Primary Class Notes for Father’s Day

From Ada:
My daddy’s name is Jeremy
He is 22 years old and 7 tall and weighs 100 pounds.
His favorite food is cereal (in his) milk.
My daddy is really good at morking (working) and fixing.
He loves to go hiking.
My favorite things to do with my dad is play games, puzzles, puppets, jobs.
I’m just like my dad because I’m cute!
What I love most about my daddy is when you tickle us!
It makes Dad happy when I cheer him up.

From Sam:
My daddy’s name is Jeremy
He is 9 years old and big tall and weighs 100 pounds.
His favorite food is milk.
My daddy is really good at playing games (Star Wars and Tickle Monster)
He loves to do things that are right.
My favorite things to do with my dad is play the rope Star Wars game.
I’m just like my dad because I am just as tall.
What I love most about my daddy is that he’s nice and plays with me.
It makes Dad happy when I play tickle monster with him.

Opposing Same-sex Marriage

So I support traditional marriage. Why do I oppose same-sex marriage? What’s the big deal? And if I’m supposed to love my neighbor, including homosexuals, then how is it OK to tell them how to live?

In 1997, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement concerning the family and its importance to God’s plan. This statement concludes with this warning:

“WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

So, on one hand, the leaders of my Church feel that this is an important enough issue (preserving the family) that we should be actively engaged in it. And I do believe in the leaders of my Church.1

On top of that, so far it seems apparent that same-sex marriage is contributing to the erosion of the family. I believe that same-sex marriage decreases the focus of marriage from the family to simply “two people in love.” And yes, I’ve heard the arguments about old or infertile people marrying, and in my opinion, those kinds of unions can (and do) exist without changing the definition of marriage. Marriage by definition is still focused on family (including children) as the ideal. Once we decide that it’s really just any two people that want to extend a commitment to each other, well, that’s changing the definition.

This brings up another interesting trick that’s being played on those who support the traditional family, and that is simply the idea that it’s up to us to prove that same-sex marriage is bad for society. If traditional marriage is the status quo, then why isn’t the burden of proof on those who desire same-sex marriage to prove that what they want will not harm society?

So far what I’m seeing is a continuing erosion of morality, family, and religion. And same-sex marriage is pushing those bounds even further. What’s more, it doesn’t seem to be stopping with same-sex marriage. Our country has been here before. Initially the idea was that civil unions would be the answer and that would be fine. Now it isn’t anymore, and we have to have same-sex marriage. And even as that is being pushed, calls are being made to further erode the idea of marriage, and/or to simply do away with it altogether (at least from a legal stand point).

I’m sorry, but to me, this is not progress. This is not how our nation, communities, and homes can be healed (and what is the definition of home without a family, anyway?). We need families. We need morality, and we need religion. I believe these things are fundamental in a society that believes in responsibility, work, and serving others. Those are the ideals that can build  (and repair) our society. And I firmly believe that family is the best place to learn those things. I also believe that religion is an important support for the family in this regard.

This is why I oppose same-sex marriage.

This does mean that I (and those who support traditional marriage) are indeed “telling people how to live.” We are forcing our ideals upon others. What a horrible, evil thing to do!

But…

Isn’t that exactly what law is supposed to do? Isn’t that exactly why we have governments? Not to dictate every moment of our lives, but to establish order. To debate and decide upon rules, regulations and ideals that will help us to live together as a society (Where the line should exist between “dictating every moment” and “establishing order” is a different topic). In forming such laws and regulations, we should discuss our ideas and beliefs. And yes, our morals will definitely affect that. And they should.

So if the chance to vote on same-sex marriage comes up, then I will vote against it. If I have an opportunity to discuss it with others, I will take it. That is true for lots of things both moral and otherwise. That does not mean that I hate homosexuals. It does mean that marriage and family are very important to me and that I feel the need to do what I can to protect and strengthen them.


Footnotes
  1. Of course this makes me one of the mindless “sheeple” who just does whatever my Church leaders tell me to. In my Church, we are expected to follow the prophets, but more importantly to gain our own independent witness of the things we are told to do. Essentially, we are to seek confirmation from God that what they are telling us is correct. See Elder Oaks talk, Two Lines of Communication. Another answer to this is simply, “Yes, I am trying to follow a Shepherd.” []

Portland Trip

In May we went to Portland for my brother’s wedding. We decided to stay for a week and see some of the sites in that area, and were not disappointed. It is really beautiful up there. At long last I’m getting my favorite pictures posted.

It’s Worth One Dollar

Having been thoroughly sucked into the world of tablets and smart phones, I’ve learned a couple things about the apps that you can get. And one lesson in particular stands out:

The app is worth one dollar.

A very common revenue model for apps is that there are two versions, a free app that has ads and a paid version that does not have ads. So far we’ve just downloaded the free version and ignored the apps.

However, even on our regular computer we’ve found that our kids aren’t always discriminating about where they click on the screen. Sam has already purchased and downloaded an app (we have no idea what it does…). But the kicker for me was when I accidentally clicked on an ad inside of an app, and found that I was one more click away from adding an additional $10 to my monthly bill.

What!?

Yep, some dinky ad that I accidentally clicked on started signing me up for some additional service, that would automatically charge me $10 per month, which would very nicely (and conveniently) be added to my phone bill. And I’m sure that opting out or canceling would be very simple and painless.

So, I’m thinking that the extra dollar to get the paid app is a worthwhile investment, especially if you ever let your kids play with your phone or tablet.

