Friday, July 28, 2006

Whole Grain News

How many times have you heard counsel from dieticians, and other nutrition advocates that we should eat our foods in as near natural form as possible? Foods that have been processed, milled, and bleached to death don't resemble the natural whole-grain goodness that nature intended. Fruits, vegetables, and grains consumed in as near to their natural state as possible provide the greatest benefit to our bodies.

The same could be said of our consumption of the news. By the time the Mainstream Media gets a hold of a story, strips it of its proper context, bleaches out anything that would be positive for Israel or the Bush Administration, and has been processed through their liberal spin cycle, you end up with a bleached-white-flour version of the news.

I prefer to get my news as close to the source as possible. I have been following the recent events in Israel and Lebanon quite closely, and have found some news sources from within Israel that I find quite interesting. Some of these sources are Israeli media outlets, and some are bloggers. I thought I would share with you some of the sources I have found, in case you, too, would like to get some whole-grain news:

Israeli News Outlets (In English):

Jerusalem Post

Israeli Bloggers:


Hugh Hewitt says this of Yoni:
Yoni's been a guest on my show for years, a veteran of 20+ years in the Israeli military, and a conservative, religious Jew. He has dual citizenship, and his family travels back and forth between Israel. He has many sources within the IDF and Border Police, talks incessantly with them, and prowls the Hebrew and English media to bring late breaking news from Israel.

Other Israeli Bloggers - NZ Bear has created a list of bloggers from Israel, also has a from all sides of the current conflict. There are three groups: Palestinian bloggers, Lebanese Bloggers, and Israeli bloggers. Then there is a section for other bloggers who are covering these events.

American Bloggers:

Hugh Hewitt
Captain's Quarters
Dennis Prager

For the latest news, I usually check the Drudge Report first. Yoni is great about disseminating the latest info. Then I like to check the Israeli news outlets. The bloggers are really good at analysis and adding perspective to the events of the day. I also recommend reading the editorial pages of the Israeli newspapers. It is interesting to see what the Israelis are thinking about and debating among themselves.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Moose On The Loose

Moose On The Loose
Originally uploaded by David B..
We returned to the mountains today. This time with the whole family. It was fun to beat the heat in the valley, and smell the pine trees. We also surveyed some future camp site possibilities.

On our way up the canyon, Dawn Ann spotted this moose. It was about 100 yards away, and I zoomed in as tight as I could with my camera.

By the time we were done, other people noticed the moose too. We started a mini Yellowstone-style wildlife traffic jam.

My brother, Mark, gave me a GPS unit for my birthday a couple of weeks ago. We kept Bryan entertained, by having him give us updates of our elevation as we climbed the canyon. The elevation at the summit, Guardsman Pass, was about 9,300 feet.

We drove over the mountain to Park City and had our picnic dinner at the city park. The kids had fun playing in the park as well.

We came home through Parley's canyon, and made it home before dark.

Later Bryan and I set up our lawn chairs on a sidewalk near our house, and watched everybody else's fireworks, in celebration of Pioneer Day. Ah-hemm. . . or should I say everybody else's illegal fireworks. Legal or not, we enjoyed watching them all.

We will go up to Wyoming later this summer, and shoot off a few fireworks ourselves -- In Wyoming -- where its legal. We have a nice little place we found in Wyoming where we can shoot off fireworks over a marshy area. That way any fireworks that hit the ground still sparking will land in the marsh water and be put out.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Days of '47

Kolache Bull
Originally uploaded by Wandering Eyes.
Last night we went to the Days of '47 Rodeo. It has been a few years since we have gone to this event. I tend to prefer the small-town rodeos to the big professional productions. However, with 100 + degree temperatures, I thought an indoor, air-conditioned rodeo sounded pretty good.

One of the highlights was the opportunity to see a near- perfect bull ride last night. Cowboy Jarrod Craig scored 94 points on his ride. Obviously this photo is not of Jarrod's ride. (This cowboy is about to have a sudden reconnoiter with the ground!) However I liked the photo a lot when I saw it. It is from a photojournalist who goes by the moniker of Wandering Eyes on Flickr. You can see larger versions of these images by clicking on them.

