, sardonic, sneering. I also would have liked to see what his Defense Against the Dark Arts classes were like.

4. Very little elaboration on the significance of the "Half-Blood Prince". Yes, Snape told Harry it was he when he was running away from Hogwarts at the end, but it seemed anti-climactic. It was supposed to be a revelation to Harry about how he views people. Throughout the whole story, Harry has admired and emulated the Half-Blood Prince, so it should be a complete blow to Harry when he found out his idol turned out to be the one person he loathed above all.

5. Dumbledore seemed sincerely surprised when Harry acquires Slughorn’s unadulterated memory and they find out Lord Voldemort sought to create horcruxes. In the book, Dumbledore already had a shrewd idea about what Lord Voldemort had been up to, and Slughorn’s memory served only to confirm what he already knew. In the movie, it was like a complete shock to him. This was strange, because he already was in possession of Tom Riddle’s diary (which Harry de-commissioned back in Chamber of Secrets) and Marvolo Gaunt’s ring (which Dumbledore had already tried to destroy, as evidenced by his blackened hand). I find it hard to believe that Dumbledore would not have even some idea as to what these objects were, seeing as how he is (was?) one of the greatest wizards of the time. It undermines his authority and his wisdom.

6. Oh, and they never really explained how Dumbledore’s hand got all dead-like…and if they did, it wasn’t clear enough for me to see it.

7. If we were learning about the story only from the movie, all we know at this point is that Lord Voldemort created horcruxes (at least 3, since both the diary and ring have been destroyed and they acquired the locket from the cave) and that they could be any object. Dumbledore and Harry did not discuss how many horcruxes Voldemort most likely made. They did not discuss the fact that Voldemort would have made them using objects that were valuable to him or carried specific importance. They did not discuss how to destroy a horcrux. Harry basically has nothing to go on at this point in the story. I’m not sure how the producers are going to pull off the last two movies. Harry will have to “happen” to come across the remaining horcruxes and then devise a plan to destroy them all by himself.

8. In addition, the movies lack important tying-together elements, like the trio’s discovery of R.A.B’s locket (and the true horcrux) during the cleaning of Sirius Black’s house, and Harry’s use of the diadem (also a horcrux) to help mark the location of his potions book in the Room of Requirement. In the books, these seemingly minor details prove to be extremely important. Without these details in the movies, Harry will, again, have to come across them by accident.

9. Harry was not invisible or immobilized during Dumbledore’s death. He was simply on a lower level of the tower, thereby enabling him to see everything that was going on but not be seen. In my mind, this made Harry seem weak. At least in the book, we know he would have attempted to help Dumbledore if he weren’t frozen. In the movie, Harry was physically able to help, but he did nothing. He looks like a coward. I hated that.

Okay, so the list of gripes made it sound like I hated the movie. I really didn’t. Most of the gripes I had were really very minor. The only thing that even moderately irked me were numbers 7 and 8, and I’m just interested to see how those issues will be handled in the next installment. I guess it’s good that there will be two movies, since there is so much to wrap up.

And why was this movie a whole hour shorter than all of the rest? It just figures that the movie of my favorite book would be the shortest of all.


Topic of Discussion: Modesty in Wear

So here I am again blogging in place of Jessica, but hopefully this will bring out a Jessica-ish post.
While at church today, I was sitting in Sunday school by myself while Jessica attended nursery with our insubordinate son. While waiting for the lesson to start a cluster of the ladies in our ward sat down near me. Now I understand ones desire to “look good” for one self or others, but there needs to be a line. Anyway, they sat down one in front of me, and two beside me. The one in front of me was wearing a nice dress that went down to mid thigh! One of the ladies next to me spent the whole time trying to cover up her LDS under garments, and the other one spent the whole time re-rolling her LDS under garment sleeves as for them to stop showing. I see it more and more in wards and branches, the clothing is not adjusted to cover the under garment, the under garment is adjusted to not show under the clothing.

“Modesty in dress is a quality of mind and heart, born of respect for oneself, one’s fellowmen, and the Creator of us all. Modesty reflects an attitude of humility, decency, and propriety.”
– Elder L. Tom Perry

This brings me to the real topic, swimwear modesty. Jessica has followed a very informative blog that focuses on LDS women, and they had this topic for a discussion. Some of the discussions were as follows; why can’t I dress in a bikini on the beach? I’m not breaking any commandments. Or, I have worked hard for this body, why shouldn’t I show it off? Now Jessica and I of course are not anywhere close to having bodies stunning enough for this to be an issue. As Jessica puts it, she wishes she could find a swimsuit that covers from mid arm to mid calf. I am purchasing a wetsuit for her for Christmas. But, as for most other people, the ones that have elegant bodies and feel good about it, they have their own reasons for why they dress the way they do while attending the beach or pool.

