Tuesday, December 14, 2010


While I have previously made sports metaphors in this blog I have come to a certain conclusion: we have lost the spirit of the game. In our desire to be the best (note that is rather than being our best) we have become uber-competitive, arrogant, and even hateful towards opposing teams. Rivalries have turned friendly games into a death match that in the end only further perpetuates the negative connotation associated with the opponents. What may have begun as a way to recreate and enjoy outdoor activities has become a monstrous advertising campaign deluged with reasons one's team is better than the other.
Frankly I'm reminded of high school sports when I see such begin amongst the collegiate athletes. The scenes send me back to the days of yelling, screaming, working my guts out, and standing on the sidelines proving to the crowd and the "enemy" that we were better, stronger, and faster; proving our superiority.
The college level ups the ante with instant replays, different regulations, considerable size differences (between that of their high school counterparts), and roaring fans that rival any professional sporting event. It's sickening to watch the flaunted pride, vanity, haughtiness, and arrogance be rewarded with such attention, devotion, and job offers. Logically the teams want to win. Logically this requires that players be able to play their position well and that they be faster, stronger, more agile, or more quick-thinking than their colleagues.
I digress to my original observation: we have lost the true spirit of sports. I'd love to see inter-school sports become a friendly way to enjoy the out-of-doors, spend time exercising, and stretching one's mind of the game. I'd like to see a return to things being a game. That's all it is. It wasn't about who won or lost or who is better. Why can't it be anymore? What's so bad about gathering together without making enemies of those who could be our friends? What's so bad about playing hard and well without keeping score, taunting the other team or making such a public display of our pride?
Mind you, I do not watch sports anymore. Not college and certainly not professional. It's not worth watching and wondering, "Why?" The next time I get together with friends to play a little game that's all it will be, a game. Like a video game system it will go away and remain turned off once all is said and done. It won't be about proving who is right or wrong, strong or weak, developed or immature. It will be about a good time, sportsmanship, and recreation.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Marriage Prep 101

I read it and enjoyed it. There's some special meaning in it for me, especially since I'm now engaged...
LDS.org - New Era Article - Marriage Prep 101

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Much time has passed since I last wrote and much has transpired since my last entry. It has been nearly two months. Allow me to catch up and then I am overdue for a six-month review.
First, a beautiful relationship with Kayley Downs has developed. We have made church and temple attendance a part of what we do together since we started dating. We have also mingled in there service, travel, dining out, and reading. Things are going very well, to say the least. We speak open, and frequently, of marriage.
Second, my work with the city of Saratoga Springs has come to a close. My employ with them was but a seasonal job and as such they can only keep me for a total of six months in a year.
Third, I have spent a large amount of time working on my dad's farm. I am striving to complete a project for him. After considering the amount of time I have spent there (and realizing that much of that time could've been spent searching for a job in Utah county) I have decided that tomorrow it's do or die. I have to finish the project or I won't be doing more work on it. My desire is to remain in Utah county for my own schooling and to stay close to Kayley and so that when we do marry she can be close to her school (Salt Lake Community College at West Jordan).
Fourth, I read a couple of books. The most moving book I read was The Holy Secret by James Farrell. Love and recommend this one. I also finished reading (at long last) the Sherlock Holmes books. A rather quiet and disappointing yet appropriate end to the mast sleuth's career.
Now let us review my last six months. I have now been home from my mission longer than I served. I attended General Conference at the conference center, went on several dates, fell hard once and with the help of the Lord recovered, and finally I'm settling down. The past months have been instructive, challenging and rewarding. Now I look forward to what the next ones will bring!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Love, part 2

I think that it's time I share two more of my favorite scriptures. The first is 1 John 4:8 "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." Ponder on that. If you do not love, or do not know or recognize love you really can't know God. In fact, it's hard to comprehend the love of God, the greatest sign of his love being manifest in sending the Son (John 3:17), if you do not manifest love for Him and for others. For more on that point, see i write to understand myself: Love.
Another great scripture, another written by John the Beloved, is John 17:3 "For this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Life eternal comes from knowing God and Jesus. To know them we must walk more than a mile in their shoes; we must come to and strive to live the life that they live. We find life eternal in repenting of our individual sins and striving to keep the commandments and covenants.
My focus with these two scriptures leads me away from discussing man's potential to become like God. I want to couple the two together. First, let's begin with the last (hmmm I feel a chiasmus coming on...): life eternal is knowing God. Join that with "he that loveth not knoweth not God. It would seem to follow then that in order to find life eternal we must learn to love. It all comes back to love. The whole plan of salvation, the atonement, EVERYTHING about the gospel of Jesus Christ centers on love for God and our fellow man, Christ being the very center of our love being the ultimate symbol of and corporeal embodiment of the love of the Father.
I've begun to understand even deeper what love is lately. A new love on a new and deeper level is developing. I feel as though I'm beginning to understand a little better what love is and what it's like. Of course that love will deepen as it consistently has throughout my life. I learned to love my siblings and parents. Then my school. That moved on to loving my friends. It continued into loving the people I was serving and teaching as a missionary. Now that love is deepening even further into a beautiful romance. It will move into loving my children and then further on when more posterity is born.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

One thought sticks out to me...

For the past couple of weeks I've pondered what to write for my followers. I've even felt some pain at not having anything to write or say for a while. This idea remains in the forefront for me.
A while back I wrote about pain, desire, and submission. I was confronting a strong trial. Or at least at the time the storm sure was fierce. In retrospect I was able to see the fulfillment of 1 Corinthians 10:13 "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
At that time I felt a strong interest in a particular person. While the friendship was still new and strong she introduced me to the radio station KLOVE. They play Christian worship music all day long. I love hearing these songs. So many great, inspiring, uplifting and upbeat songs constantly stream across the airwaves. Now normally when someone introduces me to something new, whatever that thing may be is often associated with memories of that person. Not this time. The songs from this station lead my thoughts to Christ and strength and faith.
As I could feel the storm raging around me I dove deeper, rooted myself more firmly, and placed my faith in the Lord while listening to these uplifting and encouraging songs. The storm seemed to pass rather quickly. In a very literal sense, my escape had been prepared for me and it was neatly bundled with the person associated with the test.
Josh Wilson sings a song titled "Before the Morning" (it's posted on my music blog). At one point the chorus says "All the pain that you've been feeling it can't compare to the joy that's coming." I've been holding onto that promise, and I think its fulfillment is coming soon :)
On another note, it has been a year since I started this blog. In it I have recorded some rather intimate moments. I feel the growth that has come since then. I hope my readers can see it in my writing. Even more, I hope that they too find encouragement to put their faith and trust in Christ.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sumbission, part 2

It seems to have been last week that my little trial became apparently more intense. For whatever reason there may be, my mind flashed to the football camp scene from the movie Remember the Titans. It's the part where the coach asks, "What are you?" Their response comes loud and clear, "Agile! Mobile! Hostile!" Coach Boone then asks, "Will you ever quit?" The team resounds their intense reply, "NO! WE WANT SOME MORE! WE WANT SOME MORE!" That lead me to ponder my situation further. I thought, "Hmmm, I'm here in the crucible in the middle of the refiner's fire. I can feel and see some imperfections and impurities in myself." My thoughts lead me to want to ask the Lord to turn up the heat so such things would burn off quicker. "I know I can do anything so long as He's with me," I thought, "I can face it if He goes with me." Luckily my thought process didn't end there. It struck me how impatient it would be to actually ask the Lord to quicken the process. I also noted how little that would demonstrate trust in the Lord's knowledge and understanding. My final thought drifted back to, "Not my will, but Thine be done. Do what is necessary, Lord and take all the time You need to. Grant me patience to see this through." It was rather humbling to realize that I was being impatient and distrustful.
More often than not the Lord is like a dentist. So long as we're taking care of our mouth and teeth, the visit is routine and relatively painless. However none of us will take perfect care of our teeth. We go in to have something done about some pain or odor, etc. Frankly, I want my mouth to come out perfect. I do what little I can, but the rest must be done by the Master Dentist. My attitude, then, must be, "Here I am Lord. Do what you must to make me better. Take the time You must." Dentistry isn't always as quick as we would like. We might be in the chair for several hours. We may need several follow-up visits. That's okay; it's normal. What is not okay is to sit in the chair and say, "Ya know, I have another appointment in an hour, can you hurry it up?" and certainly not, "There's a pain in my left eye-tooth and you're not doing anything about it. Do you really know what you're doing?"
We must exercise our faith in the Lord in such times. We hold on our way, trusting that the Man doing the work knows what He's doing. We know He has walked with us in times past and when the path became too hard He carried us. We can't rush the work, but we can ask for our faith in His knowledge to give us patience until we reach the end of the ordeal.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I often ponder on the subject of faith while I'm working, normally only while we're in the truck so that I'm doing it without driving. This week it crossed my mind that faith and obedience are linked to love.
Consider for a moment John 14:15 "If ye love me keep my commandments". Jesus laid it down rather black and white that we demonstrate our love for Him by keeping his commandments. Now think about this description of faith found in the Bible Dictionary: faith comes by righteousness. Keep in mind that we demonstrate, at the very least, a particle of faith when we obey the Lord. So in keeping the commandments we show and exercise both faith in and love for the Lord.
The particle of faith leads us to plant the tiny mustard seed. Faith and obedience lead us to nurture that seed until it grows to maturity. This develops our faith in the Teacher further because we have evidence of the truth of what He taught. We develop love for the teacher as we reap the harvest of our faith.
These three principles I hadn't ever considered before, but now they seem to be intertwined in an intricate pattern. Obedience without love is mechanical. It makes a person seem more like a robot than a warrior. Faith does not happen without some love for without love faith seems like the robot walking into the dark without any purpose.
I submit that while the three principles can exist and faith and obedience can be done without love they are devoid of purpose as such. Love gives EVERYTHING rhyme and reason. It's the tempo, the beat of our marching band. Without love we are but empty temples, beautiful, but nonetheless without the motivation to perform the work. Love leads a child to better obey his or her parents. Love for a school leads an athlete to stand strong in the sporting arena. Love for the Lord leads a young man or woman to leave home and serve an unknown people. Love is a gift from Christ and being from Him it is our motivation to follow the Good Shepherd. When we emanate that love clearly, it leads others to follow us while we follow Him.
Love and faith are a seed and sprout therefrom into a great tree. Obedience with love is powerful and under the direction of the Master Horticulturist will lead a tree to grow to it's fullest potential.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My little experiments muwahahaha