I asked the kids what their favorite part of the rodeo was. Amy liked the Grand Entry with the rodeo queens. She also liked the barrel racing -- events with girls in them. Go figure! Unfortunately we didn't see much of the barrel racing because we were out on the concourse when that event was taking place. This photo is courtesy of Randy Peters on Flickr.

Bryan's favorite part was the halftime/intermission entertainment. There were two freestyle motocross riders who performed several amazing tricks. They had a ramp, and jumped way up into the air (just missing the jumbo-tron) and did a variety of tricks. Somehow they managed to land and get their bikes stopped in time before crashing into the other end of the arena. I've got to admit it was pretty entertaining, even though it was not traditional rodeo fare. You can get an ideo of what their tricks were like here.

As for the nice, cool, air-conditioned, indoor rodeo -- well that didn't turn out too well. With it being 100 + degrees outside, the best they could manage in the arena was about 85-90 degrees. As a result, we were fairly uncomfortable for most of the evening. On the bright side, the shaved ice concession did really well. I know our family enjoyed patronizing them! Chomping on ice was a good way to stay cool. Later, I half-seriously said that my favorite part of the rodeo was the shaved ice!

Dawn Ann and I both enjoyed the rodeo. We enjoyed watching many good rides, both on the bulls and the on the horses. The bull-fighters (clowns) were also very entertaining, as well as efficient in keeping the cowboys safe.

I think the most dangerous event was the wild cow milking contest. One guy got head butted by a wild cow, and tromped-on twice. But he kept getting up and trying to get control of the cow while his partner tried to get some milk. It was a zaney, crazy, and wild event.

All in all we had an enjoyable evening -- even with the heat. I think, though, I'll wait 'till January to go to my next rodeo -- When the Bull Riders Only (PBR) tour comes to town. If we're lucky, we'll need to drink hot chocolate to warm up!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Opposites Attract

In the English language, there are certain prefixes that change the meaning of a word to it's opposite. Such word prefixes as "dis", "un", "in", "irr", and "non" are examples.

For some words, we use both base form of the word, along with it's opposite, such as:
  • Like and Unlike, or
  • Regular, and Irregular
However, for other words, we commonly use only the "opposite" form of the word, such as:
  • Inevitable -- we normally wouldn't say "evitable", or
  • Disgruntled -- normally we wouldn't say "gruntled"
A while back, I saw this story which uses the base form of words or phrases for wich we usually only use in the "opposite" form. If you're a word buff, you'll get a kick out of it like I did.

How I Met My Wife
by Jack Winter

Originally published 25 July 1994 in The New Yorker

It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate.

I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way.

I wanted desperately to meet her, but I knew I'd have to make bones about it since I was travelling cognito. Beknownst to me, the hostess, whom I could see both hide and hair of, was very proper, so it would be skin off my nose if anything bad happened. And even though I had only swerving loyalty to her, my manners couldn't be peccable. Only toward and heard-of behavior would do.

Fortunately, the embarrassment that my maculate appearance might cause was evitable. There were two ways about it, but the chances that someone as flappable as I would be ept enough to become persona grata or a sung hero were slim. I was, after all, something to sneeze at, someone you could easily hold a candle to, someone who usually aroused bridled passion.

So I decided not to risk it. But then, all at once, for some apparent reason, she looked in my direction and smiled in a way that I could make heads and tails of.

I was plussed. It was concerting to see that she was communicado, and it nerved me that she was interested in a pareil like me, sight seen. Normally, I had a domitable spirit, but, being corrigible, I felt capacitated -- as if this were something I was great shakes at -- and forgot that I had succeeded in situations like this only a told number of times. So, after a terminable delay, I acted with mitigated gall and made my way through the ruly crowd with strong givings.

Nevertheless, since this was all new hat to me and I had no time to prepare a promptu speech, I was petuous. Wanting to make only called-for remarks, I started talking about the hors d'oeuvres, trying to abuse her of the notion that I was sipid, and perhaps even bunk a few myths about myself.

