Thursday, April 26, 2012

Have I Done Any Good?

There is a movement in this country that disturbs me.  When did success become evil?  What happened to cheering for the underdog who succeeds at the American dream?  When was sharing in the happiness of others replaced by envy and greed?

My family is not wealthy.  We live in a neighborhood that my children have dubbed "the ghetto" although I take issue with that description.  I don't consider us poor because we have a roof over our heads, we have always had food on the table, our children had shoes and coats, and somehow the bills eventually were paid.  In the years when we were raising our children, there was often very creative financing happening.  I admit to robbing Peter to pay Paul.  I remember taking a sewing needle and punching a tiny hole in one of the zeros at the bottom of a check so that it would take an extra two days to be processed through the bank.  Note:  This no longer works because of advancements in technology, so don't try it.  My children thought that liver and onions was steak until they reached high school and someone ratted on me.  We ate a lot of tuna casserole.  I shopped at garage sales and thrift stores. My children wore hand-me-down clothing.  No, we were not rich.

So what?  So what if my children got through school without a computer or the internet?  So what if they never had a game boy or a cabbage patch kid?  So what if every tricycle and bicycle they ever owned had fallen off moving trucks and were found by their Dad as he worked in the freeway landscape?  It just isn't important.  Our life as a family is what is important.  The kids learned to live in the real world.  They learned to work for what they own, and they learned that there are more important things in life than money.

BUT -- and this is a big BUT -- So what if many of my children's friends came from money?  My children had friends from all walks of life.  Some of their friends were very poor, while some of their friends came from wealthy families.  So what?  My children were taught to respect all people.  We would never have looked down on their friends who came from families who did have trouble putting food on the table, or clothes on the children's backs.  On the other end, we would never have taught our children to be envious of those children who had the game boys, computers, and cabbage patch kids.  We taught our children to appreciate what they had, and not covet the material things that some of their friends possessed.  We taught them to look at a person by what is in the heart; not the wallet.  That goes for both ends of the spectrum.

There are some wealthy people in America.  Good for them!  Most of them have worked very hard for it.  They have achieved the American dream.  That's wonderful!  I'm happy for them!  They stand as a testament to hard work and diligence.  Some wealthy Americans inherited their money from their parents.  Good for them!  Good for their parents!  What parents don't want to leave a legacy for their children?  They have succeeded!  Good for them!  I'm happy for their success.

There seems to be an entire movement dedicated to taking down the wealthy and portraying them as evil and greedy individuals. I'm sure there are some who are evil and greedy.  I'm equally as sure that most of them are wonderful people who serve others quietly and donate a good portion of their wealth to charity.  Is it necessary for them to shout their good works from the rooftops? I would hope not.  Instead of judging them, maybe we should look in our own backyard.  Maybe instead of asking questions about how the rich are spending their money, we should be asking ourselves, "Have I done any good in the world today?"

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sister White: Prior to Brazil, Brasilia Mission

My daughter, Kaylonnie (Sister White), is serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Brazil, Brasilia Mission.  She has made many friends in Brazil, and they have reached out to me via Facebook.  It has been an honor to get to know her Brazilian friends.  They are curious about this young American woman who has suddenly become part of their lives. This post is for Sister White's new friends in Brazil so that they can become acquainted with who she is and what her life was like growing up in Sacramento, California, U.S.A.  I have chosen to use mostly pictures, as I feel the pictures tell the story quite well. The pictures are not necessarily in chronological order, but grouped to tell a story.

There were baby moments.
Hannah is holding Kaylonnie

Easter moments.
Dyeing Easter Eggs
Easter Fun
Fun times.
Tricycle and bicycle times.

There was fun at Fairytale Town.

Fairytale Town
Fairytale Town
Fairytale town pictures from here.

Excitement to be in school.

Kindergarten was at Joseph Bonnheim Elementary School.

Picture of Joseph Bonnheim Elementary from their website (above).

There were many first day of school pictures.

Kaylonnie, Hannah, Ezra (Molly was away at college for this one)
First through sixth grades were spent at Phoebe Hearst Elementary School in the Basic Education Program.

Phoebe Hearst Elementary School
There was growing . . .

And more growing.

There were braces.

There were birthdays, Easters, Christmases, other holidays, and family get togethers.

We can't forget Halloween!

Camp Fire Boys and Girls, and Camp Minaluta!

Top picture is a Camp Minaluta counselor with Kaylonnie and Ezra. Next, Mom and Kaylonnie.  Next Ezra and Kaylonnie with the "Hi-Seller" T-shirts they earned for selling LOTS of Camp Fire candy. Next is Kaylonnie and Molly.
Ezra and Kaylonnie at Camp Minaluta
Kaylonnie (second from left) with Camp Fire Buddies
Ezra, Hannah, Kaylonnie, Molly
The day Kaylonnie received her Camp Fire gown.
Canoes on Lake Minaluta
There were friends.

There were dog days.

Seventh and eighth grade years were at California Middle School.

California Middle School
 Above picture of California Middle School from their website.
California Middle School
California Middle School
The next four years of high school were at C. K. McClatchy High School.
C. K. McClatchy High School
Above picture from McClatchy website (above).

There were Nauvoo, Illinois moments.

And Quincy, Illinois moments.

Before our very eyes she became a young woman.

There were military balls and prom nights.

And lots and lots of laughter!

Many hours were spent preparing for the cultural celebration during the open house and dedication of the Sacramento Temple.

She began her college education at Sacramento City College.

Sacramento City College (from their website above)
Sacramento City College
Sorry, the above picture was the best I could do.  I was not able to get a decent picture of Sacramento City College.  Parking is a problem nearby, and I had to stand across Freeport Boulevard, which is extremely busy.  It took me several minutes to snap a picture between vehicles.  Unfortunately, an internet search didn't provide any pictures either.

A lot of college time was spent at the LDS Institute of Religion across from the Sacramento City College campus.  She learned so much here and her testimony really blossomed.
LDS Institute of Religion at Sacramento City College
LDS Institute of Religion at Sacramento City College
She was known as "Miss Kaylonnie" when she worked at Radcliffe Academy as a daycare assistant.

Radcliffe Academy picture from here.

There were pizza nights at Roma's.
Roma's Pizza from their website (above)
Roma's Pizzeria
Above picture from here.  (Roma's doesn't look great from the outside, but they have the best pizza ever!)

There were ice cream nights at Gunther's.

Pictures of Gunther's from here.  (Molly, Hannah, and Ezra all worked at Gunther's in high school too.)

There was a mission call.

And a missionary farewell.

Photo Taken by Rachel White, Vintage Bloom Photography
Photo Taken by Rachel White, Vintage Bloom Photography
Over the years there were sibling pictures and family pictures.

Above family photos taken by Courtney Farnworth

And even eternal pictures.

Oakland Temple Sealing Day Pictures Taken by Cecelia Takahashi

Sister White, the missionary.

Missionary Training Center