Wednesday, July 23, 2008

There's a roller coaster near our house!

And bumper boats, and flying airplanes, and go carts, etc. etc. Liberty Land in Lehi, Utah, recently opened its gates. This has been a much-anticipated time for our family. For months, the kids have watched as a miniature Mt. Rushmore has risen on a fake mountain alongside the interstate. Going through the mountain you could see roller coaster rails. Well, it opened, and we checked it out. There weren't very many people there, so we had a lot of area to ourselves, and Cheyenne took full advantage of it. Nothing makes her grin from ear to ear more than high speed. I couldn't capture her face on the coaster, but I got a good look here and it still communicates her sentiments. Overall, I'd say it was okay. They still have lots of it under construction, and it's generally geared toward the "under 12" crowd, but I can guarantee you we'll be back -- if only to ride the coaster again, and again, and again, and again........

Editor Note: I've tried for two days to post this and add a picture. Blogger must be having issues. Enjoy the note now and I'll try again later with the pictures.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What I learned last night

I know in the past I've blogged about silly little things I've learned during a day, but this one is serious. Last night I was up late sorting through old files so I can get rid of unnecessary papers. At first I had David Letterman on, but it wasn't resonating with me so I decided to switch to Nightline to see what they were talking about. I was instantly sucked in as I watched a very disturbing report on slavery and human trafficking. I had no idea. It was unbelievably sobering. At the end of the report, they remarked that emancipation organizations estimate there are more than 27 million slaves in the world today - the largest number ever in human history. I was shocked. Today, I've spent some time reading and researching about some of the programs out there that are targeting the problem. As with so many social ills, the roots lie in poverty, lack of education, and human greed. Therefore, the solutions lie in education, economic development, and love. ABC's website had a story of an 82-year old grandma who spends half her time in Nepal working to free slaves by providing families with an animal to raise and sell for profit along with money for their daughters to attend school so they don't feel tempted to sell the daughters to make money and feed the others. It's a solution that costs around $75 a year and is working. Wow!

And so, I know I have a small audience of blog readers who may be as ignorant as I. I would encourage you to go out and read a little also just to be aware. Today I feel a lot more grateful and a lot more responsible to help create change. If you want some places to start, go to to read the Nightline report. Then you can also go to or to see what organizations are doing. Lastly, you can go to to buy goods produced by survivors of slavery who are trying to overcome its effects.

I know most of my readers well enough to know the high level of charitable service you already provide in the way of service hours, goods, and monetary donations. I raise this topic simply to raise awareness of another social problem. I know we can't solve all the problems, but being aware they exist has to be a start. Thanks for being the kind of people you are and for helping to make my life one of comfort and peace.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sometimes life is too busy to blog

For the past 2-3 weeks, I've been thinking in "blog terms." That is, every day things happen and I think to myself, "This is how I'll write about this on my blog." Well, by the time I finish my day and fall into bed, the blogging just doesn't always happen. And so I find myself needing to enter some brief little entries just to show my life hasn't stopped, just my writing about it. Bear with me and maybe my life will slow again to a bloggable pace.

June 21, 2008 - We attended a fun Western Show and Dinner at Showtime Utah in Pleasant Grove. It was a fun dutch oven dinner highlighted by a performance by a western band. And lest you be turned off by "western" band, I'll say they augmented the western music with everything from "Summertime" to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." Cheyenne and her pink cowgirl boots loved it!

June 26, 2008 - We celebrated Zebra's 27th birthday! Cheyenne informed us days before that Zebra was turning 27 (in zebra years) and we needed to celebrate. First, Cheyenne and I took Zebra for a pool party in the afternoon. I haven't been to a public pool in a long time thanks to loving sisters with pools. (I love my sisters more now. I love them a lot. It frightens me that I know the word "cryptosporidium.") Anyway, Zebra sat in the pool bag and watched us play in the pool. When we came home, her other friends and Dale joined us for cake and ice cream. Cheyenne tells me that Kitty's birthday was on the 28th, but it got trumped by a wedding!

June 28, 2008 - My sweet mother-in-law married again. My father-in-law passed away seven years ago, and now she has married a kind widower from the local community where she lives. We like him a lot and we're so happy they have found companionship in each other. Cheyenne just loves that she has someone else to call Grandpa 'cause she loves grandpas! The wedding and reception were in her backyard, and it was beautiful. I just learned that her new husband eloped (though his parents knew) for his first marriage, so this was a fun thing for him to have a full-blown wedding. He got to feed his wife cake with people watching! I feel a little like I married off my daughter as we went through the whole process with invitations, sprucing up the yard, making the cake, serving the food, etc. It was all so beautiful. I send loads of thanks to everyone who helped - my family was awesome! And I share a couple of pictures to capture the moment.

June 30, 2008 - I do Scout Camp laundry. Daniel returned home from six days at Scout Camp just a couple of hours before the wedding. My nephews picked him up and brought him to the wedding while his clothes fermented a little longer at home. Two days later, I was back home and ready to do laundry. For any of you who've never sent a boy to camp, it's hard to describe the level of dirt. Even the pictures I took of his clothes didn't quite capture the moment, so I took this picture of the wash water while I washed his "white" clothes. They were white when they left -- and after three times through the wash water looking like this picture, they were mostly white when they came out. I consider it a sign of the level of good time that he had. My favorite, though, was his really dirty pajama shirt. It was almost as dirty as his scout shirt. I want to know what was going on in that sleeping bag at night, but then again, I don't!