The Wonderful World of Soup~

Soup is an endless sea of wonder, just like the many things I choose to write about. My thoughts explore Writing, World to National Events, Family Catastrophes (past and present) or whatever seems to get me thinking while sipping hot soup, tea, cider or a cold Pepsi...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Beautiful Array of Colorful Cotton & Lycra

The Infamous Sock Basket
(:A Dissertation of my Nemesis)

"Clean socks are overrated", said no one ever.

Inspiration can come in many forms. On the evening of August 27, 2014, I found such inspiration in the form of a sock basket. This is the said, infamous sock basket (above). Isn't it beautiful? As I pulled out my cellphone to take a photo of the array of brightly colored socks belonging to our four minions of both genders, I recalled a wondefully funny story...

Many years ago, when I had one still in size 1 diapers and another barely potty trained, I went to my sister-in-law's home. She had 5 children still at home and worked long hours at the local college library. I came upon a strange, but humorous depot of odd socks. One of her daughters, the second oldest, was searching through it trying to find a match to a sock. This was hilarious to me.
"What is this?" I asked.
"It's a sock basket, mainly for the long lost socks we can't find the matches to," she replied.
"Really?" I giggled.
While my question seemed innocent on the surface, what my "almost married three-years mind" thought was that I'd never stoop so low. Though my mother had something similar (but much worse), I knew that I would be above such atrocities in a well kept home. After all, I would never repeat the mistakes of my parents. Surely, my little girl (and the one just born), would quite simply put, have a better life. I did a pretty good job keeping up with the laundry with one and back then, I even washed, folded and put away my husband's clothes. I loved washing the baby clothes!
By the time I had the third child, the sock basket most likely appeared. It stayed fairly low and was often sorted through, so life hadn't hit too hard. I was blessed to be a stay at home Mom then and my main roles were housewife and mother. Life went on. At some point, I knew I had to finish my degree. So, I went back to school to attain my B.S.E. when #3 was about a year.

The house pretty much exploded.

I did do laundry, but it was always backed up. A few years later, I had our fourth child. He was born a few weeks early and came with me to a few finals (slept the whole time). By the time he was potty-trained, I went to work part-time for a small newspaper, partly for sanity and partly to pay the bills. The plan was to write from home and still be the stay at home Mom. But that only lasted a month or so. The paper needed a full-time reporter. We sometimes added another sock basket (for adult socks) and I will admit that my laundry often sat unfolded in baskets and/or on the coach. After almost 2 years of this, I went to work at a middle school to put my husband through school and get better in line with my kid's schedules. All of them were in school by then. The sock basket became a permanent, normal way of life.
I have come to love the sock basket; it's true. It keeps some matched and some unmatched socks. It also has seasonal socks, you know, for Easter, soccer and Christmas. I think about those early years when I made fun of my sister-in-law and have to laugh inside. Just like many things I've thought and said, that day came back to taunt me. It's pointing its finger at me, holding its stomach, and laughing uncontrollably.

I imagine that someday I will miss the infamous sock basket. With the oldest now a senior and the youngest exiting elementary, I really like to look at the range of clean and bright socks that it holds. I know with all my heart that the little socks will slowly disappear, and not because the washer ate them. So for now, I salute you sock basket. I salute my mother who had one, my sister-in-law and all of you. If you don't have one, maybe you are laughing. But whatever you do, don't laugh out loud and don't say a thing...

