The End of the World

I was having a conversation with Mom during her visit. She mentioned that one thing that keeps her hanging on to her faith is the predictions of the state of the world are so precise. My question for her, if she could hear me better, would be why do Christians, and other religious groups, know so much about the "end of times", yet the loudest and most conservative of these groups reject scientific facts laid out about global warming and they close their eyes to torture and war. How can some of the same groups promote and support the very wars in the revelations and scriptures they live and die by? They are creating the very end they are predicting. If they 'know' the end is coming, why do they choose to ignore it. Some of these groups seem to be against individuals and others trying to change or reverse these things they see happening.

I don't want to get caught up in the debate about the existence of global warming. In my estimation whether global warming is real or not isn't the issue. We should all strive to be better stewards of our world regardless of our stand on global warming. There is no motivation besides big money and big oil to not produce more fuel efficient cars, and regulate the industries polluting the planet. Politicians who share an interest in oil, pharmaceuticals, war industry and insurance companies are motivated only by the money and the power they receive from these moguls. They are not interested in the people's best interest or the conservation of the planet. They villainize anyone who stands for the environment or people in need of health care or food and shelter.

I know there are arguments within each of these broad issues. And I know there are no easy answers to war or saving the planet or providing health care to everyone. However, I see so little honest debate on how to make these things work. Instead what I see is lots of money and power being used to stir people up into a frenzy getting masses to lobby and march and yell against the very things, they need the most. These high powered individuals must just sit and laugh as they watch the news. They have so many of us on strings, like puppets, doing a dance begging for less health care and more deadly toxins. It's like doublespeak in the book "1984" where less is more, war is peace and torture and punishment falls under the jurisdiction of the "Ministry of Love".

After eight years of Bush/Cheney the country has taken several giant steps toward total government control. The former administration says they are for small government yet they managed to become the most controlling and powerful government in our history. They can afford to give up government control because they know this gives industry more control. And since they all have big interests in oil, pharmecueticals, health insurance etc... this still gives them the power. Some groups and individuals scream for less government, smaller government when it comes to regulating things benefitting the people. Yet they stand up and dance and yell when 'Big Brother' tells them too. They are being controlled by a big scary government and they don't see it. Of course the big scary government is controlled by the money and power of big industry. Is that the definition of Capitalism? Total control by big industry with no government regulation. It's doublespeak for sure; more government mind control equals smaller government.

There are several grim, end of the world predictions out there, by all kinds of groups Christian, Muslim, Paegan and others. I am not trying to push a belief or a non-belief in the end of the world. I'm about living each moment in a responsible, loving way knowing that whatever happens doesn't matter because I'm a good person and I live a good life. I do my best to love my family, friends, strangers and the planet. I am a citizen of the world, I care about everyone in my life. I definately have my opinions when it comes to politics and religion; but I respect the opinions of those who disagree with me as long as they are respectful of me.

So here's to the end of the world... whatever that is, if it is, or if it is all bunk who gives a damn. Just live your life well and love others.

The Danger of the Single Story

Good talk on TED

Stories matter, many stories.

Tell your story. Tell stories that rebuild and repair. There is never a single story about any place.

Happy Birthday Paul-October 5, 1986

October 5th is Paul's birthday, so I thought I would embarrass him by posting this paragraph out of my journals:
It was Sunday, October 5th, 1986; screams were heard coming from the Arlington Virginia hospital where a small child was being dragged, tugged and prodded into the world. Paul weighed 6lbs 21oz and was 21 inches long; he was healthy and strong and ten days overdue. Born in a huge metropolitan hospital, a midst several dark skinned babies with full heads of black hair, he
stood out as the only yellow, bald baby in the entire nursery. He was the cutest of them all even with the good sized dent in the side of his head from where the doctor tried to force him out with forceps. Someday, I’ll fill him in on all the pain I endured bringing him into the world. For now, it will suffice, that he knows he owes me his love and affection forever and ever!

Happy Birthday Paul!!! 23 years old, and I still have your 3rd grade soccer picture on the refrigerator,
time flies!

Mystery in McMinnville...

