What's In This Blog

I created this blog for my journal. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In this blog I keep many of the things I come across as a member of the church. I also share my experiences on the ACE Train and getting to work, my experiences in Manteca where we have lived for three years, and other things I think are noticeable.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lessons from my Children: Mark; being a father

Mark and me, Porcupine  Dam
Mark

Mark’s getting here was not as remarkable as Natalia’s. However in Sheri’s pregnancy with him we learned patience. There was a period in his pregnancy when the doctors felt Mark was not growing as fast as he should. They decided to conduct an amniocentesis to decide if it would be OK to induce labor, as they felt there might be something wrong with the pregnancy.

I was excited to get Mark here as quickly as possible. However the result of the tests did not support forcing him to arrive early. The opinion was that Mark was just fine, but somehow we had gotten the due date wrong, and that was the reason he wasn’t as large as they thought he should have been at the time. We had to wait a while longer.
(Sheri, who probably is right, remembers this story differently. She indicates the reason for the amniocentesis was a result of the doctors having gotten the autopsy from Billy Boy. This worried them so they wanted to determine if they could have him born early and if anything might be wrong with him. The amniocentesis indicated nothing was wrong, however his lungs were not yet developed to the point that an early delivery would be advisable.)

Sheri’s labor was not induced with Mark. Sheri had a bad cold when he was born. I always felt, that after the first two pregnancies, Mark’s lacked excitement. We went to the hospital, and then he was there with no big deal.

I loved him just as much. I put up the big sign this time, “It’s a Boy.” He was born 15 months after Natalia, and would be just one grade younger than Natalia in school.
The first lesson I learned from Mark, was the same as Natalia. Stuff happens. Mark taught me this by getting his stinky diaper in my face every morning. Mark, like many youngsters when he was a toddler, would find his way into our bed. Somehow he would get upside down in the bed. I don’t know how many mornings I woke up smelling his peed diaper.  One morning he was sleeping on top of me when I woke, with his diaper covering my face.

Natalia and Mark also taught me to roll with the punches. When they were both small, but after Jeremy had been born, Sheri and I were asked to talk in church. We were going to sing a family song between our talks. We worked with Natalia and Mark to learn the song, “As I Have Loved You.” We also learned the sign language that is in the Primary Song book. Natalia and Mark looked so cute when they rehearsed. At this time Natalia was probably close to kindergarten age and Mark three or four. They had worked hard and learned the song. Unfortunately when it was time to sing the song they were both fast asleep on the floor around our feet. Sheri and I sang the song, and did the sign language alone.

The life lesson I have learned from Mark, is the importance of being a father. This lesson came to me gradually. I always liked being a father, although I was not a perfect father.

When Mark was young, the movie Hook came out in theaters. In this movie, Robin Williams, portraying Peter Pan has to find his happy thought. His happy thought in the end was being a father. I think this too is my happy thought.

Mark has had three loves in his life growing up. One was soccer, and the others drama and music. When Mark was young I would coach him in soccer. However by the time he was 12, Mark new as much about soccer, and could play much better, than I ever could. I let others coach him then. However it was through drama, that Mark made me think more about being a father.

When Mark was a Freshman, the High School put on "The Music Man," and Mark was cast in the role of Winthrop, the piano teacher’s younger brother. This may have been because of Mark’s size. He always took after Sheri and was somewhat short. However Mark also is a very good actor. Three actors from the performance were presented best acting awards, and had their pictures displayed at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts. Mark and the two leads were selected.

In the show the lead character, Harold Hill, befriends Winthrop. He thrills him with the idea of his playing the trumpet. However Hill is actually a conman who doesn’t know how to teach music. He is just interested in selling instruments and band uniforms. Towards the end of the play Winthrop confronts Mr. Hill. “Are you a big thief? Are you a low down good for nothing crook?” As Mark delivered these lines he did it with such conviction. His lower lip quivered. He had tears in his eyes. His voice broke with grief and pain. In that quivering lower lip, in those tears, I could see all my failures--every cross word, every swat, every mistake and every let down. I could see it all in that face and in those tears.

