Sunday, January 31, 2010

She said yes and other happenings...

Monday was piano for Izak & Micah, scouts for me, first aid again--we do all the requirements for a theme, we don't go rank by rank. A neighbor had called that afternoon to let us know that a pediatric doctor from St. George was on his way to Haiti and was donated a cargo plane so he had lots of room for donations--his brother lives in Cedar Hills and was spreading the word. So we went over to Walmart and each of the kids used his/her own money to buy the needed supplies. Tim and I also bought stuff too to donate. I called my sister who also knows this friend and she picked up some stuff and took it to her too. They got a whole truckload of stuff. It was nice for us to feel like we were doing something more personal than writing a check to the Humanitarian Dept or the Red Cross. They still need help so send your prayers and if possible donations. Here's an amazing story: Haitian Boy Sings Primary Songs Until Found

Tuesday was the usual help in kindergarten, I visited with a friend for awhile until I went to my visiting teaching interviews. That was fun, she watched Gwen for me while I helped since my other friend was at Disneyland--lucky!:) Emily had basketball practice and Izak's was canceled. Timo had a game and they won. I am sorry the video didn't work so I couldn't post it Taran's answer to Sweethearts. This was Taran's Sweetheart date's response to the toaster...she put Y E S ! on four Poptarts. She and one of Taran's friends danced to a song that said,"Fire burning on the dance floor!" I think something like that. We are glad and also happy we got the toaster back!(actually it only took forever to load but you can watch it at the end of this post--it's only part of it!)

Wednesday, I did some errands while Gwen was at playgroup. I visited another friend after playgroup, not as long as I'd have liked but owell. It was a little sad and someday I may tell the story, at least what I know... which is only part of it of course. Gwen got invited to a friend's after playgroup so she had fun with that and I was able to get some organizing done in our master closet...more to do but it's better! Emily had Musical Theater in the afternoon. Then Emily had New Beginnings that night, it was so well done! We are so blessed to have great leaders! FYI those not of our faith this is a special night for the young women of our faith and their parents and they talk about the theme for this year: Strong and Courageous...from a scripture in Joshua that escapes me at the moment...

"Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest" (Joshua 1:9; italics added). I just went and found it. Love it!

Thursday I watched my niece and nephew while my sister-in-law went to her last check up before her induction this week! It's always fun to visit with her and the kids. That afternoon Emily had piano. We had pack meeting but since we also had a wedding reception we did not go to pack meeting. We went to Tim's cousin's daughter's reception. We had fun visiting with his aunt and uncle--she is their granddaughter. And various other family members including his sister and our niece. It was really nice, they seem like a great couple!

Friday my dad hung out over here while my got a haircut. I always enjoy his visits we have fun bouncing ideas off each other. My mom picked up Wendy's for lunch for the kids, which they loved. Taran had a camp out and a really nice cabin by Timberlakes a guy who lives in our ward owns. They had a blast but didn't sleep much! Emily had a birthday party for a girl from her theater class at classic skating check out her blog about that! Timo stayed late to take a test so I couldn't go to the temple like I have been doing most Fridays, owell. Timo and a friend went to a high school basketball game that night and fun I guess. Tim read that night and I folded laundry and exercised! So exciting I know!

Saturday Tim had to do the scoreboard for churchball at 7 AM. Emily and Izak had games and team photos that morning. Tim took Izak out for lunch on a date and I took Emily to see April Ann a play at the Hale Center Theater. Emily's director for Seussical Jr. was suppose to be in this cast but was not--some last minute changes. So we were a bit disappointed. It was still very good. After we got home Tim took Emily on down to his parents' to watch BYU thump Utah. Sorry Utah fans it was a thumping. Timo spent all day with his buddies and a girl making their Spanish video. Tim helped out with that while I was gone. I guess it's pretty funny. Taran was a zombie when he got home but managedto get his chores done and went over to his friend's and watched Shaolin Soccer, crazy funny Chinese movie--we've rented it before!

Zane had a talk today at church and mostly covered his mouth with his hands while he spoke, it reminded me of when he played the kazoo for the grandparents with his arm over his face! LOL! Church was great got me all fired up on Family History! Tim did his hometeaching today and our hometeachers came over. They are truly a blessing and just barely dropped off some fresh home baked snickerdoodles! Love the Rogers family!!!!

This week I get to go to parent-teacher conferences at the Elementary school and attend Taran's registration/planning for next year with his counselor this week too...folks he's going to be a senior! We get Friday off so we are glad for that! Enjoy February!!!! It's usually the hardest month on people of the whole year, make it your best!!!!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

If I were President...

I know it's Freedom Friday but I have been thinking a lot about this. It's a tough job, I mean seriously next to being a parent this job has so much influence and responsibility it would be overwhelming.

So what would I do???

First I would really want to eliminate the tax code to either a straight flat tax for all or a national sales tax so even those here illegally could build up the coffers. Our tax code is so messed up, complicated and a lot people spend a lot of time trying to find their way around paying their part.

I would go back to basics on federal government and give the states back more power to control what goes on in their states. I feel like if people have more direct control of the money spent in their neighborhood they will care. And hopefully the states would allow local governments more power in their own areas. What role should the federal government have? Protect our country and our freedoms. Freedom doesn't mean we are entitled to a certain lifestyle. It means if we are born poor we can dream big because if we "work hard and are kind, amazing things can happen."

I would propose suspending unnecessary programs that are not our responsibility and have them phased out and during that time offer employees training to find new jobs once the phase out is complete. IE I would give all the money people have put into the SS program and let them invest it privately as it seems to them appropriate. And discontinue a bankrupted system.

What about welfare? Well, I would really encourage the development of job and educational training and help for those needing to get back on their feet a system they would borrow from and then pay a percentage back over time until it is all paid off so others could participate in the program as well. Kind of like the micro-loans done in 3rd world countries they buy chickens with the borrowed money and earn money to get out of poverty and then start paying back the system. Of course this means I am counting on the goodness of others to step to donate to this and help those disabled. But I feel that if people are given the chance they do help their neighbor if no one else is, for example Haiti...people are helping despite being without or living in difficult times the donations are coming. I think that there are a lot of creative solutions to poverty. Greg Mortensen of 3 Cups of Tea learned the best way to build a school in Pakistan and Afghanistan was to put the locals in charge, they had to provide land and labor he took care of the funding and teacher training. He is doing this without help from any government just good people donating. I believe it can be done. People will be happier if they are providing a solution to their own problem and they won't feel guilt or humiliation because they are doing something.

What about health care? Well, I feel strongly government mettles too much in these things--tons of laws and regulations. Let the insurance companies compete across the nation, beyond states and let doctors compete and those who are bad will be weeded out. Let people decide what and where their health care is... The government can barely handle my mail so how is it going to handle my health? Also, there is no money for health care, medicare etc. Ask people on Medicaid how it's going for them? I think again we can come up with more creative solutions than making all of us pay for lousy health care. Because the amount they will make us pay will not cover what is necessary and so it will go sub-par and therefore the elderly and disabled will get some morphine and get sent home--if they are lucky. And we won't have anywhere to go if we get sick--MANY, MANY people come HERE from Canada and England to get treatment because their system is broke, it will not provide what they need. So why would we want to set our system up to be like theirs? It's insane and it doesn't work.

Cut spending...I should have put that first. Cut, cut,cut. When a family losses some or all of it's income, they don't go out and buy a new car and max out their credit card--if they are wise. They cut out the unnecessary: eating out all the time, going to newest movie releases, buying the latest clothing...they make do, find another job or few extra jobs to keep themselves a float. They have a savings for such an emergency. We have nothing, we are part of the global economy and the other countries are getting wise and they are not buying our bonds anymore. We are on the brink of inflation and total failure of the dollar because of trillions of dollars in spending, for what? Clown ballet? Yes, stimulus money was spent on that and other RIDICULOUS things. When the government is so big how can it track every penny or hundreds of thousands of dollars? That's why it's better spent locally, the people there can keep track and be held responsible for it too! Part of cutting spending is the salaries that congress gets and other federal employees. Their salaries should be no higher than the average teacher, they are serving us, right? So minimal compensation and retirement, only what they earn in office that they invest instead of a pension they get forever!

I think I would also follow Greg Mortensen's example in working in foreign countries. All the aid we send them usually doesn't end up helping the locals. It needs to be better planned and the locals need to be involved in the rebuilding of their communities, and I think because of Greg they are starting to do that. But I say zero tolerance for terrorists they are just grown up babies wanting attention and should get none!

So there's my 2, or 3 cents! I will never be president but I can dream still because it is America:)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

love can break your heart...

Have you ever felt like your heart would break? Because you cared so much about someone? Like maybe a parent or a sibling who is facing difficult times, or a child who is suffering because someone's actions or a friend who maybe has chosen unwisely? I am finding the older I get the more my heart seems to break for those around me. I know it's love that brings me to empathize to that extreme but I swear one of these days it may kill me!

This morning I was reading about Enoch, the prophet whose people repented and were so good they were of one heart and one mind so they were taken up to live with God. Enoch was surprised to see God weeping at the wickedness of his creations. Then Enoch saw the wickedness of the people and how they were hurting each other and the scripture says: "as Enoch saw this, he had bitterness of soul, and wept over his brethren and said unto the heavens: I will refuse to be comforted:; but the Lord said unto Enoch: Lift up your heart, and be glad; and look."

And a couple of verses later is says: "And behold, Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, even in the flesh and his soul rejoiced..." So Enoch was comforted in the knowledge that Jesus Christ would come and redeem the repentant.

This gives me great comfort. I can not take away the pain and suffering of the world nor can I change the poor choices people make. But I can be comforted in these situations because Jesus can make things right through his atonement. For this I also rejoice and am very grateful. It also makes me appreciate Jesus and Heavenly Father more because they love more deeply than I do and they know how I feel.

So I guess my heart will not break but if I choose to turn to the Lord, like Enoch, I can be comforted and my heart will find it's strength again, and maybe be a little stronger.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My house is a lab and a learning center...

This week we had the last of our strep--I think! Monday, was Martin Luther King Day. Tim caught Izak's cold and tried to rest a little but ended up playing dodge ball with some of the younger kids (Emily on down) with some neighbors at a local Junior High--one of the dads is the vice principal there. They had a lot of fun. Timo and his friends worked on their Spanish video. Taran went ice skating with some friends, it was sort of a date. He was still getting over his cold but seemed to get himself up for that. We had a low key family night and watched Winnie the Pooh Valentine, it is really cute. We were all laughing. What was I doing? I did my usual shopping and made dinner.

Tuesday I ended up taking Micah in for a strep test, he passed, I mean he had it! He was running a fever and complained about his throat. Izak stayed home because his cough had kept him up in the night. He worked on his Native Utah Indian project, check it out in the collage it's a Goshute Wiki-Up. Emily has been working on her science fair project so the kitchen looks like a lab of sorts. I sort of organized my magnetic board so check it out in the collage. I have place for each kid to 'hang' their stuff, a calendar, the chore chart and photos we get from school and relatives also posted, coupons, desk looks better I just need to get rid of the rest of the stuff! I did scouts Tuesday, luckily we had leftovers so I didn't need to make anything for dinner. Emily had basketball. Izak missed scouts and basketball. Timo went to a lacrosse try out, orginaly he was not going to go because he is new to the sport. But the high school coach wanted them to at least get a face with a name for the freshman coach and so that we could pay our fees. Yes, folks high school sports are not free! or cheap!

Wednesday Micah was still home since he hadn't been on the antibiotic 24 hours. I left him home while Gwen was at playgroup and I had my permanent crown put on. He was fine, he watched Prince Caspian. Emily had musical theater after school. Timo had scouts and Jr Jazz basketball practice. Taran had scouts early and then went to the AF vs LP basketball game a rivalry game. LP won!

Thursday everyone went to school! Gwen's friend Max came over for a little bit and then Zane friend Camden came over after kindergarten--he doesn't live in the neighborhood. I took them sledding. They were both really sweet to take turns taking Gwen down--I am still nervous since my back surgery last year. My dad came over for a visit. Emily interviewed him. Izak and Micah worked on all their make up took until 8:30 PM. They didn't want it over the weekend. Emily's piano got canceled the piano teacher had a sore throat--not our fault! Tim refereed some basketball games that night.

Friday I watched my niece Holly and nephew Anders while their mom Katie got a check up. She has lass than 2 weeks left. Her doctor is near us so that's why we are convenient. They had fun. Zane and his friend Marc were cute with him most of the time. We had a nice visit. Tim stayed home in the morning trying to rest to get better and trying to get a song ready for a funeral Saturday. An older man who his father worked with at Eyring, died of some type of cancer. So one of Tim's co-workers from Novell organized a group of guys who had worked with this man from Eyring, Novell and the church to sing and Tim got put in charge of the musical selection. So that's really what he did instead of rest. I was able to go to the tmeple when Taran got home from school. That was really nice. When I got home Emily and Izak had gone to Walmart. Through a mix up she sent him home, alone and stayed to find something she thought she had lost at Walmart (a bracelet a friend had made her). So Tim on his way home tried to find her and could not--paged her at Walmart but she did not hear! So he was distraught when he left with Izak for his basketball game. I wasn't worried just annoyed. She finally showed up and found the bracelet later in the laundry room! So they are grounded from going to Walmart, which you could have guessed. Taran and friends tried to ask girls to the Sweethearts Dance but it was a blizzard and they couldn't see a thing. Izak's game went well then he went to a birthday party where they played dodge ball, yep same family! He had a lot of fun.

Saturday, Emily had an early basketball game so Tim took her. I let the other kids sleep in and it was so beautiful and white, serene as the sun came up. Tim left soon after he got back to meet up with the other guys to practice the song for the funeral, it went well. He was gone until almost 3PM! Timo and Taran a church ball game that didn't go well but they seemed to survive it all. Timo had to be at his school at 4 PM to catch the bus to Salt Lake for with his choir. They have an honor choir of junior high students from all over Utah are chosen and go for 2 days to work with a special conductor. They invited 2 junior high choirs to perform at the concert with this honor choir (separately)and Timo's choir was one of them. It was pretty cool. Timo's choir is the best junior high choir I've ever heard. The honor choir was amazing all those talented kids singing together! One of the kids from our neighborhood was in it, so it was fun to see him and his family there. Taran and Emily kept the fort down while we were gone. We took Timo out to eat after--Tim and I actually ate before so we just got shakes. Apparently they fed them but Timo eats quite a bit these days. It was fun because we got to watch the Jazz and BYU play basketball while we ate--they both won. When we got home Taran left to try and ask again! We hope he hears back soon since she has our toaster! Yep, it's weird but hey it was HIS idea!

Tim conducted the choir in a song in church today and it was really nice. Church seemed especially good today. I was deeply touched by the talks, lessons and prayers. The teenagers have a fireside (special speakers) tonight and our kids are singing the youth choir.

I have finally settled into the fact that my home is not a picture from a magazine. It's a lab and learning center. Most of my time is spent helping my kids in some form of homework and trying to teach them principles that will bring them peace and joy. I was frustrated this week because I thought I would finally have time to tackle some organizing projects but my children needed me more than the organizing did. So maybe this week...Not that I ever thought I was capable of a magazine picture type room but I think most women would agree that their home is their territory and when it is not in order it is unsettling. I can live with temporary chaos like all of Emily's bags of dirt, mud and rocks on the kitchen counter and her experiment in the window. So wish me luck! Have a great week, the last week in January! Wow, that went fast!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Freedom Friday a little early...

A Czar to Drive Doctor-Patient Decisions

By Robert Goldberg

Since taking office, President Obama has appointed 30-some "czars" to address all manner of problems plaguing the American polity. Now, a revision in the House's version of health reform would create a Health Choices Administration, headed by - you guessed it - a health czar.

A new Health Choices Administration commissioner would oversee a national health insurance exchange in which Americans theoretically could purchase affordable coverage. In fact, this administration and its cousin in the Senate bill - a vague panel that would define what health care quality is and what to pay for it - would have sweeping powers to collect the private health and billing records of doctors and patients; regulate what physicians do and what care patients receive; and define, right down to the kind of bedpan provided, what constitutes "affordable quality care." All in the name of choice.

Cost largely will drive the czar's decisions, though he'll likely resort to different terminology, such as "patient-centered" care. This is like confusing airplane food with home-cooked meals. Make no mistake: The goal will be to generate guidelines that save money overall, even if it costs some people greater suffering - or even their lives.

In November, government officials offered a preview of how the Health Choices Administration would operate. In a much ballyhooed decision that eventually was overturned, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force decided that giving American women in their 40s an annual mammogram was no longer necessary. Defenders of the decision claimed the panel relied on the best science available. It actually was the best science money could save.

Breast cancer mortality had declined by 30 percent since regular mammograms became standard practice for women over the age of 40 in the 1990s.

In fact, the government panelists looked at data that was focused on cost-effectiveness. They noticed that it took 1,904 breast cancer screenings of women in their 40s to save one woman's life - but just 1,339 screenings of women in their 50s to save a life. That's almost 30 percent more efficient. They - and the study on which they relied - concluded that delaying screening could save government or society money.

But those savings would come at great cost to more than a handful of women.

One in 68 women in their 40s will develop with breast cancer in the next 10 years. More than 5,000 women under the age of 50 die from breast cancer each year.

Also, the data glossed over individual and group differences in breast cancer.

"One size doesn't fit all," said Lovell A. Jones, director of the Center for Research on Minority Health at Houston's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Mr. Jones said the guidelines put out recently by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force covered a broad segment of American women based on the data available.

"Unfortunately," he said, "the data on African-Americans, Hispanics and to some extent Asian-Americans is limited. ... For them, putting off the first mammogram until 50 - as recommended by the government task force - could put their lives in danger."

Cost-based calculations like these undoubtedly would creep into every part of our health sector under the new health czar. In fact, California already has adopted restrictions slashing free mammograms for poor women in their 40s that are similar to those proposed by the federal panel.

Indeed, the goal of the reform plan is not to expand innovations but to restrict them. Time and again, the health czar in the House bill and the shadowy advisory panel in the Senate bill would determine which services and choices a doctor makes are valuable and which are not. Within two years, the new bureaucracy is supposed to come up with a list of "high-value" services for certain high-cost diseases and set a price for each service.

Within three years, the czar would be churning out more one-size-fits-all mammogram-type decisions for new technologies. Health plans and exchanges would have to meet these standards, or else the czar or some czarlike force would establish them. To come up with these new standards, the health czar would have unlimited access to private data, including personal medical records and billing information.

A shortage of doctors? The health czar would have it covered. He'd prepare standards for assuring that people with diabetes, mental illness and cancer could be cared for by physician assistants and medical technicians.

And for this, most of us will pay higher taxes and premiums, face cuts in Medicare and be forced into Medicaid. Only Congress would call this "patient choice."

Robert Goldberg is vice president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dad's Birthday, and a few doctor's visits


Last Monday we met up with all my family to have ice cream at Thanksgiving Point deli/ice cream shoppe. My dad had been sick so we didn't do a big thing. The kids were excited. It was nice until they started running all over--its the lack of exercising... cabin fever... whatever... from winter. So we packed them up and went home before I needed to yell at them.

I picked some old photos of my dad to post with this. He is and was quite the character. He grew up in South Africa, his father worked on a mine. He had polio when he was about 4 years old. His granny saved his upper arm from the affects of polio by exercising it when the medical staff were gone. Yep. they thought back then if they strapped you down it would stop the disease from spreading. Unfortunately she was unable to get his leg out to exercise it so he has a limp and a weak ankle. Despite all this he grew up swimming, playing cricket, tennis and ping pong. He also learned to blow things up and had many interesting experiences. He owned a Vespa and took a road trip on it before his mission wearing a beret and a full gote--he looked very french! He made his way to Canada after his mission in South Africa by way of the Holy Land and Europe. He has had many interesting experiences. He reads like crazy and knows something about just about everything. If we had been wealthy he would have taken us all over the world I have no doubt because he loved to share new places and new things with us. And now with our children. I can't imagine how frustrating having Alzheimer's must be for him. He still has a great long term memory it's just remembering more recent events or how to do complicated tasks sometimes he finds challenging. He had what they think was a minor stroke in December so we are grateful he is still here. Hopefully, we can make some great memories with him this year before he gets worse. Life is so fragile and precious there is always something reminding us to enjoy each day and our relationships.

Gwen, Zane and Emily had strep this week. I got to take them all to the doctor--at different times. The inconvenience and cost pails to the Haitians and their circumstances so I am not going to complain. They are doing much better. Taran and Izak have nasty colds so they missed church today but are doing better too.

Tim got my Christmas present up--an 8 foot magnetic board in the kitchen for all the stuff, I am hoping it will get me organized.

We had more basketball this week. Emily missed her's because of strep but I actually got to go Izak's. He played great esp. at the end he hit a buzzer beater shot!

Saturday I got to go to a bridal shower for Tim's cousin's daughter, Michelle with Amy and Tim's mom. It was really fun to catch up with family there. I remember Michelle when Tim and I first got married, I am stunned she is getting married! How is it most days I don't feel as old as I am but then everyone keeps growing up it makes me feel old!?

Tim and I got to go on a little date last night, always a highlight of my week! Because of all the sickies at our house I rented some movies so we actually finally saw Night at the Museum 2, it was cute and some Wizards of Waverly Place movie that the sickies liked.

We hope you had a great week and keep up on those resolutions! You can do it!!!
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Friday, January 15, 2010

Freedom Friday

Just passing along an interesting article about the Health Care Bill, there is still time to let your representatives know how you feel! We need real reform, not this!

Special Deal for Labor Unions in Health Care Bill by Megan McArdle

14 Jan 2010 03:15 pm
The labor unions have been fighting the Senate health care bill for some time now--specifically, the provision that levies high taxes on "Cadillac" plans that exceed certain maximums. That was expected to be a sticking point in the negotiations between the Senate and the House, but as Samuel Johnson once said, "the prospect of being hanged focuses the mind wonderfully." With the potential loss of their 60 vote majority lurking ahead, they can't dawdle on the details; it's time to haul in their lente and festina like hell.

And so it looks like they may have reached a deal sooner than otherwise expected: unions get a special two-year exclusion from the tax.

Presumably, the unions plan to go back and get their exclusion extended every few years. Otherwise, the deal doesn't make much sense. The ostensible reason for the respite is to allow them to renegotiate new collective bargaining agreements, but in these inflationary times, how many collective bargaining agreements last longer than three years? I could be wrong about that, but unless I am, 2013 is plenty far enough away for most of the unions in question to negotiate better contracts.

Giving them an extra two years seems like acknowledging that they can't negotiate better contracts, a situation that won't really change very much after the recession is over for many of the unions in question. Moreover, trading wage gains for less generous health benefits arguably gets very complicated for unions with multi-employer plans. Not least because the workers will not be feuding with insurance plans over claim denial, but with the unions themselves.

The next question is: where do they make up the lost money? There are three obvious places left: use some part of the "millionaire's tax" that the House bill imposed; beef up the scope of the "automatic" cost cuts; or slash provider reimbursements even further. The former is problematic because it hits New York and California's powerful delegations the hardest. And as far as I can tell the trend has been towards weakening, rather than strengthening, the automatic cost cutting authority. So I expect there will be some enhancement to the "productivity indexing" for provider payments, and/or a new special tax on one or more classes of provider.

