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Appreciating Freedoms on My Watch

I didn't realize how far back the evolution of freedom went. Freedom wasn't an overnight development that happened in America in 1776. It began in England and Europe with the Magna Charta. I recently read a series of books that opened my eyes to the long history that led to 1776. While studying Medieval history using Beautiful Feet study guides I found this gem from 1896 called, The Story of Liberty by Charles Coffin. This book forms the foundation of the literature based curriculum used by this company. It recites the history of the struggles between Church and State and the people in England and Europe. It details the misery that oppression brought England under tyrannical kings, and nobles in the feudal system. It follows the Reformers and the Reformation through to the days of our own founders in America, the Pilgrims and Puritans. Forgotten but fascinating stories show how the centuries worked slowly but surely bringing relief to the people by restraining church and government power. Both entities were working together while looking out for their own self interests (power) and both were mainly concerned with creatively pillaging the people and making war to aggrandize themselves. But there were some who saw that this was wrong. It began with the churchmen. It began with Wycliffe.
After reading this book, I began to read through Winston Churchill's History of the English Speaking People. I am currently stalled in the 3rd volume, but they are a great supplement for this time period. A History tells the story from the perspective of government. Churchill begins with an explanation of the Roman rule in England, something I also never knew of. He touches on the ancient inhabitants of England and their freedom-loving ways. He details the brutal killing and oppression of these people, the Saxons, as the Norman kings took over the island. There are so many good stories to be told like Bruce and Wallace.
I have found that through history we can come to understand ourselves much better. I certainly understand myself and appreciate my freedoms much better now. And like the subtitle on The Story of Liberty, I have come to appreciate the sacrifices made to get where we are, and will never allow it to be lost on my watch.

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

I bought O Pioneers! off the classic shelf at Barnes N Noble since it was a fairly short fiction book. I like pioneers too. After reading it in several hours that night, I decided I need to read more well written fiction. This is definitely a Must Read!
The story takes place on the plains of Nebraska at the turn of the twentieth century- (1900's for those of you like me who get that confused.) Alexandra's father John Bergeson is dying. She is the oldest of four children and the only girl. She has two brothers near her age and one about fifteen years younger. Alexandra has been talking to her father about his struggles to farm the virgin land for the last six years. He recently paid off the loan on his land and everyone feels the irony that he should die now, just when he can see success on the horizon. But Alexandra has a brain for business. She thinks before working while her brothers Oscar and Lou don't think much and prefer to follow the crowd. Mr Bergeson calls the family together just before dying to inform them that Alexandra is to be running the show and the boys are to do as she says with the farm. All are to be equal. Alexandra works with her brain, the sons with their strength.
For a while they prosper, but soon a drought comes. Many families leave the area and give up on the lands possibilities. Alexandra won't. After hearing that a local real estate agent is buying up the farms being sold, she goes to an older more prosperous town to think and learn. She comes back with a renewed love for the land and optimism about the future. The family reluctantly decides to mortgage the farm and buy some of the properties being left behind. For such a short story there is so much more. But I will not spoil the story for you. It's just too good to give away.
Willa Cather has a way of telling the story with grace and style. She paints a perfect picture in the mind of the scenes, characters and their emotions, and the history in each phase of the story. She expertly describes the conflicts, dreams, anxieties and even blind spots of the various characters. The astonishing twists at the end are hardly predictable. And if you can predict them, they rip your heart out entertaining the thought! I ended up bawling at 1:20 in the morning as I finished the story and wished for more.


Some people are so creative!

I found this really innovative couple who began producing short video's about Mormons. They are simplified for the purpose of sharing them and creating missionary moments! Way to Go!

Making Money Naturally

I decided to take the plunge. I came across a Craigslist ad that was asking for writers the other day. It has changed my life. It took me to a website and I looked around. They wanted writers and were asking for information on an online application. I google the name of the organization and found a whole new world open up. Freelance writing information flooded my computer. I began a quest. I found that the company seemed legit, but I also found that there were all kinds of ways to earn money as a writer. Companies are begging for freelance writers to write content for websites. Unfortunately it seems they don't really want to pay much. I'm still figuring out how to bid for work, but in the meantime I've applied at three writers sites and been accepted to two, Suite 101 and BrightHub. I am taking the plunge to writing for a new type of website called Hubs. These sites exist to place articles online that will attract ads and ad revenue. Articles are about anything under the sun that people might want to look up. I can write about the things I love. That's good. There are lots of things I love.
So right now I'm researching the ins and outs of things like copyright, citations, photo's, keywords, and brainstorming ideas for what people might want to read about.


