Month: April 2012

Bully / It Gets Better

This may be the post I am the most proud of. I hope it comes across the way I intend.  I hope it inspires someone.

Today for Family Home Evening I decided to see the controversial documentary Bully.   This has been something I’ve been a bit anxious for but knew I needed to do because of my own experience being bullied.  The odd part about the movie is I wasn’t that emotional while watching but then as soon as I got in my car I started to bawl. I felt all emotions of anger, frustration, despair and a little bit of hope.

Some have criticized the movie because it doesn’t go into the mindset of the bullies themselves.  My response is that every story cannot tell every story.  This is a movie about the victims and how futile the school system is in helping deal with these problems.  Granted their task is daunting but the attitude of ‘kids will be kids’ is far too present.

There is one scene in the movie where a principal actually forces a little boy to shake hands with his tormentor (a valid concept until you find out this has happened again and again with the bully feigning an apology each time).

The victim has the courage to not shake hands and the teacher says

“You’re just like him”.

The boy says “Except I don’t hurt people”.

Can you imagine if we expected such things of adults? Do we expect rape victims to shake hands with their accusers and if they don’t are they ‘just like him.”?  It made me so mad I wanted to throw something at the screen.  I actually said ‘unbelievable’ out loud and then 2 girls in the theater looked at me.

One of my favorite moments was the Mom of a boy named Alex meeting with a principal that despite proof of abuse on a bus claimed ‘I’ve ridden that bus and they are good as gold’.  The Mother says ‘When I was a child that bus would have been pulled over until the bad behavior stopped’.  That’s what we have lost.  Now I’m not advocating physical discipline for children but to pretend like adults have to sway over the behavior of children is just wrong.

Children should be safe and protected at home and school- in fact sometimes they need to be safer at school than in some homes.  I know in my case little was done to stop bullying that lasted for nearly 2 years despite repeated requests from my parents.

It is a complicated problem but a couple things I suggest:

1.  CHANGE SCHOOLS– My parents changing schools literally changed my life.  I was fortunate enough to be able to go to private school and then my family moved but there are always other options.  There are charter schools, online schools, homeschool, tutors, whatever.  Anything is better than someone being a in situation where they are tormented.  Its like sending an abused women into a closed building with their abuser 8 hours a day.  Be open-minded, pray for direction and you will find something else that works.

2. Teach your children about differences and expose them to a variety of people.  Talk to them about bullying and what they can do if they see someone who is being treated unkindly or most importantly being ignored.  Teach them to look for people that seem a little different and try to befriend them.  When they don’t like someone try to discuss what it is and how if possible they can learn to love that person.  I’m not saying they have to be friends with everyone, that isn’t realistic but each kid that tries is one less bully.

One of the Mom’s who lost her son to a bullying related suicide said ‘He cried and then it got to the point where he didn’t cry and then it became difficult to know what’s going on’.  Watch for those early tears…

3. Find something your child is good at and nourish that skill.  Everyone is good at something (or at least enjoys something) and usually you can find someone else who shares that interest.

4. Make sure your children have one person in their life who is an uncompromising cheerleader.  Parents have to discipline their children and say things they may not like but I was immeasurably benefited by several people who loved me unfailingly including my Grandpa Richards and my young women’s leader Sister Potter.  They never gave me ‘constructive criticism’.  I was always beautiful and perfect.  Everyone needs that kind of cheerleader.  Whether its a boys or girls club or a mentor look for that for your children.

5.  Speak out about your history being bullied.  Each of us that speaks adds another voice to the world, one more voice that says ‘It gets better’.  ‘It will be OK’.  ‘Don’t give up’. ‘God loves you’.

6. This is just my opinion but I think rough housing and mean joking should be avoided.  A lot of the bullying in the movie starts out as rough housing and honestly may be viewed by the bullies as just fun but it turns so fast.  One of the kids in the movie has a sister that teases him a little bit. At one point she says ‘LOSER spells Alex’.  Things like this are not helpful and should be disciplined when possible.  Again, I’m not a Mom so its just my opinion as an observer.

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2011/04/23/memories/

Here’s my voice:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 

(Just to be clear when I talk about my accomplishments its not to brag but just to say ‘you can do whatever you want in your life’)

Classic Disney

I have always been a huge Disney fan. I love Disneyland and eagerly look forward to new animated films each year. My favorite movie is almost always animated with Tangled being in my top 5 movies of the last several years.  I love the music, artistry and characters we get in any Disney film.  As a child my favorite movies were The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.

