Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why? "Because . . ." (that's why)!

"Why?" It's all about peer pressure. That terrible thing that happens to all mankind at some point in life. I don't recall doing anything like this when I was a kid. So perhaps this is part of a mid-life crisis for me . . . "I don't know!" Now that I think about it, that's the answer I always got when I asked my children why they did some off-the-wall stupid thing. "I don't know!" or "because . . . " To which I'd respond, "What were you thinking?" And the obvious answer to that question was, "I wasn't." But in this case (the case of kissing the banana slug), I did know what I was doing. And it's like this: I was hiking with seven young women from the Stockton Stake. We were on a 20-mile trek over three days and we happened across a banana slug. The banana slug is actually the mascot for the University of Santa Cruz, the area in which we were hiking. Kissing a banana slug is a 5th grade science class tradition and, as they say, "everyone's doing it!" So - if everyone jumped off the top of a building, would I? NO! If everyone jumped out of a boat, would I? NO! But, for some reason, when each of these young women kissed the banana slug, I felt compelled to follow their lead. So there, Booker children, we're even! OK, OK, OK???

Friday, July 4, 2008

God Bless America

Sixty years ago my mother came to the United States, looking for a place where she could be safe and free. During World War II she spent her adolescent years in the Philippines, running from enemy fire. She and her family were forced to abandon their comfortable home and lifestyle as they literally ran to stay alive. They hid during the day and traveled during the night; they bathed in rivers and ate whatever they could find. After the war her grandfather put her on a ship all by herself and sent her to America to start a new life. English was a second language for her but she was determined to overcome that and, as time went on, many more obstacles. She got a job working in a factory and worked very hard to provide for my younger sister and me. She attended the required classes to become a naturalized citizen and never returned to her homeland. I'm grateful for the sacrifices she made so that her children could be born and raised in America.
I am thankful to her for giving me life. I'm so very thankful to live in America! I appreciate the freedom I have to make choices, good or bad, and I accept the responsibility of my choices. I respect our flag and the country it represents. I am grateful for those who lead us in righteousness. I'm thankful to be able to worship God as I choose and for the freedom of speech; to read what I want; to listen and discern right from wrong; and to live the lifestyle I have chosen. I honor those who have given (and continue to give) their lives to protect the freedom we enjoy in this great nation. God bless America -- always!