"Good Wood," Fingernails, Corneas, and Tetanus...An Evening with my Family

Well...Here goes!

Friday night, I decided that we would all have a family "splurge" and go to "Good Wood" restaurant for dinner. It seemed like a really good idea...at the time...but now...I'm not so sure...

I have a typical three year old who, like any other three year old, does not do "overtly" well in restuarant settings. (This should of done some foreshadowing for me!) We had just gotten our order (yummy, yummy steaks, garlic potatoes, salads....YUM!) and had begun eating, and smiling, and sharing tastes, and smiling, when my youngest said "I need to go potty!" So...being the good mom, I excused us and headed with who I refer to as my little "banshee", into the restroom. Things went well...It was a "direct hit" into the toilet, no "struggle," and we were in the process of getting shorts back on when suddenly...IT happened...

My "excitable" and totally unpredictable three year old suddenly threw up his arms, and with the knife-like skill of a ninja, his fingernail SLICED into the CORNEA of my EYE! Let's just say this...I have NEVER felt pain like this before in MY LIFE!! Labor, tattoos, broken bones, stitches...NOTHING comes close!!

After trying to compose myself, I went back to the family at the table and told them what had happened. It was either the fact that they a) Didn't care b) Were enjoying too much steak or c) Didn't hear me, but my hand cupped over my tearing/swollen eye as I was white-knuckling the edge of the table did not have quite the effect I had anticipated. (Did I MENTION the PAIN?!)

When we got home, I was in such agony that (after I AGAIN explained to my husband, who FINALLY realized that I had not been "hit" in the eye, but that my actual EYEBALL had been LACERATED!) I took 800 mg of ibuprofen, and a percocet that I had left from my last pregnancy...An hour later...STILL IN PAIN, tears flowing like a river...

I sent my husband to go and get me some saline drops to clean out my eye, where the DEAR pharmacist told him that he had better get me into a doctor, ASAP! So, at 10:45pm, we had a family outing to the ER.

After they numbed my eye (HEAVEN!!) they put special ink into it, and the doctor basically told me I had one of the largest lacerations he had seen...We weren't talking about a single, short line, but a whole, continuous circle shape that sliced my cornea over part of my pupil and iris areas!

Before I left, I got three prescriptions (1 antibiotic, 1 anti-inflamatory, and a bottle of percocet:) ) as well as a special "parting gift"...a nice, big TETANUS shot!!

My dear friend got sealed to her husband and family today...You know how you are not supposed to "upstage the bride?"...Well...I tried my best not to when I showed up heavily dosed on percocet and wearing my black EYE-PATCH!

Tomorrow I have to teach Gospel Doctrine...Maybe I should just bring "Pirates of the Caribbean" and blame it on the percocet?!


Dads are SUPER!!

Happy Father's Day, to all!!

A little message for all our guys...click on the above!

Why...Why do I care?!

Here's the latest on my little "obsession" with dear "brother" Nielsen...

Fired BYU instructor wasn't always so skeptical
LDS challenge: Nielsen says philosophy opened him to a 'world of ideas'

OREM - Jeffrey Nielsen drives a red minivan, but most days he takes the bus.
He goes to his LDS ward in Orem on Sundays. He likes to read and play catch with his two youngest daughters, ages 10 and 12. Lately, he has been hooked on dominoes. Most mornings, he and his 21-year-old son go jogging.
"I'm a pretty boring person," Nielsen concedes.
But that is Nielsen's private self-image. His emerging public persona is anything but boring.
The part-time Brigham Young University philosophy instructor has become the subject of a steady stream of letters to the editor and who knows how many office water-cooler chats since he penned a guest column earlier this month questioning his church's support of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
That attention ratcheted up this past week when BYU opted not to rehire Nielsen because his remarks in the June 4 edition of The Salt Lake Tribune publicly opposed leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on an issue they deem of supreme importance.
Now the spotlight-shy Nielsen is being flooded with even more e-mails. His name is surfacing in even more letters to the editor. And his voice is popping up in radio interviews.
But don't label Nielsen a rebel with a cause.
"I'm not a revolutionary," he says. "I'm

