Friday, May 18, 2018

Crazy News Stories

Each day, I do a quick check of the news.  Lately, I keep reading the weirdest stories.  You can't make this stuff up.  So I'm going to keep a month long crazy news blip log:
  • Rude French waiter files complaint against employer in Canada after being fired citing "discrimination against my culture" his culture being rude???
  • In Florida, a woman marries a 100 year old tree in hopes of saving it from being cut down
  • Target is settling out of court against a suit accusing them of racial discrimination.  The long and the short is that Target does a background check and rejects applicants for employment with a criminal history.  Because black and Hispanic applicants have more criminal history they are being racially discriminated. 
  • GQ put the Bible on a list of books you don't have to read saying, "Repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish"
  • The EPA is proposing a new rule that would prevent the EPA from using scientific studies where the underlying data is not available to the public. That's because in many of those studies, researchers had confidentiality agreements with their subjects. Meaning the underlying data is not available to the public.  People are in an uproar.  Seems logical to me.
  • "Cry closet" - An actual place at the University of Utah's library for students to release their stress. What happens in the cry closet, stays in the cry closet.  It was a provocative art exhibit that got people all in an uproar.  Do I think colleges should have cry closets, probably not, but do I think if they do, people should get real angry on the internet.  Probably not!
  • Threatening to fine people who cheer at their kids graduation in South Carolina
  • Live animals at prom, namely a tiger, sparked outrage.  How this is any different than a zoo, I have no idea. 
  • "Woman discovers her dog that never barks or eats dog food is actually a fox" What???
  • In an effort to more fully teach a culture of consent, we are supposed to ask a baby if it is okay before we change it's diaper.
Seriously, can't make this stuff up.  People are more outrageous than ever.  Even more public outcry is at an all time high.  What's this all mean?  The world has gone mad! 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Letters To My Children

Dear Kids,

Our world is changing.  It seems crazy the things I hear on the news.  Things that are unexpected and in unexpected places.  And I guess I'm not old enough to go around shouting, "When I was young...."  but that doesn't mean I don't think it sometimes.  So, currently there is a huge movement called Me Too and in a world of hashtags, it is a trending one.  It started with the downfall of Hollywood movie producers, it surfaced in our last Presidential Elections, although no movement had been officially organized yet.  Then today I saw an article referencing the same allegations of sexual assault, commonly the theme in this movement is men in power preying upon women subordinate, within our church - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  And although I realized that our religion is filled with imperfect people acting in imperfect ways, it still crushed me to realize that these predators are smart, they are hidden in plain sight, they are in positions of power everywhere.

Some time ago, I heard Ben Shapiro, conservative political commentator, talking about why this seems to be a pandemic currently and the circumstances that got us here.  He made some comment generally about how if you have to teach your son not to rape someone, you probably already know have bigger problems.  I listened agreeing.  But as this topic surfaces and surfaces, I realized maybe, just maybe, we do need to teach them that very thing.  We need to implicitly say this to not only boys but similar messages to girls. 

So just to cover my bases:  Kids, never rape or abuse someone!  But you know what, just like I parent for best case scenario and try to encourage you with positives instead of negatives, what I actually want you to do is this:
  • "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" - Golden Rule
    • Crazy how this Biblical Concept (Matthew) has been around for a couple millennia and we still aptly need it as much as ever.
Remember that everyone is a child of God.  You will some day be accountable to Him for how you treated his other children in this life.  That day can be a scary reckoning or one of joyful celebration.  Choose the party you want to attend when you stand before God again.  You've got this!  I love you.


Friday, March 16, 2018

Sweet Sixteen Never Looked So Lovely

What's your favorite thing to do?
  • Hang out with friends, mostly because I have a car, so it's easier to do it
What do you want to be when you grow up? 
  • Executive of Humanitarian Relations at an International Company
What is your favorite food?
  • I don't know, I eat a lot of new stuff now, so I don't have a favorite food
Who do you like to hang out with?
  • Ana Sofia, Shannon, Caitlain
What do you do really well? 
  • Procrastinate and pull off decent grades
What makes you laugh?
  • Portugal, the man - Feel it Still (the laughing part of that song) I just think of when they recorded it and what must it have been like
What is the best time of day?
  • Morning, like 15 to 30 minutes after I wake up
What are you afraid of?
  • How stressed I'll be next year
What do you like to do with your family?
  • Cuddle, one on one time
What do you like to learn about?
  • Different Languages and people's views on different social and political aspects of life
Where do you like to go?
  • Everywhere, I have a list of places I want to visit
What is your favorite book?
  • Little Women
If you could have one wish, what would it be?
  • Infinite Wishes, but if not that...that I could be happy all the time, but not all the time, because then I wouldn't know what happy is, so a happy life, happy about my overall decisions

Monday, January 29, 2018

Wyatt's Birthday Update

What's your favorite thing to do?
Read, Play video games, yeah that's about it.