So honestly these weren't some mad scientist's experiments, but rather personal experiments in my own lifestyle and behavior. I recently returned to setting goals for myself on a weekly basis and have doubled my efforts to keep a couple in particular.
The first goal of behavioral change was to quit watching TV. While setting goals I realized that I was spending a massive amount of my free time watching TV, particularly on Friday and Saturday, my days off. Four or five weeks ago I set out on this venture. I happily report that I've watched a mere 45 minutes of actual programming. I don't count movies seen on a movie channel, in the theater or on disc. I do admit to having watched 3 movies since I set out to change my habits.
While it has been somewhat difficult to fill my time with worthy activities it has also been rather rewarding. The first Friday or two I did spend that extra time on my laptop wandering cyberspace (this is another habit which is to change). As time has moved forward I've found the attraction of television fade out once again. I find myself stretching my mind a little to decide what I'm going to do. I've had more time to do a couple of little projects around the house.
The second change has been facilitated by the first. The second has been to attend the temple more often. I've averaged one visit a week for the last four weeks. The experience has been incredible. Not everything can be told, but I can say I've found added strength to face my challenges and more determination to do what is right. By cutting out television I freed up time and gave myself more will-power to get to the temple and obtain the blessings God has for me there.
Quite honestly television in and of itself can be a good thing. We watch general conference, educational programs, and a few good movies. There also exists a much larger group of programs that are mindless, senseless, pointless or nonsensical. These often distract us from doing great things. They may very well be intended to do good and some are not evil in and of themselves, but they do distract from doing better things. Going to the temple has been one of those better things for me. Next I want to do my home teaching and visit more people out there. The things that I can do to help someone else thrill me! There is so much good that can be done without television. Last week I already began cutting back my time on the internet. Though it will not fade away completely the time online will be decreased. Good can and does come because of the internet or television, but if either distracts me from the great things I can do then I say rather simply, "I have better things to do."
Good is the ultimate enemy of great. Why? We wrap ourselves around doing good when there are even better acts of charity, service, and love we can accomplish IF we're willing to take a leap of faith and leave behind the good for something better.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Perseverance is easily the hardest word to swallow and live while going through a trial. When the trail is long and rough, we've been hiking for hours, and we're worn out holding out to the end is the last thing most of us want to do. We want to stop, to quit. When the tribulation is the harshest and the persecution the sorest most of us don't want to hear anything about enduring; we only want the end to be NOW! In all actuality, when things are the hardest and roughest is when we most need to persevere.
Perseverance is intricately intertwined with patience. It's hard to be impatient and persevere at the same time (hard, but not impossible). While persevering it's necessary to be patient because the end is rarely in our line of sight, but we are arriving there.

I found a quote in seminary one day and kept it. It goes something like this:
"Some men quit when they begin to tire
Other men quit when they're about to collapse
But only the best men know that the body tires long before the mind
It is then that the impossible becomes possible" -unknown-

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Yes, a sports metaphor, or two...

In case you're unaware, I played football in both middle and high school. It was one of the most grueling and trying sports I've ever endured. Physically, it pushed me as hard as I could go. Mentally, it gave me a new perspective.
This post should be considered a continuation of "Pain". I've detracted from the one-word titles for this one because it's a very personal metaphor I'm going to relate.
I played on the line, all 145 scrawny pounds of me. I might have weighed in at 150, soaking wet with all my gear once my muscle had become lean. Playing on the front line is a challenge. The job of any lineman is to keep his quarterback safe. He IS the front line, the first defense for the offense. He HAS to hold his place, or if necessary, move his opponent out of the way, drive him to the goalpost if necessary.
The one drill I remember for getting us to drive and push, both consistently with each other and constantly to the end of the play, was the sled. Five colored dummies were attached to a steel frame made to slide with relative ease, provided that we pushed together and at the right height. The coaches often stood on the frame to add to the challenge. Sometimes we had to push the sled and three coaches. They were often right there near us yelling and screaming that we couldn't give up. We had to keep going. I pushed that sled my share of miles through the 6 years that I played football.
I came to realize that I often confront challenges, trials, pain, anguish, temptation or tribulation the same way I approached the sled. I push against it. I shove. I line up, look it in the eye and drive for all I'm worth. Admittedly, I've done this enough that my emotional or spiritual cleats are worn almost flat. Occasionally they slide. Many times I fall. Whenever I fell while pushing the sled, I got back up. Seems like I face many giants in my life. I'm pushing for all I'm worth. The Lord has assigned some coaches to encourage and to push me. They're mean sometimes. Other days they're tough as nails. They push and yell and scream for me to keep going, but not once have they told me to give up, to quit. It hurts. I cry out in pain and agony sometimes. But I REFUSE to quit. I've not failed, EVER, until I quit.
The following clip comes from the movie Facing the Giants. I couldn't help but feel Brock's pain and frustration as he cries out "I can't! It hurts!" and I couldn't help but feel the encouragement from his coach. I carry a special relationship to this scene. Brock wears my number and he carries Jeremy on his back. I cried, because I've been in that kind of spot. The coaches were pushing, yelling at me to keep going. I felt the tears of relief and accomplishment as he reached the endzone. Christ is the head coach on my football team. He's there along side me, always walking with me.

I also ran distances in high school. As a freshman my track event was the mile. As a sophomore and a junior running 2.5 to 3 miles was conditioning for wrestling. As a senior, I ran cross-country. Running is a grueling and testing sport in it's own right. The physical training is requisite; the mental drive is tantamount. This poem relates a race to life.

