Wednesday, February 23, 2011

An Object Lesson

When someone is interested in learning about the Mormon church, the first lesson the missionaries teach them is called The Plan of Salvation. In a nutshell, God rejected Lucifer's plan to force us into submission, while taking on the glory for himself. God accepted Jesus Christ's plan to offer himself up as a sacrifice so that we might gain eternal life, while glorifying his Father. When Christ's plan was accepted, we believe that 1/3 of the host of Heaven chose to follow Lucifer and left the presence of God. The rest of us (and by us I mean everyone ever born on planet Earth) chose to follow Christ, and here we are.

Several weeks ago, Jamison learned this lesson in his Sunday School class. He came home and summed it up thusly:

"There was this guy, only I don't remember his name, but I know it was Satan. He had a plan and he wanted to take all of Heavenly Father's stuff. But then, there was another man, who also had a plan, and he said 'I will do it and you can keep all of your stuff.' And that man was Jesus Christ. So Heavenly Father said, 'Okay, let's go with Jesus' plan' and then some people got mad; like 1/3 of them, so they walked out and left with that other guy, you know, Satan."

After explaining this, he ran upstairs and came back down with a box of legos. "Can you make me a statue of Jesus?" he asked.

Dan made a little figure out of the legos and then handed it back to Jamison. "Thanks," he said, "now I can finish my lesson." We hadn't realized he wasn't done yet. He placed the lego Jesus on the floor and then kicked its head off, which went flying across the living room floor. "And THAT'S how Jesus felt when all those other people left with Lucifer! He felt like he got KICKED IN THE HEAD!"

Needless to say, THAT is one object lesson I will never forget.

Want to know the actual and more accurate version of this lesson? Click here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Time For Some Uncommon Sense

As I sit here inhaling a cupful of leftover conversation hearts, I'm thinking about food. I love it. My penchant for donuts is no secret. But I did have a green smoothie for breakfast and an avocado sandwich for lunch. So here goes nothing.

An Open Letter to California:

Dear California,

I love your beaches. I love your sunshine. Disneyland? Fuhgeddaboudit. But I think all that sunshine has burned your brains.

A woman is suing McDonalds because she's tired of them "getting into her kids' heads." Really?!? You're the parent. It's in your job description to say "no." I do it all the time. Sometimes it's even fun. Try it. You might like it.

San Francisco went so far as to pass a measure banning toys from Happy Meals. So now it's just a meal, but still a meal nonetheless. Again, to quote Nancy Reagan, "just say no." I've got a suggestion for all Bay Area McDonalds franchises: Put a one dollar bill in all your happy meals. It's certainly not a toy, and I bet you'll sell more happy meals than ever.

Another Californian is suing Taco Bell because their meat isn't all meat (some of it is oats). Wha???? Is this REALLY a surprise to any of us? And by the way, have you HAD a Taco Bell Grande? It's delicious.

Still, another woman is suing Nutella for not being healthy. It's a JAR of CHOCOLATE. And mighty tasty, I might add. Newsflash: if you want to have something healthy, DON'T EAT NUTELLA. Try a celery stick for crying out loud. When I was a kid, the only time we got Nutella was when a relative would bring it with them from Holland. When it became widely available in the U.S., I danced in the aisle.

So in conclusion my West Coast Friends, get out of the sun for a while. Relax. I'm a little worried about you. I hear eating chocolate is a great way to relieve stress.


Is it just me?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentines and Things of That Nature

Yesterday I decided that Valentine's Day should always, and I mean always be on a Saturday. As my students darted with raucousness from game to game, craft to craft, I kept thinking, Do you know what they're doing in China* right now? Math. And Science. And they're learning how to become CEO's of mega conglomerates who sell heart-shaped junk to Americans!

Also, Jamison wore his new shirt and delivered his heart-shaped box of chocolates, via a friend. The enclosure read, "To McKardy From ???" I know because I witnessed it first hand as I helped with the valentine party in his classroom. I know, I'm a glutton for punishment.

Later on, when I asked him why he liked her so much, he said, "Well, she is the most popular girl in our class and I am the most popular boy." It's good to know that self-confidence isn't holding him back anytime soon. He also said, "she's really smart and we both want to be scientists when we grow up, and we both have three syllables in our names."**

Back to the party, I was, however, proud of the little game I made up. We played our own version of Minute to Win It, stacking towers of conversation hearts. It was such a hit with the second graders that we played it later at home for family night. Try it with chopsticks. And no, the irony of the chopsticks after my China reference is not lost on me.

*China - I am actually tired of everyone comparing our educational system to theirs. They only educate those they deem worthy, and dictate what they will become. We educate EVERYBODY.

