A young wife married only a few weeks shared with family and friends, “I am so grateful to have such a wonderful husband who makes me so happy. I love him so much.”

This declaration of love is exciting though expected from a newlywed. The young wife’s comment stood out for me because down the road a week, a month, a year or more, she could be mad as mad can be at her husband or hurt deeply by him. The husband could be just as wonderful as he was in the beginning, but some flaws may have poked up through the glow.

Divorce rates are up. Rates in pride likely are up as well. The wife could begin weighing her feelings and her husband’s imperfections against her commitment to him. What should she do? A little story on the web holds a gem of an answer.

A reporter asked an old couple, “How did you manage to stay together for 65 years?” The woman replied, “We were born in a time when if something was broken, we would FIX it, not throw it away.”

Advice I follow goes like this. Couples need to choose wisely in the beginning then let their feelings of love guide them in their actions toward one another. They need to feel anew their gratitude for their wonderful (almost perfect but not quite) spouses who make them so happy (except when they feel unhappy or mad). Also, they need to speak their words of love to each other then pray together again with one heart.

Staying together in love surely beats the alternative.

What does it mean when I said I felt uncomfortable seeing pictures of same-gender couples kissing on the mouth? What does it mean when I also said I felt uncomfortable seeing parents kissing their grown children on the mouth and a neighbor mother kissing the grown neighbor’s son on the mouth?

Feeling uncomfortable with these real experiences I had means I’ve had other experiences that have shaped my public display of affection. At some early age, I no longer kissed my mother on the mouth. The same happened with my babies. Once they stopped giving slobbery baby and toddler kisses, we stuck with kisses on the cheeks and hugs.

Seeing two people of the same gender kissing takes me to an unfamiliar place. Nevertheless, if they had been of opposite genders, I could have been uncomfortable as well. Weddings are notorious for public and physical displays of affection and love. Still, it doesn’t mean I feel comfortable watching. I discovered through uncomfortable experiences that others do things differently.

I owned these feelings of discomfort in a post on my blog, “Community Blog: Consider This,” in a post, “Civil unions not the end goal.” (see http://wp.me/p3tfwR-eC) This blog is also a community blog linked to the front page of the Daily Camera’s website (see http://www.dailycamera.com).

I said in part: “Seeing Daily Camera pictures of same-gender couples kissing on the mouth at the Boulder County civil union parties last night made me feel uncomfortable. I felt the same way when I saw parents kissing their grown children on the mouth or a neighbor mother kissing on the mouth the grown neighbor’s son. That’s how I am.”

Doug McKenna (July 5 Daily Camera guest opinion) said I insinuated that two gay men kissing was akin to incest. He made this statement as part of his rant about the Supreme Court’s rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8.

McKenna missed the fact that incest is a big stretch from my being uncomfortable seeing a picture of two same-gender people kissing. The label of incest should not be casually used and requires much more than a kiss.


Thank real-life hero fathers. They make life better for their families and society.


Real-life hero fathers help where they can. They love their loveable children’s hero mothers. They can get up in the middle of the night for crying babies or frightened children. They wait up for teenagers or head out in the car after one that didn’t come home. They can be relied on to grab a broom when needed, put in a load of laundry, take the kids to school, cook and vacuum. These fathers can wear aprons just as well as they can wear outside work gloves, mow the lawn, or use building tools.

Hero fathers provide for their families, too. While this is extremely important overall that families have food and clothing and resources to live with choices, it isn’t what matters most to children when they have those things.

Children want to spend time with their fathers. Elder A. Theodore Tuttle, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy (March 2, 1919 – Dec. 2, 1987) pointed this out in October 1973 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He said: “The story is told of an elementary teacher who had students write essays in hopes that it would motivate the fathers to attend a PTA meeting. The fathers came in $4,000 cars and $400 cars—bank president, laborer, clerk, salesman, meter reader, baker, etc.—“every man with a definite estimate of himself in terms of money, skill, and righteousness or looks. … The children’s essays were read at random.

