Friday, November 21, 2008

What it's all about

I am really enjoying my work at Goodwill-EasterSeals. Goodwill is like the DI of Utah, but it's Mission Services Division has several programs to help people overcome barriers to employment. Mostly, they help people with disabilities or people in poverty. The main value is to strengthen the family - a value I really identify with. One of the programs, the FATHER Project - helps non-married dads build relationships with their children and learn to support them financially and emotionally.

I love being able to use my skills to help an organization with such great programs. I work with the Director of Quality and Evaluation as a project assistant. Though lots of my work is tedious administrative organizing of spreadsheet data and editing policies, my supervisor, Andrew, is great at letting me take on more interesting projects. I recognize how I could use my public administration education to benefit this organization, even though as a lowly project assistant I don't always have the opportunity to do so extensively.

I edited the strategic plan for Mission Services. While the content had already been approved by the board, I was able to make some minor changes to differentiate between outputs and outcomes and how they should be measured differently. Though most of the things needing changed weren't going to happen that day because of certain deadlines, at least my supervisor knows I understand and can help with the strategic plan details in the future.

I am also the point person for our AmeriCorps program. I interview candidates - which is way more fun than being interviewed. I resolve their concerns. And, I anticipate designing and delivering some training materials and working on measuring certain outputs for the grant requirements.

What else . . . I get to organize a special event in December. Oh, and I added a couple of pictures with animation to a PPT for a staff meeting, and several people commented on how great it was. If they were so excited with a simple PPT I put together in 20 minutes, they would flip to see one of my Baker PPT with a running agenda and professional application of the so-fun animation.

Though my job is technically a temp position, today, Andrew, asked me to be on a committee for the annual company banquet that takes place next spring. So, they may have me stick around for a while. I am working with managers in several divisions, so, hopefully, I'll get hired full-time for something or other soon.

Anyway, mostly, I'm just happy to be using my skills working with happy people for a happy good cause.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I stopped doing dishes so I could come write this blog. For all of you who have a dishwasher, BE GRATEFUL. I am grateful for running water inside my house so I don't have to go outside in the freezing cold to get water. That said, I'm definitely, hands-down, no questions asked, amen and hallalujah, nuff said, getting a dishwasher when we are finished with law school. Or, I might consider moving to an enchanted castle where the dishes can sing, they can dance, after all this is France, and most importantly they wash themselves.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

So, I'm pretty excited and I'll tell you why

The UPS guy came.

Why would I get so excited about the guy in brown, you ask? Well, he brought me my DDR substitute.

I always imagined my dark, too-freezing-cold-to-exercise-outside-unless-you-want-to-get-on-a-lung-transplant-waiting-list days in Minnesota filled with the joyous vibrations of DDR - Dance Dance Revolution. But, as I would have to buy a game system (perferably a Wii), a t.v., the game and a dance pad, alas, my budget told me it was not to be (graduate student loan payments being what they are and the popular ranks of unemployment being what they are, well, nuff said).

Then I found Dance Praise, a Christian version of DDR. The actual game is very similiar to DDR, except it runs off my lap top, thus, eliminating the need to buy a t.v. and a game system. I got the CD-ROM and the dance pad for $50 plus $10 for shipping. YES!!!

It doesn't have the same great songs as DDR, of course, but the Christian songs have positive messages. Also, the hard level seems easier than DDR's hard level, so I hope it will give me a challenge. But for only $50, I'm pretty excited. Oh, and for you VeggieTales lovers, there is a VeggieTales version of DDR, so kids (and kids at heart) can dance to Silly Songs with Larry to their hearts' content.

So, if any one wants to party, come on over and we'll DDR like there's no tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Prop 8 - Why such bitter accusations of religion? Let's think about logic and doctrine

The Logic

I have a read a few bitter articles of the response from the passage of Prop 8 (and others in Arizona and Florida) that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Opposers of Prop 8 criticize religion, churches and their members of being bigoted and anti-Christian because they take a stand to support marriage as defined by God. Opposers see support of marriage as discriminatory and hateful, which is just not true. Churches have nothing to gain from the world by speaking out for what they believe is right and true regarding the sanctity of marriage.

Does it make churches more popular? N0.
Do they receive any praise from the media or even the public, who they strive to serve? NO.
Did they receive anything but attacks for encouraging people to support Prop 8? NO.

So, why is this whole issue of homosexuality and same-gender marriage important to churches?

Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the quorum of the twelve apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said, "This is much bigger than just a question of whether or not society should be more tolerant of the homosexual lifestyle. Over past years we have seen unrelenting pressure from advocates of that lifestyle to accept as normal what is not normal, and to characterize those who disagree as narrow-minded, bigoted and unreasonable. Such advocates are quick to demand freedom of speech and thought for themselves, but equally quick to criticize those with a different view and, if possible, to silence them by applying labels like “homophobic.” In at least one country where homosexual activists have won major concessions, we have even seen a church pastor threatened with prison for preaching from the pulpit that homosexual behavior is sinful. Given these trends, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must take a stand on doctrine and principle. This is more than a social issue — ultimately it may be a test of our most basic religious freedoms to teach what we know our Father in Heaven wants us to teach."

Another official statement from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

"Allegations of bigotry or persecution made against the Church were and are simply wrong. The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility toward gays and lesbians. Even more, the Church does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches."

This issue tares at the heart of any Christian who genuinely loves people regardless of their choice to engage in homosexual activity. Christians don't want to have to choose between what God says will bring us true happiness (aka the commandments) and what is a genuine concern for many people with homosexual tendencies. But, when faced with the choice to protect the sanctity of marriage, the freedom of religion and the best interests of children, families and communities, we have to do what is right, not what is popular.

The Doctrine

Even many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have spokenly harshly against church leaders for encouraging its members to support Prop 8. Do members not understand or believe what they say they believe. I raised my hand to sustain the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles as "prophets, seers and revelators." While they aren't perfect as individuals, these men are called of God. They are seers - or see-ers. I don't believe any church leaders of any denomination make decisions like this lightly, particularly one of such magnitude as actively supporting Prop 8. But, our faith goes beyond believing that our leaders engage in deliberation and prayer. I believe that with such deliberation and prayer, our Heavenly Father gives them the gift of sight. They see things we don't see.

I don't want my faith thrown back in my face with terms like "blind obedience." My faith gives me the sight I need to be obedient. And by that obedience, I gain additional sight.

The adversary's PR tactics will never change truth.

"The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done" Joseph Smith,5232,23-1-401-8,00.html

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Did you get a sticker? I wish I could get two.

I finally live in a place where my vote counts for something, where it is actually one of thousands (rather than millions) that could make a difference of which presidential candidate gets Minnesota's electoral votes. So, it was my privilege as an American citizen to cast a ballot.

This was one of the hardest voting decisions I've made. I only wish I could have voted for a candidate I actually wanted to vote for and who had a chance at winning.

I'm pretty sure Obama is going to win. I think he will be good for the nation - a uniter. I just hope that a democrat president with a democrat-majority congress doesn't wreak havoc on our national debt with inefficient government spending or appoint judges who will add to our already mildewy national moral conscience. And, I hope that the billions he will approve will actually improve education, environment, quality of life and world peace.

We wanted change. I hope we can accept responsibility for it.

GOD BLESS AMERICA! We don't deserve His blessing, but we sure need it.

PS. Fill up today. Pedro has a theory that gas prices drop right before the election and that they will go up again after it's over.