Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Whole New World Spoof (A New Bathroom!)

Here is a spoof off of Aladdin's "A Whole New World." Dedicated to all you do-it-yourselfers out there. Sing it at your next church karaoke party. Believe it or not, that's what I wrote it for and my husband and I sang it. Embarrassing! It takes practice (especially the toilet/Japan part), but it fits the music perfectly. Enjoy!

Aladdin:
Come see our new bathroom
New tiles, new sink, and new shower
Tell me, darling, now when did you last
See a bathroom like this! I built it just for you
Let me show you each wonder
A toilet made in Japan
The kind with the seat warmer.
A new bathroom!
A new fantastic lounging place.
The TV over here.
The bidet over there.
No, you are not dreaming!

Jasmine:
A new bathroom
A dozen dazzling mirrors
And now that I’m in here
It’s crystal clear
That Windex is the cleaner we should use!

Aladdin: Windex is the cleaner we should use!

Jasmine:
Oh, I love my new bath.
I have a rug of spun gold.
Candles, bath salts, and laptop
So I can surf the Internet!
A new bathroom!

Aladdin: Paper made by Charmin

Jasmine: A hundred thousand thing to try

Aladdin: Hold your breath; it gets better

Jasmine: I’m like a movie star
I’ve come so far
I can’t go back to where I used to bathe!

Aladdin: A new bathroom!

Jasmine: Every shower a surprise
Aladdin: With windows open to the sea!

Jasmine: Even the towels feel softer

Both:
I’ll come here every time
I need a break
Sit in the jetted tub
And read a book

Aladdin: Our new bathroom!

Jasmine: Our new bathroom!

Aladdin: That’s where we’ll be.

Jasmine: That’s where we’ll be.

Aladdin: No kids allowed

Jasmine: A resting place

Both: For you and me

Thursday, November 19, 2009

An Angel on Main Street

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's time to start thinking about Christmas, and there's nothing quite like a tender Christmas story to get you into the holiday mood. Fortunately, I had the good fortune to receive a copy of An Angel on Main Street by Kathi Oram Peterson, which I read in one sitting.

Micah Connors is an eleven-year-old boy who has been in and out of trouble since his father died in the Korean war. His mother has taken him and his little sister, Annie, to a new town in the hopes of starting over. Micah has promised to be good, but his new friend needs help and despite all his efforts, he makes a series of mistakes which seem to have him heading back to his old ways. But the local sheriff has taken an interest not only in Micah, but in Micah's mother, much to his dismay.

Peterson did an exellent job showing Micah's frustration, his yearning to be the man in the family. He wants more than anything to make his mother proud and do something that will save his little sister's life. Yet Annie is ill and fading fast, and only a Christmas miracle can save her. Yes, an angel. Or close enough. An Angel on Main Street is one of those stories that make you want to believe.

For more information about this book, visit the author's websites:

http://www.kathiswritingnook.com/
http://www.kathiorampeterson.com/

Peterson is also sponsoring a contest in conjunction with the release of this book from October 15th until December 15th. Anyone can enter by emailing her at Kathiorampeterson@yahoo.com about an experience you have had with someone who became an angel in your life. The winner will be announced on her blog (http://www.kathiswritingnook.com/). A gift certificate from either Seagull Book or Deseret Book will be given to the winner and the “Angel” in his/her life.

What a great idea! Write now about the angel in your life this Christmas.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Win a copy of Dawn's Early Light by Laurie (L.C.) Lewis


Lovers of historical fiction will be excited to know that L.C. Lewis's new novel Dawn's Early Light, book three of her Free Men and Dreamer’s series, is now available. This compelling novel is set against the backdrop of the War of 1812 and covers the first American-born generation—the children of the Founding Fathers.

For those of you not familiar with Lewis's series, don't worry about needing to read the first two novels before this one. Dawn's Early Light can be read on its own or as a continuation of the first two novels. In fact, it was the first book I read in the series. I am not normally a huge fan of historical fiction, but this fast-paced novel kept my interest, both entertaining and showing me things about the period I'd never known before. The author has done an amazing amount of research and her characters are memorable. I particularly found it interesting to read of battles that I have learned about before, and to see how Lewis's make-believe characters can add so much understanding and feeling to what is going on.

Post a comment here and on any other blog site talking about the book to be entered in a drawing to win an autographed copy of Dawn's Early Light and a unique, handcrafted silver "Liberty" necklace made by Sterling Obsessions. Winners will be announced on Lewis's blog http://www.laurielclewis.blogspot.com/ on December 19th.

If you love historical fiction, or even sort of like it, you won't want to miss Dawn's Early Light. So go out and buy it today! The book can be bought online at Amazon.com, at Seagull Book and Tape, and other retailers. For more information about Lewis and her books visit her website: http://www.laurielclewis.com.

(Note: A copy of Dawn's Early Light was provided to me free of charge so I could do this review.)