I know he wasn’t talking to me, but to act that well, the pain must have come from somewhere. I wasn’t a terrible or abusive father. But even so I could have done better, and in that moment made a commitment, as I myself was in tears, to do better and to be more faithful.

President McKay’s words come to mind, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” I needed to keep my priorities in line and this was a good reminder.
A couple years later, Mark was again in the high school musical, “Working.” Mark, with two other young men sang a tribute to their fathers, “Fathers and Sons,” written by Stephen Schwartz:

I heard a lotta songs say “Where you goin’ my son?”
Now I know they’re true.
Boy, you never stop to think how fast the years run; now they’re taking you.
I remember you was three and a half,
your mom and me we’d sit there after things got quieted.
We’d laugh at some new word you said, how tough you were to get to bed
and we’d plan the night away.
Planning for our kid.
I was your hero then, I couldn’t do no wrong as far as you were concerned.
You thought I was the best of men, the tables hadn’t turned, you hadn’t learned
How little time it takes.
And daddies make mistakes.

It seems to me that lately I’ve been thinkin’ a lot;
I think about my dad.
Lots of funny things come back I thought I’d forgot, Now they make me sad.
High school and it used to be, I didn’t want him touching me
and I shuddered if he did.
Further back to summer nights:
Baseball games beneath the lights and sleeping in the car.
daddy and his kid.
He was my hero then, He couldn’t do no wrong as far as I were concerned,
I thought he was the wisest and the strongest and the best of men,
the tables hadn’t turned, I hadn’t learned, how little time it takes.
And ev’rybody breaks.
And daddies make mistakes.

I heard a lotta songs say “Where you goin’ my son?”
Now I know they’re for real.
Boy you never stop to think how fast the years run; or the things they steal.
Now it seems I always knew why I do the things I do, and the thing I never did.
Why I work my whole damn life so’s I could give a better life
than the one my dad could give me.
I give it to my kid.

You can imagine how touched I was with this song. It sort of explained how I felt, and maybe somewhat how Mark felt. The relation between fathers and sons was put into an untitled poem Mark wrote:

When I was young and you were not so old
You whispered Spanish in my ear when we
Stopped by a road's edge. My hand found its hold
In your most calming hand that seemed to me
Secure as any fortress in the world.
Our ears perked, eyes turned right then left to see
that all was safe beyond where pavement curled
Around a thick, shadowing maple tree.
When all was safe, no danger to be found,
We anxiously stepped and soon would be
Beyond the road to fields and playing ground,
The promised place where I had longed to run free.

You are the man in whom I see my God.
Few boys were better taught or so well shod.

I guess that says it all.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lessons From My Children: Natalia; Persistence Wins

Natalia

Natalia was born October 17, 1985. The story of her birth is a miracle, and we owe a world to Dr. Rosenfield. After Sheri had become pregnant again, we moved back to Utah, close to where Sheri’s family lived. Sheri had intense monitoring during the pregnancy in light of the result of her first two pregnancies. Sheri’s labor was started, as they didn’t want her to go over her due date because of her past experiences. During her labor, they noticed that the baby’s heartbeat would slow down whenever Sheri would lay on her side. Sheri had to remain on her back, but they were still worried about what this might mean.

They thought that perhaps the baby had ingested some fecal waste, and because of their concern, they asked the local pediatrician, Dr. Rosenfield, to attend to the baby’s birth. During the childbirth, the baby’s heart rate dropped greatly. The umbilical cord had wrapped around the baby’s shoulder and this caused the problem. They decided to push the issue and deliver the baby as quickly as possible. They used forceps to pull Natalia out of the womb, leaving red marks on her forehead.

When Natalia was born, she did not breath. Dr. Rosenfield and the pediatric nurses (Aunt Judy, Sheri’s aunt was one of them) grabbed Natalia and took her to a table. There they did what they could to get her to breath. Sheri and I sat staring at them as they worked with Natalia, slapping her on her feet, and trying to get her to go. They put a tube down her throat and started pumping air into her. A minute passed and she still did not breath.

Sheri and I were stunned at the activity. It was almost like we were forgotten during all of this. It was almost 90 seconds before Natalia first cried. You can imagine the relief we felt at that cry. After that first cry they continued to shake her and jostle her to keep her going.

