Saturday, December 10, 2011

Polar Express

I never thought that Jonah would ever watch another movie as often as he used to watch Cars when he was 2.  I was wrong.  He wants to watch Polar Express over and over and over.

Polar Express is a pretty good movie, but I think I'd rather watch Cars today.

This is Jonah's favorite part:

On a side note, does anyone know how to fix this blog so that when I post a video it won't cut of the right 1/4 of the picture?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Responses to "I'm Christian, Unless you're Gay"

The responses are just as powerful as the original article.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Three powerful articles

I just read some amazing articles that I would really like to share. The first is typed out here. The other two are linked at the end.


I have been close to Mormons ever since my days at Oxford when Michael Taft Benson, whose grandfather, Ezra Taft Benson, was the prophet of the Mormon Church at the time, became a member and then an elected officer of our L'Chaim Society at the University. Thus began a lifelong friendship that continues today, with many visits to lecture for Mike at Southern Utah University and other mostly Mormon academies of higher learning in the majority Mormon state.

I have thus watched with mild amusement as the debate surrounding the beliefs of Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman have gained steam. Aren't the Mormons weird fanatics? Should we trust people with such strange beliefs with high office?

This is an interesting question coming from my evangelical brothers and sisters whose belief that a man, born of a virgin, was the son of G-d, only to die on a cross, and then be resurrected, is, with all due respect, not exactly the most rational belief either. It is equally interesting coming from Orthodox Jews, like myself, who believe that the Red Sea split, a donkey talked to Balaam and the sun stood for Joshua.

But it is equally strange coming from evolutionists like Richard Dawkins who have said, without a single shred of evidence, that life on our planet may have been seeded by space aliens. Even those evolutionists who reject Dawkins' faith in extraterrestrial life have a belief system of their own, namely, that intelligent life somehow evolved capriciously and accidentally from inorganic matter, even though the possibility of complex organisms evolving without guidance is mathematically nearly impossible. This is how Julian Huxley, who stemmed from the world's most famous family of evolutionary proponents, put the probability of the evolution of a horse:

"A proportion of favorable mutations of one in a thousand does not sound much, but is probably generous ... and a total of a million mutational steps sounds a great deal, but is probably an understatement. ... With this proportion, we should clearly have to breed a million strains (a thousand squared) to get one containing two favorable mutations, and so on, up to a thousand to the millionth power to get one containing a million. ... No one would bet on anything so improbable happening ... And yet it has happened!"

Yes, even men of science can believe things that can be construed as highly irrational.

Now, do I believe that Joseph Smith found ancient tablets written in reformed Egyptian in upstate New York, that Jesus Christ appeared to the people of South America as recorded in the book of Mormon, or that when a Mormon dies he becomes a god and gets his own planet? No. Respectfully, I do not. Nor should it matter. It is what a person does, rather than what they believe, that counts. It took four years for the Dalai Lama to be identified as the reincarnation of his predecessor in a process that to Western eyes can appear highly arbitrary. Yet, the Dalai Lama remains one of the most respected men alive because of his commitment to world peace and good works.

Misguided attacks on groups like the Mormons stems from a willful desire on the part of many to fraudulently identify people with a different faith system as fanatics and, therefore, a brief discussion of religious fundamentalism is in order.

The most confusing story of the Bible involves G-d's commandment to Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. What was this G-d, who would later declare that all human, and especially child, sacrifice to be an abomination, thinking?

The most insightful commentary I have seen on this story comes from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, who says that the key to the story is to see Isaac not as an individual but as a religion. Who was Isaac? He was Judaism. He was the person who would continue Abraham's belief system. With his death, everything that Abraham had taught in terms of his rejection of paganism and the belief in one G-d would be lost.