We All Started at Minimum Wage

Teenagers make many momentous choices that they do not even realize they are making. Compare two different teenagers.
Teenager number one spends time diligently and even voluntarily completing tasks either required or encouraged by others. This teen reads a wide array of books on many topics and will discard those who are below standards. This teen also spends some time socializing with a large group of friends without technology.  This teen does not complain about being bored or spend all possible time being entertained.  This teen has thoughts and opinions and feels confident enough to tactfully and intelligently share them.
Teenager number two is constantly bored and seeking entertainment. This teen reads only one specific genre of books, recycling the same plot in the same setting over and over again. This teen socializes with a small number of friends, maybe only one, and prefers using technology to communicate when necessary. This teen is so absorbed in being entertained that they cannot be bothered to do voluntary tasks not will they be diligent in doing assignments.  This teen makes those they live with feel like they are always asking too much of them. This teen may also share opinions freely but misses tact and intelligence and instead uses boasting and joking.

Both teens are making many decisions that will affect their future.  When these two teens get their first job they will both make minimum wage but one will move up from there, while the other may be stagnant until learning the skills that the other learned early on. This process is called maturing. Maturing is often thought of as being involuntary. But when looked at by examining behaviors we can see that there is much that is under our own control.  Before a teen will stretch to the tasks that need to be done to properly mature, the teen must first find someone to trust. Normally this is parents, but in our topsy-turvy world many parents are giving up on the job of counseling teenagers. It’s so much easier to drug them with entertainment. But this stunts their growth.  Teenagers with inflated egos will find it hard to trust their parents, preferring to trust themselves and their limited circle of friends. Ironically, that friend circle usually reinforces what the teen already thinks.  They think they are being independent and unique when they are only caught in a self reinforcing cycle. Courageous teens leave their comfort zone and try new things by volunteering or joining clubs that stretch their skills. Their courage will be validated and they will be much better at getting along with others who think differently, thus continually widening their knowledge of the world and their ability to interact with a wide variety of people. This pattern is a triangle with a constantly widening base.
The most important thing for a teenager is that they do not get stuck in a comfort zone, or more likely, an entertainment zone.  Constant entertainment leads to a spiral of boredom. The point of entertainment is to like what you are experiencing. Pleasurable experience leads to more of the same kind of entertainment, narrowing experience until reaching the point of most pleasure and excitement. In this pattern, they reach the narrow point at the tip of the triangle and get stuck. Any change is viewed as moving backward and called “boring”.  Anything not at the pinnacle of exciting entertainment is considered beneath them and will be resisted.  No stretching will take place. No maturing can happen here.
So teens the next time you feel like you are powerless in your life, think again. There are many small but significant things you can do to improve your life, as long as you don’t think improvement is a long skinny triangle. What is the shape of your triangle? Is your base wide and stable or is it sharp and pointed? Is your spiral getting smaller or larger? Where are your behaviors leading you? Look beyond your nose and see the world. We all started at minimum wage, even Bill Gates.


What to do? Becoming Self- reliant

As I was thinking back over how I have progressed in becoming self reliant, as well as how I have watched others do it I decided to make a list of the most important advice I could give regarding being prepared for the trials of life. Some say we are in for trials very soon. I say we are already having them in our own personal lives every day. Life is for trials. We need to always be prepared in many different areas of life. 
So here's my check list:

Personal & Family Preparedness
1.  Begin and end everyday with kneeling, vocal, personal and family prayer.  Pray for inspiration to know what the Lord would have you do to prepare and why. Read scriptures everyday both personally and as a family.
2.  Get healthy. Change unhealthy habits and addictions. Begin to get accustomed to healthy eating habits and exercise. Feel your tastes and energy levels change for the better. Take vitamins. Get any medications you need refilled and keep 90 days of medicine on hand if possible. Talk to your doctor about improving your health.
3. Learn how to be self reliant. Learn skills that would be helpful to your family and neighbors such as baking, cooking from scratch, communications, local resources for aid and employment, how to fix things, gardening, canning, ect.
4. Begin to evaluate the daily food items your family uses that can be stored and regularly rotated. Once you have built 3 months of these items decide what is needed to sustain life for you and your family for long-term storage. Learn how to properly use and store these items.
5. Pay off debt as fast as possible. Sell excess stuff that can be sacrificed to pay off debts. Do not take out any new loans for any reason. Go without new items and learn to make products last longer. Learn to reuse or repurpose items.  Look for places you can cut back.  Keep a budget that tells your money where to go instead of your money telling you where to go!  Keep a small savings for emergencies until you have paid of your debts. Then save enough to get you through a long period of no income such as 6-12 months of expenses. 
6. Organize your most important papers.  Declutter your life.  Simplify. Be frugal. Get to know your neighbors. Never stop learning new things. Keep an updated 72 hour emergency kit. Learn First Aid.
7. Smile a lot.


Damn Lies! Calling Evil Good and Good Evil

We are all involved in an epic contest of good vs evil. Ever since Adam and Eve partook of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, we have been trying to discern between the two extremes. The scriptures for tell that in the last days men will call good evil and evil good. They also declared woe to those who call evil good. That is a significant part of today's population.
It occurred to me the other day that we need to study how Satan works in order to defend ourselves and be able to resist him. A good team always studies the other teams offense right?  The one thing we need to remember about Satan is that he is the Great Deceiver. He is the master of turning good into evil and evil into good. And in our world and our time this has been received very well as Isaiah described in Isaiah 5:20:
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Satan and his unwitting followers regularly do this. One example that struck me lately is the idea that homosexual temptations are genetic and nothing can be done to change it. Recently, President Packer gave a Conference talk mentioning this thinking and declared it~ Not so!  The world has gone into hysterics over his simple denunciation of this idea. They accuse him of increasing suicides among “self-loathing” homosexuals. And they proudly proclaim how we must show acceptance and compassion for them by agreeing that there is nothing that can be done about this desire and they MUST give in or be miserable. Well duh! they are obviously miserable when giving in or we wouldn’t be worried about them committing suicide! Remember their word “self-loathing”? Is it not sweet to believe that you can change, resist and ultimately overcome your temptations? Yet the world would have us believe that is a bitter idea.  For me, the belief that resistance is futile is depressing and bitter. This idea denies the Atonement and therefore is evil as Moroni defined it.

For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

Fearfully, the scriptures also testify that we are like God knowing good and evil, ironically, a choice made after Eve realized that is was good to have wisdom, or the knowledge of good and evil.  In fact, God declared that Adam and Eve had become “as one of us to know good and evil”. Later, Moroni ominously warns us that since we know the correct way to judge, by the “Spirit of Christ given to every man that he may know good from evil,” we must not judge wrongfully for “with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged”.  If we judge evil to be good, or bitter to be sweet, we will receive evil and bitterness in return.
Another well-received tactic of Satan is that of stirring up anger against those things that are good.
As if it wasn’t bad enough to judge wrongfully, Satan now wants us to become pushy and angry in our opinions. He wants us to spread around our passionate beliefs that others are evil for prizing good and sweet principles. He wants us to fell oppressed by the good and sweet people who offer us release from our natural man temptations.  Nephi warns us, “wo unto them that…revile against that which is good and say it is of no worth.” He warns, “at that day shall he (Satan) rage in the hearts of the children of men and stir them up to anger against that which is good.” Nephi pleads with us to recognize this tactic and avoid the “everlasting chains” of the devil. It will take courage to stand up to this rage and anger. Thankfully the Lord can also stir, but his stirring is “unto repentance” so that we can shake off these chains. Feel like a brownie yet? I admit I have fallen prey to this one far too often. I want to stand up for what I believe. But Satan wants to use me to stir up his followers. I become his ammunition and his slave all at once.
The most insidious tactic is one that is prevalent among the people I have associated with in my life (Saints).  Nephi warns:

“And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.
Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!     UAdd a Note  Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!”

