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, June 11, 2011

Never Leave Him

[Note: Today's post comes in the words of Elder Neil L. Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve from November 2010 Ensign p39-42]
"The road of discipleship is not for the spiritually faint of heart.
As we follow the Savior, without question there will be challenges that confront us.  Approached with faith, these refining experiences bring a deeper conversion of the Savior's reality.  Approached in a worldly way, these same experiences cloud our view and weaken our resolve.
 Offense comes in many costumes and continually finds its way onstage.  People we believe in disappoint us.  We have unanticipated difficulties.  Our life doesn't turn out exactly the way we were expecting.  We make mistakes, feel unworthy, and worry about being forgiven...It could be a hundred things.
Paul admonished, :God hath not given us the spirit of fear;...Be not...ashamed of the testimony of our Lord. (2 Timothy 1:7-8)

I promise you, as you choose not to be offended or ashamed, you will feel His love and approval.  you will know that you are becoming more like Him.

Will we understand everything?  Of course not.  We will put some issues on the shelf to be understood at a later time.
Will everything be fair? It will not.  We will accept some things we cannot fix and forgive others when it hurts.

Will we feel separated on occasion from those around us? Absolutely.

I love these words from a favorite hymn:
The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, I'll never, no never
I'll never, no never, no never forsake! (How firm a foundation #85)
Lord, to whom shall we go? though hast the words of eternal life....We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. (John 6:68-69)"

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fasting ice cream and other creamy memories

Some might think from the title of this blog that it is about some kind of Mormon lent, but indeed that would be incorrect.  On a recent Friday we went out with our good friends Stacey and Bryan.  She has gone without ice cream for 13 months!  She had their last baby 13 months ago and due to his allergy to milk products she has had to stop eating ice cream among other things.  But their baby is maturing and he can handle it now so we were able to go out with them to enjoy her first ice cream in a long while. 

That got me to thinking about how we are in middle class society today.  We don't have a lot of money to buy whatever but we do have some discretionary money that we can buy ice cream or something else if we prefer.  We can buy ice cream almost as often as we would like.  Is that a good thing or a not?  Of course we like ice cream and it tastes good, but are we spoiled with the ability to get it to easily?  We should feel grateful that we can obtain a treat that we enjoy so relatively easy.

It reminds me of when I was a missionary in Thailand.  One small town I served in didn't have any ice cream available at all.  Maybe the town hadn't become westernized enough that anyone would buy it.  At any rate we wished we could find some ice cream because of the constant hot weather.  We checked every possible place but had no luck.  Indeed our refrigerator wasn't even cool enough to keep it hard so even if we found it we would have to buy it and eat it on the spot because the refrigeration was poor.  One day while we were out on our bicycles we saw a Foremost ice cream truck driving through town so we decided to follow it thinking that we would find a place to purchase the ice cream.  It drove right through town and didn't stop anywhere!  We were fairly quick on our bikes and realized that in order to get some ice cream we would have to chase the truck down and purchase it directly from the driver.  So naturally being young and starved for ice cream we did chase the truck down and with a little encouragement the driver sold us some ice cream which we ate on the spot. 

Now that you've heard my great Thai ice cream story you probably have one question: where did we get spoons.  In Thailand, much of the food is eaten with your hands.  We were young and creative so we didn't let a little matter of being spoon less keep us from enjoying such a great treat!  Enough said.

So even though we like certain things to eat we can certainly do without them when we must.  In the above examples when we must do something for our children or to serve the Lord we can manage the sacrifice rather easily.
I come by enjoying ice cream honestly since my dad was an ice cream lover.  He loved chocolate ice cream.  Of course he lived through the depression and didn't have much of what he wanted to eat in his young years  I think to him it was a real status thing to have ice cream in the freezer at all times.  Now that I think of it [my Dad was once an ice delivery man for people's ice boxes] it could be that he enjoyed having a freezer in the home that didn't need new ice put in it regularly.  He was accustomed to eating rather large bowls of ice cream whenever he wanted one in the evening. 

All that comes together with our friends Stacey and Bryan.  We were at the ice cream shop (which had just opened up in our town by-the-way) and I enjoyed my ice cream, but I enjoyed watching Stacey enjoy her ice cream even more.

 [As I write this I remember a good friend who had to stop eating ice cream due to health concerns of his own.  Sometimes after work he would offer to take a co-worker to the local ice-cream shop and purchase a sundae for them.  They would often take him up on that offer.  He just liked to watch them enjoy their ice cream because he couldn't anymore.]

How about this for a new slogan:  "Ice cream, the treat that cools the savage beast as well as your loving Mom."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Second Coming

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is something that surely most Christians, including Mormons, look forward to.  I can see that some would want to put it off because they have a particular interest in what is happening in their life right now but others wish it would come quickly and be done with.  It certainly has been interesting to read a variety of writer's ideas of how things will build up to the second coming.  The scriptures are open to enough interpretation that there are many creative view of how this will come about. 