Get up and Win the Race
‘Quit’ Give up, your’re beaten!‘ they shout at me and plead.
‘There’s just tto much against you now, this time you can’t succeed.’
And as I started to hang my head in front of failures face,
My downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.
And hope refills my weakened will, as I recall that scene,
And just the thought of that short race rejuvenates my being.
A children’s race. Young boys, young men, I remember well.
Excitement, sure, but also fear; it wasn’t hard to tell
They all lined up so full of hope. The thought to win that race.
Or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place.
And fathers watched from off the side, each cheering for his son,
And each boy hoped to show his Dad, that he would be the one.
(The whistle blew).
To win, to be the hero there, was each boy’s young desire.
And one boy in particular, his Dad was in the crowd,
Was running near the lead and thought. ‘My Dad will be so proud.‘
But as he sped down the field across a shallow dip,
The little boy who thought to win, lost his step and slipped,
Trying hard to catch himself, his hands flew out to brace,
And mid the laughter of the crowd he fell flat on his face.
So, down he fell and with him hope. He couldn’t win it now.
Embarrassed, sad, he only wished to disappear somehow.
But, as he fell, his Dad stood up and showed his anxious face.
Which to the boy so clearly said, ‘Get up and win the race!‘
He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that’s all,
And ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,
His mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again.
He wished that he had quit before with only one disgrace.
‘I’m hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn’t try to race.‘
But, in the laughing crowd he searched and found his father’s face,
That steady look that said again, ‘Get up and win the race.‘
So up he jumped to try again, ten yards behind the last,
‘If I’m to gain those yards,’ he thought, ‘I’ve got to run real fast.‘
Expanding everything he had, he regained eight or ten
But trying so hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.
‘Defeat!‘ He lay there silently, a tear dropped from his eye.
‘There’s no sense running any more, three strikes, I’m out, why try?‘
The will to rise had disappeared, all hope had fled away,
So far behind, so error prone, closer all the way.
‘I’ve lost so what’s the use?’ he thought, ‘I’ll live with my disgrace.‘
‘Get up‘, an echo sounded low, ‘Get up,’ it said, ‘you haven’t lost it all.
For winning is no more than this: to rise each time you fall.“
So he rose to win once more, and with a new commit,
He resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn’t quit,
So far behind the others now, the most he’d ever been,
Still he gave it all he had and ran as through to win.
Three times he’d fallen, three times he rose again.
They cheered the winning runner as he crossed the line, first place,
Head high and proud and happy; no falling, no disgrace.
But when the fallen youngster crossed the finishing line, last place,
The crowd gave him the greater cheer for finishing the race,
And even though he came in last, with head bowed low, unproud,
You would have thought he won the race, to listen to the crowd.
And to his dad he sadly said, ‘I didn’t do so well.‘
‘To me you won.‘ His father said. ‘You rose each time you fell.‘
And now when times seem dark and hard and difficult to face,.
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all,
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall,
‘Quit! Give up you’re beaten!‘ they still shout in my face,
But another voice within me says, ‘Get up and win the race!‘
-Author Unknown -

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Several topics float in my mind this morning, but I believe I know which one I shall address. Frankly, it's an interesting topic that has great reward, if you're willing to follow through. It's a principle that many strive to apply; I can say I make a strong effort to do so. And I have the perfect example of it to follow.
All of us have our own individual desires. The things we want to do and try to do are limitless. In most instances this is good. It's important to have goals and dreams that are our own. Occasionally we pit our desires against the fence the Lord has set up to protect us. This fence is, of course, the standard code of conduct. I will not delve into defining these standards; just understand that I will refer to them from time to time.
The Lord told Isaiah "For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are my ways your ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my thoughts higher than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9). It's quite apparent that our thoughts and ideas are not always the same as the Lord's. Even when we elevate our thoughts it's possible to still not reach that altitude. But as we strive to make our thoughts and ways, our very lifestyles, such as the Lord would want we rise above the spiritual smog that surrounds us. When we learn to humble ourselves to the point that we echo the Savior's word "not my will but Thine be done" we lose ourselves. The petty little things we do everyday lose meaning. We see others the way God sees them. We want what He wants. Spencer W. Kimball once said, "When obedience ceases to be an annoyance and becomes our quest then will the Lord endow us with power from on high." Let us make obedience our quest, our desire. Let it be our burning passion. Do we need to ask the Lord about everything under the skies? No. Include him in the big decisions. Ask him when you're confused. Follow the answer you receive. Do this and He will give you strength beyond what you have ever known.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I've found over the last few months that I deal with emotional/mental pain in an interesting way. Rather than screaming from some unknown mountain peak or crying endless rivers of sorrow I turn inward. Often times, I write, whether on this blog or in my journal. Then I pray. Prayer links me to God, gives me strength to support what I may be feeling. I never ask for the pain or the situation causing me pain to go away. Rather, I ask the Lord to help me to bear the burden.
He's come to my aide so many times. I have no doubt that in any other time of trial or tribulation He will strengthen me. As diligently as I seek him, he will come to my side in some manner. Be it that the pain subsides or the situation changes, He succors me. I know that He does support those who seek him out.


I recommend you read the post on my other blog titled "Sacred Sunday #1" (http://thismusictouchesme.blogspot.com/2010/07/sacred-sunday-1.html). The final strain of this moving song is "When I reach my journey's end / How I hope that He will call me friend". Deep down this is one of my deepest desires. The want to be a friend of God isn't just a nice idea nor is it an interesting philosophy; it is the foundation for faithful living. When all is said and done, it is the only thing that will matter because being a friend of God entails a great deal, but can be expressed in simple terms.
John the Beloved recorded this one-liner spoken by the Lord in chapter 15, verse 14. "Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command ye." To be the Lord's friend means but one thing, to obey his commandments. Obedience is the strongest, loudest, most sincere and profound of expression of our love toward God the Father and His Son Jesus. Hence we must learn and keep the commandments. We must find within ourselves the God-given strength to carry out His will in every and all circumstances. We must live the gospel, knowing that through our faith, repentance, baptism in water and by the Spirit, endurance, and primarily through the grace of God and the Atonement of Christ we will be cleansed and forgiven of our sins and be permitted into the Lord's rest. We must love the Lord above all else. We must love our neighbors as ourselves.
The prophet of the Book of Mormon, Nephi, explained, "for it is by grace that we are saved, after all that we can do." I may attain to a finite perfection in the sense that eventually I may master myself completely and live every commandment applicable in the latter-days, but that still will not wipe my sins clean. I can only confess, feel sorrow for and abandon my sins. I cannot remove the stain from my spiritual garments (Revelation 7:14). Many scriptures, including the one immediately preceding this statement, explain how sin is forgiven and perfection attained. Personally, I like this one found in Moroni chapter 10, verse 32:
"Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God."
I want to be a friend of God. The road ahead is long and difficult, but not impassable. A radio station was recommended to me last week by a friend. While listening one day a phrase was sung that applies to these thoughts. "Impossible is just an excuse for someone not to try."
It is through the grace, mercy and blood of Christ that we are saved, after all that we can do. All that we can do is abandon our sins to Him and love and serve Him and our fellow neighbors.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Friday and Saturday were great days. A great weekend has begun, from the very start. My singles ward went camping at a place eleven miles outside of Kamas, UT. I love the ward camp out. I and another brother spent some time raising tents for sisters. I hiked up the hillside a little ways. Being surrounded by trees I deduced that the ridge would also be covered by trees and abandoned my climb to the top. Dinner was great. The variety show that followed was better still. The testimony meeting was inspiring. I didn't want it to end so quickly, but end the outing did. Better things are yet to come.
I mingled with many people. One young lady has really impressed me. She served a mission, has graduated college, and, as near as I can tell, lives a solidly Christian life. In short, she's virtuous. I've met many people, but none quite so strong. I wanted to ask her out, but held my tongue. I hesitated. Trepidation slipped in and I didn't ask her. Why did I let fear hold me captive?
Like I said, she's impressive. If a romantic relationship were to develop, I feel like there would be a lot to live up to. My rough edges seem sharper, harder somehow. Maybe fear set in because she seems so much better than I.
All of us face fear. It seems to have become second nature since the fall of Adam. After disobeying the Lord's command, Adam and Eve felt afraid. Since then fear has ruled men's hearts. Mankind has waged war because of fear. Some refuse callings from the Lord. Others lash out in fear.
God doesn't want us to fear. The "fear of the Lord" the Bible describes isn't the trembling fear we're accustomed to. It's love, respect and reverence. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore be not ashamed of the testimony of Christ..." (2 Timothy 1:7-8).
I used to seek out more supporting statements, but this one scripture suffices the need. Do not fear. Live boldly.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

More thoughts today...

You'll have to see my other blog, the one about music, and read the very first post. My first selection was a song by Skillet about living today. There's an urgency in the song. A strong encouragement to live TODAY. I love the reminder that tomorrow could be too late. Yet there lies deep in my memory the lessons learned from Robert Frost and his poem After Apple Picking. I myself wanted to come and "pick apples" in life. I'll do the best I can, but I know that in the end I won't reach every one of the golden apples on the tree. Nor will I get them all into my barrel. Some will fall by the wayside. Some will find their utility, not by being eaten, but in being crushed and ground into cider. It's the nature of the work. It happens. The apples in the barrel will be washed and eaten. The ones I let fall will be made into cider. They'll be useful. The ones in the tree, well they'll be left for someone else to grab. Some of them just might be too far out on a limb or too high up in the tree for me, but that won't stop another from obtaining them.
After all these thoughts, I think I'll put one more song onto my music blog today. If you'd like to read the poem, it can be found here: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/after-apple-picking/


I'll give quite a condensed report of the last couple of weeks. They've been interesting, to say the least. Last weekend was the Independence Day celebration. For me nothing beats the hometown activities so I ventured to Salina for a few days. While there I built a bond and fell in love with a beautiful young lady. Don't worry, she's family; she's my 10 month-old niece. My sister being bedridden for yet another week I believe wanted me to take her daughter out of the house. The poor girl ends up staying in the same room and her mommy and doesn't get to play much. I took this sweetheart to the Salina parade. We walked there. Or rather, Josh (one of my brothers) and I took turns pushing her stroller down the street. She and I shared a chair. The next morning she and I shared a spot in the chapel for sacrament meeting. I played with this pure child as often as I could during my trip. I fell in love with her.
The last week had a few exciting occurrences. Thursday my grandparents commemorated their fiftieth anniversary. We surprised them by meeting at a restaurant together for dinner. The diner was a really nice Japanese place. The cook did all his work on a grill in front of us. He even threw shrimp into our mouths. Last night a few friends and I got together for a BBQ and, afterwards, to swim. I had almost forgotten how much I love being surrounded completely by water. I love being able to move in all three dimensions without much trouble. The evening was topped off with a shindig nearby. We ate classic party snacks, jokes, threw around a Frisbee and started a movie. I left before the movie however. The party was enjoyable and new people abounded.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A little more on faith...