Recently I have been getting classic Disney films on netflix and watching them in order of release date.  It is a fascinating exercise.  I just finished Bambi and one of the things that stuck out to me is how dark the films all are.  All of them have near-deaths or deaths and are painted with a somewhat somber tone.  This is interesting because you would think the last thing audiences in the 30s would want is a sad picture?   Perhaps there was something cathartic about going to the cinema and seeing animated characters persevere through tough times?

For example, Pinocchio, Dumbo and Bambi are basically all about orphans.  There is also a very clear distinction between right and wrong.  In Pinocchio you are either lying or telling the truth, no in-between half nose growth!  In Bambi there is the menace of mankind that is always bad.  There are no friendly humans.  There is just evil and good, and the evil destroys the family.  Interesting.

Snow White is perhaps the most commercial of the early pieces but it still has some unusual touches.  Just as Pinocchio, Dumbo and Bambi are all abandoned by their mothers, Snow White is left with no mother but one that wishes to kill her. I wonder if this is saying the people in the 30’s felt an extra need for the comfort of a mother’s nurturing, that somehow there was a void of this type of nurturing in darkness of the Great Depression?  Perhaps there were groups who wished they could fall asleep until true love saved them.  I can see how that would be a very appealing notion.

Also the dwarfs with their hard working, mining, singing ‘hi, ho’ must have been easy for a depression-era audience to relate to.  The idea of ‘whistle while you work’, a terrific notion for those that often did not have work.

Its fascinating that Disney did not produce another princess movie after Snow White until Cinderella in 1950.  Instead they proceeded to release one artistic, risky venture after another, with none of them having the same easy schtick as a Dopey or Doc in Snow White.  (They did not learn that lesson in the 90s with the ever wearisome sidekicks that muddled pictures like Pocahontas).  From all I can tell Walt Disney was a true artist as well as an entrepreneur and was not satisfied to make mere money but wanted beauty also.

Dumbo is particularly interesting especially when you consider it was released the week of Pearl Harbor.  As a modern viewer it feels very sad but it was looked at as the time as a hopeful piece. The New York Times described it as the “most genial, the most endearing, the most completely precious cartoon feature film ever to emerge from the magical brushes of Walt Disney’s wonder-working artists!”.  Strange how the tone in pieces can change when it is viewed in different eras?

I think Dumbo was hopeful because it was about someone facing insurmountable odds and becoming a star.  It is a very simple story and not much happens but someone who is different finds acceptance and success. The speech by Timothy Q Mouse to the crows must have been especially moving to a nation at war, facing a bully.   Its like Disney was talking directly to the Pearl Harbor bombers and Hitler in Europe.

“You all oughta be ashamed of yourselves. A bunch of big guys like you, pickin’ on a poor little orphan like him. Suppose you was torn away from your mother when you was just a baby. Nobody to tuck you in at nights. No warm, soft, caressin’ trunk to snuggle inta. How would you like being left out alone, in a cold, cruel, heartless woild? And why? I ask ya, why? Just because he’s got those big ears, they call him a freak. The laughing stock of the coicus. And when his mother tried to protect him, they threw her into the clink. And on top of that, they made him a clown! Socially he’s washed up! Aw, but what’s the use of talkin’ to you cold-hearted boids? Go ahead! Have your fun! Laugh at him! Kick him now that he’s down! Go on! We don’t care.”

Dumbo, like  other early films, is an artistic achievement.   Painted on watercolors it has a surrealist quality that is not found in any other Disney film.  Bambi is gorgeous using layered backgrounds and the most realistic animals that had ever been drawn (look at the difference between Snow White in 37 and Bambi and 42 and the animals are quite astounding).  Both Bambi and especially Fantasia were light on dialogue and heavy on music but as visual paintings they work.  In Fantasia they create whole ballets to classic music.

As a child I grew frustrated with Fantasia because of its lack of plot but as an adult I can appreciate it as the work of art it was intended to be.  It is remarkable to think that enough kids were interested in classical music to even justify beginning such a project.  You could never get a new movie like that made today (I know there is Fantasia 2000 but that was geared mainly to adults nostalgic for the original.).

