Wednesday, July 29, 2009

You Always Call Me Princess by David Ted Eyre

You Always Call Me Princess
David Ted Eyre

This tender, sweet, and true account is written by the father of a young woman with Down syndrome. He details his feelings when he first learned his daughter had Trisomy 21 and then chronicles her life until a momentous occasion during her senior year of high school when she was named the Homecoming Queen.

I was touched by his honest portrayal of his life and his genuine feelings about his daughter. I was also struck by the selfless actions of so many teenagers who voted for Shellie Eyre as Homecoming Queen. For the most part, teenagers are self-absorbed and self-centered, yet an entire student body looked beyond physical limitations and recognized the beauty within Shellie. What a testament to the valiant teenagers we have in the world, those who will see the heart of someone else, those who will give freely of their time to make someone else feel joy. I admire all of those who did so for Shellie. Some of the passages brought tears of gratitude and joy to my eyes.

In a world where 90% of all women who find that they are carrying a baby with Down syndrome choose to abort it, this account gave me hope that there are people, even teenagers, who won't judge another simply because he or she has an extra chromosome. I only hope my son will be surrounded by thoughtful and caring people and will have positive experiences similar to Shellie's.

This book was a quick read, though it could have benefited from some editing and knowledge of writing techniques. It's a touching story that's important to read not only to realize that even people with disabilities have gifts and talents, but also to restore faith in humanity.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Grandma Fears Her Future

My grandmother is in the hospital as a result of a minor stroke. She's an amazing woman who is still vibrant and mentally sharp. We discuss politics, religion, current affairs, and anything else that happens to pop into our conversation. She's an excellent conversationalist and I enjoy our visits.

The other day she expressed her fear of the new healthcare reform proposed by President Obama. She's afraid that with the new directives she won't receive any care and will be left to die. I wanted to reassure her that she'd receive whatever medical care she might require in the future, but I couldn't. The fact is, she won't.

According to this 1000+ page document, after age 65 citizens will receive end-of-life counseling on how to end their lives instead of receiving treatment for their ailments. For example, a man age 65 who needs a knee replacement and has worked all of his life paying into medicare and social security will be denied while a 20-something illegal immigrant who hurt his knee running the border will receive the knee replacement. How fair is that?

The new healthcare reform not only includes abortion but defines it as needed healthcare. What? How can an abortion be determined as healthcare? In most cases, it's birth control. Not only will our government be encouraging women to kill their innocent babies, they'll be forcing us as American citizens to fund the slaughter.

This healthcare reform will also prohibit private insurance. My husband has worked hard for over 20 years to provide for our family and to maintain benefits, including health insurance and now the government wants to take it away because somehow we don't deserve it anymore.

So, my grandmother is justified in her fear of what this healthcare reform will do to her, and to us as a nation. Our once superior healthcare will be replaced by mediocre care, and only if the government deems that you qualify. This reform will deny life to the unborn and the elderly.

And, the politicians will not be required to take part in the national healthcare--they'll have their own system. Isn't it ironic that Ted Kennedy who is pushing this reform is benefiting from the very care he'll be denying citizens his age as he fights a brain tumor?

Call your representatives, email them, mail them, but let them know that we not only value the life of the unborn, but we also care about our older citizens and that we do not want socialized medicine.

Here's a link to all the addresses of our government representatives: . Perhaps, if we work together we can stop this legislation before it destroys our country, and our lives.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What's the Big Deal with Scouting?

A couple of weeks ago, my husband spent almost a full week at Philmont Scout Ranch in eastern New Mexico for a training with the General Young Men's Presidency. He was home for a few days and then headed to a local Scout camp with my son. He had previously spent 3 days (not including all of the set-up or planning) hiking with the older boys in our stake in a Zion's Camp type of experience to help priests develop a stronger testimony as well as a desire to serve a mission. He jumped through all sorts of hoops to make this camp a BSA approved camp.

He attended Wood Badge last year, attends Rountable Meetings each month, and serves as a Unit Commissioner. He's also trained to train other leaders.

I served on the Troop Committe for years, helped my first son earn his Eagle, and now have another son who's a Life Scout and should earn his Eagle by the end of the year.

We know Scouting. Truthfully, I find all the red-tape somewhat suffocating and think it's outrageous that professional Scouters earn a salary for a job that could be voluntary. All of us in the trenches, who actually spend the time with the boys, volunteer our time and money to support Scouting, yet professional Scouters are paid a salary. Somehow, that doesn't make sense to me.

However, I do believe in the Scouting program and I believe it helps boys learn many skills as well as satisfaction in achieving difficult goals. There is a direct correlation between boys who earn their Eagle and those who serve missions. If your son earns his Eagle it isn't a guarantee he'll serve a mission, but it's much more likely, especially if he also graduates from seminary. I'm really thankful that my husband and my oldest son both earned their Eagle ranks and look forward to my other son earning his.

Here's what gets under my skin about Scouting. All the complaining at the local level from the leaders. Why is it so hard for people to serve in Scouting? Why is it so hard to take boys on camping trips? Why is it so difficult to attend Roundtable meetings? A calling in Scouting doesn't last forever, but a leader's bad attitude can affect a young boy forever.

