Wednesday, October 28, 2020

This Year, I Voted for Me

I've been feeling like I need to write why I voted the way I did this year. I feel like my posterity might wonder what my thoughts were for the election of 2020. I could write in my hand-written journal, but it will be too hard to find anything there in the future, and I might want to share my thoughts with a person or two now, and this is an easy platform for sharing.

I've been very opinionated in my feelings regarding Donald Trump and his lack of character. When he ran four years ago, I thought it was a joke. When he won the primaries, I felt obligated to remind people this was about character. I was dumbfounded when he won the general election, and that was the first time I really panicked for our country. Was such a bad, annoying, obnoxious guy merely a reflection of the type of people in our country or would he cause our country to become morally and ethically worse? Other than watching a few episodes of The Apprentice and watching The Choice 2016 from Frontline on PBS, I knew not much about him.

I've wondered why having good character and being a good person with integrity were so important to me. Of course, those are virtues good people seek, but recently I've seen a couple of old President Hinckley quotes that rang true to me, and I realized that he is probably a major reason I think the way I do today. I came of age when he was the prophet, so he was incredibly influential in my life. I don't recall which quotes I saw, but these are a few that ring true with me in the current societal/political climate. 

When Trump and Hillary ran in 2016, I just couldn't do it, so I voted third party. After watching what has happened in our country the last 4 years, I became a Never Trumper. I would do what it takes to get Trump out of office, even if that involves voting for the Democratic nominee. I agree that Trump has kept many of his campaign promises, where often politicians don't, even if I thought his promises were dumb (like the wall: I thought it was a terribly stupid idea). I've been a registered Republican and more recently Unaffiliated. I have voted for Democrats in the past, but never for President. I have to say I've leaned Republican primarily because of the abortion issue. In local races, though, I often vote for anyone who puts the environment first because our air is so bad here along the Wasatch Front. Environmental supporters here used to be primarily Democrats, but the air problem is becoming so common, that more people from all parties are supporting cleaning up our air, so that does pull me away from the single-issue party camp. My husband always tells me I'm more liberal than he is on social issues, which I think is funny. I guess I get angry when multi-millionaires or billionaires pay their workers a mere pittance and then I say things like, there should be caps on the difference between how much the CEOs make and the bottom-of the wrung employee! I wish people would CHOOSE to take care of others, especially their employees, but so often they don't, and we're seeing such a divide in our country between the haves and have-nots. I read an article years ago, maybe ten, about how the United States income distribution looks more and more like China's rather than the European Unions, which is what we'd actually expect. I wish I could find the article. I guess I get upset that people don't make better choices regarding their fellow man, and I sometimes fall into the "well make them do it through laws then" attitude because it's not fair. Here's a 2017 article from CBS News discussing income disparity. Ok, it's a irrelevant to this post, but I'll just put this quote here in case the link stops working.
The top 1 percent of earners in America now take home about 20 percent of the country’s pretax national income, compared with less than 12 percent in 1978, according to the research the economists published at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Over the same time in China, the top 1 percent doubled their share of income, rising from about 6 percent to 12 percent.

While that suggests that China and the U.S. are experiencing growth of inequality in tandem, there’s one major difference, which suggests the problem may be more dire on American soil. That regards how the bottom 50 percent of income earners are taking part in -- or in the case of the U.S., losing out on -- the country’s economic growth.

America has experienced “a complete collapse of the bottom 50 percent income share in the U.S. between 1978 to 2015,” the authors wrote. “In contrast, and in spite of a similar qualitative trend, the bottom 50 percent share remains higher than the top 1 percent share in 2015 in China.”

I can't say I love Joe Biden, but he seems to have empathy and he seems to care about people. He may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but at lest he's not a selfish jerk. And, with the general anger and hurt in our country, I feel like we need a kind healer at our head who will set a better example of love. I'm a firm believer that the head does influence the followers. Let me give you an example. When my husband and I were newlyweds, we lived in a ward that had a very formal bishop. The ward had a very proper feel that wasn't very friendly. It was rough. The ward boundaries changed and we were moved to a new ward. I was so happy that I started to cry! The new ward had a fun, energetic bishop, and the ward had that same feel. I can't say for sure that the leader totally set the tone for the members of the ward, but I believe he certainly had an influence. I believe that by having a kind leader at the top, it will influence at least some in our country to be a little bit better and not run rampant with whatever superiority they feel they have over others .

