Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Milky Way and Food on Our Tables

A couple of years ago, we had a family reunion down in southern Utah.  Just outside of Zion, we had a nice cabin to stay in.  That night, many of the family members slept out on the deck under the stars.  As I laid there that night, I remember being completely overwhelmed with how many stars I could see.  The Milky Way looked as though it was painted across the sky.  The mosquitos were also a problem which is probably why I was a wake for so long admiring the heavens.  It was truly a majestic moment.  One hundred years ago, it was the norm to see a sky of millions of stars every clear night.  Now, we don't have that luxury.  In fact, since then, I can't remember a night with the stars so bright.

Also, one hundred years ago, our food was a lot closer to us that it is now.  Let me explain.  Today, we go to the grocery store and pick up some milk and bread along with the rest of the items on our list without much thought of how much rain we got recently or what kind of condition the herd is in.  Today, food comes from the grocery store.  A century ago or more, people were well aware of any droughts because their crops grew more slowly without adequate water.  You see, food came from the ground back then and without water, there was no food.  We are a few steps away from our food source today, while our fore bearers had field dirt under their fingernails while they were eating their evening meat and potatoes.

Why does this matter?  I'm not writing this as a plea for organic food or anything like that.  I'm writing this because with our separation from our food sources and obscured view of the majestic heavens, society is becoming more apathetic towards God.  Like my experience above, when someone has the chance to truly see how many stars are up there, they will feel something.  I say "something" because I'm sure it's different for everyone, but one thing for sure is that they will have a different outlook on the life they live everyday.  It's hard to look up there and think that everything is there by chance.  Likewise, many years ago a family might pray for God to bless the land with rain, or protect the crops from insects, or other problems affecting their fields so that they might have enough food for the winter.  When was the last time you heard of a child or community make a plea like that?  To put it a little differently, when people don't know where their food comes from and when they can't see the stars at night they stop believing in God.

Now obviously, I'm not a farmer and I can't see the stars very well at night.  I still have a strong belief in God because I work on it.  Faith isn't something that comes naturally, I've realized, it's something that must be enforced everyday or else it will begin to slip away.  All I'm saying is we have to work a little harder on our faith and belief these days because we don't have those two main reminders:  food source and stars at night.  Also the number of people going to church these days is dramatically less compared to our parents' and grandparents' generations.  Could these events be related?  I think so.  If people are going to church less they are probably not working so hard on their faith.  When they don't depend on the Lord for their food, I can see why He gets put on the back burner.  The same ABC article sited above mentions that 5 to 10 percent of people during our grandparents' generation didn't have a religious affiliation, today, up to 40 percent of the younger generation don't affiliate with a religion.  It's scary because where are people going to be taught moral codes?  Check out this TED talk for more on this.

Lastly, I must mention that I was talking to a dairy farmer's wife in Morgan many months ago, and she was telling me about an article in an agriculture journal (I think it was a journal, maybe another article in some publication) about how the author came to to the same conclusion as I:  People don't believe in God when they don't know where their food comes from and when they can't see the stars at night.  I tried to find it online, but couldn't.  A belief in God will help people love their neighbor a little more and treat people the way they want to be treated.  Christians know this well.  Albert Einstein said:

"All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. It is no mere chance that our older universities developed from clerical schools. Both churches and universities — insofar as they live up to their true function — serve the ennoblement of the individual. They seek to fulfill this great task by spreading moral and cultural understanding, renouncing the use of brute force." -"Moral Decay" (1937); Later published in Out of My Later Years (1950)

If you've read this far, thanks.  I'm really trying to write more and become better at it.  It's a skill that I feel I'm a little behind on.  I've had these thoughts for years, as a few of you probably know as I've talked to you about this.  The picture above is a favorite of a cow.  I love cows!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fall Day

It was a beautiful fall day today.  I wanted to find a pumpkin to take a nice pre-halloween picture but I couldn't find any (I guess I didn't look too hard).  The red leaves will have to fill in.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nice Fall Day

Canada is lucky to have such a beautiful leaf on its flag.  Whether it's green, red, or yellow it looks good in any color.  I love the fall, which I think I've mentioned before.  I loved the memories of playing in the leaves.  I learned quickly that the neighborhood cats also loved the leaves, but for a different reason.  They would use it for their bathroom.  Nothing was worse than cat poop on your hoodie on a nice fall day.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blue Eyes

I missed Amber while I was down in Texas because they were in Washington for some important matters.  Not only was it sad not being able to spend time with all three Rowes, but that I didn't get to take any photos of Lincoln.  Luckily, before Amber goes back to Texas, I was able to see them both and take a few pictures.  What a beautiful mother and son.  