a very flawed human being. I'm not a spokesperson for any movement."
Even so, he is speaking out - as a matter of conscience if not convenience.
The 44-year-old father of four not only openly questions LDS leaders on their backing of the marriage amendment, he also criticizes church statements on wedlock.
In addition, he wonders about his church's position on its past denial of priesthood to blacks, its polygamous history, its membership counts and more.
Nielsen, who says he cherishes his church membership, hasn't always been the questioning type.
"I was a very conformist . . . youth," he says.
Reared like many Utah Mormons, Nielsen was born in Salt Lake City but did most of his growing up in Brigham City. Everyone in his immediate family was Mormon - mom, dad, three sisters and two brothers.
He graduated as student-body president from Box Elder High, earned a scholarship to BYU and served an LDS mission to Zurich, Switzerland.
There he labored in one of the highest missionary leadership posts: assistant to the president.
His mind-set was much different then.
"I just took the line that you don't question your priesthood leaders," Nielsen recalls.
Twenty-five years later, Nielsen is doing just the opposite. He believes the foundation
Jeffrey Nielsen
Was fired from BYU (Rick Egan/The Salt Lake Tribune )
of his about-face was laid by an introductory philosophy class he took his last semester at Weber State University.
Having returned home from his mission, Nielsen transferred from BYU to Ogden's Weber State to be closer to his high school sweetheart, Doreen. Within a year, the two married in an LDS temple.
The philosophy class flicked on a switch in Nielsen's brain.
"It opened me up to this idea of the 'world of ideas' that I hadn't ever experienced before," he says.
With that light-bulb moment, poof went Nielsen's plans to attend law school. Instead, he earned a graduate degree in philosophy from Boston College, then returned to Utah and began teaching philosophy at BYU.
He learned the difficulty of supporting a family on a part-time instructor's wages and, after two years, waded into training and leadership consulting. He spent several years in that field, at one point training Fortune 100 companies as a Franklin Covey consultant.
"That's where I began to see that one of the problems with organizations was our concept, our practice of leadership," he says.
A new thought process, a new philosophy, started forming in his head.
His current thoughts are found in The Myth of Leadership, a 2004 book he wrote that advocates leaderless organizations and peer-based management.
The book rests on two premises: Real communication can occur only between equals; and secrecy breeds corruption and abuses of power.
And so it is that the LDS Church's unbending stand against same-sex marriage isn't the only issue that troubles Nielsen.
He wants LDS leaders to be more open about the church's membership numbers, its finances and its history. He wants leaders to more clearly address the church's past - and future - teachings about polygamy. (The church abandoned the practice in 1890.) And he wants LDS temple weddings open to nonmember and non-tithe-paying parents.
His reasons are both moral and personal. One of his sisters left the faith when, in her view, some church teachings didn't mesh with its history. In addition, a parent of his son-in-law wasn't able to attend the young man's temple wedding to Nielsen's daughter.
"I really hope the membership has the privilege to raise these concerns and not be silenced," he says. "I don't want to attack the church. I'm not an enemy of the church. I don't want to hurt the church or destroy anyone's faith. I want to do things to strengthen the church."
Many who have read Nielsen's remarks and replied in writing argue he is weakening the church.
Certainly that is how his superiors at BYU saw it.
"In accordance with the order of the church, we do not consider it our responsibility to correct, contradict or dismiss official pronouncements of the church," wrote department of philosophy Chairman Daniel Graham in a letter informing Nielsen he would not be welcomed back to teach at the school.
E-mails and letters to the editor assert Nielsen knew he ran the risk of losing his teaching job at BYU after his column appeared - a point Nielsen acknowledges.
His detractors also argue Nielsen could hardly expect BYU bosses to continue to employ and pay him after he openly criticized their superiors.
But many more Utahns and others, at least of those who have responded, back the philosopher.
David R. Keller, a philosophy professor at Utah Valley State College, can see Nielsen's reasoning.
"He was motivated through ethical concerns, not to ruffle feathers or to create a situation of animosity," Keller says. "The tone of it was really concerned about the betterment of the human condition."
Keller would like to see Nielsen teaching at UVSC one day. He already has tapped Nielsen as a speaker this fall for the Orem school's Center for the Study of Ethics, which Keller directs.
Nielsen also has agreed to serve on the advisory board for a group of gay Mormons.
Beyond that, Nielsen doesn't know what his future holds.
He believes his life largely will go on as it did before he spoke up and was put down. He plans to keep attending his Orem LDS ward - no disciplinary action has been handed down - doing consulting work and cheering on his daughters at soccer games. Eventually, he hopes to find more teaching opportunities.
He still will drive the family minivan from time to time, read and run with his son. But this much is sure: He won't be riding the bus to BYU.

What bothers me is not so much that he has the opinions that he does...but why is he a member of a church that he so blatantly disagrees with, on so many issues? I would think that the fence would be getting extremely uncomfortable...


"The Prophet has some words for you..."

So...when the Prophet gives us counsel...what do YOU do? I was intrigued, amazed, appauled, and inquisitive by the remarks made by a BYU Professor concerning recent counsel of the Prophet...this was further magnified by how he started his comments with, "The leaders of MY church..." I believe that everyone can have and express their own opinions (AOF #11)...I just found it so interesting that these comments came from an "active" member of the Church...How can you "sustain" one moment, and "reject" in another? Where does faith in our Prophet fall with free-agency and free-thought? Do you live your life by the Gospel, or try to tailor the Gospel to fit your life?

