a worthy cause


Over 1/3 of the population lives below the poverty line in the Dominican Republic. Our 16 yr old son is doing a youth humanitarian trip there to help build a school this summer, and he will be completing his Eagle Scout project in the process . Help him reach his goal of $2,500 in contributions to HEFY so all the costs of his trip will be discounted. Donate at www.HEFY.org/donate and put Elijah Manning down as the “fundraiser.”

Every little bit helps!! Your contributions are tax deductible and he will provide you with a receipt for your taxes. Also, for any donation $20 or greater you will receive a trip bracelet along with your receipt. :)

Project Description

The Dominican Republic has a difficult challenge providing school facilities for the rapidly growing population in the city of Santo Domingo.  The government has not been able to allocate the needed resources and many of the local schools are extremely overcrowded.  Some schools have been forced to turn away many of the local students, forcing them to attend distant schools.  Parents who can’t afford the transportation costs to send their children to the remote schools have no way to educate them.

Faced with this problem the parents of the Eastern Breezes neighborhood of Santo Domingo have come together to construct a makeshift elementary school.  They have built eight classrooms out of plywood sheeting and tin roofs that service 700 students.  Only one outhouse is available for the entire school.

The HEFY volunteers will build the first phase of a permanent school facility which will include two desperately needed additional classrooms and a bathroom block for the students.  This new facility will have a cement roof which will also provide a hurricane shelter for the students as any major storm could easily destroy the current fragile plywood structure.  Without the help of HEFY, this humble community has no way to build a better school.

and then there were eight

About 2 months ago, a friend of ours from Alabama moved in with us.  We shall call her Jamaica.  Her family was in our ward when we were there.  They now live in Tennessee.  She came out and we helped her find a job.  She is hoping to soon find a place of her own and perhaps even get a driver’s license.  She makes sure we don’t go a day without laughing and she always has a smile on her face.  I am glad she’s here and love her to death.


the rising generation

It seems I have more than my fair share to vent about lately.  It must be all the silence from the past 3 months overflowing now into the new season.

Dash has played football a couple seasons before.  He hasn’t had great experience with it.  He has struggled with the fear of being tackled and hurt, along with the conflict of a sport that promotes tackling and hurting others.  When we moved to Arizona we discovered flag football.  He started the season a month or so ago and has been loving it.  It seems to be the right fit for him.  He can run and chase and be athletic without being afraid of getting hurt or hurting someone else intentionally.

So he has played (i think) 3 games so far and I haven’t been able to make it to any of them yet. With 3 kids in games each Saturday, we have to split up and we can’t go to all.  This past Saturday Doc Macgyver came home a bit furious about music that was playing during the football game.  There are several games that are played at the same time and numerous fields in the same location.  Apparently the organization has music blaring the entire time.  The songs are super less than desirable with inappropriate content and swearing.  I had no idea.  I too became angry.

Saturday evening I emailed the team mom with my concerns.  She said that she too was not happy about what had been played but thought that she was being too conservative and that she was the only one.  She said she would forward my concerns to the league.  This morning I received the response from the league.  It went something like this… “We understand if your son cannot play any longer because you don’t approve of content in popular music.  We base our playlists off of what is approved by the FCC and will continue to play those songs on Saturday.  Thanks for your input.”

REALLY?!?!  I don’t get it.  And here I thought with all the activities in the community that were focused on children, that we had moved into a family-oriented area.  Apparently I was wrong.  Even professional athletes are penalized for profanity.  Why would it make sense for that to be acceptable in a community league with young children?  And why is it SO absurd to think that we want to be better than our parents?  I have a hard time understanding why I’m the minority in this.  And how sad to find out that I’m not the only one to be unhappy with the behavior, but I am the only one willing to communicate my dissatisfaction to the league.

a kid by any other name…

Finally we (okay, just I) settled on a nickname for the newest kid in the family.  Jughead.  It just seemed fitting; mostly based on the amount of food he goes through so easily.  So there it is.  From here on out… Jughead is how he shall be known.


How do you decide on priorities within your own family?  I’ve always found it somewhat difficult.  There are things that are black and white for me.  Then there are things that I feel I want, but I’m just not sure they are best for everyone.  I value life skills over traditional academics.  I value family time over sitting in a chair staring at a chalkboard.  I value hands-on learning over regurgitation on a piece of paper.  I value self-worth created from hard work over the kind that comes from a test score.  Old fashioned activities are much higher on my priority list than those that require staring at a screen.

But there are the things that I wax and wane about.  Is it better for children to do chores or be outside?  Is it better for them to go to bed early or play a game together?  Should I be reading a bedtime story or planning the week’s schedule?  Typically the kids get harassed on Saturday mornings if they don’t get up and start their jobs.  But this morning here’s what we found:

Luigi has been acting like a super duper big brother lately.  Do we kick him out of the pool to get his jobs started? Or do we let him hang with his sister?