What do you want to be when you grow up? 
A Lawyer

What is your favorite food?

Who do you like to hang out with?
DJ, Issac, Josh, and Ethan

What do you do really well? 
Read, {after a threat to write something ridiculous he conceded} Viola

What makes you laugh?
Jokes, Funny Jokes, and they have to be funny.  They can't be bad puns.

What is the best time of day?
Midnight, because I'm sleeping.

What are you afraid of?
Death, Heights, and that's about it.

What do you like to do with your family?
Listen to Harry Potter in the car, watch Netflix!

What do you like to learn about?
Science and Math and Reading

Where do you like to go?
My room, in front of the computer

What is your favorite book? Stormlight Archives - Brandon Sanderson

If you could have one wish, what would it be?
I can't really think of anything so 3 more wishes.  When forced:  I wish to be really, really, really, good at anything I do.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The New Me

So the other day my kids informed me that this past year I have been more laid back, "Way more chill."  They couldn't emphasize it enough.  Apparently since moving to Texas, I'm more like my husband.  We eliminated about 20 activities since moving here, and as part of my New Year's Resolutions, I am focusing on spending more uninterrupted time with the kids.

The move allowed me enough time and perspective to evaluate the direction of my life, to realize that our oldest will leave for college in less than 3 years, and I can't get this time back.   So meet the new Mary - super chill!

And can we just focus on the fact that our family has lived in Texas for 6 months now!!!  What?!?!?

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year

Greetings family and friends and future posterity,

I am filled with happiness, hope, and a sense of purpose and resolve.  I love the new year and the excitement that comes with everyone's resolutions, mine included.  The energy becomes palpable and I remember what an optimist I am, as I wait hoping for everyone to be a raging success in their goals and objectives for the year. 

I love reflecting upon the year that has finished and find myself more quiet and introverted.  If you don't know me well this tends to worry people.  Those who have been around a little longer recognize that my ambivert tendencies are at play and try to allay the fears of those concerned.  And eventually as I find answers and patterns and conclusions about the past year, I start to stare forward and try to determine what the new year should look like and what I should fill my time and energy with.  Broadly it is always the will and work of the Lord, but how those specifics look change with each year, although for the past three years I have been chasing the same character trait.  To some extent this year I finally gained enough ground to move on, build upon it and continue to grow in character and temperament.  I love this time of year, because it may be the slowest time of year for me outwardly, but I am mentally strategizing and planning my progress. 

Then returns the Mary in motion.  I viciously pursue the things that I have spent time considering upon - more heartfelt prayers on behalf of others and a spiritual journal.  I push myself and those around me to be the best versions of themselves.  I feel all the hope and joy of new beginnings.  And I hope those around me feel the energy and hopefulness too.  So what does 2018 look like for the Whitings...BUSY.  This past year was the same, but it all was overwhelmed with a move to Texas.  This upcoming year we are hoping to be active with more family time, one on one time with the kids, more camping, more returning to the essentials.  My kids are fast growing.  And I selfishly as well as spiritually think I can offer them nothing more important than my time, knowledge, and love.  Only time will tell what I've done right and wrong, but there is a quiet kind of confidence that comes as I rely to the Lord to lead and guide my way.

With all of the unexpected changes of the last year, I wait anxiously and excitedly to see what the new year will bring.  Best of luck.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Merry Christmas ~the Whitings

So here it is:

And here is the template:

Now imagine some font saying "Merry Christmas" and ~ the Whitings
Can you see it:  Gorgeous - huh!?!?!

It's better for your imagination anyway.
As for the letter, I think I can manage that.
As my mom liked to point out in my childhood, "You started talking in full sentences before 18 months and haven't stopped since."

Dear Friends and Family,

Merry Christmas from your family.  We love this time of year, we love the season, we love the giving, the service, the presents, the excitement, the surprise snow here in Texas.  We love the reprieve from school, the late nights, the extra cuddles and the enormous amounts of special holiday goodies that we gorge on for two weeks straight.  We love the big meal and the leftovers for days.  Needless to say, but I'll do it anyway, we are over the moon, beyond excited for the upcoming holiday.  We hope your family is too. 