I can tell you the classic answers on why it is wrong, like men look at you in lust, and you must respect your body, your body is a temple. Now as clich├ęd and “For the Strength of Youth” it sounds it is true. It comes down to that, if you have ever listened to a Prophet or an Apostle speak it is not: “You must dress modestly in all things, as long as your garments don’t show or you feel good in what you are wearing.” No, it is:

“In the past year or so we have noticed a dramatic change in the way some of our members are dressing. Styles in clothing change; fads come and go; but if the dress styles are immodest, it is important that we avoid them. When you dress modestly, you show respect for your Heavenly Father and for yourself. At this time, when dress fashions are styled after the skimpy clothing some of the current movie and music idols are wearing, it may be difficult to find modest apparel in clothing stores. However, it is possible, and it is important. The Apostle Paul declared: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? … The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” You know the truth; live it. - President Thomas S. Monson

So that is what I say, you know the truth live it! There should not be any rational good reason why you should allow yourself to drop the standards you live every day. There is no reason for any member of the church teen or adult should be dressing inappropriate in any wear of life. You know what is right and what you should be doing, so why disobey? If we stretch our obedience on one of the “lesser commandments” like modesty, word of wisdom and tithing etc... We lose the spirit which is the only thing that is there to remind us of our responsibilities as members of the Church.

Stepping down and hope to get some comments, then hopefully Jessica will have a more intelligent follow up post.


Random Thoughts From Cole

So I had conversations with someone tonight, and let's say it was good to talk to them, since I hadn't talked to them in awhile. But, on the other hand it brings up so many things that reminds you why you don't talk very often.

How do you love a person so much, but can't figure out a way to coexist with them? No I am not talking about you Jessica, or our monkey of a son Kyle. You have that love that can't ever go away, but than you think how much you want it to go away and hope that you had never associated with it. Why do we keep trying even though it always ends up the same? How do you let go and not care? I know I will feel better if I do. But yet, I can't! Where do you draw the line and how do you move on from it?

Okay, there you go. I am done on that subject!

Here is some lyrics from a 90's song "Wear Sunscreen" that I heard again recently, and it is corny but true.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh never mind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you imagine. Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing everyday that scares you Sing Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. Floss Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself. Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements. Stretch Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone. Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.. Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room. Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young. Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel. Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders. Respect your elders. Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out. Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85. Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

Just simple things to think about! If only we could live our lives that way, with no worries and not stress about petty things, or money, or caring what other people think or do. How productive would I be if I didn't have all that on my mind? Or would I?

I know that no matter what happens, and how ever long I have to put up with it, I will always have the center to fall back on. That SURE thing in this crazy world, it is kind of like my "sunscreen" if I wear it, I won't be burned by the craziness of everything else!

Thoughts from Cole. Thank you for listening, writing them out helps me to not go crazy! Onemore thing, I just had to add this website for anyone thinks they have had a bad day like me. It can't be as bad as these. www.fmylife.com


Like Fine Wine...We Just Keep Getting Better!

Dear Cole,

When we got married 3 years ago, we were quirky.
Before too long, we got kinda zany...

And now? Well, I don't think we have much sanity left.
But you know what? It's totally worth being crazy if I have someone to keep me company every step of the way...and I've never been more glad that it's you.
Happy anniversary, love!


Hail the Conquering Hikers!

A few weekends ago, Cole's brother and his wife invited us to hike up to Timpanogos Cave with them. Since it had been years since either of us had done it, we thought it was a cool idea.

Then we realized how out of shape we are...and how hard it is to carry a toddler on your shoulders up a mountain.

It's only a mile and a half up to the caves, but the trail is a bunch of steep, narrow switchbacks cut from the side of the mountain (you'd think I would remember something like that). All those pictures with us smiling? Yeah, we took those at the beginning of the hike.

Once we got into the cave, though, the hike was totally worth it. It's so amazing to see the beautiful things one can find in nature. Our tour guide was awesome! He pointed out so many cool features of the cave. Oddly enough, most of them were somehow food-related. There were the "ramen noodles" on the roof of the cave, thick slabs of "bacon" running along the walls, "salt and pepper shakers," and even a huge "caramel ice cream sundae." All of it made us pretty hungry...well, except for the caramel sundae. It resembled the "Jabba the Hutt" fixture that we also saw WAY too much for my taste. I doubt I'll be putting caramel syrup on my ice cream very much now.
We got to see a little bit of wildlife, too. Just outside the entrance to the cave, we saw what looked like a chipmunk to our untrained eyes. Apparently it was really a squirrel wearing a chipmunk mask. The park ranger told us it was something like a "golden squirrel", and got rather put out when people continued to refer to it as "the chipmunk sitting on that rock, eating goldfish crackers." And yet, he didn't even bat an eye at the people feeding the little rodent goldfish crackers and bits of granola bars (a BIG no no--there are signs all up and down the trail forbidding the feeding of small animals). Meh.

Zoo Trip 2009

We took a family trip to the Hogle Zoo on Memorial Day this year. It was Kyle's first time at the zoo, so we were really excited to see how he would like it. It was CRAZY busy (which we should have realized would happen, it being a holiday and all)! It took us 45 minutes to find a place to park.

