Monday, December 20, 2010

The Christmas Morning Project

I'm posting this because whenever I've mentioned it to someone they say "That's a great idea!" I believe that everyone wants to give service to others, what is lacking are the opportunities presented to us.

I was a very selfish teenager- more than one Christmas came and went where I was not as grateful as I should have been. One of our goals for our family is to do service on Christmas day. There is three reasons for this 1- To remember the Savior Jesus Christ and the life of service he lead 2- To open our children's eyes to the world around them and help them to recognize their many blessings 3- To keep them from being spoiled and ungrateful. Besides, it just feels like the right thing to do.

So how do you take a 2 year old to do service? Who could a toddler possibly serve?

My cousin shared a touching story about when she visited an elderly woman with her new baby, and the woman wanted so dearly to just hold the baby. Hesitant to do so, my cousin shared her little girl with this blind elderly woman and the woman began to cry tears of joy.

My grandmother is in a retirement community, when we walk in the door every single person lights up when they see Sam. They love just looking at her smile and say very nice things about how pretty she is. My grandmother lives no where near us, but there is a nursing home down the street, so Christmas day we're going to take Sam and a few other kids to visit the elderly that may not get visitors on Christmas.

Trying to think of what I could give those who's years have passed them and may be forgotten, the best thing I could think of was to spend time with a child on Christmas.

I called the nursing home activities director and they are happy to have any visitors on Christmas.

I share this only because in this time where we blog about gifts to give our neighbors and friends in order to share ideas- I thought I'd blog about service to render on Christmas.

If you have any other ideas as to how to render service on Christmas, please share.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Instead of potatoes, here's some mush

This time last year the husband had been laid off, I had a miserable job and we were in Utah.

We decided it was time to make the dream a reality and move to Texas, grapes of wrath style. (Instead of fleeing the dust bowl we were fleeing the impact of congresses banking legislation) There were two things we knew: we were suppose to move to Texas, and it was not going to be easy. Most thought we were crazy.

To move, one of us needed job offer. I had an interview in San Diego, my flight took me through Las Vegas, where the flight was delayed indefinitely- I had to get THIS job and I had to interview on THIS day. I rented a car in Las Vegas and drove the rest of the way in the storm for the interview.

Once the job offer was extended, we had 2 weeks to move all of our earthly possessions to a city we had spent no more than 3 days in. My daughter and I flew to Dallas while Brent drove our cars down, twice in 3 days. The first trip hauling a uhaul through apocalypse snow- without the assistance of the right mirror because his wife has deep personal issues with the right side mirror of the car (any car really- ask my mom).

Our first apartment while close to downtown, was far away from any reputable childcare facility with a vacancy. We enrolled our daughter in a wonderful preschool, which added an hour to our commute each morning and night, but it was worth it.

After our 3 month lease was up, we moved apartments- which is when our daughter decided to tell us that regardless of our inability to sell some property in Utah we needed to buy a house. This message was conveyed through her crying in the middle of the night, and refusing to sleep unless being held. When you live in an apartment where you can hear your neighbors poop, letting her cry it out isn't an option. 2 weeks with no sleep for mom and dad motivated us to looking into buying a house, though we were sure we wouldn't be able to borrow much.

Surprisingly we qualified for a loan (it's scary how much debt people can still get into) and we found a great home. Not surprisingly our house closed the same week that our UT property sold, the same week my little sister came home from a mission, and the same week that I had sales training out of state. Brent again had to move with out my help, and in 2 days.

We're now settled in a wonderful home, with the best preschool ever near by, close to good friends. We both have jobs (Brent has changed jobs since the move), which continue to present issues and trials- but we're here, we're in Texas, we have jobs and we're happy. In addition our move has impacted and benefited others in ways we couldn't have predicted, or foreseen.

Here's the mushy part of the post: today I'm grateful for a God that hears and answers prayers. I'm grateful that Brent got laid off and we were permitted to have this adventure. Grateful for a God that guided us in our move to Texas, and loved us enough to give us the knowledge that this is where we're suppose to be, but getting here wouldn't be easy- we'd have to work for it. And of course, I'm grateful for Texas.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Not a REAL doctor

It was accounting 102. I was addressing my instructor because I disagreed with a grade. I referred to her as 'Mrs.' and she said "Call me Dr., I worked hard for that title and I think I earned it."

