Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Christian Nation

Is the United States of America a Christian nation? I have no doubts that Israel can be considered a Jewish nation, that nations such as Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc. are Muslim nations, and that India is a Hindu nation. I am aware that some, if not all, of these nations have smaller percentages of other religions, but I seem to see a dominant religion in each of them. This brings me back to the United States. Is the United States a Christian nation? Christianity is a religion that is based upon the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Christians are members of different churches, which have different beliefs about Jesus Christ and His teachings, but all the churches consider Jesus to be central to their religion. Most Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and was sent to earth by God to be the Savior of the world. Christianity teaches that humanity can achieve salvation through Jesus Christ. Jesus lived in Judea under the rule of the Romans and was crucified by the Romans about A.D. 30. Jesus' followers believe that He rose from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion and that He lives as a resurrected being. After the death and resurrection of Christ, Christianity spread to major cities throughout the Roman Empire. It became the major religion in Europe and was brought to the Western Hemisphere by the Puritans, Pilgrims, and other early American settlers. "Christianity has had an enormous influence on Western civilization, especially in the areas of art, literature, and philosophy. The teachings of Christianity have had a lasting effect on the conduct of business, government, and social relations" (Henry Warner Bowden, World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, 524). Christianity was once the major religion in Europe, but it is no longer considered as such. We know that the United States began as a Christian nation and was built upon Christian principles by people who believed in God. The question remains, is the United States still a Christian nation?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is the strangest of our major holidays because it involves so many contradictions. One major contradiction comes from its very beginning when converted Christians wanted to continue celebrating as pagans. Another contradiction is the different principles taught to children every day as opposed to what they learn on Halloween. Our present day celebration probably descended from the Celtic festival known as Samhain, according to Carol Bain (World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 9, 24-26). The Celtic people lived in the area now known as the United Kingdom, Ireland, and northern France. The Celtic new year began on November 1. A festival was held on the eve of the new year to honor Samhain, the Celtic lord of death. This festival marked the beginning of a season of cold, darkness, and decay and invoked thoughts of the dead and death. One of the Celtic's beliefs was that the spirits of the dead were allowed to return to their earthly homes for this evening. For the festival, the people would put out their fires at home and go to a huge bonfire built by the Druids (the priests and teachers of the Celts). The bonfire was made from oak branches because they were thought to be sacred. The Druids sacrificed animals, crops, and maybe humans. Sometimes the people wore costumes of animal heads and skins. Fortunes were told by examining the remains in the fire. The people took fire from the bonfire to relight their hearth fires. Following the conquest of the Celtics, the Romans ruled much of Great Britain for approximately 400 years. It was during this time that two Roman autumn holidays were combined with the pagan festival of Samhain. One was to honor the dead, and the other was to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. This may be how apples came to be part of Halloween. When the people became Christians, they continued many of the Celtic customs. During the 800s when the church established All Saints Day on November 1, the people brought the pagan customs as part of this holy day. November 2 was named as a day to honor the dead and was known as All Souls Day. The mass said on All Saints Day was called Allhallowmas. The previous evening was known as All Hallows' Eve or All Hallow e'en. The Celts in different areas celebrated in different ways. The people in Ireland begged for food in a parade. The Scottish people carried torches while parading through fields and villages. They built huge bonfires on hillsides to scare away evil spirits. The people in Wales each marked a stone and put it in a bonfire. They believed that if their stone was missing the next morning, he or she would die within a year. English poor people went a-souling (begging) on All Souls Day and received pastries called soulcake in exchange for promising to pray for the dead. Early American settlers from England and other Celtic areas brought their customs with them, but, due to strict religious beliefs of other settlers, Halloween celebrations did not become popular until the 1800s. In England the people carved out beets, potatoes, and turnips to use for Halloween lanterns. Pumpkins became the vegetables of choice in America. An Irish legend says that the jack-o-lantern was named for a man named Jack who couldn't go to heaven because he was a miser and couldn't go to hell because he played tricks on the devil. He has to walk the earth with his lantern until Judgment Day. Bobbing for apples in containers of water probably came from England. We spend an entire year teaching our children to love God, be kind to others, unselfishness, etc. Then for Halloween, we dress them in costumes, some of which are very ugly, scary and otherwise ungodly, and send them out to "trick or treat" - which actually means "give me a treat or I will do something mean to you." What are we really teaching our children when we allow them to "take" rather than "give" to others? Although some of the traditions such as bobbing for apples and having celebrations are completely innocent, how can we justify continuing the other parts of Halloween? I have so much confusion in my soul over Halloween that I'm not sure how I really feel about it. I stopped decorating for Halloween many years ago, but I continued to provide costumes and took my little children out to "trick or treat." One restriction that I did put on the celebration was if Halloween fell on the Sabbath. Those years found my little ones trick or treating on Saturday night and in a back room of our darkened home on Sunday. I would provide them with treats, and we spent the time reading books and playing games. I have a friend who makes Halloween a special time to take her children "window shopping" at a local toy store for Christmas ideas. The children enjoy the opportunity to spend time with their mother playing with toys as well as the refreshments, which always followed the shopping trip. Maybe Halloween is one of those "traditions of the fathers" that we should discontinue. Anyway, Happy Halloween. I hope you all have a nice, safe day!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just in Case

Think back to the destruction of New Orleans and the fires of southern California. Suppose that a policeman came to your house to tell you that you needed to evacuate your home immediately and to plan to be gone for several days. What would you take with you? Bad times are presently here, and worse experiences seem to be coming. It may not take a natural disaster to provide the need for 72 hour kits. You can either take your chances that this experience will never happen or you can prepare ahead of time just in case. You might start your preparations by holding a "surprise emergency" with your family. You could call your family together, explain that this is a practice emergency drill, and tell them to gather what they will need for the next three days and be in the car within the next two minutes. This experience would dramatize the need for advance preparation. One big problem that often happens in an emergency setting is that people go into shock and can't think clearly, which causes a problem even when there is enough time to collect necessities. This is why it is so much better to plan and prepare ahead - just in case. Here are some suggestions as to what can be prepared for a possible emergency. Some people call this a 72-hour kit - things needed to survive for the next three days. The basic necessities for each individual should be put in a back pack or something similar that can be carried if evacuation needs to be on foot. Scriptures to feed the Spirit. Cash: Each individual should have some cash in small bills in their possession. Parents should carry the bulk of the cash in small bills. Determine how much cash your family would need for 72 hours. Food: Food in this kit needs to be nutritious and easy to fix. It needs to be edible even without heating it. Suggested types of food are: jerky, granola bars, trail mix, nuts, etc - foods that are light and easy to carry. Make sure that you rotate the food every six months or so. Clothing: A complete set of clothing (pants, shirt, underclothes, socks, shoes) for each individual. These clothes should preferably be sturdy clothes such as are worn for working outdoors or camping. Include the necessary items for protection from the weather. For example, here in Alaska we must plan for wet and/or cold weather. Baby Supplies: Extra sets of clothing, diapers, baby food, blankets, etc. Personal Supplies: tooth brush, tooth paste, soap, comb, brush, wash cloth, towel. Water: As much as the individual can carry. Flashlight: Include extra batteries or get a flashlight that doesn't need batteries. Radio: Needed to keep up with what is happening. Whistle Sleeping bag or blanket First Aid Kit Medicine Plan: Plan where the family will meet in case someone is not home or family gets separated. Important Papers: Keep copies of important papers such as marriage and birth certificates in kit. Photos and Journals: These can be put on CDs or DVDs in case the originals become destroyed. Copies can be sent to other family members - just in case. Pet Food Additional items that would add to comfort but would need a vehicle to carry would include the following: Gasoline: Develop the habit of keeping the gas tank full or nearly full. Camp stove with fuel Water purifier Sleeping pads Tents and tarps More food: I have a plastic tub by my garage door that I keep full of foods like canned goods such as chili, soup, fruit, tuna, chicken; peanut butter, and crackers along with can opener, etc. This list is only a suggestion. Every individual and family has different circumstances and needs. Do what works best for you and your family. I have a friend and her husband who purchased a trailer similar to a small U-Haul trailer. They keep their camping supplies such tents, sleeping bags and pads, cook stove with fuel, tarps, etc as well as their emergency supplies in this trailer. This trailer is parked in their garage and needs only to be hooked to a vehicle. They are also prepared for leaving on foot if necessary. Please prepare 72-hour kits for your family to use - just in case.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Are You Conservative?

