Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Memorial Day History Lesson

Did you know that 52 of the 55 signers of The Declaration of Independence were orthodox, deeply committed Christians? The other three all believed in the Bible as the divine truth, the God of scripture, and His personal intervention.
It is the same congress that formed the American Bible Society. Immediately after creating the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress voted to purchase and import 20,000 copies of scripture for the people of this nation. Patrick Henry, who is called the firebrand of the American Revolution, is still remembered for his words, "Give me liberty or give me death." But in current textbooks the context of these words is deleted.
Here is what he said: "An appeal to arms and the God of hosts is all that is left us. But we shall not fight our battle alone. There is a just God that presides over the destinies of nations. The battle sir, is not of the strong alone. Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death." These sentences have been erased from our textbooks.
Was Patrick Henry a Christian? The following year, 1776, he wrote this "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here."
Consider these words that Thomas Jefferson wrote on the front of his well- worn Bible: "I am a Christian, that is to say a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our Creator and, I hope, to the pure doctrine of Jesus also."
Consider these words from George Washington, the Father of our Nation, in his farewell speech on September 19, 1796: "It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible. Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, our religion and morality are the indispensable supporters. Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that our national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."
Was George Washington a Christian? Consider these words from his personal prayer book:
"Oh, eternal and everlasting God, direct my thoughts, words and work. Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the lamb and purge my heart by the Holy Spirit. Daily, frame me more and more in the likeness of thy son, Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time obtain the resurrection of the justified unto eternal life. Bless, O Lord, the whole race of mankind and let the world be filled with the knowledge of thy son, Jesus Christ."
Consider these words by John Adams, our second president, who also served as chairman of the American Bible Society. In an address to military leaders he said, "We have no government armed with the power capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and true religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
How about our first Court Justice, John Jay? He stated that when we select our national leaders, if we are to preserve our Nation, we must select Christians. "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian Nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."
John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams, was the sixth U.S. President. He was also the chairman of the American Bible Society, which he considered his highest and most important role. On July 4, 1821, President Adams said, "The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."
Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President of the United States reaffirmed this truth when he wrote, "The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country."
In 1782, the United States Congress voted this resolution: "The congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools."
William Holmes McGuffey is the author of the McGuffey Reader, which was used for over 100 years in our public schools with over 125 million copies sold until it was stopped in 1963. President Lincoln called him the "Schoolmaster of the Nation." Listen to these words of Mr. McGuffey: "The Christian religion is the religion of our country. From it are derived our notions on character of God, on the great moral Governor of the universe. On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free institutions. From no source has the author drawn more conspicuously than from the sacred Scriptures. From all these extracts from the Bible I make no apology."
Of the first 108 universities founded in America, 106 were distinctly Christian, including the first.: Harvard University, chartered in 1636.
In the original Harvard Student Handbook rule number 1 was that students seeking entrance must know Latin and Greek so that they could study the scriptures: "Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, John 17:3; and therefore to lay Jesus Christ as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let everyone seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of him (Proverbs 2:3)." For over 100 years, more than 50% of all Harvard graduates were pastors!
It is clear from history that the Bible and the Christian faith, were foundational in our educational and judicial system.
However in 1947, there was a radical change of direction in the Supreme Court. Here is the prayer that was banished: "Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee. We beg Thy blessings upon us and our parents and our teachers and our country. Amen."
In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled that Bible reading was outlawed as unconstitutional in the public school system. The court offered this justification: "If portions of the New Testament were read without explanation, they could and have been psychologically harmful to children." Bible reading was now unconstitutional , though the Bible was quoted 94 percent of the time by those who wrote our constitution and shaped our Nation and its system of education and justice and government.
In 1965, the Courts denied as unconstitutional the rights of a student in the public school cafeteria to bow his head and pray audibly for his food.
In 1980, Stone vs. Graham outlawed the Ten Commandments in our public schools.
The Supreme Court said this: "If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments were to have any effect at all, it would be to induce school children to read them. And if they read them, meditated upon them, and perhaps venerated and observed them, this is not a permissible objective." Is it not a permissible objective to allow our children to follow the moral principles of the Ten Commandments?
James Madison, the primary author of the Constitution of the United States, said this: "We have staked the whole future of our new nation, not upon the power of government; far from it. We have staked the future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments."
Today we are asking God to bless America. But how can He bless a Nation that has departed so far from Him? Most of what you read in this article has been erased from our textbooks. Revisionists have rewritten history to remove the truth about our country's Christian roots.

