Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Founding Fathers

“And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of the Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

The quote above is the last line of the Declaration of Independence. Fifty-six men signed this document and entered into this pledge. Keep in mind that the Declaration of Independence was not just the announcement of a new nation; it was literally a declaration of war. The “signers” risked all they had and did so against very bad odds. The British Empire was the most powerful in the world; they had a vast navy, disciplined army, stockpiles of arms, huge financial resources, and outnumbered the Americans three to one. The Americans had little money, few arms, and no navy. Still the signers of the Declaration were willing to risk everything. Those men understood the value of liberty and honor. They helped give us an independent nation at great personal sacrifice. We owe them much.

I finished reading 1776 the other day. David McCullough did not romanticize the Revolutionary War; although, his style of writing is beautiful. He presented the facts and proved the point that hand of Providence was ever present in the formation of the United States. Also, without George Washington’s leadership and perseverance, we would have lost the war. I am amazed at Washington’s character; he was intelligent, patient, religious, strong, and humble. He reminds me of Pahoran in the Book of Mormon. Washington was always under attack from his officers and members of Congress, but he never responded rudely or took offence. He took what he had and tried to make the best of it. Washington is an awesome example of enduring to the end. The Continental Army was weak, meager, untrained, and under supplied. At the beginning of year in 1776, Washington had a great victory in Boston. But after that, it was loss after loss, retreat after retreat, and embarrassment after embarrassment. Through it all, Washington never lost hope, and he kept on remembering what he was fighting for. I love what Thomas Paine wrote: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in the crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” Washington stood it, and in December of 1776, he and his army had glorious (and much needed) victories in Trenton and Princeton.

The war went on and Washington continued to lead, but the outcome was nothing short of a miracle. I love America! I am so grateful for all the people who have sacrificed much for this free land. I just hope that I am living in a way that they would approve of. President Benson firmly stated, "For centuries our forefathers suffered and sacrificed that we might be the recipients of the blessings of freedom. If they were willing to sacrifice so much to establish us as a free people, should we not be willing to do the same to maintain that freedom for ourselves and for future generations? Only in this foreordained land, under its God-inspired Constitution and the resulting environment of freedom, was it possible to have established the restored church. It is our responsibility to see that this freedom is perpetuated so that the Church may more easily flourish in the future."

I am sorry for the Sacrament Meeting talk/American Heritage essay (haha), but I wanted to share a few of the thoughts I have had recently. Oh, and Pioneer Day (July 24th) is Thursday. I do not think you want me to get started on that topic.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

EFY + Weather = Monday at the gym

As much as I love the gym, it gets a little repetitive doing the same things after a while.  Sometimes I have to do crazy things to spice it up... like switch to the level-2 cross-training program from my "manual course" or increase the resistance from a 1 to a 3 (out of 16).  But Monday I unintentionally found a new trick that could ultimately be the secret to my summer workout success: EFY music.  That's right, I said EFY music.  On Monday, like clockwork, I signed in, went to the 3rd row, jumped on elliptical #4, set the course for level-2 cross-training, increased the resistance to 3, and turned on my ipod.  My "workout mix" is what should have been blasting in my ears, but to my surprise "Bleeding Love" was replaced by "A More Excellent Way."  As guilty as I felt trying to switch the playlist as quickly as possible, I just didn't think EFY music could fulfill the purpose of a workout mix.  Unfortunately, my battery was so far red it shouldn't have even turned on.  Therefore, desiring some music instead of none, I kept Especially For Youth season 2005 soundtrack on for the next 35 minutes.  Much to my surprise, I ran longer, faster, and harder than ever!  Next time you need a boost of energy during your long, tedious workout, try EFY.  It does a workout good.

Second story.  I was watching the cubs play on t.v. in between reps (I sound so tough, but don't be fooled because those 5 pound weights never seem to get lighter... haha).  Anyway, it was getting a little windy and slightly overcast outside.  In the bottom left-hand corner of the screen was the usual weather update.  All it said was: "WEATHER: SKETCHY".......... seriously?  I couldn't tell.  I was thinking I should go lay out or something.  The rain outside was looking pretty promising.  Maybe they were trying to stay away from the technical weather jargon like "partly cloudy" or "chance of rain" and appeal more to the stereotypical ESPN-type crowd.  Either way, I found it to be hilarious.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hilton Head Island, SC

Paradise? Heaven? Nirvana? I can't quite find the word to describe it. My family and I spent a week at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. And, I'll be honest, I didn't want to come home. Something about sitting on the beach and listening/watching the waves is so rejuvenating and relaxing. My days typically went like this: tennis, breakfast, beach, nap, dinner, bike ride, games/movie, bed. One day we did go up to Charleston. That city is so romantic, quaint, and beautiful. I LOVE the South!! And...I kind of love pictures. Enjoy!!

The plane ride over

The view from the back deck of the house

Riding to go meet Adam, Jennie, and the kids

Beka loves having an older sister like me

Quinn is adorable and hilarious

The Jeff and Diane Johnson family

The three youngest (and single) girls

The lovely parents who put on (and paid for) the awesome vacation

Apparently only Madelyn and Ava were listening when we said, "JUMP!"

We were listening!!

Parker, the merman

Loves: lime green shirts, popsicles, and RDC

Daily ride down to the beach

Nightly bike ride

The bike/golf cart path

Charleston, South Carolina

Someone told me that I laugh at death and other sad things. I guess this is proof.

My future home and backyard

Could I replace Hermes?

Middleton Plantation and Gardens

Entrance to the plantation from the Ashley River

Learning about the grounds

Your plantation friendly alligator

Concentrating on my short game

Going for a one-stroke putt

Saying bye to Graham and Madelyn

Buckling Parker in

Sweet Mere-Mere (or Meredith)