Friday, July 25, 2014

LDS Black History Month

I've always been fascinated with the history of Blacks, or African Americans, in our country and throughout the world. I went to a highschool that was about a third white, a third Mexican and a third black. To say the least, my highschool experience was unforgettable. (But to tell the truth, I loathed highschool). There were often massive fights between classes, sometimes where the entire 5A school of close to 3,000 (or maybe 4,000) were transfixed by a gang fight. It was a literal battlefield somedays. Teachers, (with empty classrooms) tried to break up these huge fights, but to no avail. It was almost comical. Our small to mid-sized town shared its main drag with an Army base, hence the draw for many African Americans. We were also very close to the border, hence the Mexicans. (We lived in the Gadsen Purchase from Mexico). Then there were many rich caucasian families, often comparable to Beverly Hills teens. Ya, I was often out of place. However, I had friends of every color under the sun. I had enemies too, some who simply hated me because I had black friends and talked to black boys. Others despised my white skin and blond hair. I took both verbal and physical abuse from a few, but thankfully I had a few good friends with ebony skin who were good and kind souls. I remember going into our libraries (we had two) and seeing the routine Black History Month. So, this is the theme of my late night/early morning blog.
I came across an interesting article about black pioneers today. Really? How fascinating! While they had some negative things to say about blacks and the priesthood (and temples), I found the article fairly mild in the anti-Mormon sense. The overall theme was that it was high time these Saints were remembered. One such saint was a slave, given to a Mormon couple as a wedding present. He was freed of course, and joined the faith, but many focused on how Mormons owned slaves. I find that statement ridiculous. For one, ofcourse Mormons owned slaves. Most of the country did at the time, regardless of their faith. What should be more relevant is the history of the Saints during the Civil War. If you're wondering what side we took, it was not with the South. Many Saints were known to have freed their slaves. What a beautiful thing that this particular slave was freed and joined the faith, even if he was listed as a servent in the history. Then, he crossed the plains with the Saints and stood near Brigham Young when he said, "This is the Place!" over the Salt Lake Valley. That's pretty cool. I certainly don't have any known ancestors with that historic claim.
Then came the comments afterward. Many bashed the faith, discussing how persecuted and mistreated these black saints were. I was not there and do not know, but clearly this article claims the opposite. While I may be accused of taking a Polyanna approach, I like to imagine they were loved and well cared for. The article mentioned the tragedy it was that they were erased from LDS Pioneer History, but were they really erased? While it would have been nice to have heard of their story sooner, this is not something the leaders of the church kept under lock and key. I doubt they paid off others to keep it a secret. Thousands of pioneer stories have gone untold. We mostly recall/retell the major tragedies like Hans Mill and the Martin Harris Handcart company and rightly so. These horrific stories involved blood, frozen babies and many graves. Of course these were/are overtold, but they were just as unbearable then as they are now.
Mainly the comments bashed on the controversial history of the priesthood, so I thought it relevant to share my experience as a missionary with the many black Saints that I came to love instantly in England. I was surprised at how different these blacks were compared to African Americans. They weren't all obessed with entitlement, racism and to be blunt, not as many were "cocky". They were just so different, mostly in a good way. I was also bothered by the comments made about Mia Love, a black Republican running from Congress from Utah. Many were offended that she was a Mormon. I almost chewed out the few who ripped on her, but I realized I'd be wasting my breath. (I think she's a gem).
So, I bit my lip and put in my two cents. While I am white and cannot speak for the black Saints and Pioneers, I do find all of their stories remarkable. I can't wait to hear more. I do like the news and don't have network television, so I sometimes comment on these online debates/threads. Sometimes, I get positive feedback, other times, the trolls come out. But that's not the point. The point is that we all have our opinions, but mine is just better than yours! 
Just kidding. The point is that we all have a voice and we should not be afraid to sing out,especially with our Faith. For your reading enjoyment (or disgust), here are my comments made to the article posted on Huffington Post. How convenient that it came out on/near Pioneer Day!

"I will likely get bashed here, but I want to stand up for my beautiful faith. While I served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the 1990s in England, I came across a different kind of African-English people (likely much like Isis Green).They were not caught up in political platforms, reverse racism, playing the victim, etc. When they prayed and blessed the sacrament, it was compelling, let alone richly spiritual. It was as if they regarded their newly ordained authority with a bit more humility and respect than many, likely because it did not come easily. Here's a little fact for the haters and anti-faith oriented people who bash on the priesthood in our faith. In biblical times, it was only allowed to be in hands of the Levites (Levitical Priesthood). Millions of faithful Christians were not allowed to hold the priesthood, regardless of their skin color or wealth. Only in the modern times did the priesthood spread to many tribes, lines and families. In my opinion, it took so long because of the great need for humilty and respect. It was never about a right. I adored, and still do, the entire black congregations and always wanted to be around them. I brought new/future members to these members of our faith (along with those who were Phillipeno). How wonderful it is to learn of their early history, but please, stop making this about rights and persecution. And don't get me started on the controversy with women, that will take another epistle. It's all much like the argument with Jesus' color of skin. We don't need to be offended that he was a fair-skinned Jew. It just is what it is. This is God's plan and I find it eternally beautiful. God Bless & Keep the Faith. ♥ ("