I don't remember exactly when it happened but I downloaded General Conference and put all five sessions on my MP3 player. I try to listen to all of conference at work during the week that I trim. Our trimmers run much quieter than the mowers making talks easier to listen to. So while I trimmed and listened to talks, one general authority cited the Bible dictionary: A lack of faith leads one to despair, which comes because of iniquity. So if iniquity leads to, as well as demonstrates, a lack of faith the opposite is also true. Faith is developed by righteous living. We show faith by living righteously and following the Spirit and this in turn builds our faith so that we can live even higher principles.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

today i had an idea...

...and I want input from my followers/random readers. I'm considering making another blog. This one will be for posting the lyrics of my favorite songs. Occasionally I'll post a video from youtube that uses the song. What are your thoughts?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I started thinking about today's topic sometime earlier this week. I had several in mind I wished to address. Let's just say that the last week has been rough. The whole week was pretty rough. Good things did happen, but the weight of the bad has been great. This morning already something happened sadly. After reflecting on it all I proposed to not even write today. Then I saw the video that follows in the link. It's all I'll post and those few words that I've written.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

This week...

I had some ideas that started this morning. As I wrote, however, it just didn't seem right. I've decided to change the topic of the day and just write a few updates.
Monday night was Family Home Evening (FHE) for my singles ward. We had a lesson on cleanliness for entering the temple and for partaking of the sacrament. An object lesson involving some 20 singles and some 40 cans of shaving cream ensued. Once we had thoroughly covered each other in white foam the fire department came with one of their rigs and sprayed us all down so the shaving cream was gone. Clean? Yes we were. No other method removed the shaving cream from us. Just as water is really the only safe substance to remove shaving cream so is repentance the only method to clean the soul.
Tuesday I spent the day working alone. I had been sent on a special assignment to weed all the flower beds at the Harvest Hills park. If you've ever been there, you might know just how many there are. Each one was burgeoning with weeds. Since I was alone I elected to listen to General Conference. I didn't get through all of it before the end of the day, but I did listen to most of the conference. Before arriving at the temple I had finished all five sessions. It was ward temple night, which I also enjoyed.
Thursday I resumed trimming lawns. There are three on the trimming crew. Our senior seasonal (he was employed by public works last summer) was given his own special assignment so I took charge for the day. After work I attended institute where we began our "Teachings of the Living Prophets" course. I'm thrilled about this one.
Friday was another work day (for the superintendent and I) followed by a birthday bbq and an open mic night at another home.
Yesterday was yet another working day (strange since city and state workers normally work Monday through Thursday) since the Saratoga Splash was about to end. The day was fun since there was a parade, a free breakfast, and a carnival. After spending a day watching garbage cans and restrooms I cleaned, both my apartment and my car then showered and got ready for my date with a new friend. We attended the Eclipse concert and drove around visiting.
The last week was a good one. It was full of work, meetings and activities and was topped off with a fun evening out.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Stirrings and Movements

Friday, just two days ago, I was mowing the lawn of a large park. My MP3 player had been buzzing with music all morning when suddenly the playlist was over. During the course of two or three days I had managed to listen to nearly all of the 375+ songs. Having reached the end of that folder the player continued into my selection of inspiring talks and conference recordings. The first to come up was Elder Holland's "Remember Lot's Wife". I was again reminded of the beauty of living by faith and that faith NEVER lives in the past but builds on it. Faith lives TODAY with eyes set toward the future because THE BEST IS YET TO BE (emphasis added). I'll not dwell much more on the talk because I have written about it already. You can find copied sections and my response to the talk under the entry title "Lot's wife and the future".
When listening to these powerful, passionate words, a style rather distinctive to Elder Holland, I realized that I was still holding onto some of my past and refusing to believe that the Lord had better things to come than what had already been. No, this time it wasn't related to my mission. I feel as though I've reconciled myself with coming home and I'm now at peace about it. I was still holding onto past relationships believing that those are the best. The Spirit whispered, "the best is yet to come." Having reconciled myself with this portion of my life I felt hope springing up and a desire to resume dating, with more purpose this time. The overall impression left on me by listening to this talk that time was, "It's time. There's no time like today."
Oddly enough, I had been prepared for that message earlier that morning. While I'm not a fan of the band itself, they have produced at least one worthwhile song. The band Skillet was playing on my co-worker's iPod. I thought it rather ironic and strange that he would have a song that is religious in lyric by the way it encourages people to live today "because one more day might be a day too late". Honestly I find the song uplifting so I bought it from the iTunes store.
I had a small epiphany last night. I'll not describe it in detail. The things I felt and experienced are too sacred to put into such a public place. The occurrence helped put into perspective a few things I didn't understand. I'm excited for my scripture study today. I'm diving into 3 Nephi 11, the very pinnacle of The Book of Mormon. I'll offer a few comments on this portion.
It's plain to see that the coming of Christ to visit the descendants of Lehi was the most important thing recorded. The record compiler, Mormon, spent a whopping fifteen or so chapters on what came to pass in the space of two or three days. Therein are the Savior's words given to the people gathered in the land of Bountiful. He taught them and spent time with them. It's a beautiful part. These chapters are also my favorite.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day / Living

Tomorrow is Memorial Day in the beloved United States. It is one of the days we recognize and remember our soldiers' service. Today especially my thoughts turn to my brother, Austen, who is serving in the army and is based at Fort Bliss, Texas. I admire his desire to serve his country and his willingness to be a part of the army. To be a part of something bigger than yourself, to give yourself, to put aside your wants for the betterment of a larger cause is noble and great. I hope and pray he keeps himself true to the gospel and the things he has learned thus far.
I often lament seeing younger generations as they grow up. I don't say this to suggest that they stay young forever while I grow old nor do I wish to halt their progress in life. As I've observed people growing up behind me I've seen so many who kept the Lord's standards while living with their parents but as soon as they move away from home they let such a beautiful, though trying, lifestyle fall. I'm convinced that as a parent I need to be involved in my children's lives. They need to know how much I love them and that this love runs deep. They need to understand what the Lord has asked of all his children and that it is possible to do so. My family needs to know of the strength that comes in living a virtuous and righteous life. If you want to know for yourself what is right, Jesus said this "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine; whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself" (John 7:17). He didn't say to go out and defy the laws of God to know whether or not they're true, but the opposite. He wants us to live the laws of God, even if we don't have a testimony of them. In so doing we will learn for ourselves.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The first to arise from a suggested subject