By the time we got into the zoo, we were approaching the warmest part of the day. We missed seeing a lot of the animals (like ALL of the Asian Highlands cats, in fact) because so many of them were hiding away from the heat. But, we still got to see the monkeys, and the giraffes, and the elephants, and the penguins (Kyle really liked these), and lots of other things. We even got a glimpse of the fossa in the Madagascar exhibit. He was hiding out in a log, asleep. Fortunately for us, the log was right against the display glass, so we got an excellent look at him. What a weird looking animal...

The biggest hit of the day for Kyle, however, was the train ride. We ended up at the very back, which faces backwards, so we got a panoramic view from the train. Kyle also really enjoyed playing on the playground in discovery land.

We had a lot of fun! I think the next time we go to the zoo, we'll try to be there right when it opens, though. Maybe then more of the animals will be out.



I promise there will be blogging soon. We've been pretty busy for the last few weeks, so there's a lot to share with y'all.

For now, I thought I'd post this picture of Kyle. We went to a barbecue on Saturday night thrown by one of the doctors my dad works with. She took this pic of Kyle with her blind kitty, and told us it was her "favorite picture of the day":

P.S. We taught Kyle how to say "ice ice baby"...possibly our greatest parenting achievement to date.


Monkey See, Monkey Do

This little guy...
cracks me up every day! He's really into a mimicking phase, so he copies almost everything we do and say. Yesterday I was having a bit of a frustration fit, and I walked into our bedroom to see Kyle holding my car keys, studiously trying to put them into the internet jack in the wall. Cute, but dangerous, if he should decide to try and put them into an electrical outlet. So I ran over there and said, "Seriously, Kyle?" Much to my surprise, he smiled and said "seriously?" right back to me! That was too much for me to handle, and I started laughing, which made Kyle laugh because he realized that he was funny. He also made me chuckle on our way home yesterday. I was talking to my mom on the phone, and when I turned around to check on Kyle, he had his hand up to his ear and he was jabbering away like he was on the phone, too.

Oh, and here's our nomination for the worst parents of the year award: this morning when we pulled up to McDonald's to get a quick breakfast before I had to go to work, I looked back to see Kyle excitedly signing "eat", clapping his hands, and kicking his feet with a huge grin on his face. We must go to McDonald's far too often...

(Okay, it's really not more than a couple of times a month...I promise! My kid is just too smart for his own good.)


Kitties Update

So...remember how I was worried about the cats getting along?

Cole texted me some pictures today...

and, the cuter one:

If you can't tell, Chubs is cleaning Pumpkin in the second one.

Apparently they're buddies now.
Seriously though, they get along really well. Almost TOO well...we have to keep our bedroom door shut at night, because the cats have been chasing each other all over the house and we get run all over if we leave it open. They wrestle and play all the time, and Cole tells me this isn't the first time he's seen them cuddle. I'm glad that they're friends.
Now, if only Kyle had a buddy to play with...


Discussion, Please!

I want to start up a discussion. When I was at work today, I ran across this article:

Judge Rules Family Can't Refuse Chemo for Boy

If you don't want to read the entire story, I'll give you a recap: a judge ruled that a family must seek conventional medical treatment for their son, who has Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The family was pursuing alternative medical treatments as prescribed by the Nemenhah Band, which seems to be a religious/spiritual group that advocates natural supplements and treatments to heal disease rather than conventional Western medicine. The boy is 13 years old.

I've actually seen several stories like this in the news lately: a family rejects Western medicine for their children due to spiritual or religious beliefs, are taken to court by child protection workers for abuse and "medical neglect", and are forced to seek modern medical attention.

I am appalled that the government stripped these people of their First Amendment right to freedom of religion. The government is forcing these people to go against their spiritual/religious beliefs, which is completely wrong, and completely unconstitutional. Plus, I abhor it when the government tells people how to raise their children.


In this 13-year-old boy's case, he reportedly has a 90% chance of survival with chemotherapy and radiation but only a 5% chance without those treatments. There is quite a drastic difference in those odds. I am firmly of the belief that medical advances are for our good, and, therefore, ordained of God (see my earlier post with a similar vein). I think his parents are jeopardizing his life for the sake of their religious/spiritual beliefs. Since this boy is a minor, his parents are still primarily responsible for making his medical decisions, so, in this instance, they very literally hold his life in their hands. Even if he were allowed to make his own medical decisions, he is still young and impressionable. It's not likely he would have considered other options besides the one his parents have prescribed. I don't think any child should die of a treatable disease because his/her parents make the choice for him/her to forgo medical treatment.

So on one hand, I disagree with the judge...but on the other, I completely agree.

Many people are so blindly motivated by their religious/spiritual beliefs that they abandon all logic and common sense to follow them (see the Heaven's Gate movement for an example). My question is, when should the government step in and save people from harming themselves (or their children!) due to extreme religious/spiritual beliefs? And, who declares what is harmful? After all, I'm sure many people would classify Mormonism as harmful, to a degree, and I would hate to see the government step in to "save" me. Plus, if the government starts invalidating religions for the sake of their followers, what's to say they won't prohibit religion altogether?

So, I'm having a hard time reconciling these ideas. What does everyone else think?
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