Sometimes we get stuck seeing things our way. Would you like to see some things through another set of eyes? Maybe it will make you think and stretch or maybe just chuckle or shed a tear. Here is my world through my eyes...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Flynn vs Flint

Some people call it the battle of the sexes but I prefer to call it gender gymnastics. 

Lisa and I had some friends over to the house and one of those situations arose and I said "in like Flynn" and she made a comment about "in like Flint".  I thought we were having our post age 50 hearing difference but it became evident that she was accustomed to that phrase being "in like Flint". 

So she suggested a showdown and that I Google it.  I did.  And the result is (click here if you care to read about it) that Flynn  is the right one.  It had reference to Errol Flynn and his swashbuckling and romance laden movies.  I learned something new that the phrase not only meant to be quick, smooth or successful, but had some sexual and romantic connotations as well.  I'll have to be careful with the use of that phrase. 

It turns out that there is a phrase "in like Flint" which may have been an offshoot of the original.  Apparently there was a movie with that title (click here to read about the movie).  This movie was actually a sequel to one called "Our Man Flint" and the title may have been a play on the phrase "in like Flynn" (interestingly enough there are several different books written with this title and even at least one song plus a TV movie from 1985 it appears).  So surprisingly it appears that I won that apparatus for the males but it was closer than I thought. 

In Like Flint

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hymn to Hope by Secret Garden

Donate For Hope

Hope is so important in our mortal lives.  I emphasize mortal here because we know it will end.  Therefore a hope of meaning to this life and hope of a life beyond these few frail years is needed to motivate us beyond selfishness.

Hope of forgiveness for our sins.
Hope of a Savior and God that loves us.
Hope of meaning beyond our career or the daily necessities of life.
Hope of a future with our family.
Hope of a change to be better than we currently are.
Hope of being loved forever.
Hope of seeing our children and their children again.
Hope of understanding beyond our current abilities.
Hope of healing physically, mentally and spiritually.
Hope that we can find our talents and that they can be used for good.
Hope of becoming something better than we are and as good as we are willing to become. 

Hymn to Hope is beautiful instrumental song by Secret Garden. Secret Garden is Rolf Lovland on keyboards and Fionnuala Sherry on violin.  (Click here to go to their website).

This first video is of Secret Garden preforming this song.

The second video is the music while visualizing art (I call it shrimp art).

In my imagination this music calls out hope to people, bringing hope to the hopeless and fortifying the hope of those whose portion is yet weak and small.  To those whose hope is already strong it provides comfort and peace.  Listen and see what you think. 

Quotes on Hope:

Hope is the physician of each misery.  ~Irish Proverb

Hope is patience with the lamp lit.  ~Tertullian

Once you choose hope, anything's possible.  ~Christopher Reeve

Genuine hope is urgently needed in order to be more loving even as the love of many waxes cold; more merciful, even when misunderstood or misrepresented; more holy, even as the world ripens in iniquity; more courteous and patient in a coarsening and curt world; and more full of heartfelt hope, even when other men’s hearts fail them. Whatever our particular furrow, we are to ‘plow in hope,’ without looking back or letting yesterday hold tomorrow hostage (1 Cor. 9:10).

