Saturday, September 29, 2012

2nd Saturday of Seven

Thanks for returning to this 2nd Saturday of Seven.

One of the reasons I set out to do this was because I have heard people express a desire to be more informed and involved in the political process but they feel like it's just too much of a nasty business. 

And they would be right. Some aspects of politics are really ugly. People write really nasty things about individuals or collective groups or parties in the newspaper and especially on the internet. The language gets as bad as a jr. high hallway. I'll be honest, around June or July I could start to sense the onslaught of how ugly this was going to get and I was ready to go into hiding from any news media online or otherwise until November was through. Is it fair though, that those who fight so dirty can intimidate the rest of us into ignorance?

No, it's not. This decision is just too important. 

I encourage you to elevate yourself above the garbage, the cynicism, the name-calling and negativity. Rather than settle with being disgusted, look for other outlets that will provide you the information you're looking for. And do NOT read the conversations below any of the campaign YouTube videos. Yeah, that will ruin your day.

Every Saturday up to the election I am posting a reason why I have chosen to cast my vote the way I have. If you if you feel like it's the right thing to do, please share these posts through email 
and on Facebook with friends and family in your state and out of your state whose vote
is undecided or maybe even decided.

I was kind of taken aback the first time I heard it.

"I am not voting for Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon."
 Well, I'm not voting for Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon, either.

A few years ago, I was in a class for teachers. At one point, the discussion turned to the Civil Rights Movement and how much has changed in our country because of individuals like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, and you bet the fact that we had just elected our first black president was mentioned. We talked about how much our views had changed for the better because an event like that had been able to take place.

Then a woman raised her hand and said, "Did you see the map the night of the election? Did you see how red Utah was?" (referring to how our electoral votes did not go to Barack Obama). She scoffed and then finished, "What does that say about people around here and how far we haven't come?"

Ho ho ho ho (that's the sound I make when I need to gather my thoughts).

The presenter looked fairly uncomfortable in that moment--like he wanted to get off the topic as soon as possible. But I raised my hand, and when his eyes met mine, I stared him down with the same intensity of a third-grader whose grandma has just been to Egypt and you've mentioned Egypt in the lesson and she might die if you don't call on her so she has the chance to tell you and the rest of the class about it. 

And so he called on me (good thing). I explained that I hadn't voted for Obama. It would have been an honor and a privilege to have voted for the first black president had I agreed with his policy. But had I voted for him just because he was black, I would be doing my country a disservice. A vote shouldn't be based on race.

And it shouldn't be based on religion either.

I am a Mormon.  My faith is a core part of my identity. And I'm not going to lie to you. It's exciting to see Mitt Romney in the running. It reminds of the time my dad got picked out of the crowd to do the YMCA on a family cruise last spring. That was our guy up there!

But while my dad instantly had my vote for best portrayal of the Village People because he is my dad, Romney had to pass under a little more scrutiny before he had my vote for president.

This vote is too crucial to cast because I look up and see "our guy" up there.
I am not voting for Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon.
I AM voting for Mitt Romney for the reasons I will list in the remaining five posts.
A vote shouldn't be based on race.
and it shouldn't be based on religion, either.

P.S. There is a debate this Wednesday, October 3. Watch it. More information here.

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

1st Saturday of Seven

The older I get,
the more I develop a deep and abiding love for my country.

It's come from my parents and grandparents
who have spoken with love and reverence for this country
since before I could understand why they did
but I could sense it was important.

It's come from a love for American History nurtured by high school teachers
and especially my university professor who told history as a story.

It's come from reading books about our history
and books about other countries and the horrors of tyranny and dictatorship 
and other examples of lack of freedom.
Sometimes you don't know what you have til someone helps you imagine life without it.

It's come from having my own 9/11 story...."I remember where I was that day..."

It's come from my experience as a delegate where I became more involved in the political process than I ever had up til that point.

It's come from traveling my country...
In the last ten years I have spent time (more than a layover or drive through) in
and learned why there are songs that talk about 
"amber waves of grain" and "purple mountain majesties"
or "the lakes of Minnesota" and "the hills of Tennessee"
and "the plains of Texas, from sea to shining sea"
all in the same verse.
Her landscape is varied and it is beautiful.
And in these beautiful places I have met beautiful people
whose hearts are kind and seen what the American dream
has allowed people to accomplish on small and grand scales.

It's come from the examples of friends and neighbors throughout my life
who have answered the call to serve their country and their families who stay behind
who have a different kind of reverence for this country
than I have yet experienced.

There is an election in 45 days that I believe is more critical
than many that have come before it.

Tonight and every Saturday after until the election,
I am going to post a reason why I have chosen to cast my vote
the way I have.

I do this very humbly.
I am not a political science major, or a history professor or a journalist.

But I'm an American wife and mother
who feels she can't sit silent on this issue.
This is the best way I know to make a difference.

If you don't agree with me, that's okay.
I have friends who are very dear to me 
who don't see politics they way I do.

 However, if you feel like it's the right thing to do,
please share these posts through email 
and on Facebook with friends and family
in your state and out of your state whose vote
is undecided or maybe even decided.

What can you do to make a difference in this election?

Monday, September 17, 2012

He Broke My Tailbone

Have I ever told you that my doctor broke my tailbone with his hands to get Gracie out?

It was worth it.

