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, September 10, 2011

Generators: live with them or live without them?

Considering the unusual weather we have been having here lately it has been an interesting summer.  Much of the summer was hotter than it had been in a number of years based on my observation.  So several days of over 100 degree weather this summer along with the usual high humidity made for some hot times.  Then the earthquake that hit our area was a big surprise.  Though it didn't cause any damage in our area it did make people feel vulnerable.  Then a week or so after that hurricane Irene came and gave us a wallop that killed our electricity, Internet, phones both land lines and cell not to mention cable for those that watch T.V. it was an unexpected wallop.  To follow that up we have had some unusually long and large rain storms with much thunder and lightning.  These type of storms are not unusual for us in the evenings this time of year but having them in the morning and all day for a couple days this last week have been unusual. 

Lots of folks have been worried about how to make it through and several friends have gone and purchased generators to keep their refrigerators on.  Our neighbor shared his generator the last day before electricity was restored and after plugging in the refrigerator the next thing we wanted was a working fan.  The last people in our area without electricity seem to have finally gotten it back this week.

Through this all my wife and I considered whether to get a generator or not.  They were available and we could have gotten one but when I thought about it we have been without electricity for an extended period three times in the last 12 years.  That hasn't seemed particularly terrible, despite the inconvenience and trepidation at the time.  We have lost much of what was in our refrigerator and freezer each of those times.  When you consider the cost of a generator at around $600 and then the cost of putting gasoline in it (one friend told us it was costing about $30 for every day and a half), that seems like a lot of money.  Especially when you have to travel around to find a gas station that is open and can pump gas due to the electricity being out.  So the cost of the gas to travel to and from the station added as well.  It is not like you can store any significant supply of gasoline on your property without additional risks.  All-n-all it hasn't seemed worth it to us yet at this point. 

I suppose if one of us had medical needs that required electricity then that would very quickly change the equation.  But with our current ability to roll with the punches and not be endangered by it, I think that a generator isn't helpful and doesn't save us much in comparison to the cost.  I'm sure other folks feel differently based on their needs.  For example we have a couple friends with young children who are here for school for a semester who purchased a generator here despite having one at their own home in another state.  They felt like it was worth the expense in their situation. Ultimately we haven't seen where a generator would be worth it except in convenience...maybe. 

I must admit I am a little reluctant to write this wondering if the next blow of mother nature might convince me otherwise, but I guess a little embarrassment isn't as tough as a it? 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Modern Heroes #3: Brandon Davies

Brandon Davies is a basketball player from BYU.  At the end of the season this past winter Brandon Davis voluntarily told the school that he had broken the rules that he signed when he came to BYU.  He broke the honor code.  BYU was having its best season ever and was just 4 or 5 games away from the end of the season.  They were ranked #3 in the country and had a chance to really do great in the NCAA tournament.  The school didn't let themselves off the hook for this basketball player who was a starter.  They suspended him from the team.
When the world found out they couldn't believe that the school suspended one of their best basketball players when they were that close to a possible run at the championship.  BYU kept themselves to the honor code and did what was right, and what they would have done, for other students as well.  Brandon was suspended and not allowed to play.  They did decide to let him attend the games and let him sit with the team in his street clothes. 

Because of this action the honor code at BYU became big news.  Lots of news and sportscasters disagreed with the university for suspending him but they respected the university anyway because they stood strong with their rules.  Much ado was made about BYU standing by their own honor code when many other universities ignore, sweep under the carpet or wait to discipline students until after the big game or season. 

Brandon is a modern hero not for what he did to get suspended but for what he has done since.  He didn't go public and rail against the university.  Instead he followed the strict guidelines for his potential reinstatement.  He wasn't even guaranteed that they would accept him back at BYU.  But he went through the process and in essence repented of his actions and has recently been reinstated and now can practice with the basketball team as they prepare for their upcoming season.  Brandon is a hero for taking responsibility and going through the difficult process of making things right.  The whole time accepting that he might not be allowed back.  Hurrah for honor:  honor of the school that does the right thing at an inconvenient time and honor of Brandon Davies for sticking to his values and making it right.   

You can read more about it here  and here

Update: Click here for the very latest article about Brandon. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The 5000 days project: Two Brothers Apart

The 5000 day project is a film that has been in the making over the last 11 years.  Rick Stevenson is the Producer and Director.  His goal in movie making is to make movies that are uplifting and have some meaning.  The following clip highlights two of the boys that are in the movie.  I just read about an advanced screening that will be held Sunday after General Conference on Sunday Oct. 2.  It isn't in our area but sounds interesting.  I understand the movie is being put out by BYU. 