Are you conservative? Those people who previously called themselves "moderates" are moving right. Conservatives now make up the biggest percentage (36%) of Americans for the first time in a long time. Moderates make up the next largest percentage with liberals coming in with the smallest (20%). I suspect this much of this shift to the right is a direct result of Obama's policies. I suspect that many of the previous moderates just simply didn't recognize that they were conservative until someone pointed out to them that they were conservative. This is the type of thing that happens when people become involved and knowledgeable. I might not have recognized that I was conservative without someone explaining what it meant to be conservative. If you want to know if you are conservative, I suggest that you occasionally watch the Fox News Network, listen to talk radio, or read books such as Liberty and Tyranny - A Conservative Manifesto, by Mark R. Levin. Compare what you hear or read from a conservative source with what the left-leaning, main-stream media is telling you and then decide which side you agree with most. The basic description is: conservatives want the Rule of Law as given to us through the United States Constitution, and liberals want the Rule of Man. The Rule of Law gives us liberty and freedom while the Rule of Man brings bondage and tyranny. Again, are you Conservative? If not, why not?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Death of Constitution?

Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, was an advocate for the United States Constitution and the blessings of liberty that it guarantees. He often praised it. He once made a statement something to the effect that the Constitution would one day be hanging as though by a thread and it could only be rescued by good people. I have often thought about his statement and wondered how the great nation of the United States of America could fall so far that its Constitution would almost be null and void. As I have watched the events of the past year or so, I am beginning to understand just how this change could come about. In my studies of recent weeks and months, I have seen other writings that are echoes of that statement given by Joseph Smith. On October 15, 2009, Mark Alexander of The Patriot Post wrote an article entitled "Our Constitution is on Life Support" ( In his article Alexander quoted Benjamin Franklin as saying "Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Then he made the following statement: "That wise old sage, Ben Franklin, was prescient back in 1748, when he issued his simple Rx for success. Unfortunately, the wealth and wisdom of generations of Americans have been progressively supplanted by our central government's exercise of unconstitutional authority. "In regard to wealth, I refer most directly to our government's colossal spending and debt accumulation, and unlawful taxation. "As to wisdom, well, there's not much of that emerging from government-run school systems. "Having depleted the wealth and wisdom of our great nation, the Obama juggernaut is determined to do likewise to health, that third prong of Franklin's trident. If successful, then we may rightly fear it as a death blow to the greatest experiment in human history." "Alexander then proceeded to explain why the health care reform, that is being rushed through Congress and forced upon us, is unconstitutional. He alleges that the Democrat bill is not so much about health care as it is about gaining power and control and stated, "Patriot Readers, the U.S. Constitution is on life support." "On life support" sounds very much like "hanging by a thread" to me. These statements were made in times separated by nearly two hundred years. Are they based on truth? I think so. Can our Constitution be saved? I think so, but I also think it will take great effort and expense. The American people are waking up to the fact that the Constitution is in grave danger. Now we must all become engaged in the rescue!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Menu Plans

Over the past few weeks I've been trying to reorganize my home and my life. This is an ongoing project for me as my own children can testify. I am a firm believer in the idea "if I can just get more organized, I can accomplish more!" My current project is to obtain some control over my lack of planning in the dinner preparation department. I know that having regular and nutritious meals together is a good way to strengthen marriage and family, but I have always struggled with the decision of what to fix for dinner. It seems that every day about 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon, I start worrying about dinner - and my mind goes blank or I decide that I want something and don't have enough time or the right ingredients. I thought about making a monthly schedule but couldn't decide how to do it. A month was just too long of a time to plan for food. I have a sister who apparently has a set day for the type of food to fix, such as soup is served on Wednesday. I'm not sure exactly what her system is, but I know that it works for her. My problem with having a fixed menu is that maybe I don't feel like soup on Wednesday or maybe Wednesday is too hot for soup or maybe the activities of the day interfere with making soup. I recently went to lunch with a group of friends and took advantage of the situation to discuss how they worked their dinner preparation plans. I obtained several good ideas that might work for me and will share my research with you. Some of my friends make a list of all the possible main dishes. Some of them divide their list into categories. When it is time to fix dinner, they simply go down the list and decide what they want to fix that particular day. My problem with this system is that I might want to fix something but not have the right ingredients or possible substitutes. Some friends use the advertisements in the newspapers for the sales at the grocery store to plan their meals for the week. My only problem with this system is that everything on the page looks so delicious that I want it all! A long-time friend shared an idea that she used years ago. Her suggestion is a way of combining all the ideas and is a plan that will probably work for me. She would make a list of meals that she wanted to fix that week and obtain all the ingredients necessary to fix those meals. (This could certainly be accomplished using the store advertisements). Then on a particular day, she would look at that weekly list and decide what she wanted to cook that particular day. I think that I can manage a weekly list, and I like the idea of being able to plan ahead to obtain the necessary ingredients. Maybe some of these ideas will work for you and make your task of preparing regular, nutritious meals for your family a little easier.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

As A Mom

Another organization that you might find helpful is called As A Mom ( They bill themselves as "A Sisterhood of Mommy Patriots" but accept into membership people who are not moms or even female. As A Mom is teaming with Homemakers for America to do a project called The Abigail Adams Project. The object of this project is "to help create a web source of information on who the candidates are and where they stand on the key issues from the President of the United States all the way down to the school board in every city, county and state in the nation." I don't yet have much information on As A Mom, but I obtained as much information as I could get without actually joining. This group is apparently quite new and maybe not as organized as Homemakers for America. As A Mom supports the 9 12 Project ( and believe in the nine principles of this project, which are: 1. America is good. 2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life. 3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday. 4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government. 5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it. 6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results. 7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable. 8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion. 9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me. This group has forum set up on the following topics: education, health care, parent rights, children's future, current events and issues, and how to get involved. I like the fact that they have suggested an action that can be taken each day. Daily: Contact your congressmen daily regarding the health care bill. Ask specific questions that concern you and your situation. Mommy Mondays: Use this day to educate yourself and your family about the Constitution, our Founding Fathers, and other pertinent information. Take Action Tuesdays: Focus on Congress by contacting your Senators and Representatives to voice your concerns and ask questions. White House Wednesday: Call/fax/e-mail the White House with your concerns and questions. Be polite. Keep it short and sweet to get your point across. Ask simple direct questions. Thankful Thursdays: Find a way to make someone smile: send a thank you note, help a neighbor anonymously, make something that can be donated, visit a senior care center, adopt a soldier, etc. Freedom Fridays: Focus on setting yourself and your family free by budgeting, getting out of debt, storing food, etc. These suggestions are very simple. The results would be very powerful, but the actual actions would take very little time or be something that you are probably already doing. If you don't like a particular suggestion, you could always substitute your own for that day. What is really important is to know that there are many people who are concerned about our country and the direction that it is moving. We are not alone!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Homemakers For America