Of course, they could just eat the concession; they have wiggle room in the CBO estimates. But I doubt they will. For one thing, they will probably have to make other concessions that eat up the wiggle room. For another, they like making each bill more deficit-busting than the last; I fully expect whatever monstrosity emerges from this quasi-conference will have a CBO score even better than the final Senate bill. So they'll probably be looking to make up the money somewhere.

This may backfire. If you think that the Nebraska deal was unpopular, just wait until the administration announces higher taxes on everyone but its friends in the labor movement. We may see if the popularity of the health care bill still has room to fall.

Update: The more I think about this, the more I think it's a huge mistake. Support for unions is at a record low, and the GM deal has already made people think that the Democrats are doing sweetheart deals for Big Labor with our money. Republicans will have a field day.

Update II: Early reports understated the deal, which now has the excise tax kicking in for labor unions in 2018. Even more popular, I expect, and even less plausible as a necessary move to let them renegotiate their contracts.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Beating the Winter Blues...

It seems this time of year can be a hard time...I always thought it was post holiday blues. I felt the let down of no more Christmas music, planned family activities and the anticipation of the big day now over...But it is a natural part of winter. For some it can be more serious and those who feel a complete overwhelming loss and depression a visit with a health care professional may help, a lot. It's the darker days that bring about these feelings, our bodies and minds naturally need light to be healthy.

What do you do to combat the Winter Blues? I thought I'd share some things that I have found and am finding out that help me.

1. have a plan for a project--whether it's to organize your photos or your closet, something, having a new purpose after the holidays which has consumed our time with preparations now we can add a new focus. I read a great organizing book: Organizing from the Inside Out, I just need to make my plan but I like her thought that we need to start with a small area so we have a success in very little time, this will keep us motivated!

2. exercise--I know, some of you didn't want to see that but it's common knowledge that exercise releases natural endorphins that can improve our mood besides getting us ready for swimsuit weather and helping us just feel good. Start slow, again small successes keep us motivated. Find something you like an stick with it every day!

3. eat right--we are all old enough to know food can also affect how we feel emotionally and vice versa. Try to substitute sugar foods with fruit, this is what I am trying to do. But allow yourself A treat just not LOTS of treats. Writing down what you eat helps see what food choices you are making and why.

4. read a good book, fun, romantic, non-fiction whatever you like, need ideas? Great non-fiction 3 Cups of Tea or Left to Tell, Historical fiction: Fever 1793 or Chains, Fun/Fantasy: The Goose Girl or Ella, Enchanted (not like the movie) or Princess of the Midnight Ball, Romantic: I would say the Twilight books even though I enjoyed them as a guilty pleasure I am sort of sick of hearing about them--I haven't even seen New Moon (gasp!)because of it, so you are on your own there

5. help someone else, the happiest people seem to find a way to help others and it doesn't have to be big: a note, a prayer in their behalf, a smile

6. read the scriptures of your faith, daily. I feel closer to God when I am reading His words and I feel his spirit more abundantly in my life when I read them it lifts my soul and encourages me in every aspect of my life

7. keep a gratitude journal, write in it daily, it helps us to keep perspective of our own worries and troubles

I know there are more things, so share what works for you! Don't think of this new year as the middle of winter but the beginning of a clean slate, all the wonderful possibilities we can imagine, we can do with some work...and the light will come, it is a little more every day!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Muddling through the first week back...


So how are those New Year's Resolutions working for you? Well, don't give up it's a new week to get back on track. I actually stayed committed to mine all week. I know this week will be harder since I am so tired...what am I doing? Getting up at 5:30 AM to exercise and read my scriptures. Now this is huge because I am not a morning person in the least. I have found many benefits to this even though I need a nap every day but I did before anyway! Some day I'll post my insights and the blessings I have received.

Last Sunday night we celebrated my sister Teresa's birthday. My mom brought the food, we celebrated at my house so the kids and I decorated. It was yummy and fun. I think she had a good time and liked what she got. Monday we got to go out to dinner since some anonymous generous person gave us a gift certificate to the Pizza Factory. It was delicious and everyone enjoyed themselves. Teresa and my parents met us there as well and then Teresa came over after to watch TCU vs Boise St in the Fiesta Bowl. That was our family night. Basketball started in full force we had practices for Timo, Emily and Izak. Next week both games and practices for them. Emily, Timo, Taran and Tim aslo had church ball as well. We had a Court of Honor also last week. Taran and Timo don't really earn anything--usually. Taran just needs to finish his hiking merit badge and Timo needs that one and 2 more he's almost finished. And then Timo needs to do his Eagle project and Taran needs to get his paperwork done for that but at least the project is done! Friday night my sister had some free tickets to a Utah Flash game it's a D league team. I think. Meanshile Gwen was sick at home. So Tim took Emily and the little boys to the game. Taran went to the high school game and Timo hung out with friends. Saturday besides basketball stuff Tim and I went on a lunch date and then prepared for Sunday. All week I worked on stuff for my big scout meeting today with all the 10 year olds who turn 11 this year. Today I took Gwen to the doctor while everyone else was at church--strep! She had ran a fever whenever the Ibuprofen wore off! She seems to be feeling better since she got her antibiotic. My meeting turned out good everyone came but one family. We just explain the program and what they need to be a scout, when we do our camp outs and the district stuff. It helps the parents not feel so overwhelmed by all the requirements--at least we hope it does that! Tomorrow is my dad's 74th birthday, hopefully he is feeling better from his cold to celebrate tomorrow night. The doctor said that Gwen should be fine since she will have been on her antibiotic 24 hours. Have a great day at a time!:)
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Friday, January 8, 2010