This morning I felt a little writer's block and was tempted to, as I have done in times past, not write. Rather than not write, I asked a friend for suggestions. Her response was life's little surprises being answers from God. I had to think on this one for I've yet to recognize such in my life (sadly). I tend to look for the more direct (whispers, promptings, dreams, feelings, etc.) when it is just as probable to see the little things in my life being answers from the Lord. I don't diminish the mission of the Holy Ghost in any way in this post. Rather, I magnify the work of the Spirit. After all, the spirit is described as a still small voice (1 Kings 19:11-12) and "the Lord God doth work by [small] means to bring about his great and eternal purposes" (Alma 37:6-7).
A mission companion of mine shared a small experience that really demonstrates this principle. He and his trainer were teaching a woman that wanted to be baptized but lacked the answer she wanted. She had faith that the Lord would give her the answer she was asking for and she had faith enough to follow that answer. So that Saturday night as she said her evening prayer she asked the Lord to give her a pink rose if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints were the true church. The next morning she went to the chapel as had become her custom and was greeted by a sister who handed her a pink rose and said, "I'm not sure why, but I felt like you could use this flower." She had her answer, was soon after baptized and, by the latest account I had received, was getting ready to go to the temple to be sealed to her new husband. It is a small thing to give a person a rose, but it was the answer she wanted.
This weekend, starting on Friday, I noted a small change in my attitude and countenance. I awoke but didn't feel like doing much, not much at all. I spent most of the day just lazing about the house. I did have my hair cut and I had lunch with family but nothing really productive. Saturday I sat some more and went to the guard shack to sit even more. My faith in being active and pro-active began to slacken. Not that I no longer believed in leading a pro-active life, but I failed to live accordingly therefore my faith slackened. My grip on the principle loosened. Today while in my singles ward meetings, I was taught, fed and finally reminded that I need to be active and pro-actively choose the Lord. The teacher was well into the Sunday school lesson when I entered, but the Holy Ghost edified me. The lesson was based in the book of Joshua in the Old Testament, particularly the great miracles that occurred as a fulfillment of Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."
I felt the small sensation that often is a spiritual confirmation that this is something I need to work on or that comes to testify of the truth that I learned in that moment. My faith is rekindled and growing, not because of some grandiose manifestation, but because I felt and understood by the spirit what the Lord wants me to do.
The lesson finished with Joshua 24:15 "Choose you this day whom ye will serve...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." This biblical reference was coupled with a German saying, "et si omnes ego non" (even if all, not I).
One more demonstration will suffice I think. I select this time, a small segment from the song "All the Proof I Need" by Jessie Clark Funk. "...and I have pleaded for forgiveness/ and all I received was a smile..." I've personally been there. Pleading, begging for forgiveness isn't fun or enjoyable. It's rather painful to admit to having done wrong and then feel real, Godly sorrow for it. The sweet, soft healing is worth the whole of it. The smile that slowly caressed my face after was breath taking. I would go through such repentance to feel forgiven and healed every time I do something wrong. The pain is well worth the joy that comes thereafter. "And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!" (Alma 36:20).
My writer's block seems to have dissipated as I pondered and reflected on these things. I know there's so much for me to learn and I'm glad the Lord is infinitely patient with me while I learn and progress. He is there. He answers prayers, often in small ways. "In the Lord's economy, why send thunder when a whisper while suffice?" (Neal A. Maxwell). A baby's laugh, a bright sunrise, a kind word, a gentle hand are all methods the Lord uses. The little things truly are powerful answers.
Just a small side-note: this post came about because of a suggestion. If any of you, my followers and readers (followers being those who through Google "follow my blog), would like me to address a topic leave it as a comment below. I'll be happy to learn and grow with you while I search out answers, reasons and support for something.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Got Faith?

Having faith in the Lord is having faith that He speaks through his servant, the authorized prophet of the day. Numbers 12:6 records that if there is a prophet among us, the Lord will speak unto him in dreams and verse 8 says that he spoke face to face with Moses. This is the Lord's way of leading the people as a whole. We are all entitled to individual revelation if we are living worthy of it. In countless eras the Lord has spoken to his prophet on the earth so that we might know His will. Those who have understood, studied, and kept the words which were relayed to them through the prophet have been blessed. Those who have not, have sadly lost faith and fallen. Their peoples have fallen spiritually and soon followed a physical fall. Look at how many times it happened to the children of Israel. Examine how often it happens in The Book of Mormon. Both book are replete with examples. Two should be enough, but let's look at more modern history. In the early days of the Church (1830's forward), as often as the people obeyed the word of the Lord given through Joseph they were blessed. When they did not, they did not progress and sometimes this lead to the loss of property and persecution (not always the case though, since many were faithful members).
With so many examples, or, as the prophet Alma called them, witnesses, how can we have room to doubt? Why are we so slow to keep such things? Personally, I've been particularly passionate about the pamphlet For the Strength of Youth. It pains me sometimes to hear others say that these are suggestions or just counsel and we don't have to follow them. "WHERE IS YOUR FAITH?" I would love to scream sometimes. Following the counsel contained in this pamphlet has helped me to keep "clean hands and a pure heart" (Psalms 24:3-4). The promised blessings of the Spirit being strong in my life, having guidance when needed, and eventually leading me to eternal life burn so strongly that I do not doubt. I practice and I live these things as best as I can. Are there a few things that I can work on? Of course. I'm still on the earth so I haven't been translated and it follows then that I'm not yet perfect.
My advice: study this booklet. It is as relevant to all of us as are the holy scriptures. It is modern scripture.

Among other things, this week we had a small public works emergency in Saratoga Springs. It resulted in us shutting some waterlines off, informing the affected area that they were to boil their drinking water, installing chlorinators, and purging the system until we could detect chlorine coming out. I got some overtime out of this. Certainly, it was a stressful time, but the alarm is passed.
Yesterday was the Multi-Stake Young Single Adult Conference. I love these conferences. While initially my involvement with the singles was social, I've learned to set that aside. Last year at the conference I wanted to come out with at least one phone number. Yesterday, I didn't care. I wasn't there looking for a date or seeking out a young woman. I was there to be nourished by the good word of the Lord. It was mentioned in one of the workshops that if we love God above all else, everything else will fall into place or fall out of our lives. I like that saying. It gives me hope and faith. If I put the Lord first the necessary things will fall into place while the unnecessary will fall out of my life.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers' Day to all the moms out there.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

It's time for another six months in review

Last week when I posted on my blog the fact completely fled my mind that I had then been home a year and a half. As has been my custom, I shall write a brief review of that half of a year.
Frankly, I thought not that I could grow more nor did I surmise that my situation could change in the manner it did. I worked in the fierce snow and freezing cold. On a couple of occasions my gloves and hands were wet during the whole day of work. The wind howled and dragged me some 20 feet while I held onto a sheet of plastic. I decided that I no longer wanted to go ice fishing. After working in this bitterness, who would really be willing to sit on a frozen lake under the same conditions? Yet through this hardship I struggled to hold my tongue and not murmur. There were many out of work at the time and eventually I joined them.
I became one of the 10% of the American population without work. Luckily I had a "vacation account" with my union and family to offer moral support. I spent several days working on the farm with several purposes in mind. Firstly I wished to help my father since I had an abounding measure of free time. The second reason was to occupy my time. Finally, doing work has always made me feel like a contributor to society. Even the most menial of employs yields to me satisfaction that I have done something.
A new challenge arose when I felt compelled to stay in Saratoga Springs more than I had been. The trips to Salina and elsewhere diminished. Sadly I began to idle away my time playing video games, watching TV and sitting on Facebook. I spent some two weeks in this vegetative state. While at institute a friend asked for my help in her classroom. I gladly accepted to do what I could to help out. This possibly saved me from myself. Leaving my home and doing something to serve others reignited that flame which produces in my restlessness and dissatisfaction with mediocrity. With the flames growing out of the coals I looked for work. When in disappointment I found the construction companies had whom they wanted for the job I looked elsewhere. I put in several applications online and in person. When the call came for me from the city's public works department I became elated. I accepted the work, despite the much lower pay. Work is work. It may not be the greatest work but there is worse to be done. I'll not complain.
Dating also took a new twist for me in the last while. Some time ago I decided that I wanted to marry within two years of returning from my mission. During the most recent period I engaged in more casual dating, or simply going on a date to get to know someone without expecting anything more to come. Interest in one or two people came but also left. I cannot exclude mention of the episode which brought forth my four posts on relationships either. This small era produced questions and doubts and eventually answers and understanding. I received two valuable pieces of advice in this transitional stage: 1) you cannot put a date on getting married while you're still single; 2) when I find someone I want to be with I need to mold myself to fit into her life (while, of course, not sacrificing my standards of conduct). Since then I've become a little more relaxed about dating.
All this considered, I've learned and grown in those six months. One last item worth mentioning. While volunteering at the elementary school my love for reading was rekindled. Since I began volunteering I've consumed the following books: The Give, Gathering Blue, and Messenger all by Louis Lowry; The 39 Clues by Gordon Korman; and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Favorite Scriptures and quotations

Today I'm thinking that I'll post a few of my favorite quotations. Some, yes, will be from scripture while others will be inspiring quotes from various authors.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
-Nelson Mandela-

"We choose to do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."
-John F. Kennedy-

"Try a little harder to be a little better."
-Gordon B. Hinckley-

"Just do it."
-Spencer W. Kimball-

"I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud: Under the bludgeoning of chance my head is bloody, but unbowed. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll; I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul."
-William Ernest Henley-

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in, forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day, you shall begin it well and serenely...”
"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson-

"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father in heaven is perfect."
-Matthew 5:48-

"...for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do."
-2 Nephi 25:23

"Yea, come unto Christ and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness..."
-Moroni 10:32-

"Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand."
-Jacob 4:10-

"...let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God."
-Moroni 9:6-

"But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven."
-Moroni 6:8-

"Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory!"
-D&C 128:22-

"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."
-Matthew 5:8-

"And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!"
-D&C 76:22-

"A man stands no taller than when he is on his knees."