They cleaned her up, and brought her to us to meet her. I noticed her eyes. They went back and forth, back and forth studying everything. They reminded me of the cyborg eyes from Battle Star Galatica. They were beautiful as they went back and forth, back and forth.

Natalia’s name comes from Argentina. I had met a young woman, Natalia Bonavena, and liked the name, so I determined my first daughter would be called Natalia. The name fits her, as it means rejoicing in birth, and that we certainly did. I put a big sign up at our house, “It’s a Girl,” to welcome Natalia and Sheri home.

Natalia taught me to be a parent, and to realize it is not all glamour and games. She taught us that sometimes the diaper leaks and poop goes everywhere. (That was a Sunday at church and fortunately we lived close enough to church that Sheri could take her home and change her dress.) It happens, and you laugh and roll with it.
But the life lesson that Natalia taught me is that often the turtle wins. Natalia’s favorite animal is a turtle, but I am referring to the story of "The Tortoise and the Hare." Natalia was born with average intelligence. Her brothers on the other hand, have always tested smarter. But Natalia gets better grades than all of them. Discipline plays an important factor in life, which breeds faith, which in turn creates success.  A friend once told me that.

Natalia had a terrific fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Jackson, who influenced her greatly. The most important thing Natalia learned that year was how to study and organize. She learned a basic principle; it is more important how you study than your general intelligence.

More important than talent, is doing. The person who does, the person who performs, feels good about their effort, and consequently they have more faith. I like what James said about faith in his general epistle in the Bible:

14. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?
15. If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food.
16. And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works; shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble.
20. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21. Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22. Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. (James 2: 14-24)

There is a relationship between actions, faith and accomplishment. Those who put in effort, who are disciplined, have an increase in faith. And those with an increase in faith have an increase in performance and success. This can be measured in grades at school, prayers said, scriptures read, or in financial success.
It was James who also wrote the scripture that inspired Joseph Smith to pray in the grove, and initiate our dispensation:

5. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.
6. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that waivereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7. Let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. (James 1: 5-7)

This scripture moved Joseph to act. Faith creates action. President Kimball said, “…Remember that there were no heavenly beings in Palmyra, on the Susquehanna or on Cumorah when the soul-hungry Joseph slipped quietly to the Grove, knelt in prayer on the river bank, and climbed the slopes of the sacred hill.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer Kimball p. 142)

Schoolwork is not the only area where Natalia demonstrates discipline and faith. She is faithful in reading her scriptures and saying her prayers. Her faith has been rewarded with a testimony of Jesus Christ and of the restoration of the gospel. Spencer Kimball also said, “In faith we plant the seed, and soon we see the miracle of the blossoming.” (ibid. p 142) Natalia has received the miracle of testimony in her life, because she was willing to plant and nurture and tend the seed.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Book review: Voices From the Bottom of the Bowl, Thomas Edward Cheney

In this case the "bowl" is the Teton Basin and the bottom of the bowl is Victor, ID. I find this book interesting as it is the community where my great grandfather homesteaded in the early 1900s. It is a series of short stories, and at times family members are part of the stories.

The author talks about how he was baptized by my Great Grandfather William Wardle at age eight along with William's daughter Delilah. The baptism took place in the winter, and there was ice at the edge of the creek. Afterwards Grandfather Wardle told him to get out of his clothes and warm himself and dry by the fire. He had already seen Delilah naked doing this, and then put himself on display in like manner against his will.

He tells a school story about Uncle Leo (my dad's uncle.) This was a story about his school: "That year I hated Leo Wardle, a classmate; a retention and therefore a bigger, older, stronger boy. He teased me by yelling, 'Tommy, Tommy titmouse/ laid an egg in our house/ egg was rotten good for nothing/ so was Tommy titmouse.' He wrestled my marbles away from me and never returned them. He sat behind me and poked me in the back. Like a botfly in a horse's nose he stung me. I declared I hated him, which amplified my hate. When he spurred me in the back and whispered, 'loan me some paper,' I searched my vocabulary for the meanest words I could write to repulse him. On a sheet of my tablet I wrote in big, underlined, illuminated words, 'Kiss My Ass!' and held it up for him to see.