The test, therefore, was this: Would Abraham follow G-d's commandment to kill off his religion or would he put his religion before G-d's will? What really mattered to Abraham? G-d or Judaism? And if they were to be put in conflict, what would he choose? The religious fanatic is the man or woman who has ceased to serve G-d and has begun worshiping their religion, making their faith into yet another false idol. Religion is solely the means by which by which we come to have a relationship with our Creator. But when it becomes a substitute for G-d it becomes soulless and fanatical, seeing as there is no loving deity to temper it. It is in this light that we can understand why an Islamic fundamentalist is so deadly, seeing as he is even prepared to go against G-d's express commandment not to murder in order to strike a blow for the glory, not of the deity, but Islam.

Hence, our concern need not be with a person's faith in public office. It does not matter if they are Jewish, evangelical, Mormon or Muslim. What does matter is whether their faith is focused on relating to G-d and, by extension, caring for G-d's children, or whether they see the purpose of their high station to promote their particular religion. It is easy to identify the difference. People who are in a relationship with G-d are humble and do their utmost to refrain from judging others. Their proximity to a perfect being reminds them of their own fallibility. Their experience of G-d's compassion leads them to be merciful and loving. But those who worship a religion are arrogant and think they have the only truth. They are dismissive of other people's beliefs and maintain that advancing the cause of their religion is more important than life itself. The rabbi in Israel who recently made the strange comment that soldiers should face a firing squad rather than listen to a woman sing is a classic example of this heresy.

Those who worship their religion evince the classic characteristic of cult members. Whereas a real faith system is empowering and makes one strong and capable of operating outside their own faith community, cult members can only identify with other members of their group and require the environment of the cult in order to function. They don't have beliefs. Rather, they take orders.

I see none of these characteristics in Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman -- who graciously hosted me along with my guest Elie Wiesel in the governor's mansion in Utah a few years back -- or any of my countless other Mormon friends. All should be judged on their merits as people and politicians, whatever their faith and whatever their beliefs.

I have never read anything that so closely expresses how I feel about these topics. Both about all this debate surrounding the Mormon candidates or about how some people "worship their religion, making their faith into yet another false idol"

Here are links to two other very powerful articles, both written by Dan Pierce, a man who I grew up with. His thoughts are exactly my own put said so much more eloquently.

I'm Christian, unless you're gay

Disease called perfection

I have really strong thoughts about them both, but it's so late and my thoughts are all over the place. I will ponder and post tomorrow. JUST KIDDING-not tomorrow because today is the last day of NaBloPoMo and I want to take a break. But not a long one.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hey, I got something done today!!

Today I made this adorable car seat cover for my sis-in-law for her foster baby.
I know the picture is bad, but I don't have a good camera or photography skills. I also didn't have the car seat to display the cover for the picture, but you get the idea.

Aren't these fabric's cute? I think they are even cuter because I got them on sale on Black Friday 40% off.

And here's a picture of Jonah, because he wanted me to take his picture.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thank you for Friends

I realize that I've been really negative on this blog lately, and I'm sorry. I've just been in a funk. Normally I would spare y'all and just not post, but since it's NaBloPoMo, I am posting everyday, good or bad, rain or shine.

Today I was able to talk with one of my best friends for a while. I have been so busy all the time since I moved to Columbus, that I've really hardly been talking to my far away friends and family. Talking with her today reminded me why I love her so much! She really was just there for me today, listened, and comforted me. She also had some wonderful advice.

Anyway, my point is that friends are great. And I think that we should all reach out to good friends be grateful for them.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Muppets make me happy

Yesterday I saw The Muppet Movie with my husband and 3 year old. I actually got teary eyed about three times. I know this sounds strange, but The Muppets mean a lot to me. I grew up watching The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, the Muppet Babies cartoon, and the various Muppet Movies and they just really were a big part of my growing up. I am thrilled when my 3 year old asks to watch "Kermit" (he is talking about The Muppet Show we have on DVD). To watch the Muppet Movie with him yesterday and to share that with him, was somehow one of those special moments I will always remember. To feel so excited when I saw Kermit or Miss Piggy, then to look over and see his face light up was just so- as the Muppets would say- groovy.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Book Review: Follow The River

Follow the RiverFollow the River by James Alexander Thom

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I really really tried to read this book. I've been carrying it around for about a month, but I just can't get myself to want to pick it up. I'm sure it's a great story, but it starts out horribly and I don't see it getting better. On the first 10 pages a bunch of people are slaughtered by Indians and a baby is tossed around then his brains are bashed in against a tree. Seriously? I've asked a couple of people who've read it if it gets any better, and apparently it doesn't. It's just a sad story of a horrible experience that this woman goes through. Kind of like "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan". I don't think that her character really change, develops, or learns throughout the story. I RARELY, rarely don't finish a book, but I'm just not going to finish this one.