Disney’s boldness in choice of subject, character and tone is especially interesting when you think of the small window of influence the films had.  There was no Disneyland, no large-scale product merchandising.  The film was it.  If it did not do well there were no DVD sales to back it up or large over-seas markets (especially pre WWII).  So the fact they would pick such bold and unorthodox pieces to work on is truly remarkable.

The only Disney classic that I must own to not caring for is Pinocchio.  I found it terrifying as a child, especially the part where the kids turn into donkeys.  Not that I was a lying child but its a pretty grim, scary scene!  Still, watching it as an adult I enjoyed the artistry and risk that such a film took.  The depth of the drawings and level of details are amazing. Also, the scenes inside the whale, while beautiful, are terrifying for a little girl!

I do love When You Wish Upon a Star. One of my favorite Disney songs ever.

I think such a song must have wrung true for the generation of 1940 with war, poverty and despair, a lot of wishing and hoping must have occurred daily.   In a world where we face some of these same challenges perhaps it worth while to view what uplifted them and see if it can do the same for us now?  At the very least its been an entertaining and enriching experience.   I highly recommend it!  Bambi and Dumbo go into the vault (such an obnoxious advertising technique by Disney) soon so act now while you have the chance.

What classic Disney do you like? Do you view them differently now than as a child?  What is your favorite all-time Disney movie?  Do you think we’ve lost something with the death of hand-held animation (I do)?

Snow White- 1937

Pinocchio- 1940

Fantasia- 1941

Dumbo- 1941

Bambi- 1942

Ichabod and Mr. Toad- 1949

Cinderella- 1950

Alice in Wonderland- 1951

Peter Pan- 1953

Lady and the Tramp- 1955

Sleeping Beauty- 1959

101 Dalmations- 1961

Burns and Stuffy Nose

This has not been my favorite week.  I haven’t felt well.  I’m not sure if it is allergies or something worse but nothing seems to really help.  I feel tired, stuffy, with sore throat, sneezes, congestion and itchy eyes.  Luckily I haven’t taken any PTO time yet so I could afford a sick day (or my version of a sick day where I still work 3 hours!).  I have to travel this weekend for a family event and I’m kind of dreading it.  I hate flying when I’m all stuffed up.  No fun! (Btw, this might be the end of my 7 ticket, 3 year streak of free tickets from United.  We will see.)

To make matters worse I made carrot soup with carrots I got from the bountiful basket.  While the soup was delicious, as I went for a second helping a bubble of the liquid spit up at me and landed on my arm.  It was very hot and it blistered my skin almost immediately.  Ouch!  It really hurts.  I have been applying hydrogen peroxide and gauze bandages so that it doesn’t get infected but its still very sore and tender.  It got wet when I was in the shower this morning and it stung like crazy (even worse than the hydrogen peroxide.).  I think I better wait a while before introducing it to chlorine and definitely salt water!

That’s all you can say about that.  Maybe its an over-share but when has that stopped me on my blog.  Today I went to Walgreens to get more guaze and I had to wait for many minutes for a lady to get all of her extreme couponing done.  So annoying! I’m feeling tired and a little cranky.  Grrrrrr

Celtic Woman

Recently I decided to embrace my cheesy side. For years I have loved listening to Celtic music when I’m stressed out, starting out with the amazing Enya.  My brother would get annoyed when I listened to Enya and one day he said to me ‘Aren’t you relaxed enough yet!’.

After my mission I got introduced to the group Celtic Woman.  This is the Celtic version of a boy/girl band but I LOVE it!  Its so peaceful and while admittedly cheesy its calming and beautiful. While watching their Believe PBS concert the fundraisers mentioned a concert for Celtic Woman coming to SLC.  On a whim I decided to go for it.  It’d been a while since I’d been to a concert and figured I could find a friend to go with me.

The concert ended up being tonight and I went with my friend Jill.  It was a lot of fun and something different to spice up life.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself- a night full of beautiful music and despite the cheesy lighting it was great!

Me sporting my Celtic woman shirt

Over the years the women in Celtic Woman have changed but the amazing singer Chloe Agnew and fiddler Mairead Nesbitt have remained constant.  Their numbers were definitely the highlights of the night.  Chloe is just a stunning talent.  They had a broadway medley and her singing I Dreamed a Dream was awesome.

Other highlights were Ave Maria and Danny Boy.  Here are 2 videos I took.  Please just listen because the video is shaky.  I just can’t seem to keep my hand still enough while shooting video.