LDS authority and gay marriage

Jeffrey Nielsen

The leaders of my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently spoke out against gay marriage and asked members to encourage their U.S. senators to pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting homosexual marriage.
As a member, I sustain the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as LDS general authorities; however, I reject the premise that they are thereby immune from thoughtful questioning or benevolent criticism. A perfect God does not require blind obedience, nor does He need unthinking loyalty. Freedom of conscience is a divine blessing, and our privilege to express it is a moral imperative.
When the church hierarchy speaks on a public issue and requests that members follow, it is difficult indeed if an individual feels the content of their message would make bad law and is unethical as well. I believe opposing gay marriage and seeking a constitutional amendment against it is immoral.
Currently the preponderance of scientific research strongly suggests that same-sex attraction is biologically based. Therefore, it is as natural as a heterosexual orientation, even if rare. It seems it might be caused by environmental conditions in the mother's womb, before birth, triggering the DNA to give the fetus a homosexual orientation. Neither the mother nor the child has any choice in the matter; it is a completely natural process.
Truly, God would be unjust if He were the creator of a biological process that produced such uncommon, yet perfectly natural results, and then condemned the innocent person to a life of guilt, while denying him or her the ordinary privileges and fulfillment of the deep longing in all of us for family and a committed, loving relationship.
Even if the scientific evidence does not yet establish this beyond reasonable doubt, it seems that virtuous moderation and loving kindness require us to exercise caution before making constitutionally binding discrimination against a whole class of people based only on fear and superstition. In fact, when we examine the statements opposing gay marriage, we find few reasonable arguments. It is not enough to claim that we should oppose gay marriage because historically it has never been recognized. This is the fallacy of appealing to tradition, which was also used to fight against civil rights and equal treatment of women.
Further, to say that gay marriage will destroy traditional marriage and the family without giving any reasons why is the fallacy of appealing to fear. Indeed, once you get past the emotion, it is quite an unfounded claim. How could the union of two committed and loving people negatively affect my marriage? I believe that quite the contrary is true; namely, legalizing gay marriage reinforces the importance of committed relationships and would strengthen the institution of marriage.
Ultimately, any appeal to religious authority to create law is misplaced. Our Founding Fathers were inspired by their study of history to separate constitutional authority from religious belief, recognizing as they did the potential for tyranny in unchecked religious influence. In our pluralistic democracy, attempting to restrict an individual's rights and privileges based upon a religious claim is a dangerous rejection of our Founding Fathers' wise insight, and it should be unacceptable to all Americans.
As for the statement by church leaders that God has ordained marriage to be a union between a man and a woman, I find it quite troubling. It sidesteps the role of polygamy in past and future church teachings. It seems to me that if church leaders at one point in time, not very long ago, told members that the union of one man with several women was important for eternal salvation, but now leads them to believe that God only recognizes the union of one man to one woman, then some explanation is required. (I am not endorsing polygamy.)
God is not the author of incoherence or injustice, but we humans often are. We in the LDS Church must be more honest about our history, including the past and future practice of polygamy in our official doctrine. This will be difficult, for it will reveal that we have been less than truthful in our public relations, and it will show our inconsistency with current statements opposing gay marriage.
We can no longer afford to teach only what is useful and hope people won't discover what is true. In this day of easy Internet access, a person can find more real history of the LDS Church in 30 minutes online than the same person would in a lifetime studying approved church materials.
This is not right. Too many individuals have suffered a loss of faith when they were forced to choose between the truth or their family after innocently discovering the discrepancy between genuine history and the official story of the church.
We need to trust the membership of the church and treat them as adults, as equals. We are a church of brothers and sisters, not one of the few privileged leaders and the many subordinate followers. There might be a diversity of roles and responsibilities from prophet to Sunday School teacher, but we are all peers with one another and equally irreplaceable in God's thoughts and affections.

In today's paper, there's more...
Nielsen has more questions

Opposition to same-sex marriage isn't the only LDS Church stand Jeffrey Nielsen questions. The part-time Brigham Young University instructor, who will not be rehired for contradicting church statements, said he wants to address other moral and social issues. He urges church leaders to:
* Commission BYU scientists to investigate the nature of the current scientific understanding of same-sex attraction.
* State clearly the the church's position on the past denial of priesthood to blacks.
* Clarify the nature of polygamous teachings in the church, both past and future.
* Reveal "real membership numbers" and churchwide activity rates.
* Allow worthiness interviews between church leaders and teenage members to occur only in the presence of a parent or guardian.
* Permit nonmember or non-tithe-paying parents to attend their children's LDS temple weddings.

I believe in everyone's right to make their own decisions and choices, and that no one is to be the judge of anyone but God. I personally believe we have a living Prophet for a reason (MANY reasons...), and while I believe everyone has their "free-agency," I wish those that call themselves "members" would try to live what they claim to believe, by having faith in our leaders (Prophet) who is on the "watch tower" guiding our lives, and stop worrying about what the world promotes as ideal.

Again...do you live your life by the Gospel, or do you tailor the Gospel to fit your life?

(Since I refuse to only have material listed "one-sidedly," please read S'mee's comments on her blog, knotinthestring.blogspot.com , "Did You Write?", posted on June 5th 2006...REALLY good stuff!!)