I can't wait until November 1st when the secret treasure is opened. I wish I had extra cash to bid on it, doesn't this look fun. I love McMinnville!!

This article was in our local paper yesterday.

Click here to read how to win the contents of this treasure and donate to Habitat for Humanity.

My Spiritual Conundrum

I don't want to "belong" to any religious or spiritual group, yet I'm fascinated by the culture and minds of the religious from an anthropological point of view. At times I long to be part of a community, and I almost always want to talk about spirituality. I'm sometimes trapped by what I don't like and what I long for. For example, I strongly dis-like "religion" with all its power, control and structure. I will never "belong" to another church, (been there done that, more than once), it's not for me. Yet I sometimes miss having someone to share my beliefs and spiritual feelings with.

I have my own spiritual path, and I'm ok with that, I believe ones most sacred thoughts don't need to be preached to others, but rather kept to oneself or shared with others not with the intention of persuading them to believe the same thing. I think belief systems are something that should support or help one live the kind of life they want to live. I don't believe any one religion or philosophy is right or wrong; they are merely support systems to get us through life the best way possible.

I'm always fascinated with society and the way a group of people will hold tight to a belief system and all of their thoughts and actions center around that system. The dangerous side of this is judgment; piousness; self-righteousness; and, as we've seen on a global setting, how these strong, misguided beliefs lead to war and killing. And, on a more personal level, how religious groups will band together to deny someone their basic human rights on the grounds of their own definition of "morality". There is definitely a good side to religions; often a community of like minded individuals can do great deeds of charitable service for others. A church can be a great asset in making sure the hungry are fed and the naked are clothed. I've been a recipient of both the good and the dangerous deeds of religion; and, if I'm honest with myself, I've been on the giving side of both the good and the dangerous deeds.

In summary, my conundrum is this; that I long for what I despise. I want to meet with a group of like-minded people, yet I don't like structure, commitment and obedience to any rule of law around this same group.

The answer seems simple enough, just have coffee with a friend or two and have deep, philosophical conversations. This doesn't happen as often as I would like, I first need to find one or two friends close by that are like minded and want to meet and have coffee. Hasn't happened in my ten years here in McMinnville. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough. Or maybe it's my disdain over "organized" religion that keeps me from "organizing" anything.

Mom is 87 and Getting Younger Every Day

Tribute to Mom on her 87th birthday:
Cleone Stark Linford born September 24, 1922 in South Weber Utah. She has three children, nine grandchildren, ten great grandchildren and one great great grandchild on the way.

Mom is 87 and healthy in mind, spirit and body. She lives on her own in her home, a home she has lived in for 56 years. Mom has a lot of wisdom, she didn't go to college, or delve into a lot of things on an intellectual level, however, she approaches everything in life with common sense, compassion and wisdom.

I've learned so much from my mom; she teaches me to work hard, think of others, don't get into debt. She helps me appreciate my health and enjoy simple things like a Utah Jazz basketball game or a Denver Broncos football game, putting together a puzzle, lighting a candle and relaxing while rubbing my feet with lotion.

Mom has learned to overlook the things she doesn't agree with or understand. She's chosen to love her children and grandchildren regardless of if she agrees with our life choices. And, believe me, she doesn't always agree with my life choices. So she may make a judgment, but then she chooses love over disapproval every time.

Adjectives I would use to describe Mom: strong, healthy, independent, wise, kind and loving. I feel like I have inherited good genes from my mom. She has passed on a sense of health, strength and well being to me. I've picked up a few not so great things as well, poor hearing, white hair and a love of potato chips, butter and french fries.

I Love You MOM

Heading off to College in 1977

AMC Gremlin (Groovy)

Prices in 1977
(the year I headed off to college in my AMC gremlin, named Barney)

• Cost of a new home-$54,200.00

• Median Household Income-$13,572.00
• Cost of a first-class stamp-$0.13

• Cost of a gallon of regular gas-$0.62

• Cost of a dozen eggs-$0.82

• Cost of a gallon of Milk-$1.68

Random Thought

I was driving the other day, listening to the radio, when a public announcement came on reminding us all that children need to be in a booster seat until they are 4' 9", because adult seat belts are not safe for children. And I thought... What!! Katie would have been in a booster until high school, how funny would that have been.