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Guest Blog: Rainman

Although I’ve been the subject of a blog before, I’ve never been a guest blogger—until today!  I’ve been considering what to write about ever since Dallas suggested I might try my hand at it, and have found myself pondering both the ridiculous and the sublime.  Then I remembered an experience I had this past summer, and decided it would be the topic of my first post.
I had entered the grocery store 45 minutes earlier, with the sun beating down from clear blue skies.  But as I completed my purchases and headed for the exit, a torrential downpour had commenced.  A few of my fellow shoppers and I paused in the store’s entryway between the two sets of glass doors. 
The old man was seated, waiting calmly and patiently on a metal bench placed there.  “It will stop in a few minutes,” he said to a woman fidgeting nervously on an adjacent bench, clutching the bags that held her purchases.  “It always does.  You’ll see; in just a few minutes, the sun will be shining again.”  His smile was reminiscent of the sunshine he spoke of: warm and inviting.
I hadn’t expected rain, so had brought no umbrella.  I found a spot to sit and wait, and watched as the deluge continued.  After a few minutes, the storm’s intensity decreased somewhat, and I decided to seize the chance to escape to my van, thinking that with a sky this gray and overcast, the storm would surely not abate until much later.  I steeled myself and pushed my shopping cart out the door and into the parking lot, hurrying through the growing puddles and trying unsuccessfully to dodge the raindrops.
Only a few yards from the store, the rain increased in intensity, and the bags of groceries in my cart were soon soaked.  I made it to my van and lifted the tailgate, which offered partial shelter from the rain for me and my cargo.  I hoped that the rainwater dripping from the plastic bags wouldn’t leave my van smelling too damp and musty.  I returned the cart to the corral and hurried back to my vehicle, wet and rather uncomfortable.  I wiped the raindrops from my eyeglasses and then pulled my van out of the parking space.
Before my van had even cleared the parking lot, the sun came out and the rain clouds, which had so recently been unloading water by the bucketfuls, dispersed.  Once again the sun was shining and the sky was blue.  The wet pavement and the steam rising from it were the only evidence of the thunderstorm which had just passed.
I thought again of the man in the store, and the advice he had given.  I suspect he had lived in the area for many years, and that he had more than a passing acquaintance with our summer thunderstorms.  He knew that, despite their intensity, the storms would quickly pass, and that with a little patience and common sense, one could “wait it out”. 
As I reviewed my experience that day, I realized that Heavenly Father often places those with more experience in our paths to help us weather the storms in our lives--parents, teachers, and church leaders who have walked paths much like our own, and who have learned something about what we might expect along the way.  When we seek and follow their advice and counsel, we are less likely to experience the negative consequences—ranging from the merely irritating to the truly dangerous—that often come with those storms.  While it’s true that there are lessons we are here in mortality to learn, it’s also true that we don’t have to touch the stove ourselves to know it’s hot!  We can avoid a lot of heartache and disappointment if we take advantage of the wisdom and inspiration of those who have successfully weathered a few of life’s storms, and who are anxious to ease the way for their fellow travelers on the path.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A sound engagement

I set at my desk in my office and began to notice some prolonged sounds of excitement.  It was obvious that the noises were celebrity in intention.  As groups often do when some exciting news is shared and it becomes loud the sound tends to roll like waves growing louder than softer and then ascending to a louder noise again.  Jokes and laughing mixed in with the congratulatory noises.  It was a happy group discussing something that was meaningful and joyful to them all.  I considered the voices that I could hear.  A single mother of a teenager, a middle aged married woman and a 30 something single woman.  I wondered what could get them all so boisterously excited and concluded it was likely a pregnancy or an engagement.  Knowing, somewhat, the circumstances of those involved I surmised that the 30something young woman had gotten engaged.  I knew of her desire to be married and have a family and the stresses and difficulties of finding an upstanding young man to partner with had been difficult.  I had seen the look on her face and in her eyes when another co-worker had brought her new baby in for the staff to see.  I knew she wanted to have a child but also knew she valued marriage before getting pregnant.   

A few minutes later she came down and with many smiles and body language that expressed her excitement and pleasure she announced her engagement to her boyfriend of several months.  I congratulated her and expressed to her that I knew she had been searching for a long time and it must feel good to have found a young man, finally, who met her hopes and dreams.  She almost gushed about him.  I asked what she saw so appealing in him and the first thing she said was his honesty.  Honesty, not only in telling the truth about happenings, but in about who he was.  I understood that to mean that who he said he was matched who he actually was.  He walked the talk we might say.  I trusted her judgment because as a mental health therapist she is alert to congruities as well as incongruities. 

What a joy the act of becoming engaged is! Sometimes the engagement can become a bit trying as it stretches on especially when the couple are being chaste.  My oldest daughter told me not long ago that she had really looked forward to being engaged only to find that actually being engaged was "lame" as it stretched on to the wedding day. 