I appreciated my neighbor's observations that he posted on Facebook about the Presidential debate. Basically he shared that Trump puts himself and money first and Biden puts humanity first. My neighbor's summary:

Now to the question of corruption, I think both are corrupt and use, have used and will continue to use their political influence for economic gain for themselves and their families.
These are just my observations fed and informed by my personal experiences, beliefs, and values, but at the end of the day it appears that this election is about money vs. people, and I personally value people more than money. Maybe that makes me an idiot or a sucker, but I can live with that.

Ok, let's talk about issues. Usually I vote for what I feel would be best for our country. I even look at what issues line up best with my belief system. This year, though, I had to think differently. Maybe this is just a justification to help me feel better about voting for the "baby-killing" democrats, but I had to get it to make sense in my head.

The first issue that was hard to reconcile was abortion. I had to research this and see if Democrats are really a bunch of baby killers. Yes, some people want free-reign unaccountability-convenience disposal of their pregnancies, but I do know many more moderate Democrats don't want that. Even Bill Clinton said abortion should be safe, legal, and rare, and I totally agree, even if I can't stand the guy. I've been surprised by many members of our church who believe women should never have an abortion. Our church policy regarding abortion doesn't 100% condemn it (it grants some prayerfully made exceptions), so to some depending on how you define it, our Church would actually be pro-choice! Are you pro-life 100% all the time with no exceptions (not our church's stance), or are you pro-life with carefully considered exceptions? OR, are you pro-choice with very strict restrictions (or at the other end, are you pro-choice where you deny the consequences of your actions)? Those middle two might actually be the same thing! I've heard some say to just not consider the abortion issue this year, which I had to do because I felt there were bigger issues at hand: the country imploding on itself because of anger, and you know what else? Abortion personally doesn't affect me. There's a near 100% chance that I will never need to make that choice for me, so I'm not going to worry about it this election. I do not think abortions should be illegal, but I do think they should be restricted and carefully considered, and that people need to be responsible for their actions, and that should not include hasty abortions. A friend shared this article with me regarding late-term and defining abortions. I thought it was very informative. BTW, that friend is not voting for Biden.

So how about an issue that does affect me? How about the environment. Like I mentioned above, our air here is generally pretty dirty. I was annoyed when Trump left the Paris Accord, but I was pleased and surprised that he wasn't lying when he said our air quality is actually better now (the water is worse, however). I'm glad the average air quality is better throughout the US, but we have work to do here in Utah. I'm not sure why the air is better now, but I feel strongly about supporting politicians who will support the environment. I don't like seeing the fires and the hurricanes, and I believe they are related to global warming. And yes, I believe that's a thing. I believe that we as members of the church need to be good stewards of the environment.

Taxes. Yes, they affect me, but if they go up a bit, it's not going to kill me. Of course I do want my tax money well-spent (and I'm sick about the waste that happens), but I do want to help those around me, and I'm ok if taxes assist in that regard. I do not like the tax cuts that have been made for the extremely wealthy or the breaks that have been made specifically to real estate, Donald Trump's profession. So, tax policy didn't really sway my vote this year.

Education. Education affects me. I have four kids in public schools. I'm disgusted by the way teachers are being put at risk in this pandemic. I'm disgusted that some subs in Utah make $9.75/hour when they go sub. I want teachers to make more professional wages somehow. I don't know where Trump is on education, but Biden's wife is an educator, and I'm hopeful that she will influence bolstering education if he wins. But since it's more a state issue than federal, I guess it's not a terribly big national deal. I do not take major issue with national benchmarks of learning because won't it actually help a child who moves from state to state to be at the same level no matter where he or she is?

Healthcare. You better believe healthcare affects me. I'm in my 40s, have had five babies, have found out I have a connective tissue disorder, and am kind of falling apart. A few months ago I was going to therapy at least five times a month! Now I'm down to three. If I pay out-of-pocket, I pay $80 each time. If I run it through the insurance, I pay my copay of $100, then get a statement for up to $240 more! About a month later after adjustments, I typically pay around $100 more per appointment, even though I already paid $100 as my copay. Self-pay, please! I know there are worse stories, too, and things need to be fixed. I have seen Trump make some headway on lowering prescription meds, which is good. We all waited intently to see how he would change the ACA, but since he mostly didn't, I kind of think he must have liked it. I can see there were some negatives to it, but it did make things better for my family. I still think we need major reform though. 

