Thursday, 27 June 2013

i miss you something fierce Helena!!!

obit by Tami et al,

Helena Ponkanen Andelin

1949 ~ 2013
Our beautiful, faithful mother Helena Mirjami Ponkanen Andelin passed away in Salt Lake City at the age of sixty-four on June 22, 2013 of an unexpected stroke. She was born in Joensuu, Finland on April 7, 1949 to Finnish Karelian parents, Antti Olavi Ponkanen and Alina Halonen, the fifth of six children. At age 13 Helena joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She immigrated to the U.S. to attend BYU, where she fell in love with Brian Berry Andelin. They married on January 25, 1972 in the Los Angeles Temple and had seven children.

As a young girl, Helena loved playing in the forests near her home, picking berries and flowers, and playing in the snow. She spent her life surrounding herself with beautiful things while seeking to enrich the lives of others through love and service. She loved the landscape and people of each place she lived: Finland, CA, MO, OR, TX, AZ, VA, and UT. She graduated from LDS Business College in Interior Design and loved learning and reading. She had been a member of the Utah Opera Guild. Her life work was that of a mother and a disciple of Jesus Christ. She loved serving her family and serving in the church. She was a modern pioneer who loved her family and made great sacrifices so they could enjoy the blessings of the gospel. She was eternally grateful to the LDS missionaries in Finland who taught her family. She will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her. 

Preceded in death by Brian B. Andelin, parents, brother Martti Ponkanen. Survived by children Karina (Karl) Brown of Nibley, UT; Tami (David) Owen of Draper, UT; Clark (Jessica) Andelin of Mexico, MO; Tanya (Dave) Gibson of Baltimore, MD; Joseph (Ivonne) Andelin of Draper, UT; Todd Andelin of Salt Lake City, UT, Brian Andelin of Provo, UT; twenty grandchildren, sisters Pirjo (Tero) Tarma of Finland; Raija (Bob) Maddock of Salt Lake City, UT; Liisa (Val) Higginbotham of South Jordan, UT; and brother Matti Ponkanen of Finland.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, July 1, 2013 in Salt Lake City, UT at the Emigration 21st Ward on 2nd Avenue (100 North) between J (650 East) and K (700 East) Streets. From Temple Square, go east on South Temple and turn north on K street to 2nd Avenue. Viewings will be at the same location on Sunday, June 30 from 6-8 p.m. and Monday at 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. prior to funeral. Interment at the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
Online condolences at

Saturday, 22 June 2013


An important statement from Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng. Please add your voice to their call by signing the petition.

From June 2013 to June 2014, the world will approach the 25th anniversary of China’s crackdown in Tiananmen Square in 1989, when the Chinese military opened  fire, killing thousands of students and other peaceful demonstrators.
iconic tiananmen sq photo
Today there are calls from incoming President Xi Jinping for a “renaissance” in China, and the realization of the China dream.  At the same time, many in the Chinese leadership and media have recognized that the dream for China cannot become a reality without social and political reform.
We have taken President Xi Jinping’s statements as a small opportunity for hope that China, in expanding its role as a world power, will begin to throw off some of its more oppressive practices.
We find reason to hope that he and others in the Chinese leadership will hear the voices of ordinary citizens across the globe, when we say that the China dream will not and cannot be realized while its citizens are subject to “thought reform” through the oppressive laogai labor camps.
Since China’s Cultural Revolution literally millions of Chinese citizens have been forced into slave labor camps for offenses related to thought and expression. In recent times these include increasing percentages of innocents, including lawyers who tried to defend their own rights and rights of others, ordinary public who tried to uphold their rights and were abducted and sent to jail to be persecuted; and those who  have done nothing more than state their loyalty to their religious leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, participate in Christian religions which have not been “authorized” by the Communist Party, or practice Falun Gong, a spiritual meditation system based on the ancient traditions of China itself.
ap photo
tiananman sq 89
Reports from former inmates of the laogai camps detail prisoners living on the edge of starvation and exhaustion in infested and horrific environments, while being forced to produce commercial goods — goods that we have unknowingly purchased in Western stores. Uncounted numbers of prisoners, credibly believed to be in the tens of thousands, have been executed and their organs harvested for sale — a practice so despicable it is nearly beyond our comprehension.
As we approach this historic anniversary, today’s world’s leaders have the opportunity to distinguish themselves from leaders of the past who, for the sake of economic progress or in the name of “national security”, have turned a blind eye to atrocities committed by Chinese leaders against their own citizenry. We ask our leaders to speak on our behalf to President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party. Tell them what they already know — that the dream of China can be realized only when its citizens’ universal human rights and dignity are upheld and respected. And that the laogai system and the brutal repression of freedom of thought, conscience and speech, the most basic of human rights, will remain a festering sore on the China dream until it is addressed and removed.
God Bless You,
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Chen Guangcheng

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Build No Harm

Eckington is Zion to me.