“‘I like my daddy, … he built my doll house, took me coasting, taught me to shoot, helps with my schoolwork, takes me to the park, gave me a pig to fatten and sell.’ Scores of the essays could be reduced in essence to: ‘I like my daddy. He plays with me.’

“Not one child mentioned his family house, car, neighborhood, food, or clothing.

“The fathers went into the meeting from many walks of life; they came out in two classes: companions to their children or strangers to their children.”

Life’s too short not to notice hero fathers. It takes a manly, hero father to do the many things required of him to win and to retain that title. It takes only a little thanks for these heroes to feel appreciated. Thank you, hero fathers.

Sometimes those around a drowning victim had no idea what was happening until it was too late. Drown victims don’t usually scream or splash a lot. They don’t go down once and hold up one finger and do it again and again until they have reached the limit of fingers to hold up either.

I read some very valuable information on Slate.com by Mario Vittone titled “Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning.” Those thrashing about and screaming can help in their rescue. Those who have certain signs cannot. As the article pointed out, watch for the signs of drowning:

Head low in the water, mouth at water level
Head tilted back with mouth open
Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
Eyes closed
Hair over forehead or eyes
Not using legs—vertical
Hyperventilating or gasping
Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
Trying to roll over on the back
Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder

I was in a swimming pool the first time I was in danger in the water. I didn’t know how to swim and everyone said it was easy. “Just jump in and go like this,” they said, as they demonstrated the dog paddle. I jumped in and couldn’t translate their instructions with my body being deep in the water. I barely made it from the bottom of the pool at one point to the surface and back out. It was so dumb of me to jump into the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim. However, no one looked worried as I hadn’t looked to them like I was drowning. I, on the other hand, showed the last five signs of drowning and see this as a near-drowning experience.

The second time I almost drowned was even more scary, and I came closer to death. I was at a lake with a church youth group when a few of us bobbed in the water on rocks not far from the shore. I was fine. I could swim this time, so I wasn’t worried when I bobbed down and the rocks weren’t there. I just swam over to the rocks and bobbed up and down like I wanted to do.

However, one of the girls close to me couldn’t swim, which I didn’t know about at first. One time when I went off the rocky ledge, she must have gone off it, too. She panicked. She grabbed onto me to save her. All the while, she pushed me under the water. I had to push her off me before I would be fine. However, the struggle lasted a long time. I remember seeing my life go before me.

In my push to get the girl from clinging onto me and pushing me under the water, I also pushed her back on the rocky ledge. She might not have been under the water much at all, but when I came ashore I was faint and exhausted. I lay on the rocks and rested a while in front of several girls who were sunning themselves and never suspected I had almost drowned.

Respect yourself enough

Picture of young woman on country road with back toward viewer as she walks away with saying: Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that doesn’t serve you, grow you or make you happy.
I first read this saying on this picture of a young woman on a country road walking away from the viewer. It says, “Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that doesn’t serve you, grow you or make you happy.”

My first thought was, “Yes, definitely.” I was brought to all the times I feel that walking away is good like when a bully is about to punch my nose if I cross the line. Some fights aren’t worth it, so respect yourself enough to walk away.

Then, I thought about perceptions. Depression can alter perceptions. So can drugs. When a person is experiencing a major depressive episode or on drugs causing perception deficits, true good influences could be left behind.

Nevertheless, I have questions about walking away from anything that does not serve you, grow you or make you happy. What if you determined your family no longer served you? What about your religion or your country? Your children? Your husband (wife)? Your job? What if you didn’t feel happy with any of those because they didn’t serve you?

Are you really what it is all about, you and no one else?

There are times not to think about what is serving you but who and what you are serving. You also we need to think about long-term goals and relationships. At a given moment, you may not feel “happy,” but ask yourself, “What will I feel if I walk away?” Will you be any better off?