Well, I'm getting tired of writing, and this turned out way longer than I expected, but I hope it will provide some insight to my future posterity regarding my thoughts on Election 2020. I believe the protections of our checks and balances work. I just wish they wouldn't be pitted against each other for party politics. I wish the parties and branches of the government would try a little harder to work together for the good of the people. I am excited for Amy Coney Barret. I think she seems like a good woman. I do think it's two-faced that she got put in at the end of Trump's term, yet the Republicans refused to vote on the guy Obama wanted to put in before his term was up. I hope if Biden wins that he doesn't pack the court because that seems dumb, and it will take so much time and effort to approve people. Anyway, I just hope getting Barrett in now doesn't create some negative repercussions later because the Democrats want to get back at the Republicans. Honestly, I feel like the Republicans, the party of old, white men, have been playing dirtier than the Democrats, and coming from conservative Utah, the reputation is how evil the Democrats are, but I don't know if they're as manipulative as the Republicans.

Lastly, since I'm contemplating government and politics, I've had a goal to read a book on the Constitution this year that my dad gave me. I'm going to guess that the author is Libertarian-leaning, but I'm not going to look it up until I'm done with the book. It has been a bit hard to read because the topic is SO BORING to me. I'm glad some people enjoy this stuff, but I'm just not one of them. According to the author, we currently do so many things already that are unconstitutional. He is probably right; at least he makes a good case. I feel we are so far into our way of life that to go back to being purely Constitutional would be really difficult, so we probably ought to focus on refining what we have. I've appreciated Sharlee Glenn's summary of how Trump is not Constitutional as well as the many other things she has written (but that's more topics for another day!)

So, these are my thoughts on this election. I used issues that directly affect me to make my choice to vote for the Democrats. My facts may not all be right; they are probably generalized and biased. But, as a history minor, there is still value in knowing how people felt about things because that was their reality, and it helps to explain their actions.

But for now, despite what happens, I'll try to keep a good attitude and remember President Hinckley's words:

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

When Women Don't Speak: BYU Magazine

I don't have time to really write about this, but I need to save it this article that was in the BYU Magazine entitled, When Women Don't Speak by Brittany Karford Rogers. They did some studies on when women participate (or don't) in discussions and how to fix it. It doesn't really help women if there's just one woman on a committee, you have to have several for them to be able to feel free to share ideas and make an impact. So much good stuff here. So many women just nod their heads and don't comment, but we do have our ideas! Hopefully I get this right: women tend to get better grades than men, but they're not in the discussions to the extend you would think. Women tend to focus on social issues, not taxes and I can't remember what it said. Hopefully I can read this again some time and pull out some memorable quotes.

From personal experience, I certainly remember the difference between my acceptance and comfort in a PTA meeting and a Scout Committee Meeting, even when I was the committee chair.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Happy Belated Birthday Relief Society!

Several years ago I found these quotes on my friend, Jan Tolman's blog (at least I think I think I found them all there). It used to be LDS Women of God, but now it's Relief Society Women. These are some of my favorites from the organization of the first Relief Society.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

I Learned It in Relief Society

Partly from a Facebook post from the other day:

I lay awake early this morning pondering where I learned many of the things that are becoming most useful during this crazy time (the pandemic and the Utah earthquakes, for future reference).

Haircutting: at Relief Society
Gardening: Dick Dresher at Relief Society
Bread making: Sister Spencer and Jane Merrill at Relief Society and Iris Hunt
Food storage and emergency preparedness, at Relief Society and work in the Welfare Department for The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints

(But what about sewing (one of my hobbies), you ask?: Mom, school, private lessons, Liz Clark, personal learning, but I probably could have learned some of that at Relief Society, too.)

I'm glad Tiffany Litster inspired me to make Relief Society my social outing.

And didn't I learn these things at home? Well, I watched my mom do them, but you know how stubborn kids are... It took some maturing to actually take them to heart.