It brought memories of the day Lisa and I got engaged.  She picked me up from the Minneapolis airport.  We hugged in the airport and we shared our first kiss in the car.  She drove to Como Zoo where she was all set to have a picnic.  As we sat talking I felt the weight of the ring in my pocket and was finding it difficult to carry on conversation with that reminder of my purpose.  So I asked her there on the grounds of Como Park to marry me, it was exciting.  There were some trying times to follow but things progressed to marriage and although life is not a fairy tale, the endurance times in life are bearable beside her and the happy times of life are lasting.

Coincidentally I had been talking to someone about engagement recently.  It has gotten me thinking that engagement is only a part commitment.  It is a commitment of intention rather than actuality.  The intention to marry.  The engagement period is a time to focus closely on a partner and make that final determination about the intended-to-be-permanent commitment.  Engagement is a time to share more time and ideas with each other to get to know each other more fully in order to have confidence in the proposed marriage.  Hopefully the vestiges of 'looking good' in dating fall away and the real person is fully revealed.  Actually I encourage choosing activities that not only allow but call forth the real person.  This is a time to ask any tough questions and reveal any concerns that are feared to impact the marriage.  The activities chosen, when engaged, need to be selected wisely not just to reveal the couples personalities and character but to protect and ensure that the more physically intimate parts of marriage remain unsullied to be released after the sealing of the commitment.  The engagement begins the process and promise of choosing to love each other forever after. 

To me the engagement needed to be a surprise.  I knew Lisa was anticipating I would pop the question when I flew out, but I had to have some element of surprise so that is why I asked before we got to her family home.  My timing was a surprise for her and turned out to be a big surprise to her family as well.  As a matter of fact it has continued to be a splash of surprise throughout the years whenever we tell the story of our engagement.  You see it was our first date and it is lasting a good long time with the anticipation of never ending! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My favorite blessing

I was in church the other day and a young woman got up to bear her testimony.  In the process of doing that she declared that her "favorite blessing" was her children.  Naturally I started thinking about what my favorite blessing was.

I have heard people including authorities talk about the greatest blessing that we have from Heavenly Father.  Needless to say there is no unanimity between everyone.  Some people say that the greatest blessing is our life.  Others say that the greatest blessing is our ability to choose what to do with our life--otherwise known as agency.  Some say the ability to reproduce, or the ability to love is our greatest blessing.  Some even take the opinion that the fullness of the gospel, the priesthood, the temple (pick one) is our greatest blessing.  There are so many 'greatest blessings' that it is hard to choose.  (Thank you very much I'll just accept them all!)
But I like how this Sister bypassed all that and told what her favorite blessing was.  Her choice for favorite was her children of which she had several.  I've thought about myself and there are lots of things I like, including computers and blogging but in reality they clearly are not my favorite nor the greatest blessing we have.  Immediately I thought of people and wondered which was my favorite blessing but that almost seems to be a popularity contest until I considered which blessing is indispensable. 

What person or thing do I have that is indispensable?  If you choose a person the time could come where they will be dead and then you'll see how indispensable they really are.  But if we consider death and the inevitable separation during a period of time when they are gone and we are not (or vice verse).  It would appear that no one is indispensable except Christ.  Consequently my favorite blessing doesn't have to be indispensable in the short run but everything that isn't eternal certainly pales in both categories of being my favorite blessing as well as the greatest blessing. 

After thinking about it for a couple weeks I decided that my favorite blessing is my wife!  And my opinion on the greatest blessing is leaning toward the new and everlasting covenant of eternal marriage.  Could I do without my wife?  Maybe in the short run but not through eternity.  I think the interesting question is what is her favorite blessing and her opinion about the greatest blessing?  Hmm.   I guess I better work on becoming her favorite blessing!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Article on Megan's return home from her mission

This is the text of an article published in the Progress Index newspaper on Feb. 12, 2011.  Although Megan had been home a few months we were glad to see it in the paper and have heard from several people that they had seen it.

