Thursday, December 24, 2009

Some Thoughts

By now, the heat is turned down --- it is done automatically --- and it is, by all accounts, time to retire. But I'm not tired yet. In a little over an hour, it will be Christmas Day, not Christmas Eve anymore. I told Shelley I would get up early enough to help her put the turkey in the oven so it's ready to eat around noon. That means I'll be up about six thirty or seven o'clock. Mike said he and Ashley would come around a while before noon. Sometime tomorrow Norman and his kids will be coming by, I think. Possible in the late afternoon or in the evening. We'll see.

It's been quiet tonight here at home in Layton. Kiele and Shelley watched a movie together --- A Night in the Museum, or something like that --- and I listened to a couple of Christmas musical programs on public television --- the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas program, and the Saint Olaf College Christmas program. We could have watched the traditional It's a Wonderful Life, but it's not our favorite. Not by a long shot.

Brent came up to have a bite to eat and fixed something and ate it, and Kacee came up a few minutes later and they sat together and watched some of the movie with Kiele and Shelley. Then they went back downstairs.

Tomorrow is Christmas. I guess it's my sixty-second Christmas --- or is it just my sixty-first? I'm not sure --- it's one or the other, and it's too late to figure it out. The first few I don't remember, in any event, and the ones after that all seem to blur together anyway. It's funny; the memories of my youth aren't that vivid. The easiest memories to recall involve simply looking into the reflections of the Christmas tree decorations and contemplating the magic of the season, the music, and the notion of the Nativity and the life of the Savior.

We'll be going off to West Jordan to visit Amy and her family in the afternoon sometime tomorrow. Amy has to work tomorrow evening.

Christmas is about family.

While I was growing up, Christmas meant opening presents around the tree in the morning and then visiting Grandma and Grandpa Thompson on Christmas Day and seeing my uncles and aunts there at my grandparents' house, along with all of their kids, my cousins. It was always a busy household at Christmas time, or at least it seemed like it was always a busy household to me. That all changed for me when my mother died.

Of course, I was gone when my mother died, but when I got back home things were never the same again relative to visiting my grandparents'. Not with respect to visiting my side of the family, that is. I returned in 1969. That first Christmas back was pretty lonely, as I recall it. Perhaps it was mostly self-imposed, but I remember being alone and not particularly liking it. Then I married in August of 1971, and after that, my family was mostly my wife's family. We spent Christmas with them, and their house was like my grandparents' house: busy and full of brothers and sisters, etc. We would play games and eat and talk. We would usually get over to visit my father, who remarried in January of 1971, but I had changed and, of course, the situation was totally different. For one thing, I was committed to a more religious life than ever took place in my family growing up or in the extended family of my parents that included my grandparents and uncles and aunts and their kids.

In 1974, Shelley and I moved to Illinois. It's difficult to remember exactly when we went out there, but we came home for Christmas, I'm sure of that. We lived out there for a couple of years and then moved to California for about a year --- a little less than that --- and then we moved to Idaho where we lived for six years. Each year at Christmas time, however, no matter where we were, we came home to Utah, and we were welcomed into my wife's parents' home as guests for the holidays.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Picture in the Paper

A few days ago a picture of my brother appeared in the newspaper on the front page of the local section. He was featured as the most wanted criminal in, I guess, the Ogden area. Something to do with a drug conviction, and not carrying out the terms of his parole relative to it, I think. It wasn't anything that seemed too serious. Serious enough, of course. Yet, it wasn't an armed robbery or a murder, thank goodness. Nonetheless, it is unsettling and heartbreaking to know he is in that situation, down and out, so discouraged and desperate at the end of his life. Well, maybe not at the end of his life, but getting there. Especially, if he's strung out on methamphetamine, broke, unemployed, and probably not qualified for any retirement benefits, at least for a few years.

I wonder what his son thinks. They always seemed so close, even though they didn't live together --- hadn't, as far as I know, for most of his son's life. Nonetheless, I'm pretty sure he tried to keep up the relationship with his son.

I know my older son was impacted by it being there. As soon as he saw it, he asked me about it, and I could tell his concern, his curiosity. He took the section of the newspaper with the article in it, and later in the day, returned with that section, not wanting to take it without having our permission to do so. When I indicated I didn't want to keep the article --- I could look it up at any time online as long as I was a subscriber to the newspaper, he said he was going to. I don't know why or what he intended to do with it. For some reason, it had an attraction for him.

Anyway, I wish things were different for my brother.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I don't believe I have ever been one to take major risks --- maybe I should say, simply, to take risk. I don't think it's a place I came to slowly over a lifetime, but rather a place it seems to me I have always been. As a little boy, one of my earliest memories goes back to my father teaching me how to pull out the grass along the sidewalk. You know, to make it look neat. This was in Clearfield: 97 South 450 East.

We didn't have a trimmer back then. In fact, in those early days we didn't have any power tools. It often seemed as if we were very lucky to have a car. Our lawnmower was mechanical, and it didn't include an engine, other than the body behind that pushed it along. To be fair, I don't rightly recall if we had mechanical clippers or not; we may have had. If we did, at the age I think I am remembering, I doubt I could have worked them anyway. So my dad, he taught me how to trim along the sidewalk there and along the other side where the curb was to the street. He put me to work after I had learned sufficiently and told me how far I need to go.

I kept at it. Pretty soon, though, a friend of mine from kitty-corner across the street, Ray Lechenberg, came out and started playing. What he was doing looked a lot more fun than what I was doing. I longed to abandon my assignment and go play with him. However, I didn't take the risk to do so. I don't want to say that I was an obedient child, although perhaps that is the case. However, it seems to me that a lot of it has to do with an unwillingness to take risk.

One more example. My parents liked for me to play in the yard. They didn't like me going out of our yard. "You stay in the yard, Wally," my mother would say. "That way we can keep track of you, and I know you're okay." Well, a commandment like that wasn't an easy thing to want to follow, especially, when the other kids were over across the way playing tag with each other. It was very difficult under such circumstances to stay in the yard. Nonetheless, for some reason that seems like it was inherent then and is inherent in a way now, I didn't want to take the risk to leave the yard and face the consequences that I felt sure my parents would impose.

Now, one could assume that it wasn't a matter of me not wanting to take the risk, but rather me wanting not to disappoint my parents or me wanting to be obedient when I had been righteously commanded to do so. I don't think of was that at all.

In my younger adult years, I liked to backpack and fish. There wasn't a lot of opportunity for me to do that, especially after school was over, I had graduated from college, and I had my first "genuine" job. We lived in the Midwest, in Illinois, and I seemed to be too busy most of the time, and the countryside there in Illinois wasn't the type of countryside that drew me to go backpacking in. I don't think there were any fish to be had there --- well, not any trout to be had, so I just wasn't interested in going backpacking there. However, when I had vacation time, we always went home to Utah, and, if I could, I would arrange a backpacking trip with my younger brother-in-laws, one brother-in-law in particular who also had that interest, Norman.

One year Norman and his friend Cory and I hiked in the back woods in Idaho. It was in a wilderness area, and we were in this kind of box canyon. There was a beautiful lake at its end, but it was walled around with steep walls of scree and rock. We decided --- rather, my younger companions decided --- to try to ascend to the top of the wall. Well, at first I was game. There was one side that didn't seem too severe, and so I assented.

We started up, but it became more and more hazardous because of the loose rock and scree, and so we gave up on that. We made other attempts, with similar results, more or less giving up because I thought it was too dangerous, and Norman's friend Cory sometimes agreed with me. Norman, however, always seemed willing to take a greater risk. So, while Cory and I gave up and went back to camp, Norman tried one more time. He ended up scaring me so badly going up that face that I've never forgotten it. He took a risk, succeeded, and climbed up that wall. Not me. I watched him, but I did not go where he went.

Now, for me it was and is a matter of inherent fear, perhaps, over against a less inherent fear. Otherwise, for me to admit it would seem boastful, from one perspective, or, of having a tendency to be blindly obedient, from another perspective. I don't pretend to have an answer to the question, though. It just seems to me (tonight) that it goes back to some sort of inherent tendency to avoid risk.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


When we --- Shelley and I --- were younger, we aspired to greater things. For example, tonight, while working to digitize my library, I came upon a book we purchased not that long ago, probably in 2003. The title of the book is To the Top, Reaching for America's Fifty State Summits. That was one of our dreams. We, however scaled it down, probably even well before we ever made the purchase of that book. We decided we were going to reach the summit of the highest points in each county of the State of Utah. We proceeded, and I can't remember exactly how many peaks we actually climbed --- it wasn't too many, but a few --- but even that was beyond us.

For one thing, we took our daughter with us on the hikes. She has cerebral palsy, which includes a partial paralysis on her right side and epilepsy. That was one complicating factor that made our reaching all of the peaks impractical, among others. Of course, we could have just left our daughter home for those peaks that were too dangerous for her to come along. But the other complication was that ascending some of the peaks was "too scary" for my wife. For example, we walked to within a few hundred feet of the top of Mount Tipanogos, a few rocks loosened by some hikers above us came crashing down, and we didn't get to finish the hike. Willard Peak required some scrambling near the very top. That, too, was beyond my wife's courage.

Nonetheless, Shelley is the one who loves to hike. Give her a trail that winds, and you can't stop her, because she needs to see what's around the next corner. Now, as we grow older, she goes and goes much more than I do, but even then she is curtailed by the deterioration of her spine due to osteoporosis and the heavy strain it puts on her lungs.

However, probably the determining factor in us having given up was my fault. We were hiking the highest peak in the county up by Bear Lake. The trail takes off of the side road off from the road that goes through Logan Canyon over to Bear Lake. We found the trail all right and climbed up to the top with our daughter and found the peak. Then, in my manly wisdom, I decided we could take a shortcut, and we became disoriented and wandered around for unnecessary hours, tiring us out and precipitating plantar fasciitis in my foot. With the bone spur, I wasn't ready to go for a long time after that, at least until the next year. By then, some of the fire had gone out of our enthusiasm for the project.

More Rambling Nonsense

I just couldn't believe it would happen right there in the middle of the mall food court in the middle of the day with hundreds of people all around her, and most of them not even noticing that she was having a seizure and that most of the ones who did notice, didn't even care. Yet that is exactly where it happened. And that is what happened.

Now, I have to ask myself, what about me? What about my caring about her? Was I more concerned for her or for my Chick-fil-A sandwich? At first, I mean. What had more importance for me? The fact that I didn't do anything says a lot, I think. However, the fact that I haven't let it go --- I can't get it out of my mind, even after having slept on it --- perhaps says even more. I'll go back there. I'll check around to see if she's there. If she is, I will watch her and see if it happens again. If it does, I'll do something.

I found this tax court case today in the released opinions section of the United States Tax Court website. I'll give the link to it later on my other blog post. Of course, as I can, I try to review the newly released opinions, so it wasn't unusual for me to take a peek. Right off, though, this particular case caught my eye. I know two of the attorneys for the IRS. Stephen M. Barnes and David W. Sorenson. I worked in the same offices they did. Their officers were down the hall to the east of me. I often visited with them and had cases together with them. So, of course, that drew my attention. The case is a tax shelter case. Of course, the government wouldn't be calling it a tax shelter case, because Congress enacted laws that make that expression a tenuous one to talk about. Wonderful Congress. Anyway, I'll be commenting on the case some more. At least I intend to.

"Do you think you should be able to engage in frivolous activities when day after day you spend your time in your room doing nothing? When you don't do anything else productive? You don't work, you don't go to school, you don't help around the place much. So do you think you should be able to then spend money and engage in frivolity when other people are expected to do something productive?"

Murder mysteries make for stories that seem to attract a wide audience, evidenced by the numerous shows on television that feature them. The basic premise is usually set up at the beginning of the story when somebody gets killed or when some body is discovered. In Utah, we have our own missing person mystery again. We seem to have a lot of those. The latest one involves a young mother of two boys whose husband has done nothing but make himself appear totally suspicious from the outset of the discovery of the problem. I won't bother to relate that again --- it's been done ad nauseum, but it is interesting, and I have to admit that the story sucks me in even if I think I know the outcome: that the husband will be convicted of murder. I guess I won't be a jury member, huh?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I critique with a group of writers every week.

The group presently consists of six individuals: LeeAnn, Jane, Brittany, Carolyn, Matt, and me. We meet once a week at the library. Our meetings last from 6 PM until the library kicks us out, just before 9 PM.

I have been critiquing in a group of critiquers for a long time now --- for several years, but I don't remember exactly how many years. It's been so long ago that I started that I don't remember all of the particulars. I do remember that our first group included Steve, who now lives in Logan and has written a most excellent personal memoir that recounts his life with a Japanese war bride, Doug, Bruce, and, I think, Norma, and perhaps Rick. Rick moved to Colorado.

None of the original group I started critiquing with now critiques as far as I know. Of course, I haven't kept up with Rick, so perhaps he does. Steve has been too ill to critique or do much else of late. Bruce got involved in something else that took him away from it. I think Norman's life was just too busy to stick with it.

Of that original group, Doug has probably had the greatest success insofar as I know. He had several pieces published in historical journals and whatnot. I don't think he ever made any money off of it to speak of. Nor did he find a publisher for his lengthy histories. However, the novel he never quite finished while he was critiquing with us, he turned it into a screenplay when he started taking a class from the University of Utah. I think it was a U of U. class on screenwriting. He ended up winning a screenwriting contest sponsored by Sundance. The last I talked to him he was trying to shop the screenplay in California. But I haven't spoken with him for a while now, either.

I have published my tax book for writers and artisans, Making Expression Less Taxing. I haven't been able to find an agent to represent my novel, Time for All Eternity, however. I haven't ever shopped that novel to publishers and editors.

Of the people I presently critique with, LeeAnn has been around the longest. Matt has been the most successful. His novel, The Clockwork Three, will come out next year. He got a nice contract with Scholastic earlier this year on the second book he worked on since joining the critiquing group. His first novel didn't sell . . . yet. The people I now critique with are all great writers with varying aptitudes.

Jane has an agent who is shopping her more recently completed novel she brought to our critiquing sessions involving Pastor Pete. She is a great writer and has professional experience as an editor. If they don't publish her, there is no justice in the publishing world.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pure Rambling Crap

I'm not sure I even want to do this. It is late, and I have been having difficulty with my cough, which seems to be caused from intestinal problems and perhaps some related acid reflux. Or, perhaps, it has something to do with my lungs. Something is happening to make me cough. Nonetheless, I'll give writing an attempt and see if anything comes out of it. It would be so much easier just to read something or to switch on the television and watch Letterman or something like that.

I do too much of that, though. I have done that most of a lifetime that is behind me now: procrastinating as it pertains to writing. I can't say that I was lazy relative to everything in my life, but relative to my writing, after I decided a few years ago to try to do more seriously, I have put off doing it seriously far too much and too long.

It is so much easier to allow somebody else to do the heavy lifting of thinking and getting thoughts down on paper in some coherent, persuasive, and entertaining way. Nonetheless, I aspire to do so, at least to some degree I do. I also aspire to be able to left my thoughts freely flow, to be able to get my words to freely come out of my mouth, and let my thoughts be generated by my brain and interpreted through my voice and, hence, reach the computer. In times past my words would have been written down or typed out on paper or parchment. But now, with computers, they get taken down on a monitor and stored in a file, encapsulated in some software that can be used to manipulate them: their size, their position, their look, etc.

How amazing the world is. When I contemplate it, its complexity and genuine mystery overwhelm me. I marvel at the ability to see, the beauty of color, the complexity in the entire notion of being able to see. Seeing, for example, words and being able to put them in my mind by seeing them and manipulate them there in order to understand them, to correlate them with my previous experience.

Part of the problem in ignoring opportunities to write when I've had them is this difficulty getting something meaningful down. I tend to ramble and go all over the place when I'm doing this type of thinking and writing. I'm not sure how productive it is. I'm not sure how useful it is. Nonetheless, I have the sense that it is better than not doing anything at all.

I guess no matter when I started this process, I would have had to pass through this kind of crappy stuff to progress on to something better. In order to become a good writer, you have to first be a writer, and that means you have to be a bad writer. It's like anything else. You start at the bottom and only progress upward through practice and effort.

I suppose it's not surprising how tired I am becoming doing this. It makes me want to quit. It makes me want to go to bed. I wonder if I did, though, would I be able to sleep? I wonder if I would be able to sleep or if I would toss and turn and have to read for a while and maybe even come and take some Tylenol.

This House of Sky

Ivan Doig grew up in Montana. In this book, he talks about his experience growing up there. He tells about the severity of life there in general, and, more specifically, about the severity of his life growing up. Of course, having graduated from a college in the same Big Sky Athletic Conference as are the Montana universities, I was familiar with the terminology, big sky. And I was familiar with Big Sky Country. That, of course, was Montana. His title --- this house of sky --- relates, I think, back to that.

I think Doig does a great job in capturing the Montana countryside and the lifestyle of a great number of white people who settled Montana to live off the land in telling the story about himself. Of course, it's a story about him, his parents --- mostly his dad, because his biological mother died when he was just a boy --- and his grandmother.

Of course, it gets cold in Montana and the land isn't as productive or as fertile as it is in the Plains states or in the interior valley of California. Montana is a demanding place to grow up in, and Ivan had a demanding family situation.

Let me quote from the book to give some flavor of it:

Those first seasons of following the sheep, my parents kept with them in their daily sift through the forest a cat, an independent gray-and-white tom they had named Pete Olson. Somehow, amid the horses and dogs and sheep, and the coyotes and bobcats which ranged close to camp, Pete Olson rationed out his nine lives in nightly prowls of the mountain.

Hopefully, this captures to some degree the ambience of the place Doig captures in his descriptions and the color of the people involved in his life.

There are similes and metaphors galore with such color and texture that exceeds my ability to describe: he grins like a jackass eating thistles, parents behave down toward us as if they are tribal gods, as old and unarguable and almighty as thunder, those sheep were so hungry they were eatin' the wool off each other.

Mostly though, the story is about the boy, Ivan Doig, growing up and learning to love his way of life, the land, and the people that sacrificed so much for his benefit: his grandmother and his father.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

And This Is HTing?

I had to wind down after NaNoWriMo and finish my writing for my critiquing group. If I do NaNoWriMo again, I want to be a little more organized about where I'm going with the novel I'm writing. Nonetheless, it was a good experience.

On Sunday, I went HTing with a new companion, a guy I think is a little younger than me, but not much if at all. He's a fellow I've known since 1985. Anyway, he was just released from serving in a bishopric somewhere else. He might have even been the bishop for all I know, but I'm not sure about that. He picked me up at 1 PM. We had discussed going the week before, but things hadn't worked out then so that the people we were going to visit could be home when we could come, so we needed to go right away because the month was ending Monday.

I made the arrangements. One family said they could see us at 2 PM --- they were eating dinner at 1 PM. One gentleman --- a guy who is recently divorced and is now single --- said he could see us at 1 PM. He wanted us to come later, but I told him we couldn't. (I could, but my new companion had a trip he needed to take in the afternoon into the evening) So the single brother agreed to 1 PM. I called my new companion, and told him the times and the order. He said he'd pick me up at one o'clock. I thought, okay, we'll go see the guy, then we'll have time to take a break, and we'll go see the other family at 2. As it turned out, the visit to the guy --- the single brother --- turned out lasting until 2:15 PM.

It's the visit to the single brother I want to talk about. I found it unique and odd.

I had been assigned the single brother a year or two before when I had had a different companion, a young man who was on the verge of going on a mission. Back then, the single brother had been married, and he had had a stepson about a priest's age. Not long after that, though, I was reassigned to another family. Another man in the bishopric of our ward had taken over HTing that particular family.

The divorce had followed after I had been reassigned, and not long after the divorce, the brother had been told by his doctor that he needed bypass surgery, that he was only getting like a ten percent flow of what was normal. He had the bypass operation, and the medical personnel had had trouble getting him to come out of the anesthesia and, from what I understand, there was some question whether he would pull through or not. But he did, and when he did, he made significant progress in recuperating from five-bypass surgery.

One other problem relative to the gentleman we were visiting involved unemployment. He had moved to Utah from California. I don't know all the details, but he had apparently had a significant life there, including having had three children who are now grown and still live there. These kids, I take it, relate back to still another marriage, perhaps, and, if I'm correct, the boy who was a priest I alluded to earlier was a stepson, a son of his more recent wife's and not a biological son of him.

In any event, in California this man had worked in an industry that required his skills as a salesman, and he had done it regularly. It paid fairly well, and I take it that he didn't have any problem with unemployment there. However, when he moved to Utah, and I don't know how his other marriage fits into his move to Utah for sure, he had been unable to find steady work in the same occupation. In fact, he had had difficulty maintaining employment here at all. Indeed, it might have been the precipitating problem relative to his more recent divorce, but that's speculation. And he wasn't and hadn't been employed at all since his debilitating bypass surgery, which left him in debt for medical expenses approaching $200K.

So, anyway, my new companion picked me up and on the way to the appointment I gave him some of this background. We got there, we rang the doorbell, and we were welcomed into the house. So it'd been a long time, perhaps a year or two, since I'd been there --- other than the fact that during his recuperation I had delivered a meal to him from our family, but he had been in the garage that day, and I had just handed him the meal and he had taken it inside. But today I noticed how unkempt the place was: the floor was littered and dirty: it didn't look like the carpet had been vacuumed or the floor swept for a long time. There was dust on everything. No problem, I think --- not to me anyway, he'd been through a lot with his recuperation and everything and was going through still more, because he couldn't find employment.

Anyway, we spent maybe 10 to 15 minutes covering this same background territory and information with him, including his current situation involving unemployment. My new companion was asking him all about it, and he was answering him. Then my new companion gave him a two or three minutes message out of the Ensign on how the church was building temples and how much closer they are to most members now than ever before, facilitating visits.

So we're into the visit say twenty minutes. In my opinion, it would have been a good time to say "What can we do to help out?" and then to have concluded in the conventional way with prayer. However, the visit continued on for another fifty-five minutes.

It was at about that time that my new companion asked both of us a question. The question was, "What do you think about what's happening in the United States?" This question wasn't totally out of the blue, because just before it, I believe, or sometime in the preceding discussion the single brother had complained that the current President of the United States was not accomplishing anything except for getting the country further and further into debt.

Anyway, my companion hadn't posed his question rhetorically. He really wanted an answer, first, from the single brother. And then he wanted me to answer it, also. So, the single brother gave him his answer, which was a complete trashing of President Obama, including the familiar diatribe on how the President wasn't a citizen and therefore shouldn't be serving the country.

Then it was my turn to answer. I wanted to be somewhat circumspect and careful, yet honest. I've never found political discussions in such settings that helpful or inspiring, probably because I am about a million times more conservative than most LDS people even though in the scheme of things I am quite conservative. I said I had been disappointed that the laws on the books hadn't been and possibly weren't being funded and enforced, or that they had been weakened and that combined with the lack of funding and enforcement had led to the financial crisis the nation had experienced and was facing, including the widespread unemployment, the foreclosures on so many peoples' homes, and the closing of so many companies. I told about a friend who had worked for a local company involved in the space shuttle for thirty years who had been laid off. I said, I thought there had been a deterioration of citizens' willingness to comply with laws. I gave as an example how crazily people were driving on the highways and roads.

There was some discussion about traffic relative to California versus Utah, with the single brother admitting one of the reasons he had moved to Utah was because of the congested traffic of California. I did note that I thought California drivers were more sophisticated and courteous than Utah drivers.

Anyway, in response to our answers to my new companion's question about the United States, my new companion told an anecdote. He said he had been in a store up by Willard, the Smith and Edwards store, where he had observed, back by the guns and ammunition, I think he said, an area set aside for, as I understand it, political discourse and information. He said they were offering there for just one dollar a DVD with the title "Pretext for the North American Union".

He then went on to say how corrupt individuals in the U.S. government were, including the current administration, in particular, the past administration --- which kind of surprised me--- and just about everybody connected with politics, complaining that there was an agenda to do away with the United States and create the North American Union. He cited the porous southern border, a conspiracy to register guns --- likening it to Hitler, the trade agreements, including talking about a trans-north and south highway, all of which was intended to lead to one world government.

This new companion then told us of bishops of the church who were purchasing guns and ammunition in astronomical proportions. He went on to inform us that he had a concealed weapons permit and that most of the time he was carrying a weapon. He and the single brother went on to trash the current administration and congress. He said he hadn't been able to sleep the past few nights worrying about it.

He asked if we had weapons. The single brother had a shotgun, I think. I said I didn't and told him about the book I'd read of the father with the troubled teenager who had become worried and armed himself and then shot his son dead when his son started after him with a knife. I told him I was a pacifist.

Anyway, eventually, after an hour and a quarter, we prayed and said goodbye. Out in the new companion's truck, he gave me a copy of the DVD.

Since then, I emailed the two brothers:

I've thought about you both today in this bleak economy and these trying times. Especially you, [the single brother], with all the problems that you face. I'll continue to pray for you to find solutions.


A college professor friend of mine ( ), a member of the church whose opinion I respect, recommended to always use to check out stories to see what, if anything, it might say. Like everything, we should always explore all sides of every story and take our concerns to the Lord. I recommend searching "Obama citizenship" and "North American Union" in the snopes search box.


My best to both of you,

The single brother's email came back undeliverable. Apparently, I don't have his correct email address. I haven't heard back from my new companion yet. I wonder what he'd do if he knew I support SSM marriage? As a pacifist, I wouldn't think he'd see me as much of a threat. After all, he's packing. Sure makes me feel safer being with him when we go HTing, though. Not! LOL