Friday, September 14, 2012

You Really Should Go To Tennessee

Generally I try to keep my posts pretty short and to the point so that they stay interesting. But I'm going to have to break with tradition here because Danilo and I returned from a trip to Tennessee a few weeks ago, and I'm going to provide you with plenty of pictures and a day-by-day itinerary. Basically I'm going to do my best to convince you that you should go to Tennessee too.

Why did we go to Tennessee? To visit Lynlee. She hadn't been in Utah long when we met around 7th grade and after we graduated from high school we even had a few college classes together. She returned to the South after she landed a job in Tennessee shortly after graduating with her bachelor's degree. Ever since she has made it a point of letting me know we would be welcome to come stay with her and her husband anytime.

All of us Utah kids got a kick out of Lynlee because as a result of her Texas upbringing, she would say "ya'll" where the rest of us would say "you guys" ("knock it off you guys," vs. "ya'll need to knock it off"). It didn't take me more than a few hours after landing in Knoxville to find out I was definitely now part of the minority.

The night we arrived before going to bed Lee, Lynlee, Danilo and I sat around the kitchen table in their beautiful home and pounded out a plan for the next six days. We did it all and then some. We came home completely exhausted and with no regrets.

Nashville, TN
Here we divided our time between The Grand Ole Opry 
and The Country Music Hall of Fame Museum. 

The Grand Ole Opry began with a radio show that broadcasted country music as early as the 1920s and the Opry House is where they've put on the show for the last several decades. When you have made it big in country music, they invite you to be a member.

For the price of a tour at the Grand Ole Opry, you get to go inside the auditorium at 
the Grand Ole Opry.
But wait... that's not all. For the price of a tour you may also view 
the Artists' Entrance when they come to perform at the Grand Ole Opry

the country artists' backstage rooms

See the man on the bottom left? Willie Nelson. I am not kidding.

you get to see where the artists and guests gather after the show
All I'm saying is Alan Jackson may have sat on that couch. That's all.

and for the price of a tour, you even get to go backstage.

But ladies and gentlemen... I am not through yet.

The circle on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry 
is where artists have stood to perform
through several generations of country music.
When the location of the show was changed to the Grand Ole Opry House
in the 1970s, the circle came along. 
My Nashville dreams culminated the moment they let us

There is a gift shop. I have never had so much fun in a gift shop.

I could not have been more satisfied.

About ten minutes away you'll find the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum.
Here is the actual Hall of Fame.

The museum is full of country memorabilia.
Elvis's Cadillac

Taylor Swift's dress

Faith Hill's shoes

Tim McGraw's jacket

all this was worn by Jason Aldean

I was already satisfied with my trip and we had five days left.
We spent the next day in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg, TN.

cabin from the 1820s

Church from the 1800s surrounded by a cemetery... we had to drive about 40 minutes through the Smokies to arrive at these landmarks... it fascinates me to think about these people and why they chose to live so far removed from civilization as they knew it. I may have mentioned Dr. Quinn a time or two during the course of this trip.

 Gatlinburg is an entertaining little town with a Ripley's Believe It Or Not on every street.

Lee joined us Friday night. We grabbed a hotel in Atlanta and spent the next day at 
 The World of Coca-Cola
They told us Coke's secret formula was moved from a bank after 80 years to this vault. I think they were serious.

For the price of a tour, you can try hundreds of different Coke brand sodas from all over the world.

and The Georgia Aquarium
I sang about baby belugas in first grade, but I hadn't ever seen one before

see man's head vs. fish for size comparison

we were told that this manta ray weighs over 6,000 pounds as it swam over us

the way the fish are displayed to view at this aquarium is incredible

a shark whale
Monday we drove for a few hours to Asheville, North Carolina to tour the  
Biltmore Estate. It was built by George Washington Vanderbilt in the 1890s and we were fairly awestruck by it's grandeur.

Pictures were not allowed inside, but there are over 250 bedrooms, a massive dining room, an indoor garden, a bowling alley, swimming pool and kitchen dumb waiter system. 

We spent the last day of our trip in Pigeon Forge, TN touring the Titanic Museum.
The exhibits are presented in really fascinating ways. ways. Not only do they have luggage and personal effects recovered from the wreckage, but, for example, as you turn the corner to move to the next part of the exhibit, you find yourself staring into a glass window where on the other side there is a stairwell with water pouring down the stairs. At one point you enter an area where the air temperature is the same as it was the night of the shipwreck and you are able to dip your hand in a pool of water that is set at the same temperature as the ocean water that night. They have ramps set up in one exhibit at different angles of incline showing you how steep the deck became as the ship sank that night. They have handwritten postcards mailed from people who sent them just before they sailed, and they have the telegram a man sent to his family to let them know he had survived. Having been on a cruise ship, the experience really impacted me. The Titanic, as far as everyone was concerned, was not supposed to sink. But it did, and it still intrigues us 100 years later. 
(If you have some time and want to see some fascinating pictures of the Titanic taken by a passenger before it sank, go here. These pictures didn't surface until after the photographer's death.)

If I had to pick my favorite part of the trip, I would be at a loss. I haven't even gotten to the fireflies or fried okra or uplifting church sermons. 

Thanks to our good friends Lee and Lynlee for their friendship and efforts to ensure that we had SUCH a wonderful time in their home and everywhere else. I am excited to be able to say, "I spent some time in the South..." and I hope to go back before too long.