"...true love must include the idea of permanence. True love endures...Cultivate and be where the Spirit of the Lord is. Make sure that includes your own home or apartment, dictating the kind of art, music, and literature you keep there. If you are endowed, go to the temple as often as your circumstances allow. Remember that the temple arms you “with [God’s] power, . . . [puts His] glory . . . round about [you], and [gives His] angels . . . charge over [you].”7 And when you leave the temple, remember the symbols you take with you, never to be set aside or forgotten..."
-Jeffery R. Holland-

"I believe, I must believe, that in our darkest hour the same qualities which have made us great will make us strong; that love and mercy can overcome hate and destruction."
-Battle for Terra-

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Last week I had the blessed opportunity to sit in the celestial room of the Mt. Timpanogos Temple in American Fork and ponder and pray. I love going to the temple and really should have went more while I've been laid off. The answers and the counsel I receive there continually bless my life.
This week I have found a newness about me, a stronger resolve, a higher commitment. I find new meaning in doing things, especially the little ones. For instance, yesterday I looked around my part of the home (which is almost a studio apartment by now LOL) and began to wonder what really needed to be organized and put away. Even my laundry basket seemed slightly empty. I continued to examine and ponder on what could be done and as I did so I began to notice a few small things. The living room rug needed to be vacuumed. Some clothes on my floor needed to be put away. Some simple things such as these only took me half an hour to forty-five minutes to actually do. All the while I had clothes in the washer.
I also took the time to enjoy a few good books recently. The first was The Giver by Louis Lowery. Definitely a favorite among the books I've read. Second was an interesting mystery called The 39 Clues. Finally, I read another Lowery called Gathering Blue. The latter I enjoyed while sitting on my deck and enjoying the shade.
The newness within is quite welcome at this point. I'm feeling useful and even needed lately. I feel like what I'm doing is going to make a difference somehow. Part of my reacquired newness is due to the fact that I love the renewal of spring. The weather is finally perking up and I've enjoyed being outside. Even better is that I haven't spent countless hours and days confined to my living room, growing like a fungus on the couch while sitting on Facebook and watching TV. Getting out and being busy have reignited a spark in me, and it's about time :). The weather and the sky have been gorgeous and I've enjoyed watching the Lord's beauty around me.
Another contributing factor to my new found energy is that I finally have a job. It's not road construction, but it's a job. I won't complain. I'll be caring for the city parks of Saratoga Springs. It's a full-time job and I hope to thoroughly enjoy it. Once again I will need to arise at an early hour (which will allow me to appreciate the sunrise) and I will work longer days (10-hour shifts), but with this job I won't be working many, if any, weekends. Actually, working Friday will become voluntary, for the most part.
My outlook has changed and my heart is filled with newness as I face a bright new morning in my life and I start a new chapter.
I will stick in an small observation of the recent events. I recall what Victor Frankl said about the concentration camps. His experience taught him that if a man can find a reason to live he'll live through anything. Finding reason and meaning has pushed me into an about-face. I've found purpose in the things that I do. I have a reason to continue onward. Being busy ofttimes means that we'll be happy. Seek out the Lord's direction and follow His words of counsel and you'll find meaning and joy in your life. I've put this into practice throughout the better part of the last year, but especially this last week. My days have been filled and I'm essentially happy and at peace with myself.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The links are finally available

so here they are, those promised links to those articles I loved:





Sunday, March 28, 2010

Recent Ponderings

At the end of February I totaled up the amount of time I had spent away from home. The mental calculation led me to realize that I had spent a massive amount of time away from Saratoga Springs, throughout 3 months. In fact, December had a markedly high time away than the other months. My reasoning that month was that the holidays were upon me and I wanted to spend that time with my family. The only real reason I ever returned was for my meetings, a ward activity, or for a date. Those were the sole reasons I found to return for a month. January showed slight improvement. I went to Salina once a week, often a Thursday-Saturday situation. The February brought on a dramatic regression. I spent much more time in Salina than in Saratoga Springs, almost as much time as in December. I was helping on the farm and spending time with family, etc, but I was not where I should have been. Toward the end of February I reached the conclusion that I really need to stay in or near Saratoga Springs for whatever reason the Lord may have for bringing me here.
So for three months I spent time with and helped family; I was busy enough. This month has provided a new, interesting challenge, that of keeping myself occupied and busy with something productive and useful. Sadly, I gave way to laziness and idleness. I've grown fat, so to speak, on the labors of hard-working, tax-paying fellow Americans. I've stayed home, stymied by the fact that I have yet to be called onto some construction job. I've spent more than a healthy amount of time watching or listening to television. My passiveness was occasionally interrupted by a church function or a conversation with a friend on facebook.
I did begin personal exercise some 10 days ago. This was incredible. I loved getting out and doing something, slightly early in the morning. However, I still fell back into the comfort of passivity soon thereafter. Last week I began volunteering at a local elementary school as an aide in a fifth grade classroom. I began to give of my time and talents, even for a short time. I regressed and failed to exercise at all last week.
The end of the week did arrive and I spent a fair amount of time in contemplation and thoughtful pondering. I noticed the decline in my discipline and character that such stifling idleness had introduced. I realized that now more than ever I need to get back to working. This has weighed heavily on my conscience ever since.
Perhaps weightier still was a thought on a previous post, the one where I detailed what I would like in my spouse (please note the "would like" distinction). The list appeared in my mind. That list of high hopes only stayed for but a moment. A moment was all it took for me to realize that though I wanted some great and strong qualities I was not living them myself. I became afraid, afraid that though I may very well now be in the right place at the right time I'm not doing the right things. It hasn't been the lack of a job that's killed many strong and good attributes I used to carry; rather I gave in to the ease of remaining on the couch watching TV and playing games. That sincerely scares me. Few things strike such worry upon me. The well-being of friends and family certainly tops the list. Then, a close second, would be not being ready to meet someone incredible. I've met many people over the last year and a half. Several deserve the utmost respect and admiration. Then I set out and decided that I'd like to marry someone like that. But the lingering question, "am I ready for and worthy of her?" is unsettling.
This has sparked a renewed desire to obtain work and discipline myself back into who I used to be.
Then a new concern rose out of a conversation with Aunt Cris. I won't bore with the details of what we talked about but I will mention her observation/counsel. The guys often need to remember that she will have the final say on many things. Her voice should be the loudest (without ever raising) and her light should be the brightest of the two of them. Not saying that a husband should be weak and second-in-command, but that he should be elogiating her and accentuating her strengths. Therefor, it is vitally important that the guy fit into the woman's life. It's essential that she know he will fit into her life and lifestyle.
This leads me to wonder how I will balance the two ideas of finding someone amazing with similar core values and standards while at the same time making sure she is well aware that I fit into her life and want to be a part of it. Dating is going to take on a whole new perspective.
With all this pondering, thinking, and deciding (some of coming out as negative motivation) I've had to remind myself of some key ideas and scriptures. Both Moroni and Paul pointed out that "perfect love casteth out fear". Okay, no more fear of things, in particular my situation (both social and occupational). Aside from the scriptures teaching of the hope that the Atonement of Christ brings is the one-liner from Moroni 6:8 "But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven". Noting which sins and transgressions I repeat has filled me with dread from time to time. This scripture restores hope. It returns faith. I feel motivated to get out of bed and resume work and outdoor activity.
"It's a new world, it's a new start
It's alive with the beating of a young heart,
It's a new day, it's a new plan
I've been waiting for you,
Here I am."
-Bryan Adams, Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron soundtrack

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happy day!! A copy of The Ensign has arrived! :D

Today I went to the mailbox and was positively elated to find the Ensign inside. I paid for a year subscription last May and this is the second issue that has arrived (I think something is up at the post office because we keep getting some else's mail; my conjecture is that someone else has been enjoying my Ensign. No matter, hopefully they've been uplifted by it). I lack experience and understanding in relationships so this wise counsel today was well received. My words cannot do justice to these articles. Sadly they're not yet posted online or I'd paste a link here to each of the four articles (is it somehow possible I got an early issue??). I'll post a link as soon as one becomes available.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Relationships, part 4

