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Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Last week we celebrated the 43rd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Being a person that loves history and space, I’ve always felt drawn to this particular era in space exploration. There is something about it that is majestic and noble. I’m not quite sure what it is, but I do know this. I love how we were never deterred, even when things were beyond difficult. I love how we weren’t afraid to reach for really big things. I love how we turned grandiose ideas into actual realities. I love that we weren’t just impartial observers of the heavens from the ground, but that we actually became part of this new frontier.

I wanted to share with you, especially in light of recent comments by political leaders, my thoughts on the first moon landing, and what it means to me.

In May of 1961, President John F. Kennedy delivered an address to Congress that forever changed the nation – and the world.

Smack in the middle of the Cold War, President Kennedy challenged America, and America answered the call.

First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.

What a challenge! Some thought he was crazy. Developing a manned space program to travel to, and return from, the moon in less than 9 years? This wasn’t a science fiction movie. How could that even be accomplished? 9 years! He knew it would be difficult, but he wanted this done in 9 years!

NASA easily could have backed out and said that it just wasn’t enough time. The public would understand that. But, they didn’t. And the American public proudly stood behind NASA and the space program. The astronauts were heroes- idolized by the public. People looked at President Kennedy and NASA as great patriots. Everyone was excited by the possibility of actually landing a man on the moon – and not just any man, but an American.

It obviously wouldn’t be easy. 9 years is not much time when you are talking about traveling almost 239,000 miles away, and coming back home. 9 years. It would require tremendous effort, but we weren’t afraid of the challenge. In fact, we welcomed it.

19 months after his address to Congress, President Kennedy again addressed the nation, this time from Rice University. The whole speech is really amazing, but one part in particular stood out to me.

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

We do it because it is hard. Did you catch that? Because it is hard. Wow. This is profound to me. We aren’t taking the easy road here. We want to be the leader in space exploration. We want the American flag to wave on the moon. Of course this won’t be easy, but we are Americans and we do things because they are hard and challenging. We are up to the challenge and we will lead the entire free world in our quest for knowledge of the worlds beyond our own.

We are America.

Talk about American exceptionalism. Holy cow!

Sadly, President Kennedy didn’t live to see it, but his challenge was answered.

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 reached the moon, and Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin were the first people to land on the moon. It was an absolutely amazing!

What an amazing feat! What a grand accomplishment! Never before, in the entire history of mankind, had man set foot on the moon. And there we were. Our flag flew on the moon.

America rejoiced. America celebrated. America took pride in this amazing accomplishment. We knew this would open doors we never dreamed possible. We knew what this meant, not only for America, but for humanity. This was something simply astonishing.

In thinking about this, I had to ask myself if we could accomplish this today. I honestly don’t know, which makes me feel sad. Heartbroken and mournful for the country I love and for what once was.

A once hard working America, that wasn’t afraid to dream big, has turned lackadaisical. An America that once valued hard work and study, is now caught deeply in the entitlement trap. An America that once rewarded and praised success, now villainizes it at every possible chance. And America that once was self sufficient now expects others to save us. An America that once embraced creativity and innovation, now discourages and wants conformity. An America that once stood tall and proud, is now far too apologetic.

I just don’t know if we could do it now.

But once, we did. Once we stood together in a moment of absolute greatness, and we were one. One in pride. One in accomplishment. One in spirit. One nation. One people. United in splendor.

In that moment, we dreamed. We dreamed lofty and grandiose ideas, and we celebrated those dreams. For we knew we could accomplish anything.

We were America.

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There was a time, a long time ago, when people looked out for each other and neighbors and families helped when someone was down.  Churches reached out too.  There was a time when we were our brother’s keeper, not because we had to be, but because we chose to be.  It was just the right thing to do.  Then came the progressives (of both parties) in the early 1900’s.  Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR.  They drastically increased the size of the federal government and scope of the government’s power.  They started programs to “help” people.  And what happened?  People have, ever since, become more and more and more reliant on the government.  People have stopped turning to friends and neighbors and churches for help and just have just gone to the welfare line.  People have become less self sufficient and more dependent.  The family unit is no longer valued.  What do we need dad for?  We get more with Uncle Sam.  It’s really very, very sad.  We now have a generations of people who rely on the government for most of their needs.  Food, housing, childcare, education, and now healthcare.  What has happened to us?  What happened to the people who didn’t want a king ruling over them?  Where did that go?  What a sad and mournful people we have become!  The “American Dream” used to be to work hard and do your best and work hard and then work hard some more, and then create a better life for your kids than you had.  That’s certainly not the case now.  Why work hard and do your best when the government will give you everything you need?  Plus, now if you work really hard and become successful and wealthy, you are villianized.  When did success become so bad?  When did hard work go out the window and envy become the rule in America?  When did we become a people who would turn over their God-given rights for government given handouts?  When did we become so wrapped up in ourselves we stopped caring about our brother?  Oh America, my heart breaks for you!  How sad and pitiful you have become!  You are now as a beggar in the street, when once you had the castle in the clouds.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen!!

