Sunday, December 17, 2006

The love of a child

When I was 15, I wrote an essay called "The Desire to Bear"...

In that essay, I analyzed what I thought were the reasons why I felt like I had a strong desire to be a father so early in life. Later in life, in a church talk (I think it was on mothers), I talked about a memory I had when I had just starting understanding how life works--how people are born, grow up, and have babies of their own. I understood that each baby had a mommy and a daddy. Girls grew up to be mommies and boys grew up to be daddies. Since I was a boy, I would grow up to be a daddy. This line of thought made sense. But there was a problem. Being an honest, innocent child, I had no problem in admitting that I "loved" my mommy more than my daddy. This caused great alarm to my simple mind, as I came to understand that my children would never love me as much as they would their mommy.

I have since grown up, done many things, married, and now have two children. I now understand that my understanding of "love" as a child more similarly resembled "like". At least, that is my hope. A common occurence in our home is wanting to go from daddy to mommy, referring to mommy as the boss, or not believing something that daddy says until mommy confirms it.

However, I had a bit of a treat today, as Kiya, our 8-month old, seemed to have occassional fits of wanting her daddy. It was rather strange, but very welcomed. There is something about a baby clinging to you. I soak up such moments, fully realizing that someday I may be lucky to get her even to want to talk to me.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Salsa Night has moved to the new version of Blogger

Which I believe means that you need a google account to continue to post. When I made the switch, I didn't know that everyone would have to individually switch to the new blogger (which uses your gmail account). If you don't have a gmail account, Jenny or I could send you an invite.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Have you ever suddenly realized how very very different you are from someone you love? I had that realization this last Sunday, during Sacrament Meeting.

I love my husband very very much. We have a lot in common: we met in the Electrical & Computer Engineering department at BYU, we graduated from high school in '97, we love cheese, we both entered high school math competitions, we took math for fun, we like Fourier analysis...

But on Sunday we spoke in sacrament meeting. We spoke together once before, during our first year of marriage - that was only a 7 minute talk because our ward had 4 speakers and a choir number. This week it was us - all us - no youth speaker (there are only about 8 youth in our ward, so they don't make them speak every other month).

We had been asked to talk about the Old Testament since we've been reading it together in our family scripture study at home. I travelled to Philadelphia for work last week, so I had had some time to think about my talk. When I came home, I spent several hours choosing scriptures, quotes and stories. Saturday night, after a full day's work and a ward Christmas party, I sat down and basically wrote out my talk. I know it's better to speak from outlines, but when I do that, the sentences don't make sense. Brain disconnect somewhere. I read my talk to Dan, and he timed me to let me know how I was doing. I asked him how he was doing, and he said he had some scriptures looked up.

Some scriptures looked up! Gee whiz! I was now more stressed for Dan than for myself. After all, he's not really interested in going to ward functions, dinner at a friend's house, or even chatting after church for a couple minutes. And he has to talk for 20 minutes and has only a few scriptures! I mean, I know he served a mission and had to talk all the time, but seriously, I was worried.

Or should I say I was foolishly worried. I gave my talk, made connections between the Old Testament & food storage, shared my favorite OT scripture (Psalm 100, especially verse 1), bore my testimony, and sat down. I felt momentarily relieved, but as I listened to the choir my nerves came up again.

Then Dan took the stage. Really. He was so awesome. I am so proud. He started off with a joke, and then launched into what worth he has found in the Old Testament, with tons of scripture comparisons and personal insight. I mean, he admitted he thought Psalms were basically hymns until he realized that it was the 2nd most quoted book of the OT (Isaiah being first) in the New Testament. At least, I think that's the right fact. He also showed how many of the "kinder" commandments were also in the OT - like loving thy neighbor as thyself - you know, the 2nd greatest commandment? He is really interested in how the Old Testament shows up in later scripture, and his enthusiasm was in the talk. After 20 minutes he had to stop - his time was up, but not his information.

After sacrament meeting, tons of people came up and I got the "great job" and Dan got the "really impressed - fascinating - I never knew that - I loved it" remarks. I couldn't be prouder. Hopefully the bishopric will remember that next time and maybe even not ask me to talk. :)

And I can't help but laugh at how different we are - I read stories, which is good, but Dan really tries to see the scriptures in relation to each other. At least I have eternity to learn.


Friday, December 01, 2006

The doctor is in. 5 cents please.

Katie and I watched the Charlie Brown Christmas Special a few nights ago and I realized that Charlie Brown reminds me of me.

At the beginning of the show, Charlie Brown is kind of lamenting the fact that he doesn’t feel the “Christmas Spirit”. He doesn’t receive Christmas cards, his dog has “gone commercial” by participating in a Christmas lights decorating contest for money, his sister wants Santa to bring her cash, and he, as always, doesn’t feel like he has any friends in general. In fact, he laments the fact that this time of year where everyone is happy emphasizes his unhappiness. In other words, he feels like Christmas is mocking him.
I often feel similarly about Christmas. I have many complaints about Christmastime in America. I will briefly explain each one in turn, hopefully I can keep myself from ranting too much.

1. “Christmas Songs” about snow and winter (rather than Christmas).
2. Commercialism, for lack of a better word. I saw a Wal-Mart advertisement last year that showed an obviously wealthy family opening up laptops and other expensive electronic luxuries on Christmas morning with soft Christmas music playing in the background. They were trying to associate luxuries with family time and Christmas. It made me ill.
3. The idea that Christmastime is a special time of year where we pay attention to people in need. The part of this that is never said but often implied, perhaps unintentionally, is that we don’t care about anyone else come January. Also, the idea that Christmas time is a special time where we contemplate the importance and divinity of Christ’s birth.
4. The tendency for the value of tradition to trump the value of anything else (logic, civility, etc.). Many years in my family there was an argument about whether we were supposed to get dressed out of our pajamas before we opened presents or not. Those on both sides of the argument would often cite tradition (“That’s how we always do it.”) as if that settled it.

I guess that list will do for now. In short, the way that most other people celebrate Christmas bothers me. This is nothing new – at least some of the above are things that have bothered me for many years.
Two years ago, when we were living in Colorado, I mentioned my Charlie Brownish problem with the Christmas season to my Home Teacher, who was a middle aged man with sons older that I am. He listened and then told me that it shouldn’t keep me from really celebrating Christmas. He suggested that I should actively celebrate the Christmas season in the way I think it ought to be celebrated and let that suffice.
After he left, I realized how very right he was. I could complain all day long about the actions of other people during this or any other time of year and it wouldn’t do anybody any good, least of all me. Since then I have been trying, with at least slightly noticeable success, to be more cheery and try to celebrate Christmas in such a way as to not offend myself.