Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Annoying Yet Enjoyable

I know from the title you think I must be writing a post about me, well you are right, though it hurts me deeply that you find me annoying!

You know those songs that you hear the first time and think "wow, that song sucks!" and then three days later you are humming it. Then a week later you are thinking I have to get on iTunes and buy that bad boy (because like all responsible people I whole heartedly frown on evil "file sharing" sites like those mentioned in Weird Al's "don't download this song").

Well the latest of these that has claimed me as its victim is that Black Eyed Peas song about how freaking good tonight is going to be. Its going to be a good good night, and I'll be spending up my money!

Others have included that sweetheart MIley "My dad is a big attention whore, but not as bad as Spencer Pratt" Cyrus: I've got my sights set on you... the last time fr fr fr freaked out. So wonderfully Go-Go esque (well not quite but still...)

Nickleback's Rockstar, did you know that my favorite back up vampire slayer is in that video? NO really check it on Wikipedia! I hated this song the first 300 times I heard it. The I bought the video and now its in my top 25. How pathetic...

To the left, to the left: Don't forget about Beyonce. I can't stand her but (t) (hee, hee), that song is irreplacebly on my top 25.

I may be drunk but Brad Paisley's Alcohol is another. I love Brad Paisley, but this song really bugged me at first. Now it is on every playlist on my iPod. Even the one labled "church songs".

So these are just a few, I'd love to hear about yours, oh and if Eliza gets her way I'll be adding another Miley song "Party In The USA (a Jay Z song was on, a Jay Z song was on)" very soon! Let me know about yours!

Yellowstones and colored waters

It isn't often that I go to Yellowstone and take a lot of pictures of the thermal features, as the maps like to call them, I did like these views so I'm posting them for you. This first shot of the flowers I liked just because there was really no other greenery around and then here is a little clump of flowers popping up in the midst of all the stark and alien landscape that surrounds geysers.














I hope you enjoy.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sophie

Sophie Lee pulled herself along the wall shrinking up into the shadows as much as she possibly could. In a place like this one would think the shadows would be the worst place to be but Sophie felt some comfort there in the darkness. Her progress was slow as she tried to make no sound and she didn’t want her breathing to give her away. She didn’t know why her leg was numb, she didn’t know what had happened to Matthew, she didn’t know why she could not remember the last three days, in short like her step father often told her “I could write a book on things you don’t know.”

She finally pulled herself into a corner next to the hallway. She reached down and grabbed her left leg which felt like a 30 pound sausage dangling from her hip. Sophie pulled both legs up to her chest and dropped her head between her legs making herself as small as she could. She had heard somewhere that putting your head between her your knees could help prevent hyperventilation, at this point she was hoping not to pass out. She did not now much about what was happening, enough to fill a book. But she did know that just around the corner and into the light was death: terrifying, excruciating, certain death.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Long long ago


Sometimes things that happened oh song long ago linger. No I'm not talking about Herpes. I'm talking about life experiences. Good things linger, I can still remember getting whisker burns from my Grandpa Grover as a little kid which I acted like I hated but secretly loved. Little accomplishments like taking second place in a pine wood derby, learning to ride a bike, getting my first job. These things seem to hide in little pockets of my memory and pop out at different times and bring a smile to my face. The happy little pop up memories are great.

Then there are the other lingerers. This kind are like the guys who sit out on corners drinking from anonymous bottles shrouded in little brown paper bags. There really aren't good times for these lingerers to pop up. Its like when you think you have finally shaken strep throat only to find out that you need to have an entire new anti biotic for another round. It always turns out to be a crappy situation.

I have really come to dislike these negative lingering memories/experiences. In a way they become an albatross and I feel like the ancient mariner. And like a old set of luggage you carry them around for ever. A lot of people, myself included, may not even realize that you have these negative little stowaways out there in your psyche. They can way you down, ruin your day, cause you to start crying for no obvious reason and lead you to believe that you are loosing it. And in some ways you could be.

It is hard for me to even write about it. I really don't like to be whiny. I don't like rehashing bad times. I don't want to glorify old mistakes by reanimating them in my mind and living through them over and over again. These things are like Jason and Michael and Freddy all mixed together, they just keep coming back. Often the issue is something I had no control over when it happened, but now, when it pops up and I do have some measure of control (or should) I let it take over my whole thought process. This can ruin an entire day just by bumming me out. There is a lesson here to be sure. Try not to create any of these lingerers for others. Especially for kids, you never really know how long harsh words, broken promises, or shattered dreams will stay with a person.

