Friday, January 28, 2011

"They Slipped the Surley Bonds of Earth to Touch the Face of God." ~Ronald Reagan

(Photo credit: National Geographic)

Today my mind was on the memory of the space shuttle Challenger explosion disaster. If you are old enough to remember, it is one of those painful historic events that evoke memories of where you were and what you felt at the time.

This particular space shuttle mission was significant for education because one of "our own," Christa McAullife, a school teacher and citizen astronaut was a member of the crew. On January 28, 1986 the much heralded flight exploded just 73 seconds into the flight, with a horrified nation looking on. The anguish was compounded by the fact that school children around the country were tuned into the televisions in their classrooms for the event.

I was teaching school at the time and remember the excitement and energy exuded by the students in my homeroom. I will never forget the stunned expressions of disbelief, the audible gasps and then the silence after the explosion occurred. The rest of the school day the halls were quiet. Everyone subdued. A state of shock prevailed . That particular day was to have been my first cast meeting after school for the spring musical. It didn't seem important anymore. I canceled. All I wanted to do was go pick up my one-year-old daughter, kiss her sweet face and go home to my husband and give him a long hug.

President Reagan, instead of giving his scheduled State of the Union address, delivered a message of "mourning and remembering" on national broadcasts that same day. Here are some of his words:

"I want to say something to the school children of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling into the future, and we'll continue to follow them."

"The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives." We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them this morning as they prepared for there journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of God.'"

Me, with Astronaut Don Lind, Sister Morton( and a random Elder checking us out in the background.)

When I arrived on my LDS mission to Houston, Texas we were taken to NASA and greeted and given a tour by LDS astronaut Don Lind. (click his name to read about him)
It was awesome!

Me, in a control room at NASA with Sister Hinson, the Bishop's wife (and baby). October 1981. Check out the "old-school" computers.

I served in two areas close to NASA and had the opportunity to visit several times. One memorable time I had the chance to meet and talk with astronaut Sally Ride. (Click her name) Really. She was so cool. I regret I don't have a photo to prove it:)

Our family has a fascination for space, from my husband, who wanted to be a pilot when he was little, to my daughter, Coryn who attended a summer of space camp at the Christa McAulliffe Space Center when she was in middle school.
(I, however, got a 'D' in an astronomy class in college. Yes, a 'D'.
Though I did find the class interesting, I have no talent for science.)
And I will admit here in print that one of our favorite rides at Disneyland is the
Star Wars Adventure:)

*Of note: NASA is due to formally shut down the 30-year-old shuttle program in a few months due to high operating costs.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Avocado Addiction

I have developed an addiction to these.

  • They are packed with mega-vitamins that are so good for you.
  • They are amazingly yummy.
  • They are expensive.
  • They are full of calories. Just what I need:(

Friday, January 21, 2011

Would I Have Auditioned for American Idol 35 Years Ago??

Yes, that's me. What the heck am I wearing? Well...Gauchos and vests were in style. So were boots. This was the ABBA era mind you! (Look: I'm actually wearing RED.)
AI started this week. I didn't get a chance to see any episodes. The jury in my head is still out as to whether or not I want to get involved again. I didn't watch last year. I will admit in past seasons it was a fun guilty pleasure for me. In fact I got very invested early in the run. I certainly enjoy the talent aspect. I realize the judges are merely sitting at that table for entertainment purposes. Steve Tyler is just plain loopy. Jennifer Lopez seems to be the nice, compassionate one this time around. Randy is...well Randy. We'll see how I feel next week. Perhaps I'll wait till the top ten is in place.
*SHOUT OUT TO MY FRIEND, MARCI: If my memory is right, you are not in this photo because you were off in NYC on your Nanny Adventure:)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Classy Condi

BYU President Samuelson chats with Dr. Rice before her speech.

I got to attend Condoleezza Rice's excellent speech this past week. Also stayed after for the Q&A. So impressed with the former Secretary of State. (She didn't use a teleprompter or notes.) Here are some of the statements she made (from my notes) that really struck a chord with me:

  • "I would go so far as to say that with all the other challenges we face--defending the country, advocating for democracy--our greatest national security threat just might be our K-12 education system. " (This statement got huge applause from the nearly 20,000 people in attendance.) She went on to say:
  • "The world is much more dangerous when the United States is not active in a leading role, which is what will happen if today's children are not educated and empowered."
  • "I am not a fan of the 'self-esteem' movement in schools. It is not my cup of tea."
  • "Children need to recognize that self-esteem comes from doing something well. We need to reaffirm the importance of excellence for students and for teachers and for school leadership. There are a lot of great teachers; there is no tougher profession than being a good teacher. But if you're not a good teacher, get someone to help you or get out of the profession. Our children can't afford bad teaching."
  • (And one of my favorite things she said:) "Good teaching must be broad enough to include the arts. The arts should not be considered just extra-curricular. Things like music and drama provide life-long skills and create well-rounded students."
  • (Having grown up in Birmingham, Alabama during the height of the Civil Rights Movement she said:) "So often, we are caught up in our own territory, geography and language that we find it difficult to relate to others. We need to expand our horizons. Programs like study abroad and language study can be vital to this learning. It is necessary to integrate your knowledge of what is with your faith of what can be."
  • (Reminding students how fortunate they were to be attending a 'faith-based' university she said:) "It is a special responsibility that faith and reason go together. They are integrated with who we are."
  • (In speaking about looking into the past from the perspective of the present:) "Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. You will not be judged by what you do today, but by how it looks over time."
  • (She was a Classical Piano Performance major for two years before discovering her passion for international politics after taking a class from Madeleine Albright's father.) "I am really glad I changed my major. Worlds open up to you that never would have been opened. I urge you to find your passion. Find what gets you up every morning."
  • (And further to the students:) "If you are a good writer, but find math hard. Take a math class. If you find math easy but aren't a very good writer. Take a writing class. You will be more fulfilled by overcoming something that is hard for you."
  • "You can control your response to your circumstances."
  • "As educated people you have a responsibility to be optimistic!"
  • (In regard to the present angry discourse in our political landscape:) "We need to turn down the volume. Just because someone disagrees with you politically does not mean they are morally flawed. Heaven forbid we should ever compromise!"
  • "I love the importance of family in your LDS culture. I owe everything to my parents for raising me in a home of faith and teaching me the importance of getting an education. As my father would say: 'It doesn't matter where you came from. It matters where you are going.'"

Friday, January 14, 2011

Another Birthday

Happy Birthday to my Best Friend and Sweetheart!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happy 6th Birthday! (6 x 4 +2)

I was going to post this on December 22nd, the day you were really supposed to arrive. Perhaps you didn't want a Christmas-time birthday, perhaps it was way too cold outside as it is today. Whatever the reason...we're so glad you came and blessed our lives.
Court, you're the BEST!!!

Check out the HAIR...on all of us!

"Supper, Supper, Suppertime!"

"Come, see the kitty, Mommy!"

Max, the King of All Wild Things.

Favorite place...hanging out with Dad. did have a DOLL.

*Also, A HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my cousin Christopher,
who shares this day with Courtney

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pucker Up!

So...Santa put these wax lips in the girls' stockings.
Couldn't resist some photos.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Animal Friends

Cammy and her friend Hannah model their Christmas Hats. (Hannah's gift)
Aren't they cute? (Oh, and the hats too...)