The Lord has given us ample warning of the calamities and disturbances that will come upon us in the last days. This attitude of “all is well” denies these warnings. We are not meant to be secure and comfortable in this life. We are meant to be stretched and molded. This is not an easy and convenient process. In today’s day and age convenience is an oft-worshiped God. We want everything to be convenient and easy~ or at least quick! If we take this attitude we will get exactly what we want. In the end, we will not have any opportunity for progress available to us and we cannot be exalted, the very definition of damnation. Exaltation is not an easy and convenient process. But the Lord will not force us to heaven.
While we are not surrounded with swords and cimeters like scriptural times, we are most certainly surrounded with deceptions which are everlastingly more deadly. In an old talk by Marion G. Romney called “The Price of Peace,” he points out that even Heavenly Father and Christ could not live in peace with Satan and his followers after his rebellion. He had to be cast out. It is the ultimate price of having peace.
And so it is with us. We must not try to live cooperatively with evil. We cannot compromise with Satan’s deceptive philosophies. They must be rooted out of our hearts. Our hearts must be changed until we, like Lamoni, have “no more desire to do evil.” Lamoni and his people lived this truth. They were so changed that they would die living their faith rather than resist the violence of Satan and risk their changed and purified state. 
This life is the time to prepare to meet God. We must be about doing it and never let up. As soon as we let up Satan swoops in with his lies and pacification. He desires to have us and to sift us. He carefully crafts his lies to our weaknesses. Jacob calls us to arouse ourselves and awake lest Satan grabs us with his awful chains. His chains are like a lovely soft flaxen cord at first.
But eventually we will begin to feel them change to hard heavy cold metal that we can no longer see the end of.
It is impossible to serve God without offending the devil. Satan offers a road of ease and convenience until we find that we are at our destination, dancing in chains of misery. But the Savior offers a road of hardship and effort, purification and struggle. We cannot serve two masters or else we will hate one and love the other.  And when we try to make the Savior’s road go parallel to Satan’s in our effort to straddle, guess which one we will soon begin to hate?


Turning Back

We had a great stake conference this morning. Our Stake President gave a good talk about Lot's wife looking back. In Genesis 13 he reviewed the story of Abraham and Lot who had journeyed together to the land and had both grown so prosperous that they were crowding each other. Abraham told Lot to choose which side of the land he would take and then Abraham would take the other. Lot took the side with the water and lush growth and the cities, including Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot was so happy with this that he lived in Sodom and became quite fond of the city life.
Iconic city life
Chapter 14 talks about the kings of the cities who were fighting each other and taking spoils. Lot was kidnapped and all his possessions were taken by one of the kings. When Abraham found out he got up a force and rescued Lot and all his possessions. Abraham went to the one righteous king in the land, Melchizedek and pays tithing and takes the sacrament. It makes no mention of Lot doing the same. Lot goes back to the cities that he loves.  Later in chapter 19 the Lord tells Abraham that he is going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham asks him to spare the city if enough righteous can be found. Enough are not found so the Lord sends messengers into the city to warn Lot to leave. Lot believes the messengers and he warns his adult children to leave with him, but they mock him.  Not wanting to leave all his comforts, family and lifestyle, Lot lingers in the city, indecisive for so long that the messengers have to drag Lot, his wife and two daughters out of the city. I wonder if Lot's wife was part of his reluctance to leave. Perhaps she was dragging her feet too. They instruct them not to look back but to flee to the mountains. Lot doesn't like that idea, being a city boy, and asks to be allowed to go to a very small city nearby. It is agreed that that city will be spared. Despite all this, Lot's wife looks back! Whether she actually went back or just turned around, something there caught her eye and turned her away from the advice of the Lord. Was it the lights, the excitement, the parties, the comfort, old relationships, old habits? We don't know. It doesn't matter. We all have our temptations.
Jump ahead to Luke chapter 17, verses 26-32 the Lord is telling his Apostles about the last days. He remarkably accurately describes our conditions and then says we must take a lesson from Lot's wife. He tells them that "whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it! and whosoever shall loose his life shall preserve it."  In the next chapter of Luke we get the story of the young man who asks Jesus what he must do to have eternal life. They go through the commandments and the man reports that he has kept them since his youth. (Sounds like a temple recommend interview!) Then Jesus joyfully tells the man to sell all that he has and give it all to the poor and to follow Him. But tragically the young man could not leave his stuff and he left the Savior sorrowing. Jesus tells us that our possessions will prevent us from entering the celestial kingdom! Even keeping all the commandments since his youth was not enough to get this man to the celestial kingdom!
Verse 29 & 30 are the point. When we leave all for the Lord, we will receive "manifold more" in return. Our Stake President related a story about a couple who had come to him as a Bishop for tithing settlement and had given all that they had in their account to pay their tithing . They told him that they had decided to pay $50 a month in fast offerings that year, and this bag of rolled up quarters was all they had. That next spring the wife, who had been in good health at the end of the year, died suddenly. It brought tears to my eyes and reminded me of my Great Grandma Davies. She had been being cared for at her daughter's home but one day she just wanted to go home. In her last act of faith she walked across the street to pay her tithing to her Bishop and on the way back she fell and as a result she died shortly thereafter. I thought, I want to be like her and die without a tight hold on "stuff".
Before conference I had been fretting about losing all my "stuff" on my computer if it crashed. I do need to take precautions, but I should have been thinking and preparing for worship, not worrying about all my digital "stuff". I like a line from the last conference that went something like this:
A distraction doesn't have to be evil, just effective.
Whatever pulls us away from the Lord is effective, even if it isn't necessarily evil. We are so surrounded by evil influence today that if we take our eye off the Savior- even for a moment- it may be all Satan needs to attack us and we will never know what hit us.