Then there are those lingerers who I, in a sense, invited over and just won't leave. The mistakes made in life big or small that try as you will to move on from and forget won't go away. My sainted mother once told me of an object lesson she had in seminary where the teacher illustrated the lasting effects of sin by hammering nails into a 2 x 4. When through repentance the nails are taken out, the hole created by driving the nails into the board still remain. In my life I have made stupid decisions, I have not given my best effort, or have chickened out of doing things that could have turned out well. These are things I still regret. I sometimes feel like Seth in Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary when he states that his past mistakes keep limiting his future opportunities. I still think if only I would have paid more attention in school, if only I would have been more kind to this person, if only I had chosen to be more Christlike at that point of my life. I think the name of half of the malingerers is "if only".

There is wisdom in the saying "live your life so you have no regrets." I don't know if this is truly possible, but I would challenge you to try. Control the things that you can, and don't let yourself be controlled by those things outside of your control. Good luck, and watch out for stowaways.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Matthew Good "Weapon"

Thought I would pry myself away from Facebook for a minute to drop a great tune on you in case you haven't heard it. Matthew Good is a great (wow that was a crappy play on words) artist, love this song!



Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Not much time...

Just a quick hit to update the pictures from our Memorial Day trip to YNP. I am grateful for all those who have died defending our freedom so I can take my family to one of the most beautiful collections of God's creations without fear of being suicide bombed (so far)! Thanks veterans and families of veterans for all you do and have done!

Now on to the photo's enjoy!




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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wesley did you notice...?

That I have R.E.M. on my playlist. Quick question though, I heard that Clay Aiken is Michael Stipe's love child. Any truth to this?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Good old times...

Tonight I spent a little time with my sister, we had some dinner and caught a movie. It was fun. As usual when we get together we try to impress each other with some new music, or even better, a blast from the past. You know a little Bell Biv Devoe, Beastie Boys, or Digital Underground.


Tonight when the Humpty Dance came up on the iPod rotation I was impressed that I still knew about 96.7% of the lyrics (side bar: my wife would probably ask why that's impressive???) and then a second impression hit me. Humpty Hump is POTUS. President of the United States for those of you who have yet to see Vantage Point (side bar: find a Redbox and rent it!). Now I know you think I'm crazy, but think about it: have you ever seen the two of them in a room together? I thought not. That in itself is almost irrefutable evidence, but that's not all I have to offer. I present 100% undoctered photo evidence:











and this beauty:







This seals the deal for me. I mean really, the man explains it in his own lyrics regarding his trademark dance from the late 80's "you've got it down when you appear to be in pain." Look at him, look at Ellen. It is clear from the look on her face that she is worried that the President of the greatest country in the free world is on her show and is in pain, she is signaling the secret service to come and rescue him.




I just gained some more respect for our leader. I mean have you heard the Sex Packets album? It is a classic. I still remember Kevin Dewsnup and Jake Handy rocking their off the shoulder cover alls and kickin' some Humpty Dance in the gym (Yes Kelly (formally Davis, your husband) at the high school. President Obama would be proud. And the First Lady, well c'mon how could she help but be attracted to a man with those kind of skills and lack of inhibitions, you know he once got busy in a Burger King bathroom?



Do you still doubt me? Our President used his charm and abilities to be a community organizer, helping to mobilize disadvantaged youths to focus their energies on things like politics (see ACORN), and the banking industry (again see ACORN), and activism (see Bill Ayers, oh and ACORN). This explains how he could take a troubled youth from the streets like Tupac and inspire him to be more than a roadie and helped launch a tremendous career tragically cut short (see ACORN???).



To me it was an epiphany, there is no other explanation. But don't worry Mr. President, your secret is fine with me. Just don't let yourself get photographed with those funny Groucho Marx glasses and a stogie and no one else will know...



P.S. have you ever seen these two together in the same room?









I'm just saying...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Climbing Hills








On the Saturday before Easter I had reached a breaking point with Spring fever, I was suffering serious symptoms and I was close to not making it. Fortunately my wife gave me the medicine I needed as the whole family got out of the house and went for a hike. I had told my kids that we were going to go climb a volcano. They were a little nervous to say the least. In fact we had driven around the "R" mountain (or the north Menan butte) before and they were a little nervous. This time we were going to climb right up the thing.