**Update - Jamison just walked in and when I asked him how school went, he said, "McKardy asked me to play with her at recess, so the chocolates must have worked!"

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I'm From Wasatch County

It snowed really hard last night. It was flying in sideways. The wind blew to the point of stinging your face. And yet.

And yet, 1200 people gathered together at our local high school for a benefit dinner and auction. The reason? To raise funds for a local boy who, in a freak accident, broke his neck during wrestling practice. The people of this community are taking what could be a very devastating tragedy and turning it into a miracle.

My daughter proudly wore this shirt to school today. He is known to his friends as "Super Dale" and within a day or two of the accident, these t-shirts started popping up all over town. Another thing you can find all over town, or rather, at every cash register in town, are collection jars, filling to the brim. It's not uncommon to see them stuffed with twenty and fifty-dollar bills.

At the dinner last night, the people came in parkas, but instantly warmed the atmosphere with their smiles, generosity, and general good cheer. They brought their kids and grandparents, neighbors and friends. The food was 100% donated by the local Zermatt Resort - and they even sent all of their executives to serve it. Never has fetuccini tasted so good.

As we moved into the auditorium for the auction, Dale's mother said a few tearful words, bringing the rest of us to tears. I couldn't help but feel gratitude for my two children, bouncing in their seats, as her son lay in a hospital bed, motionless. As the auction began, I was amazed at the goods that had been donated: power tools, flat screen televisions, hand-made furniture, river rafting trips, and the mother of all prizes: a forty-five-dollar cow elk hunting tag that went for six-hundred dollars. Hunting is big here.

So are the hearts.

I love where I live. And this is why.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Laundry Day

I usually start laundry Mondays when I get home from work. Today when I walked into the laundry room, I found this cute little paper on the washing machine. "How cute," I thought, "Jamison drew me a picture."

If you look close enough, you can see the words "look on back" with an arrow.

"Even better," I thought again, "he wrote me a little note." My heart melted a little.

Allow me to immortalize his words here:

Dear McKardy, You are a good freind. I realy like you, not as in love you or that would be realy werd. I did my best work on this pictur. It steel probaly is not as good as yours!


The plot thickens.
It's a good thing he's cute, 'cause he sure as heck can't spell.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Music To My Ears

When I was a teenager, my dad and I installed a pretty nice stereo into my piece-of-junk car. I listened to it with the volume cranked to the max. It distracted me from the fact that I was driving a plank on wheels. I'm sure everyone could hear me coming a mile away.

When my daughter came along, I turned the volume down, wanting to protect her tiny ears. As the kids got older, they dictated what we listened to and at what volume (not loud). Last summer, the CD player in my car gave up the ghost. Living way up here in the mountains has its advantages, but good radio reception isn't one of them; so I became an A.M. talk-radio kind of person. Fortunately, I have a short commute.

All of this became a habit and I got to the point where I was driving in silence because well, A.M. radio sucks. Finally, I dug out the old iPod, added the F.M. tuner, and voila: I am back in business. The last few times I've been in my car, the volume is up and the music is good.

Sometimes, all it takes is a little Erasure* to liven up the icy drive to work.

*Erasure: you love 'em and you know it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Ground Hog Day

As I sit here in my wool socks and MULTIPLE layers of clothing, I am well aware of the fact that Punxatawney Phil did NOT see his shadow this morning. I just hope that Mother Nature understands the implications of this event and sends the mercury rising very, very soon.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Would You Trust This Face?

Yesterday, while walking through TJ Maxx, this little boy, in his finest cub scout uniform, looked up at me and said, "I think I need a nice outfit for Valentine's Day."

"A nice outfit?" I said while stifling a smile.

"Well, maybe not a whole outfit, but at least a good-looking shirt or something."

"Why?" (as if I didn't know).

"Because it's Valentine's Day, and I think people should look nice. We ARE having a party at school, remember?"

Uh huh. So when we struck out at TJ Maxx, we wandered across the street to Walmart. We did indeed find a red-striped polo shirt. The thought put into this little item of clothing was something equal to what went into launching the Apollo space mission.

We then found ourselves on the aisle with all the red and pink stuff. The kids each picked out a box of Valentine cards to exchange, and then Jamison wandered a little farther down the aisle to the heart-shaped boxes. The ones with chocolates inside of them. He had it narrowed down to three. The first one was red, with the word "love" spread across its lid. "Hmm. That would be to awkward," he said.

The next box was brown, covered in red and pink hearts. "No, that's still too weird."

He finally decided on the pink one, with little spirals embossed on the lid. Even more surprising, he insisted on paying for it with his own money.

Only eight more years until he's allowed to date. It's going be a long wait.