She responded well, and I was mayed that she considered me a savory character who was up to some good. She told me who she was. "What a perfect nomer," I said, advertently. The conversation become more and more choate, and we spoke at length to much avail. But I was defatigable, so I had to leave at a godly hour. I asked if she wanted to come with me. To my delight, she was committal. We left the party together and have been together ever since. I have given her my love, and she has requited it.

A Little Word Fun

I was reading Mullings, a web site/blog that I often read by Rich Galen, who pointed out this headline from

NASA Clears Discovery's Left Wing for Landing, Rest of Shuttle to Follow
HOUSTON - Shuttle managers cleared the Discovery orbiter's left wing for landing Saturday, with the rest of the orbiter expected to follow after a late-night analysis by engineers and flight controllers.
  • Apparently, NASA changed its mind and decided to have the left wing land at approximately the same time as the rest of the vehicle.
Galen also points out that San Jose State University English Department has announced the winners of the annual "Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest". The contest seeks submissions in which people submit the worst opening paragraph they can concoct.

The contest is named in honor of Edward George Bulwer-Lytton who, in his 1830 book, Paul Clifford made literary history when he wrote: "It was a dark and stormy night …"

Here are a few samples from the winners:

The Klutzy Kitty:
Lisa moved like a cat, not the kind of cat that moves with a slinky grace but more like the kind that always falls off the book shelf when he's washing himself and then gets all mad at you like it's your fault (which it wasn't although it probably was kind of mean to laugh at him like that), although on the bright side, she hardly ever attacked Ricky's toes in his sleep.

Debra Allen
Wichita Falls, TX

"Wordy Harry," (In honor of Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry):
"I know what you're thinking, punk," hissed Wordy Harry to his new editor, "you're thinking, 'Did he use six superfluous adjectives or only five?' - and to tell the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement; but being as this is English, the most powerful language in the world, whose subtle nuances will blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel loquacious?' - well do you, punk?"

Stuart Vasepuru
Edinburgh, Scotland
Linus' Lament:
It was a day, like any other day, in that Linus got up, faced the sunrise, used his inhaler, applied that special cream between his toes, wrote a quick note and put it in a bottle, and wished he'd been stranded on the island with something other than 40 cases each of inhalers, decorative bottles, and special toe cream.

Chris Harget
Campbell, CA
Rack Him Up!
The king's men breathed heavily under their thick black hoods as they secured the wrists and ankles of prisoner William Tumey of Kent and as the rack's handle began to turn the ropes tightened and William's limbs were slowly stretched in opposite directions until his spine began to pop much like a bag of Redenbachers in a microwave and for something like the time it takes a hummingbird's wings to complete one cycle William smiled and euphorically languished in perfect lumbar alignment.

Daniel Kern
Boise, ID

Yes, I know they're all bad, but that's the point, isn't it! You can read more of these here.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Tender Mercies

Small miracles happen in in our lives all the time. Oft' times, these gifts are the tender mercies of the Lord, which are evidence of the Lord's love and concern for us. These are very personal and individualized blessings that we receive from the Lord. They come in a very timely manner, and provide us just he help and support we need – just when we need it most. Such blessings might include: strength, protection, assurance, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts. All these are according to the tender mercies of the Lord. He knows us, he knows our challenges in life, and He knows what we need to get through them.

Some may scoff, and try to explain these things away as mere coincidence. However, the Lord’s tender mercies do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Faithfulness, obedience, and humility invite His tender mercies into our lives, and it is often the Lord’s timing that enables us to recognize and treasure these important blessings.

This was the topic I spoke on in church today. You can read the full text of the talk here.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Beauty In The Mountains

Yesterday, my son Bryan went away on an overnight scout camp. My daughter Amy wanted to go camping too, and was feeling left behind.

We decided to go on a daddy-daughter picnic up Big Cottonwood Canyon. Dawn Ann and Amy met me at my office, and we left at about 5:00 pm to go up the canyon. It was 104 degrees in the valley. At the top of the canyon, it was only 81 degrees. By the time we came back down, it was as low as 69 degrees at sunset. It was so nice to get some relief from the heat.