Isn't life interesting?

Just when you think you've gotten comfortable life throws a curve ball. Ever notice that? You learn to deal comfortably with a reality in your life and then suddenly the balls are all up in the air and you're juggling again!
I think this is one way that God works so that our time is not being wasted, yet we have enough time to gather ourselves before the next fire starts. Lately I've been feeling like I am not being used fully, kinda like I am wandering in the forest and enjoying the walk. But realizing there are so many important things I could be doing if I was given the task. I am a bit wary of saying this out loud since I may end up wishing for that peaceful walk again. I tend to get in over my head sometimes!  I keep telling my husband that I will not move again- unless we move to Idaho- specifically the Idaho Falls or Rexburg area where I have family living.  Lately the longing has become almost overwhelming. I fight it only because I discount my own sentimentality.  Pat feels the urge to move. I feel the urge to move but we want to stay put and let the kids enjoy the last few years of growing up in one area. But every year my nieces and nephews get older and I miss time with my grandparents that I cannot get back.
Time is a funny thing. Sometimes it seems like your on the Ferris wheel moving along at a manageable pace and then someone hits the speed up button and you can't get off. You try to make the best use of your time but it always slips away faster than you want it too. But then enough time goes by that some old things begin to resolve. You find that you can still breathe when bad things happen. Life isn't over if you don't get your way. And sometimes you were just wrong. You learn to deal with what people can give you and you learn to let go of what you want but can never get. You learn to bite your tongue with your teenagers, go along with your spouses whims,  and to hug your parents every chance you get. Prayer becomes indispensable, scriptures speak volumes in one verse, and God feels very close at times -making you so very homesick.
I've learned that there is truly opposition in ALL things even marriages and other relationships. I don't know why I was so surprised at this fact, but I was. I guess we would not be told to be unified if opposition didn't exist. And we could never get the credit for being unified if there was no opposition to overcome. Those curve balls are always lurking around the corner waiting for you to be in position to hit the home run. A home run would never get any applause if the ball were not hit the opposite way it was thrown! Their would be no thrill in hitting a ball if there were no challenge to it.
 I have always thrived on challenges. Wonder what the next challenge will be?  Will you be ready to hit the ball? Or will you crumble into a pile of jello?


The Good News!