I want to share a little information about a group that I just discovered today. I have searched their website and am impressed with what I see, impressed enough that I am going to do more research on them. As I read through the material on the website, I became more and more excited to know that there is a whole group of women feeling the same way I have been feeling and doing what they can to help families, communities, and our nation. I encourage you to embark on your own investigation of the group. Homemakers for America Inc, was founded on November 11, 2004, when twenty-seven women of all ages, religions, backgrounds and walks of life met together at the charter meeting in Dayton, Ohio. I will tell you a little about the group, but I encourage you to go to their website ( to gain a wider picture of what the women in this group are doing to help families, communities, and our nation: The mission for this group is "to foster an understanding, love, and respect for America's history and heritage, her founding principles and values, her legacy and destiny, and build a nation of informed citizens and devoted patriots one woman and one family at a time." The purpose "is to educate American women and their families on America's history and heritage, promote an understanding and respect for the U.S. Constitution and our founding documents of freedom, inspire an appreciation for our Founding Fathers and their families, cultivate a devotion to our symbols of freedom and allegiance to our citizenship, advance the principles of Liberty this nation was founded on, and teach and guide the women of America how to be actively involved as citizens in their homes, communities and the nation without sacrificing their families." The group is obviously well organized and has a solid foundation. The website listed the following ten goals for the group: "1. Educate and inform women of their power and potential to impact our nation and restore the values of God, Freedom and Family which America was founded on. 2. Educate women on how to become proactive on issues relating to God, Freedom and Family in their communities, their Nation and in their Homes. 3. Encourage every woman in America to read and know the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, to have copies in their homes and teach them to their children. 4. Teach and encourage respect for the flag, our founders, and our heritage and cultivate pride in our nation. 5. Support and promote free enterprise as our founding fathers envisioned, thus giving every woman and family the opportunity to provide for their needs and serve others. 6. Advocate our taxation with representation as accountable and responsible and encourage the elimination of unconstitutional spending of the taxpayers' money. 7. To give homemakers the tools they can use to promote value-based, honest, education of their children. 8. Provide the homemakers of America with a platform and outlet to address their concerns. 9. Provide information on elected officials and how to contact them and during election cycles, provide information on the candidates running and where they stand on the issues on a local, state and national level. 10. Build a large membership of women who are concerned for God, Freedom and Family and teach them how to influence and impact their communities and the nation without sacrificing their families. I am probably most impressed with the list of core beliefs for this group. As I read over the thirty core beliefs listed on the website, I saw many of my own beliefs on the written page. I didn't recognize any of the beliefs as being against my own core beliefs. Some of those core beliefs are: 1. "We believe all people are created by and in the image of God." 2. "We believe in the power of prayer and the importance of praying for our nation and its leaders regardless of their political party." 3. "We believe in being anxiously engaged in a good cause in our families, our communities, and our nation." 4. "We believe mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children and that mothers and fathers are to work together and help each other as equal partners." 5. "We believe that marriage is ordained of God and is to be between man and woman." There are many excellent quotes on the website including this one, "There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained" (Winston Churchill, quoted by Homemakers For America).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Question Everything

This morning while quickly perusing our local newspaper, I read a few of the comics. I noticed that there seemed to be a "theme" to the comics, something that I haven't noticed previously. I remembered that this theme had been carried over several days. I wondered why so many comics were about the same topic. It was only later today that I heard a news item that our current First Lady had proclaimed this week to be "service week." The interesting thing about this whole "service" thing is who is supposed to benefit from all the service. I am actually a big fan of serving in my community and church. I enjoy helping my family, friends, and neighbors. I truly believe that we can make the world a much better place by forgetting ourselves and helping other people. I have a problem when someone calls for service for a personal benefit. I believe that it was wrong for Michelle Obama to proclaim a service week in order to advance her husband's agenda for further destruction to our country. I find it very interesting to see that the printed media was prepared with comics about service just in time for the First Lady's announcement. I also find it interesting that Disney is rewarding "volunteers" - a word for working without pay - with a free day pass at Disneyland or Disney World for each day of service (who is keeping track of which people do service?). I also find it interesting that producers of television shows - I've heard that the number is over sixty - had programs about service all ready to be shown during "service week" well before the First Lady made her announcement. Hollywood is said to have stated that they have been planning for these shows for over a year in order to "promote a new way of thinking about service." Is all this just a coincidence or is there an agenda? I remembered reading a chapter about words in Rules For Radicals by Saul D. Alinsky. In the chapter called "A Word About Words" Alinsky explained why words such as political, power, self-interest, compromise, ego, and conflict have "become twisted and warped, viewed as evil" (p 48). "The question may legitimately be raised, why not use other words - words that mean the same but are peaceful, and do not result in such negative, emotional reactions?" (p 49). Alinsky explained that it was important to use a word that wouldn't dilute the meaning and thus change the emotional response. He quoted Mark Twain as stating: "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." So, service is a very peaceful word. Who could find fault with service? I can't find any fault with true service, but I do question what is meant when Barack and Michelle Obama call for "service." What do they want to accomplish? I am learning to question everything. I advise you to look for the meaning behind the specific words being used. Think about the problems that the words "hope and change" brought to our nation. I am sure that many people who voted for Obama because he was promising "hope and change" are seeing changes that they didn't ever expect to see. That is why I am saying to question everything!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ptarmigan Hunting

I exercised my Second Amendment rights again yesterday. My husband and I left the Lake Hood airstrip in our Super Cub just as the sun was coming over the Chugach Mountains about 9:30 a.m. We flew across Cook Inlet to the area around Beluga Lake where we landed on a huge meadow to hunt for Ptarmigan. Our friends landed in their Maule just a few minutes before we landed. The sky was mostly clear, and there was almost no breeze. The temperature when we landed was just below freezing but it warmed up to about forty degrees, just about right for hiking around but cool if sitting for any length of time. Willow Ptarmigan is the state bird for Alaska. Ptarmigan can be recognized by the short feathers covering its feet, which help it to walk on the snow. The feathers of the ptarmigan change colors for specific seasons. In the summer, its feathers are reddish-brown and black, and in the winter, its feathers are white. The change in coloring is apparently brought about by the change in daylight hours. Yesterday the ptarmigan were almost all white, which made them really easy to see in the background of green and brown. The three hunters seemed to be satisfied with the number of ptarmigan they shot. I'm not a hunter but was along for fun and friendship. We spent hours walking through meadows and brush or hiking up and down mountains. It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be out in this beautiful country. There was no snow on the ground, but there was ice around the edges of lakes, etc. Our excitement for the day was crossing streams of water too deep to wade by stepping from ice covered rock to ice covered rock. I am not a hunter and don't even like to carry a rifle or shotgun; however, I believe very strongly in the Second Amendment. There seems to be a lot of confusion as to what the Second Amendment actually says. I don't understand the confusion because the words seem to be very plain to me: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Our Founding Fathers must have known what they were writing and why, but later generations certainly are confused. Now there cannot be any question about what the Second Amendment means. "In a radical break from 70 years of Super Court precedent, Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, declared that the Second Amendment guarantees individuals the right to bear arms for nonmilitary uses, even though the amendment clearly links the right to service in a `militia'" (The New York times Editorial Board, June 27, 2008). The Second Amendment is actually the Right that protects all of our other rights. When people are armed, as King George discovered, they become a populace that refuses to be pushed around. Thomas Jefferson observed, "When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny" (Walter E. Williams, Do the Right Thing: The People's Economist Speaks (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1995), 149,

Monday, October 19, 2009


Please go to for a good depiction of what can happen if we let freedom slip away from us. This is a funny cartoon with a very serious message. It is interesting to me to realize that this cartoon was made in 1948, just a few years after FDR wanted to give America a Second Bill of Rights. When you see the cartoon, please remember all the isms that are causing us problems now: racism, socialism, etc.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Importance of Families

Strong families are important to building a strong and secure nation because families are the basic building blocks of society. It is within families that children learn such important principles as honesty, integrity, self-discipline, and love. It is within the walls of their own homes that children learn best how to achieve peace and happiness. It is parents who are in the ideal position to teach their children the importance of working hard as well as the value of good education. "Good homes are not easily created or maintained. They require discipline, not so much of children as of self. They require respect for others, that respect which comes best from acceptance of the revealed word of the Lord concerning the purpose of life, of the importance and sacred nature of the family, and recognition of each member of the family as a child of God." (Gordon B. Hinckley, Stand A Little Taller, 131). Strengthening the families in our nation is one of best ways to make our country stronger.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Encourage Education

I believe that parents should encourage their children to become well educated because it will make them more employable in the jobs of the future, it will make a difference in the amount of their income and benefits, and it will increase their feelings of self-worth and confidence as well as prepare them to help others more. Careers in the future will require more education as the use of technology increases. Gordon B. Hinckley counseled, "You are moving into the most competitive age the world has ever known. All around you is competition. You need all the education you can get. Sacrifice a car, if necessary, sacrifice anything that is needed to be sacrificed to qualify yourselves to do the work of the world. That world will, in large measure, pay you what it thinks you are worth, and your worth will increase as you gain education and proficiency in your chosen field" (Way to Be! 9 Ways to Be Happy and Make Something of Your Life, p 25). The amount of money we make is usually commensurate with the amount of education we get. "The U.S. Department of Education estimates that, by 2014, 90 percent of the fastest-growing careers will require some postsecondary education. A college degree not only increases the opportunity for employment by nearly 50 percent, it also increase3s an individual's earning power" (BYU Magazine, Fall 2009, p 22). This magazine article then compared the "average annual income for the various levels of education: "No high school diploma: $22,000 High school diploma: $28,000 Associate's degree: $35,000 Bachelor's degree: $51,000 Master's degree: $61,000 Doctoral degree: $95,000 "Multiplying the $23,000 difference between a high school diploma and a bachelor's degree by 25 years of work, that's more than a half-a-million-dollar disparity." Remember, this is the average income. Education apparently makes a difference in recession-proofing your career. Our bad economic conditions and government interference has caused our country to have 10% unemployment; however, employers are reporting that they cannot find enough skilled employees to keep their businesses growing. Education is a means to build self-worth and confidence and to prepare to serve other people. The more knowledge and skills a person gains, the more confident that person becomes. When a person feels confident in their abilities, they gain self-worth and know that they play a valuable part in the world. A quick glance at the World Book Encyclopedia shows that 33 of our 44 U.S. presidents have been college educated. We should all make life-long learning an important part of our lives because education is very important in the cause of liberty.

Friday, October 16, 2009

One Nation Under God

For my post tonight I am simply going to direct you to Jon McNaughton has a painting entitled "One Nation Under God" that depicts everything that I am trying to accomplish in my post. His painting tells us that he believes very strongly that the United States Constitution was divinely inspired. This is also my belief. I believe that time is running out for us to protect our liberties. If we want to safeguard our freedoms, we must stand up and get involved in the battle that is raging all around us. The battle is between those who want to change our country into a socialist Marxist country and those who want to preserve and protect the Constitution.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Picture of Freedom

What does liberty mean to you? Is there a picture in your mind that shows what freedom means to you? Let me suggest a picture for you. Last night I read a short article attributed to a man who does not live in America and is not a citizen of the United States. His name is Cornel Nistorescu. He is the managing director of the daily newspaper, Evenimentul Zilei - News of the Day - in Romania. He published his editorial on September 24, 2001, which was two days after a big program in New York City given to benefit the victims of 9-11. Please go to to read the article. Mr. Nistorescu started his article with the question, "Why are Americans so united?" He recognized that we do not look the same, we do not speak the same language, we do not have the same religious beliefs or the same cultural backgrounds, and he could not understand the unity he witnessed in our nation. He saw the unity as we rushed to the rescue, donated blood, did service, flew our flags, etc, but he didn't know the reason for it. Then he had the opportunity to view the charity telethon that was put on by many stars and super stars to benefit the victims. After watching the show three different times, he came to the conclusion that "only freedom can work such miracles." So, please take a mental picture of what you saw and heard on 9-11 and the days that followed, label that picture "Liberty and Freedom," and keep it bright in your heart. Don't let anyone tell you that freedom is anything less than what you saw when our nation came together against a common enemy. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Presidential Trivia

What do you know about the office of President of the United States and the men who have served in that office? I discovered a lot of new information when I began studying about our presidents. I would like to share some of the information with you tonight. The Constitution establishes three qualifications for a president to legally be elected to the office. A president must 1) be at least 35 years old, 2) have lived in the United States at least 14 years, and 3) be a natural-born citizen. The courts have not yet determined what "natural-born citizen" means. It could mean only those born within the boundaries of the United States or it could also be any person born abroad to American parents. If a President dies, resigns, is disabled, or is removed from office, the Vice President becomes the new President. Nine Vice Presidents have become President by filling a vacancy. If both the President and Vice President become unable to fill the office, the Speaker of the House is next in line, followed by President pro tempore of the Senate and then the secretary of state, treasury, and defense, the attorney general, followed by the secretaries of interior, agriculture, commerce, labor, health and human services, housing and urban development, transportation, energy, education, and veterans affairs. A person can be elected to the office of President of United States for only two terms. Before the Twenty-second Amendment was approved in 1951, a President could serve an unlimited number of terms. Nobody who has served as President for more than two years of someone else's term may be elected more than once. I find it very interesting that from 1787 when the Constitution was written until 1951 when it was amended, only one president chose to run for office more than twice. That one person, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was elected for four different terms. After his death in 1945, the Constitution was amended. Because Harry S. Truman was the current president when the Amendment was approved, he was given the option to be elected more than twice; he wisely determined that two terms were enough. Two sets of fathers and sons have served as President. John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams was the only set until George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush joined them in 2000. There has also been a grandfather and grandson who have both been President: William H. Harrison and Benjamin Harrison. Grover Cleveland was the only President to serve two nonconsecutive terms. His first term was 1885-1889, followed by Benjamin Cleveland 1889-1893, and then Grover Cleveland was elected again to serve 1893-1897. Richard M. Nixon was the only former Vice President who became President but did not succeed the President under whom he served. He was Vice President under Dwight D. Eisenhower but was defeated by John F. Kennedy. He didn't run again under after Lyndon B. Johnson. Gerald R. Ford was the only President who did not win election to either the office of Vice President or President. He was serving his thirteenth term in the House of Representatives when Richard M. Nixon picked him to replace Spiro T. Agnew as Vice President. Agnew resigned early in 1973 because of bribery charges. When Nixon resigned in August 1974, Ford became President. He later ran for re-election but was defeated by Jimmy Carter. I personally think that Ford was one of our best Presidents. James K. Polk was the only President who had previously served as Speaker of the House. William H. Taft was the only President who served as both President and chief justice. Taft was a former President when he officiated as chief justice to swear into office both Calvin Coolidge and Herbert C. Hoover. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day, July 4, 1826. James Monroe died July 4, 1831. Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872. William H. Taft was the largest President. He stood about 6 feet tall and weighed more than 300 pounds. John F. Kennedy at 43 was the youngest person ever elected President, and Ronald W. Reagan at 73 was the oldest person ever elected President. George Washington was the first President. John Adams was the first President to live in the White House. Thomas Jefferson was the first President to be inaugurated in Washington, D.C. James Buchanan was the only unmarried President. Grover Cleveland was the only President to have a child born in the White House. John Tyler was the President with the most children - fifteen. James K. Polk had no children. Four Presidents have been assassinated while in office: Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy. Harry S. Truman, Gerald R. Ford, and Ronald Reagan survived attempted assassinations. Other Presidents who died in office are William H. Harrison (He died in the White House after serving as President for only one month.), Zachary Taylor, Warren G. Harding, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Two Presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson and William J. Clinton. They both remained in office because the Senate failed to convict them of the charges. Congress is allowed by the Constitution to remove a President from office. The President must first be impeached or charged with doing something wrong by a majority vote of the House of Representatives. Then, with the Chief Justice of the United States presiding, the Senate tries the President on the charges. Two-thirds of the Senate must vote for dismissal from office. George Washington and James Madison were the only future Presidents to sign the Constitution. Ronald W. Reagan received the greatest number of electoral votes in 1984 (525). Andrew Jackson was the first President to ride on a railroad train. Woodrow Wilson was the first President to speak on radio and to hold the first regular presidential press conferences. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first President to speak on television. Lyndon B. Johnson was the only President to be sworn into office on an airplane as well as the only President to be sworn into office by a woman (Judge Sarah T. Hughes). Barack H. Obama was the first African-American President. Our forty-four Presidents were born in twenty different states. The largest number of Presidents came from Virginia (8) followed by Ohio (7), Massachusetts (4), New York (4), Texas 3, New Jersey (2), North Carolina (2), Vermont (2), and one for each of the following states: Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. I discovered that five members of my immediate family (my mother, two brothers, a grandson and myself) share a birthday with a former President. There are many more interesting facts about the lives of the forty-four men who have served as United States Presidents. I'll be sharing this information with you from time to time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I saw my first moose of the season today. It was a small cow moose eating shrubs in my neighbor's front yard right across the street. I guess the moose are moving down from the Chugach Mountains and back into town for the winter. Anchorage is home to approximately one thousand moose every winter. It is a common experience to see moose walking down our street. After living in Anchorage for more than thirty years, I am surprised at how much I still enjoy sharing the city with the moose. It seems that I feel just as excited to see a moose now as I was when I first came to Alaska. I love to see moose - at least as long as they are not in the road in front of my vehicle or standing between me and a safe place. I think that they are very interesting animals with their long legs, big ears, and big noses. I actually think that moose are ugly. Some animals such as deer, caribou, Dall sheep and even buffalo have pretty faces. Moose do not, but I still love to see them. Our family has enjoyed visits from moose for many years. One winter my younger son jumped over a fence into our backyard and came almost face-to-face to moose. The moose charged but was not able to get my son because he ducked behind our shed and got to the house before the moose got him. Another time we had a moose come into our yard in the early spring. She was so skinny from the winter that we were afraid that she would starve to death in our yard. We were grateful when she moved down the street. The visits that we enjoy the most come in the early spring when the moose mamas are having their babies. We often have a mama bring her newborn baby into our yard and stay for a few hours. Several times twins have come to visit us. A couple of years ago, a mother moose brought her twin calves into our yard and kept them there for several days. She, with the help of her babies, stripped all the green leaves from our raspberry bushes and ferns. When she had eaten all the new leaves in our yard, including my newly potted geraniums, she started venturing out for short periods of time without her calves. She seemed to know that the calves were safe in our yard because she would leave them several times a day and be gone for about thirty minutes or so before coming back to them. We so enjoyed having them here that we really missed them when they moved out during the night. Having been through childbirth myself several times and also having daughters who are in their child-bearing years, I have very tender feelings for mothers with new babies and have found that those feelings extend to our visiting moose. I am very appreciative of the opportunity to share my yard with mama moose and their new babies. I am grateful to live in a country where wild animals are protected and available for all to see.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cycle of Democracy