After serving 18 months in the California Long Beach Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sister Megan Lauchner has returned home. She is the daughter of Dallas and Lisa Lauchner of Colonial Heights and the granddaughter of Dolly Lauchner of Petersburg.
Lauchner was one of more than 50,000 missionaries serving for the Church in 145 nations and territories. The missionary effort is based on the New Testament pattern of missionaries serving in pairs, teaching and baptizing believers in the name of Jesus Christ; for example, the work of Peter and John described in the Book of Acts. Most missionaries are young people under the age of 25 who devote a year and a half to two years at their own expense. They avoid entertainment, parties, and activities common to young people, so they can focus entirely on the work of serving and teaching others the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Reflecting upon her missionary experience, Sister Lauchner says, "I think of my mission as at least 20 years of understanding, learning and maturity concentrated into a year and a half. I have been blessed with many experiences that have led me to a more Christ-centered perspective of life and of other people. I have also learned the importance of essential principles, such as hope, discipline, obedience, diligence, charity, and faith through serving a mission. I feel that I could not have learned these things to a comparable extent in any other way at this time in my life. We are taught in Matthew that everyone who loses their life for Christ's sake shall find it. I feel that this illustrates the process I have undergone - a sacred process that will continue for the rest of my existence. Serving as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is unequivocally the most fulfilling thing I have ever done in my life."
The thing Lauchner most enjoyed about the California Long Beach area was the diversity of peoples and cultures. She helped and worked with people across the globe - from India, China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Mexico, Tonga, Samoa and various South and Central American countries. She treasures the times that she felt the overwhelming pure love of God and Christ for these people. She now feels more able to align her perceptions of others with how the Heavenly Father perceives them and love everyone more readily.
In January, Lauchner resumed her education at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She is majoring in Marriage, Family and Human Development with a Spanish minor. She plans to go to graduate school to receive a master's degree in social work. Her goals include both work and family. "I am excited to be a wife and mother one day and to raise a family unto God."
For general information on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visit, click on Newsroom.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Manly man training #1 -- Eliminate Selfishness

I suppose the first order of business in beginning this idea to have "Manly Man" trainings is to explain that a manly man is one that is trying to do what is right.  A manly man is one who seeks to do what is right for his God and therefore wants to do right by the people in his life.  Recognizing that becoming this manly man which by the way is synonymous with "Godly man" and maybe with "Family man", can be difficult and not always evident in our world today, I have decided to try some trainings.

Anyone is welcome to read my thoughts on being and becoming a "manly man" and make comments.  As a father I hope that this will bring out the best not only in myself but also my son-in-laws as well.  (I am ever hopeful you see, at the moment I have one son-in-law but ... you understand)  So Mike and any other son-in-laws, suck in your gut and get ready for some strenuous training. 

Lesson #1 Eliminate Selfishness

There are many things that we as man enjoy and want to use our time doing.  The opposite is also true and there are lots of things that we prefer not to do.  To some extent these are different to each of us but there are often commonalities of things that side-track us and try to divert us.  There are some things that men are prone to that try to trap us.  Some are so common as to practically be cliche.

When we think of the things we like to have or to be "up" on (in the know about the latest developments) we may think of electronic gadgets, cell phones, books, sports, or news.  Actually we are talking about anything that takes "too much" of our resources away from the family and the others that we love.  These things can easily divert us from our family and the gospel as well as other things that are of critical importance.

Then there is the category of drugs, pornography or even work (you've heard of a workaholic) that can trap us into sick patterns that not only divert but actually harm ourselves and the ones we love.  We've got to stay away from the harmful things entirely and moderate the ones we must participate in.  So obviously we must not partake of drugs and pornography but we must learn to balance our work and professional lives and even our sometimes demanding church callings so that they do not harm our family. 

What we fill our lives with when we eliminate these selfish traits is we fill it will spending time and thought in doing service to and for those we love.  We put forth our efforts to value and serve our wife, children and extended family and reap the flourishing of love.

D. Todd Christopherson gives us a short sermon on this principle while using his Dad as an example in the video below.

Remember that we need balance between good things so that they don't infringe or harm those we love and we need abstinence from harmful things so they don't destroy and annihilate our love and enjoyment of the family of our heart.  Then we must use this room and time in our lives to insert the critical things that we cannot leave out and hope to reap the blessings of a Everlasting Celestial Marriage and Family. 
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