A thought struck me this week as I continued pondering on relationships. Actually, a few did. I'll share a couple.
Firstly, while thinking so deeply about interpersonal relationships, I noted that I've not really set forth nor have I set out what I'm looking for. Quite frankly I almost had no idea which qualities I want in a spouse. I love the counsel to aim high. But the other side is to not limit my opportunities, which comes by setting a bar or a standard. Pardon me for being blunt, but I'll not sell myself short in relationships, especially when it comes to choosing a spouse. Though I may look high and low, far and wide to find one, I will find one. So my bar shall be a little high, but I will not demand perfection or that she "fit the mold". Who am I to demand immediate perfection and not be forgiving or understanding when I am none of those things myself? Or what of the understanding and forgiveness that has been extended to me? Should I make it vain? I should think not. Rather I will be forgiving and understanding of another's past with the hope for the same. So here are a few things I'd like in a companion:
1-wants a temple marriage, as in nothing less will do.
2-will attend the temple with me as regularly as possible
3-will be faithful to me because I'll die before betraying her
4-can tolerate some of my short-comings and willing to counsel me with regard as to the best way to change them
5-strong testimony of Jesus, the Restoration, the priesthood, and the Book of Mormon
6-wants to serve a couple mission later in life
7-appreciative of all styles of music, can find the beauty in them but preferably with a love for motivating, uplifting and inspiring music (not necessarily church music because patriotic music meets said qualifications, truly romantic music can move one to love, etc...)
8-an understanding that I am a child at heart. I like to play with Legos (have for over 20 years now), go to parks TO PLAY on the jungle gym stuff, and animated movies (these also should be uplifting, inspiring or motivating).
9-wants a family and is willing to help me raise one
10-willing to live frugally, without many frills and nice things in life. I'm not one to want an expensive car, huge house with a gigantic lawn, a boat etc.
11-seeks out personal revelation to guide her life
Those qualities are pretty much a must. The following would be considered perks or bonuses if also embodied in the same person:
1-a returned missionary
2-plays piano (I'll work hard to provide one in the home one day)
3-lovely face (note face, not "hot bod" or such non-sense)
4-accepting and expects to receive chivalry
5-enjoys books, fiction and non-fiction, LDS fiction would be nice
Once more I state, I do not demand that she fit these qualifications perfectly or even mostly. Boiled down to the essentials, I want a wife who will be faithful first to the Lord and second to me. Now this is not a want ad either. I accept referals when offered but sometimes I'm slow at contacting them. I do believe that I'm in Saratoga Springs for a reason and that much of my time and attention needs to be devoted here :) there is no congregation near so important nor is there a group of people so important to me right now as this singles ward that I attend.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My last few posts have expressed my thoughts about and feelings toward relationships. Brother Fisher has left me some worthwhile advice. Thank you. Though we've never met face-to-face you've willingly given some words of counsel worth consideration.
Last week was a traveling week for me. I decided that I had ought to visit several of the schools in Utah to better understand what they offer and where I would like to go. So Tuesday I packed my bags and headed to Cedar City. My tour of Southern Utah University wasn't until Thursday so I took the time to meet up with old friends and to visit Dixie State College in St. George. I've decided that neither is for me.
My travel itinerary included a stop in Salina to see my family and help on the farm in any way I could. The shortest route is to take I-15 from Cedar City and follow it to a short distance from Cove Fort. Near Cove Fort is an interchange with I-70 that goes up through, I believe it's called, Beaver Canyon. Through the canyon the speed limit varies from 65 to 70 MPH. There are certain locations that exhibit a minimum speed as well. This intriged me. I've been through the canyon and seen the sign before, but sometimes I still find it odd to have a minimum speed.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Examination of desires or Relationships, part 3

As I have taken time to ponder and think lately more Perhaps the most potent is, "Do I seek a relationship to fulfill my need of being loved and social or do I seek one to help her?" Or better stated, "Do I want a relationship for my own selfish reasons or am I trying to give of myself?" These questions seem to plague me as of late yet I also realize they are potentially faith destroying because they introduce heistancy and doubt. A small amount of hesitancy, which can also be named precaution, is healthy for it causes us to reflect, ponder, and eventually will lead us to some sort of conclusion.
When I answer the questions honestly, often I find that my desires are two-fold, rather than single-sided. I want a constant steady relationship so that I can feel more loved and have some attention (which causes me to wonder if I have a mild case of adult ADD) but also for the chance to be caring and giving and to fulfill another's need of being loved and cherished.
Possibly the worst side of these questions for me is that after fasting, prayer, and temple service I know what I need to do. I still should date around a little more, just for a little while longer. In reflecting on my answer and the answers to the previous questions I feel doubt in my inspired answer. I feel hesitant to act on it. I do have righteous desires and I'm determined to make a new relationship work even better than previous ones. So I ask if the Lord really wants me to wait a little longer. I see doubt setting in.
My unique character once again rises to combat the doubt and fear setting in. I muster up all the faith I can to remain strong in my determined course. The internal struggle continues, but I will win. I shall not stop. I came to win and there's no stopping me this time.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Relationships, part 2

Tonight I seek an insight into myself. I realize that it has been a while and I detracted from my usual routine of posting weekly. There is change coming into my life. I have observed that when change comes I often let go of a few good, choice, or worthwhile habits. This is a challenge for me since a change often requires holding onto what I have attained to (as touching on habits I may develop) and acquire or acquiesce the new. Always my challenge has been to retain my good habits while encouraging the growth of the new. As time marches forth I shall stretch and grow in this regard.
I wish to write more with respect to relationships, but rather than write about my view on outward relationships and what I personally would do, I desire to analyze two types of relationships in existence. Finally, after examining the two types I wish to determine what I hope to cultivate of the said.
The first is the long-established relationship with friends. These are dear relationships, all of which have treasured moments in the past. Friends to me have always been near to the heart. Approximately eight and a half years ago I began to develop a certain discernment of people. I began seeing people in a new light and realized that those whom I had selected to be my friends were not all the best for me to have around. So amidst the treacherous grounds of high school (and being a freshman no less) I began hoping that great people would come my way, and I hoped to become a great friend to someone else. Great friends were found and dear friendships developed.
Now that I and these friends have aged and matured with time and experience I have to question: which of these friends do I stay closest to? Where do I draw lines for behavior? Should I allow certain friendships to decrease? Which of these is most vital for further development?
The male friends I have always enjoyed having as friends shall remain as friends. These relationships I feel actually need little to keep them alive. True they may not be as strong as they once were, but they have also bloomed and developed to the point that they are nearly self-sustaining.
The young women are a different story. With men, I can always go hang out and have a good time with. However, friendships with the ladies are intrinsically different. When they begin to date and fall in love with other men, I must respect that and back away. Be a friend, be kind, warm and courteous as always, but no more. I do not wish to intrude on her relationship with her boyfriend/male interest/husband/fiancee. In some cases it is also necessary so that I can more easily remove far from me any romantic feelings for said daughter of God.
Those sweet young ladies who are still single however deserve a little attention. Now is the time to get to know her on a personal, intimate level. I do not speak just of likes and dislikes but also of personality traits and characteristic behaviors. It's time to know her values and make sure that mine are not conflicting. It's time to assess the friendship and decide if such will blossom into marriage and romance.
Now there are friendships that are new. People I've recently met or begun to get to know. There are interesting, intriguing and impressive people whose path has so graciously crossed mine. These relationships deserve some attention. Being freshly planted in my life's garden, they too need nourishment.
I face a conundrum, a difficult one indeed. I have many cherished friendships. Many due to their existence during a particularly arduous time of my life. Then the second group, new ones. Do I keep the old ones and deny the new? Do I cut off the old ones entirely and cultivate the new? Do I cut back the old while nourishing the new? If the third, which do I keep and which do I let go?
When faced with needing to teach more people and wondering which investigators to keep, I often made a difficult decision, which to keep and which to let go. Those current investigators who were keeping their promises and commitments we were encouraged to continue teaching. Those who weren't were counted as former investigators with a prayer that they would eventually progress. Former investigators became such for the simple reason that they no longer kept or desired to keep their promises with the missionaries or the Lord. We did keep in touch with and visit them occasionally thereafter.
Relating this to my present condition I reach a conclusion a little easier. Especially since I'm rather concerned with dating and eventually marrying. Those lady friends who are dating or are too busy shall receive less contact from me. Those who are meeting with me receive more attention. The newer friends deserve attention as well. Both groups merit attention and care so that the relationship can progress.
I propose and self-searching question: to which group will I eventually give more importance the old friends or the new? Even more importantly, why? Do I give the old friends more time and attention because of the existing relationship? Do I develop the new friendships in order to meet new people? Do I begin dating exclusively an old friend to hang onto the memories? I've already written extensively about the past. I believe that if I date seriously an old friend now, it is because I'm rediscovering who she is. Also, if I chose rather to date a new friend it will be to discover this young lady. In both cases I hope to find great qualities that I would desire in the mother of my children and in my eternal companion.
Now I encounter another question: where do I find a balance with what I want and not demanding that she have all the qualities I want? Which qualities may come out with time and which need to be presently in practice? I understand the deeply personal aspect of the gospel and realize that all God's children are at varying levels of progress in their journey. So what do I look for being a practice and what do I hope will come out? What things might I hope go away?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Flying under influence of regulation