Why is it so difficult to learn from the past? This is a question that many great people have pondered. George Santayara said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" (The Life of Reason; or the Phases of human Progress, 5 vols. [1905], 1:284). L. Tom Perry stated, "I guess one of the greatest mysteries of mortality is why mankind fails to learn from history" (Ensign, Nov. 1992, 16). Being a student of the scriptures, I am familiar with a number of different groups of people who failed to learn from their history, and as a result they repeatedly passed through cycles of righteousness and wickedness. First, the Lord would bless them for their obedience. Then they became proud and started to sin. Then the Lord would chasten them with destruction and suffering. Finally, they would humble themselves and repent. The Lord would bless them again for their obedience, and the cycle would begin again. I have often heard this cycle referred to as the "pride cycle." I was a little surprised to see a similar cycle at… so I decided to compare the two cycles. I found that both cycles included a requirement for faith as well as a type of bondage for not having faith. This was very interesting to me. Mark Alexander called his cycle "The Cycle of Democracy" and summarized it as follows: "From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty (rule of law); from liberty to abundance; from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back into bondage (rule of men)." Alexander indicated that our Founding Fathers must have known about this "Cycle of Democracy." He wrote, "Our Founders established a democratic republic, not a democracy, in order to enfeeble this cycle, but with the erosion of constitutional authority, our Republic is now in grave peril of following the same cycle as have all other democracies in history." Where in the cycle do you think our country is right now? I believe that we are past the abundance part of the cycle and somewhere in the complacency-apathy-dependence portion. I was discussing the "cycle of pride" with a friend one day, and she pointed out to me that it is not necessary for a person to go all the way through the pride cycle before starting over again. She helped me to understand that I could "check myself" when I notice pride creeping into my life and make the correction right there rather than continuing through the cycle. I really appreciated her point of view, which made lots of sense to me. Does our nation have time to "check ourselves" and go back to liberty and abundance? I think that we do. I do not believe that we have reached the point of no return; however, I strongly believe that we are almost out of time. We must act now and stop procrastinating. We all must get involved if our constitutional liberty is going to be preserved! Many of us are starting to wake up to the dire condition in our nation and are attempting to at least slow the pace towards bondage. This is very obvious from the hundreds of people who attended the Tea Parties last spring and last month in Washington D.C. as well as the Town Hall crowds. I know that I am much more involved in politics than I have ever been previously. I attended a town hall held by our senator; I attended a municipal assembly meeting and another town hall held by our mayor about our 2010 budget. I am studying the history of our nation and our Constitution. I am trying to spread the information that I gain. What can the average, everyday type of American do to stop the cycle that we are currently in? There are many actions that we can take as individuals, such as asking God to bless our nation. We can "check ourselves" as individuals and strengthen our families. We can study history and learn from the mistakes of other people instead of repeating them. The one thing that we simply must do is get the attention of our representatives and senators who are currently in Washington D.C. We must convince them that we do not want the programs they are trying to force upon us. If they continue to refuse to listen to us, we must take the necessary actions to vote them out of office and elect others who will listen to us. It is critical that we stop them from spending any more money that we don't have! We cannot have true liberty without economic liberty, and we cannot have economic liberty when someone else is holding the purse strings. We must protect our liberty at all costs! John Adams wrote the follows words to his wife Abigail in 1775: "But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever" ( quoting Adam's Family Correspondence, Butterfiled, ed. Vol. 1 9241).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sabbath Day Observance