Keeping Trim After Thirty-Seven

I have finally discovered it! Yes, the secret to losing the weight that most everyone, even those who've never had a weight problem before, have put on after age thirty-seven. You see, once you reach this ripe old age, you are only a hop, skip, and jump away from forty, which every teenager knows means you are practically ancient. Your metabolism starts complaining, "Hey, I've been doing this a long time now, and I'm tired. No, I'm exhausted, so I think I'm going to slack off a bit. Okay, a lot. Who cares? I've paid my dues."

Of course, it didn't bother to communicate this important information to you, and so you blithely eat on. You've never had a problem before. Chocolate, cookies, chips, and sweets never stuck on your hips and waist. "I have good genes," you'd always say, feeling sorry for those who were not quite so lucky. But now suddenly you are feeling every piece of chocolate and even a single piece of pizza adds a half a pound to your weight.

Now for the first time in your life, you finally begin to understand the nightmare that all those other people without "good" genes have endured all these years. Your waistline thickens, the fleshy part on your upper arms swing whenever you lift up your arm, and your sweats are so tight on your thighs that they look more like a second skin than something you bought at a department store. Your husband stops asking you if you want ice cream after dinner, and your children's friends no longer say they wished their mom had your figure.

What do you do? Give up and eat more chocolate? Buy clothes two sizes larger? Well, that might be the simpliest thing to do. In fact, it might be the wisest. There are a lot of happy, healthy people out there who weigh ten, twenty, or forty pounds more than they did in high school.

But there is another answer for those who don't want to grow large gracefully. The answer isn't exercise, though exercise is always nice for firming up. (Because most regular people can't work in enough exercise to allow them to continue to eat as they did as twenty-year-olds.) The answer is not some fad diet, which is only good while it lasts. It's not the lipo or surgery that some women resort to in desperation.

The secret is this: Don't eat.

I know, I know, it's a terribly hard thing to do. But the bottom line is calories. It doesn't matter so much what you eat, though some foods definitely give you more mileage, but how much is going into your body versus how much your lazy metabolism is willing to process. Or something like that. Fortunately, you don't have to completely stop eating, because your metabolism hasn't given out on you altogether. You just have to eat less. Less chocolate, less pizza, less of everything. A lot less. Grrrrrr. Except vegetables. Those you can always eat.

The good news is that since your metabolism is taking a break, the food lasts longer in your system and you don't feel hungry as you would have on the same sparse diet when you were younger. However, your stomach and brain don't realize there's been a change for a while, and they still think they should be on the old schedule, so you have to trick them by eating a whole bunch of vegetables and fruit for weeks on end so they think they're getting as much as they always did. Then by the time they realize the calories have been cut, they are good with the deal because they thought they were getting as much all along.

Yes, it's a matter of trickery and starvation. SIGH. I don't know about you, but shopping for a larger size of clothes sounds like a lot more fun.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saving Madeline Blog Tour Winners!


Okay, the Blog Tour contest for Saving Madeline has come to an end. My children and I typed and folded each entry into a black hat, and then the youngest drew the names from the hat. We had just over 200 comments on all the blogs. Some readers searched for more than one blog and were able to enter multiple times (as allowed by the rules). Thanks to everyone who participated in the tour or who commented. And the winners are:

NightOwlMommy (from her entry on Anne Bradshaw's site)

Suze (from her entry on LDS Women's Book Review)

Congratulations! Please e-mail me with your full names and address and I'll send those books right out to you.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Different Doesn't Mean Wrong

A few weeks ago I was at the Olympic Park in Park City, Utah waiting in line for the Alpine Slide ride, and I couldn't help but overheard the two young mothers in front of me discussing how they succeeded in making their babies sleep through the night. They used phrases like, "He only cried for an hour the first night" and "Mine cried fifteen minutes and then I went in and patted his back for a while" and "It took several nights, but he sleeps all night now." They expressed both guilt for letting their child cry and gratitude for their now-uninterrupted nights.

I didn't join the conversation. Why? Because I wouldn't have known what to say. My children never slept through the night as babies. I nursed them on demand, and they slept in our room until they were weaned (between 14 and 24 months). Even after they slept in their own rooms, I would go to them if they cried in the night and stay with them if they wanted me, or take them back to my room. I simply wasn't capable of allowing them to cry, especially as tiny babies who didn't understand why they were suddenly alone. By answering their calls, I felt they would know that I would always be there for them.

That idealogy continued into other areas. If they didn't feel comfortable in the nursery at church or in their class, I stayed with them until they wanted to go alone. I never sneaked out of a room when they weren't looking, or left without telling them I was going and when I'd be back. I told nursery leaders to come and get me if my child cried and once when they didn't, I refused to take my child back until they were replaced. I didn't us dentists who insisted on keeping me out in the waiting room while they worked on my children. Or to preschools who didn't encourage parent visitors. At times I endured criticism, but what I saw at commitment to my child came first.

I also had little time for myself. There were a lot of days that I was groggy, irritable, and annoyed. I sometimes felt that my sleepless nights would never, ever end. At one point, I couldn't ever remember sleeping all the way through a night in a solid decade. I craved sleep as a drowning man craves air. But I still couldn't let them cry.