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Ahh…Facebook…

It’s clearly been a while since I’ve been visible on my blog.  See, I discovered Facebook.  So, because of its ease, I started putting all my “random thoughts” on there and sadly neglecting my blog.  It’s fun to play around on, but it’s just not the same.  So, old friend blog, I’m back.  Hopefully for good.  Facebook is great and has its place, but I’ll be putting many more “random thoughts” on.   here, also.  No reason why we can’t share, right? 

It’s been busy since I last posted, but not too much has changed.  I could talk about all the details of the summer, but that would really serve no point, except to bore people.  So, let’s suffice it to say that we’ve kept very busy, both personally and politically.  And, we’ll just go on from here.

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This was shown at our Stake Enrichment Night last night, and I thought it was very moving and good. 

So, let’s all get out there and CREATE!!!

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I wanted to take a moment today to express my appreciation for all those that have served in the armed forces!  Words cannot properly convey my gratitude for you.  I am so grateful to live in this nation and thank my Heavenly Father that there are people like you out there, ready to protect and defend my family and I!  You are brave and courageous, and indeed, heroic.  I admire all of you for all you’ve given in behalf of this great nation!  And, truly some have given the ultimate sacrifice, and I honor them. 

While in the midst of this election year, I think many have lost focus on what is truly important.  And, while many of us have differing view points, we must remember that were it not for those who have fought, and sometimes died, for us, we wouldn’t have the freedoms we have to express our views.  So, for this time, let’s put those differences aside, and honor all those who have given so much, so that we don’t have to. 

Thank you! 

 

Because I think often times music can convey feelings that I’m not able to, here’s some great songs to honor those in the military: 

American Soldier- by Toby Keith; Some Gave All- by Billy Ray Cyrus; Brothers- by Dean Brody; Letters From Home- by John Michael Montgomery; 50,000 Names- by George JonesWhere The Stars And Stripes And The Eagle Fly; 8th of November- by Big and Rich; Welcome Home- by Dolly Parton; Arlington- by Trace Atkins; God Bless the USA- by Lee Greenwood

Please remember how blessed we are, because of these amazing men and women.  Let us never forget our veterans.  Honor them.  Love them.  Thank them.

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Questions

So, I found in my garage a book I had when I was younger called The Book of Questions, by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.  I remember that I used to sit with my mom and step-dad and we would pick questions out of here, and discuss them.  It almost always led to a great conversation and we had a fun time.  So, I thought it might be fun to put some of them up here, and see what people have to say. 

We’ll start with a fun one.hammock

If you could take a one-month trip anywhere in the world and money were not a consideration, where would you go and what would you do?

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Truth Time

So, who knew the truth about me?  Nobody!!  Ha!  I got you all! 

Here’s the truth: 

1.  I’ve met John Porter and Harry Reid.   (FALSE!!!  I’ve never met Harry Reid.) 

2.  My mom and I once missed a freeway exit and ended up in Missouri, instead of her parents’ house in Oklahoma.   (TRUE.  That’s an interesting story.)

3.  I voted for Al Gore in 2000.   (TRUE!!  Sadly, I feel hook, line, and sinker for the “Bush is bad, and Gore will save the planet and education, garbage that the media put out there.  Thankfully, I’ve seen the light!!) 

4.  In high school, I ditched school because I was out all night observing the sky and watching for the comet Hale-Bopp.   (FALSE!!  I know it sounds like me, but even in the midst of all the Hale-Bopp hype, I never stayed out all night to watch it.  I did once go with our Astronomy Club on an overnight observing of the Leonid meteor shower (which was awesome), which we were excused from school for the next day.)

5.  I have a terrible fear of heights that once caused me to freak out on an escelator at Macy’s, and not be able to go up to the third floor.   (TRUE.  I’m pretty sure it was Macy’s.  And, I was really, really scared.  Heights and I do not get along!) 

6.  In high school, I once danced on stage to the Jackson 5’s “ABC.”   (TRUE!  Surprising, but I did do this with my ward during a stake activity.  I’ve got to tell you, it was pretty embarrasing, too.)

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