Freedom Friday...from the Wall Street Journal

Mandatory Insurance Is Unconstitutional
Why an individual mandate could be struck down by the courts.

Federal legislation requiring that every American have health insurance is part of all the major health-care reform plans now being considered in Washington. Such a mandate, however, would expand the federal government’s authority over individual Americans to an unprecedented degree. It is also profoundly unconstitutional.

An individual mandate has been a hardy perennial of health-care reform proposals since HillaryCare in the early 1990s. President Barack Obama defended its merits before Congress last week, claiming that uninsured people still use medical services and impose the costs on everyone else. But the reality is far different. Certainly some uninsured use emergency rooms in lieu of primary care physicians, but the majority are young people who forgo insurance precisely because they do not expect to need much medical care. When they do, these uninsured pay full freight, often at premium rates, thereby actually subsidizing insured Americans.

The mandate's real justifications are far more cynical and political. Making healthy young adults pay billions of dollars in premiums into the national health-care market is the only way to fund universal coverage without raising substantial new taxes. In effect, this mandate would be one more giant, cross-generational subsidy—imposed on generations who are already stuck with the bill for the federal government's prior spending sprees.

Politically, of course, the mandate is essential to winning insurance industry support for the legislation and acceptance of heavy federal regulations. Millions of new customers will be driven into insurance-company arms. Moreover, without the mandate, the entire thrust of the new regulatory scheme—requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions and to accept standardized premiums—would produce dysfunctional consequences. It would make little sense for anyone, young or old, to buy insurance before he actually got sick. Such a socialization of costs also happens to be an essential step toward the single payer, national health system, still stridently supported by large parts of the president's base.

The elephant in the room is the Constitution. As every civics class once taught, the federal government is a government of limited, enumerated powers, with the states retaining broad regulatory authority. As James Madison explained in the Federalist Papers: "[I]n the first place it is to be remembered that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects." Congress, in other words, cannot regulate simply because it sees a problem to be fixed. Federal law must be grounded in one of the specific grants of authority found in the Constitution.

These are mostly found in Article I, Section 8, which among other things gives Congress the power to tax, borrow and spend money, raise and support armies, declare war, establish post offices and regulate commerce. It is the authority to regulate foreign and interstate commerce that—in one way or another—supports most of the elaborate federal regulatory system. If the federal government has any right to reform, revise or remake the American health-care system, it must be found in this all-important provision. This is especially true of any mandate that every American obtain health-care insurance or face a penalty.

The Supreme Court construes the commerce power broadly. In the most recent Commerce Clause case, Gonzales v. Raich (2005) , the court ruled that Congress can even regulate the cultivation of marijuana for personal use so long as there is a rational basis to believe that such "activities, taken in the aggregate, substantially affect interstate commerce."

But there are important limits. In United States v. Lopez (1995), for example, the Court invalidated the Gun Free School Zones Act because that law made it a crime simply to possess a gun near a school. It did not "regulate any economic activity and did not contain any requirement that the possession of a gun have any connection to past interstate activity or a predictable impact on future commercial activity." Of course, a health-care mandate would not regulate any "activity," such as employment or growing pot in the bathroom, at all. Simply being an American would trigger it.

Health-care backers understand this and—like Lewis Carroll's Red Queen insisting that some hills are valleys—have framed the mandate as a "tax" rather than a regulation. Under Sen. Max Baucus's (D., Mont.) most recent plan, people who do not maintain health insurance for themselves and their families would be forced to pay an "excise tax" of up to $1,500 per year—roughly comparable to the cost of insurance coverage under the new plan.

But Congress cannot so simply avoid the constitutional limits on its power. Taxation can favor one industry or course of action over another, but a "tax" that falls exclusively on anyone who is uninsured is a penalty beyond Congress's authority. If the rule were otherwise, Congress could evade all constitutional limits by "taxing" anyone who doesn't follow an order of any kind—whether to obtain health-care insurance, or to join a health club, or exercise regularly, or even eat your vegetables.