View all my reviews

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

I went shopping today. Did I stay up and go at midnight? Did I wake up and go at 4 am? No. No I did not. I slept in, got in the shower, and I think I ended up at Kohl's at 10:00am. But there was still a ton of great deals. And I got a lot of great stuff. Unfortunately, I really just kept seeing great stuff for me. I did get a great sweater and some REALLY cute boots for myself. But everything else was for other people, I promise!

My favorite part was the salad bar at Jason's Deli for lunch. Yummy. That is my new Black Friday tradition.

The worst part? Was it the traffic? Was it the crowds? No. No it was not. When I left my house in the morning it was 42 degrees so I was dressed appropriately. But by lunch time it was 82 degrees outside! I was so hot all day. It just didn't seem right. It's November 25th for goodness sakes!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I had a great Thanksgiving. Lots of great food. Poor Oliver stepped in a fire ant hill and was bitten all over. Poor baby.

And Jerry got whiplash from playing football.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Best or Worst Years?

Alright, yesterday I was just being ornery and selfish and I was just in a bad mood. Sorry. I think what triggered it was I was talking to my mom and she mentioned to me that these years would be or are the best years of my life. What, really? I hope not. I hope that there are better years in my future. I think these have been my most challenging. But that is probably for a variety of reason's, not just related to being a mom.

So, that got me thinking, what has been the best time of my life, so far?

I have to say, that for me it was Jr. High. What's funny is, today my friend Bridget wrote a blog post about how much she hated Jr. High (Middle School) I guess that I just had a totally different experience than she did. So I'm going to write about how much I loved it and you can see that every mirror really does have two faces.

I loved Jr. High. For me, it spanned from 7-9th grade. I went from being pigeonholed as awkward and weird in my elementary school to a new school with lots and lots of new kids who I had never met, and didn't have any preconceived notions of who I was. I found that fresh start so liberating. And also, the "popular" girls who had been mean to me in elementary school, were suddenly the new little 7th graders just like me. I feel like it put us all on an equal playing field. Another great thing that happened to me was I ran into two girls on the first day of seventh grade whom I had met and become fast friends with two years earlier at a summer camp. So I had instant best friends and a group to hang around with. Something I had never had in elementary.

Throughout those years I had the time of my life. I just had so much fun being silly and crazy and although I probably should have been worried about what people thought of me, I just wasn't. I'm sure I made a fool of myself all the time, but if I did, I didn't know or I really didn't care. I had great friends and found even more as the years passed by. These friendships were deeper and closer then I have ever had before or since. Ninth great was especially awesome. I had my first boyfriend, first kiss, first dance:

-that I actually got to dance with they boy I had a crush on.

My dad wasn't around, my mom was busy with a new husband, and my sisters were busy doing their own high school thing, so I basically just did want I wanted when I wanted. My friends and I used to have sleepovers all the time and sneak out in the night to go toilet papering, or meet boys, or just walk around and do nothing. At school lunch I got to eat french fries and pizza or salad bar everyday if I wanted. I could buy candy and chips in the vending machine whenever I wanted to. Can you tell I liked junk food?. I got to take classes in the things I was interested in.

I got to do my favorite thing in the world and be on the dance team.

My friends and I would walk to the gas station on Tuesday's after school and just hang out there for hours.

