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, March 26, 2011

Umbrellas and manhood

I read a post today by C.Jane which you can read by clicking here.

It reminded me that umbrellas and manhood don't go together.  Since I've been a man a number of years and male gendered even longer, I should know.  There is something about umbrellas that diminish manhood in the minds of many. 

I have a umbrella hanging on my coat tree at work.  Theoretically it is for days when it is raining and I could use it to protect me from the rain as I go to my car and then into the house while it is raining.  But I have not used it once.  It never seems like I need it.  It just seems a little weak for a man to use an umbrella. 

When you get into a car you have to close the umbrella with the car door open and the rain gets in your car and on you anyway.   

But mostly it just seems unmanly. 

I have no feelings about ladies who use umbrellas, that's fine.  I see very few men using umbrellas.  I suppose in big cities where more walking than riding is done the necessity may overcome the gender bounds.  Here it is just not manly. 

So what is a man supposed to do in the rain.  Well walk quickly to his destination and let the rain get on you.  Running through the rain is acceptable but only in an emergency situation. 


It IS perfectly fine to have a nice rain coat that protects you well.

What is it that creates these gender expectations.  Did anybody decide this or how did it get started?

Can you see a man using these umbrellas?

 Nah!  Only one condition exists for a man to use an umbrella. 

Yep, you guessed it, to get closer to the woman he loves!  Now you know what an umbrella is for! 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Then no violence will be necessary.

Doesn't that title catch your attention.  Violence...Necessary?  Isn't that the way our world works sometimes.  Someone does something to one person and that person determines violence is necessary to protect them, or honor those who were harmed or even to protect their own honor.  Often violence is done as a warning to others.  "Don't mess with me!"  Hmmm.

That phrase ("Then no violence will be necessary) was told to me by my friend.  He described a situation that had happened in his family where a 40+ year old man from his church had contacted his daughter in her mid twenties asking her to go on a date.  My friend and his daughter wasn't keen on the idea.  My friend had the man investigated and found some big concerns about the fellow.  So he went to his minister and in that conversation with his minister he told him that as long as the man didn't contact his daughter any more "then no violence will be necessary".  He told me that the minister was surprised and alerted by that phrase.  As he should be since I know my friend. 

I wonder is violence ever necessary?  Interesting question.  I used to think it would be ideal to be a peaceful man who could be extremely violent if it were necessary.  In my mind I imagined the necessity might be if my family were in danger and being threatened by criminals.  But more recently I have come to the conclusion that violence of that sort would require a man who has prepared both physically and mentally for violence.  My preparation has been in the realm of peace and calm.  Consequently, I have realized that my ability to reason with someone and talk to them and help them see the humanity represented is my best defense and that violence isn't necessary but rather a choice. 

Now, my friend who shared his experience with me is a man who is capable of violence but has most recently trained in peace and calm.  Currently he feels stronger in his ability to be successful in the realm of violence but with continued training I expect he will gain confidence in his capacity to be successful with peace and calm rather than violence and harm. 

Ghandi said, "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."

I wish we were all in training for peace. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Guest Blog: Stay in Your Lane

I drove to Richmond for a routine doctor’s appointment this past Monday.  The clock told me it was not rush hour, but the traffic on the six-lane freeway told me otherwise.  I was in the middle lane, going slightly over the posted speed limit (which in Virginia is the de facto speed limit).  I was not obstructing traffic by going too slowly, nor was I driving like one of those speed demons who constantly dart and weave from one lane to the other, trying to win a race in which they are the only contestant.  But cars in both the left- and right-hand lanes continued to pass me by, their drivers rushing on to their own appointments, lunch dates, and jobs.

Ten years ago, I would have been bothered somewhat by this.  I would have felt the urge to speed up a little, to match the rhythm of the traffic around me.  Or I would have felt I needed to move to the far right-hand lane, to make way for the drivers I was inconveniencing by following the law in the middle lane. 

But today, I keep my steady pace, in my chosen lane, comfortable with my choice; able to allow that others can also choose—while recognizing that I need not be swayed by their choices. 

Like so many little things in life, this reminded me of a bigger thing.  So if you’re headed in the right direction, and you’re going the right speed, don’t let what others do influence you.  Don’t be lured into entering their races, or changing lanes to accommodate their wishes.  Stay in your lane, and you’ll end up where you want to be.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

BYU's Honor

The Karl G. Maeser statue in front of the Karl G. Maeser Memorial Building on BYU campus.

Karl G. Maeser, the founder of what is today Brigham Young University, memorably taught his students concerning honor. "I have been asked what I mean by word of honor. I will tell you. Place me behind prison walls — walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick, reaching ever so far into the ground — there is a possibility that in some way or another I may be able to escape; but stand me on the floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor never to cross it. Can I get out of that circle? No, never! I'd die first."

BYU has been in the news a lot this year for things of honor.  A young man was suspended from the basketball team at a time that was critical to that team.  Many were surprised to see a program be so honorable.  Some openly wondered why he couldn't be disciplined after the MWC tournament and the NCAA tournament rather than right before.  He was a critical player as the first string center. 

BYU however honored the agreement the young man had signed to be a student and since he is a young man on the front lines, so to speak, as the university interacts with the world he ended up with his picture and even speculations about his reason for suspension all over the news and throughout the electronic world. 

Equally honorable by the University has been their including him on the bench of the team and allowing him to cheer on his teammates.  The first game following his suspension he was not there but thereafter he has been there encouraging his teammates dressed in shirt and tie. 

Michael Otterson, who heads the public affairs department for the LDS Church (which also sponsors BYU) wrote: "BYU isn't going to throw this young man aside. Ultimately, the honor code is as much about the individual as the team or the school. Brandon Davies is more than a trending topic on Google. He is a young man full of energy, talent and opportunity, all of which remain present as he moves through what is undoubtedly a difficult time in his life. While this one mistake may redirect his life for a time, it does not define who he is. Those who care for him, including his church leaders, are reaching out to help, guide and support. Friends, family and true fans likewise. There are a lot of people at BYU who will do all they can to help Brandon get through this trial in his life and come out on top. He isn't just an athlete, but a child of God. No one knows yet how that will happen, but I do know that they will do everything they can to make it work and help him put all this behind him."
BYU not only honors the code but honors the students by encouraging and helping them to grow and live by the standard that they have agreed on.  So while accountability and consequences exist when the honor code is broken, love and compassion encourage repentance and growth with a return to the honor code.

BYU has also played honorably in the NCAA tournament.  This time meaning they have played well and advanced in the tournament to the "sweet 16" for the first time in 30 years.  As one sports writer has commented about their success saying, "BYU had more Jimmer and more glimmer, particularly in the second half, to shoot Gonzaga out of the gymmer."  That of course uses the new word Jimmer which is in addition to being BYU's star player has now come to mean more glitz, or athletic play.  Gonzaga was the team they beat to get into the sweet 16 and will likely be their main rival next year as they move into the WCC conference for basketball. 

Good job by BYU in not only their play but also in their honorable standing for what is right. 

Additionally if you are interested in a video about Jimmer look at the following videos.  The first is the original and the second the focus is on the song, the shirt and the singers rather than Jimmer Fredette.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I believe

Another neat song of the classical vocal type.  In recent years I have learned to appreciate those with a great voice especially when they use it in a song that is positive and with words that have meaning to me.  I would describe this song as a song of hope or even yearning for a time of peace.  It touches not only on the peace of nations but seems to imply the peace of individuals as well.  I look forward to a time when the news won't be telling that we just sent 100 missiles into a country.  But additionally I long for the time when there will not be leaders of nations that will harm people and we as Americans will not silently or vocally wish that our country would intercede for the peace of a country or the world.  A time when they will not be necessary because the desire to harm and control will be gone and only the desire to help and share peacefully.  I hope you enjoy the song as well. 

Hopefully needless to say Andrea Bocelli and Katherine Jenkins are real superstars in this type of music. 


I Believe by Andrea Bocelli and Katherine Jenkins


One day I'll hear
the laugh of children
in a world where war has been banned

One day I'll see
men of all colours
sharing worlds of love and devotion.

Stand up and feel
the Holy Spirit,
find the power of your faith.

Open you heart
to those who need you
in the name of love and devotion

Yes I believe

I believe in the people
of all nations
to join and care
for love.

I believe in a world
where light will guide us,
and giving our love
we'll make heaven on earth.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wedding bells keep ringing

The wedding bells just keep on ringing in this house of four daughters.

Last week negotiations were closed with a successful season of dating and Matrimonial compatibility was found to exist between Megan and Josh.  Consequently with a variety of rings the engagement phase of the relationship was entered!  Megan and Josh have set the date of June 16 for their wedding. 

In the Provo temple.

Photo by BK Barnes Photography (click picture to go to their website)
 Currently all signs are leading to the possibility of having the same photographer as at Jaime's wedding.

Click Logo to go to her website.

Now our minds have blasted from 0 to 100 MPH and are in quick preparation phase for the wedding.  Fortunately since we are getting a little old it has only been a few months since Jaime got married and we might be able to remember how to put a wedding together!  Preparations are advancing at full swing.

Megan and Josh are expected to be her for a weekend in April so that we can meet him and so I can conduct the all-important INTERVIEW.

So while Josh is sweating it and preparations are being made, we will all will be hearing the wedding bells as we prepare.   A new son is about to be borne into the family! 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Manly Man Training #5 -- Valuing the women in our lives

A very important lesson for Manly Men is to learn to appreciate women.  Men have certain God given responsibilities in regards to women.  Respect of women and their abilities and talents as well as concern for them and proper use of the Priesthood to bless their lives.  This includes not only giving Priesthood blessings when requested (as often as requested I might add) but being attentive to their physical, emotional and spiritual needs in such a way so to be there to help and support them in their righteous endeavors as well as in their times of difficulty and sorrow. 

Elder Nelson talking about motherhood made this comment (April 1999 Priesthood meeting):  "During my professional career as a doctor of medicine, I was occasionally asked why I chose to do that difficult work. I responded with my opinion that the highest and noblest work in this life is that of a mother. Since that option was not available to me, I thought that caring for the sick might come close. I tried to care for my patients as compassionately and competently as Mother cared for me."

As I have taught my girls over the years to look for a young man who was worthy of them to marry in the temple I told them that they needed to pay attention to how the young man treated his mother.  If he treated her respectfully and kindly then they could be sure that he would treat them that way.  If on the other hand he treated his mother poorly, for any reason, then they could be sure that after about a year of marriage that he would begin to treat them that way.  After a few dates and meeting his mother I ask my daughters how the young man treats their mother so they will remember what I have taught them.  Then when they are engaged and I have the opportunity to interview the young man I ask him myself how he treats his mother and I watch closely how they respond. (I realize that there is one person out there who may soon be having that interview and now you know one thing to consider in preparation.) 

Elder Nelson continues in his talk with "Many years ago the First Presidency issued a statement that has had a profound and lasting influence upon me. “Motherhood,” they wrote, “is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels." 

When we consider the sacrifice and the effort our mothers have put into our lives and the concern and caring that they view our lives with when we are grown men then we get a clue as to how meaningful and important their role is and how we should appreciate and respect them. 

Elder Nelson continues: "We who bear the holy priesthood have a sacred duty to honor our sisters. We are old enough and wise enough to know that teasing is wrong. We respect sisters—not only in our immediate families but all the wonderful sisters in our lives. As daughters of God, their potential is divine. Without them, eternal life would be impossible. Our high regard for them should spring from our love of God and from an awareness of their lofty purpose in His great eternal plan."

If somehow we find ourselves following Satan's ideas that men are somehow more important and elevated about women or/and women are too unpredictable or difficult to understand, then we need to repent and recognize the truth about women.  Then we need to show our love through respect and kindness.

Regarding our wives he says: "As fathers we should have love unbounded for the mothers of our children. We should accord to them the gratitude, respect, and praise that they deserve. Husbands, to keep alive the spirit of romance in your marriage, be considerate and kind in the tender intimacies of your married life. Let your thoughts and actions inspire confidence and trust. Let your words be wholesome and your time together be uplifting. Let nothing in life take priority over your wife—neither work, recreation, nor hobby."

Recently I misunderstood someone as saying they were addicted to marriage when they actually said something different.  But I thought about that as an addiction and I wondered if it wouldn't be a good thing.  The woman in our lives are of utmost importance and we should be especially careful with our actions only letting our most pure and loving actions be employed with them.  And I might add here that includes mother-in-laws.  Please disregard all the jokes that you have heard and even any horror stories because your behavior toward the mother of your wife should reflect gratitude for the great women she raised who has accepted you as her spouse with all the inherent risks.   

Elder Nelson concludes with these words: "Honor the special sisters in your lives, brethren. Express your love to your wife, to your mother, and to the sisters. Praise them for their forbearance with you even when you are not at your best. Thank the Lord for these sisters who—like our Heavenly Father—love us not only for what we are but for what we may become."

Brethren I know that the world encourages men to distrust and devalue women.  That has been especially successful in our American society.  But we can not let the world, with sayings such as "I can't live with them and I can't live without them" influence our recognition of their greatness.  Our exaltation depends on our ability to love and respect the women in our lives.  And it is important that we know that as we respect other women we are setting that precedent and we will be well prepared to treat our wives and daughters with that same respect that will clue them into their own value (at times when they doubt it) and prepare us all for Exaltation.  

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