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Missed Themes and Frozen Hearts

Themes. There are so many themes and messages in the world. Themes are somewhat predictable, but get right to the core of human nature. Here's a theme, for example: Love conquers all. Ever read a story with that theme? Perhaps you've experienced a Theme park with a loved one before- such as Disneyland, Legoland or Sea World? While they rob us blind and trap us with their inventive, commercialized creations, they still have beautiful themes... Dream the impossible, explore all frontiers, reach for the stars, save the whales, etc. ! Underneath these messages about life, we all want to follow our dreams, live happily ever after and not miss the beautiful wonder of the world!

Stories like Disney/Pixar's Frozen come to mind. Two sisters are torn apart by a curse. They live in the same castle, but have become strangers. After they express themselves, face conflict and a desperate need to be loved, they must somehow find each other again. One sister ends up at a crossroads. Sacrifice herself for her sister when she needs her most or run into the arms of her true love. The ending is happy and somewhat predictable, but not exactly. Most of us expected to see a wedding and true love's kiss. (I refuse to give it away & be the spoiler; I've already said too much.) But here's the point. The message (& the music) struck a chord with every single member of my family. Here are just a few of its themes.

*With sacrifice comes great blessings.
*Life is riddled with challenges.
*Be careful who you trust and who you put your faith in.
*Be there for each other.
*It's never too late for love
*In the end, Love truly does conquer all.

I recently read a Twitter comment on someone else's view of Frozen. It was posted by someone who rallies for same sex marriages, wishing that Disney would produce a film where a "princess marries a princess". While she liked the movie, I am a little confused. First of all, did she miss the main points? (Did she also not notice that this focused on two sisters and Not Prince Charming and the Princess?) But this is the world we live in. It's all about rights and politics. Nobody cares that something good and beautiful came together. It's like she was blind to the real message. Two sisters, orphaned and alone, came together in true love and sacrifice. They conquered their foes and realized their fears. I thought it was one of Disney's best messages. While I have many points that I could make about our current legalized marriages and other such controversial topics, I will keep it simple.

We need a country more aware of the THEMES and less aware of the battle over certain "rights". There will often be a time when we should unite and battle for rights. The right of equality (in race, gender, religion), the right to worship however we please, the right to an education, free speech- these are the true rights that our forefathers fought for and painted crystal clear in our constitution. But too many in our world are lost and confused. They trample upon the Constitution. In their view- In the land of freedom and opportunity, everything should be free! For example, something that started as a sacred union between a man and a woman in Christianity (and other religions), should be given to those who wish to unite the same genders. More so, if you disagree, than you are a hater and a bigot! Tis a trap created by the one sole author of lies.

What if we respected the religious beliefs of others instead? What if we did not cry foul when these laws and traditions did not suit our purposes and lifestyle? I can respect the choices of two adults, but I cannot stand idly by when they alter the simple union of man and wife. Perhaps the government should create a common law category for such unions, if they are wishing for tax breaks. But I do not think this would appease their appetitites. They want to make a political statement. And, they want a Disney movie glamorizing this choice, which I imagine will be watched by children. Which brings me to one last point.

Why bring children into their choices? Raising a family is challenging enough in this world. If rights are the big concern, what about the rights of the child? While they can no doubt provide loving homes, what about the day when a daughter needs her father and/or a son needs his mother? This is the part that makes me sad. I can't even imagine. Cutting out the Mommies or the Daddies is not what our children need in this world. We, as a nation and world, have fallen into yet another trap. The author of lies has always waged a war on the family. He saves his best weaponry for that beautiful fortress- the family.

I absolutely loved the ice castle in Frozen. But it was a metaphor. She challenged her powers to their limits and created a cold, magnificent chasm between herself and the home she once knew. She wanted to stay there, alone, forever with her ginormous ice monster of fear. She thought she was protecting her beloved sister this way. Meanwhile, the village she once loved was buried in snow and ice. She could not return to save the village and thaw her accidental curse, for she did not know how. All were doomed. But as I told you before, Love really does conquer all. And as the snowman Olaf put it perfectly, "Some hearts are worth melting for."