Tomorrow I will try to post some of my favorite quotes from the founding of the Relief Society, but while I was listening to Saints the other day, I ran across this one from Eliza R. Snow:

"The society should be like a mother with her child. . . ." I feel so glad that I've had Relief Society to teach me skills that, at times, are invaluable, and I know it has made a world of difference to many more women, too.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

In a Room of Great Women

Back on February 19th I had the opportunity to be in the the same room with some of the most powerful and influential women I have ever met! I went to UVU's Women & Leadership Project's The Status of Women Worldwide: Becoming Empowered as Global Citizens. I originally went to hear Valerie Hudson talk about the strength of societies in relation to how they treat women and Sharon Eubank talk about making a difference through worldwide organizations like LDS Charities, grassroots organizations, and individually. Valerie Hudson profoundly influenced my thought about ten years ago when I read her "Two Trees" article. I got to work with Sharon/Sister Eubank around 20 years ago when she hired on with LDS Employment Resource Services in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Welfare Department. I still have the toy she gave me for our first child when we had my work baby shower. I was astounded when Sharon eventually became HEAD of LDS Charities. Not that she couldn't do it, but she was the first woman to do it. Not only that, she was also asked to serve as part of the general Relief Society presidency, the largest women's organization in the world! I don't know how she has time for both because I know how busy the head of LDS Charities is because I was their staff assistant for a while.

So, not only were there cool speakers at this function, there were even other incredible women there! I found a seat on the front row (why not?), and after a minute or so, a tall woman asked if the seat next to me was open. Well, guess who it was? Vauna Davis. You might not know who she is, but she headed up Women for Decency and is involved with the Utah Coalition Against Pornography and additional anti-pornography programs. Seven years ago I was pretty involved in stuff and had actually volunteered to do Women for Decency's Pinterest page... well, it didn't last long, but I had an e-mail to show Vauna about it, lol. I, of course knew that she also knew my friends Michelle and Polly because of this work.

I'd seen a message that Sharlee Glenn was going to be there, too, and hoped to meet her. I hope you know who she is! Does MWEG - Mormon Women for Ethical Government ring a bell? This is what she had in the New York Times that very day:…/opin…/mormons-religion-trump.html… Not only did I meet her, but she also introduced me to another founding member of MWEG, Linda Kimball.

Then I walked over to say hello to the Big Ocean Women Ladies, including Carol Allen and Ann Takasaki, who I had the opportunity to go with to part of the UN's Commission on the Status of Women 5 years ago (which I never even wrote about on here). While chatting with the Big Ocean ladies, I met another woman, whose name I can't remember, who's involved with Days for Girls, another fantastic organization!

And to top it all off, one of the sponsors was MX, the company my husband worked for for around 7 months last year.

I don't know how many more amazing women were in that room, but I'm sure there were many, and I felt totally honored to be in their presence. I even got a little choked up about it on the drive home. There was real power in that room.

I'm not going to write a big summary, but Valerie Hudson talked about her new book The First Political Order: How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide. She spoke a little about how the common measurements of literacy, participation in the labor force, and parliamentary representation are not real indicators of women's empowerment in life, but it's more about:
  • How much say does a woman have about getting married? How old is she when she is married?
  • How much say does a woman have within her marriage?
  • What types of property and inheritance rights do women have?
  • Are there are inequities in family law, such as in matters of divorce and child custody?
  • Is marriage patrilocal? Are brideprice or dowry paid? Is polygyny or co-[sorry, it got cut out of my picture] marriage prevalent?
  • Does the society view domestic violence and femicide as normal, even expected?
  • Is rape treated as a property crime?
It became very clear that even though some countries educate their women and get them involved in government, if they're not treated well on the home-front, all the education and government participation means nothing; the women are still trapped. Many of the things Trump does and says toward women does not create a secure feeling for women, and I don't think his example helps men in our country treat women better.

At the end of the lectures, someone mentioned that we need more women in Utah politics, and I thought, but if they're happy where they are because they're treated well, does it make a difference? Maybe they feel fairly represented, and that's fine. It reminds me of that quote from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, "Let me tell you something Toula; the man is the head, but the woman is the neck and she can turn the head any way she wants." Maybe more women have that kind of influence than we know. But heck, if you're a woman and want to get into politics, more power to you! I mean, GO JAN GARBETT! She's a great lady just like the ones mentioned above. I've met her. But, if you're happy where you are, and fairly treated, you may as well enjoy it, AND keep on making progress in your own circles as you see fit.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Girl with the Seven Names

Yesterday I finished The Girl with the Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee while on the way back from St. George. She is a North Korean defector who originally didn't intend to defect. This story has similarities to Where the Wind Leads by Vinh Chung, but it's not quite as exciting, and there aren't quite so many miracles, but oh so interesting to learn more about life in North Korea! I need to go look up her TEd talk now!