What happens lady if we are in public- I call you doctor and a guy falls down with a heart attack- and his wife turns to you and says, " You're a doctor- save my husband!"

And what do you say? "I'm a different kind of doctor"
She says, "I don't care what kind of doctor you are just save my husband"
You say what? "I'm a doctor of accounting. I have a PHD"
And she says, "So you're not a real doctor?"
And you say, "No I'm not a physician, but I earned my doctorate, so I am referred to as doctor. It was a lot of time and work so I've earned the title of doctor."

And then the man is dead.

You know, I am not a Barbra Boxer fan. A woman that's been in Washington for as long as she has should be able to tout some serious accomplishments- aside from the ability to get elected. That combined with my 19 year old experience is why I LOVE this ad.

(Once my brother finishes his PhD I will refer to him as doctor in public mostly to watch complete strangers to ask him about their flem filled coughs and night sweats.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why the young are liberals and the old are conservatives

I worked with a kid in his early 20's. Lived in SF, your typical young liberalish 'open minded' 20 something. He worked in sales support for years, went above and beyond the call of duty to get the break into becoming a sales rep. His first year as a sales rep he put in upwards of 60 hours a week to make some real money. A year later his hard work paid off, the hours on airplanes, the years putting up as sales support, and he closed some big deals.

When he received his first big commission check, over 50% of his money went to the government. In his own words, "I instantly became a fiscal conservative"

He perfectly manifested why the young are liberals- because they have yet to bear the financial burden of fiscally irresponsible policies- and the reason the old are conservatives, they're sick of paying taxes.

Monday, August 9, 2010

'You can all go to hell. I'm going to Texas'

You know those super obnoxious Texans that won't shut up about how great Texas is?
Yes, I'm one of them.

I grew up in San Diego California. The place where it's 72 degrees year round, quite possibly the most perfect climate on the planet. You could see the beach from my high school classrooms. I'd ditch school to drive my jeep CJ 5 up and down the coast. I dream every night about running on the beach. The beach is my first love. When it comes to material possesions, my main goal in life is to have a house on the beach. But I'm a Texan.

I love Texas.

I love that people put their state flag on bumper stickers, watercoolers, notebooks, t-shirts and state that they are a Texan will unapologetic pride. Unapologetic pride in who you are and where you live, it's hard to find in Americans but it runs ample in Texas.

It's over 100 degrees outside, with NO beach, but Texas feels like home.

"Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession. Above all, Texas is a nation
in every sense of the word" - Author John Steinbeck

"I must say as to what I have seen of Texas, it is the garden spot of the world,
the best land and the best prospects for health I ever saw, and I do believe it is
a fortune to any man to come here" - Alamo hero Davey Crockett

"Texas is neither southern nor western. Texas is Texas" - Senator William Blakley

"I love Texas because Texas is future-oriented, because Texans think anything
is possible. Texans think big" Senator Phil Gramm

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Problem With Not Being Easily Offended

We tend to be viewed as 'insensitive' to others.

We wouldn't be offended by it, so why would someone else?

Things that we would consider as a natural part of every day conversation others misinterpret as an attack. Typically it will take someone a few months of knowing us to realize- 'that's just who they are'

Not being easily offended, or caring what others think is a liberating quality- but it can also limit one's inner circle of friends to individuals that have really good self-esteem, are very thick skinned, or are extremely forgiving. I think I'm ok with that.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Buy a Beach House Instead of Paying Your Kid's Tuition

Often the topic of saving for our child's college education comes up in conversation (bizarre, I know, but it does- with complete strangers) here's the earth shattering news, hold your breath- it's coming- I'm not paying for my daughter's schooling, she's paying for that herself.

When this statement is made I'm received with the same shock I would have received had I declared I was shipping my 18 month old off to Siberia. The idea that a child should work for and hence value their education is foreign.

I find interesting the volumes of successful people that scrimped, saved and scratched their way to financial prosperity that turn around and deny their children of the same experiences. Out of love our children we want to give them everything, but in doing so we rob them of the some of the most valuable and rare lessons children can learn- how to work, how to save, how to decide that there is something you want and to go through physical pain and self denial to EARN it.