I chose other ways of setting limits. I made my children do their chores, we held them responsible for their homework. We always tried to know where they were and who they were with. We taught them the gospel and the commandments. We taught them to care for and love each other.

So did my method work? Well, my children sleep all night and have since they were two or so. None of them have sleep disorders. On the rare occassion if they are awakened by a bad dream, or feel scared at night, they know they are welcome to come to my room for comfort. (As opposed to my husband as a little child, who would shiver alone in his room at night because his father would get mad if he came into his parents' room.) All my children attend school without any issues, they excel in academics, the two oldest have received college scholarships. Some have pursued sports and acting. They have friends and are well-adjusted. I'm convinced I made the right decision for my children.

But do I believe these young mothers ahead of me in line chose the wrong method for their children? Of course not! I remember how the exhaustion weighed on me. I remember how our children's need sometimes came between me and my husband. I remember people outside our family pressuring me to create a sleeping and eating schedule and make my children adhere to it. This method didn't feel right for the person I am and the way I was raised, but these mothers chose the way they felt was best for them and their children. That it was the complete opposite of my path absolutely doesn't mean their children will suffer negative effects.

There are many different ways to parent. My belief is that mothers should follow their instincts while raising their children. Don't let popular opinion, friends, or family pressure you into doing something you feel is wrong for you child. On the other hand, don't let anyone guilt you into not doing something you feel is right. Yes, study out all sides of the issue, discuss with your husband what you should do, making any compromises necessary, and then make a plan. If it doesn't end up working, rethink the plan. Nothing should be set in stone. As I've found with my six children, what works for one child, may not work for another.

For all those young mothers out there battling those sleepless nights. I want you to know that looking back now it seems as though those sleepless 15 years went by so fast! And the moments I spent alone in the middle of the night with each of my children during their first few years are memories I now cherish. So take heart and love your child, and remember that no matter what sleeping method you choose, as long as you love and care for them and set limits in other important areas, your child will be just fine. And one way or the other, you will eventually sleep all the way through the night like I do now.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Sister Pact

Last Saturday I was sick, really sick. I could do little but lie on the couch and feel miserable for myself. But I could also read, and that's what saved the day.

Let's back up a little. You see, I'd received the book, The Sister Pact by Cami Checketts, to review a few days earlier, but the moment I took it out the package, my sixteen-year-old daughter swiped it and vanished. The next day she brought it back. She's a big reader, but with her heavy high school schedule, which consists mostly of college-level courses, I was amazed that she'd finished so quickly.

"How was it?" I asked. "On a scale of one to five stars, what would you give it? Three being you liked it and four meaning you loved it. Five would be that it was amazing."

"Four and a half," she said without hesitation.

"That high? Are you sure?" Believe me, that's incredible praise coming from a teen who reads so much.

"Yes."

So the next day I was lying on the couch feeling sorry for myself, and I picked up The Sister Pact. Miraculously, it helped me forget about my illness for several hours. It was a quick and enjoyable read, especially if you love romanctic supsense novels. As I usually read national women's fiction and contemporary paranormal that are sometimes a challenge to follow (with all their heavy social concepts and their weird new worlds), this was a perfect book for me that day. I enjoyed the flirty dialogue between the two main characters, and I even wanted to slap the guy a few times right along with the female heroine! I truly wanted to strangle the nurse.

The Sister Pact
is a good novel for teens, too, as you don't have to worry about inappropriate scenes. If my daughter is any indication, they will love it. The Sister Pact also contains a good message about body image that could positively influence teens, though this is not an integral part of the plot and not delved into very deeply so it won't turn teens off. I know my daughter will be eagerly awaiting any more books from Cami Checkets.

To read a blurb on the book or the first chapter, please visit the author's website: http://www.camichecketts.com/.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Famous Family Nights

If you've been around much on Facebook, Goodreads, and Blogger, no doubt you've come across several reviews of the book Famous Family Nights. Well, I am a contributer to this book, but until recently, I never had the opportunity to read the rest. Now I have.

I heartily add my recommendations to other reviewers. Not only did I find many great family night ideas, but I learned that other people are just like me! We all struggle, especially when the children are young, but the concept of family night brings so many benefits that we continue to do it. And then at times, the light shines through and the moment is so sweet that we wonder why we ever doubted.

I came from this book with a determination to make our family nights more simple, fun, and more varied. Thanks, Anne Bradshaw for compiling this book! For more information, please visit http://www.annebradshaw.com/BOOKS.html.

More Reviews on Saving Madeline!