Today I feel to write based on a quote I heard in Sunday School. It was something to the effect that when we look at the light the shadows fall behind us. I take permission to compare that with our patterns of behavior. I often hear, "it isn't that bad" or "it could be worse" or even "such and such a thing is worse than this". True, whatever "it" is may be better than the worst available, but I don't care about the worst. The worst is of little interest to me. I want the best. I seek out the light. I want to see the light. I know that the source is the Lord. I don't care about the shadows behind me. I wish to walk and bask in the light. So I tend to look for the better, the best.
This is admittedly discrimination. My attitude places "limitations" on much entertainment. But do not tell me that creativity is not possible. Do not claim that I am anti-progressive. Quite the contrary. A kite can fly and it can fly high, but only if secured to a solid point on the ground. Only if secured by the line can a kite actually fly. It is then quite capable of doing wonderful stunts and surprising heights. If not restrained, the kite will lazy and haphazardly fall to the ground or meet an unsightly end with a tree or other tall object. Creativity under restraint brings inspiration.
Rules, regulations, standards of conduct, and laws all act in the same way. When used and followed the results are marvelous. When broken, we find ourselves, in the same manner as the kite, very broken.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Favorite Movies

Easily one of my all time favorites is The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd

Another is Wall E, one of the first movies I watched after returning from Brazil. Just a sweet, touching story told with more sound than dialog.

Another is Meet the Robinsons. The central message being to "keep moving forward" was desperately needed, and sadly ignored, for those first months after one of my greatest experiences.

Be forever strong, give yourself a second chance, you can change. Stand strong with those close to you.

Definitely my favorite comedy. I'd had a rough day at school, felt tons of pressure and didn't feel that I'd have time to do homework that day. Then I had loads of laughs at this movie.

So this isn't the quite the movie label, but it is the correct name. I still remember watching this movie in primary and just bawling. Touching.

Kinda corny, definitely a low-budget movie, but still a good love story.

The underlying message is a good one, fellowship non-members. We don't want the world to think of us as an exclusive, holier-than-thou club. Welcome them in.

Very touching story of conversion and change. Powerful testimony. Beautiful. And yes, this one also made me cry.

This one made me consider my values and how I want to live. Thought provoking and faith-inducing.


Just love this arrangement. Beautiful. Love story happens to be one of my favorite songs, just an fyi

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Coming soon...



I would find it interesting if I thought the Lord asks us to learn to let go of things only to someday make an eternal commitment to a spouse. However, I don't think it is an inconsistancy in logic. He doesn't ask us to let go of this person and that person only to tell us to cleave to another. There is a question of timing. There is the question of serving another. There are many intricate and delicate parts that we all play in each others' lives.
We may come across someone whom we feel love for, on whom we have empathetic compassion, and we befriend them. We may be on the other side, needing companionship. We may only need that person in our lives for a short time. We may only be needed for a short time. Despite all our best efforts, the Lord may eventually remove their company from us or remove us from their immediate surroundings. Keep in contact, as you can. Whether you touched someone's life or yours was touched by someone, keep in some contact. Friendships as such are valuable.
As I ponder on what may lie in store for me, I wonder when I'll find an eternal companion. I've thought that I had found someone a couple of times already. The Lord only showed me that the time was not yet. It has become normal and natural for me to come and go among social circles and to enter and leave lives quietly. When I become separated from a friend I feel that we have served our purposes one to another. Yet there is a deep longing for a constant. A yearning that pushes me to look deeply at people and discern what is contained within. Based on what is inside, I may extend my reach a little further that a friendship may develop into a little more. Certainly a relatioship of any kind requires that both parties work in conjunction. If my efforts seem unreciprocated I let go and move on. Like a good missionary, I try to have several plans and options in mind. The presence of back-up ideas does not ever rise above them being friends while in persuit of a primary possibility. However, once that relationship seems to fall, the next will begin to rise up. I haven't been completely and entirely smitten by one solitary person for a while. Once I experience that again, the secondaries will fall completely away that I may actively persue this one interest.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lot's wife and the future

Two weeks has been plenty of time without a new post. More than enough time. What I lacked last week was a reliable internet connection and a computer (kinda hard to connect to the internet without a computer). Tuesday I was able to adjust that situation and bought a display from Best Buy. This new computer is awesome. But there are better things than a computer or the internet or TV.
While surfing through the KBYU schedule I noticed that one of my favorite BYU addresses would be on, but that it would air at a much later than desired hour. So I searched for it on the BYU broadcasting page. This talk came at a pivotol moment and has since helped me to continue looking forward. Perhaps I may even attribute some of my unique character to this talk by Elder Jeffery R. Holland. Link is as follows http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=12522&x=23&y=4 . I personally recommend this talk.
I like it so much that I'm going to insert some of it here:
One of my favorite books of the New Testament is Paul’s too-seldom-read letter to the Philippians. After reviewing the very privileged and rewarding life of his early years—his birthright, his education, his standing in the Jewish community—Paul says that all of that was nothing (“dung” he calls it) compared to his conversion to Christianity. He says, and I paraphrase: “I have stopped rhapsodizing about ‘the good old days’ and now eagerly look toward the future ‘that I may apprehend that for which Christ apprehended me.’” Then comes this verse:

This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 3:13–14]

No Lot’s wife here. No looking back at Sodom and Gomorrah here. Paul knows it is out there in the future, up ahead wherever heaven is taking us where we will win “the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

At this point, let me pause and add a lesson that applies both in your own life and also in the lives of others. There is something in us, at least in too many of us, that particularly fails to forgive and forget earlier mistakes in life—either mistakes we ourselves have made or the mistakes of others. That is not good. It is not Christian. It stands in terrible opposition to the grandeur and majesty of the Atonement of Christ. To be tied to earlier mistakes—our own or other people’s—is the worst kind of wallowing in the past from which we are called to cease and desist.

We started this hour with a little verse remembered from one of my BYU English classes. May I move toward a close with a few lines from another favorite poet whom I probably met in that same class or one similar to it. For the benefit of all BYU students in the new year of 2009, Robert Browning wrote:

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith, “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”
[Rabbi Ben Ezra (1864), stanza 1]

Sister Holland and I were married about the time both of us were reading poems like that in BYU classrooms. We were as starstruck—and as fearful—as most of you are at these ages and stages of life. We had absolutely no money. Zero. For a variety of reasons, neither of our families was able to help finance our education. We had a small apartment just south of campus—the smallest we could find: two rooms and a half bath. We were both working too many hours trying to stay afloat financially, but we had no other choice.

I remember one fall day—I think it was in the first semester after our marriage in 1963—we were walking together up the hill past the Maeser Building on the sidewalk that led between the President’s Home and the Brimhall Building. Somewhere on that path we stopped and wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. Life that day seemed so overwhelming, and the undergraduate plus graduate years that we still anticipated before us seemed monumental, nearly insurmountable. Our love for each other and our commitment to the gospel were strong, but most of all the other temporal things around us seemed particularly ominous.

On a spot that I could probably still mark for you today, I turned to Pat and said something like this: “Honey, should we give up? I can get a good job and carve out a good living for us. I can do some things. I’ll be okay without a degree. Should we stop trying to tackle what right now seems so difficult to face?”

In my best reenactment of Lot’s wife, I said, in effect, “Let’s go back. Let’s go home. The future holds nothing for us.”

Then my beloved little bride did what she has done for 45 years since then. She grabbed me by the lapels and said, “We are not going back. We are not going home. The future holds everything for us.”

She stood there in the sunlight that day and gave me a real talk. I don’t recall that she quoted Paul, but there was certainly plenty in her voice that said she was committed to setting aside all that was past in order to “press toward the mark” and seize the prize of God that lay yet ahead. It was a living demonstration of faith. It was “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). So we laughed, kept walking, and finished up sharing a root beer—one glass, two straws—at the then newly constructed Wilkinson Center

To all such of every generation, I call out, “Remember Lot’s wife.” Faith is for the future. Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there. Faith trusts that God has great things in store for each of us and that Christ truly is the “high priest of good things to come.”

Perhaps the greatest line in there is "Faith builds on the past but never longs to stay there." Moving on is perhaps one of the hardest things the Lord will ask of us, but it is also the most rewarding. The past is dead and holds nothing for us. The future is yet to be, and if we plan for it, it holds everything. Today is the time for us to make our lives our own.

To borrow a few lines from the All American Rejects band "The future is alive, alive as can be/ just open your eyes, it's as plain to see/Just don't be afraid, just keep going on/ one step at a time and ya can't go wrong/ It's time to create, time to grow/ if you're feeling right/ the world, yeah she's changing/ don't it make you feel alive?"

Move on, have faith that what the Lord has in store for you is more than what He asks you to leave behind.