(Yes, this is me- I was indeed, a dancing banana)

I didn't sweat in a banana suit all summer so that I could turn around and not have my children work, I worked hard so I could have security and move towards my dream- a house on the beach. And hopefully, with the lessons my children learn by working, saving and sacrificing, they will be able to buy their own beach houses.

There's a level of self esteem that is achieved only through working and self-sacrifice, knowing that you can make it just fine on your own. If we don't teach that lesson to our kids prior to college, or in college- when are they going to learn it?

After getting over the initial shock that a middle class American family doesn't believe in saving for their kid's college we receive a 'Good For You!'. I have yet to hear a person speak to the benefits of parents picking up the full tab for their child's education. If you know of some- I'm open to them, but until I'm convinced- we're saving for a beach house.

(Disclaimer: If your parents paid for your education I do not think you're a spoiled brat that has no concept of work, some of us were not lucky enough to be born with the work gene, you were- congratulations. If you're successful at sports or academics this again obviously doesn't apply to you because if you were really good then you got a scholarship and if you weren't really good and just played for fun- well, you had your reward so then yes this does apply to you, you should have gotten a job and paid for your school because you were a b-rated athlete, come to think about it unless you're the best at athletics what's the point? People that train their lives and then don't make it to the Olympics- talk about an investment with no payout. Why don't they ever show THOSE stories during the Olympic games- the hundreds of people that gave it their best and it wasn't good enough so they had to go into medical equipment sales because that's the only place an ex-athlete can get a job, and their real dreams were never fulfilled and unlike the rest of us who sit back and think 'well I never gave it my all so maybe I could have achieved' these people actually gave it their all and failed, which must really suck, unless they found a new dream- that is the story I'd like to see during the Olympic games- people who wanted to be Olympic athletes, failed and then realized their true calling and joy through selling sports equipment or creating nonprofit children's camps, whichever . And if you never went to college, I don't think you're lazy either, more CEO's come from the school of hard knocks than Harvard so you're're cool)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How Much Should I Pay My Babysitter?

How much I pay my babysitter is a physical manifestation of just how much I value my child's life and happiness. I value the person who will be responsible for calling 911 more than I value my waitress. I know we're not suppose to be prideful, however I take pride in what I pay my babysitters. It's due to being an undervalued babysitter in my youth.

I once was asked to go on 'vacation' with a family. (Vacation being an Amway seminar in Arizona) I spent 90% of my time trapped in a hotel room watching kids. After the 'vacation' was over the family didn't pay me, as the thought taking me on 'vacation' was payment enough.

This was 50% my fault and 50% the fault of my father. Yes, I blame my dad for my being an underpaid babysitter. My dad is a great salesman. He should have passed on his knowledge as to how to properly sell your product, that being: You tell people what you charge before you give them the product. You don't give someone a service and then gratefully take what ever they deem right to give to you.

This mentality of taking whatever someone thinks you're worth with out demanding what you think you're worth is a bad road to go down at the age of 12. If we teach our daughters when asked to babysit to tell people upfront what they charge for their services, in lieu of just taking what they're given- it sends a simple and powerful message to this young girl. It's a small means of empowerment to young women. Teaching a girl to evaluate what she's worth, put a price on it, and have the courage to ask for it, not settling for what someone else thinks they're worth and just taking it.

So, how does one pay a babysitter?

Ask the babysitter what she charges. If she says "whatever you want to pay me" start negotiating. Can I pay you in cookies? How's $1 an hour? Make her tell you what she wants to be paid. If she doesn't give a price, tell her she's not going to get paid at all. Most will under quote- so what ever she says, pay her more. Call it a tip.

She'll build self-esteem and be more attentive to the children, because it will be viewed as a real job. Hopefully someday we'll all take more pride in what we pay our care givers, than in what we paid for our jewelery.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Not The Little Mermaid!

Advertising works. The strongest form of advertising, product placement. Just as product placement worked for Reese's Pieces, it also works for morals, values, and social norms. I believe that the acceptance of homosexuality is largely due to the introduction of homosexuality into media, starting small with the Lesbian Wedding on Friends, to Will and Grace, now most sitcoms now have the loveable homosexual sidekick.