Some new reviews of Saving Madeline have been posted. Thank you, reviewers! Visit their sites and post a comment to be entered to win a copy at the end of the tour. You can be entered on every site, but not more than once per site. At least one book will be given away, but depending on the entries, more winners might be chosen. You may have to scroll down on some of them to find the right post (or do a search).

http://taffyscandy.blogspot.com/
http://ldswbr.blogspot.com/2009/09/saving-madeline-by-rachel-ann-nunes.html
http://sixldswriters.blogspot.com/
http://ggvandagriffblog.com/
http://tcharmy.blogspot.com/http://shirleybahlmann.blogspot.com/search/label/saving%20madeline
http://shumphreys.blogspot.com/2009/09/saving-madeline-by-rachel-ann-nunes.html
http://www.laurielclewis.blogspot.com/

Good luck!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Hidden Branch


As I've been preparing to launch my new novel, Saving Madeline, into the world, a friend of mine is doing the same for her new book. GG Vandagriff's romantic mystery novel, The Hidden Branch, will also be out later this month. The book takes place in Huntington Beach, CA, and is the fifth in the Alex and Briggie Mystery Series. But if you haven't read any of the others, don't let the series thing throw you off. You can definitely read it as a stand-alone.

I read this book in manuscript, and I am happy to report that Alex and Briggie fans, or mystery fans in general, will very much enjoy this new release. Briggie is as nutty as ever and Alex is as determined. Together, these ladies make a great team. Knowing GG as I do, I can tell you that she is every bit as fun in person as her characters!

Oh, and don't forget those handsome, romantic Armenians! Not to mention a certain fiance. You have to find out what's going on with them!

Anyone who orders The Hidden Branch on line or in stores before September 17th can qualify for an Alex and Briggie gift package and a chance to win an autographed set of the entire series by doing the following:

1. E-mail GG your name and address (address on her website)
2. Tell her where you bought or pre-ordered the book

For more information, check out http://ggvandagriff.com/.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saving Madeline Interviews and Blogs

Several reviews and interviews have been posted this past week about my upcoming novel, Saving Madeline. Comment on their sites and be entered into a drawing to win a free copy of the book at the end of the tour! (Winner posted shortly after September 25th.) I want to send out a thank-you to these bloggers for their time and comments. I'll post more sites every week!

Here are the URLS:
http://www.annebradshaw.blogspot.com/
http://www.utcolvins.blogspot.com/
http://www.jewelsbestgems.blogspot.com/
http://www.janetkayjensen.blogspot.com/
http://terirodeman.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 21, 2009

Agent in Old Lace

I'm a voracious reader, but it isn't every day I read a book I can recommend without reservations. Agent in Old Lace by Tristi Pinkston is one of these books. Tristi is known for her well-researched historical novels, but this book is something completely different. Both her current fans and new readers will enjoy this fast-moving, fun, contemporary mystery involving a betrayal and a dedicated FBI agent, Rick, who dons a dress in order to protect the heroine, Shannon Tanner. There is an endless amount of fun in this novel—danger, romance, action, suspense. If you are anything like me, you might not want to start reading at night if you have to get up early. This book keeps you turning the pages, and even when you think you have it figured out, you will probably be surprised. For more information, please visit Tristi's website: http://tristipinkston.com/.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Blog Tour and a Free Book!

I'm doing a blog tour for my upcoming novel, Saving Madeline (http://rachelannnunes.com/SavingMadeline_book.php). If you find one of these blogs and comment on it, you will be entered into a contest to win a copy of the novel! Yes, if you find more than one of these blogs, you can comment on each of them and each one is another name in the pot and a chance for the book. The contest begins on August 21st (or whenever the first blog comes out on Anne Bradshaw's site) and will be concluded shortly after September 25th, when I have the last blog scheduled. Good luck!

If you are a blogger and would like to participate in the blog tour, please let me know by sending me an e-mail from my website: http://RachelAnnNunes.com!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Author's Note in My Upcoming Novel Saving Madeline

Several years ago, shock radiated throughout Utah when an infant was found dead after ingesting meth she had found in a plastic bag on the floor of her home. What made this tragic circumstance even more notable and horrific is that weeks earlier her father had forcibly taken her across state lines, hoping to protect her from her mother’s substance abuse. Authorities found the child, placed her back with her mother, and sent the father to jail for assault and burglary. A little over a week later, the baby was dead and the mother was charged with desecration of a dead body for moving her daughter to cover up the mother’s drug abuse. All charges against the father were eventually dropped.

Sadly, this is not the only story of a child becoming the victim of a parent’s drug use. In Tulsa, a young boy grabbed a drink of what he thought was water but which was actually lye used in making meth. He survived, but his esophagus was burned away and the child will never be the same. Other children who have ingested similar chemicals weren’t so fortunate.

One mother, heavily doped up on drugs, accidentally rolled over and smothered her child as they napped on the couch. A six-year-old boy in Tulsa showed law enforcement officers in detail how his daddy made drugs. In meth homes throughout the country, baby bottles share sinks and refrigerators with meth containers, and the drug is often made in the same kitchen where food is prepared. Poison is only inches away from dinner plates and glasses of milk. Law enforcement officers wear protective gear when dismantling these meth labs, but the children who live there on a daily basis are unprotected from the toxic fumes that saturate their bodies, clothing, and toys—if they are lucky to have such things. Often these houses have no food, no toilet paper, and no sheets on the beds. The children are completely neglected, and the houses are filthy. Many of these children show developmental delays, organ injuries from the fumes, heart problems, seizures, and violent behavior.