Jill and I at the concert

I love going to concerts.  There is just something about live entertainment that never gets old.  I think my ideal date is a guy thinking of cool concert and planning it out.  That would be awesome!

The Richer Sex

Recently a Time magazine piece and NPR broadcast caught my attention.  Both featured the author Liza Mundy who has written a book on the topic of the recent trend of  ‘women…overtaking men as America’s breadwinners’.   In the article she gives an example of the Hawkins family in Detroit, Michigan.  Despite growing up in traditional families with a working father, the Hawkins father, Danny, left the ‘crushing’ corporate world to be a stay at home Dad.

“He is a master of the shopping list, appointment calendar and household budget; he has served as treasurer of the PTA and the HOA; and on Halloween he did a statistical analysis of trick-or-treaters to gauge how much candy to buy next year. ”

“I told Susie several times that my job is to make her life easier, and I like doing it.”

Susie, the Mom says “We both have made sacrifices but your priority is to provide for your family- the love, the affection, the nurturing.  For us, its about what’s best for the family”.

The article then says “Assuming present trends continue by the next generation, more families will be supported by women than by men…In 2009 4 in 10 working wives out-earned their husbands- an increase of 50% from 20 years before”.  I found this to be an amazing statistic!

“Think about what this portends.  The primary role men have played since they departed the cave…to earn paychecks in the Mad Men era will be passed to women.  The impact will be felt everywhere, from the classroom to the boardroom to the bedroom, in how men and women work, play, shop, vote, save and share, and court and even love each other”.

I have to say I feel mostly positive about these changes.  While still a gap women have been working for decades to reduce the wage gap and be treated fairly for their hard earned labor.  Also, the work of a stay at home provider, traditionally a woman, was downgraded (even still can be downgraded today- Hillary Rosen!) and treated as nothing but watching soap operas and cleaning after kids.  As I’ve mentioned before on this blog despite having a wonderful stay at home Mom I didn’t see its value until I was an adult.  I wanted to do something important and in my young naivety that could only be done outside of the home, out in the big world.

Now hopefully men are getting a more appreciation for what women have been doing for years.  Also, the work in 2 income households is more shared than it ever was before.  It used to be that a woman would work full time and then still be expected to contribute more than her husband to the house/family responsibilities.  Now with more men learning domestic skills such as cooking and cleaning, these tasks are shared across sexes more than ever before.

“As for child rearing, men have become significantly more hands-on over the past generation, and that trend will only accelerate as more families let earning power rather than gender determine who is the primary parent.  While some women will struggle to adapt to more distant mothering, they may also relish seeing their children enjoying intimate relationships with their fathers”.

This seems like a good thing to me?  I grew up in a culture that is always talking about the nurturing gifts of women to the point where men can feel ostracized and less capable of bonding with their children.  I think both sexes are equally capable of loving and raising children.

I was discussing the ‘marriage crisis‘ with a friend the other day, and he said he felt pressure ‘to provide for a family’.  This surprised, even amazed me.  In the modern world I think most women see marriage as a team endeavor where both parties work to make a budget effective for a family.  For me I am not looking for the traditional male protector and provider role in a prospective partner.  I figure if I get married we will be a team and conquer any challenges that come our way together, not a husband guiding me through perilous waters to safety!

On a purely selfish perspective I love this change.  I love being able to go into commerce and experience both women and men in almost every situation.  I have had much better experiences with women doctors (more on that in a bit) and am grateful for the sacrifice they make to serve me in their chosen field.

In the article Mundy goes over the history of male/female relationships and even says ‘Evolutionary psychologists argued that dependence was women’s desired condition- that women were genetically driven to seek providers who could support their offspring. ”

But now “‘the deal is off.  High paying industrial jobs that once enabled a man with a high school education to bring home a family wage are disappearing and as women become co-breadwinners or primary breadwinners in more households, all kinds of assumptions about how the household works are changing such as the domestic division of labor and women’s ‘economic influence at both home and in public’.”

“A study found that in households where the husband brings in more income, buying decisions are made equally, but in households where the wife earns more, she typically makes twice as many buying decisions as the man”

Does this not put additional pressure on already over-burdened women?  Could that not be a negative?  Even if it isn’t, could women still feel a self-imposed pressure to do everything at home and work, despite a husbands efforts?