He writes than when his stepfather was sick, many neighbors came to pay their respects. He was swinging with Delilah Wardle (my Dad's aunt) when he noticed they were carrying a bed out of the house. It was then that he discovered that his stepfather had died from typhoid fever.

Earlier in this story, when his stepfather was sick and couldn't work, they indicate a Jim Shaw was working in his place him. This would be my great grandfather, father of my grandmother Melissa Shaw Wardle.

Finally the author talks of the last time he smoked. Marion Thompson was one of the boys who smoked with him. Marion married my dad's aunt Mary Wardle.

I have also enjoyed the stories because it talks of things in which my family also participated. It talks of the school, the town, the train, the farms and the homes. It also talks about the people he related with as he was growing up. There are many interesting characters in a small town. He concludes the last story quoting his mother, who was responding to her son about the difficult life in the Basin, "Ease is not a virtue to seek for young, vigorous people. The pursuit of easy things makes people week...Pleasure comes through striving and surviving."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Lessons from my children: Billy Boy; A Time to Grieve

Lessons from my children: Billy Boy; a Time to Grieve

Dads are supposed to teach their kids, but in my case the experience has been reversed. Of course I have shown my children how to hold a baseball bat, or how to throw a Frisbee, but the important lessons, I have been the student.

My wife, Sheri, and I are the birth parents of eight children, five boys and three girls. Sheri’s first pregnancy, a boy, ended in miscarriage.  Our next baby, also a boy, was stillborn. Then followed six successful pregnancies.  In our older years we have been the foster parents to over 30 children. One of our foster children we have adopted, three-year-old Tony.

And so what are these life lessons my children have taught me. To explore that, I need to go slowly, and talk about each child

Billy Boy

Billy Boy is the name we gave to our stillborn baby. He was our firstborn, but actually our second pregnancy as a miscarriage had preceded him. We were always going to name our first born, after my wife’s brother, Mark, who died when he was young. However we didn’t want to waste that name, and so in our haste to change the baby’s name it came out Billy Boy. The hospital had already given him the name, Baby Boy Wardle, so we just changed it slightly. Sheri and I wanted to be parents so much it hurt. We had moved from Utah to faraway Nevada to start our family. We lived in rural Duckwater. (Duckwater really was rural. It was 70 miles to the nearest grocery store over good roads. If you wanted to go over dirt roads there was a grocery store only 50 miles away. We generally shopped in Ely, 70 miles, and that is also where medical care was found.)

We were very excited for a baby to come to our family. When Sheri was eight months along in her pregnancy, I picked her up after her regular medical appointment. She was all upset and had been crying. She reported that we needed to go to Salt Lake City because they feared the baby had died. They could not find the baby’s heart beat when they attached a monitor to see how the baby was doing. They did not have ultrasound equipment in Ely, Nevada at that time, so we were referred to the University of Utah Medical Center for an appointment and evaluation the next day.

I remember, before we went home to Duckwater, I took several pictures of Sheri. I wanted to get a roll of film developed and there were pictures left on the end of the film. I guess I was in denial that anything could really be wrong. We then drove to Duckwater in silence. Sheri had already accepted that the baby had died. She had noticed that the baby had stopped moving inside her, and the report from the doctor in Ely only confirmed this. I had no such belief, and was not ready to accept any such outcome.

The next day, after packing, we traveled to Salt Lake and the hospital, Leaving Duckwater by five in the morning. I remember the trip was somber. I made several attempts at levity, which seemed to falter and fall flat, like something in your stomach that doesn’t want to digest. We arrived in Salt Lake late morning, and went directly to the hospital. Initially they tried to find a heart beat by monitor, and when that was not successful we were referred for an ultrasound. After a couple hours wait we were with the ultrasonographer and he was applying KY Jelly to Sheri’s belly to help with the review of the baby’s systems. It was at this time that Sheri’s belief was confirmed, and my denial was proven to be false. They could not find any activity on the part of the baby. They looked at the baby’s heart, and it was not beating.

