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 25, 2011

"Joseph Smith's Last Dream"

I was reading a blog by a Mormon author that I enjoy (which you can see by clicking here).  It tells of a dream by Joseph Smith shortly before his martyrdom that seemed to foreshadow his coming death.  It is somewhat similar to NDEs or near death experiences that I have read many of and studied in college a little bit.  Just to be clear though it is a dream and not a near death experience.  I find it thought provoking and thought you might too. 

Below are the video made by and LDS video producer: Seth Adam Smith.  The painting above is an attempt by an LDS artist to paint the scene--Jon McNaughton.  The last video is concerning the authenticity of the dream and the recording of it by W.W. Phelps. 

I would be interested to hear what you think. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

More Smiles: 15 smiles +1 #2

Sometimes we talk about the easiest service that one person can do for another is to smile.  Oftentimes that service can pay big dividends.  Most often the smiler will not know the results and honestly the receiver is not likely to attribute some great thing or even a minor positive result to the person who smiled at her a little earlier in the day, but that one curving of the lips in just the right way can give a needed positive boost to the receiver and that seemingly small action can change words and feelings and even attitudes for the good.  Smiles can help marriages, gladden children, aid the weary, support the poor, and maybe, just maybe, under the right circumstances could stop a war.

Here are 16 more smiles to aid you on your way today.  Comeback anytime you need a smile.

If you want to look at the original 15 smiles + 1 click here. 

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. 
~Phyllis Diller

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Guest Blog: The Presents of the Lord

Our daughter Megan was married last week.  She and Josh were married in the LDS temple in Provo, Utah, where they are attending Brigham Young University.  It was a lovely day, a beautiful ceremony, and the spirit of the Lord was there.
With my thoughts on the temple, I was reminded of an email we received from Sister Davis (one of Megan's former missionary companions) during the final weeks of her mission.  In her weekly email she wrote:   "We went to the Temple this morning and it was amazing. I am amazed how we can feel the presents of the Lord there."  I smiled to myself as I read her typo, "presents" of the Lord. 
But upon further reflection, I realized that what she had written was true.  When we go to the temple with an attitude of worship, reverence, and readiness, we may be privileged to feel the Lord's presence.  But it is also true that the Lord's presents await us there.  In the Lord's temples the gifts of family relationships that will last beyond the grave are available.  The gifts of knowledge and understanding can also be opened in His holy temples.  There too we find the gifts of comfort and inspiration, peace and calm, a chance to be unhurried in a world obsessed with rushing to and fro.  
Unlike your birthday or Christmas gifts, these presents will not come to you automatically.  Rather, you must actively prepare yourself to receive them.  But then, what other presents can compare in their impact for good on your present--and your future? 


Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I was talking with a client and he expressed that he could never please his mother.  He gave a variety of examples of how she finds fault with him constantly.  Even when he tries to do something to please her she seems to find fault.  He has even tried doing what she wanted before she nagged him about it, and each time she still has found fault with it.  He had numerous examples of how she daily would come after him and complain about him in various ways. 

My question to him was could he please himself.  For him that is the real question here.  Although extremely obnoxious and discouraging when someone we love is constantly finding fault with us, it is not critical that we be able to please others.  That is, if we successfully can please ourselves consistently.  We don't have to be fully pleased with everything we do but we must be able to do things that we want done without berating ourselves regularly so that we can have successes that we can rely on when we are put down by others.  If we have confidence in ourselves then we need not have the confidence of others (although it is still enjoyable and makes things smoother in our life).  With confidence in ourselves then, we can still meet our needs and goals adequately to move forward and grow. 

There are some ways to encourage and help ourselves gain confidence.  One way that I like and encourage my client's to do on occasion is called "affirmations".  Affirmations are positive self talk. 
Affirmations come in two varieties: first is the kind of affirmation that we repeat to ourselves telling us that we are doing something well that we have not yet mastered.  In a manner of speaking we are seeing something in ourselves that is not yet evident.  It might be stating something we want to do or become in an affirmative statement.  For example, "I can feel happy."  This kind of affirmation when repeated to ourselves often enough can lead to a belief that we can and/or are that characteristic.  Some folks would call it lying to ourselves until we believe it and do it. I prefer to think of it that if we constantly express our belief that we are becoming the desired characteristic then we can begin to seriously consider our self as being that and consequently focusing on it in a new way--as a possibility instead of an impossibility.  With that done we have a better chance of success than we did previously.   

The second type of affirmation is to repeat to ourselves a list of strengths we already actually have.  An example of this is "I am kind to others".  This serves as a reminder that we DO have strengths and as we gain confidence and remember the strengths that we already have, we increase in strength and confidence to become what we want to become.  In other words using our current strengths to help overcome our weaknesses. 

In our family we started a tradition many years ago at dinner time.  We call it "successfuls".  Each person gets to tell something they did successful that day.  It must be something they did and not something they didn't do.  For example, "I didn't yell at my sister" is not acceptable, but "I was patient with my sister" is acceptable.  I believe this has been a good habit that we have created to give each person a chance to look at their day and find something successfully done.  On some days we may not feel successful or even hopeful, but when we look closely we can see many things that we did well.  However; sometimes there were days when one daughter couldn't see that she had done something successful.  Then we would allow them to ask family members to help them.  When that happened they typically would hear more than one thing they had done successful which in itself was very affirming!