Our family moved this year and so everything is different and sure there have been adjustments to be made, changes galore, and some frustrations, heartache, and sadness.  It has been far harder than I ever imagined when the revelation from God originally came to me.  Somehow I naively thought, because of such strong spiritual guidance that it would be filled with rainbows, butterflies, unicorns and magical goodness from beginning to end.  I felt like we would know exactly why we were being sent here once we got here and that he was just waiting to pour out his blessings upon us for being so obedient.  And to be sure, we have seen blessings galore.  Well I have anyway, depending on the day, my kids may say differently.  That being said, some things have been easier than I could have ever imagined.  Some things have felt quite provident.  We are getting glimpses of the bigger picture and are moving forward with optimism when possible and robotic discipline and a refusal to think about it when things aren't going so well.  So what does it look like currently:

Travis - As always is boss.  He is the most steadying influence and my rock.  His quiet consistency makes possible my every goodness.  I need him increasingly to be my best self.  He has shut down our businesses in PA and WY, for the most part, and is making a go at working and living in the same state.  He is gainfully employed currently and that is going well as it tends to when you have a steady, reliable income with benefits and all the good stuff that makes life easier in some ways.  He is active in our youth program at church and slaying Scouts as he tends to do wherever we are.  He is the man who is able to do all things, and be all things to all people.  I wonder if he ever gets tired of it.  No real signs yet.  Wait for next year's card and letter to see if he ever will break.  Let's hope not!

Mary - She is largely the same, maybe a bit haggard around the edges as she tries to keep it increasingly all together with all the chaos and changes.  For the most part, I think people still see me as this happy, Energizer Bunny of helpfulness.  It makes me happy, it pleases the Lord so I think I will stick with that recipe for life.  Every now again, I have to reign myself in as the very intensity of who I am can scare people or be a bit off putting, but I am learning balance and hopefully getting to be a bit better version of myself with each passing year.

Isabella - This girl is a rock star.  She is a lady boss and quite a force to be reckoned with.  She is still doing sports and school and music and starting an online bakery and any other ideas that pop into her beautiful, high functioning brain.  For the most part she is great at managing herself, time, and abilities with minimal direction and redirection from us.  It makes me think that she'll be ready to leave me and live on her own in less than three years.  {insert midlife crisis and tears here}  Boys have entered her radar this year.  And though I wouldn't say she is boy crazy, it's an interesting change that's amusing to watch.  She is accepting any and all boy applications for her upcoming birthday and ability to date and her new found desire to kiss.  Hot boys with great personalities start lining up. {insert her mortification here}

Wyatt - Having transitioned to our new life the best, Wyatt continues to steady on in a way that is very similar to his dad.  This new school has no sports at the middle school that he played in PA, so he has a lot of free time.  I'm looking to fill some of it with a hobby or something.  Suggestions welcome.  The newest and biggest change has been the introduction of testosterone to his teenage body.  This has turned our mostly mellow son into a rage machine at times, who seems capable of possibly hurting someone - most likely a sibling.  Not a change I treasure, but a necessary part of living I suppose.  He is part boy and man and I am clinging to every sign of childhood as I think it is almost a sign of the past.  This man-child will be the best husband someday, but he would be mortified if I went into the details of his tender care of his mom and women in general, so I'll leave it for now.

Issac - My precious, happy boy.  This move has rocked his previously perfect life.  Where Wyatt has blossomed, Issac has lost a bit of himself.  Many tears have been shed on his part and mine as he struggles to find his way and place.  And where I want to protect and save him, shelter him from every pain, I am actively looking to let him grow and develop on his own, but with all the strength and support I can give him.  He turned 12 and got the Aaronic Priesthood.  He couldn't be happier.  This boy's testimony of God has increased exponentially through these experiences and I see him trying to develop a relationship all his own with God.  So though painful to watch at times, I see where this is going and I have a great hope that he will come though the other side better honed to accomplish his purposes in life.

Kody - He is in his last year of elementary school for the second year in a row due to the move.  Selfishly, I want him to stay small as I am not ready to concede my kid years are over and I have a house full of tweens and teens.  This boy amazes and surprises me.  He keeps me on my toes.  He fills my life with snuggles and affection.  He fills our home with sassy, spiritedness.  He has a great ability to be thoughtful and perceptive.  There are a million things that confirm for me that he is a little old man trapped in this kids body.  He is an old soul for sure.  He knows who he is, where he comes from, where he is hoping to return to, and has all of life's major challenges figured out.  Now it's just the details, a time to sit back and watch the journey and mitigate any collateral damage as a result of his impish ways.

Truly, we hope you are doing well.  We are thinking of so many of you all of the time.  If nothing else, I think it is safe to say that our family loves people.  We value the intrinsic part of humanity that makes us each different, fascinating, and wonderful.  We hope you feel our love whether near or far.  We hope you feel comfort when you are sad, peace when you are conflicted, and that if every you need anything we are a call, text, IM, plane ride or car ride away. 

~the Whitings