Monday, May 25, 2009

Remembering those who purchased our freedom

Today was about the most beautiful Memorial Day one could ask for. In the morning we completed a short family hike through the forest to a remote beach on Puget Sound. After a quiet afternoon of reading and looking through home listings, we met some friends at the park and let the kids run loose on the playground. By then it was too late to worry about cooking dinner, so we picked up some food on the way home. After chatting online with my parents for a while, my wife and I got the kids in bed and finished the evening watching a movie together.

In the late afternoon as I was running footraces against my son (who is surprisingly speedy for a 4-year-old) I felt a pang of sadness for the men and women who have fallen in combat for the United States of America and would not have a similar opportunity to see the laughter and growth of their children. Lately I've been engrossed by the book Lone Survivor, in which Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell gives an eyewitness account of a few of these brave soldiers who lost their lives during a special operations mission against Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. These men and thousands like them paid a very high price to preserve the freedom and opportunities that I enjoy in their place. They made the ultimate sacrifice that allows us to enjoy our daily lives, and they deserve recognition for that not just today, but every day. God bless them and their families.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Blog analyzes growth of Mormon church

Did you know that the top five states in LDS Church membership growth between 2000 and 2008 (including convert baptisms and members moving in) were Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, Iowa, and South Carolina in that order? This and similar factoids are plentifully available on Matt Martinich's blog United States and Canada Church Growth. Also see his other blog LDS Church Growth for commentary and news on Church growth worldwide.

Martinich is mesmerized with Church statistics and he provides detailed analyses of where the Church is growing and, in a few cases, shrinking. His thoughtful posts include maps, history, and comparison of current statistics with growth during previous eras.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Product of a quiet Sunday morning...

My wife was never really into dolls as a kid, so we didn't inherit much pink stuff after getting married. However, she did own about 7 million K'nex that have wound up in our home.

This morning the K'nex turned out to be a quiet way to entertain the kids. They get up about 6:30, church starts at 11:00. You do the math. This void needs to be filled so we don't wind up at the chapel already insane.

As we sat in the kids' room building different things and talking, I realized how nice it was to spend a few peaceful hours alone with the family. And as abominable of a toy the K'nex are for keeping a room tidy, they can get a daddy hooked. The above tractor is the product of this morning's labors. It was my son's idea to build this, but I was still engrossed in the project after he and the others had lost interest and gone downstairs. Now here I am showing it off on my blog... Is that a shameless Daddy trick or what?

Friday, May 1, 2009

This year's Rays?

April's gone and the Mariners are still leading the AL West. Did anyone see this coming?

My oh my...