Credited to Mary Jones, who designed the email I copied here. She encouraged all who read and agree with the words herein, to share it with others, so that the truth of our nation's history may be told. This is my way of doing so.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Surprise for My Sweetheart

Turnabout is Fair Play, I've heard.

Well, this time it's Derrin's turn to be one the road almost continually for a couple of weeks (I will actually get to see him for SEVENTEEN WHOLE HOURS!!! between trips because it wasn't economical to change his flight reservations so he could stay in New York . . .) giving Pension Seminars in Syracuse and Louisville, and spending time with our new grandson while *I* stay home alone.

While I was gone, Derrin spent his time remodeling the house . . . .

Well, I don't have the kind of time he had . . . but I've done what I could to make a few improvements.

The most noticible one is the completion of our new "Library."

I took everything off the floor, cleaned the wall, swept, mopped, and then went over the area with Orange Glo Wood Restore.

Once it was dry, I opened our new Persian Rug and put it into position;

Found the rocking chair and dragged it over to its new home;

Unplugged the Tiffany Lamp from my office and hefted it into place;

And then created a "reading and snack table" to complete the look.

Less noticible is the THOROUGH cleaning I gave my office, which, in addition to picking everything up and removing anything that wasn't nailed down included a THOROUGH sweeping, SOAKING the floor with Doo Doo Voo Doo, Letting 'Beca-The-Scooba-Robot scrub it until she ran out of cleaning solution, AND going over everything with Orange Glo Wood Restore.

Just that has taken the better part of a week.

And *then* I discovered that I was going to be invaded by hoardes (4?) of Latino workmen, who were going to put a new vent (or something) behind the toilet in our new bathroom - - - at 7:30 AM this morning!!! So I also cleaned both sinks and toilets and dusted out the new tub.

Got a couple of other minor things I hope to do before I see him, but that's a pretty fair beginning.

Check back later (next week) for further news and updates . . . .

Monday, May 19, 2008

. . . But God's Hand is Evident in it!

"The Lord gives us a spirit of hope and a feeling of comfort and confidence that we can overcome the obstacles we face. He has shown the way to gain strength during our struggles. With His assistance, we have the ability to succeed."
--L. Lionel Kendrick, "Strength During Struggles,", Ensign, Oct 2001, 24

My kids think I'm nuts, too . . . but they know me WAY better than Woo does!!!

So, I got up on Monday planning to spend most, if not all, day slogging through the piles and PILES of DAR materials, figuring out just WHAT it is I've gotten myself into . . .

And, as usual, I went to turn on the CD player. . .

But, I hesitated for a moment, because sometimes, instead of soothing my agitated soul, the music can be an irritant or a distraction, and that was the *last* thing I needed!

I weighed the alternatives . . .
Music . . . . . soothing
Noise . . . . . distracting
And I turned on the CDs

And what should start playing but


And I sat back, and thought about all the effectual doors that have been opened (nay, say, rather, the skids that have been GREASED!!!) to put me where I am today, and I have to admit, there is no doubt that the Lord's Hand is clearly discernable in all this.

Was it just a coincidence that Woo had just returned to the position of Registrar with the DAR shortly before I sent my initial query in on the website? Others before her had dropped the ball on people who were earnestly seeking to join the organization - - - I was just curious. But, her active interest and tireless efforts to help me really greased the skids right from the start.

Was it a coincidence that Derrin found a newly-created Porter Family website, where I was able to obtain several books of information about my Pioneer/Patriot line?

The day those books came in was rather amazing, too. . .
We were about to leave for an extended trip, so I brought the box into my office and jotted a quick note to Woo to tell her I had gotten this GREAT source . . . and then I realized I couldn't just leave it there. I *had* to open the boxes and say *something* about their contents. So, I quickly popped off the strapping tape, grabbed a book at random, and let it fall open somewhere in the middle - - - where I saw " . . . and this is the lineage, just as I used it for my application for membership into DAR and the Mayflower Society. And if any of my relatives wish to join, they may use my membership numbers, which are . . . ."