An important key to affirmations is to accept that people can change, even ourselves.  We are not stuck in old patterns but we can become something different and better.  Affirmations help affirm that ability to grow and mature and be different.  Give them a try and see if they can change your outlook on things. 

Before you try affirmations, realize that you must be consistent and read them or say them or even act them out frequently.  The more senses you use the quicker you learn them and begin to make progress.  Repeat them until they are memorized and then say them frequently, even and especially when you are weak and prone to negative thoughts about yourself.  When you can remember them with minimal effort then they are close to the surface and able to really have a chance to make a difference.  They can help change your attitude and encourage belief in yourself and your ability to succeed and be who you want to be.   

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The snow capped mountains of Utah

One thing i was really looking forward to on my trip to Utah (aside from the main reason of going for my daughter's wedding) was I was hoping that Utah would still have snow on the mountains.  Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not a skier or snow boarder or anything like that.  In my life that is right next to daredevil.  No, I just love the snow.  I was looking forward to seeing the snow on the mountains and feeling the cool breezes down in the valley. 
Taken from inside the Harold B. Lee library on BYU campus. Note the snow covered mountain in the background.
As you can see there is still snow on the mountains.  My wife wondered if I would take a ride up to the mountains to frolic in the snow, but it was just enough to see it whenever I raised my sights to the mountains.  It is my understanding from talking to friends there in Utah that the snow pack was 200% of normal this year and the cooler temperatures of June have aided in keeping the snow in the mountains.  One friend who is a girl's camp stake director commented that the place they had scheduled to attend girls camp in June was snowed in with several feet of snow and they had to reschedule elsewhere.  The result was that they had to have ward girl's camps because they couldn't find another place on such short notice large enough to accommodate the whole stake. 

Of course the concern by many in Utah is with the potential for flooding when the snow does finally melt.  To add to it all they have had more rain in Utah than usual in recent weeks.  The weather for the wedding was great but we did see some rain as we were leaving for the airport.  In past years when I lived in Utah, rain was rather scarce, so it was a surprise to me.  We also returned to VA to rain which is neither unexpected nor unappreciated here. 
This picture added to give you the look of the cool nights.
As for the cool breezes in the valley: well it was very nice to have cool nights and mornings in the 50's but on some of the afternoons it did get rather warm and sunny.  I even managed to get sunburn, on my head of course. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Music # 12: Eagles Path: David Lanz and Paul Speer

Eagles Path has been one of my favorite songs since hearing it many years ago.  It was put with a beautiful video that you can see as you listen to the song below.  That video is one that I played many times for relaxation for myself.  My older children remember it from nights when they had a hard time sleeping and it was one video from a very small group that I would rock them to until they could fall asleep (sometimes with a little popcorn to munch on).  I found the music calming to me as well as to them and it helped me not fret over the fact that we were up late at night when I wanted to be in bed sleeping.  In addition I used this song when I used to work on an adolescent psychiatric unit to help the teens relax.  We did a little bit of relaxation therapy with the teens and this song in particular was able to catch their interest enough and to grab their anxieties and bring them down to a calmer and more peaceful place. 

David Lanz is a talented and well known pianist.  He has stated that he creates music with the hope that it will help people find an atmosphere of enlightenment.  His music falls into the category of New Age and is typically instrumental.  He has said that "the piano is the most divinely inspired instrument on the planet".  Certainly there are many that would agree with that.  I've always loved piano music and have listened to his music for years. 
Paul Speer, a little older now than the picture with David Lanz
Paul Speer was a new artist to me until I found him collaborating on this album with David Lanz.  He plays the electric guitar and though I am more a fan of the piano his style works well on this album and another couple that he and David Lanz collaborated on. Paul started playing the guitar at age 9 and his first paid gig was at age 12 while playing with his two brothers.  He produces albums as well, having produced over 250 albums. 
David Lanz and Paul Speer: Eagles Path

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Marital Bliss

The wedding is over and Megan is officially married.  She and Josh are on their first and short honeymoon which they had to fit in between school for Josh.  The big honeymoon we are told will be in August when they are able to go to Spain. 

We returned home and all the family is back to where they belong.  Megan and Josh called for Father's Day with some fun exciting times.  Those that know Megan know that she tends to dwell on culinary activities and this was no exception as she described a crab soup with pureed sweet potatoes.  She mentioned a fancy hotel they stayed in and how helpful the staff was. 
The Springville Art Museum.
Her wedding went off without a hitch.  The reception was beautiful and the ambience of the art museum added to it.  
Nate was called upon to give Megan the kiss on the cheek for the camera.
It really is a father's dream to see his children married in the temple.  Knowing of course that there will be plenty of difficulty and challenges in their married life but to see it started off with recognition of the Savior and optimism is a real blessing.  Here is to wishing Megan and Josh lots of opportunity to grow together and build a family on a solid foundation of love for God and each other.   
A piece of art that Megan could appreciate! 
Megan and Josh seem well matched and have a lot of potential.  As seems to be the lot of the older generation we will be watching and wishing them well. 

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