Chief Deputy C. Philip Byers from the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina writes: "In 2004, over 2,700 children were found in methamphetamine labs seized by law enforcement officials nationwide. Children were present in 34% of the total lab seizures in the United States."1

Some of those children were injured or killed during the seizures. As shocking as that is, however, experts estimate that only a small percentage of meth labs are ever found.States seem to be losing the battle against methamphetamine addiction. Child welfare, law enforcement, substance abuse, and treatment systems are overloaded. Some estimate that over 8.3 million children in the United States live with a parent who has a substance abuse issue. Nearly 2 million child abuse cases each year are investigated, and a half million of those have enough evidence to act on. Some 200,000 children are removed from their homes each year.2

But what about the cases that aren’t proven? What about the children who fall through the cracks, but are still at risk? To what lengths might a non-custodial parent be compelled to go in order to protect a child from danger?

These were the questions I thought about as I began writing Saving Madeline. I wanted to show one man’s dilemma in balancing his need to protect his daughter with his duty to obey the law, to detail his struggle in an overloaded system where there are no second chances for the innocent victims. Please keep in mind that though the idea for this novel was inspired by the numerous true-life stories I researched, the plot, characters, and resolution in Saving Madeline are completely fictional. No actual experiences or interviews of real-life people were used in the text itself. (Neither does this story in any way reflect the life of the sweet Madeline I dedicated this book to. Though challenged with Muscular Dystrophy, that Madeline has the great fortune to have been born to loving and responsible parents.)

Could such a story actually happen? I believe so.

Backblurb for the book:
As a public defender, Caitlin McLoughlin dreams of someday locking the bad guys in prison instead of defending them. But prosecuting jobs are scarce, and Caitlin’s future seems bleak. When her current client is about to walk away from a brutal crime, she risks her career to make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone else. Yet what if her choice means sacrificing her career and the means care for her mentally disabled sister?

Then Caitlin meets Parker Hathaway, charged with kidnapping four-year-old Madeline. Just another criminal, another job, Caitlin thinks.

But Parker tells a far different story. Can Caitlin believe him, as her heart urges? Is she willing to put everything on the line to defend her client—a man who claims to be protecting the child he loves? Or is her trust better placed in the handsome deputy district attorney with his undefeated record in court? Caitlin’s pursuit of the truth swiftly thrusts her into a maze of unanswered questions and unexpected heartache.

Meanwhile, time is running out for Madeline. If Caitlin doesn't find the proof she is looking for soon, there may not be a future for any of them.


1. http://www.sheriffs.org/userfiles/file/Congressional%20Testimony/Deputy_Philip_Myers_Testimony_on_Fight_Against_Meth.pdf
2. http://www.gu.org/documents/A0/Impact_Meth_Abuse_on_Children_and_Families.pdf

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chastity and Youth

I visited a blog recently where they were discussing chastity for youth. As a Christian, I believe there is no absolutely no substitute for chastity. Youth need to understand that it's vital they do everything in their power to safeguard the sacred power of intimacy and procreation.

However, at the same time we are talking about the importance of chastity, we also must stress very strongly that no matter where a youth is in his or her life that through the Atonement they can be made pure again in our Heavenly Father's eyes if they go through a true repentance process, which is always painful but worth it. Some youth feel it's too late for them. Some believe they are beyond redemption and love. And that's simply not true, no matter the degree of their sin.

When I speak to young women, I always tell them about my teenage son, his friends, and the girls that interest them. These really wonderful, intelligent, spiritual young men don't run after the sexy-looking/immodest girls because they are uncomfortable around them. Or at least they NEVER brought them to my house. Interesting.

As a mother, I would always point out certain girls to my son and say, "Oh, I'd like you to bring her over sometime. Hmm, maybe not her. Her clothes are too tight." But is that fair, judging someone by what they wear? Well, it doesn't matter because regardless of fairness we are all judged by the way we dress and act. (And to oversimplify the point, I'd hate one of my daughters to miss out on a really great guy because she was wearing the wrong clothes that day.) Youth need to understand that at all times they are representatives of not only themselves, but of their family, their church, and their God.

Thankfully, modesty seems to be a maturity issue that most girls eventually understand and grow into.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Creature

I have no idea how long the creature had been living under my son's car which had been parked in the driveway for two and a half months, but we first noticed it on July 24. Some of our friends who had come over to swim that day saw the creature, and my husband saw it too. So I went to look, and sure enough something was under there. It was dark grey and black with long hair and a hairy tail. It stood about a foot and a half long, a foot wide, and about five inches tall. Weird claw/hands/whatever. We didn't get a really good look, but it sort of resembled a mink, only flatter and wider.