Then I started wondering, why haven't car manufacturers built a seat belt that adjusts to different heights. Because, certainly if seat belts are dangerous for children under 4' 9" then it stands to reason they are unsafe for anyone who is under 4' 9". How hard can it be?!?

So that's what I was thinking.

A Funeral is a Good Place to Start

A funeral is a good place for the past to meet the present. Some of these people remember me when I was in diapers. How do I know this? Because they have all pinched my cheeks and told me so.

The Diaper Years

I was born to Cleone Stark Linford and James LeRoy Linford on August 22, 1959. Mom always told me I was very accommodating right from the beginning. She went into labor right after she had finished her housework and my dad was coming home from work, I was born at 4:22pm. I was the youngest of three children and the middle of five. Born and raised in Ogden Utah, into a Mormon family with strong pioneer roots, five generations of Mormon heritage running deep on both sides.

My ancestors were part of the infamous Willie and Martin handcart company. My great great grandfather lost his life at Sweetwater Wyoming as they were stranded in the cold winter weather, waiting to cross the Sweetwater River. Rations had run low and many of the men had given up their portions to the women and children. Many people, including John Linford, starved to death before ever joining fellow saints in Utah valley.

I remember my father being handsome, smart, and a bit of a scoundrel. My memory of my mother was that she was pretty, hard working, very independent and capable. My parents married during World War II. My father, a drafted army soldier in 1942, was home on leave when they were married in the Salt Lake City Temple on January 19, 1944. Then he was off fighting a war for the first two years of their marriage.

Dad was discharged from the army in February of 1946. My older sister, LeeAnn Linford Kieki, was born August 25, 1949 a few years after my father returned from the war. My brother, James Layne Linford, was born February 3, 1953. And at 36 years old my mother gave birth to me, Jill Linford Searle, in 1959. When I was born my father was a truck driver for Pillsbury, he worked there for 35 years. This sums up my egg and sperm years, as well as my diaper years. I seem to have a vague memory of sitting on the patio in the sprinkler and just having a grand ol’ time.

The first paragraph of my auto-biography

Tell me what you think? What should I title my life's story? What would you title your life's story?

“Goodbye you little shit”, I heard him say. “Goodbye you old fart” I whispered back, as they shut the lid on his silk lined coffin. I turn from my father’s coffin and through blurry eyes I see the faces of family and friends as well as the memories shared with many of them. Across the room, beyond the faces from my past, I see the photo collage including pictures of Suzie and my children, and I realize how many years have passed since I left Utah, how much I’ve changed and how these people, who once knew me so well, know so little about me now. It was one of those profound moments in life where the past collides with the present and you can see where you came from, who you are and where you are headed, it made me laugh out loud.

Four Agreements

My favorite book is a book by don Miguel Ruiz, titled The Four Agreements. I read this book over ten years ago, yet I think about it every day. I have found this book to be one of the most powerful tools to live by. Over the years I have likely made my own loose interpretations of all the agreements. Today I want to loosely interpret the first of the four agreements which is to be impeccable with your words. This agreement is probably one of the easier agreements for me to adopt into my daily life. I believe the first agreement is telling me to realize I am a magician, I can perform magic for good or for worse. I need to be aware of the power of my words to bring peace or turmoil into a conversation. The power of my words to build someone up or bring them down. I always try to perform good magic with my words, but there are times my filters slip and out come some pretty stupid stuff, just ask my co-workers. I usually come to regret those words pretty quickly and I find myself clarifying and apologizing to people. Each day, I start over trying to choose my words carefully. I am an opinionated person, I have my own ideas and beliefs and I often find myself in a position to share those thoughts with people, both like minded and not so like minded. This gives me plenty of opportunity to practice this agreement. Another important part of this agreement, as it is with all the agreements, is to not only speak truthfully and kindly of others, but to remember to speak truthfully and kindly of yourself. So there's your challenge for the day...

Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Dreams, Tell Me Yours

Dreams are fascinating; I've always loved the dreamworld. I think dreaming is one of my favorite things to do. Dreams have meaning, I think when we dream we are in our sub conscience mind where things are honest and unreserved. I think our dreams are either processing our day or bringing up issues from our lives, or helping us understand important things for ourselves and our families. There are the more common dream themes, like flying, running, being chased, driving, etc... or symbols like numbers, colors, animals or rooms in a house. I particularly like to hear people's re-occurring dreams from childhood. Tell me your re-occurring dream in a comment and I'll tell you what I think it means. Check out this website for an online dream guide.

One More in a list of Obama Disappointments


Where's the hope for healthcare reform? What the f*** is Obama thinking. Do you really think public option is coming out of the bill? All the media, both liberal and conservative, are saying it. The Senate is giving up on public option way too soon. Obama looks weak, like he has no spine. Either that or he has some evil plot to destroy liberal politics. Which is it...

Talk me down.

If I had it to do all over again

I don't have as much time for coffee or inspired thoughts during the work week. But here's something I was thinking about...

Being a mom of college students and working at a college surrounded by young people is exciting. Everyone is all fired up, on the verge of changing the world and creating their own lives. I often think, if I had it to do all over again, college I mean, what would I major in or what path would I head down. I think I would major in anthropology. I'm really interested in trends in society. Group dynamics in small groups and larger communities. I'm particularly interested in religion and society... why do religions form, why is religion important to communities? Thoughts anyone?

What is Your Passion

In a staff retreat last week we were asked what recent event, book or movie had inspired us. I thought of Eunice Kennedy Shriver's recent passing. She spent her life, from a very early age, helping people with special needs, and started the Special Olympics. She had a passion, when you have a name like Kennedy and the money that goes along with that name you can do something huge in this life. Money and name aside, I believe she was committed to this cause because of her own compassion for people with special needs. Anyway, what it caused me to think about was my own life and what would people say about me when I die. I don't think it's likely they'll be covering it on national TV, but what will people in my life remember me for. I go about my days trying to be a good person, a good mom, a good partner, a good daughter, a good friend, a good employee and I think for the most part I do a good job at this. But one of my frustrations, all my life, is that I've never had a passion, a cause or a hobby that I care deeply about. So the inspiration came to me that day, I am going to figure out something bigger than me, bigger than my family, bigger than my immediate world that I can be passionate about.

So, I thought about it and I came to the conclusion that I have no idea what that passion is. Do some people have passions and others don't? Is it a personality thing? Is it because I've been busy figuring out life and striving for my own peace and contentment? Is it wrong to not have a passion for anything? This has been a question for me all my life. So here I am, again passionless, hobby less and boring. I guess I'll just think about it some more.

Just thoughts with my coffee this morning.

Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner

What I dislike about the phrase “hate the sin, love the sinner.”

I find this phrase offensive on so many levels. I know when I was actively involved in the Mormon Church I used this phrase thinking I was being compassionate and unconditional. I see it very differently now, though I still think those who use the phrase mean well.

For there to be a sin and a sinner there needs to be a judge, someone who places themselves above the rest; someone who feels their beliefs and their morals are the most correct; therefore, they will determine what a sin is and who the sinner is.

It’s one thing to decide what rulers you will measure yourself against; what your morals mean to you, how you will live your life. But once you decide that you’re choices are more correct than other people's choices, you are judging, and you become self righteous. Everyone judges, I believe that’s how we make decisions in our lives about what we do and who we’ll be. But, when we decide that our judgments determine everyone’s destination, well then the disrespect begins. And that’s what religions do, they create morals and rules to live by that will get you to your final reward, whatever that is. Then they determine that theirs is the only set of rules that will work, and their defined destiny is the only possible destiny.

I have been on the receiving end of this statement and I’m always taken back when someone says this to me in regards to my life choices. I get defensive at first, thinking, don’t judge me, I’m a good person, living a good life. I then quickly move to my next thought which is, oh yeah they live by different rules than I do, and according to their rules I’m a sinner. They are trying to love me, and somehow, this helps me release my anger and my defensiveness.