After I thought about these things, I say, “Respect yourself enough to find ways to serve others. You will grow and find an inner happiness.”

Imagine attending a completely pedestrian campus – without the ability to walk. What then?

Students with mobility disabilities may very well have heard last fall that CU would be closed to them when University of Colorado Chancellor Phil DiStefano said his vision for Boulder’s main campus was of closing the campus to cars.

While answering a question about pedestrian safety at the state-of-the-campus meeting, DiStefano said, “I would like to see this campus in the future not to have any cars … and be completely a pedestrian campus. We need to move to that because there are safety issues as we grow.”

DiStefano pitched the possibility of having off-campus parking and shuttles. He said he rode the bus to campus on days he didn’t have to drive to meetings in Denver or elsewhere. For people with disabilities, these ideas could prove to be very difficult. They may drive to campus in a vehicle modified for their disability or have difficulty getting on and off buses. Also, they may use electric wheelchairs, electric carts, scooters, crutches or walkers.

DiStefano didn’t have a detailed vision of where he’d like CU to go nor was there an official plan to ban cars on campus. However, with these statements, one has to wonder how the new “senior transportation fellow,” Kevin J. Krizek, will make CU’s transportation system sustainable.

CU’s transportation master plan includes a couple of suggestions that could work well for those with disabilities. One idea is to have an electronic space-count system to sense parking space availability. Another is to have a phone application where permit holders can reserve parking spaces or are directed to the closest ones available. These ideas could really save effort and steps for those with disabilities. Having a reserved parking space at particular times could also help.

Still, if the campus is closed to vehicles, distances may be too great to have any of these ideas bridge the gap for faculty, staff or students with disabilities. Krizek, and those who work with him, would do well to hear advice from actual people on campus with mobility disabilities. They will be empowered in finding solutions and the results could be much better than otherwise.

Winter is full of suffering for feral cats, particularly in sub-zero temperatures at night. These homeless domesticated cats by breed are not wildlife but live in the wild. If they are lucky, humans ease their plight with food, water, shelter and spay or neutering to prevent them from becoming parents.

My thinking now of helping feral cats is a turn-around from what I had been told by local animal control officers, “Don’t feed stray cats. If you do, they are yours.” My new thinking made way for some fun experiences with feral cats as I took care of them, three or so at a time for several years before the last two stopped coming to eat recently.

One cat sitting on flagstone in my back yard during the winter of 2005 helped change my thinking. It looked like it would either freeze or starve to death within the hour one snowy and bitter cold Sunday night. I couldn’t watch. I had to help.

My husband and I built a shelter from a cardboard box covered with a plastic garbage bag and put in some old towels. Because of the extreme cold, we also put in an electric heating pad under the towels. As for food since we had no cat food, we thought of the salmon fillets in the freezer.

The food for the cat was terrific, the box much better than under our shed. When the cold turned to warmth, the cat no longer needed our shelter but came back for the food. Then, we failed to see the cat for several weeks to months in the spring and early summer. When we finally did see it, it had gained weight and looked really good.

It’s a difficult situation to feed feral cats and not feed raccoons, coyotes, squirrels and wild birds. If you see feral cats in your neighborhood, establish a feeding schedule, call to them before you put out food and a little while before you bring it in. Put out water, too, and replace the ice with fresh water at feeding times. To show further care, catch the cats in traps, get them fixed and return them to the neighborhood with a commitment to feed and shelter them. These cats can be lots of fun as they develop a relationship with you.

What do scammers think Americans are, stupid? I received a phone call yesterday from a man with an Indian accent saying I have some viruses on my computer. He directed me to turn it on so he could help me. I smelled the scam immediately but decided to ask some questions.

The caller identified himself as Jack and said he was calling from Microsoft. He repeated his “help” request. I asked: “How do you know I have a computer?” Odds are I do, so that wasn’t that bright of a question. He guessed on the brand and got lucky. Still, I knew I had not solicited this so-called help call and had no contract with Microsoft for virus assistance.