Here are a few series that I have read describing their view of the second coming or the end of the world that I have enjoyed:  The Left Behind series by Tim Lehaye and Jerry Jenkins, Millennial Glory series by Wendie Edwards, Seventh Seal series by Jessica and Richard D. Draper, A Place called Kolob and the sequel A Place called Eden by John McRae, The Millennial Series by Pam Blackwell, The Millennial Quest Series by John Pontius and there are plenty of others.  The Millennial Glory and Seventh Seal Series' do an especially good job at presenting an LDS viewpoint and trying to stay close to scripture and other revealed words about the second coming. 

Just in the last couple weeks here in the United States we have seen some fulfillment of scripture that in the last days there would be false prophets and false Christs that would mislead many.  An obscure minister predicted the second coming and those that believed were duped.  It has been interesting that a minister whom I had never heard of became common water cooler talk at work and a household name overnight because the media took the story and made it huge.  Newspapers of all sorts had his story.  Over the years there have been other ministers and groups and even movies that have expected the end of the world to occur at a certain time. 

As you would expect the Church has declared our beliefs in brief about the second coming.  Nowadays that can happen on YouTube instead of in a press conference.  Here is a reassertion by Dallin Oaks about what we understand regarding the Second Coming. 

Dallin Oaks: Second Coming video
It seems to me that our focus needs to be less on when the second coming is and more on preparing ourselves and our families for it.  Preparing in two ways, one to follow what modern prophets have said in regard to having food storage to make it through some difficult times.  But more importantly to prepare spiritually so we can be lead by the Spirit to follow the true prophet and to be focused on the real Savior and not other men who fancy themselves able to do the job. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


It is true that sometimes Dad's do things to embarrass their children.  Dad''s sometimes do those things on purpose.  Mom's on the other hand tend to embarrass their children by accident most.  My Dad was not a world class embarrasser.  The most embarrassing thing I can think of about my Dad was that he didn't have much to say to my friends.  I read this article about a Dad who took it to new heights in embarrassing his son.  His son was a sophmore in High school and by luck [good or bad, you decide] the bus route was changed to go by their house last year.  Dad saw his chance and nearly every day last year waved to the school bus as it passed.  Well, he did it in a different costume everyday and indeed his son was embarrassed.  Click here to see the article.  Or if you prefer click here to go to the blog to see the various costumes that were documented

I am grateful for men like this who make my little antics seems small in comparison.  So maybe on second thought my kids might realize that they had a less embarrassing Dad after all. 

Here are a few of my favorites:

Peg leg pirate.

Dad's outdoor office.

scary clown

Mariachi band

So, pretty much whatever embarrasing memories you have of your Dad when you were a kid, or maybe still.  Just be glad that he isn't an overachiever like this fellow. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Home at last!

I had an experience this past week that really meant a lot to me.  It really opened my eyes to what great joy it is when a loved one returns home after a long absence.  [It gave me insight into the prodigal son and also maybe what it will be like to cross the veil].  But this situation was not a prodigal returning but rather a hero.  I'll let the pictures tell the story.  I appreciate my great friends sharing this homecoming with me. 
Waiting for family members to return from deployment in Afghanistan.  The anxious excitement after not having seen your son, father, brother, Dad or Mom in a year can be almost overwhelming especially for the young ones.  Loud celebratory and patriotic music blasts to the crowd.  The atmosphere is electric.
Miles trying to work out some of his excitement waiting for Dad.
The band waiting to play for the grand entrance.
The family waits almost patient.  The plan gained from past experience is to let Dad come to them in the stands, so they won't get lost in the crush.

Memorabilia abounds throughout the gym.

Tokens of a daughter's yearning for Dad.
Smiles not yet to their fullest wait in nervous excitement.

The moment arrives and they march in neither looking to the left nor the right, but seeing all.  The joyful sound of the welcome surely was sweet music to their ears and a great release for all the families.

The last test of discipline, to see your families faces...but not yet allowed to touch them.
Released at last the crush begins.

Families find each other.

And some try to escape to home.
Can't wait for Dad to get to him so he goes to Dad. Let the loving begin, youngest to oldest.

Mom can't wait her turn.

And discipline breaks down and things get out of order.


Trudy's biggest smile in about a...year!

Finally Trudy's turn!

A long turn!

Finally back together again!
This reminds me of Alma 27:16-19: "...and behold, this was a joyful meeting.  Now the joy of Frederick was so great even that he was full; yea he was swallowed up to the joy of his God, even to the [near] exhausting of his strength...Now was this not exceeding joy?  Behold this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly...humble seeker of happiness.  Now the joy of Trudy in meeting her husband was truly great, and also the joy of Ayana, of Kyla, and of Miles, but behold their joy was not that to exceed their strength."

It was such a pleasure to be a part of this and see their love for each other.  Thanks so much for inviting me to share. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday Music #10: Mars Lasar: At the end of the day

Mars Lasar is a well known musician with 22 individual albums to his credit.  Mars was born in Germany and raised in Australia.  He became fascinated with music at age 11 and by 14 was confident in his music.  He and his two brothers (he is a middle child) started practicing as a band.  He played the synthesizer while his older brother played the guitar and his younger the drums.  They started playing around their neighborhood and then in shopping centers and finally started getting paid in a restaurant and at wedding receptions. 
The rest is history as they say. 
This album seems designed to provide some relaxation when you return home from work.  The song and the album are the same title.  Some relaxation music is very slow and calm, while this has some jazz components that seem to grab you at whatever level of excitement or anxiety you are at and then bring you to a more relaxed state.  I like this album a lot.  Although I am not familiar with all his albums, I have enjoyed all of the ones I have listened to.  His Christmas music is very nice as well (I consider myself a Christmas music aficionado). 