This is why I flipped out over The Little Mermaid coming into my home.

Maybe flipped out is strong, but that DVD went right back into the netflix envelope from which it came. Brent's rational for ordering it: "I thought Samantha would like the songs." Oh, but the songs are about disobeying your parents, giving up your talents, ignoring your family and responsibility, sacrificing everything for a boy, and in your defiance living happily ever after, and all at the age of 16.

I've previously blogged about how Disney Princesses are the root of all evil, so recently a good friend forwarded this to me, which perfectly says why I am against everything princess and you'll never again find the Little Mermaid in my home.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The American Flag disrespectful to Americans?

There are so many things wrong with the Live Oak Highschool incident it's hard to know where to begin.

The key to my frustration is this mentality:
"I think they should apologize cause it is a Mexican Heritage Day," Annicia Nunez, a Live Oak High student, said. "We don't deserve to be get disrespected like that. We wouldn't do that on Fourth of July."

If you're an American, how can the American flag ever be considered disrespectful?

Should all of the Americans that are now living in England get royally offended if the British dare to wave their flag on the Fourth of July?

It's hard to empathise with a group that wants our healthcare and educational system free of charge but then finds the flag of the country that is footing the bill 'disrespectful'.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ponzi Schemes Worse Than Rape?

Bernie Madoff got sentenced to 150 years in prison for stealing money.

John Albert Gardner was given 6 years for molesting and beating a 13 year old.

Who would you rather have living next door?

We live in a society where it is a greater crime to steal money than destroy lives.

In what reality does 6 years in prison make up for a young girl being traumatized for the rest of her life? Not only that, a young girl who was only alive because she was able to escape?

Let's ignore for A SECOND that John Gardner just admitted to the murders of two beautiful girls- Chelsea King, and Amber Dubois- and stick with a 13 year old girl's life was destroyed and our society thinks that the punishment for that should be less than that of theft. Steal money from rich people, big time in prison-destroy a little girls life- slap on the hand.

Sure, now that the guy has actually murdered someone, let's put him in prison but gee, it was just sexual assault and the beating of a 13 year old- that's not as bad as a Ponzi scheme. The national media coverage is virtually zero, even now that he has pleaded guilty.

Those that are responsible for releasing these predators back into society need to be held accountable- the DA, the panel who gives these people parole- at the very least jobs need to be lost and at the most- they need to be tried.

Let the Bernie Madoffs of the world being back on the street in order to make room for John Garnders- on their FIRST OFFENSE. Release the drug users (not dealers) and fill our prisons with rapists and murders.

It's a sad but true statement that in our 'civilized society' money is far more important than lives.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Death and April 15th

When deciding how much you have with held from your paycheck each year ask one question:

When you die do you want to owe the government or do you want the government to owe you?

Here's a previous post explaining why it is in your best interest to OWE taxes in April- that's right, if you're getting a return- you failed.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

'Blinkers indicate weakness'

There's a lot we've learned from this two week move to Dallas, namely- take more than 2 weeks to move.

We decided to get a POD to put everything that we'd move into our house, and got a uhaul trailer for everything in our apartment. We learned that when the wife says "That's not going to be enough space" She's right, because she knows exactly how much stuff you own.

On the bright side, we did the calculation of what it would cost to get an additional unit, so we made sure that the cost to replace all items given away would be less than that cost, so we felt like we came out a head- but it was still hard to give away our trashcan. Brent loved that can.

Also learned that if you happen to snap off the passenger mirror of the vehicle that will be towing the a fore mentioned U-Haul, 4 days prior to the move, you should take the vehicle to the dealership service department and not a body shop. Long story short, this will force you to tow a u-haul through a snow and windstorm for 20 hours staying entirely in the right lane due to your temporary mirror not having warmers and being rendered completely useless.

We decided to get an apartment close to work, then figure out where we want to buy.

We thought this was smart, this was stupid.

We SHOULD have looked for an apartment close to CHILD CARE. Kory silly Kory assumed she'd be able to find decent childcare anywhere, not so. Decent Childcare has a waiting list- especially if your child is under 18 months. Luckily we had some friends in town that knew of some EXCELLENT childcare. Draw back of EXCELLENT childcare- Holly Mackerel it's expensive! Bonus of excellent childcare, expensive means that there's an opening. Luckily there was space available in one that is located 7 miles in the opposite direction of our commute, in a nicer part of town, with better apartments.