We started out with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. A full Camelback on Matthew and my backpack full of water bottles and granola bars. This was gonna rock like Metallica. Then we left the friendly and paved confines of the parking lot. My body was like "see this is why its a bad idea to become lazy between hunting seasons!" I had to agree my body was right. We were off however and we trudged along. Soon the gravel path gave way to the sand at the foot of the hill, then the sand gave way to the hard pack and rock and we were really in for it. About a fifth of the way along Rex my 2 year old says that his legs are tired, and , since mom already has the Colbster strapped to her Rex goes up and unto my shoulders for the duration (to my bro in law Neils who will soon be humping away on those awesome marches in boot camp I FEEL YOU!) so my 10pound pack becomes a 50 pound pack just like that.

As we were hiking we were talking and the kids were excited about Easter eggs and candy and were becoming a little tired and cranky. The Camelback somehow became heavier as more water was drained from it(??? Matthew ???) and I was toting my own dromedary hump as Rexy was the one drinking all the water. Soon there were some remarks made amongst the kiddo's and as I am the mater of negative reinforcement because I can't ignore it I began to lecture the kids. It is at this point that we reach the top of the hill. I look around and I am touched by the beauty of the surroundings, I'm proud of my family for our accomplishment, and I'm laughing to myself because the kids realized that the "volcano" is filled with rocks and sagebrush and not lava which I think they were kind of expecting.
I ask the kids if they understand what we "celebrate" or remember on Easter. Of course Matthew has the answer (he always does) and tells us all that it is the resurrection of Jesus. I tell him that he is right and then I explain a little about "good" Friday and the crucifixion as well, and explain that this weekend especially we need to show kindness to each other and serve one another. At this point Eliza correctly reminds me (she always does) that Jesus would want us to do these things every day. We start back down the hill talking a little more kindly, even though the kids are still tired.
In my mind I am thinking about climbing hills and the Savior. You know that Jesus climbed hills? He climbed not for fun, not for exercise, not for a hobby. He climbed hills to suffer and die. He climbed the mount of olives to take Upon Himself the sins of the world. While there He bled from every pore and shook violently as His body was racked with the pain of my sins, and yours. He climbed another hill shortly thereafter, this time not with a heavy pack to carry and water to drink. No, He carried a cross, and when He was thirsty he was given vinegar to drink. When He reached the top of this hill, I'm sure He took in His surroundings. I don't know if He was touched by the view or not. I do know that He was touched by cold hard nails that secured Him to the cross He had just borne up the hill. I imagine that as all this was unfolding He did feel a sense of accomplishment, and I know how He felt for all of us. Climbing those hills might have been the hardest thing that Jesus will ever do, and yet He did it, because of love.
Please try and remember this the next time you are struggling up a hill, I know I will.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

This is why I created this Blog anyway

It says somewhere in this blog that I made it so I could write and share my thoughts and opinions to any who care to read them. So I wrote a talk for church that was supposed to be for 10 minutes, as it turns out I had about 3 minutes to give it so it was considerably condensed. I got a bee in my bonnet and decided to post it here. Read, enjoy (or not), comment, and have a great day!


On Tuesday night at mutual I called on Bishop for a favor and he graciously relented and helped me fix a small problem. A little while later as I was watching the young men and women (and a few leaders) carry out a battle of epic proportions in the gym the Bishop came to me and asked a favor of his own and here I am today. I was told long ago that it is best to start with a joke when addressing a large audience to put them at ease. I thought of a joke I could tell, but my sense of humor is pretty dry. I really excel at physique humor. That is different from physical humor like Jerry Lewis or Jim Carey. Physique humor is when you look at my physique and laugh- so there you go; I told you I have a dry sense of humor.

Bishop asked me to use Elder Uchtdorf’s address from last fall’s General Priesthood meeting entitled “Lift Where You Stand” as a guide for my talk. Obviously, I could not speak on the topic better than he did so I am just going to read his entire talk verbatim and then bear my testimony and sit down. No really, as I read through the talk and starting making notes I felt that I had more than enough material for a ten minute talk about half way through the second page. So I hope that you will bear with me as I try to give you a little of my own insights mixed with Elder Uchtdorf’s talk.

