Archive for July, 2009

Linkage and lovage

The computer and I are not on speaking terms these days. I’m not sure why, but lately, I hardly go near the computer. I suppose I’m consumed by other projects right now. I sincerely apologize that I haven’t been the most faithful blog reader lately. I will be back, I promise!

In the meantime, I wanted to share a few links to some posts that have really been thought-provoking and helpful.

The first three posts were written by Christina at http://handsfullmom.blogspot.com
I met Christina several years ago when I started teaching Special Needs Seminary in Provo. We developed a nice friendship which grew when she had her daughter and then I had my son. We used to walk to the library every Friday for storytime for the babies. Those walks and talks cemented a very special friendship. Christina is someone I admire very much and love. She is wise, spiritual, funny and upbeat. She has written some of the best and practical posts about raising a large family. She’s been answering questions from readers about having a large family. I’ve really enjoyed her answers. Here are three posts she’s written in response to questions asked.



The last link I want to share with you comes from Luisa Perkins’ blog, Kashkawan. Luisa is a friend from my ward. We are currently serving in the Primary Presidency together. She gave this talk a few Sundays ago. It really caused me to think about my life and where I want it to go and what I want to change. I find Luisa a pretty amazing person, not to mention a great friend. I’m secretly in awe of her, she is a gifted writer. And a published one! She wrote the book, Shannon’s Mirror, a novel about a teenage girl grappling with anorexia. It is different from most novels one reads about anorexia in that it looks at the process from a spiritual one. It is a deeply moving story. Anyhow, Luisa continues to write diligently and I’m sure its just a matter of time before her name graces the cover of yet another novel, perhaps in the Fantasy or science fiction genre.
I hope you enjoy her post as much as I did.



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The last two weeks have been filled with wonderful adventures. Our family enjoyed nearly every minute of our 5-day trip to Philadelphia and Washington D.C. The things we learned were amazing. This past week we had a crazy travel itinerary where we traveled to Niagara Falls and then went to Palmyra for the day. However, the best journey of all took place yesterday, when my son was baptized. It was a beautiful day and I’ll treasure those memories forever. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to post about those things soon.

In the  meantime, what are some of your favorite journeys you’ve taken?

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I think I am about to commit a crime against some unwritten rule in our society.  But I wasn’t that impressed with my visit to the U.S. Holocaust Museum. My reaction to the museum has really puzzled me, hence the post. I’m trying to figure out why it didn’t move me the way I expected it would.

The museum itself sets out to give you a broad, linear and encompassing view of the Holocaust. As such, the displays, information and artifacts are interesting. The first film I watched in the museum did a good job of explaining how Hitler came to power in Germany. I learned a few things that I didn’t know before and appreciated the addition to my understanding and knowledge of the holocaust.

But overall, I did have some problems with the museum. First, the museum is hugely popular with tourists. This makes for crowded exhibition hallways, people trying to fight for space and time to read the commentary and information. I found the flow or rather the lack of it, frustrating as I was trying to gain a deeper understanding of the material. If visitors are really to gain insight on the holocaust and hopefully, the desire to prevent such atrocities, people need time and space to read all the information presented. The museum attempts to improve the flow with timed tickets, but I didn’t feel that they were as effective as I wished.

I also disliked the almost clinical detachment to the subject matter. Yes, we were given identity cards of individuals who suffered through the holocaust, but they weren’t as meaningful and as poignant as I hoped. One reason I find the holocaust so horrifying is those personal connections to individuals whose lives were taken like Anne Frank or Corrie Ten Boom. It makes the scope of the tragedy more important. Of course, as a sensitive person, the sheer numbers of holocaust are staggering and awful. But I think knowing intimately about the individuals makes the Holocaust more real and terrifying.

I suppose I have inundated myself with literature, films, and history about the holocaust. I had already seen many of the photographs featured in the museum. I have a pretty solid understanding of how the war and the holocaust unfolded.

I was much more deeply affected by Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam and the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany than by the museum. Though, to be fair, many Americans do not have access to either place and so the museum gives them a good opportunity to “witness” the horrors of the holocaust. Also, many people lack a lot of the knowledge of the holocaust. The museum certainly presents a lot of information that can be valuable and helpful.

Bottom line: I wish that I hadn’t visited the museum, but had gone to the Natural History museum with my kids instead.

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Wimpy, I tell ya!

Eighteen months of stateside living has turned me into a non-pedestrian. And oh, the sorrow! At the conclusion of our five-day trip to Philadelphia and Washington D.C., our entire family decided that we are all desperately out of shape. Living in Sweden toned our leg muscles to an extent that we have not appreciated.

Our trip was great. We all learned a lot and came to appreciate the beginnings of our country much better.

My favorites:

Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Federation and the Constitution were created and signed

World War II monument

The National Air and Space Museum

Washington  D.C. Temple

Water misters at the National Zoo–nothing like a cool water mist while sweltering in the hot sun

Successful travel tips:

Hat-tip to Christina at www.handsfullmom.blogspot.com who suggested putting a full outfit into a ziploc bag. This was an awesome idea, saving us tons of time and space.

Seriously, book tickets online if at all possible. This saved us so much time waiting and wasting time in line. You should have seen the glares of the people in the line for Independence Hall as I waltzed to the front, collected my tickets and then went on my merry way. All I can say is “do your homework people!”

Planning on meals at certain places and certain times saved us from hungry children meltdowns-not to mention meltdowns of a certain pregnant mother.

Taking the metro is the best way to go! Getting around the city by walking and public transportation saved us a bundle.

IHOP offers kids eat free from 4-10 p.m. The only catch is that you need a paying adult to each child. The kids loved eating pancakes and omelets for dinner.

I used some great library books written for kids about the sites we were going to visit to prepare them for the trip. As a result, the kids were much more interested in what they saw and made very meaningful connections to the history. When we saw the Liberty Bell, we skipped over the exhibits and went right to the bell. The kids had read stories about the bell and already had solid background knowledge about it. That saved us time and helped us avoid the ridiculous crowds in the building.

I bought each child a neck key chain and hooked a small spiral notebook and a pencil case to it. The kids were able to record their thoughts while at the museums and memorials. I was surprised how much they used the notebooks.

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