Today is Sunday. I believe it is a holy day. The scriptures refer to the holy day as the Sabbath. I believe that one of the best things that we can do for our nation is to properly observe the Sabbath. Many ancient prophets have designated this land as a promised land and have said that the inhabitants of this land must serve the God of this land who is Jesus Christ or be swept off. If the God of this land is Jesus Christ - and I believe that He is, then we must obey His laws. One of His laws is to "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." After God organized the earth, divided the light from the darkness and the water from the land, hung the sun, moon, and stars in the sky, and placed fish, fowl, animals, insects, Adam and Eve upon the earth, He rested. "God blessed the seventh day [or period of time] and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made" (Genesis 2:2-3). The Law of the Sabbath was renewed with Moses when he received the Ten Commandments. The fourth commandment reads: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. "Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: "But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor they cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: [This pretty much covers everyone.] "For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the Sabbath day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it" (Exodus 20:8-11). The Law of the Sabbath was renewed again in modern days when the Lord revealed the purpose for keeping the Sabbath day holy and how to do it. "And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day. "For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High" (Doctrine and Covenants 59:9-10). Some definitions may be useful here: Sabbath is defined as a day of rest and worship. Hallow is defined as to make holy or sacred; sanctify; consecrate; to regard as holy; honor as sacred. Holy is defined as dedicated to religious use; belonging to or coming from God; consecrated; sacred. Blessed is defined as holy; sacred; consecrated. (New World Dictionary of the American Language, Second College Edition). These scriptures tell us that there is a Law of the Sabbath and what the law is: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." We know that the Sabbath is to be used as a day of rest, worship and religious purposes. We know also that the day itself is blessed. We also know that we can use the Sabbath to keep ourselves clean from the "spots" of worldliness. "The importance of a sacred day for man to rest from his temporal labors, contemplate the word of the Lord, and assemble for public worship is a major item in a person's spiritual development. Furthermore, a decay in the national religious life always follows any tendency toward carelessness in the matter of Sabbath observance. The existence of a weekly holy day is a most important safeguard; it leaves a constant reminder to the individual of his need for spiritual sustenance and his duty before God, and serves as a witness to the world that there is such a thing as revealed religion" (Bible Dictionary, 764-765). Our nation has become a nation of Sabbath breakers. Grocery stores do their best business on Sunday. Many people use Sunday for their day of recreation and family picnics. Sunday has become a day for "business as usual" and has become a holiday instead of a holy day for many people. What are some of the things that we need to do or to stop doing in order to keep the Sabbath day holy and thus help to safeguard our country? 1) Abstain from work and recreation. The saying "A change is as good as a rest" is very applicable to the Sabbath. Use the day to do something different than you do on the other six day of the week. 2) Stop buying, selling, trading, or supporting businesses who sell commodities or entertainment on the Sabbath. 3) The scriptures tell us that it is lawful to "do good" on the Sabbath. Doing good calls for constructive thoughts and acts such visiting the ill, the widow, and the fatherless, writing letters to men and women in the Armed Services, or spending extra time enjoying and communicating with family members. 4) The Sabbath is a day for attending our Church meetings, kneeling in prayer, studying the scriptures and other good books, spending extra time with children, meditating, taking a short nap. For the good of our country, let's become a nation of Sabbath keepers rather than a nation of Sabbath breakers!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Liberty and Tyranny

Abraham Lincoln is quoted as making the following statement in 1864: "We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men's labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name - liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names - liberty and tyranny" (Mark R. Levin, Liberty and Tyranny A Conservative Manifesto (back cover). Liberty and Tyranny are two great forces in the world that seem to be everywhere. The wars currently going on in Iraq and Afghanistan are being fought to bring liberty where tyranny once reigned freely. The Korean War was fought to keep South Korea free of the tyranny of North Korea. World War II was fought to stop the tyranny of Germany, Italy, and Japan from being forced upon the rest of the world. In The Revolutionary War the American colonists fought a war against their mother country for liberty. Those familiar words in the Declaration of Independence state: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…." The United States Constitution was written to put in place the laws that would maintain those unalienable Rights, including Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Right now in our country the Constitution is under attack. President Barack Obama has outright stated that the Constitution doesn't do what we want it to do. In particular, he thinks that the Constitution should tell us what the government can do for us rather than just what the government can't do to us (see the Bill of Rights). I'll admit that I've been looking at the big picture, thinking of freedom for our whole country. What are we supposed to do when we live in a country that guarantees liberty, but in our own home and/or community there is tyranny? How do we recognize tyranny in our personal lives? What do we do about it when we see it? What are the characteristics we should be aware of? How do we teach and train our children in liberty rather than tyranny? Today I've been forced to look at freedom from tyranny on a more personal level. I've spent the bigger part of the past two days reading a book called Escape by Carolyn Jessop with Laura Palmer. This book is the story of Carolyn Jessop, and her account is said to be "absolutely factual" (Jon Krakauer on back cover). In her book Carolyn tells the story of how she was born into a family that practiced polygamy for six generations. She accepted polygamy as the way life should be. When she was eighteen years old, she became the fourth wife of a fifty-year-old man. She had eight children in the fifteen years. Carolyn describes the tyranny that went on in her childhood home, schools, and later in her married life. She suffered physical abuse from her mother. She saw physical abuse on her bus when students assaulted other students and in her classroom when her principal "disciplined" students. She witnessed and suffered emotional and physical in her husband's home: husband upon wife, parent upon child, wife upon wife, child upon child. When she realized that life was becoming even more difficult, she began to plot her escape. After several years of planning, she was able to escape and take all eight of her children with her. Even though she was in a new community and receiving help, the results of all the abuse and tension continued to plague her. Little by little she was able to throw off the tyranny and become truly free. As I read this book, I begin to recognize the signs of other tyrannies that are familiar to us, like that of the Taliban, Hitler, Saddam Hussein, etc.: . The power was concentrated in one person who was the supreme head. In the family, father had absolute power. In the cult (the author's word) power was concentrated in the "prophet." In either case, there was to be no questioning of authority. The decision made by the person in control was permanent. . The right words were used, but the meaning was changed to mean whatever the supreme head wanted. . Laws were used to keep the masses under control, but the leaders had no laws. . Schools were for indoctrination but were eventually closed. Education was determined to be bad. They didn't want anyone learning to think for themselves or to be influenced by anyone outside their group. . Outside contact was eliminated. Television, radio, Internet, and newspapers were considered to be evil. Any information, such as the weather report, would be given by those in authority. . Women and children were powerless. They were under the direct control of the father in the home and had to endure whatever he chose to inflict. For rebellious wives or children, husbands and fathers could go to the "prophet" for more support. . Members of the family were encouraged to spy on each other and make reports to the father. . Affection was non-existent, whether between spouses or between parent and child. Emotional support was missing. . Personal control was taken away, such as type of clothing to be worn, hair styles, careers, etc. Towards the end of the book, even sex between husband and wife was being dictated. Tyranny has been defined as cruel or unjust use of power. The following quote is attributed to William Pitt, "Where laws end, tyranny begins." Edmund Burke is quoted as saying, "Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny." Synonyms for tyranny are oppression, harshness, despotism. On the other hand, liberty has been defined as freedom; the condition of being free from captivity, imprisonment, or slavery; independence; the right or power to do as one pleases; power or opportunity to do something. (World Book Encyclopedia) God gave us agency, the freedom to choose, and the U.S. Constitution guarantees the liberty to use that agency. Liberty always involves freedom to grow, to develop, to do as we choose; tyranny always involves oppression and force of some kind. Parents have the responsibility to teach and to train children in love and kindness, but they have no right to use harshness or unkindness in dealing with their children.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Paul Revere

We have all probably heard the story of how Paul Revere made a midnight ride, but did we hear the true story? I have been thinking a lot about Paul Revere lately so I thought I would do a historical post today. Much of the information for this post came either from the World Book Encyclopedia or America The Last Best Hope (both as quoted below).
Paul Revere was born on January 1, 1735, in Boston, Massachusetts, and was the son of a silversmith. His family descended from French Huguenots, and their family name was originally Rivoire. His father changed the name to Revere "that the Bumpkins should pronounce it easier" (James Kirby Martin, World Book Encyclopedia, Vol. 16, p 267). Paul learned the silversmith's trade and entered his father's business after schooling and marriage.
Paul became interested in obtaining liberty for the American colonists and worked with some of the leaders of the revolution, particularly John Hancock and Samuel Adams. He was a participant in the Boston Tea Party and served as a messenger for the Boston patriots. The British were well aware of him long before his famous ride.
When the British commander in chief, General Thomas Gage, was instructed by King George III to enforce order among the colonists, Gage sent an army of 700 men to Concord to destroy military supplies and to arrest Samuel Adams and John Hancock. The orders were secret but had been leaked to the patriots. Paul Revere rode to Concord to warn the patriots there to move the military supplies.
Two days later when the British army assembled to make the march, Joseph Warren, a patriot leader, sent Revere and William Dawes to warn Adams and Hancock in Lexington and patriots in Concord. Paul arranged for a signal to warn friends in Charlestown. It would be flashed from the Old North Church steeple in Boston. One lantern would mean the British were coming by land, and two lanterns meant they were coming by sea.
Somewhere around 10:00 p.m. on April 18, 1775, Revere left Boston by boat, going right past the British ship. He arrived in Lexington about midnight on a borrowed horse. According to William J. Bennett in America The Last Best Hope, p 78) "Revere shouted '… The regulars are coming out!' (Revere would only have confused colonists if he had yelled: `The British are coming,' since Massachusetts people still thought of themselves as British."
Revere, William Dawes and Dr. Samuel Prescott left for Concord about 1:00 a.m. They were surprised by a British cavalry patrol, who captured Revere. The only one to get to Concord was Prescott. Revere was allowed by the British to return to Lexington but without a horse. Revere fled to Burlington with Adams and Hancock but returned the next day to Lexington to get important papers from Hancock's trunk.
Because of the warning, minutemen (thus named "because they could be ready for military duty in a minute" according to Bennett in America, The Last Best Hope, p 78) were waiting in Lexington when the British arrived.
Revere continued to support the cause for liberty by commanding a garrison during 1778-1779. He printed the first Continental paper currency. When the war started he learned to manufacture gun powder. During and after the war he continued the silversmith trade. He made copper plates for printing and engraving, cast cannon and bells in bronze, and made copper fittings for the U.S.S. Constitution ("Old Ironsides").
Paul Revere the great patriot died in 1818 after serving his country well for many years.