Elder Uchtdorf started his talk with this story:
“Some years ago in our meetinghouse in Darmstadt, Germany, a group of brethren was asked to move a grand piano from the chapel to the adjoining cultural hall, where it was needed for a musical event. None were professional movers, and the task of getting that gravity-friendly instrument through the chapel and into the cultural hall seemed nearly impossible. Everybody knew that this task required not only physical strength but also careful coordination. There were plenty of ideas, but not one could keep the piano balanced correctly. They repositioned the brethren by strength, height, and age over and over again—nothing worked.

As they stood around the piano, uncertain of what to do next, a good friend of mine, Brother Hanno Luschin, spoke up. He said, “Brethren, stand close together and lift where you stand.”
It seemed too simple. Nevertheless, each lifted where he stood, and the piano rose from the ground and moved into the cultural hall as if on its own power. That was the answer to the challenge. They merely needed to stand close together and lift where they stood.


I have often thought of Brother Luschin’s simple idea and have been impressed by its profound truth.”


It is funny that a task of physical labor could spark the thoughts of a spiritual principal, but with the gospel that is often the way things happen.


Lifting by the definition I could find in our little home dictionary is to bring to a higher position, to rise. I wonder have you ever tried to lift something from below, or from a lower level than the object you are trying to lift? I personally believe that it is technically impossible to “lift” from below; at that point I think you are really pushing. In Gospel related matters I think that pushing goes contrary to what we are trying to accomplish. Pushing seems to me the way that Satan wanted to accomplish the exaltation of man. While the Savior and our Heavenly Father wanted to lift us up as we needed and asked.


About 16 years ago in the mission field I learned a great lesson from my mission president that relates to this principle, and has stayed with me all this time, about lifting others. He related a story about Peter and John and a beggar at the doors of the temple in Acts chapter 3 we can find this story:
1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.
2 And a certain man alame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;
3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an aalms.
4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.
5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.
6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have agive I thee: In the bname of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
7 And he took him by the right hand, and alifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.


Thinking about this scripture I can see Peter and John at the steps of the temple and peering down at this poor man and reaching down and LIFTING him up. I think that this scripture illustrates an important principle, Peter was lifting from higher ground. Physically he was higher than the beggar and could lift him, and spiritually Peter was at a high enough place that he could use the power of God to heal this man of his debilitating condition and raise him to a higher level. To lift other’s I believe we must ourselves be at a higher place. To relate back to Elder Uchtdorf’s talk, Peter stopped where he was and lifted, and by giving of what he had to give Peter was filled by the power of God and was able to heal the man lifting from one state in life to another higher station.


Elder Uchtdorf continued:
“Although it may seem simple, lifting where we stand is a principle of power. Most of the priesthood bearers I know understand and live by this principle. They are eager to roll up their sleeves and go to work, whatever that work might be. They faithfully perform their priesthood duties. They magnify their callings. They serve the Lord by serving others. They stand close together and lift where they stand.”


When my family moved back to Rexburg about four years ago we just showed up one day with our big moving truck and our heavy furniture. We did not call ahead to request help. We did not know if the members of our ward who had been there before would still be there. And I did not like to bother others to help carry my burden. I had some family that could come to help somewhat and we would make do. We started to unload the pieces we could and before I knew it our work crew began to grow, soon there was Brother Gibb, Brother Rowe, Brother Hart and others I can’t remember right now who were moving our furniture and boxes and many hands made a lighter burden. We had a High Priest’s moving in company to lift where they stood and help my family greatly. Four years before Elder Uchtdorf’s talk these brethren understood the principle that Elder Uchtdorf taught and although their years of lifting heavy objects had gone on they lifted and served without complaining and with great strength. This is in accordance with the gospel and the Father’s plan.


In contrast to that, Elder Uchtdorf states that there are some who won’t lift where they stand or serve when and how they are called. He states that there are those who seek to lead and those who seek to hide. Those who seek to lead are those whom seem to feel that their abilities exceed or overreach the callings they are given. In the mission field I knew missionaries who sought out positions of leadership, they wanted to be a district leader, a zone leader, or an assistant to the president. Some I wonder if they obtained those positions whether or not they would be happy, maybe they would think they should be mission president? Sometimes people have a calling where they feel that they cannot be as influential as perhaps they would be someplace else in the church. It is sad because often these same people waste their abilities and opportunities to serve pining away for what in their mind would be bigger and better things.


