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...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Modern Hero #4: Antonio Diaz Chacon

Antonio Diaz Chacom
A month ago there was a young man who really went all out to protect a little girl and in the process became a hero to her family as well as to me.  In New Mexico a six year old little girl was carrying some tostadas for her family from a neighbors house.  She was snatched from her yard by a man in a blue van.  Antonio Diaz Chacon jumped in his truck and gave chase to the man who took the little girl.  He followed as the snatcher tried to lose him by making various turns in a residential area. The perpetrator finally fled on foot after recking his van and Antonio got the girl and returned her to her home.   Antonio was attributed with saving the girls life after the police apprehended the perpetrator and found where he had stashed some tools to bind her. 

Antonio is a mechanic whose main language is Spanish and as he became the subject of a media blitz his wife had to translate his story to the reporters.  Later reports indicated that he was an illegal alien in this country.  Antonio indicated that while he was chasing the perpetrator he was thinking of his two little girls and would hope that others would do the same if it had happened to them.

He is a hero from my perspective for getting involved and protecting a little girl without concern for himself.  He didn't think about reasons not to do the right thing but instead just did it.  Thank God we still have people who will protect children, our most vulnerable members of society, even those children that are not their own. 
Antonio with his wife and daughter receiving an award for his actions.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Guest Blog: Remember the Window

Fall is my favorite season of the year, and last evening, we finally had our first taste of it.  It was back-to-school night at the middle school, and I returned home shortly before 9:00 in the evening. The temperature had fallen into the mid-60's; Dallas had opened the windows and the cool breeze felt wonderful!  But by the time I went to bed, the coolness had turned to chilliness.  I closed the bathroom window so that during my nighttime visit(s) I wouldn't end up shivering--and waking myself up in the process!
At some point during the night I made one of my predictable nocturnal bathroom visits.  Much to my chagrin, I found that the window had once again been opened.  Shivering, I hurried to close it.  Knowing that his internal thermostat and mine are rarely in sync, in my mind's eye I could see Dallas rolling his eyes as he opened that window a second time.  By the time I crawled back into bed, I found it difficult to fall back asleep, owing to the fact that I had given place for the growing seed of resentment at my husband's perceived insensitivity.

Thankfully, when I got up the next morning most of my resentment had dissipated.  I happened to mention to Dallas that I had found the window open again in the night, after I had closed it to ward off the chill from the cooler nighttime air.  He responded rather sheepishly that when he went into the bathroom later that evening and found the window was closed, he figured he had absentmindedly forgotten to open it in the first place! 

This rather small incident reminded me how easy it is to attribute totally erroneous motives to the actions of others, even those closest to us.  When I found that window open, I ascribed it to Dallas putting his own comfort ahead of my own.  But I couldn't have been further from the truth.  In consequence, I spent precious time and emotion plodding self-righteously down a path that had no foundation in reality.  I perceived myself as an injured party, where no injury--or even awareness!--was to be found.

I hope that the next time I'm tempted to assume the role of the aggrieved party, I'll remember the lesson I learned today from the window.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What I've been reading #8

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.  ~Anna Quindlen, "Enough Bookshelves," New York Times, 7 August 1991

How Do You Tuck In a Superhero? by Rachel Balducci
This is a picture of the author's family
This was an awesome book! I have never raised a son and have often wondered, as a father of daughters, how those little boys running around church and other places would ever amount to anything. This book is written in such an excellent and engaging manner that it sucked me in and really gave me hope for this generation of boys. I've been telling my friends about this book and suggesting that they should read it (women friends) just to understand their husbands better. I even ordered another copy to give to a friend that has several sons, I thought it would be a comfort. She does a good job of sharing some of her families stories to help show her points. She manages to share her wonder of the boys as well and lets us see things fresh as she has learned them herself. This book had me chuckling out loud and reading parts to my wife not to mention the occasional teary eyes. I recommend it if you have any interest in how males grow from those clueless hoodlums to grown and decent men. The author is Catholic and brings in a little religion but doesn't knock it over your head but instead it does make it friendlier to a religious crowd. Read it you'll enjoy it!

Escape from Rwanda by John Bizimana

This book is about a boy from Rwanda.  His father died when he was a child and due to the loss of income they went from fairly well to do to poor.  With all the troubles that arose in Rwanda they soon were trying to get away either to live with family or to refugee camps: to Zaire, Tanzania, and Zambia.  His mother died in a refugee camp and he ended up taken by extended family where he was left in a boarding school when his aunt and uncle went to Belgium because he couldn't obtain the documents needed due to the chaos in that part of the world.  Finally he made it to Belgium.  Every step of the way he proved to be better than expected, doing well in school and everything that he took up.  His dream was to get to the United States.  In Belgium because it seemed he would never get his dream and he started to despair.  Naturally that is when he ran into the missionaries at a basketball tournament.  After joining the church with fervor and then losing focus there and finally becoming reactivated a past prophets grandson provided the money while the Lord provided the miracles for him to make his dream come true as he was accepted and is attending BYU. 
John Yves Bisimana, click to read a little about what he is up to now.

Matched by Ally Condie

This is a YA novel of a dystopian future.  It compares very favorably with Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins which I read earlier.  Matched has the same feel except it takes out the violence and improves the characterization and may be better written as a result.  Cassia lives in a society where everything is controlled as much as possible by the government.  To the point that when teenagers are 17 they are matched with another youth who would be their best mate.  So they start a period of getting to know the other person and go on supervised dates with them eventually leading to marriage.  Cassia is not a radical and complies very closely with her societies requirements, until she starts to see some errors and other things that are not working out like they should.  Her family goes through some struggles and a friend is put in danger because of a choice she makes.  Plus she has feelings for someone other than her match.  It has some very clean romance and forebodings of a government gone amuck.  Naturally there is another book coming out in a couple months that will continue the story.  And the romance is just what you would expect from an LDS writer.
Ally Condie
Patch-Word Quilt by Paula J. Smith
So there we were up on that mountain on our anniversary and in the cottage we were staying in one of the books in the collection there was written by the owner of the property.  I read a little bit of it and it seemed to be a self-help book.  How to strengthen ourselves in some areas and weaken ourselves in others.  Basically how to become a better person.  So we ended up purchasing a copy thinking it would be nice to have a book written by a person we had met.  It is a small book that takes a number of words like Hope, Fear, and Self-confidence and describes if they are good for people or not and how to strengthen/weaken them in our lives as needed.  I didn't agree with every idea that she had but I did like the quick and easy way of going through a lot of complicated things and making it simple and straightforward.  I enjoyed reading it.  It seemed like a good book for a young person who hadn't heard too much about these things or a person who needed some encouragement to know they could change and be different if they found them self in a place they were unhappy with.  Paula said that she had studied psychology and had found times in her life when she needed to hear the things that she had written in the book.  A fun, quick but thought provoking read. 


Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Music #23: Kitaro: Drop of Silence

Kitaro hails from Japan but nowadays splits his time between his homes near Boulder Colorado and one at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan.  His Colorado home/studio is large enough to hold a 70 piece orchestra which plays and helps him create his music.  .  His birth name is Masanori Takahashi.  His music has been referred to as "contemplative, highly melodic synthesizer music".  His music is mostly instrumental with a variety of Asian influences and instruments.  I have enjoyed his music for a number of years.  It is good music to read to or to relax to or to help your thinking processes.  He uses synthesizers to simulate many instruments, as well as playing many of the actual instruments himself.  He plays the drums, guitar and harp, among other instruments. 
His music is described as music that is "revered for its ability to embody the human spirit with music of passion and drama".  

When Kitaro was young he wanted to have a career in music but his parents were opposed to that.  They tried to steer him in the direction that they wanted him to go by arranging for a job for him.  He responded by leaving home and supporting himself with jobs he could find while he wrote music at night.  He focused entirely on the keyboards in the 1970's joining a band called "Far East Family Band" and traveled the world playing music.  While in Europe he me Klaus Schultze of Tangerine Dream who taught him about the synthesizer.  He started his solo career starting in 1977.

He is reported as saying: "I never had education in music, I just learned to trust my ears and my feelings....This music is not from my mind. It is from heaven, going through my body and out my fingers through composing. Sometimes I wonder. I never practice. I don't read or write music, but my fingers move. I wonder, 'Whose song is this?' I write my songs, but they are not my songs."

During the events of 9-11 he was in flight from Japan to Los Angeles. His plane was diverted to Honolulu for five days.  There he was inspired to begin music to help bring peace and unify the people of the world.  Some of his music since that time has used Japanese temple bells (also called peace bells) and his life work is to create 88 songs with 88 temple bells.

Kitaro's first wife was Yuki Taoka.  After their divorce he married Keiko Matsubara a musician. His son from his first marriage lives with them.

The highlighted song today comes from the album "Dream".

Kitaro: A drop of Silence

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Manly Man Training #24: Be a peacemaker

In life there are lots of times when negative things are said about other people.  Sometimes it doesn't even have to be said, but may be just thought and then acted out subtly in a person's actions.  Even without the saying of it, it can cause discord in the family, the church as a whole or the quorum or ward council.  People sometimes get their feelings hurt, or their ire up, or they think someone has said something negative about them or implied that they weren't good enough at their job, at their calling at their anything.  It could even be that a person's children were too rambunctious in Sacrament meeting or the parents did not intervene in a timely manner and then a good Priesthood holder says something out of the way, or someone overhears him say something but didn't really hear all or even the point of what he was saying.  All this is opportunity for offense, hurt feelings, anger or feeling pushed out of the group. 
No matter how you spruce it up, a pistol is not the peacemaker being referred to here.
The way we combat this is through being a peacemaker.  Now, surely some of you who read this will have a little snicker at that word thinking about the colt peacemaker pistol.  No that is not what I'm talking about.  I am not talking about keeping peace through having a great offensive weapon.  Nor am I referring to peace keepers who are UN soldiers sent from some countries to attempt to keep peace in a dangerous place.  I'm talking about being peaceful and then influencing others to promote peace as well.

No indeed the peacemaker I'm referring to here is the one who sees and understands that people can be and occasionally are hurt and then actively working to help others overcome rather than sucumb to it.  President Eyring says it better from May Ensign 2011 (p63): "The priesthood holders who learn well together always seem to me to have great peacemakers among them.  You see peacemaking in priesthood classes and in councils.  it is the gift to help people find common ground when others are seeing differences.  It is the peacemaker's gift to help people see that what someone else said was a contribution rather than a correction.  With enough of the pure love of Christ and a desire to be peacemakers, unity is possible in priesthood councils and in classes.  It takes patience and humility, but I have seen it happen even when issues are difficult and the people in councils or classes come from vastly different backgrounds."

Unity rather than division, that is what we as manly men try to do.  Unity in our homes between husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters and in our church between members of the Elder's Quorum or any other quorum or group.  Helping different, sometimes very different people feel part of the group and blessing others with perspective rather than complaining in the background or leaving the group entirely. 
So brethren will you seek to gain, increase or use your peacemaking skills to help unify the groups that you participate in?  Will you seek the Lord's guidance to strive to be a better peacemaker and to increase the peace in our lives so that we can have the consequences of peace rather than the consequences of discord; love instead of distrust, hate or fear?   
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