I own a small fry pan made by Revere Ware. I wondered if there were any connection to Paul Revere and went to the company site to find the following information, which I find interesting. "Revere Ware Corporation began as a division of Revere Copper & Brass, a metal company based in New York. Revere Copper & Brass was formed in 1928 from a merger of six small copper and brass companies. One of the six firms in the 1928 merger traced its roots back to the famed American revolutionary and silversmith Paul Revere."
It always makes life a little bit more interesting when we know the history behind the experience. Did you learn anything new about the midnight ride of Paul Revere?

Town Hall Meeting

Tonight I spent a few hours attending a town hall meeting to hear our mayor discuss his city operating budget for 2010. In the ninety days since Mayor Dan Sullivan was sworn into office, he and his staff have actually created two budgets. They first had to fix a faulty 2009 budget left by the outgoing mayor and then create the budget for 2010.
Our liberal former mayor, Mark Begich, resigned as mayor to go to Washington D.C. as our new Democratic senator. One of Begich's last acts as mayor was to sign some contracts giving sweetheart deals to the city labor unions at a time when he should have been holding the line on expenses. There are some questions about whether the contracts are legal because Begich kept important information about the state of the city financial affairs from the Assembly, who approved the contracts. If the contracts prove to be legal, the city will be in a huge financial hole until the contracts come up again for renewal in five or six years.
Mayor Sullivan seems to be honest and sincere in his efforts to balance the city budget and keep our city out of bankruptcy. From the charts and figures shown at the town hall meeting, we have to cut spending now to even survive. Our city government will be back-to-basics with the bulk of the budget paying for police, fire and snow removal.
I mentioned some time ago that I thought that there must be some corruption somewhere in order for a city of 300,000 to 350,000 to be nearly $50 million dollars in the red. Maybe it wasn't true corruption but just a case of wanting the unions' votes in a close election. Whatever the reason for the mismanagement, we now have a senator representing us in Washington D.C. whom I do not trust. I certainly hope that he is a one-term senator and that we can vote him out before the country goes bankrupt!
Because of Begich's mismanagement of city funds, there are somewhere between fifty and two hundred employees who will be out of work by the end of the year. One of those employees is a police lieutenant whom I have known for many years. He is a good man and a good police officer who was recently promoted to lieutenant; therefore, he is no longer protected by the union. His new position is being eliminated.
It is a sad day when people have to suffer because of the mismanagement of someone else. It is even worse to watch the one responsible for the mess to actually move on to more glory! Besides all that, my property taxes will be going up again!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Basic Welfare Principles

I've been thinking for a couple of days about some ideas that I will simply call basic welfare principles. I understand that numerous foreign governments have sought information about the welfare program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints so I went to the Church's web site ( to find information for my post today.
The Church teaches that each individual has two basic welfare responsibilities: to become self-reliant and to care for the poor and the needy. It also teaches that each individual is responsible for his or her own social, emotional, spiritual, physical, and economic well-being. If the individual cannot care for themselves in any of these areas, the family is next in line to provide help. Parents are of course responsible to care for their children as well as to teach them how to become more responsible for their own welfare and to prepare them to become more self-reliant. Adult children become responsible for elderly or needy parents.
Self-reliance is the first of the two basic welfare principles and can be obtained by 1) gaining necessary education; 2) living good principles of exercise, hygiene, and nutrition; 3) gaining suitable employment; 4) storing food and clothing for future use; 5) being wise with personal resources, paying tithes and offerings, and avoiding debt; 6) gaining spiritual, emotional, and social strength.
I would like to discuss further the six self-reliance principles.
a. Education includes more than gaining a high school diploma or a college degree - both of which I consider to be absolutely essential. Education also includes reading the scriptures and other good books, improving reading, writing and mathematics skills, and becoming computer literate. Education should be a life long effort.
b. No one has more control over a person than that particular individual; therefore, each individual is responsible for keeping his/her own body as healthy and fit as possible. A daily exercise program is essential in maintaining strong muscles and bones. I am often amazed at the difference in my body when I am exercising regularly and when I am slothful. Cleanliness is very important, particularly now with swine flu in our midst and flu season approaching. We have been counseled to wash our hands often. Just as cars, trucks, and other vehicles do not run without the proper fuel, our bodies do not run well without proper nourishment. Just as we can overfill a vehicle, we can also put too much food into our bodies.
c. Unemployment is now higher than it has been in twenty-six years, and more jobs are being lost as time goes on. If you are employed now, try to make yourself indispensable to your company. Be the best employee that you can possibly be. If you are currently looking for work or trying to upgrade your position, work just as hard at find a job as you would to keep a job. Sometimes it just takes patience and persistence to find the right combination that will work.
d. Try to store enough food and clothing in your home to meet your needs for at least one month. This counsel is particularly important at times of natural disasters or personal crises, but it is very helpful in day to day living as well.
e. In order to be self-reliant, it is critical to avoid debt. Our current national economic crisis was caused by too many individuals and businesses living beyond their incomes. One very important way to conserve resources is to take good care of what is presently owned so it doesn't need to be replaced; this applies to clothing, appliances, carpet, vehicles, etc.
f. Spiritual, emotional, and social strength could very well be more important than physical strength. One very important resource is personal and family prayer; another is scripture study. Stay connected with people.
When God told Adam "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread…" (Genesis 3:19), he was telling Adam that he would have to work for what he got. The principle of work has never been revoked and is still very important in becoming self-reliant. Work is required for doing well in school as well as providing a living. Any honorable work can be a source of happiness, self-worth, and prosperity.
The second basic welfare principle is caring for the poor and the needy and helping them to gain the necessities of life (food, clothing, shelter, medicine, etc). The poor and the needy consist of the homeless, disabled, widow, elderly, sick, and those in poverty or experiencing hardships or natural disasters. Each individual and family are expected to meet as many of their own needs as possible before expecting others to help.
There are numerous ways that we can serve the poor and the needy including giving time, sharing talents, donating money, and providing child care - but our first responsibility is to be self-reliant so we don't need help!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Seer's Counsel