Then those who seek to hide. I am reminded of the parable of the talents and the servant who hid his talent knowing that the master would expect much from him and did not want to lose the talent given him. In the long run by not seeking to magnify his talent the servant lost it anyway. Elder Uchtdorf spoke of a report given to President Benson of members of the Church turning down callings because the members were too busy and didn’t have the time. President Benson said that members of the Church have a responsibility to serve in callings because the rest of us have the need to be enriched by their abilities and talents. I think many of us feel that we may not have the strength, wisdom, or abilities to serve in certain positions to which we are called. Let us remember the parable of the talents and not hide but magnify that which we have be given. As we lift where we stand as Elder Uchtdorf teaches us then we will be given the strength we need.


Elder Uchtdorf continues:
“There is a better way, taught to us by the Savior Himself: “Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.”2
When we seek to serve others, we are motivated not by selfishness but by charity. This is the way Jesus Christ lived His life and the way a holder of the priesthood must live his. The Savior did not care for the honors of men; Satan offered Him all the kingdoms and glory of the world, and Jesus rejected the offer immediately and completely.3 Throughout His life, the Savior must have often felt tired and pressed upon, with scarcely a moment to Himself; yet He always made time for the sick, the sorrowful, and the overlooked.”


A favorite scripture of mine exemplifies the Savior’s willingness to serve and lift others under less than favorable circumstances and the examples of friends seeking to lift a friend out of a lowly station in life caused by illness to a greater station. In Mark chapter 2 we find this example:
“1 And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was ain the house.
2 And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he apreached the word unto them.
3 And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was aborne of four.
4 And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be aforgiven thee.
6 But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,
7 Why doth this man thus speak ablasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?
8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?
9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?
10 But that ye may know that the aSon of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)
11 I say unto thee, aArise, and take up thy bbed, and go thy way into thine house.
12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.”

Here we see how service has and can be given by seeking to raise up others wherever and in whatever circumstances we may find ourselves. I think the key in this situation was the desires of the men to help their friend. Christ knew the desires of their hearts, and felt their faith, and lifted their friend from his physical and spiritual depths. He is always ready to lift, wherever He or we, may be.

Finally I think of my Savior being lifted up, this time by men and in a cruel fashion. Lifted up upon a cross that He had been staked to and left to die as a common criminal. And yet He did that which was far from common. He continued to lift others right where He stood, upon Golgotha. He lifted His mother Mary commending her care unto another that she might not suffer in His absence. He lifted those who crucified Him, those who mocked and scorned Him, those who cried out for His death by forgiving them and asking His Father to do the same. He lifted from all of us the unbearable weight of the chains of sin. And as He lifted up His own body to a glorified and immortal state, He lifted us all out of the grave that will one day claim us.

It is my testimony that we need not make things harder than they are. Much like the men struggling to lift the piano we often struggle ourselves with the weight of our callings, our perceived shortcomings, our family crisis (such as they are). In reality all we need to do is stand tall wherever we may be in life, reach down, and lift. In doing what we can wherever and whenever we can the Lord will magnify our efforts and the seemingly immovable objects will be lifted. Jesus Christ is my Savior and He lifts me daily, I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Come, let us go up unto the mountain of the Lord


Today I was able to go to the temple right after work. It was great, it could have only been better if I had my sunshine with me, but she is where she needs to be right now. (Sidebar, she really is my sunshine, since she's been gone its been cold and snowy...) I wanted to go as soon after work as I could so I wore my churchy clothes to work, anticipating the reactions and questions of my co-workers. I actually like to dress nice every now and then and wear a tie and what not, but when I do I get a lot of grief about brown nosing, being gay(???), etc... I usually respond by saying I have a job interview and walk off. I work in a wonderful but sometimes weird place.

Anyway I was enjoying being dressed up, I was trying to mindful of where I was going and mind my p's and q's. I was saying extra little prayers in my mind, listened to the BYU-I mormon lite station (they need to get Punjab to say KAAAYYYYBEEEEEWWWHHHHYYYYEYYYYYYEEE, like he does on KYOT smooooth jazzz), and generally I had a great day.

I got off work a little early so I could catch the 5:15 PM session without totally having to run (we're always late). I was on time and still at the back of the room. The Rexburger's are doing well at keeping the temple full (I've heard rumor that they might ask a stake to start going back to the IF temple). Being at the back was a blessing because I had a lot of time to contemplate and look at the design of the temple and the beauty of the murals. Whilst lost in contemplation (and trying not to melt, curse you thin skinned old people!!!) I had a tender mercy moment when I saw a single sister enjoying the temple session. I can't really get into detail here, but it struck me how the Lord uses regular people as angels to bless the lives of others. It reminded me of a great scripture regarding widows and the fatherless. The Lord really cares for each of us individually and puts in place opportunites for us to be blessed and to bless others. I was a little sad because I was there without my wife and then I saw this sweet sister there without a husband at all (don't ask me how I know, its priviledged information), and how there happened to be a single brother there to help this woman and me by his example.