After I picked up my eyeballs and teeth and put them back in my head, I spent another moment scanning those pages and emailing them to Woo, and left for that trip in HIGH spirits!!! And by the time I got back, she had tracked down, not just one, but THREE colateral relatives I could link to to ease the application process.

It was serendipity when Steve and Emilee decided to get married in Salt Lake, and I asked Derrin for ONE afternoon to spend in the Genealogy Library to see what we could get to fill in the last gaps. Which Guardian Angel do I have to thank for having"Batgirl" on duty at the desk when we wandered in with my pedigree chart and half a dozen families circled? (That was her nickname - - - and her log-on ID. And she was wearing a watch with a bat on the face.) She took my annotated pedigree chart, called up and printed out several cemetery records, pointed us in the direction of a couple of Pioneer History books, gave us the name of the person we needed to see in "the basement" to get a copy of my great grandparents' marriage certificate from the Endowment House, and by the time we left a few hours later, I even had a photocopy of a handwritten list of my Patriot ancestor's children!

I wrote exactly ONE LETTER requesting information from a state archive, and even *that* came back with butter and jam. Not only did I get the death certificate I was looking for, but the kind archivist also included copies of newspaper writeups about the fire my great-grandmother had died in, and an obituary.

And, when I was about to give up on my last missing document, and say, "Can we get away with them being listed as her parents on that birth certificate?" I just *happened* to glance through another Book of Remembrance I had been given 20 years ago and never had time to open, and there was a photocopy of the marriage certificate in question!!!

I swear, I didn't do anything but show up. Everything has been handed to me on a silver platter.

It's been great fun attending the lunches these last couple of years, and I *loved* being in the 4th of July parade last year. I feel like I've found a whole new group of fascinating friends. And I've been looking forward to assisting several church members who have started the application process to get into the "club." I never imagined a person could go from "new convert" to "bishop" in just one year!!! That certainly was never part of MY plans!!! I figured I'd become webmaster, and find out how things ran that way - - - behind the scenes, like I always do . . .

Apparently, God had other ideas.

But, as I stood there taking the Oath of Office with my new Board, I took comfort that each part of the oath ended "as God is my Helper." Because, I knew, however inept I might be, with God as my Helper, and a few good friends to back me up, we WILL be able to pull it off!

And, as if as a sign, in the not-quite-a-week I've been Regent, my "telephone allergy" has not been in evidence - - - I've been able to make the phone calls I've had to make, without the old trauma getting in my way - - - my mind has been clearer than usual so I can think and, more importantly, LEARN (or, at least, BEGIN to learn) some of the stuff I need to know.

I recognized that "feeling of comfort and confidence" that Bro. Kendrick spoke of, and when I read that quote, I knew I had to record these thoughts, and testify to the Hand of God moving to direct my life in MOST unexpected ways.

In Memoriam

Brrryanna D. Watson

Jan 1 1992 - 16 May 2008

Faithful Companion; Loving Friend

"World" Traveler

You will be missed.

Our Favorite Memories of Bree:

Dad (Derrin):

"I think my favorite memory of Bree was the way she reached out of her cage at the shelter and grabbed Derrill. She had him wrapped around her tail from Day One!

"I shall also always remember what a Good Little Traveler she was, as we three drove from Santa Barbara to Ithaca when Derrill was accepted at Cornell."

Mom (Julene):

"I had just lost my first "very own" cat, Samantha, when we adopted Bree, and I clearly remember how her kittenish antics cheered me up! I think one of my favorite memories (albeit with a certain amount of angst) will always be the times I found her poking her little head out of the middle of the Christmas Tree, pretending she was one of the ornaments.

"I also appreciated her for teaching Derrill to keep his clothes and important papers off his bedroom floor! &:-)

"One of the most remarkable things about Brrryanna was her ability to ride on Derrill's shoulders, like an extremely large parrott or living fur collar - - - most of the time standing up!!

"Since Derrill got engaged, and Bree came home again, she has become my office cat, and we have shared many, many hours together. I have appreicated her companionship. It's awfully lonely in there now without her."