I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love that He knows me personally. I love that He makes a place for me. A place for me to offer my talents. A place for me to help others on this path. A place for me to feel like I am not alone in this dreary world. I love that He loved me with such power that He gave me the greatest gift of all gifts: the gift of eternal life. He suffered all the agony of my sins. It was not trite or small. It is not a cliche. He really did suffer all the things I suffer in the hope that I would learn from my experiences and would not have to suffer the full weight of my sins. I have suffered as we all have, but it has only been because I have been so blinded by the world. The world has such great hold on me. I am swimming in it and trying not to get wet. I try to make my life what I want it to be, but Jesus had a better plan and such great love that He perseveres with me, letting me struggle and kick against the pricks so that I will find His way. Gently driving me. Because His way is so much better. I am a stubborn and willful woman. I think things ought to be the right way, forgetting that things are the way He wills them. I would violate the agency of others with my way, but He will not. Having faith in His plan means that I must have faith that He can save those I love. I must have patience in His timing and let others have their experiences too. I rejected having others tell me how to live, and I found this way of living through God. I could have listened to others and found it, but would I have found it with such a vengeance? I don't think so. Some just need to learn through experience. Maybe all of us do. Can we really have strong and lasting faith if it is only based on what others tell us, if we never experience the pain and agony of trying the wrong path first? Maybe. I don't know. There seems to be not many of that type in today's world.
But He suffered it all, whether we would turn to Him or not. With His great forknowledge did God shorten Jesus' suffering, omitting the sins of those who would not come to Him? I don't think so. The scriptures tell us He suffered for all. What a great act of justice AND mercy. He fulfilled the demands of justice without a guarantee that we would accept it and draw on His mercy.
But not only did He suffer the agony of my personal sins, He also suffered the pain that I inflict on others and that others inflict on me. He suffered all pain! What a wondrous and incomprehensible thing! He suffered that I might not suffer when I am wronged! But how difficult it is for me to let go sometimes. Why does my soul hold onto the pain. Why is letting go so hard? Perhaps it is because I lack the faith necessary to let go. At the moment that I hold on to the hurt I am lacking the faith that God can heal me. I am rejecting the mercy He is offering to me and to the one who offends me; a dangerous situation since He told us that if we could not forgive others and extend mercy, then we were unworthy of forgiveness and mercy ourselves. Yet I cry out against the injustice! I should not be in this situation! I should not have been hurt by that person! The greater sin lies elsewhere! Yet in my cries of justification, I am rejecting the Atonement of God! What peril I am in! If I reject the Atonement for another, I reject it for myself! Even worse, I reject the comfort for those I hurt too! How can I possibly make up for the wrongs I have committed in my life without the Atonement? I cannot. I am utterly and completely impotent to heal another's hurts, especially those I have caused. How to fill the gap? Only through Jesus Christ can that gap be bridged. But I have turned over my biggest hurt to Him. It was a simple decision to make, but one that I must keep committed to. I must not dwell on the offense, or the results. I am not without blame or power to overcome it. Once I rejected the hurt, I began to be free of it. The self-pity was denied entrance into my heart. I no longer let it hold me down. I suddenly had the power to overcome the results. Through faith in Jesus Christ, that wonderful and mysterious power I hold in my own heart, I can overcome anything! What marvelous Good News! What a marvelous Gospel! There is no other like it!


The Finger of Blame

Over the last year I have learned a valuable lesson. This country is screwed up but it isn't because of the politicians. Benjamin Franklin said that when we became corrupt and vicious we would need more masters.

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters." Ben Franklin - April 17, 1787 (

He wrote in a pamphlet about immigrating to America:
"Atheism is unknown there; Infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an Atheist or an Infidel. And the Divine Being seems...pleased to favor the whole country."