Going to the temple is always a great experience, but today just seemed to be extra spiritual. I felt like I had many insights, a good boost, and I got to give a little service myself to a 131 year old chap from Yorkshire (not as good as Lancashire, but its Wuthering Heights teritory). I am so grateful to have these kinds of opportunities and blessings. To be able to see the temple from about everywhere I go in Rexburg. To have a family sealed in the temple and so richly blessed by the Lord. And to have the knowledge that He is watching over everyone and providing blessings as often as He can. Life is good.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Lonely and Alone

I have often said how much I would like to live on a mountaintop in Alaska, hunt my own proteins, grow my owns carbs, and be left alone. I like to tell myself that is how I would like to be, because I don't really feel like a social animal. Eliza tells me sometime she thinks I would be happy all by myself with computer games, that I isolate myself so I don't have to deal with everything else going on around me. I realize every time my family is gone away for some reason, or when I used to have to leave for business, that something isn't right. I don't enjoy being alone nearly as much as I think I will. I can't sleep, I waste hours playing games on the computer or x-box, I sleep with my gun because I'm jumpy and freaked out in my big empty house (true story, so don't break in!), I even tolerate the cat more because it is my only company.

I really started thinking about this more closely when reading a comment from Kindra, my sister in law, on Michelle's , another sister in law, blog. She talked about Lo, my father in law, explaining to them how lonely he felt with Kathleen sick and in the hospital. Right now she is in a quiet place, not speaking much, not reacting much (at least on the outside) and he has a rather large void in his life. To know Kathleen is to know exuberance incarnate. A woman whose smile extends from her lips to her eyes and radiates from her face. She is a story teller, a performer, a teacher, and a friend. To Lo she is a queen, his love, his life. He is a proud father, but his life revolves around his wife and their relationship. He would protect her any way he could, and would gladly give his life for hers if he needed to. It is no wonder that this man is lonely. I am grateful for the faith and prayers of all those who care for him, they shore him up, and without them I fear his will would be crushed, because he needs his Beloved.

Struggling to deal with the depth of his, and our, loss (at least for now, because I believe that Kathleen will be back and better than ever) of Kathleen's companionship, that smile, her warmth and wisdom has been a time of spiritual growing pains for most of us. It has been a bittersweet opportunity for me to fast with greater faith and intensity of prayer. It has been wonderful and sad at the same time to hear my children pray for their Granny with such sweet simple faith. It has been amazing to read the Ensign and find stories and talks meant just for me, and to hear testimonies born with assuredness of the saving power of Christ.

Just a few nights ago I began thinking that this experience is happening for a reason, or at least we are finding reason in it. Brothers, sisters, cousins and friends sharing stories or prayers offered and peace felt. Daughters and sons expressing great feelings of spiritual growth and calm peacefulness filling their hearts at different times. The greatness of God revealed in a seemingly random occurrence of a body rebelling against itself. I believe (because I really shouldn't speak for everyone else) that our Heavenly Father is teaching us one of the hardest lessons He has to teach His children, to be alone.

As the prophet Joseph Smith languished in the Liberty jail, falsely imprisoned, separated from the love of his life and his children, separated from the the body of the Church he loved so much, he plead to God with words that seemed to express his loneliness "Oh God where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth Thy hiding place?" This wasn't the first time the prophet had been "alone". In fact in many ways he had been alone throughout his life because of his experiences and convictions. I do not doubt that Joseph longed for more time to be spent in the arms of his wife. In the company of his children. At the hearth of his mother and father. But it was not to be. It seemed that our Father in Heaven had a need for Joseph to learn a bitter lesson, one the He knows all too well. In fact the Lord told Joseph as much while he was still a prisoner at Liberty jail "If thou art called to pass through tribulation... if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can’t you stay with us? O, my father, what are the men going to do with you? and if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison... know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." It was if the Lord was saying "Joseph, My brother, swallow this bitterness now, for in time you will never be lonely again, and you will truly savor the sweet companionship's of the eternities" (again I don't mean to put words in anyone's mouth, especially not Jesus, but for me it feels right).