I tried to back the car out to get away from it, but it climbed up in the engine. Yes, the engine! It wouldn't come out even when I drove the car around. So I opened the hood and sure enough, I could see it. I poked at it with a stick and it scurried out of the engine, but was still under the car, and when I started the car and tried to back it up again, it crawled up in the back somewhere near the gas tank. We got our dog Max, and he tried to go under the car, barking like crazy. No response.

Then I parked driver's side wheels up on the curb to raise the car, and we let Max under, with the hope that it would run away (Max was on a leash). I was frightened that it was vicious animal, but Max didn't seem worried. Unfortunately (fortunately?) He couldn't get to it, but he was really close. The creature started chirping (sounding like a car alarm--chirp, chirp, chirp!) but wouldn't come out. So I drove around again, hoping he'd flee, but no such luck. It remained there, chirping the whole way. People were staring at the car since it appeared to be making such a weird sound. It was enough to make me feel sorry for the creature.

My husband got the hose and tried to spray it out. No result but that annoying chirping. So we left it alone and went out to the back and swam again. When my sister and her family arrived for fireworks, we got Max to see if it was gone. But the creature was still there and started chirping again. A friend of ours got under the car and tried to prod it a little with a stick, but I made him stop. I have no idea what kind of creature it was or if it was dangerous. For all I knew, the thing had rabies or worse. Or had claws that could shred a face in seconds. What if it came out an attacked one of the children? Besides, I felt sorry for the animal.

I moved the car and we did fireworks in the street as is our custom for Pioneer Day. I planned to call animal control the next day if it was still there. Thankfully, it wasn't. Needless to say, we're now parking the car in the garage! (And hoping my daughter doesn't hit it when she pulls her car in.)

We've had an ad in the paper to sell the car, but no one seems to want to pay what it's worth, and now that I've been driving it around because of this episode and have seen how nice it is, and how many extras it has, I've decided we're probably going to keep the car for our other daughter when she starts driving in a few months. When my son gets back from his mission, they'll have to duke it to see who ends up with it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Word from Hiroshima

I got word yesterday that my son arrived safely in Hiroshima. They even sent me a picture. He is the third from the left, next to the Japanese elder in glasses. He is going to have some great experiences there, and I'm so excited for him.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I Talked to My Son!

Yay! Yesterday I got to talk to my missionary son for the first time in two and a half months, not once but twice! He was in transit to Japan and called me from the airport in Salt Lake City and from LAX in California. He sounded just like he always did, and it was so great just to chat about anything and nothing. Problem is, I'm missing him now more than ever!

There were a few challenges in his transit. The MTC had misplaced his passport and visa, but they found it in the nick of time. Then he and the other three missionaries he is traveling with didn't seem to have tickets from Tokyo to Hiroshima. I told him to check at the two airlines in Tokyo and see if they had tickets at the deck. I still haven't heard, but I hope they arrived there okay. The mission president's wife said she'd e-mail me to let me know, so I'm waiting.

He's a smart kid and I'm sure they'll be fine, but as a mother, I need the reassurrance!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Socialized Medicine

This post is continued from my last one. I wish to clarify that I NEVER meant to imply that all unemployed people were lazy. Yes, indeed, there are hard-working people who cannot find jobs, and they are those I would number among the "unfortunate" who are deserving of medical help. I would also include single mothers among those less fortunate.

However, the unemployed in American do have Medicaid available. There are also laws in place that allow medical coverage for uninsured children. While this is a great blessing for many of these worthy people, the system is also rife with abuse. Too many people feel they are owed a living by the nameless rich. It’s a mind set that is far too casual among Americans today. They think, "That man has plenty, why shouldn’t I have it too? He should give it to me. Never mind that I haven’t worked hard or paid the price to get where he is today. I’ll vote for the government to make him give it to me." (Be it a house or a car or education or a trip or clothes.)

I see far too many children in this day and age who think this way. Is this because they were given too much by their parents? Did they ever learned the meaning of work and sacrifice? Sadly, studies have shown that poverty, reliance on the government, and a self of entitlement is often passed from parents to children. (I have known good people who were taught to believe they should have everything they need with no real effort on their part. Unfortunately, these same people also did not appreciate the sacrifice others make daily in the form of taxes so they could have that help.)

I’m reminded of the statement: "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach the man how to fish and you feed his entire village forever." Or something like that. This is how we need to approach any handout from any source.

Of course I’m NOT saying everyone who needs help has the self-entitlement attitude. Quite the contrary. Many work hard to obtain education, build business, and work long hours to give back to the community. I know this from personal experience, having gone through times in my life when I had next to nothing.

But back to medicine.

A terrible injustice has emerged in our county. Take the case of the woman who e-mailed me the letter advocating government health care (thus prompting my original post). Her husband works two jobs to support his family and to ensure that their autistic daughter gets the help she needs. Yet they are still sinking in medical bills, while several other families they see, who do not work at all, don’t try to maintain jobs, or are even in the country illegally, receive all the help they need through government programs. What kind of justice is that?