Here's the video which is a single picture allowing the music to be the star.
Mars Lasar: At the End of the Day.

In addition to being a musician he is a photographer.  You can view his photography here.  Here are a couple examples of his photography:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Manly Man Training #16 : Bless others

I was in church Sunday and the teacher in Priesthood was exhorting us to use our Priesthood more, specifically to give blessings more often to those in need, particularly the ladies.  He was encouraging us to honor our Priesthood and to magnify it by using it to bless others.  It is interesting that when we honor the Priesthood it means we recognize its value and do not "put it on the shelf" to ignore it or forget that we have it and disrespect it by not using it.  Then we ourselves are saying "amen to the priesthood of [this] man", even if we are worthy.  All the good it could be doing to help others and influence our own life for good is being lost.   

Let me give you a story that will help you understand.  A good friend of mine was called to a leadership calling in the ward.  He mentioned that having accepted that calling made him a better man.  I asked in what way he was referring to.  He said now that he was in a leadership position and getting calls to help others regularly at potentially any time that he treated his wife better and was kinder to her because he knew he could have some woman call and complain about her husband doing something like what he might have just done to his own wife.  So he had to be better so he was prepared to help those that needed it, whenever they needed it.  He was letting his Priesthood calling have a good influence on him by letting it influence him for good. 
When we recognize the importance of our role as Priesthood holders and the value that we are to others around us that do not have the Priesthood (or even if they do have the Priesthood, they can't give themselves a blessing) then we learn quickly that we must be better, and we want to be better so as not to diminish our opportunities and so we can be prepared when we are called upon to give blessings.  As an example I was thinking a few weeks ago that I did not have many opportunities to give people blessings very often.  This came after a period in my life where I did have many opportunities and so I was feeling like I was missing something.  Well about two weeks ago suddenly I was asked three days in a row to give blessings to different individuals.  I love to be able to do that service for people. 

The lesson in Priesthood reminded me of a time when I learned an important lesson from a situation that was a little tense but seems funny as I look back on it.  When I was young, it was my Father's and my practice to often purchase some fries from a fast food place when we were out doing things together.  Dad might be driving me to an activity or we might be doing some errand or whatever.  This particular night he stopped at a place close to home and gave me a twenty dollar bill to pay for the two fries I was to order.  I ran in and ordered and it seemed they were a bit slow.  That was notable because I knew my Dad had little patience for being slow.  But after they took my money they became really slow.  I begin to get concerned that Dad would be pretty irritated.  I noted they took the bill to the back and being young I had no idea what was going on or what to do about it.  Finally after what seemed a long time the guy came out and gave me change and explained they thought the bill was fake and that was why it took so long.  My Dad was indeed irritated despite, or perhaps because of my explanation.  As we pulled out of the parking lot he said something like, "I hope they close down!"
I didn't think any more about it until a couple weeks later my Dad and I were once again driving somewhere together and we glanced over and that place had indeed closed down.  He looked at me a little sheepish and said, "I guess you have to be careful what you say when you hold the Priesthood!"  I can laugh a lot about that now but nevertheless I learned an important lesson: I may not have the power to close restaurants on a whim, but I do need to be careful what I say because I am a Priesthood holder. 
Sometimes we don't like to have it known that we are willing to give blessings as a Priesthood holder.  If you are like that maybe this will change your mind:  we once had a family that was poor and made frequent poor decisions as well.  The kids seemed to get the brunt of a lot of things with a mother and father that got angry a lot.  Despite their reputation and actions I would be respectful and kind like I tried to be to everyone.  One day that father asked if I would give him a blessing.  I was surprised but agreed and learned one of the greatest lessons from the experience of giving him a blessing.  When I put my hands on his head and started the blessing I had a sudden influx of feelings that I understood was a small portion of the love that Heavenly Father had for that man.  It was strong and definitely had my attention.  The man was sometimes ill mannered and didn't have the greatest clothes but if Heavenly Father loved him that much then I knew it was my job to learn to love him as well. That lesson has stuck with me and helped me professionally as well.  The Lord doesn't look on the outward appearance but on the inner person.  That man and I became friends and over the years since he has moved away, he calls me from time to time to tell me what is going on in his life.  Most recently of his great pride and pleasure in seeing his son serve a full-time mission. 
So that lesson Sunday served to remind me of how important it is that we do what the Lord wants with his power, by using our Priesthood to bless others.  So give those blessings to those in need, not only to those who ask.  You need the opportunity to serve so you can grow and become what Heavenly Father wants you to become, and the people need the power of the Priesthood to be engaged and focused on their needs to help them through the trials and difficulties. 
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