My blogroll: Get Rich Slowly

The focus on this site is managing your finances and saving money. Lots of plain sense and good ideas.

http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/

Family History Programs

So one of the things that I’ve started looking into is a decent way of storing and sharing family histories. I’m less interested in the dates and sources, although I do agree that those are important. I don’t think nearly enough emphasis has been placed on learning the histories and stories of our ancestors.

A couple quick examples:

  1. I really don’t need a census to tell me that I have a great-grandfather. I am very certain that at one point he did exist. So what? Why do I care? Why should I care? Well, when I heard the story about how he and his father worked together for a time, something inside me resonated with that. It did so enough that when I got a chance to work with my dad professionally I jumped at the chance. I even left a solid job for one that was rather shaky (the company did go under a couple years later). But I not only love and respect my father; he is one of my best friends, and I wanted to have the same experience my great-grandfather had. Virtually everyone I talked to warned me about the dangers of working with family–you can really ruin your relationship that way, etc. But you know what? It was awesome! I loved it–it was a wonderful experience. I’m sorry it didn’t last longer.
  2. Let’s say that you ask me how my day was, and I respond like this: “I woke up at 4:00 am, ate a very small breakfast. Lunch was at 12:35 pm, dinner at 6:30. I went to bed at 11:00 pm.” What have you learned about me? I’ve given you some facts, but without context it means nothing to anyone. It proves I was alive, but doesn’t show anything beyond that. In fact, that particular answer is misleading; as it implies that I get up extremely early–I did get up extremely early that day, but that was very much the exception. I’m actually known for sleeping in somewhat. You don’t know if that was a good day or a bad day, or whether it was remarkable in any way. The day I just described was June 11, 2011, when I ran the Utah Valley Marathon with two of my sisters. It was extremely hard, due to lack of both sleep and training, but still a very worthwhile (and remarkable) experience. Will my children and their children be affected in some way because they learn that I enjoyed running long distances? Probably more so than just if they know that I existed.

Now, I’ve heard my parents tell a couple remarkable stories about our ancestors, and I want to know more. I want to record those and share them. That’s where this gets a little tricky. The traditional genealogy programs out there focus very much on dates and sources–proving that this person was your ancestor. That is valuable and important. To a Mormon like myself, it’s even important for our salvation. But I believe that is only half of the equation. The Bible talks of the hearts of the children turning to their fathers. For myself I have experienced this as I have learned about them–what kind of people they were and the stories of their lives.

I want a program where the focus is on sharing stories. I want it to be collaborative. I want it to be sharable. I want it to be simple. Family History is done largely by people who are unfamiliar with computers, and even I get confused at all the buttons, options, and choices presented to me on some of the programs I’ve seen. Why is it so complex? Why is it that the only place to put histories is in the notes? And why, oh why is it that I can only upload pictures and sounds? Why not RTF documents, PDFs, videos, etc, or even text documents? Histories do not belong in the notes section. Notes belong in the notes section. Thankfully the genealogy programs seem to be improving somewhat, but the focus is still on proof and dates much more than stories and histories.

Personally, when I see a quick summary view of an ancestor, what I would like to see is:

  • Their picture, if available
  • birth and death (years ONLY)
  • A one or two sentence summary about the person (“Cattle thief. Good with kids”).

The detailed view of the individual would have the picture, full birth and death dates and summary at the top. The main section would be their full biography. Other data (birth place, ordinances, etc). would be in an info box to the side. Sources would be at the bottom. Something along those lines.

I thought a wiki-based approach would be a good way to do what I consider to be a family history program as opposed to a genealogy program. It is collaborative, it is online, so it’s sharable. The trouble is that without some serious work, the average wiki is too complex. We don’t want the users to have to learn wikitext. They need a rich text editor. They need a simple way to attach families, individuals, pictures, movies, etc.–the process would be more like writing a blog than using PAF.

I just recently installed a wiki with the intent to try and grow it into something useful, but a friend pointed me to a few sites that are doing this kind of thing, and I’m looking into those as well as trying to do further research on additional existing functionality. So far the ones that are the most interesting to me are werelate.org and familypedia.org, although there is a lot more research to do.

I’m especially intrigued by the idea of combining family history information (including the dates and places that I’ve been ranting about) with the idea of the semantic web, making that information (and the associated stories and histories) easier to share not just by pointing people to your specific site, but allowing other sites and programs to easily find, interpret, understand, and re-share that same information.

For the short term, I’m going to research the existing products more, and decide whether to continue trying to build my own or to use an existing program (and/or assist in developing it). Part of me wants to build my own, of course, but that would be a very large undertaking, and I don’t have very much time to spare.

Do you have any family history programs you would recommend? How do you share your family stories?

Evelyn

So baby #3 arrived the other day. I’m still surprised at how small they are (Mommy is very glad they aren’t any bigger, thank you very much…).

She is a beautiful baby, and had her eyes open and looking around at everyone. Other than a very long labor, everything went pretty well (and long labors are par for the course, unfortunately…).

Here’s my private post with lots more pictures: http://jergal.blogspot.com/2011/06/evelyn-joy-robertson.html

Proposition 8

An excellent post about Proposition 8 – particularly on the discussion about Freedom of Religion vs. Freedom of Worship.

http://thoserobertsons.blogspot.com/2010/08/is-sexual-freedom-more-important-than.html

Playhouse Bush

So I’m going to brag a little. I’ve been wanting to re-do our rather dilapidated swingset, but we don’t currently have the money to do all the neat stuff that I want to do. So instead of that, I built a toddler size playhouse out of our snowball bush.

The bush is huge, so it already had a decent amount of space underneath it. I took one afternoon and cleared out the (mostly) deadwood from underneath the bush and ended up with a fairly decent space.

After that the main thing it needed was a door.

Here’s the inside:

And a few more pics for fun: