Working For Mom

You just can't get a hold of her these days...Smiles.  Here are the pictures you wanted.

Helping with yardwork.

Grandpa and Graham taking a break!



"Ciranda" is a children's game played in Brazil, and it seems to be the equivalent of Ring-Around-The Rosie as far as notoriety goes.   There is a beautiful song by Marcio Faraco (Chico Buarque sings it with him) by that same name, "Ciranda".    I love the lyrics to this song, I adore the melody.  I can sing this song over and over and over, and I find myself remembering one remarkable thing about the country of Brazil.  My first mission president told me that the Brazilian people were a people "de suframento e alegria", of suffering and joy.  While people all over the world experience the full range of emotions, claro, there is something to the national tenor, or feeling, of the Brazilian people, a unique combination of sentiment; their signature.  Brasil is truly a country of Joy and Suffering.  They wear it well together.  

This song captures that feeling for me.  It makes something in my heart want to cry and smile, and listen to it again.  It assuages me, I don't quite know what, but I need it.  

Here are the Lyrics in Portuguese, and then my rough translation to English, for those of you who don't speak Portuguese.  You can listen to the song here

Se tento correr o tempo pára
Se páro pra ver o mundo anda
Ele vem bater na minha cara
A vida é sempre essa ciranda

Se a noite me traz uma tristeza
O dia vem cheio de alegria
O que falo agora com certeza
Há pouco não sei se eu diria

Eu quero gritar ninguém me escuta
Está tudo preso na garganta
Às vezes me cansa tanta luta
E é pra não chorar que a gente canta

A gente canta
A gente canta

Eu vi uma luz no fim do túnel 
Enchi de esperança o coração
A luz que lá estava foi chegando
Era um trem carregado de ilusão

Andando só na corda bamba
Não temo o futuro da nação
A gente que sempre dançou samba
Enfrenta qualquer divisão

A gente canta
A gente canta

Rough English Translation of Ciranda

If I try to run, the time stops,

If I stop to see, the world walks on

He comes, hitting me in the face, 

Life is always this Ciranda

If the night brings me sadness,

the day comes full of joy

Of what I speak now with certainty,

You have but few who don't know of what I speak

I want to cry out, no one listens

It's all trapped in my thorat

Sometimes I get tired of so much struggle

And so we don't cry, we sing

We sing

We sing

I saw a light at the end of the tunnel

and filled my heart with hope,

When the light arrived  

It was a train carrying illusion

Walking alone on the tight rope

I don't fear the future of the nation

We who have always danced the samba

Can meet any division

We sing

We sing


Thursday Morning...

We had G & A on Thursday morning, and Kip was a big hit.  He played basketball and soccer with G, over and over and over.  He held A and made her laugh.  It was a nice morning and we had a fun time.  I snapped a few pictures.  Here was Kip and G helping me with some yard work. 

Here Kip was rescuing a soccer ball from the trampoline (which was both exciting and a bit scary for G).


There has been a lot of talk this week about bonuses.  They say congress has decided to tax the AIG bonuses 90% if they are over two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.   

Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars is a small enough amount, apparently, to not worry about.  I would like a Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollar bonus.  

I suppose working at AIG has required long hours, education, skill, etc.  And that those jobs pay very high.  

How about this? I will spend eight hours in an AIG office, and one of their employees with one of these "smaller bonuses" can spend eight hours at my job.  I'll handle the pressures of restructuring, or looking over accounts, of talking to this bank and this bank about this investment and that investment...

...while they spend time in the last week of the term for twenty plus foster kids, oh, one ran last week, oh, by the way, one had her best friend attempt suicide twice this week, oh...don't forget to visit so-and-so before the reunification, and please call the caseworker so she can give that updated report to the judge.  Please be refreshed and ready to explain every school course K through 12.  Did you double check those graduation requirements we needed an update on, and what about getting those records transferred from Canada?  Did you call that therapist who needed to talk to you?  And don't worry, it's not you, it's just reactive attachment disorder.  

And at the end of that day we could split the bonus!  Smiles.  Actually, at the end of the day, I much prefer my job, I adore it actually, as hard as it can be.  It would just be nice if my School District payed 165 million in retention bonuses, to ensure we would be here next year.  As it stands, some of us are just wondering if they will be able to afford us at all.  Sigh, the ironies of life.  

I guess, when all is said and done, I prefer to be at this end of the totem pole.  My bonus this week will consist of seeing a girl pass the term with flying colors against all odds...and that really is the better end of the deal.  


A Favorite Poem, Written By My Father

This is a poem written by my father that he included in his book of poetry entitled "Mosaic".  And while I don't have a favorite, there are many I love, this is quite beautiful.  

My Body All in Stars

This wide, wide open night I stand miles high
Within the starlight cradling air, 
And in my covering of clay
Awaken little embryonic stars;
Infant suns and moons are kindled on my tongue,
Whole galaxies revolve
Upon the tips of my bright fingers.

I loom higher, 
Melting outward in the drifting air of space, 
Until Arcturus pulses as my bright and spindled heart, 
Until my loins become the rowdy red Aldebaran
Of fecund Taurus, 
My mind the quick blue flame of Rigel. 

O praise that high, expansive unity
That binds my triangle of sacramental self
Upon the altars of the sky
In reverence to those lordly stars
That are kindred brothers to the throne of God. 

- Randall L. Hall


Change; Regression and Progression and The Freedom to Partake in His Goodness

Everyone has heard the false argument that has become a Hollywood cliche, the idea that people shouldn't change, or they aren't being true to themselves.  There is always the movie where someone gets "that job", and suddenly the climax of the film is a friend or lover saying "You've changed, and I don't know who you are anymore."  Yet it's inevitable that people do change and grow.  It's imperative.  Wanting someone to stay the exact same is damning them to reject opportunities to move forward, though this does mean that they can make decisions which cause them to go backward.   

The thing to watch out for is who you are listening as you progress in your life.  I have two forces desiring to help me change.  One would help me to progress to light, freedom, service, character, and divinity.  The other would want to make me think more of myself, attach to things, to create a "lifestyle" that defines me, and to chain me down to all important things like "What do I want to do with my life in my way in my time, and who was wearing what at the Oscars?"

"Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man.  And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life through the great Mediator of all men [Christ], or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.  
"And now...I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life..."

(2 Nephi 2:27-28)

The great thing about following Christ in this progression is that He refines our divine natures.  He helps to purify and cleanse, and lead us to what our true essence is.  And so we do change and progress without losing our heritage.  Satan, the father of all lies, not only wants us to change, but in a way that abandons our true nature in the process, creating harshness instead of refinement, and shrinking instead of expansion.  He wants us to disappear inside the ills of society and get lost.  

Here is the fantastic thing about Christ leading us, "He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him.  Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation. "
"Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness?  Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden."
"...He inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness..."

(2 Nephi 26: 24, 28, 33)