This type of congressional trickery is bad for our democracy and has implications far beyond the health-care debate. The Constitution's Framers divided power between the federal government and states—just as they did among the three federal branches of government—for a reason. They viewed these structural limitations on governmental power as the most reliable means of protecting individual liberty—more important even than the Bill of Rights.

Yet if that imperative is insufficient to prompt reconsideration of the mandate (and the approach to reform it supports), then the inevitable judicial challenges should. Since the 1930s, the Supreme Court has been reluctant to invalidate "regulatory" taxes. However, a tax that is so clearly a penalty for failing to comply with requirements otherwise beyond Congress's constitutional power will present the question whether there are any limits on Congress's power to regulate individual Americans. The Supreme Court has never accepted such a proposition, and it is unlikely to accept it now, even in an area as important as health care.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Congress , You Are Fired!

My dad passed this informative news onto me...even though it 'only' effects those on Social Security, it really does effect us ALL!

House & Senate have voted themselves $4,700 and $5,300 raises.
1. They voted to not give you a S.S. Cost of Living raise in 2010 and 2011.
2. Your Medicare premiums will go up $285.60 for the 2 years and you will not get the 3% COLA.
Your total 2 year loss and cost is $1,600 or $3,200 for husband and wife.
3. Over 2 years they each get $10,000.
4. How’s that hope and change workin’ out for ya?
5. Will they increase your cost of drugs - doctor fees - local taxes - food, etc.?


6. Do you really think that Nancy, Harry, Chris, Charlie, Barnie, et al, care about you? They have a raise and better benefits – so typical of the socialist ruling class. You never did anything about it in the past so they believe you obviously don’t care or are too stupid or apathetic to do anything about it now.




Maybe it's time for the 28th Amendment…

"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United
States that does not apply equally to the Senators or Representatives,
and Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators or
Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the
United States ."

It's time for retribution. Let's take back America .

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's Eve week...


Life just doesn't seem to slow down at all! Monday Gwen (hopefully) had the last of her mollescum removed. We had Family Night at home and we watched old home movies of Timo and Zane since we didn't do it in November. It was a lot of fun--part of our way to celebrate their birthdays. Tuesday I took my scouts snowshoeing--see an earlier post about that. It snowed all day--check out some that in the collage! That night escapes me what we did but it seemed like we had something oh, yes Izak received his bear rank in cub scouts at Pack Meeting that night. Wednesday morning we had check ups with the dentist. Much better than last summer! The kids went sleddingon the nice new snow. I even dragged my nephew Anders over to sled with Micah and Zane. He had a lot of fun. It still snowed a lot that day. That night Taran, Timo and I had an Eagle Scout/Duty to God Court of Honor for a friend of Taran's. It was really nice. That night Emily, Izak, Micah and Zane went to Tim's sister's to spend the night. Taran and Timo went with friends to a dance--here the youth dance for New Year's Eve is actually the night before since a lot of families get togther for the celebration. They said that there were a ton of people and they had fun. I remember those days well! Tim and I watched the DVD he got for Christmas of Harry Potter 6. Thursday morning picked up the kids and took them Gwen and our niece Maddie to see the Princess and the Frog. My parents met us there as well. It was very cute. The kids and Tim watched football and played around until we had out chinese take out (a tradition) for dinner then we dropped Timo off at a friend's to celebrate--he had fun. Taran came with since his other options didn't appeal to him as much. We were glad he came, he was fun to be with! Tim's brother Erick and family met us at Amy's along with Tim's parents. We ate snacks and played games until the New Year. It was tons of fun and then we picked up Timo on our way home. We slept in and watched more football and started putting away Christmas stuff. We went to my brother Charl's for more fun, food and football. Taran didn't join us this time, busy recording with his band buddies. Timo did join us. Teresa, my parents, Amber and Keith met up with us there. We played games, guitar hero, lego star wars on Keith's playstation and watched football. The cousins all played and also watched Over the Hedge. That night we dropped Emily off at a friend's for a lateover. Then Taran and Timo ended up at friends' as well but we told to be home by 10:30PM--we'd had a lot of late nights! Taran and someof his friends ended up back here studying. Tim and I finished some of the Christmas decor packing. We finally totally finished the next day. I went shopping for necessities. Tim took Emily, Izak, Micah and Zane to a BYU basketball game in Provo, where he met up with Amy and Erick's families. They had a lot of fun. Taran and Timo didn't feel like it. I stayed home with Gwen. Timo's friends all seemed to be gone so he should of gone--he's always afraid he will miss something! So he and I watched the Travel Channel while I folded laundry. Fun times...I know I am really more fun than his friends and he just won't admit it! So there you go...I am so bummed that school starts back tomorrow. Hopefully we can breeze through the rest of the school year without too many bumps! Happy New Year! May it be your best!
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