Other negatives-

The fluid nature of the role of manhood has changed.  While I abhor any notion of chauvinism there was an aspect to a traditional male role that is appealing.  A sense that man knew who he was and what he was supposed to do with his life.  Will Ferrell  and Seth Rogan have made careers out of playing lovable louts who don’t know what to do with their lives.   Traditionally men didn’t have the choices they now have because of the pressures of providing for a family.  Now so many seem to amble about waiting for the perfect job, perfect school, perfect woman.

Also, the desire of women to date and get married reduces when it is  difficult to meet a true and equal partner.  Why get married if you know you will have to provide for a family?  That’s the decision men have shouldered for centuries and women sometimes find it harder to answer than they might have expected. Also, why get married when you can live a happy life by yourself? Characters such as Robin on HIMYM are facing this dilemma.  She doesn’t want to get married but the eager-to-have-a-family Ted is dying to.   Do you see this change amongst your friends and family?

There is also the issue of women still making less money, particularly in certain fields, as men.  We’ve made huge improvements but still careers that are viewed as feminine such as teaching are vastly underpaid.  In addition, women still have a ways to go with entering leadership positions and running for public office.   As I mentioned in an earlier post, it is still difficult for most people to envision a woman as president. I wonder if that will change as these trends change?

And then there is the delicate issue of pregnancy (the age old female problem that women can’t pass on to men!).  Many jobs still make maternity leave a difficult prospect and the idea of being gone for a vacation let alone months of leave can be very scary.  As a breadwinner, can a woman sacrifice such time for her family and will the work-force tolerate it?  Naturally this causes people to put off having children, have less children or have no children at all (All 3 decisions which I support, it is just an interesting societal change).

Last year in the New York Times a doctor named Karen Sibert made huge waves with her article  Don’t Quit This Day Job.  She argued that women who have so much invested in their education to become doctors and don’t work in the field full time are denying society of the investment it has made in their services and from the services they can provide for the greater good:

“Medical education is supported by federal and state tax money both at the university level — student tuition doesn’t come close to covering the schools’ costs — and at the teaching hospitals where residents are trained. So if doctors aren’t making full use of their training, taxpayers are losing their investment. With a growing shortage of doctors in America, we can no longer afford to continue training doctors who don’t spend their careers in the full-time practice of medicine.”

I’m not saying I agree with the doctor (in fact, I think her assumption of an all-or-nothing deal is a bit crazy) but it is a conversation we need to have.  Women need to acknowledge that they may be asked to give up their career full time or that their husband may make this sacrifice (or that you are comfortable with outside childcare, or having no children)  Before you are married or have children it is good to ask yourself the question of what you are going to do and what you want your family to look like?

Whatever choice you make there will be sacrifices for both spouses and their children.  As a society we need to be aware of these choices and encourage a discussion.

We also need to make sure that both men and women are educated in domestic skills.  That they both know how to cook, clean and live on a budget.  I have known so many girls that can barely toast a bagel let alone cook for their families.

Part of these psychological adjustments in femininity and masculinity will go away in time as the differences between the sexes becomes smaller and smaller.  I know a lot of people that would see such a change as a very sad thing.  What do you think?  What do you think of stay-at-home-Dads and the new female breadwinners? Do you think this is a mostly a good or bad thing?

The article ends with this thought:

“It would be nice to imagine a world where employers make it possible for all mothers and fathers to work reasonable hours.  But some jobs will always require more than the eight hours a day.  For a woman, like a man, reaching the highest levels of achievement may depend on a sp0use willing to downshift.  What’s new is that the decisions about who dials back will be based on personal aptitude and what works best for each couple rather than outdated n0tions of which sex is better fitted to what”

Seems like a good thing to me…

Be a Bother

This makes me laugh and it goes along with a discussion about inferring when others make a statement or an invitation.

I had an interesting experience today.  There is a family in my ward who I had greeted but didn’t know very well (that’s true for most of the family’s in my ward!).  Especially without a ward activity I don’t feel like I’ve had a chance to really get to know people.  Last week being Easter a number of people asked me to their home for dinner because they wanted to make sure I had some place to go for the holiday.  I had a lovely evening with one of those families but another one I said ‘please invite me over another time.  I’d love it.’.

So this week I saw the Mom of the family and said ‘would you like to come to dinner tonight?  We’d love to have you.  It’s totally up to you’.

My immediate reaction was ‘I don’t want to be a bother.  I have food at home.  I don’t need to bother them.’  but then I reasoned ‘She is inviting me, so why not?’