I agree that no child should ever die of cancer that could be helped with medical care, and autistic children deserve to receive all the care they need. But giving government even more power to control the system and our lives remains a danger I will never be willing to endorse. Most of the funds will, like in our school systems, go to pay highly paid administrators, leaving less available for real programs. I don’t know what the answer is, but I believe more government control is not moral or beneficial. We should control our own system, not look for "Big Brother" to take care of us to the point that we no long have any freedoms at all.

Government does have a rightful place in health care regulation, and I hope they step up to the plate, but more taxes, more socialist programs will only bring everyone to an overall lower level of care and lifestyle, with fewer people working to support the needs of everyone. Historically, socialism has NEVER worked in any country to any degree, and I don’t believe socialize medicine will fair much better.

One person on a comment below pointed to Canada as an example of nationalized health care. I’m happy she has been so fortunate to have the system working for her at present (or that she and her family have been healthy enough that no grave problems have arisen). And I will agree that Canada’s system has some advantages, but there are also huge problems--especially for those who have certain medical problems. For instance, there is a huge dearth of doctors. On the link below I read that "57% of Canadians reported waiting 4 weeks or more to see a specialist; 24% of Canadians waited 4 hours or more in the emergency room." Many other sites claim that Canada’s infant death rate increased after switching to government health care.

In England, who also has a socialized medical program, disabled children must wait 5 months to 2 years for a wheelchair.

Waiting for a wheelchair? Four weeks to see a doctor? More babies dying? That’s crazy. And then there’s the huge problem that the FREE MARKET DEVELOPS MOST of the drugs and medical advances. If government takes over, all that suffers. In any application, free market equals better inventions and procedures. Period. Whether you’re talking communications, oil drilling, or mail delivery.

For instance, I’ve read that in Canada if I wasn’t approved for a procedure, I couldn’t even pay for it because it’s illegal, even if that care could greatly increase my quality of life.

In the first link below it says, "A February 28, 2006 article in The New York Times stated, ‘Accepting money from patients for operations they would otherwise receive free of charge in a public hospital is technically prohibited in this country, even in cases where patients would wait months or even years before receiving treatment . . . Canada remains the only industrialized country that outlaws privately financed purchases of core medical services.’ "

So why are people trying to pay for these services in Canada? Because they feel they CAN’T wait for the services, or they want the doctor or hospital with the lower mortality rate for whatever operation they need. Who wouldn’t? Choosing a doctor carefully could mean the difference between life and death. Delays could mean death, or at the very least, months of suffering.

America, for all its faults, has some of the best doctors and treatments in the world, due to the free market. I want that for my family. I will work midnights at a grocery store to pay for it, or take in baby-sitting, clean houses—whatever, but I want that right. I’m not willing to risk my family to government care. I want to choose what procedures my family needs and when they should have them. Socialize medicine may help some families, but I remain unconvinced that the benefits would outweigh the negatives. In the end, you’d still have people paying for the "better" care and people dying because they didn’t get good enough care fast enough.

And yes, Christ wants us to take care of our neighbors. As I said in my post, many of us give thousands and thousands of dollars a year, sometimes at great personal sacrifice, to help others. This money goes straight to those in need. If taxes increase to cover nationalized medicine and that money is sent to the government instead, a high percentage of the funds will pay for expensive desks, traveling expenses, and highly paid administrators. So they’ll ask for more money, and more, until the small businessman goes out of business and then he and all his employees have to have help from the government, until finally there is no one else to tax. That will mean an even bigger recession than the one we are experiencing now.

Health care, government, education, taxes--everything is tied together. We MUST not depend on government to save us, but get out there and do what we can to better our own situation and help our neighbors as much as we can. Hard work is the answer, and charity to our brothers and sisters. Charity with should be kept in the hands of honest and private companies, like churches and other charities, not given to corrupt government. It’s too easy to be wasteful with the money of others.

Again, there are no easy answers. To that I believe everyone will agree. In a perfect world everyone on every economic scale would have access to the best medical care. But don’t look to government to create this utopia because it will simply never happen. I respect and invite other opinions, but we will probably have to agree to disagree.

As I stated before, my heart goes out to anyone suffering from diseases and medical problems. I hope you get the help you need.

Rachel

Some sites I quoted here:
http://kevincolby.com/2008/06/27/the-canadian-healthcare-system-and-its-problems/
http://www.angelfire.com/pa/sergeman/issues/healthcare/socialized.html (a list of links that show how government medicine has HURT people)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Government Heath Care Isn't the Answer

Recently, I received an e-mail asking me to call my senators to ask them to require insurance companies to cover autism AND to vote for a government-run health care system, since we are all equal and deserve equal health care. I agree with the former, but feel so strongly against the latter, that I decided to write about it here.

I simply can't agree with a socialist system in which the government takes over health care, essentially forcing those with jobs to work hard, long hours to pay for those who are unwilling or who can't work. In a perfect world, where there are no lazy people or people whose sense of entitlement makes them feel the world owes them a living, this would work well, but unfortunately, we don't live in that kind of world.