The full breadth of the 99% share a common garden behind Ms Jackie's house.  We work together and are learning how to grow organic vegetables and flowers together.  Ms. Kim does all her weird experiments on the soil with the help of Joseph and a few other kids.  We watch each other's kids houses, and people.  We watch after and take care of each other.  We celebrate birthdays, Easter, Christmas, Passover, Chanukah, Kwanza, 4th of July, Memorial Day, seriously ... this block has a tradition for each of these holidays.  Its amazing!

Like many families, we have had this party we've talked about throwing for about four years now, but just have never gotten around to organize ... because every night is kinda like a party ;)

We go through spurts of energy where we decide we are going to get spiritual and read the bible together ... but then we get worried people will differ to much about dogma and decide it doesn't matter that much.  Maybe more fun to keep it light.  ;)

Still,  Laffe keeps us all one our toes and honest. Not a date goes by that I don't get teased.  But I know she always has my back.  Because she is there, I don't experience one fear that has stunted me my whole life.

My neighbors are family.  Through thick and thin, we are here for each other.  And now some developer has looked over our little kingdom and decided he wants to taken position of the whole of it, with a 9 story condo.  If I wanted to live in Crystal City, I'd live there!

It will block out our sun entirely for the winter months.  We will get partial sun in spring and fall, and nearly all the sun we used to get typically in the summer.  If I wanted to live in Anchorage, I'd live there!  (I mean I do want to live there in the summer, don't get me wrong, but I'd never survive an Alaskan winter)

The city is encouraging people to produce their own electricity and take some pressure off the grids, which yall know sucks around here.  So why in the world would they want to put that massive foot print behind a bunch of housing trying to install solar?

Its so crazy because we "want new residential like a hole in the head" as one member said in our Eckington Civic Association Meeting: which I don't think we joke about around here.  But we do want jobs!

Here is a letter my neighbors and I put together over the weekend.

Dear Neighbor,

We are hoping to unite our neighborhood around opposing the construction of another condominium building in South Eckington.  As one neighbor said at last week’s ECA meeting: “We want more residential like we want a hole in our head” – which around here isn’t something we joke about.  

We are concerned by the negative impact more residential can have on our neighborhood. Some include:

  • Impact on Florida Avenue, New York Avenue, and NorthCapitol Street traffic.  Pedistrian safety is at an all time low in this corridor.  One neighbor calls it a Cluster-Effe.  The impact of an additional 50 families would bring us to a crushing point.  They want many more than 50 people living there.  Don't forget, we will soon have Elevation to add to the mess.  David Thomas Circle will be like Mumbai
  •  Impact on electrical grid.   We have annual mid-summer blackouts as it is.  We have frequent loss of power during storms.
  • Impact on water supply. 
  • Loss of privacy for homes on the southside of Q Street NE
  • Loss of views from rooftops of Q St NE
  • Noise and light pollution

Additionally, we are worried that during construction the foundation of our homes can be negatively impacted or worse.  As we saw in the building collapse in Philadelphia and even further down Q St, the vibration from and impact to the surface so close to homes could cause houses in desperate need of repair to collapse.

We need jobs!  The space is zoned to be a hub of employment: industrial. Why would the city get rid of this prime real estate already zoned to help tackle the problems of today’s youth: unemployment, to residential?

We could have any number of jobtraining and apprenticeship programs for trades related to the rehabilitation and restoration the community so desperately needs. Along side locally own private-businesses.  Or a business incubator, or a teaching training site in partnership with Teach for America.

We are asking all of our friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens who believe in smart growth and development rather than destruction and abuse.  We ask that you stand with us to demand that they Build No Harm! (Shout out to our compatriots in NW!)

Across DC developers and corrupt politicians are trying to ramrod enormous energy guzzling behemoths of days gone buy (pun intended) on some of our nations treasures.  McMillan Sand Filtration Site!  (This is the history of the site ... I don't want to get off topic but this should be a national travesty!)