This looks very interesting.  It follows some children from about age 7 to the present to determine what shapes them in their young lives.  This preview shows one boy and highlights his relationship with his brother and how that changes as the years go by.  We'll have to see if it is available in our area when it comes out. 

Two brothers apart

Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday Music #20: 7and5: Crossroads

John Nixon, creator of 7and5
7and5 is John Nixon.  7and5 is music is created from where New Age and Electronic music meet.  It is instrumental music intended not just for relaxation but for the provoking of thought and wonder.  His music is described as a "musical concept" that he has been working on for several years.  Mr. Nixon graduated from Berklee College of Music and has been working in the Detroit area for years writing music for T.V. and advertising.  He has also written a portion of the trailer for the movie "The Visitor". 

John was interviewed by his old high school magazine and his response to the question of what he had learned in HS and how it helped him in his life was noteworthy: "NDHS taught me how to compete at the highest levels; whether it be for grades, in sports, or band. Competition and doing one’s best were always at the core of what we did, and understanding that this is what we face everyday in the real world, adversity is far less of an obstacle."

He is married and has a 14 year old daughter who is following in the music footsteps of her father by playing piano and violin. 

Crossroads comes from the album Hope, Destiny, and Choice

Enjoy the sound and the video has some interesting images as well.
7and5 Crossroads

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Manly Man Training #22 : Do some good

Sometimes in our world today men have the reputation for doing whatever has to be done. That translates differently for men in different situations and has both positive and negative connotations.

In days gone by many men prided themselves in doing whatever it took to support their family. They did jobs that were difficult and dirty and jobs that did not use their best talents or engage them intellectually. They just did whatever it took to be sure their families had at least the bare minimum and hopefully more. I think that is an admirable trait: willingness to go beyond the comfortable or the preferred to take care of the family.

Nowadays, though; when we talk about men doing whatever has to be done it gets understood that men will do what it necessary, but no more. That leads our minds down a totally different road thinking of men who go to work but won't help around the house or spend all their time in front of the T.V. or involved in selfish pursuits that give little if anything to the family.
So which is it for you? As a Manly Man are you willing to do whatever is necessary and within your power to make sure your families needs are met and maybe some wants too? Or are you a guy who does the bare minimum and then checks out; never doing anything that is out of your comfort zone or requires growth on your part for the betterment of your family?

The latter man suggests a lack of connection to his family, a lack of commitment to the family and a lack of energy, effort and caring for those who are most important in his life. D&C 58:27 "Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness."

Of course in this scripture the word "men" refers to both genders but for our purposes here I am talking to Manly Men. This scripture tells us that we should be anxiously engaged. This suggests effort, enjoyment and full participation. Anxiously engaged in our families would be good. "And do many things of their own free will". This suggests to me that we should be involved so much that we notice what needs to be done and don't leave it up to our family to ask, compel, beg or guilt us into doing stuff. Of course I'm not suggesting that everything will be evident to us and of course we will need guidance, support and encouragement from our wife and family, but we need to be attentive to life and the needs of the family members as well. "And bring to pass much righteousness" of course suggests that our efforts should be good and worthy efforts not just the bare minimum.

Certainly there are times as men when we are worn out physically, mentally, maybe even spiritually and our attention or efforts will not be our best. But they should always be the best we can manage at the time. If for some reason we are depleted then we need to make our spouse aware of that so they will know and can help us as they are able. If we keep these times to ourselves then not only do we miss out on support and help but we also pretend that we are better than we are and need nothing which will lead to our receiving just that. However; if we find that we are hurting and less able much or all of the time then we need to seek help so we can approach our best selves, our families deserve that.

"All men have been given special powers and within certain limitations should develop those powers, give vent to their own imaginations, and not become rubber stamps. They should develop their own talents and abilities and capacities to their limit and use them to build up the kingdom" (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 257).

This comment by President Kimball really reminds us that we are unique and have special abilities even "powers" as he calls them. These defining characteristics were probably what made us appealing to our wife in the first place. We of course need to develop them and use our imaginations to better use and grow them for the benefit of our families, ourselves and even our societies.

The kingdom is waiting for us to develop them. Whether we refer to our own homes and families or the church and God's kingdom or our neighborhoods, country and the world. We are needed whether our talents only help to support our families (physically, emotionally and spiritually) or goes beyond that to aid and supplement the needs of the world.

Let us not do the minimum, but develop ourselves and our families and God's kingdom so that we all benefit from our best. As Manly Men we need to lead out and be a good example to all around us.

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