There are too many who demand housing, health care, cars, etc., but are not willing to work for these benefits, or who are not willing to go to school in order to increase their wages. Thus, everyone isn't "equal" with regards to working hard, and should not receive equal health care, housing, or other benefits. Of course, I'm not talking about unfortunate or ill people, or people who through no fault of their own do not have a job, but able-bodied people who essentially live off others because they're lazy and won't stick with anything. (I have seen too many who fall into this category.) There are also too many executives stealing from the tax coffers, too many politicians with their pet pork projects. This GREATLY reduces the money spent on needed programs. Placing health care in the hands of the government only increases the likelyhood of further misue of funds.

As an American people, we are already being taxed at more than 50%. I only regret that our founding fathers didn't put a cap of 10% on taxes as they originally intended (they thought 10% was so astronomically high that it would never be an issue). A question I ask myself is what right do I have to punish hardworking people and make them pay for my medical care? Because that is what a government-run health care system means.

Better to cut taxes and let businesses hire more people so those people can pay their own bills. And think of how much good people could do for those less fortunate if only the government would take their hands out of people's pockets so they have even a little more money to spend. While most Americans currently give only 2% of their wages to charity, I know people who typically give 15% to 20% of their funds to charities every year, even in this day and age. That's after they've already paid huge tax bills. I'm sure they'd do much more if given the chance.

At present about 10% of the top-earning people pay 90% of the taxes. Should we make them pay even more? What right to we have to demand that, whether they obtain the money by working themselves to death, running businesses, or as an inheritance from their families?Historically, government-run health care generally means a basic, no frills system, where the best care is not given to recipients. I know the current system isn't working well, but I strongly feel government isn't the answer, except, perhaps, to regulate insurance and drug companies, who I agree are taking advantage of the American people. (And then there's the whole other claim that there are many cures and promising research that are hidden or cut so that people will remain on expensive medicine their entire lives, which I believe but won't discuss here.)

Regulation of insurance and drug companies, I heartily endorse, but I believe free, equal coverage for all will only mean a mediocre system for everyone, including those who work three times as hard as everyone else. (IMO, our education system is a good example of this.)

In the end it seems the only certain thing is that we are all born with the equal opportunity to become unequal. What we make of this life is up to us. We must not depend on government to force others to rescue us from our problems. Hard work is the only moral answer.

My heart goes out to all those who are experiencing medical problems and despite their best efforts are unable to pay for them. I hope you get what you need from family and from caring people who give to charities. As someone who donates regularly, you are the type of person I hope my funds will help.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

You Know You're a Writer When . . .

You hear your seventeen-year-old tell her little five-year-old sister that she's going to lay down by the pool and the child says, "No, you're going to lie down by the pool."

Numb No More! Or Close Enough

A wonderful thing happened that I forgot to write about. Last February, about six months after my tongue and part of my mouth stayed numb after a dental procedure, I suddenly regained 90 percent of the feeling back. I was so excited. Except that like most things in life there was a side effect. In this case, I began experiencing pain from the capped tooth that had started the whole problem. This increased for six weeks until I had to go in for an emergency root canal that had me sobbing with the pain. I had four of my six children without an epidural (labors between 23 and 29 hours), and this pain was every bit as acute. Painkillers didn't seem to even take the edge off! But the specialist took care of the tooth, and though it's two months later and I'm still experiencing some discomfort with that tooth, I have almost all the feeling back in my tongue and gum. I can eat salads and popcorn again. Happy day! Unfortunately, chocolate tastes better than ever, so it looks like I'm not going to drop those extra few pounds without real exercise.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Missing My Son

A month ago my son Jordan entered the MTC (Missionary Training Center), and from there he'll be heading to Japan in July to be a missionary. Jordan is nineteen and a senior at BYU University, but this is the first time he's left home. These past few years, he's basically used our house as a place to hang his hat, so to speak. He's been busy with school and work, and we really didn't see him that much. So when he went on a mission for our Church, I didn't really think life would be that different.

But it is.

I can't go down to his room at night and chat and see how he's doing. I can't ask him if he's having dinner with us. I don't see him as he comes and goes. I can't ask him to help me lift something, grab a pizza, or pick up the kids from school.

Almost, it's as though he died, though I get an e-mail each week from him and the occasional letter. I've kept so busy that you would think I wouldn't have time to miss him. No one else in the family seems to feel his loss so acutely. Is that because I'm his mother? Because he's the oldest of our children and the first to leave? We've been so close all his life, and I've always been there for him. Now I can't be.

He'll be okay—he's a smart kid. I'm excited that he has this wonderful opportunity, and I'm proud of his selflessness. It's not every kid who'd leave shortly before finishing college to teach people about Christ for two years. I admire him for making that choice, and I can see by his letters that he's learning so much. After a month away, he doesn't even miss us because he's so involved.

But I still miss him so much it hurts every time I think about him (which is a lot), and I don't think that will go away until I pick him up in Japan in 2011. Until then, I've been weaning myself from writing him so much. This week I sent only two e-mails, and no letters. Next week, though, I'm going to send him his favorite raspberry-filled donuts.