We sure have come along way baby. Any hint of this would be met with a fit of protest about how intolerant that is. Yes, the days of the corrupt and vicious are here. Some examples of corrupt and vicious Americans include kids beating each other to death on the way home from school, our obsession with violence in all entertainment sources, overflowing jails, bribed public officials, and corporate accountants, unions paying off politicians so they can get favorable legislation even though it hurts the cause their members are working for (teachers unions!) and citizens declaring bankruptcy on a regular basis. These things have become so common that we assume it happens everywhere.
How have we dealt with this trend? We have passed LAWS (or masters?) against such corrupt and vicious behavior as if we didn't already have laws to deal with it had they been correctly applied. This trend allowed us to fool ourselves that someone else could solve the problems in our own back yards while we sat around feeling smug and faultless.
Yes, American's in general have become very smug. We throw money at every problem we see as if money created magic and solved all problems. And we have plenty of money. Yes, we donate it all over the place and that is a good thing, but not when we feel like we have then done our part and nothing more should be required of us to solve the ills in our communities. How arrogant is that? Our attitude then enslaves us to the solutions of others. We wonder why the problems aren't going away and we begin to blame those we thought would save us. Again, distracting ourselves from the real problems- our own apathy and corrupt, vicious behavior. So we have masters of our own making all in an effort to remove any responsibility or change our pleasurable ways.
Our political problems are not the fault of our politicians, they are OUR OWN FAULT! We elect the jerks. We are the jerks. And we will NEVER solve problems until we can turn the finger of blame back to ourselves and admit to the real problem. Because blame has a great side effect - it allows one to take the power to solve the problems. Only those who take the blame have the power to solve the problems. As long as we are intent on blaming anyone else, we are giving away our power and thus we have many masters in the form of politicians and laws.
IF the day should come that we see ourselves for what we really are, corrupt and vicious, THEN we will have the power to return to virtue as Franklin called it.
When we start loving our neighbors rather than competing with them, when we realize nothing is free unless it is stolen, and when we begin to return to honesty we may be able to recover. I've seen the problem and I am increasing my energies at home so I can have real power -with my kids and the future. Because Benjamin Franklin was RIGHT.


The History of Freedom

I've found the most amazing books about history. I always loved when President Hinckley talked about history and especially the Reformation. I wanted to learn more about the Reformers he mentioned. Well I found a book that does that.
The Story of Liberty (Charles C. Coffin)was written in 1879 and tells the story of how freedom developed from the time of the Magna Carta in 1215, until the time of the pilgrims coming to America. From the perspective of Protestants, this book shows how the people were oppressed by the alliances formed between Catholic Popes and church men and the Kings of Europe. The story of how the Bible was allowed to be accessible to the average person, how those who tried to reform the church were persecuted, how the kings used the church and how the church used the kings are all detailed here. I was fascinated by the idea that God had been working on this project for over 500 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed! How patient he is with us! I was surprised at all the history that I hadn't been taught or even read about in the books I'd found. The subtitle of this book is "so you will comprehend what liberty has cost... and what it is worth" and it definitely lives up to that goal! There has not been a better time to read this book.
I next started reading Winston Churchill's four volume History of the English Speaking People. It starts back further with the Romans coming to Britain and how they affected the people already there. It goes through the history of Kings and ministers and rulers of England, their territorial squabbles, how they rose to power, who they married and why, their mistakes, their endeavors, and their passions. Because England so often interacted with Europe, it is a fairly good history of European countries as well. It tells the history from a political view, but none the less it tells the story of freedom's development for centuries before flowering in America. I am currently on the third volume about The Great Democracies.
Because of the mention of Roman rule in England, I started reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I am not very far into this yet, but already I can tell that I will love it. It's much easier to read than I thought it would be, being written so many years ago.
So many people crammed into these stories tends to make my eyes glaze over, but I figure I can go back and research the people individually later. I'm in it for the history of freedom. My next goal is to read the Old Testament for an understanding of the system of government that the Hebrews used before their Kings. At a seminar in January put on by the Nation Center for Constitutional studies, I learned that the Founders knew this system quite well and worked it's principles into our government. The workbook we received had references to many scriptures in Deuteronomy, so I plan on looking those up and studying them. It should go nicely with my study of all scriptures mentioning liberty, agency or choice. (which is another eye opening experiment)
This is the kind of learning that I absolutely love. It sends my brain on fire!


What Women Want....