First we went for a stroll along Big Cottonwood Creek. We could feel the cool breeze coming off of the stream as it rushed past us. I let Amy lead the way, and we walked along the trail for a hundred yards or so.

(Click on photos for larger image.)

We drove up the canyon a little further, and started hiking up another trail. We found all kinds of wildflowers in bloom:

After hiking among the wildflowers, we stopped and at our picnic dinner. The we came across this beautiful meadow, which was illuminated by the late evening sun:

At sunset, we started back down the canyon. We played one of Amy's favorite games -- a Harry Potter guessing game. The game works like this: One player fixes something from one of the Harry Potter books or movies. (Amy has read all the books, and has watched all the movies numerous times on DVD.) The player announces which Harry Potter book(s) and/or movie(s) this particular thing is found. Then the other player(s) try to guess what it is. Each player is allowed to ask a question to narrow down what the person, place, thing, or object might be, (Kind of like the old game show "What's my line.")

Amy and I played this game all the way down the canyon, and then all the way home. She had a fun time stumping me, because although I have seen all the movies, and read all the books myself, I have not done so recently. She has read all 6 books during the last 6 months.

Later we would learn that Bryan had a great time on his camp out. However, Amy had a great time too as we explored Big Cottonwood Canyon together.

More photos from our trip up Big Cottonwood Canyon are available here.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Fathers And Sons

Recently we had our annual ward Father and Sons Outing. This year the camp site was the Ghost Town of Iosepa, Utah. It is located in Skull Valley, and is about an hour’s drive from our home.

The land is very barren and desolate in Skull Valley. Not much water. Just a lot of sage brush and jack rabbits. – And I would be remiss if I didn’t duly acknowledge the gnats and mosquitoes too!

The cemetery is the only thing that remains of the town. Truly this is a ghost town – in more ways than one! It was here, next to the cemetery where our fathers and sons camp was located.

My son, Bryan, has been hoping that I would join him on some of his scout camps this year. Due to health problems, I have not been able to go camping. However, I have been feeling well enough to go lately, so I agreed to take him to the ward Father and Sons camp out.

We were in the foothills of the mountains that line the Eastern edge of Skull Valley (The Stansbury Mountains, I believe.) There were no trees at the campsite, so we were fully exposed to the sun, and 90 + degree temperatures. Needless to say, it wasn’t very comfortable.

We began setting up our tent first thing. We unfolded it, got out the tent pegs and the hammer, and tried to drive the tent pegs into the ground. To our dismay, the ground was compacted gravel. The flimsy aluminum tent pegs that came with the tent (which was brand new a couple of months ago) just buckled when we tried to drive them into the ground. So we set up the tent without tent pegs. We put some heavy items on the floor of the tent to keep it from blowing away.

After wrestling with and setting up the tent, and getting our camp site ready, the heat was getting to us. I made sure both Bryan and I kept drinking plenty of liquids to keep hydrated. Earlier I had purchased some fruit cups from the grocery store. We ate one of them for a cold treat.
(Photo courtesy of michellej on Flickr)

Mmmmmmm! Ice cold fresh fruit! We had watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, fresh pineapple, and grapes. Oh, they tasted so good. I don’t know when fruit has tasted any better. It really hit the spot!

After getting camp set up, I let Bryan go play with the other boys.

I remember sitting on the tailgate of the truck, looking out at the desolate valley below, and the treeless sun-bleached campsite. I was miserable with the heat, and wondered what in the heck I was doing there. I was nearly ready to pull up stakes (figuratively, of course – since we couldn’t drive a tent peg into the ground there to save our lives!) and go find a nicer place to camp. I envisioned somewhere up on a mountain, with trees, shade, and 20 degree cooler temperatures! Then I remembered my commitment to my son – and decided to stick it out.

Meanwhile, Bryan was having a blast. As it turned out, there were only two other Young Men at the camp. All the other boys were 11 and younger. Bryan, being older, became a ring-leader. I teased him about having his own posse – about 8-10 boys in all. They spent a lot of time at the fire pit Since it was still over 90 degrees, I had no desire to cozy up to the fire. However, young boys, being the natural-born pyromaniacs that they are, had fun being around the fire. Later, one of the boys caught a little gopher snake. The boys had fun passing the snake around, and scaring one another with it. Then Bryan caught a frog. Eventually he traded the frog for the snake. He had a great time!

As the sun went down, the mosquitoes came out. I sprayed Bryan with insect repellent. We covered him pretty good – we thought. However, later we would learn that the mosquitoes crawled under the cuff of his pants, and he had several bites on both of his lower legs. Bryan is allergic to mosquito bites, and he swells up pretty badly. When he scratches them, they swell up even worse. Later, on Saturday and Sunday he was pretty miserable. By Monday he was doing much better – thanks to calamine lotion. Fortunately, the mosquito bites didn’t deter him from having fun while we were on the outing.

Several of the dads brought their toys to the camp out. There were trailers, campers, and several ATV’s. One of the dads, a former Young Men’s president, agreed to give Bryan a ride (after Bryan asked him about 10 times!). At sundown, they went for a little 5-10 minute ride, reaching a top speed of 39 mph! Bryan had a blast, and wondered when we were getting our own ATV’s. I would like to have a couple of ATV’s too. However, owning ATV’s just isn’t foreseeable in our financial future. (Although I wouldn’t mind renting them from time to time!)

With the long daylight hours time of year, Bryan and his Posse kept on playing and running around until late into the evening. Finally at about 11:00 pm, I reeled-in Bryan to get settled in for the evening.

As the skies darkened, the stars came out. I found that perhaps one of Skull Valley’s most redeeming features is the ability to star-gaze there. It is far enough from the city, that there is no light pollution there. There was no moonlight during the hours we were looking at the skies – a perfect night to look at the heavens. First the planets appeared. We saw Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mercury. Then came the constellations. Bryan was the first to spot the Big dipper. I showed him how to find the North Star from the pointer stars of the Big Dipper. Finally the Milky Way appeared over the Eastern horizon. Bryan was thrilled (so was I, for that matter) to see the Milky Way – only the second time in his life that he could remember seeing it.

When I was his age, I spent my summers out in the country on my grandpa’s cattle ranch. I was able to see the Milky Way any night I wanted to. Now, living in the city, to behold the Milky Way is a rare privilege.

At about midnight, we retired to the tent. It was finally starting to cool off a bit. After we had lain down on top of our sleeping bags, I read some stories to Bryan that I have stored on my palm pilot. At age 13, he still loves to have some one read to him. I read for almost an hour or so, while we waited for it to cool off a bit more. Toward the end of the reading time, he reached out his hand to mine. My heart just melted. What a sweet boy.

In some ways, he is still our little boy. In other ways, he is beginning to be a teenager. Such moments as these are rare treasures. Memories of being close together. Now I’m so glad that I came on this camp out. Even if it was hot. Even if it wasn’t an ideal camp site. I have made wonderful memories with my son. Memories that we can both treasure up for the rest of our lives – and beyond.

2006 - A Health Odyssey

On March 13, 2006, I was hospitalized with diverticulitis, and severe infections to my bowel and liver.

Below are posts regarding some of the health issues I have confronted in 2006.

Well, No Wonder - January 30, 2006
Health Update - February 8, 2006
May The Best Bug Win - February 23, 2006

All Is Not Well - After All- March 17, 2006. This was a guest post by my wife, Dawn Ann, written by her while I was in the hospital.

I'm Home! - March 20, 2006
Henry and St. Mary - March 22, 2006
I'm Still Here!
- March 30, 2006

They're Still Here -- And So Am I! - April 10, 2006
Easter Blessings - April 18, 2006
Two Steps Forward - April 20, 2006

Tubeless! - May 15, 2006
What's Next? - May 15, 2006
CT Scan (Again)
- May 26, 2006

A Rough Week - June 6, 2006
No More Barium Blues - June 10, 2006

A Chapter Closes - July 9, 2006

WOW - That Could Have Been Me! - August 21, 2006

This year has truly been a Health Odyssey!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A Chapter Closes

It's time to close one of the more harrowing chapters of my life. Thursday, I went in for a colonoscopy. Evidence was found of the diverticulosis that I suffered from earlier this year. There was still a little pocket of infection there, but it was healing up nicely. The rest of my colon was in good shape -- and no signs of cancer.

The big question going into this procedure was to determine if I was in need of further surgery, to remove a portion of my colon.. According to Dr H.. (the gastroenterologist) surgery will not be necessary. He did prescribe double doses of Metamucil, twice a day to stave off any further problems with diverticulitis. He said that if I faithfully take the Metamucil, that there is a 99.9 % chance that I will have no further problems with diverticulitis. It was diverticulitis that the eventually led to the infections and abscesses that landed me in the hospital last March.

Dr. H also noticed that I have been taking Prilosec for acid stomach problems for the last couple of years. He asked me, if anyone had ever scoped my upper GI tract. I told him that no one had done that before. Since the good Dr. was actually running on time, he suggested that they take a look at my esophagus and stomach as well. He explained that they actually use he same kind of equipment for the upper GI as they use for the colonoscopy. He even offered to switch to a clean set of equipment for the upper GI procedure!

Everyone was so nice at the endoscopy center. I got all settled in, signed all the consent forms, and then they injected some sleepy-time drugs into my IV.

I remember nothing at all of the colonoscopy. They waited until I was out to expose my shiney hiney, and enlighten places where normally the sun doesn't shine.

The first thing I remember was the Dr. probing my stomach with this tube. I could feel it in my mouth, but no further down. In my mouth they must have used some sort of anesthetic, like at the dentists office, because I could feel that my mouth, where the tube was, was kind of numb. I was still quite drowsy, and didn't move a muscle, other than my eyelids. It was really painless.

Later the Dr explained, and showed me pictures of two ulcers in my stomach. An older one, that was mostly scar tissue now, and a newer more active ulcer. He decided to double my dose of prilosec to prevent further damage to my stomach wall.

Really the overall experience of the colonoscopy was not too bad. The worst part was preparing for the procedure during the previous 24 hours. They have to clean out your colon, and you have to stay on clear liquids for a day. There were some rather unpleasant moments during the process -- but I was clean as whistle by the time I was through.

The last 6 months have brought health challenges to me like I have never experienced before. The possibility (even inevitability of further surgery, according to some doctors) hung over my head like the Sword of Damocles. It was hard to make plans for the summer for vacations. It was hard to plan projects I am involved with at work and other projects in my church assignments. I never knew when I might have to undergo major surgery, and be out of commission for another 4-8 weeks. Not to mention the expense, and having to use up my remaining sick leave at work.

Now this chapter is over. I am willing to put my faith and trust in Dr H. about not needing surgery. Even if other doctors suggest otherwise. I've been trying out the orange flavored Metamucil, mixed with fruit juices, and it hasn't been too bad at all. I'm just doing the standard dose twice a day for now. I'll work up to the double doses after my body gets used to having more fiber. It's great not having to worry about going under the knife any time soon.

I still have the remaining issue of peripheral neuropathy in my feet, and to a lesser degree in my hands. I have consulted a local podiatrist, and am undergoing some treatments that seem to be helping. Unfortunately one of the medications I was on to kill the massive amounts of infection that was in my body, had the side effect of damaging some of my nerve endings. It still remains to be seen whether or not the damage will be permanent. I am doing all I can to promote healing -- but only time will tell. Nerves don't heal quickly. I probably won't know for sure until up to a year from now.

I would be remiss in closing this post if I did not acknowledge all the fasting and prayers that have been done on my behalf. My family and I have fasted and prayed that I might not have to have surgery. My extended family has prayed for me. My ward, and stake leaders have prayed for me. People at work have prayed on my behalf. Even people I have never met before, my blogging friends, have prayed for me! I so appreciate all the prayers and support I have received. I want you all to know that your prayers have been answered. When I was in the hospital, the likelihood of surgery seemed like a foregone conclusion. I believe that it has been the power of the faith and prayers in my behalf that has made the difference. That, and the kind and tender mercies of a loving Heavenly Father.