We would get dropped off at the mall or the movies. It didn't matter what we were doing it was just fun being us.
I went on a cruise with my mom and sisters

I played in the band and learned the flute and the clarinet

I sang in the choir

I rolled around in the mud just for fun

I wore funny glasses and learned how to snowboard

I hiked Mt. Timpanogos and thought it was a good idea to pull up my shirt because it was just so hot.

Went to girls camp

Took lots of fun "posing" pictures and wore JNCO jeans because they were sooo cool.

We got to go to Lagoon with the 9th grade

Now, I'm not saying that it was all awesome all the time. There were braces:
and girls who were hurtful, a broken heart, drama with my family, and most of my friends had their own drama at home too-that's probably why we were all so close to each other. But on the most part, I just had a great time.

Now, please don't think that I'm one of those people who is always looking back and talking about the good old days, or wishing to re-live them. I know that there are wonderful times ahead and I look forward this wonderful time. I'm just saying that if I had to take all the phases of my life and rate them from best to worst so far, I think Jr. High would be at the top.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tangled is making me think deep thoughts.

I feel like I've been hearing a lot about Dreams, passions, and being your true self lately. I am a big believer in this, and to condense it all down to the simplest form- I think that only when someone is being their true self will they be truly happy. I think this includes following your dreams and passions. Life is too short to be spending the majority of it doing something you don't want to do.

The problem that I've had my entire life (and for some reason it's been on my mind a lot lately) is this: I have no idea what my passion is. I don't have a dream.

I really do envy all those in the clip above. They all know what they really love and want, they may not be living it, but they at least know what it is they want. I'm really getting tired of what I can only describe as treading water. I spend all my time doing busy work. Stuff that is fine to pass the time, but really not very important or of substance. I feel like Rapunzel does here:

I know, I know what you're all going to tell me. That I'm raising kids, and that it's the most important work I can do. I know this and I believe this-really, I do. But I'm going to be honest here, and it's going to sound bad. It is not fulfilling to me. If it was, I wouldn't be feeling this way. I'm not even sure what my point is or why I'm writing this. I know I just need to stop focusing on the bad and focus on the good, and most of the time I do that. But I think it shouldn't have to be such a forced effort most of the time, you know?

For a long time I would say, "well, I'm still young, I don't have to know what I love now. There's plenty of time" But even though I really still am relativity young, I'm getting older and still no further along in my quest then I was when I was 16 years old (12 years ago!). I wish there was at least something I could be doing to figure it out. All the books or articles I find talk about how important it is to go after your dreams or ways to make it happen. But because it's something different for every person on earth, there is no book telling you what your dream is. So that leaves me with only the process of trial and error. Which, as you know if you have kids, there is no time or opportunity for. I can't go back to school and aimlessly wander back and forth between 5 or 6 majors to see what is a good fit. I can't just start working random jobs to find it either.

Anyway, the point of all this blathering is that I am frustrated, because I have a problem and I see no way to solve it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Oliver's 2!

Oliver is two years old today. He is the best and we love him. We had a small party at the park with the other Johnson's and the Lewis's. We had a great time.

Oliver likes to say wow!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

About me-Part 3

About Me-Part 3 continued from here Part 1 and Part 2Link

Jonah Christopher Johnson was born March 14, 2008 in American Fork, UT. He was a week overdue, and I still didn’t go into Labor, so I had to be induced. He was such a sweet baby and totally changed my life in every way.

In October of that year, Jerry was offered a job back in Augusta, GA so we moved to Georgia right before Thanksgiving. It took a while for me to make some good friends in Augusta, but when I finally did, it was well worth the wait. I heard about a book club starting from a mom’s group I went to and as soon as I met those women, we instantly became inseparable. They each had kids right about Jonah’s age.
Oliver Jack Johnson was born November 21, 2009 in Augusta, GA. He was due on Thanksgiving Day, but luckily he came 5 days early. I originally thought I was due December 23, so when I had my first ultrasound and found out that I was a month further along then I thought, I was so happy!
Jonah and Oliver became best friends instantly and are both glad to have a brother.