Women want security. What does that mean in man speak? Well, I will tell it to you plainly. When a girl or woman feels insecure, she begins to act in unpredictable and odd ways. Unfortunately, the standard for normal behavior has become so perverted among women that even normal women sometimes imitate abnormal behavior thinking it is the way she should behave.
A girl needs to know that her father will protect her, and provide what she needs. She does not need to feel like he will supply her every want, which would make her insecure- not knowing the boundary. When a girl is not needy she will not chase boys at an early age, and will be more confident in her relationships with boys who are her peers. She will be able to spot the jerks because they do not measure up to what her dad has taught her she is worthy of. She will be confident in herself and not need a boy to fill the void left by an inattentive or absent father. She will hold boys to their promises, expecting them to be like her father. Much of this behavior will be unconscious- she will not think "he has to be like my father." This is the best way to start out life for a female. As John Meyer's song goes, "fathers be good to your daughters, daughters will love like you do."
When a woman leaves her home and becomes independent she becomes vulnerable and she knows it. She is a target for predators, scam artists, and at the mercy of the judgments and power of others, both male and female. She is trying to kill her dinner and drag it home- so to speak. While feminists want women to feel empowered when doing this, the truth is she knows this is not ideal. Can she do it? Sure she can. But she knows she has a higher calling. Women who swallow feminism often find this annoying reality offensive, whether they are reacting to their own feelings or the ideas of others. This is why you see feminist kool-aid drinkers who are always angry. They cannot let the issue alone nor can they accept it, so they lash out in all directions. When a woman has a child she becomes even more vulnerable. She is heavily invested in this child and its needs become her needs. Its (in) security becomes her (in)security.
So what is a man to do? He is to earn her trust and keep it. A man, who looks out for a woman's needs, both physically and emotionally, will be trusted. When a woman sees a man put himself aside to serve her or her children she swells with love and security. It is the glue that holds her to her man. She will love him with fierce loyalty and adore him. When she can trust in his loyalty, protection and provision she is able to flourish and reach her God-given potential. She may be a mom, nurse, teacher or administrator, but she will be better at it if she feels secure with her man. When she can count on him she can blossom. I think God meant for this to happen so that his daughters could help him in his work. God created women as partners in His great work and he wants men to protect women so that they may fully perform the calling he has for them.
A woman will not trust a man simply because he wants her to. A woman's full trust and confidence can be very hard to earn and easily wounded. But she can also be generous in forgiving. Often this tendency results in men not taking her need seriously. The saying "it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission" is evidence that someone takes trust too lightly.
If she has any reason to doubt him, she will be held back, trying to protect herself. This is where men get confused. They see strange behavior and think it's just hard to figure out women. Pride will block them from examining the situation honestly. Men who did not have a good role model in a father will be confused. But if they look carefully they will see that there is some insecurity that she is trying to cover up, fulfill her own needs, or she is simply hurt and lashing out. Some girls are hurt early in their lives by their fathers and they are unable to trust a husband, or find it very difficult to trust a man. If she does finally give that trust and it is broken, she may never give it again. Men must be able to evaluate whether the woman is healthy enough for a relationship or he will forever be trying to earn her trust and never able to get it.
Unfortunately, many modern women are fooled into behavior that does not demand this trust from men. Popular culture teaches girls to be promiscuous and they get hurt by such behavior every time. Men learn to expect this from women and eventually they begin to demand it from those who resist, withholding love unless it is first bought by sexual favors. A woman will not trust such a man. This is how women damage themselves and other women. Women who take part in porn or make themselves porn by their dress and behavior are especially damaged and hopeless. In their despair, they do not realize that they are teaching men to abuse them as well as other women.
Women are also conditioned to think that happiness comes outside of the home, and many women are even convinced that if they are not contributing financially to the household that they are oppressed, almost slaves. Such a belief is rooted in insecurity and a misunderstanding of themselves. A woman, who does not trust her man to provide, will be driven to provide for herself. She will seek independence so that she will not be hurt. Many women are finding that this belief is exhausting and unfulfilling, a sort of self imposed slavery. It also attracts selfish males who want to transfer the burden of their role to the woman. He is more like a boy who wants his toys and weekly party night. Such males cannot be trusted and are not mature enough to be considered men.
A woman wants a man who is unselfish, strong, capable, loyal, self disciplined, self sacrificing, loving, worthy of her trust and consistent. In return a healthy woman will discover an intense and fierce love and loyalty to him. A man who has developed these qualities and has gained the trust of his wife will find his woman blossom into something he probably never imagined. And due to modern confusion, I don't think she will expect it either.
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