With a shrug I said ‘sure.  That’s so nice.  Thank you.’

I offered to bring something, we chatted and then I joined them later for dinner.  We had a wonderful meal with her in-laws and the whole family.  It’s fun to go to someone’s house because I can have just a little bit of food I don’t normally indulge in because I can’t make a whole batch for myself.  For example, she had rolls that were big and fluffy.  I could never make a batch of rolls because I would eat too many on multiple days!

In the course of our conversation she said ‘I was pleasantly surprised when you said yes.  I think that shows great determination to accept an invitation from a stranger who you don’t know very well’.

What I didn’t tell her is that I’d almost said no but living alone has taught me to take advantage of the social opportunities presented before me and gather with others when you have the chance.   Its interesting to me that I would have held off from having a pleasant experience where I wasn’t a bit of a bother out of a fear of breaching some kind of social protocol.  Do we fear that the offer is not really sincere? Kind of like when someone asks you how are you doing and you just expect a ‘fine’ in response even if their world is falling apart?

Do we worry that we really will be a bother even if they don’t think we are at the moment of the request? Or are we just too prideful to accept an offer when it is presented?

Why do we hold ourselves aloft from positive experiences because of a mysterious social fear? Have you noticed yourself doing this? Someone offers you help or says ‘I’d like to do _____ sometime’ but you never pursue their request out of an embarrassment or you outright refuse knowing it would be a good experience?

It’s a funny part of human nature that’s for sure.  Why do we hold ourselves off from good experiences? Strange. I’m going to try and not do that any more.  Take advantage of every good thing that comes my way.  I’m not saying you have to accept every invitation offered to you but to not except out of some type of social protocol is ridiculous.

Anyway, just so you know I love getting invited to others homes and hopefully I’m helpful and can return the favor sometime.  So all you friends out there invite away.  I won’t be offended! 🙂 .

(Big Bang Theory on non-optional social conventions)

I Am a Cheesy Mormon

My whole life I’ve heard things like “I love the Mormon church but hate the Mormon culture”.  What they are referring to is the cultural traditions in Utah that many times are equally popular in other places.  For example, the cliche of green jello, funeral potatoes, scrapbooking and the Osmonds.

I don’t know if it is because of the ‘Mormon Moment’ but lately I feel like anything remotely connected with the church automatically becomes lame and uncool in certain people’s eyes. For example, the recent City Creek Shopping Center is looked down on by some purely because of the church’s involvement. If it was any other investor they wouldn’t give it a second thought. Another example- Mitt Romney mentions Etch-a-sketch and all of the sudden that is lame.

Its very annoying because sometimes I just want to be a cheesy Mormon and not care. That’s all I’m saying. I don’t want to have to defend everything I do or view.   I like the culture and religion.  Not everything but more often than not I like it.  I’m done defending myself and my culture.  If you don’t like it, don’t live here.  There are plenty of other places to live.

I also do not believe there is anything more educated about being critical of one’s culture.  In fact, it is equally easy to be heedlessly critical as it is to ignorantly follow.  Most of these things do not matter in regards to faith or intellect but add a nuanced value to the quality of your life. They actually can make you a more interesting and colorful person.

So here goes- I love living in Utah, blogging, temple work, Utah symphony and opera, family home evenings, tabernacle choir, crockpots, book clubs, pinterest, acapella music, funeral potatoes, food storage, Hawaii, Polynesian Cultural Center, Brandon Flowers, journals, stay-at-home Moms, Gladys Knight, sherbet punch, service projects, frozen yogurt, eternal marriage, most Mormon authors, family history, pioneers, big families, republicans, homeschooling, Hallmark movies, David Archuleta, live theater, watching dancing like the BYU Ballroom dance, BYU Volleyball (pretty much anything associated with BYU I like),  Jimmer, general authorities, volunteering, CTR rings, Church History sites, Utah Olympics, Mitt Romney, firesides, General Conference, missionaries, and all versions of BYU.

I get excited when I stay at a Marriott hotel and see a Book of Mormon.  I smile and wave whenever I see a missionary.  I get excited when I see a Mormon has done well in business or any other field. I like that Mormon’s help each other move and are quick to bring a meal to a friend.

Some people are just critical of anything because its associated with Utah or the Church. I think that is lame. Oh well!

I am a cheesy Mormon- Deal with it!

(Btw, this is my 400th blog post.  Pretty amazing!)