One Girl's Tears Are Another Girl's Joy

I came home from church today to find my 11 year old daughter, Amy, crying her little eyes out.
I asked her what the trouble was. As it turns out, the owners of a cockatiel that we have been taking care of the last 3-4 weeks called. They were able to identify the bird. They will be coming over to our house to pick him up within the next hour.

It was actually one of our neighbors who found the bird. We have a cockatiel of our own, and a few months ago our bird flew over and perched on our neighbor’s roof. Our son Bryan, ended up climbing up on their roof to retrieve our bird. When this cockatiel landed on their fence, the neighbors thought it was just our bird on the loose again. So they brought him over to us.

Since we already have a cockatiel of our own (and six parakeets -- and don't forget the dog too!) we were well equipped to take in the extra cockatiel. We call our cockatiel "Big Bird", so we began calling the other cockatiel "Little Bird."

It didn't take long for Little Bird to grow on us. He is a little younger and smaller than ours. He has been well trained and is quite good with people. In fact he loves being with someone who will groom him and give him attention.

Somehow along the way, Little Bird learned to sing the whistling theme song to the Andy Griffith show. It is quite endearing to hear him sing songs. He would sing along with me when I would play the piano too.

We all fell in love with Little Bird, but our daughter Amy became the most attached to him. Mama has Big Bird perched on her shoulder for much of the day. Now Amy could have a cockatiel on her shoulder like mama. Little Bird has such a sweet disposition, so it was easy for Amy to become quite attached to him, even in the short 3-4 weeks that we have had him in our home.

The other day, one of our neighbors noticed a poster along the roadside advertising a lost cockatiel, complete with phone numbers to call. Yesterday Dawn Ann called and left messages on their phones. Today, around noon-time, they called back.

Apparently the owners of Little Bird have been away on vacation. Dawn Ann could hear their 7 year old daughter screaming and jumping up and down for joy that her bird had been found!

It was about this time that I came home to see Amy in tears. We waited for a few minutes, to allow Amy to compose herself, and then we took some photos of Amy and Little Bird together.

Now we wait for the doorbell to ring, and to say our farewells to Little Bird. We will miss him. . . .

. . . . . Several hours have gone by. It's nearly 4:00 we finally decided to lie down for our Sunday nap a little after 3:00. We knew that as soon as we got to sleep, they would come. However, we also knew that if we stayed up, they might not come until evening. Sure enough, just after I fell asleep, the phone rang. They were calling from a cell phone in their car, and asking for directions to our house.

The seven year old who had been jumping for joy upon learning that her bird had been found is named Delaney. Their family had been camping in the mountains and had just returned this afternoon.

Delaney’s joy, is Amy’s tears.

We learned that "Little Bird's" real name is "Sweetie Pie" That's a really fitting name for this bird with such a sweet disposition. As it turns out, Delaney has only had Sweetie Pie for the last six months or so. A neighbor of theirs gave him to them.

Sweetie Pie was used to having full-reign of their apartment. Apparently he walked out the door and must have gotten spooked somehow, and flew off. He was found about a mile and a half away in our neighbor's yard.

Amy has since recovered from crying her eyes out when she first heard the news. We tried to get her to see it from Delaney's point of view. What if your pet was lost. Wouldn't you want someone to be honest enough to call you and let you know that it had been found?

After a while, Amy came to me, still with a little halt to her voice, and said, "I know that Heavenly Father will bless me for giving back "Little Bird." I don't know how he will bless me, or when, but I know he will bless me somehow."

Is this not faith? Many times we are called upon to be obedient, and to do what is right, even if we don't know what the reward, or blessing will be, or when we will receive it.

We will all miss Little Bird. We are thankful for the 3 weeks or so that we have had him in our home. But more importantly, if Amy can learn a lasting lesson on faith, and trust in Heavenly Father, this whole experience, although sad at times, will have been well worthwhile.