We were advised to get a hotel room and then return the next morning when they would start Sheri’s labor and deliver the baby. We had dinner, and Sheri started to have contractions, but not very regular. We went from there to get a hotel room, and Sheri couldn’t sleep because of the pain. We called the Dr. and I returned to pick up some sleep medication for her. Turned out the hotel was mostly a waste of money. (I seem to think about money a lot.) Sheri had a bath, but then couldn’t get to sleep. She had gone into labor of her own self while we were having dinner. Initially the pains were not very alarming. By the time she got out of the tub her labor was very active. We returned to the hospital about 10:30 that night, after not getting any rest.

After returning to the hospital, the baby came quickly. I was to coach and help Sheri. Sheri at one time became frustrated with me, and socked me. Sheri did not get an epidural. They didn’t have time to get the anesthesiologist and she just had local pain medication in her IV. When the baby came they did a major episiotomy, and Sheri also tore considerably. The baby was born just after midnight on Sunday morning, December 9, 1984, within two hours of the time we returned to the hospital.

They figured the baby had been dead for about a week. The only thing we heard from the autopsy report was that his heart was enlarged. This meant he had been under stress for some time. We never were given an explanation as to why the baby was under stress.

Even so, when the baby was born, I wanted, beyond hope for some miracle to take place. I waited for the Dr. to pound him on the chest and bring him back to life. He never pounded. The baby was dead.

They moved Sheri to a regular inpatient unit rather than to a maternity ward. I think I would have preferred the maternity ward, but Sheri asked the hospital staff to put her someplace where she wouldn’t be around people with live babies, as that would have been hard to deal with.

I went to the room with Sheri. My first after-birth task was to massage Sheri’s belly, which was suppose to help her uterus contract and return to its normal size. As the morning dawned, I was given another task, to call family and let them know we were in Utah (my family lived in Northern Utah and Sheri’s in Eastern Utah,) and also to inform them of our loss. I didn’t much like this chore. However it was within just a few hours that people started showing up to wish us well. For my side of the family, a loss of any kind, other than grandparents, was something new.

As for Billy Boy, the hospital staff tried to remove his birth covering and clean him up, however in doing so his skin peeled. Consequently they stopped and he was left with what looked like a red rash where they had cleaned him up. We have one picture of him, and you can see his red rash.

I held him. He was very tiny. He weighed just less than five pounds. Sheri did not hold him, and she has expressed regret since.

My older brother’s father-in-law, Bishop Garbett came to the hospital.  He was a former bishop and we consulted with him about the proper way to proceed with a stillborn in terms of church blessings. We decided there was no reason we shouldn’t give him a name and a blessing, so we did. My brothers assisted me. They brought the body to the room and I gave him a name. I don’t remember much of the blessing, but it was very short.

We did not take the body home for burial. The hospital staff said they would conduct an autopsy, and then dispose of the body for us.

That is the story of Billy Boy. From this experience, I learned there is a time to grieve. The grieving process was not just a one-day thing, but took place over several weeks, even months. How do you grieve for a baby you never cuddled and held? It wasn’t hard. The baby was real to us, and we had made plans to make him part of our lives. Sheri’s grieving was intense, because she had felt every kick and movement while the baby was inside her body. I had felt kicks, but only when Sheri shared them with me.

We went to spend a week with Sheri’s family for bereavement. It was a comfortable week for me. Not so much so for Sheri. They had given her what would be an inflatable tube for her to sit on to aid in her healing process. We spent most of our time in the living room while Sheri tried her best to get comfortable.

We returned to Duckwater after a week. I worked for the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe, and while we were gone an elderly tribal member had passed away. I am not sure why, but where this gentleman had been a member of the Church, it fell upon me to talk at his funeral. Preparing that talk, and remembering the eternal nature of life and family, helped me along my grieving process. The funeral was attended by the entire reservation of almost 200 people. While in Utah, I had received delivery of two large turkeys from BYU Community Outreach, which I brought back with me for a tribal dinner for the Holidays. We used these for a tribal feast to honor our newly departed elder. I felt I was handling everything OK.  This experience was a time for me to say goodbye to Billy Boy, and review the eternal nature of things.