We all know that we live in troubled times. It is no secret that unemployment in our nation is now at a twenty-six year high, banks continue to fail, and the State of California is on the verge of collapse. Outside of our nation there have been earthquakes, tsunamis, and floods as well as wars and other political problems. Every day we hear of some new problem or some person or group that needs help.
I have often wished that I could see into the future in order to make wise decisions today, but I have not yet gained this power. I did however have the opportunity to listen to a man who has the power to discern hidden things, whether in the past, present, or future. Such a person is called a seer.
Thomas S. Monson is sustained by the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as president of the Church and as a prophet, seer, and revelator. I was anxious to hear his message today, and I was listening for counsel for what I should do to survive the troubles of our time. I don't really know what I expected, but I was a little surprised at his counsel. I was impressed with the way he began his message by telling us that he felt inspired to give this counsel to us. He was confident in his delivery as well as positive and upbeat in his message.
President Monson told a story about a man who has made great accomplishments in the medical field. This man grew up in a home where he was asked every day by his father, "What did you do for someone today?" The father's question inspired the man and his siblings to help other people.
President Monson quoted a few scriptures about helping other people, including the following:
"… when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God" (Mosiah 2:17).
"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it" (Matthew 16:25).
He also quoted David O. McKay as saying, "man's greatest happiness comes from losing himself for the good of others."
He counseled us to step back and take a good look at how we spend our time and efforts. He said that we are too often involved in things that don't really matter, things that he called "the thick of thin things."
He told us that the ideal gift that anyone could give to him was to find someone who is ill, lonely, or just having a hard time and do something to help them. He then told stories of some of those gifts.
He closed by quoting the words of the following hymn by Will L. Thompson (1847-1909):
"Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need?
Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
If not, I have failed indeed.
Has anyone's burden been lighter today because I was willing to share?
Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
When they needed my help was I there?"
I am reminded of a movie that I really like which is called Pay It Forward about a junior high student who came up with an idea that could result in a global outpouring of kindness and decency. His idea was to do a favor that really helped someone and to tell that person to pay the favor forward to three other people rather than pay him back. The three other people would, in turn, each pay the favor forward to three more people. He started the project by helping three different people. The project mushroomed into a giant service project and changed the lives of many people, especially the lives of members of his family.
I have learned by experiences in my own life that when I am engaged in a good cause of helping other people, I have far less time to spend thinking about myself and my own problems. If everyone in our nation would do at least one daily act of service for someone else, our country would become a far better and stronger place because it would lessen the amount of selfishness and greed that is among us.
I challenge each of us to follow the advice of this wise seer and ask ourselves each day, "what did I do for someone today?" and then be inspired to do a favor that can help someone.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Montague Island

I am back from my trip to Montague Island where I spent a few days deer hunting with my husband and a couple of long time friends. This trip was a spur-of-the-minute one, giving us another opportunity to exercise our Second Amendment rights as well as other American liberties.

My husband spent most of Tuesday helping our friend remove the floats and install the tires on our two aircraft. Removing the floats is a big job and an important one to complete before the lakes freeze. While working on their aircraft, the two friends decided to go to Montague Island the next day to hunt for deer. We spent a few hours getting equipment, food, and clothing ready for the trip - and then waited on the weather.

The weather in Anchorage was mostly clear on Wednesday with temperatures around 50 degrees, but thick clouds were hanging around the mountain tops and had completely closed Portage Pass over to Whittier. The two pilots kept a watch on the weather, which cleared enough to take off from Lake Hood air strip about 3:00.

We took off first and flew across Cook Inlet where our friends caught up with us and passed us. We flew through the mountains at around 2000 feet to Seward. The weather was better at Seward so we were able to fly at 3000 feet across the water. We saw about 20 mountain goats on the mountain tops and the cliffs around the water.

By the time we arrived at Montague Island, we were seeing rain drops on the windshield and lower visibility. When we arrived we could see that our friends were already on the ground and setting up a cooking shelter. Their Maule flies about 30 miles per hour faster than our Super Cub so they always arrive long before we do. We flew around for five minutes or so to look for deer but didn't see any.

We landed without any problems just after 5:00 on a wide, sandy beach with the tide going out and taxied as close to camp as possible. Immediately upon exiting the aircraft, we broke out our rain gear. The rain gear apparently had magical powers because the rain stopped as soon as we were suited up. All the grass, bushes and trees were dripping with rain so we needed the rain gear to stay dry even without rain falling.

We unloaded our airplanes and set up camp. We were eating dinner by 6:30. The temperatures were still quite warm and enjoyable. We spent a leisurely evening and went to bed about 9:00.

A cold front came during the night, leaving a thin layer of frost on everything. Knowing that the frost would melt, leaving the grass, bushes and trees wet again, we again donned our Healy Hanson rain gear. My husband and I chose to hike in our Danner Winter Light hunting boots, and our friends chose rubber boots and hip waders. We like our boots because they keep our feet dry and are easier to hike in; however, we have to be careful where we place our feet and how we cross streams. Our friends like the rubber boots because they are better for crossing streams and boggy marshes.

Montague Island appears to be volcano based. At least, most of the rocks I've seen appear to be made of lava. The beaches are nice and sandy with occasional places with lots of rocks. The moss-covered ground on the inner island is very spongy and water logged with many small streams and holes filled with water, some of them hidden in the grass. The trees are thick except in the many meadows. The middle of the island contains very tall mountains and cliffs.

We were just heading out of camp about 8:00 a.m. with our friends going up the beach past the aircraft and us heading the other direction. We had gone about 50 feet when our friends called to us and wanted us to go back. We returned to where they were and saw the very large tracks of a brown bear that had walked down the beach sometime during the night, going the same direction that we were heading.

I was kind of spooked to be walking into thick trees and tall grass with a known bear in the area. I made sure that I stayed right on my husband's heels for two reasons. I wanted to be close enough for him to protect me plus I figured that two people together would look larger and perhaps cause a bear to think twice before attacking. I was somewhat relieved a couple of hours later when we crossed the bear trail going down the middle of a meadow - heading in the opposite direction to where we were going.

We hiked up through a pass in the mountains and down the other side to the beach. We found a very large rock and climbed to the top of it to eat our lunch. We took our time with lunch, watching the beach in both directions for deer as well as enjoying the ocean waves as they crashed against the rocks at high tide.

The deer on Montague Island are Sitka Black Tails, which are quite small, about the size of a large dog. They flourish well on the islands but don't survive the deep snow of the mainland the few times that they have been seen there. Most of the deer on Montague spend the summers and early fall in the high mountains and cliffs until they are driven down lower by snow. We have often seen deer on the beach so we hoped to find success there. They seem to like eating the kelp washed up by the waves.

We were just finishing lunch and repacking the pack when I looked down the beach and saw a deer a few hundred yards away. My husband grabbed his rifle and told me to come with him. I took my time and loitered behind him. He got close enough to the deer that he thought he might scare it into the trees. The deer was in a little dip on the beach so only the head and chest could be seen. My husband took a first shot from a standing position but shot low. The deer just stood there looking at him so he took a second shot. The deer jumped and ran towards the grass and trees. I had a difficult time believing that my husband had missed twice. When I got to the spot where he waited for me, I could see blood on the sand. The deer was hit in the heart/lungs and ran about twenty feet before dying in the grass.

In the fifty plus years that my husband has been hunting deer, he has become professional in the way he cares for and handles the meat. Since we moved to Alaska and began hunting for moose, he has perfected his skills at removing the four quarters, back strap, and any other usable meat without the need to clean out the insides of the animal. Within a very short time, we had the meat harvested and in our pack.

We headed back towards camp, all the time looking for more deer. I was carrying the pack with the deer meat. The main reason was because it seemed to be the lighter of the two packs. A second important reason was that I preferred to have the meat on my back and the rifle in my husband's hands rather than the meat on his back and me trying to shoot a bear. A few years ago, one of our family friends was killed by a brown bear while carrying deer meat so I'm a little sensitive in the matter.

Our trip ended after a couple of days and nights of clear weather. Our group harvested four deer - far fewer than the legal amount of sixteen deer between the four of us. The weather was clear enough that we flew back at 8000 feet, over the tops of the mountains containing the Harding Ice Fields - glaciers that stretch for miles and miles and miles. We had a 35 mile per hour tail wind and were back in Anchorage about an hour after leaving the island.

I have just one question: how could I hike up and down mountains, climb over log jams, and carry heavy loads for the better part of three days - and end up gaining two pounds? My husband always comes home from hunting trips several pounds lighter so why did I gain weight? Even in a free country life isn't always fair!