Texas drivers are insane. INFREAKINSANE. LA drivers have NOTHING on Dallas. When talking to someone about how no one here uses their blinkers they smiled and said, "In Dallas, using your blinker indicates weakness"

I have a feeling we have a lot more learning coming our way.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Why I'm glad I did NOT have children earlier

While going on and on about how wonderful my little girl is my mom asked, "Now don't you wish you started having children earlier?" My answer "Not in the slightest"

Which at first glance may sound strange- why wouldn't you want the best thing that ever happened to you to happen sooner than it did?

Because I wouldn't have appreciated it had it come sooner to the degree that I appreciate it now.

I sat next to a man on a plane who's wife after 14 years of marriage decided she didn't want to be married anymore. She felt like she had missed out on life and needed to leave her 3 children, go to bars, travel and 'live life'. Those of us that waited to get married, and have children will never have the 'what if?' thoughts. I never wonder what life is like living on the beach and being completely self centered because I got to live it, and now I know for myself that I have the better part. The biggest benefit from having that selfish lifestyle in my early 20's is that I know it's worthless in my 30's.

Let me put this another way: I worked for Stryker. Stryker is a very reputable company, pharma reps, medical reps, pretty much everyone wants to work for Stryker.
While I was at Stryker I worked with a guy who had a very coveted job- and by sheer luck he got it straight out of college. When I talked to him I could sense that he fully did not appreciate the opportunity presented him. So much so that after having the job for only 6 months he decided to go back to school to get his MBA, because he missed the fun days of college.

Many men with MBAs would have done anything for his job, but because he had not experienced the workforce, because the exceptional job had come too early- he did not appreciate it and threw it away. I've talked to him since and after a number of people he respected in his MBA program told him he was a moron for leaving Stryker, he now deeply regrets his decision- but there's no going back.

I am a better wife and mother because I've experienced 11 years in a singles ward, I've dated hundreds of guys, been to foreign places. I can never take my husband for granted because I still have nightmares about being single.

I stare into my little girl's eyes and there is an appreciation for her that I would not have had at 19, 23 or even 26. The best thing that ever happened to me happened at the ripe age of 32- and I wouldn't have it any other way.

(Dear women who have made different choices than myself, The above post is not an attack on your life choices. The post is not to tell you I'm better than you. This post is not about you- it's about me, because this is my blog. )

Monday, January 11, 2010

If 5'4" Brunettes From San Diego were Terrorists

If suddenly a group of 5'4" brunettes that had spent a good portion of their life in San Diego started bombing airplanes, how would I feel if airport security pulled me out of the line to do any extra security check each time I went through?

More over, how would I feel if they didn't pull me aside to do a security check but delayed an African for an extra security check?

Every time they'd pull me over in security I'd thank them. Because hell, I don't want to die in a plane crash either and if it was a known FACT that only brunettes from San Diego were terrorising the skies I'd want every single one of my kind getting the pat down. If I knew I had to plan to be at the airport an extra 45 minute early because of the color of my hair and place of my origin- I'd be just fine with that.

Moreover, if I saw security letting me go through, but taking someone who obviously did NOT fit the profile aside, I'd be ticked. Really ticked.

I'm having a hard time understanding why Arabs and Muslims that love America and do not want their planes to go down in flames take issue with profiling for additional screening.

If the roles were reversed, I'd be happy to take the extra 15 minutes in security to ensure that those 5'4" brunettes were caught and that the skies were safe to fly.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Lesson from 11th grade required reading

The Grapes of Wrath. Hated it.

I did retain something from that 11th grade required reading- the unemployed moved to where there was work, they didn't just sit around hoping the work would come to them.

So, we're contemplating a move, brace yourself, it's NOT to Southern California ( the 10% 'just because' tax solidified that we will indeed never return to the promised land). As a good friend put it, I'm moving "where the 80's went to die."- Dallas, Texas.

People like to tell me how much they hate Dallas, but once Texas secedes from the union, and we make Ron Paul our King - they'll be singing a different tune.