Lincoln was peaking out of his furry blanket.  He couldn't help but notice that it was a little colder in Utah.  Amber made us well aware of that fact.  He's a handsome little man with big blue eyes, as you can see from the picture above.

It was an incredibly beautiful weekend up in Morgan.  The trees are changing colors and the air has a little bite to it at nights.  It's a wonderful time of year, perhaps my favorite.  Although, that sometimes changes throughout the year, depending upon my mood I guess.  Babies are incredible.  Looking at their small and delicate bodies, I can't help but feel a reverence for life.  I'm proud of Amber and Dave for being so natural and such good parents with their first child.  It's not an easy thing, they don't come with manuals.  I know it's nothing new, young parents for thousands of years have looked at each other in frustration when trying to figure out how to raise their little baby.  A newly wed couple walking out of the temple yesterday will undoubtedly wonder if they are ready to be parents-- I know I would.  But somehow, someway it all works out.  Whether it's instinct, or the example of someone's parents, or just the values and type of person someone is it transforms into your own distinct and surprisingly good parenting style.  I'm grateful for my parents and siblings who have been such good examples of parents.  I'm always amazed by what they do for their kids.  I'm writing this because of how impressed I was with my younger sister; who, even though is younger than I, is someone I look up to a lot.  If you have just gotten married, or know someone who has, just know that everything will work out- it always does, just have courage and press on.  Lloyd Newell put it well:

It’s remarkable what we can accomplish if we have courage, if we refuse to be afraid. Fear is a toxic feeling that can consume self-confidence, dampen hope, and keep us from doing our best or sometimes even trying at all.
Courage, however, can bring out the best in us. It doesn’t mean we will always win. Courageous people learn how to grow from unsuccessful efforts. They succeed more often and at higher levels because they are willing to try—and then to keep trying. (Source)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Smiling

I can't help from smiling when I see this picture.  If you know Erin, you'll know that she has an incredibly fun and lively little personality.  There really is no dull moment when she is around.  I love this picture, but I'm disappointed in myself for cutting off her hand and foot.  It would be absolutely perfect if I had left the foot and hand.

It was really good to see my family down in Texas.  One good thing about the U is that they have fall break. An entire week off to do whatever you want-- besides science that is.  At BYU, I got accustomed to going to school for an entire semester and have very few (if any) days off.  Spring or fall break?  What's that?!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cartwheel

Erin is pretty good at her cartwheels.  That's something that, after years and years, I still look like a big goof doing them.  She practices a lot, though.  She's always doing cartwheels everywhere she is.  Here is a picture of her doing one at the park.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Trains

 A break from Texas, I hope there are more coming up soon.  These pictures are from a family picture shoot that I took with my cousins the other week.  It was at the train depot in Ogden.  
 If you haven't been there, it actually is quite a fun time.  You can climb all over the train engines and cars and look at everything they have to offer.  You'll enjoy taking pictures there and playing on the trains.
I'm not sure what this is, but it was on a train and looked like an old fashioned bar code.  I wonder if they could scan it in with their old fashioned smart phones and get more information with their old fashioned internet.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Friday Night Lights

Friday Tuesday Night Lights.  I've already mentioned many times how much Texans love their football.  Here is a picture of my nephew Alex's game.  It's quite the big deal even when they are only in middle school.  Allen high is building a new football stadium that will rival the smaller college stadiums around the country.
Here is a picture of my partner while we were watching the game.  We cheered during the good times, and wallowed in sorrow during the bad.  She even came with me to another football field to watch Seth's game.  She was a good date.


Some shoes illuminated by the lights of the football field.  The girls were a little more interested in being models for the camera than watching the game.  The night was beautiful and cool, which is a novelty for Texas--a welcomed change.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Surrounding Pines

I took this picture today while with a group of great friends up at Smith and Morehouse reservoir.  Check out those tall aspens trying not to be over shadowed by the surrounding pines.  I guess it's that time of year again for the leaves to change and the weather to cool down.  It's my favorite time of year.  The fall brings back memories of BYU football, playing in the leaves, playing catch in the back yard when Dad came home from work, and getting excited for the upcoming holiday season.  Now, the feelings of fall are just as sweet and exciting.  College brought a whole new addition to the feelings I have about the season.  The years just roll on as the memories pile up.   It's almost frightening how fast time goes as the semester is half way completed.