Thursday, December 20, 2012

it's about family.


My last post was written in a moment of extreme emotion, and I'm still pondering daily what can and should be done in this country to avoid another tragedy.   As time passes, I continue to evaluate what is truly the most important.  After reading numerous articles and statistics, and listening to many interviews and pundits, nothing "spoke" to me, until I read this news story on KSL a few days ago.

Estee Carter, a survivor of the Columbine school shooting, offers her perspective regarding last week's events and mentions that FAMILY and the bonds within that group, the love that is present as we watch over and care for one another is where we should focus our energy.  From the article:

Two months after the shooting, Carter was asked to participate in a youth violence summit. Her remarks were quoted in newspapers around the country. . . . 

“I said something when I was 17, and I still really believe it,” she said. “I think we focus so much on the periphery on the what, on the gun control, violent movies and we focus on the what and not the why. I think that the foundation of our society is our family. It is what is going on in our homes, and I believed it then and really believe it now.”

I could not agree more, because it is in families where we learn to value life, to express love and concern for family, friends, and strangers; where we gain confidence, and where we grow and learn about interacting with others and the world around us.  Unfortunately, our society has become so fragmented and families are disintegrating at an increasingly rapid pace.  Many children do not have the safety and security found within a loving home that is vital to their emotional, mental, and spiritual growth.  My last post detailed our responsibility to be that "village" and watch for those children who need comfort outside the walls of their own homes.

Indeed, we are our "brother's keeper" and should do all in our power to strengthen homes and families wherever we are in the nation, or we will continue to witness violence and tragedy.  The message from our modern prophets in the document, "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" is one of pure truth, testimony, and hope.  The words of this proclamation have been running through my mind ever since I read the article, particularly this portion:

HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.
It IS about family, it's all about family.  The nations with the strongest homes and families will be the most successful nations.  We should do all we can to maintain and strengthen our own families, as well as support those mothers, fathers, and children desperately looking for role models and friendship.

And if I don't get another blog post before Christmas, may each of you enjoy a very Merry Christmas and hold those most precious family members to you a little closer this year!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

charity never faileth

The tragedy in Connecticut has hit home for every person in the nation, if not throughout the world.  We are reminded to hold our kids tighter, to cherish our relationships, and never forget how fragile life can be.  There has also been a nonstop conversation regarding gun control, mental illness, and school security.  Everyone is seeking an answer of what drives someone to the point to commit such a senseless act of violence on the innocent.  My heart is aching tonight and my thoughts have been turned to the young man who took the lives of these children.  His life must have been one of desperation.  The pictures that I've seen of this boy are seered in my mind and I honestly can't help but wonder how his life events and relationships played out.  I imagine a tragic life without any sense of self worth, validation, appreciation, or love that is so crucial to every person's emotional development and well being.

A mantra that I repeat often to my children, my young women, and anyone willing to listen is this:

"When someone hurts you, it's because they aren't feeling love or they are filled with fear. People won't hurt other people when they feel noticed, appreciated, included, and safe."

The debate about why people do such awful things can begin with a deep look inside each of us and what steps we take each day to reach out and connect on a personal level with others.

To conquer bullying and encourage more respect and positive relationships, my girls' elementary school has begun a "fill someone's bucket today" initiative (the impetus which was this fabulous book).  The purpose is to instill lifelong habits in our children which build others, "fill" their emotional buckets, and make everyone feel like they have a friend.

Our world is becoming increasingly disconnected and a few minutes sending tweets and reading facebook posts will not equate the essential connection one feels within personal one-on-one interactions.  The friendships that I strengthen through phone calls and face time are the ones that currently bless my life.  The others pale in comparison . . . that is until we make personal contact again. It's truly amazing how quickly we are emotionally filled by the encouragement and connection with someone when it is done personally.

This is where my thoughts have been the past couple of days, and rather than engage in a contentious gun control debate or throw something at the tv when analysts begin discussing this "monster," I will choose to focus on making myself a better person and teaching my children to have confidence to reach out others.

I was dismayed that my sister called me out in a public social forum within hours of this tragedy on our choice to own a gun and demanded I answer her questions about gun violence. After answering her initial question with some of the reactionary gene that is imbedded in my psyche, I finalized the debate with this response:

I will end the conversation with this thought: I am not on trial here for my beliefs or values. If you and Bryan would like a civil discourse with Chris and me about this issue we would be happy to engage. Please take me out of this discussion, especially when our family is more focused and concerned at this time for the welfare and support of the families and loved ones of all those connected with this tragedy. My heart is breaking for everyone involved, and the conversation we are having with our children is that we continue to watch for the lonely, the misfits, and those who so desperately need to feel love and appreciation in this increasingly disconnected world. I don't know what the answer is, but for us, we choose to focus on love and awareness of those struggling with mental/emotional illness and those who so desperately need to feel validation and connection with others. That is one thing the government cannot solve. There are too many emotionally empty people in the world and my family will be doing our part to strengthen those in need rather than debate gun control in a public forum with you.

My prayer is that we come together during this difficult time in a spirit of compassion, understanding and love as we search for answers . . .
And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
  But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found  possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail.

  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

Moroni 7:45-48, The Book of Mormon

Sunday, December 9, 2012

that time of year again

Well, with a bunch of Cantera happenings floating around my brain that need to be captured on the blog and not exactly sure where to start, I just have get something new up.

So, here are few ski pics I just found from last March . . .

Ahhh, nothing better than spring skiing.  I doubt Chris even owns a ski jacket or goggles ;).

Annual ski time with our Colorado cousins . . . 
three days on the slopes and nonstop giggles from these girls!

With Ryan in Honeycomb . . . attempting to find some untouched powder.

We are loving the new season and thrilled that already we have better snow than we did much of last year. Saturdays are pure bliss - the teens are at Snowbird, Liza is at Solitude with ski team, and I have the option of either time on the slopes with Sophie or a quiet day at home.  My favorite part of the day is when everyone trickles in around 4pm with their mountain stories.  Here is sampling from this weekend . . .

Ryan:  "The cirque today was so good, I almost cried.  Really, Mom, it was unbelievable - fresh tracks all day . . . did I tell you I almost cried it was so good?!"

Liza:  "I guess I didn't get my boot in my binding the right way after lunch because half way up the chairlift my ski fell off . . .  but don't worry, my coach is really fast, so we waited on top and he found my ski and brought it back." 

Caroline:  "I froze my butt off."