The property I'm writing about today was built in 1923 as "The Ice House". It was where all Washingtonians got their ice.  The Huff family owned and operated it in such a way that even the developer reminisced about his childhood memories of picking up supplies for birthday parties and what not.  Imagine the stories those walls could tell.

The property is zoned for what we need here industrial commercial, just check out the MidCity East survey and see what you learn.  A super majority of the community is in agreement that we don't want more residential.  Some few who plan to flip their houses for a profit , and show up at meetings, want it because it will increase their property values. Those of us who call Eckington home don't really want our property values to go up any higher, it only means higher property taxes.

The ANC is voting on Tuesday the 18th to support or oppose the project.  I don't have the details of the meeting but plan to post them here.  Please, if you agree with what we are saying, and you can make it on Tuesday, we'd love your moral support.  We feel a bit like David and Goliath, we are just praying that there really are more of us than them.

this is the MOST beautiful of all the views of it.
mostly like deseret towers
but those were only 7 stories and had cool architecture 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Enough to Spare

Joseph Smith taught his tribe that the "earth is full, and there is enough and to spare".

The idea is based on a concept of God as a loving couple.  Made up of two parents with corporeal bodies. These loving parents created a world full of abundance, where their children could be "agents unto themselves" in the eternal quest to "fulfill the measure of their creation."

The actualized human (resurrected being) in Mormonism is one who has literally become the divine self.  The God/Goddess we are in our core, with corporal bodies inseparable from our spirits.  The deep good/best/truest self.

Mormonism uses Jesus as the ultimate and perfect example of one who walks on the planet as God.

If one behaves the way Jesus would if Jesus could, then that person is acting as a God and maybe in that moment even being one.

As the teaching goes, the Godhead -- God, Jesus, Holy Ghost -- created Earth with the purpose of populating it with their kids and providing them a sandbox/playground to break off all the rough edges of our humanity so that would could return to live with our Heavenly Family in what seems to be a really long and enjoyable life.  Joseph said we are all individual "rough stone[s] rolling" down a hill breaking off the pointing and sharp edges into a smooth and perfect rock.  The process is painful, but the reward is great.

We are here to both gain a body and work towards complete integrity of body, soul, spirit -- which is the definition of a resurrected being in LDS lexicon.  We do that by living a life that the Jesus would live and making the decisions Jesus would make if he had your station in life.

Since our Heavenly Parents love us, they want us to be happy and enjoy life.  They promise us that life will be hard.  The whole idea of a Savior presupposes that everyone will hurt and everyone will be hurt.  We will all abuse and we will all be abused.  We will all love and we will all hate.  In fact, the act of becoming a God is the process of understanding that you can't understand the sweet without the bitter, and then being able to eventually always choose the sweet ... not out of compulsion but out of love.  They loved us enough to allow for the Savior's atonement in part as proof of their love for us.  It is also a shadow of how much we have been given.  As the good book says, "Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?"

Blah blah, this means that the world they created (and gave us stewardship over) not only can, but DOES have enough to provide everyone more than enough.  In fact, Joseph taught us that God wanted us to have abundance -- polygamy I'm looking your way ;).

Our Heavenly Parents aren't trying to trip us up.  They have perfect senses of humor AND are benevolent ... They don't feel schadenfreude.  (basically, depeche mode kinda did start a blasphemous rumor with the whole "sick sense of humor" thing ... but i too "expect to find them laughing" but they will be more like "get it?"  my goal is to be able to laugh with them.)

I want to channel the musical prophet of the 70's but add just one verse -- not that i'd ever want to pretend like i could stand with john lennon on this front cuz obvious! but this was really in my heart , and i think he'd think it was cute so ... forgive me :)

imagine there's no hunger
its easy if you try
no starving children
bellies fully fed

imagine all the people
living with enough

imagine fairer neighbors
it isn't hard to do

nothing to kill or die for
so no more violence too

imagine all the people
living life in peace

you may say i'm a dreamer
but i'm not the only one
i hope some day you will join us
and the world will be as one!

enough is enough.  i've had enough of not having enough! i want to demand enough now!

plus, it not enough when my neighbor suffers.  then i just feel like a jerk OR ripped.  its really is all of us being one ... cared for the way we would ourselves.