Why do we need to know what it feels like to be alone? Why did Jonah need to be alone in the belly of the whale? Why did Adam need to be a lone man in the wilderness? Why did Samuel find himself alone upon the wall crying repentance to the Nephites? I believe it is so we can understand the words "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" or "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?". As Christ Himself performed the ultimate act of condescension for us He was for a time alone, not just left alone by His disciples who slept as He suffered, but by His own Father. A Father who understood what must be done in order to save us all. A Father in Heaven who knows exactly how a husband feels when fearing the loss of his wife, or a daughter struggling to cope with the thought of becoming a mother herself without her mother there at her side. A Father who understands that to appreciate the greatest of all blessings, the most exquisite of all joys, the fulfillment of our lives, we must sometime in our lives know the uncertainty, pain, and fear of being lonely and alone.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Blood is thicker than...

The old saying goes "Blood is thicker than water..." meaning that familial ties, blood ties, are stronger than any other. Lately I have had occasion to think about what family means, who my family includes. I must say that I was blessed with a tremendous "blood" family. All sides carrying strong ties to my faith, possessing a great many and varied talents, and a strong work ethic. I am grateful to my family for passing these traits on to me, and instilling in me the learned behaviors that have blessed my life. I recognize the great contributions made by my biological family and the sacrifices made on my behalf, great and small.

That said, I have an extended family that is not necessarily biologically mine. Through marriage I became part of another large family steeped in wonderful traditions, built on good works and hard working. I didn't really take into consideration the blessings I would reap when joining this family, in actuality I was just happy to be getting an incredible wife (beautiful, intelligent, spiritual, wise, unbendably strong convictions). It was a bonus that I seemed to get along with those of my in laws that I had met, and truly like them as well.

Considering that Eliza and I met on a blind date, it was pretty miraculous that her family enjoys so many of the things that I do. It was a very good sign that on the first real time meeting the family Eliza's dad Lo grilled up some very tasty steaks. How did he know that I was a steak lover? Come to think of it, I think this may have been the first time in my life I ate a salad, but that is an aside. That night I played the basketball game "poison" with Eliza and several of her little sisters and a brother. I felt as if I belonged, even though I was so far out of my element surrounded by a big family. Along with the steak I found out that Lo was a conservative ( a huge plus in the book of the only guy I know that listened to Rush Limbaugh daily as a 15 year old), that at the time he was in the farming/sales industry ( I grew up on a farm, and was in sales), and he biked (as in bicycle, of which I like the mountain variety, although I'm not against leg shaving). Lo has always been to me an example of what a father should be: steadfast in the gospel, true to family and friends, a deeply devoted husband, and faithful father. As a cocky kid (which I think all 21 year olds just off the mission are) I caused Lo some consternation a few times, but he has always treated me so kindly. In fact I feel as though he has always treated me like one of his own sons. I don't know that a father in law could have a much higher compliment. Coming from a guy who has a dad and a step dad who I have grown up with, I am probably as close with my father in law as with either of my two dads (no offense intended fellas) and would proudly call Lo "dad".

So much has been made of the "evil" mother in law. Countless jokes and complaints, even movies and television shows based solely on this idea. Personally I don't get it. I never have. From day one my "mom" in law Kathleen has taken me in and taken me under her wing like one of her own little chicks. I have always liked Kathleen, I see so much of her in Eliza so what's not to like? Kathleen has always struck me as a supermom, without trying to appear to be a supermom. Like my own mother she has a soft spot for people and would quickly stand up for someone down on their luck but trying to what's right. Like my own mom she was on her high school's spirit squad (or whatever they were called, for my mom I think it was the "peppers"). I can see Eliza's drive and determination in her mom. I can see Eliza's intense love and desire for her children's well being in Kathleen. I can see the beauty and grace with which Eliza carries herself in Kathleen. My mom in law is the epitome of class, with the ability to make a joke (even very mildly off color) without coming across as phony. I love Kathleen as if she were my own mother and in some real ways she is.

Now, more than ever, as Kathleen is battling through a very serious health problem with her tumor and subsequent surgical complications I have come to truly appreciate my family. I have really felt that my extended family is just that... family. As Eliza and I were sealed together in the temple in front of friends and family the sealing power of the priesthood made me a very real link in her family chain and my spiritual family is every bit as real to me as my "blood" family. If all goes well I will be with them all together, forever.