After Oliver was about 9 months old, I took up running again. I had done some running before we went to Jordan, and even completed a half marathon, but I wasn’t very well trained and even suffered a stress fracture in my foot that took months and months to heal. So after a 3 ½ year break I started running again and fell in love with it this time. I completed the Nashville Country Music Half Marathon in April of 2011 and had the one of the most fun days of my life. I’m looking forward to continue running throughout my life.

In June of 2011 we moved to Columbus, GA. Jerry got a job on Active Duty with the National Guard working with his brother James. It was really hard for me to leave Augusta, but luckily James and Ruth live here and it has been a wonderful experience so far.
Here is our families together (along with our nephew Thayne) We're together pretty much everyday.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Movie Review: Breaking Dawn

4 stars

Yes, I loved the movie! It was so good. I'm so glad that they separated the book into two movies, because this one was just about the wedding, honeymoon, and the birth of the baby. Making this book into one movie would have made everything rushed and too thin. I feel like it very closely followed the book. Not just in what happened and who said what, but it provoked the same feelings in the same places as the book did. The honeymoon part especially. It was very tastefully done, without cutting out the sex altogether. It was very much portrayed as two people deeply in love sharing a very intimate connection. I'm so glad they didn't cut it out completely or try to make it too hot-and-steamy-sex-sells-Hollywood style.

Also, the birth scene was awesome too! I usually am grossed out by blood, but I wasn't even though they made it pretty bloody. The ending was perfect too! I was wondering at what point would they end this movie, and they picked the perfect spot and it was just AWESOME.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Because sometimes we need something nice to look at and I just want to be superficial for a minute.

People magizine came out with their top 10 sexiest men alive today. And I gotta say, I strongly disagree. Here is their list: (Red-I agree, Green-nah)

1. Bradley Cooper (Loved him on Alias, but not anything since)
2. Liam Hemsworth
3. Idris Elba
4. Justin Theroux
5. Chris Evans
6. Tim McGraw
7. Josh Charles (I'm pretty sure this is the hot dog guy from "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead" I just can't see him as sexy)
8. Joel McHale
9. Jason Momoa
10. Ryan Gosling

Maybe once a man is put on the list he doesn't get on it again, even though his sexiness hasn't just gone away. Anyway, here is my top 10 sexiest men (ok, 11. Why do we have to limit ourselves?) in no particular order-with the exception of Hugh Jackman who definitely tops the list!

Hugh Jackman

Leonardo DiCaprio

Matt Damon

Daniel Craig (I had to include at least one full body swimsuit shot here. I picked Daniel Craig to be the poster boy because when I saw him in this suit in Casino Royal, that is the moment he and I really fell in love. Ok, the moment I fell in love. But I must say, every man on this list can easily rock the full body swimsuit shot :)

Channing Tatum

Ryan Gosling

Will Smith

Zac Efron

Ryan Reynolds

Taylor Lautner

Kellen Lutz (You may not be able to tell by the picture, but this is Emmett from Twlight. This is just the best picture. It shows off, as well as his incredible eyes.)

So what do you think? Did I get it right?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Katie's girls' night out

Katie is taking the night off tonight. She went to dinner at Olive Garden--is probably eating some bread sticks dipped in alfredo sauce, some salad, and she's probably eating something with shrimp in it. Delicious.
I'd say I was jealous, but I am not. I get to hang out at home. I got to read to the boys, "The little red caboose," and I got to tell them the "Adventures of Jonah and Oliver". They went on a tricycle ride tonight. Eventually, they got to ride a bicycle but they each crashed.
Good times.
The stories are supposed to be interactive. Throughout the story Jonah is asked questions about what someone said and Jonah fills in the blank. (Oliver isn't quite ready yet, but we're working on it). The first adventure of Jonah and Oliver was building a tree house. Jonah was asked multiple times who he thought could help him build the house and each time he answered someone else: Mom, Avery, Taylor, Mason, Lexington, Aunt Ruthie and even Uncle James. I tried to drop some subtle hints that would--hopefully sooner than later--indicate that Dad would love to help. It never happened.
Anyway, they're asleep now and I'm blogging. I sure hope Katie is having a nice evening away.
Oh, and did I mention that she's also seeing a 12:00 am showing of Breaking Dawn?
Go Jacob!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

