Friday, August 31, 2012

The Woman Behind The President

It's election season and everyone is getting carried away campaigning for their candidate or choice, or more often and much to my dismay wasting their time and talent trying to convince me that the 'other guy' is a demonic monster set to lead America straight to hell.  I think both Barak Obama and Mitt Romney, the two contending candidates, are decent men with a vision for our country.  And I believe they each sincerely believe in the ideas they present.  That's one reason I'm really struggling to make a choice between them.  And often getting distracted by other things like why, with rare exception, I like the President's wife better than the President.

Ann Romney is the hopeful First Lady for the Presidential term beginning in 2013.  Much is said about her looks, style and aura of glamour but I like her sense of family values most.  I like that she took the path of stay-at-home wife and mother and shows girls today that making the home their main priority can be a desirable choice for intelligent, educated, capable women.

Michelle Obama is the current Mrs. in residence at the White House and wants to live there for another 4 years.  I think the health initiatives she's brought to the forefront are impressive with the commitment to exercise and planting a garden to supply her family with fresh vegetables.  I like how approachable she seems and that she shops at The Gap like us regular people.  I also like that she's obviously in love with her husband and not afraid to show it.

Laura Bush brought a refreshing sense of class and elegance back to the White House.  Trained as a teacher, her focus was on education and literacy.  I love her cookie recipes that still circulate the internet from time to time and I remember that she  used department store makeup during her tenure as First Lady.  She's the best example I can think of for growing older with dignity and grace and relevance.

Hilary Clinton just confounded and confused me.  She had an agenda all her own that was clouded with scandal and greed. I admire her ambition and drive to achieve prominence on her own despite the negative publicity from gifts that appeared inappropriate and the much talked about promiscuities of her husband while he was President.

Barbara Bush always impressed me as fiercely loyal and very pragmatic.  While not beautiful in the same sense as most of our recent First Ladies, she exudes a confidence, friendliness and comfort in her own skin that makes me like her.

Nancy Reagan was just so glamorous and pretty even past retirement age!  The Reagan's came at a time when we needed that shot of Hollywood. I appreciated her devotion to her husband, even to protecting his privacy and image in later years as he suffered through the ravages of Alzheimer's Disease.  Her "Just Say No" campaign against teen drinking and drugs was important and influential to me.

Roslyn Carter was, to me personally, the epitome of a real woman.  She is a humble, soft-spoken and submissive believer - all traits I seek to find within myself.  She's the first First Lady I really remember myself.  I've come to appreciate her dedication to making mental health research and care possible and the amount and scope of charity work the Carter's did following their time in the White House.  I wish I could have met her.

Hiatus Explained

Just in case there's someone out there still following along and actually wondering what happened to me... his name is Derek.

And it's an unconventional love story.  You wouldn't expect the average 'girl meets guy' thing from me, now would you?

He's not at all who I ever imagined I'd fall in love with but I did and now we're planning a wonderful future together.  For me that future means a big move is coming up.  From Utah to the very unexpected state of Georgia.  Go ahead, blink and clear your bleary eyes because you did read that right.  Georgia.  This confirmed Western girl is going Southern.  And yes, I'm a little nervous my laid back and pragmatic ways are going to clash with that famous charm and hospitality.

One of the first questions my surprised friends and family ask is "How did you meet?"  This is the 21st century, so it shouldn't be shocking that we met online.  No, neither of us signed up for a dating service which bases chemistry on a hundred-question compatability quiz (not that there's anything wrong with that!).  We've played an online game together for quite a long time now.  An in-game friendship started to develop about 18 months when we were first team-mates and then it spilled over to the rest of life and finally we decided to explore if there might be a little something more there.

There was.

Then I freaked out.  Big time!  I finally noticed his birthdate on Facebook.  Derek is a lot younger.  I've been out of high school longer than he's been walking the face of the earth.  So, yeah... I'm a 'cougar.'

Now I'm waiting out the process of selling my house and a large portion of the contents while I pack up the things I'll be taking with me.  And Derek and I are making plans for our adventure together, which right now includes new jobs, a big old house, and a Christmas puppy.

And that, folks, is why I've been so absent.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Politics and The Sunday School Lesson

This morning I took the unprecedented, for me, step of giving both presidential and both vice presidential candidates running this year a "Like" on Facebook.  I did that, not because I particularly like any of them, but because I want to see what they have to say for themselves.  Will they address the issues that are important to me like adults or lapse into the childish name calling that has me so frustrated with some of their followers?

Related to my struggle to decide on who to vote for, I had a brief discussion with a friend over this advertisement produced by the Catholic Church.

He had made what was probably intended to be a smart-ass remark about the Catholics burning Freedom and Marriage.  I tossed back an equally sarcastic "Why not?  Everyone else is jumping on that bandwagon."  Then the conversation turned a little more serious and he asked what I meant by that comment.  In large part, this was my reply:
"....we're not free. We keep giving up little bits of our basic freedoms under the guise of 'you wouldn't object if you had nothing to hide.' We get farther and farther from the traditional values that have underpinned the achievements and prosperity of our nation in the name of tolerance and saying the politically correct thing to the currently politically correct minority of the populace. We let people with evil intentions dictate the conditions of our travel and allow government-mandated invasive searches of our bodies to gain the privilege. We (or least I) pay more and more toward education every year so that schools can turn out ever less functionally educated students. We've lost the ability to treat each other with basic civility and let our language degenerate into a continual stream of f%$# this and f#*^ that to grant everyone the right of personal expression. We allow our government and agro-business/corporate farms to offer up poison [for food] and wonder why we are sicker and fatter while we allow them to shut up anyone who objects. We're not free. That's just [an ideal] we aggrandize on the 4th of July with fireworks, parades and backyard BBQs. So why not just toss it all on the fire and be done with it?"

Since it's Sunday, I bet you're wondering how I'm going to tie this back to a spiritual thought...

Our Sunday School lesson today was about possible locations related to military events in the Book of Mormon.  It included one of my favorite scriptural analogies from Alma 43 about Amalickiah tempting Lehonti down off Mt. Antipas.  Three times he tried, and three times he failed, to get Lehonti to meet him at the bottom of the mountain but for his fourth, and finally successful attempt, he came part way up which reduced Lehonti's fear of an ambush enough to agree.  Amalickiah proposed a traitorous plan to capture his own men in exchange for the place of 2nd in command and from that position of trust he slowly and almost imperceptibly poisoned Lehonti to death and gained full control of the army.  Brilliant military strategy!  And an equally brilliant way to convince each of us to give up what we want forever so we can have what we want right now.

In simplest terms, sin is deceit.  And it is easily and conveniently veiled from our conscious notice when it's spun as good the same way that freedom is eventually lost when it's spun as small concessions and labeled as honest, tolerant, safe, creative, or efficient or any number of other desirable sounding adjectives.