Friday, February 20, 2009

SEALED

The light is blindingly white,
its blurring my vision.
Where is this light coming from?
As I sit on this small velvet covered couch
with your hand clasped in mine
I can't quite catch my breath.
What is that pounding in my ears?
Is that my heartbeat?
That light is becoming more intense-
making my eyes water-
or, are those tears?
Why can't I breathe?
I feel surrounded,
like the eternities are pushing in on me,
trying so hard to connect me to the past
and the future.
I wipe my eyes
and they fill again.
Is it because of the light?
Where is it coming from?
Is it in the mirrors around us?
No, all I can see is you and I,
and our images like echos going on forever.
The light is growing
in brightness
in depth
in quality.
It is pulsing-
why would it do that?
It is like it is alive.
The light's pulse seems to mimic
my heartbeat:
a quickening throb.
I can't see where it is coming from?
The light is filling me.
As I look at you
sitting there
the light's pulse matches my heart's beat.
I realize the light is coming from within me.
Searing my heart,
melting it,
welding it,
to yours.
I realize my heart had an empty space,
a hole,
and your heart filled it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I AM SASQUATCH

I love facial hair, mostly because I have REALLY sensitive skin and I hate to shave because I get razor burn and rashes and ingrown hair etc... This is why I usually have some form of facial hair. I also have ADHD which I blame for my ever changing facial hair. But for a while now I have stuck with the full on beard and I love it. This is the longest I've ever grown a beard and it is by far the thickest I have ever had. I've been growing since sometime in early November and have trimmed it down twice so far. Besides boosting the testosterone of any room I walk into it has a practical purpose: keeping my cheeks warm. As you can see in the frosty bearded picture below it is providing much needed protection.


This was an unbelievably cold day, like 12 degrees, but I was nice and toasty! Okay so I was still cold, but not as cold as I could have been I'm sure!

Some of my favorite characters have had beards like:

Jeremiah Johnson





Or Grizzly Adams:



even Mugatu has a nice goat:




even chicks get in on the action:



Honestly what's not to love?

I know that some of the ladies complain that a man's facial hair can itch. Come on now think of it as nature's exfoliator and relish that you don't have to give yourself a facial. Some women don't like kissing a man with a beard because it "tickles". Isn't that really kind of a bonus? I mean really ladies, sit back, relax, and enjoy.


Now men my Grandpa Grover, a famous connoisseur of facial hair himself, taught me a valuable life lesson: There is a difference between growing a beard and not shaving. Men don't fall into that trap. You really don't want your beard to say "I'm a wino," unless of course you, are then have at it! Another thing, you don't want to be rocking that peach fuzz. It doesn't count if a cat could lick it off with a little milk. And finally, if you look like a tree with half of the leaves blown off maybe give up and go for a porn stache:

Who isn't feeling that?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Is anyone out there?

I think anyone who has a blog would like to be read. I don't think it is narcissistic, I think, as it is for myself, a need to be heard and at least thought about. Granted some people blog just to keep in touch with friends or family and that is fine. Others to espouse their beliefs in politics or sports which is funny because I always have heard that the big 3 things you don't discuss with other are religion, politics, and sports (no maybe that's not right, anyway). The point is that people that blog are putting themselves out into the wide wide world and expressing themselves for others to hear. This is inherently scary for most of us who aren't megalomaniacs and at the same time liberating. It is a good feeling to compose a post, try to put across your thoughts coherently, and then set it free onto the world wide web to reach as many people as you can. Now I'm no Matt Drudge, i have no delusions of being read by hundreds of thousands of people. I would (and do) get excited when one person visits my blog, and maybe people do, but to my knowledge only 4 people ever have and only 3 of those have ever posted a comment. So I guess my question is: Is ANYONE out there?

I get it if you don't find my stuff interesting, I'm a pretty eclectic kinda cat, but let me know. If you think my posts are disturbing let me know, if you don't like my political leaning let me know, if you would like to get me take on a subject let me know I would be happy to oblige. Of course if you think I rock let me know (thanks Tara for all of your positive comments!).

I have been told if you want to be read, or commented on, go out and comment on others. I try to do that, thus far I haven't found that to be so effective. I will keep trying. I don't want to be whiny, and I would like this to represent the silent ones out there in our little sphere, so please read and comment to other people's blogs. They will appreciate it, even if you disagree. Happy New Year!!!