And a few quotes and thoughts:
"She liked to dress well because she thought this made up for plain and ordinary looks." (Chapter 1)
Perhaps I ought to dress better to make up for my plain and ordinary looks? I do try to smile to make up for my plain and ordinary looks, but my plain and ordinary personality causes me to wear generally plain and ordinary clothes. I did a research paper once on how better looking/better dressed people get treated better. but I'm still pretty plain and ordinary.
"If a couple loved each other too much, it would condense all the affection that should last a lifetime into too short a period and one of them would die young." (Chapter 1)
Oh that's a disheartening belief!

The birth of Kim Jong Il:
"His birth was foretold by miraculous signs in the heavens: a double rainbow over Mount Pectu, swallows singing songs of praise with human voices, and the appearance of a bright new star in the sky." (Chapter 4)
It's interesting that he would choose similarities to the signs of Christ's birth. Maybe that's why he didn't want them knowing anything of Christianity because they'd see that he copied parts of the signs of Christ's birth. It's like he thought of himself as a combination of Christ, Santa Claus, and an Egyptian pharoah. The author points out later in the book, that the only person with real freedom in North Korea is the ruler, not the people.

"Women had to be more careful than men in their attitude toward everything in life." (Chapter 17) Sad, but true.

The name she got when she was engaged to someone she didn't want to be engaged to: "My new name meant: the person who respects elders and makes a good wife by following her husband and listening really well to him." (Chapter 22) How insulting!

Lee experienced miracles in her life. A train worker helped them get away from another worker, and in a culture where people often turn each other in to authorities for crimes, no other passengers on the train exposed her hiding family (Chapter 6). In chapter 45, when Lee is helping her mother and brother defect, while in transport, after openly speaking Korean with one another, they are stopped by an officer at a checkpoint, and her brother and mother pretend to be deaf and mute and no one turns them in! In Chapter 48, Dick from Australia miraculously comes to her aid. He gives her money, lets her stay in his guest house, and accompanies her to the jail. She hadn't experienced such kindness with no strings attached. She says "Random acts of kindness had been so rare that they'd stick in my memory. . . . He showed me that there was another world where strangers help strangers for no other reason than that it is good to do so. . . .  From the day I met him, the worlds was a less cynical place. I started feeling warmth for other people. This seemed so natural, and yet I'd never felt it before."

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Girl Power from Where the Crawdads Sing

Yes, I've been listening to books lately. My friends have a book club that I don't really go to, but lately since my youngest is in preschool, I've been trying to listen to some of them so that I won't feel like such an intruder if I do decide to stop in at one of their meetings. Where the Crawdads Sing was good like many of the others, but I think I prefer nonfiction. It's hard spending so much time on anything not to have it be really inspirational. Anyway, I liked this empowering line from Chapter 17.

Upon entering womanhood: "...this ain't nothing to be ashamed of. It ain't no curse like folks say. This here's the starting of all life and only a woman can do it. You're a woman now, baby!"

I beg to differ about the curse part, but this is a job only we women can do, and I liked that.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Relationship Advice from the Tattooist of Auschwitz

I finished listening to The Tattooist of Auschwitz the other day. It's not a very long book, and about half way through, well even in the beginning, I decided I didn't really like it. I couldn't really stomach it. My patience for these things must have expired in my tween/teen years when I read all the youth books about World War II at the local library. I was annoyed with The Tattooist of Auschwitz because how on Earth could there even be a romance in a concentration camp??? What an oxymoron. It was so unrealistic. Then, I looked into it to see how much of it is based on true events.