Yeah, there's red tape. Yeah, it's a headache sometimes. Yeah, BSA has some ridiculous rules. Yeah, it's hard getting a boy from Tenderfoot to Eagle. But, the effort is so worth it. Think of the boys' lives we can affect for the good simply by doing our callings in Scouting. Think of the impression we can leave on young men when we plan hikes, campouts, and badge opportunities. Think of the good we can do simply by having a good attutude and magnifying a call from the Lord. Boys learn their attitudes about Scouting from their leaders and they can tell in a heartbeat if their leaders are committed to Scouting or not.

The Lord isn't going to ask us if we loved Scouting, but He is going to ask us if we fulfilled, and magnified, our callings, including those in Scouting. He's going to ask us if we did our best to serve the young men in Scouts. What do we want to answer?

I say, quit our complaining and just do our calling in Scouting. We may find we really like it after all.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Trail of Storms by Marsha Ward

Trail of Storms
Marsha Ward

Here's the back cover copy:

Jessie Bingham put heartbreak away to tend to her sister's needs, but when she settled for second best in love, she didn't foresee that James Owen would come back into her life.

The aftermath of the Civil War creates cruel circumstances for the Bingham family. A brutal attack on Jessie's sister, Hannah Fletcher, drives the extended family to flee to the West. They are soon joined by Heppie Bingham's beau George and his brother, Ned, who bring news that the Binghams are being pursued by cronies of Hannah's attacker. Even after they fight off that onslaught, poverty, bad weather, and Hannah's frightful secret plague their journey. Nursing her battered heart when she hears James Owen took a wife, Jessie accepts Ned's offer of marriage. But a stop on the trail holds surprises that launch Jessie into a bewildering tangle of values, emotions, and high adventure.

Marsha Ward has a talent for bringing you right into the story and making you feel like you're experiencing what the characters are experiencing. In this book, there are some downright nasty characters and Ward does an excellent job of making you want to beat them yourself. I was outraged by some of their actions and had to remind myself it wasn't actually happening to me.

Ward has such an authentic flair to her writing that I felt like I was reading something from an author back in the 1870s. She has a vast knowledge of this time period and place and it lends realism to this story.

Some ugly things happen in this book and there is some harsh/profane language so it may not be suitable for all readers, but Ward weaves an interesting and realistic tale of life after the Civil War and definitely makes an impression with Trail of Storms.

To learn more about Marsha Ward and her other books visit her website.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Aren't They Cute?

My son and his soon-to-be-bride. I think I'll have gorgeous grandbabies, though I'm certainly not ready to be a grandma. I'm not even sure I'm ready to be a mother-in-law . . .

Monday, July 13, 2009

Peace Amidst the Wickedness of the World

We talked about signs of the times yesterday in Sunday school and whether we should be worried and fearful of what is yet to come before the Savior reigns once more.

The world continues to embrace wickedness. We hear rumors of legislation that threatens our freedom of religion and freedom of speech. We're constantly bombarded with the worldly message that evil is good and good is evil. Wars continue to rage, morals decline, and righteousness is degraded through all mediums.

While we may get caught up in worrying about all that's happening in the world, it's best to focus on our own individual lives and our families and make sure we are living the gospel so that no matter when the Savior comes again, we will be ready. And, while we wait for His coming, we can still find peace and happiness in mortality.

True peace, joy, and happiness comes through living the gospel and following the Savior Jesus Christ.

There simply is no other way.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Lemon Tart by Josi Kilpack

A recipe for murder!

5 families living on Peregrine Circle
1 flowered curtain tieback
1 missing child
1 body in the field

Mix with a long list of suspects and top with two very different detectives.

Increase heat until only the truth remains.

Award-winning author Josi S. Kilpack introduces a new series of culinary "cozies" that is sure to tantalize mystery lovers. In this debut volume, cooking aficionado-turned-amateur detective, Sadie Hoffmiller, tries to solve the murder of Anne Lemmon, her beautiful young neighbor - a single mother who was mysteriously killed while a lemon tart was baking in her oven. At the heart of Sadie's search is Anne's missing two-year-old son, Trevor. Whoever took the child must be the murderer, but Sadie is certain that the police are looking at all the wrong suspects - including her!

Armed with a handful of her very best culinary masterpieces, Sadie is determined to bake her way to proving her innocence, rescuing Trevor, and finding out exactly who had a motive for murder.

This was a fun book. I loved Sadie Hoffmiller because she seemed so real. She wasn't a blonde bombshell with a perfect body, she was a regular woman in her fifties. I thought Kilpack did an excellent job of sprinkling in Sadie's backstory and making her so realistic. I especially loved her obsession with all things domestic. Even during tense times in the story, Sadie's thoughts would go back to homemaking skills.

Kilpack kept me guessing through the whole book. Just when I thought I knew who did it, I didn't. I thought the clues were well placed, the tension was good, and the story arc made sense.

I also liked the hint of romance and the recipes throughout the book.

I recommend Lemon Tart. Add it to your summer reading list, you won't be disappointed!