Sheri did not grieve for some time. In fact she really didn’t grieve until a couple years later. My niece had a stillborn baby boy, Skyler, for whom they had a funeral. Sheri finally was able to grieve at that funeral, and let out her feelings about Billy Boy. In the mean time we had a new baby girl.

It’s funny about grieving. It is not a one-time process and then you’re done with it. Grief is less intense over time, but it is something that comes back. I wrote in my journal about having a bitter day a month after losing Billy Boy. Bitterness is evil and to be avoided. It can blacken your soul. I avoided bitterness by leaving things to the Lord and accepting that all will work together for our good. (See D&C 122:7) There is peace in that thought, and peace replaces bitterness.

A couple years later I wrote in my journal:"When Billy Boy died I remember asking myself inside for a long time, 'Why? Why? Why?' The question went away, but I’m not sure if I ever really answered it for myself. I do know, when Tali was born and I saw how beautiful she is, the hurt seemed to fade—although for a time it was more piercing as I realized what we had missed. God, I know, has blessed me greatly, but it was after the tribulations and trials that allowed him to pour our more abundant blessings and make Tali so beautiful."

My trials have not been near so hard as others--As Job who lost everything, but was then able to see God. Or as the pioneers who lost so many children. (In uncovering an old burial site archeologist discovered four times as many infants as adults. In my own family history there are stories of children dying on the trek.) But these families overcame and built a city and temple with God’s help.

I know I can expect more trials, likely of a different nature. I have further to go to be in control of myself, and my own destiny. It is through trials I can prove to myself that I have made gains towards becoming more like Heavenly Father and Jesus—more perfect.

Sheri, for her part, fought depression. I realize now I wasn’t there enough for her. I wasn’t open to her talking about her loss and her issues. I just wanted to go on. A coworker suggested that perhaps we needed counseling to help deal with the loss. This seemed foreign to me.  We decided, for us, it wasn’t needed.

23 years later, I still have days when I miss Billy Boy, or where he is acutely in my thoughts. At every funeral I attend he seems to be there. A few years ago we traveled to Arizona, to bury the nephew of my wife who had been struck by a car and killed while bicycling home from high school. That was a funeral with a significant amount of grieving. Seeing Sheri’s brother, wife and family, and their grief was painful. I started to write a poem I couldn’t finish:

One thing I would never wish to be
Is the guest of honor at a funerary
Celebration.

Parents should grow old, and their children should bury them, who are buried by their children and so on. Everything should be done in a proper order, but things don’t work that way. I remember the words of the poem The Weaver:

The Weaver(author unknown)

My life is but a weaving,
between my Lord and me,
I do not choose the colors;
He knows what they should be.

Ofttimes he weaveth sorrow,
and I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper,
and I the underside.

Not till the loom is silent,
and the shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unroll the canvas,
and explain the reasons why

The dark threads are as needful
in the skillful weaver's hand
As threads of gold and silver
in the pattern He has planned.

I am grateful for Billy Boy, and his short time in our lives. I still look forward to the day when I will be able to parent him and hold him in my arms. In the meantime, I feel his presence, and his loving concern for Sheri and I, and our family.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Coming closer to Christ

I am making a commitment to come closer to Jesus by studying the Book of Mormon. I know some people say, if you are Mormon you are not Christian. Joseph Smith said, "...The Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." (introduction to the Book of Mormon) So to paraphrase, a man can get closer to Jesus by studying the Book of Mormon than any other thing he could do.

I am going to put this precept to the test, and come closer to Jesus. Despite what man may say, I can know Christ better, and be closer to him by studying the Book of Mormon.

In reviewing that statement it says three things. First the Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book. The Book of Mormon comes to us as a translation of ancient gold plates. this translation was done by the gift and power and of God. I think when something is done through the power of God, it is true and correct. Consequently the statement, it is the most correct book on earth is a true statement.

Second, the book is the keystone of our religion. I have read a couple articles which both represent this book as the Keystone in three ways. It is the keystone of our witness of Christ. It "convinces that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God. It is the keystone of our doctrine and teaches eternal truths. Finally it is the keystone of our testimony. It spiritually verifies the divine calling of Joseph Smith. (see James E. Faust, Ensign, Jan. 2004, "The Keystone of our Religion; Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, Oct. 1986, Conference Report) The Book of Mormon is the key to having a testimony of the restoration of the gospel, a key to having a firm testimony and salvation through Jesus Christ, and finally the key to teaching true principles.