"My favorite memory of Bree was when I visited Derrill maybe the first or second time, and she cuddled up to my shoe (I don't think I was wearing it at the time.)

"I felt that meant she knew I would be an important person in Derrill's life."


"I'll never forget the day when Brryanna reached out of her cage and grabbed Derrill by the arm. And the one time she was united with Katrina in standing guard against letting Q into the family."


" One of the first times I met Bree: Dad put ice cubes in her water bowl! Imagine that! A cat that won't stop crying until someone gave her ice cubes! Silly cat!"

Her Last Day (don't read if you don't want to get sad):

Brrryanna was 16 years old on Jan 1. Ever since I got back from New York, I can only think of maybe three times I've seen her leave her Cat Basket - - - which was unusual. On Friday afternoon, May 16, I went to pet her, and decided she felt *awful.* She really hadn't been cleaning herself very well for some time, and I had put it down to being so chubby, and her probable arthritis making it difficult to reach everywhere. I decided I *HAD* to give her a bath IMMEDIATELY - - - but when I put her in the sink and soaped her up, and she just lay there in the water like a rag doll - - - completely unresponsive!! After I got her out, bundled her in towels, and took her to the warm living room to dry her off and called Dad in. He held her and soothed her, and she began to purr.

Once she was more or less dried off, we let her go and went to call the vet. She stumbled a few steps toward a sunny spot and then sort of tripped and sat down and didn't even try to get up. The vet took us in immediately.

After running some tests, it was determined she had diabetes, kidney failure, severe dehydration, and a bladder infection. The only curable problems were the dehydration and possibly the infection. Treating the diabetes would mean giving her 2 insulin shots every day and bringing her back to the vet regularly for additional blood tests - - - which would run into thousands of dollars - - - and we wouldn't even know for a week if there was *anything* we could do to treat her kidney problems.

Under the circumstances, we chose to have her put to sleep. The vet agreed it was the wisest decision.

But, even though I have cleaned the office, and it now smells of Orange Glo, and there's no water fountain running, I still find myself looking for her when I come in . . . .

Sunday, May 18, 2008

In *WAY* Over My Head

About 3 years ago, my dear husband, who was then the Leader of our High Priests' Group at church, and therefore responsible for temple work, suggested to the Bishop that he knew someone who would do a GREAT job of exciting people about doing their genealogy - - - me! The Bishop agreed, and I was extended my 5th concurrent church calling: Family History Consultant.

"All we want is a cheerleader!" I was told. "Just someone to light a fire and get people enthused about doing their genealogy." I commented at the time that I feared I smelled "Camel's Nose," but I was assured that, no, I would *not* have to teach genealogy classes, or anything like that . . . . even though that *was* part of the job description in the instruction manual . . .

Well, I believe in being prepared, and I have never been content with my understanding of how to do genealogy research. So, with the impetus of the new calling to inspire me, I took a "Beginners Genealogy Class" through City College with a friend 3 years ago this coming Sept. - - - and it was WONDERFUL! I no longer feel like a complete idiot.

One day during class, our fabulous teacher, Patsy Brock, mentioned that anyone lucky enough to join the Daughters of the American Revolution would have access to an incredible store of records available nowhere else, but that their entry requirements were exceedingly rigorous. And I remembered that my grandmother had said she had been a member . . . but I never followed up on it. So I decided to set myself a "Final Exam" and see if I could pull together the necessary documentation to join the DAR. I figured, if I could do that, I would learn enough in the process to tackle anything that might come up during my tenure as Family History Consultant.

So, I went to the DAR website and left my name and email information.

Boy, oh, boy, did they see me coming, as my dad used to say! Within a couple of weeks, I had an invitation to come to the local Chapter's monthly luncheon, where I met my now-GREAT-friend, Marie-Louise, who was and is our Registrar. Talk about a CHEERLEADER!!! That lady is indefatigable! With her tireless aid and some INCREDIBLE luck, I found myself being sworn in as a REAL Daughter just over a year ago!!!