About me-Part 2

Continued from a couple days ago hereLink

After High School Graduation I moved to Cedar City, UT and attended Southern Utah University for a year and a half. I was working my way through and was only able to attend until I ran out of money. I moved back to Mesquite for a year where I worked in housekeeping at Oasis Resort (which is no longer there.)
In February 2004 I moved back to Utah County where I grew up. My mom had since divorced again and was living in American Fork, so I moved in with her and started working at TwinLab as a receptionist. A job that turned into a Human Resources Assistant, then Human Resources Recruiter, and finally Employee Relations Coordinator before I stopped working in 2007. Human Resources was the perfect place for my skills and personality, and I loved working there. I also went back to school part time that fall at Utah Valley State College (now UVU) where I finally earned an Associates degree in April 2006.
Within a month of moving back to Utah in 2004 I met my eventual husband Jerry Alan Johnson. We met at the singles ward in American Fork. As we got to know each other, we found out that he had gone to High School with my brother-in-law, Jeremy Boyle, and that he knew my sister too. He wanted to ask me out, but was too shy to ask for my phone number. So he looked up my brother-in-law’s parents in the phone book and called them and asked them for his number. He then called my brother-in-law and asked him for my number. It was very flattering that he went to all that trouble (but all he had to do was ask!) Our first date was April 8, 2004. We dated all summer and became engaged on August 21, 2004. He would be called away for National Guard Active duty for 4 months to Augusta, GA from September through the end of the year. He proposed quite unexpectedly to me 3 days before he left. We went on a hike to Silver Lake, one of our favorite places. I didn’t think that we would think about getting engaged until he returned home from Georgia. I just thought we were going on a last hike before he left. Well, he sure surprised me by proposing to me at the lake, but I gladly accepted.
He returned home by Christmas that year, and we were married February 3, 2005 in the Mount Timpanogos Temple in American Fork, UT. I was 21 and he was 26. We had a beautiful reception that evening at the Northampton House in American Fork. It was a perfect day.
We honeymooned at Disneyland, another one of our favorite places. We made our first home in Pleasant Grove, UT in the home that Jerry had grown up in, and we eventually bought it from his parents.
In May of 2007 Jerry needed to participate in a study abroad to finish his degree at BYU in Middle Eastern Studies. So I quit my job at TwinLab and went with him to live in Jordan for 4 months. It was the experience of a lifetime! Before we arrived in Jordan, we spent a week in Egypt, traveling to Cairo, then Luxor. We saw the pyramids, the Valley of the Kings, and lots of Mosques and Churches.
While in Jordan for the bulk of the summer, we shared an apartment with 2 other couples that were with the group from BYU. We traveled all over Jordan too. We saw Petra, Wadi Rum, Wadi Mujib, Mt. Nebo, Um Qais (and looked over the Sea of Galilee) and lots of just really cool stuff.
The last week of the summer the BYU group went to Isreal and stayed at the BYU Jerusalem center, visiting Old Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, the Springs of Dan, and the Golan Heights.
The study abroad was completed at this point, but we decided that since we were already across the big blue ocean, we would take the opportunity to visit Italy for a week, which is where Jerry had served his mission. We met Jerry’s mom, Karen, and sister, Mykin in Vienna. We traveled by train toVenice, then rented a car and made our way south throughout the week, ending in Rome.
It was a wonderful, amazing trip…except for one thing; I was sick as a dog! While in Jordan, I became pregnant with my first child, and pregnancy did not agree with me, especially while in a foreign country. I was sick the entire second half of the time in Jordan; I was sick all across Israel and Italy! It was unfortunate to be feeling so awful while seeing some of the most amazing things on earth, but I still had an incredible time.
To be completed...Here