If you didn't know, the author interviewed Lali/Lale to make his life history, but wrote it into a screenplay, then the book. So, it's probably more true than not, but you never know how accurate your memory is, but I guess to Lali/e, it is for the most part how he remembered it, accurate or not. So, I finished the book. Of course it was horrible and uncomfortable in parts, but I loved that Lali/e loved women as people. I loved that he adored his to-be wife.
After breaking up their fights his mother would take him aside and explain to him that he would find someone else to love and care for. He never wanted to believe her. As he became a young man, he would run home to his mother each day for the hugged greeting, the feel of her comforting body, her soft skin, the kisses she planted on his forehead. "What can I do to help you?" He would say. "You're such a good boy. You will make someone a wonderful husband some day." "Tell me what to do to be a good husband. I don't want to be like Papa. He doesn't make you smile. He doesn't help you. . . . I want the girl I marry to like me, to be happy with me. . . ." "You must first learn to listen to her, even if you are tired. Never be too tired to listen to what she has to say. Learn what she likes, and more importantly what she doesn't like. When you can, give her little treats: flowers, chocolates. Women like these things. . . ."  (Chapter 19, around 4:56)
Growing up, it was a very loving family life. The devotion my parents had to each other was total and uncompromising. When many in their circle of friends started getting divorced, I went to my mother and asked how she and my father had managed to stay together for so many years. Her response was very simple: "Nobody is perfect. Your father has always taken care of me since the first day we met in Berkenau. I know he is not perfect, but I also know he will always put me first." (Gary, their only child, Afterward, around 7:21)
And a bonus, but about optimism:
How can you just pack and sing? With a big smile on her face she said that when you spend years not knowing if in five minutes time you'll be dead, there is not much you can't deal with. She said, as long as you are alive and healthy, everything will work out for the best. (Said to Gary by his mother, Gita, when his father had to close his business and their house was auctioned, Afterward, around 7:24)

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Self Image

I was deleting screen shots on my phone the other day while watching Willy Wonka with the kids and ran across quite had few little gems about self image; I guess it's a theme in my life, just like most women.
Because Satan is miserable without a body, he wants us to be miserable because of ours. - President Russell M. Nelson, "We Can Do Better and Be Better," April General Conference, 2019
. . . [A]re you more interested in dressing and grooming your body to appeal to the world than to please God?" - President Russell M. Nelson, "We Can Do Better and Be Better," April General Conference, 2019
If Satan can get us to fixate on our bodies, either in vanity or self loathing, then he has caused us to misunderstand completely the role our bodies play in salvation. - Tessa Meyer Santiago/LDS Living
Manage physical desires in a healthy way. - Youth Guidebook, Physical Goal Ideas, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 
How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension. - Prince Harry after Meghan Markle gave birth to their son
When we think we need more self-discipline, we usually need more self-love." - Tara Mohr 
Related to that last one, I didn't save it, but someone posted on Facebook recently about the myth of self-care. It basically said that rather than turning to pampering yourself, you just need to turn to God. Then, someone posted in the comments a link to something else saying that rather than feeling like you need to keep up with the Jones's, and needing all that self care because keeping up with the Jones' is so much work, maybe you just need to let go and give yourself a break! That's a total paraphrase of two posts/articles, btw. Anyway, good food for thought.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

I Read The Magnolia Story!

While browsing through my library app, I saw that The Magnolia Story by Chip and JoAnna Gaines was available. I can't say I've ever watched the show (maybe in a hotel room on a trip once, well part of it? Maybe an advertisement for it?), and I think I went to the Web site once? But even then, I oddly do know who they are and what they're about.

This was a fun, short read (well, listen). I loved how they openly talked of God and faith and listening to that Still, Small Voice. I was so impressed with Jo when she felt it was time to stay home with her babies and she DID!

I related so much to Jo's conservative personality and cracked up over Chip's craziness. My husband has a similar personality, but as a software engineer, rather than a DIY/RE/whatever guy, if that's even possible.

I love that they work so well as a team on their projects. I love projects too, but sadly, my husband DOES NOT! He is not handy and does not want to be. We do not work well together like Chip and JoAnna. I had to birth a son and raise him to work on projects with me. We work well together.

I was thinking about Fixer Upper and wondered why so many people are drawn to it. I wonder if its success is because the Gaines' are willing to share their faith along with their story. Earlier in the year, I listened to The Impossible (=>Breakthrough, the movie), the one where the boy falls through the ice and is DEAD, but he comes back to life after his mother's great faith and prayers. With that story, I also wondered if their family experienced such great miracles because God knew they would share them, and it would be a witness that would draw more people to Him.

And lastly, I loved this quote at the end:
Being on a farm is something we both dreamed about, and in the hustle and bustle of our busy life, when I come back here to this place I love it always takes me back to the basics. . . . There's something about doing things the way our ancestors used to do them that puts your heart back into the rhythm of this thing called life. It's why I think cooking for my family is important. It's why I love making things with my hands, designing with my hands, and gardening with my hands. (Chapter 15, 4:49) 
I agree that doing things with your hands keeps it so real! I feel a connection with those who have gone on before when I do things how they did it. I think it's a way to stay grounded.