I have found the most incredible group of women in the DAR. As might be expected, most of them are older at this point. But each one I have had a chance to talk to has had the most fascinating stories to tell; each has achieved the most spectacular things - - - it is an honor to associate with them. And during the past year I have enjoyed participating in very small ways --- as befits my brand-spanking-new status ---in their meetings, reading various reports by assignment from time to time, etc. So, when the opportunity came up several months ago to serve the Chapter as Webmaster for our fledgeling website, I thought that would be just about perfect. I've been Assistant Webmaster for the ward website for several years now -- this would give me a chance to get involved, find out and keep up on what was going on and where, and really get my feet wet.

And *then* I went to New York to help with Hyrum, and my *dear* friend, Woo, phoned me in the middle of the night while I was watching him and, on behalf of the nominating committee, asked me to be REGENT!!!!!!!!

I was *sure* she was joking - - - how can someone only a year old be Regent?!

But she said, "No! We seriously want you and ONLY you to be Regent for the next 2 years. It's a lot of fun, and I'll help!"

Well, I read the job description, and I can conduct meetings and turn in reports. . . . So, I agreed.

And last Thursday, at our luncheon, SO DID EVERYBODY ELSE!!!

I arrived at the luncheon a Lame Duck Insginia Chairman and Prospective Webmaster, and left with a gavel and a van full of boxes and treasures and the Regent's Insignia that had been worn by our Chapter FOUNDER, Miss Jameson!!!!

(. . . and the start of a migraine, brought on by too many hours in a room with no ventilation and the temperature well over 90 . . .)

I was still stunned by it all the next morning at 9 AM when my phone began to ring, and I discovered that I was not going to have a couple of months to figure things out, as I had hoped, before we began our regular meetings again . . . but I would first need to get Good Citizen Awards ready to present to half a dozen local schools in about 2 weeks, none of which I was aware of before that moment.

Plus, I find out I don't have the software to run the webpage; can't buy it because it's not being made anymore; don't want the "upgrade" they *are* selling because it's WAY too expensive for what I want to use it for. . . . . Derrin *could* translate everything into the software he uses for HIS webpages, but it, too, is old and no longer supported; and if he bought an upgrade he could only install it on HIS computer, which wouldn't do ME any good . . . . . So, we're up a creek with no oars and a leaky boat!! Fortunately, the designer of our website (whose wife is on my new board) has kindly consented to upload everything so we can get going, and somehow we'll work this out between us.

Of course, I knew when I took the gavel that the out-going Regent hadn't made any preparations for our Chapter to take part in this year's 4th of July parade, and my new Board had decided we needed to correct that ASAP, so I had *thought* THAT would be my first order of business . . . along with finding a new, cooler, roomier place to hold our meetings.

So, as I'm unloading boxes and BOXES of materials from the car and trying to find a safe place to store them, and beginning to sort through the Regent's Book and divine all the appointments and expectations that are already set up for "me," I suddenly realize, I'M IN *WAY* OVER MY HEAD!!!

Thank GOODNESS I'm not planning to go anywhere for awhile, and (if I can just figure out who they are!) I had so many kind offers of help as our meeting last Thursday adjourned!

Friday, May 2, 2008


Today, I finished organizing all those beautiful new bookcases my Sweetheart so lovingly built for us. Now, when you come into our house, instead of seeing right through into our eternally cluttered (because that's where we live and work) Famly Room, you are greeted by an antique tredle sewing machine that belonged to my great grandmother, where we organize things that need to go to the post. But your attention is immediately drawn to our beautiful new "Library," with it's lovely (soon-to-be) Persian rug, Tiffany Lamp, comfortable reading chair, and bookcase after boockase of organized wisdom.

I have a WHOLE BOOKCASE of Scriptures;
a WHOLE BOOKCASE of Commentaries, Concordances, & Reference Works;
a WHOLE BOOKCASE of books by or about our Modern Prophets;
a WHOLE BOOKCASE full of the writings of Apostles and other G. A. s;
a WHOLE BOOKCASE of the works of "Wise Guys" (like Nibley and Stephen R. Covey);
a WHOLE BOOKCASE + for Church History/General World/US History;
a WHOLE BOOKCASE devoted to Speakers' References/Resources --
"How To" books, Inspirational material, Poetry, Jokes, etc. --
and finally a bookcase filled with MUSIC.

This exquisite "wall of books" replaces the old "half wall" you see pictured here on the right of our former "No Room" . . .

QUITE an improvement, wouldn't you say?