Which brings is to the start of this article. A person can come closer to God by abiding the precepts of this book and any other book. The title to this book was modified in 1982 to say: "The book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ." We have the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, and now also the Testimony of the Book of Mormon.

Studying the book of Mormon involves praying before reading, studying with real intent and faith in christ, pondering what you read, asking questions, and addressing God to have the firm witness that the book is true. (See Moroni 10: 3-5) The book was saved to come forward in our day, the Lord's own due time. The stories of the book were written for us, our day, and by the grace of God they have come to us for our benefit, that we might know Jesus, and through Him achieve eternal peace.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thomas Martin


This is a picture of Thomas Martin, aka thomas Morton, the half brother of Isaac John Wardle, my Great Great Grandfather. He was a coal miner in England who followed Isaac to Utah. He moved to Price and worked in the coal. He never did join the Mormon church like the rest of his family.

I am not sure if he was an illegitimate son of Isaac's mother, or if she had a previous husband who had passed away.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Carma Hainsworth

Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed today by firing squad in Utah. He had committed two murders, the second in an escape attempt from a Salt Lake court with a gun that had provided to him by a woman.

When I attended University of Utah, I worked for the Utah Boys Ranch as a counselor. Mostly that meant I worked with the house parents doing whatever they wanted me to do, watch the boys etc. While I was there Carma Hainsworth and her husband (I don't remember his first name) were hired as alternate house parents. At that time there were two houses open, and they would give the houseparents their time off by taking over at each house for a couple of days every week. They were fired after several months, and I am not sure of the circumstances of their being let go. I wasn't there when it happened.

A couple years after working there I was visiting with the house parent I worked with, and she told me of Carma's involvement in the Ronnie Gardner case. She had helped him with his escape which resulted in a lawyer being murdered, and a court bailiff being wounded. This took place at a court house where Gardner was on trial for another murder. Carma was later convicted of being his accomplice in the escape attempt, and everyone understood her to have gotten the 22 pistol to him with which he committed these crimes.

Sometimes who you know can haunt you. It happens that Ronnie Gardner's girlfriend was also Carma's sister. I thought it odd that Carma had been convinced by this guy to be involved in the escape attempt, rather than the girlfriend herself.

Well maybe my thoughts were correct, as Ron Gardner has admitted his girlfriend provided him with the gun. Carma was involved in the escape attempt, having a change of clothes prepared for the murderer to change into. She maintained her innocence with regards to the gun. In the end, witnesses could identify Carma, and not her sister, and as a result she spent eight years at the Utah State Prison.

I did see her once at the prison. I was there as a social worker for a completely unrelated case. I saw her and we said "hi" to each other, but that was the extent of our conversation. We recognized each other and acknowledged each other and that was it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

movie night:**^Diary of a Whimpy Kid

Charity, Tony, Anthony and I went to the cheep theater to the movie today. They were having problems with the projection, so the first part the sound was bad. they gave us free passes which I gave to Charity so she can keep dating.

As for the movie, it was recommended by Tara Bence, Mark's girlfriend. I enjoyed it. There were parts that were really funny, and others that where just mildly humorous. The moral of the story was that it is always better to be honest and forthright, especially when it comes to your friends. A secondary theme was that you accept your friends, rather than trying to change them so as to make yourself be more popular or accepted.

I really enjoyed the curse of the "cheese touch." I am also glad that this gave our main character a chance to make things right. (Those who have seen the movie know what I'm talking about.) I enjoyed the mix of animation with filmed scenes. I wanted the reporter to me a more integral part of the plot, and for her to have been on camera more. She seemed like someone I wanted to get to know more, but didn't get the opportunity. Instead we got the stereotyped bully girl who was on stage too much. I must admit the apple scene was funny, and who could blame a tree for throwing a few apples.

For those of us who survived Middle School, we could identify with the movie, and the need to "be popular." I was never in that group, so could identify with being "alone" in the cafeteria amongst all the other students. I also remember being so worried in the shop class that I was going to lose a few fingers that I never really went crazy with doing projects.