“I’m going to have to call you back,” I said. “What’s your number?” Then, “Jack” gave me a fake number. He said he would call me back and he did, three or four times within the minute. I didn’t bother answering but saw on caller ID the calls came from the same number.

What did “Jack” think would happen? Americans on the receiving end would simply be his hands to rip us off?

Americans, think. Be smart. People like “Jack” are out to steal whatever is on your computer. Block his number with your phone provider if necessary, but don’t do what he says and never give out personal information over the phone.

Motherhood and murder

The unimaginable happened again. Today in Castle Rock, Colo., a mother who was supposed to be one her children’s strongest protectors was arrested on charges of first-degree murder in their deaths.

Castle Rock Police Chief Tony Lane said a woman called police about 7:45 a.m. today saying she was going to commit suicide. When asked whether there were children in the home, the caller said “they had gone to Heaven.”

When police arrived at the home in 200 block of Cherry Street in the Founders Village subdivision, they found Kelli Murphy, 41, there with injuries to her wrists and two children, ages 7 and 9, dead in their bedrooms. Murphy was taken to a local hospital to treat her injuries and is in police custody.

It’s mind-boggling why a mother would kill her children. Obviously, there were signs that the father had picked up on. He called police for a welfare check of the children the day before. Officers did come to the home but left without the children.

The good news is the father is not a suspect. The extremely bad news is his call for a welfare check did not save his children. This raises some serious questions. What signs did the father see but the police did not? Are welfare checks extensive enough? Did the police ultimately think the father was attempting to use them as a tool to inflict harm on his wife?

We’ll never know how child custody would have gone had the parents’ divorce been finalized. But, there lingers a deeper question of bias against fathers. Would the court have granted the mother custody simply because she was the mother and, therefore, deemed the better parent? Unfortunately, some judges and states have that reputation.

Members and friends gathered in the semi-annual conference of the Boulder Colorado Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 701 W. South Boulder Road, Louisville, on Sun., Feb. 27.

The visiting authority, Elder Richard K. Melchin of the Seventy, presided while President Michael Williams conducted the 10 a.m. general session. The Boulder Stake Women’s Choir and congregation sang the opening hymn “Come, Come, Ye Saints,” one of the best-known hymns of the Church.

President Williams’ talk focused on the conference theme taken from John 15:5: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” He asked the congregation to examine their lives, to study and to develop Christ-like attributes. He said no matter what anyone’s faith is, we need to “help one another thrive.”

The choir sang, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” before President Williams’ talk and “Beautiful Savior” as the closing hymn. In addition to singing the opening hymn together, the choir and congregation sang “I Am a Child of God” after the first hour of the meeting.

Elder Melchin began his talk saying he loved “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and the speakers’ talks before him. He voice softened as he said he loved the Primary song, “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus.” Then, he told stories of Jesus for about 30 minutes without notes. Among the stories he told were of Jesus teaching “as one having authority,” turning water into wine, and fasting in the wilderness for 40 days. He told of many of Jesus’ miracles, including bringing back to life a widow’s only son, a young girl, and Lazarus. Elder Melchin told of Jesus calming the Sea of Galilee and restoring sight to a man blind from birth. He told of Jesus giving the “new commandment” to love one another. And, he told of Jesus’ crucifixion.

Before he ended his talk at the end of the conference, Elder Melchin bore his testimony of the nature of God and the Godhead and that Thomas S. Monson, the Church’s president, is a true prophet of God.

Music links:

1. “Come, Come Ye Saints”

(Mormon Tabernacle Choir with Mormon pioneer enactment as the song was sung by Mormon pioneers as they crossed the plains)

2. “I Am a Child of God”

(Mormon Tabernacle Choir)

3. “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”

(Mormon Tabernacle Choir)

4. “Beautiful Savior”

(Sally DeFord arrangement)

5. “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus”

(Mormon Tabernacle Choir)

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