I would mildly recommend this movie. It didn't maintain Tony's (three-year-old's) interest. He is more into Spider Man these days. He saw Spider Man in a modern artwork with lots of red which was hanging in the lobby. He also enjoyed the games, a car video game, and would spent his time sitting in the chair and I didn't have to put in quarters. However it is a good story for those of the middle school age, and those who have survived it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Discussion on Adoption: Part One

ADOPTION IS PRECIOUS
Sheri and I are both reading books about adoption. They both have a similar theory. The book Sheri is reading is called "Primal Wound" by Nancy Verrier. I am reading a book titled "Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew." It starts with the same theory the other book is based upon, that of the primal wound, or loss of the mother. The author, Sherie Eldridge, adopted as a baby, tries to put is into the mind of a baby, "The baby lies quietly in each person's arm, seemingly oblivious to all that is happening around her. However,no one knows that beneath that crisp white dress is a grieving heart ... a heart that wonders where Mommy is. Her smell. The sound of her voice. Her heartbeat. Her body. Where did she go?"

I have a hard time with people putting themselves in the minds of a baby. Who knows what a baby is thinking? Are they thinking at all? They don't have the benefit of language. And any baby, whether adopted or not is going through a shock at this time. After being in mother's womb for nine months, they are in a totally different environment. That is traumatic as they adjust to temperature, eating, bodily functions. Any parent can tell you babies are a lot of work, and cry a lot, and are bad sleepers. Signs of entity being stressed.

I do belief any removal from a parent is traumatizing, even at birth. But is this a primal wound? Sure the rhythm has changed. The heartbeat has changed. There is a loss, even for a newborn. But is that a primal change, or a step in life similar to any step of maturation?

Our Tony would go through multiple losses before becoming a permanent part of our family. His first two weeks were spent in the NICU as he was six weeks premature. He was apart from his birth mother, although she visited. After he had been there a week, my wife also began to visit him, anticipating his coming to our house and learning how to care for him.

How we loved him when he came home! I had never held such a small baby, and my heart was his so quickly. He was interested in eating, and pooped and peed like any baby. We felt so close to him, and felt he also felt close to us.

This relationship was not to continue however. At two months, social services found a cousin who was willing to take him in a foster adopt situation. And so our little Tony experienced another loss, as he left our arms, our heartbeats and mannerisms and rhythms.

The biggest miracle of our lives was when Tony came back to us, shortly after his first birthday. His placement with the cousin did not work for no fault of the cousin or Tony. Just a few days before my daughter had reminded us that Tony had turned one. And now he was coming to us again.

However this represented another loss in his young life. We could tell he had been loved and well cared for, but three losses by just a few days of one-year-old must have been hard on our little boy.

Even with that, social services wanted to move him again. This was after the termination of the mother's rights and he was free for adoption. They found relatives, great great aunt and uncle who were in a position to take him. However they did not know him, and he did not know them. They started visits, and even one time took him on a day trip to this home. Tony cried all the way there, another trauma.

During this time Tony developed an idiosyncracy in which he would seek out his Mom's clothing to carry around with him. It was more pronounced when he was visiting frequently. Tony was worried about losing his Mommy, but this time it was my wife, his foster mom.

Fortunately we prevailed in court, and social services was not able to move him again. this was mostly due to the testimony of Dr. Kleine, pediatrician and expert on children's loss and separation. He told the judge it would cause harm to Tony to move him again. That convinced the judge to let him stay with us. We had already bonded with Tony, and felt he was home.

We have since finalized his adoption, and he is sealed to us in the temple. Tony is bonded with us,and we with him. At this stage in his life we are his family, his mother and father. As he goes through life, I am sure the issue of his adoption will come up, and we will deal with it. We will talk openly, and hopefully be able to accept Tony's feelings about his adoption. However I do not like the term "Primal Wound." Of course there is loss and separation. And people grief and move on. Sometimes the grief reappears during life, and then you deal with it again. Primal makes it sound so deep you can't move on. That I don't agree with.

So much for now. I am only in the second chapter so will keep you posted as I read more.