Saturday, April 19

Country Swing with Ellie

This is the very end of swing dancing at the homestead. I was swinging with Kennedi prior to this, both of the girls could learn to follow a little better, that's ok, just means we need more practice! Katie took a video of Kennedi and me before this, perhaps that will end up on Facebook or something :)

video

Saturday, April 12

Saturday service @ food bank



first arriving ready to have some fun!
Kennedi didn't want me to put this picture anywhere,
cause she looks a little psycho, but hey... :)
This is a better picture of my kenken :)


Friday, April 11

dance party!

Last night was fun, I put on Pandora, created a station based on C+C Music Factory (for those of you that wouldn't know that is a staple of the 1990's youth dance scene) and the family spent a while busting a move in the family room to cranked dance music. Yup, everyone danced, even Carter after watching his dad (me) dance for a while. It was great! A few tunes that brought back lots of dancing memories:

C+C Music Factory - Everybody Dance Now

MC Hammer - Can't Touch This

Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch - Good Vibrations

House of Pain - Jump Around

you get the idea... i even did the MC Hammer shuffle move (which I don't do very well)

the one song i was realy wanting to come on but it never did was this one, i just dig it! and it's great to dance to, but so are the others
EMF - Unbelievable 

at one point i grabbed the wife and started country swinging even though this is clearly not swing music, but we got movin' and you could tell the kids were lovin it

unfortunately everyone was dancing... so... no pictures :(

3AM

I personally witness a lot of 3AMs. I don't really know why that is, but about 60% of the time, I am awake at 3AM. This has been true for quite a few years now. Sometimes it is due to stress of work (although not typically), sometimes it is due to impressions that wake me up (truth be told I don't know for sure what actually wakes me but the impressions are right there so they get the blame). These impressions can be cause of deep concern, for someone I know, or sometimes someone I don't know, or sometimes many someones that I don't know (these nights are painful). These impressions can be cause of inspiration, like last night, wherein I woke at 3AM on the dot (sometimes it is closer to 2:30, sometimes 3:30) and this particular night I spent the next just over two hours (it's usually around 60-90 mins that I am up) conversing in prayer and had many thoughts/inspirations regarding spiritual subjects clarify in my mind and heart including: the Holy Ghost, and the worth of motherhood (these nights are lovely and inspiring). I often must reach for my phone and jot down notes of what I am learning because it's too risky to hope that I will recall it all in the morning, and also if I do not write it down and get it from my head then I will likely not get back to sleep anytime soon. I weep through most of these experiences and try to not wake up my wife sleeping next to me. Depending on the intensity of the night, the feelings can linger on throughout the following day, sometimes just the morning, sometimes the whole day and potentially more.

I pray for a great many people and things of concern during these nightly sessions. Including the ability to not have them negatively impact my ability to function in the daytime. Thus far, that request has largely been granted. Oh, and sometimes I wake with story ideas, or partial pieces of poems and the like in my head, those I just have to write down quickly and get back to sleep. I actually try somewhat to break myself of this routine because I like a good nights sleep, and I do wondering how long this can go before eventually my body says enough...

Sunday, April 6

praying for you

without end, 
with my whole soul, 
offering all, 
for all i am is you, 
and unto you i give all that would be for me...

Influence and Control

Often we seek to impact the behavior of another person and in our haste do not appreciate the difference between seeking to do this through powers of influence vs. powers of control. Influence relies on the teaching of principles and preserves the agency of others. Control relies on the implementation of rules and restricts the agency of others.

Heavenly Father first gives us principals and desires us to govern ourselves and taught this truth to the Prophet Joseph Smith who said regarding the saints, "I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves."

Brigham Young further taught: “I have told you many times the property which we inherit from our Heavenly Father is our time, and the power to choose in the disposition of the same. This is the real capital that is bequeathed unto us by our Heavenly Father.” (In Journal of Discourses, 18:354, emphasis added)

When our children are young we of necessity must use powers of control because they do not yet have the capacity to make some choices on their own, therefore the choice is withheld from them until such time that they are capable of making an informed decision and living with the consequences thereof. We do not allow our 5 year old child to determine for themselves if they should drive the car. They are not capable of such a decision for many reasons, and they do not have the capacity to understand the consequences of this decision, therefore it is not given to them. As they grow and their capacities increase (mental, physical, spiritual, emotional) more decisions are placed into their hands until one day all the decisions of life are fully resting on their shoulders.

Father in Heaven does the same with us. He desires us to learn correct principles and then govern ourselves. He seeks to preserve our agency unto us. He desires us to retain our agency, be free, and have power unto ourselves. This is a critical element in becoming like him. It is Satan who desires to destroy the agency of man.
Moses 4:3 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;
Satan does this by binding us in small ways, with thin cords, until one day these thin cords have worked together to form one strong cord which can hold us forever.
2 Nephi 26:22 And there are also secret combinations, even as in times of old, according to the combinations of the devil, for he is the founder of all these things; yea, the founder of murder, and works of darkness; yea, and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever.
God desires to give us principles and let us govern ourselves. He would love if he could give unto us the two great commandments (which are principles) and that would and should tell us all we need to know about God's will and how we should behave in accordance with it.
Matthew 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Should this not tell us all that we need to know. If we are blessed with the Holy Spirit to teach us all things then truly we would not need further direction.
John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
But we are weak and like a little child and therefore God does also give us some rules. He does this for the same reason a parent does the 5 year old with the car, because we are not yet able to understand that which we should.
D&C 89:3 Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.
But this is not how God desires to lead us:
 D&C 58:26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
What do the powers of influence sound like, feel like, look like? God has told us. All that God does he does through the power of the priesthood, this is his power. Therefore he has told us:
D&C 121:41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile
What a wonderful answer! We need look no further for how we are to act towards one another when we desire to impact the life and behavior of another.

There is a principle here:
Influence is in harmony with the motivation of Love. 
Control is in harmony with the motivation of Fear.

Friday, April 4

A God of Miracles

My God is a God of miracles. They rain down on my life in love and mercy and I see them, need them, and give thanks for them! My God is a God that respects the agency of man. Because of this God will not force miracles upon us. He will not coerce us to salvation, happiness and joy, he will lead us gently along if we invite him in, he will not save us against our will.
2 Nephi 27:23 For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.
I have seen so many miracles in my life that it is daunting to imagining listing them all. And as I continue to relinquish my own designs of what I thinkmight make of my life, and turn the reigns completely over to God and trust in him more miracles come. This is not to say that life gets easier. I believe that for most of us life never gets easier, rather it flows between time of hardship and relief, and sometimes the moments of either of those is long, or short. But life does get more grand in the hands of God, the understanding gets deeper, the miracles more holy, especially amidst the sever trials of life.
Mormon 9:19 And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
What is a miracle I ask you? Simply put, it is an act of God. It is when God reaches down from the heavens and touches this world or the inhabitants of it. Need it be large or small to quality? Certainly not. I have watched and witnessed and been the recipient of God touching life on the earth. I testify that I have stood time and time again watching the natural momentum of things in this world which would, without a doubt, result in a given outcome, be turned in their course against the forces of the world, to result in a blessing of the most intimate and holy type that to give credit to anything other than the divine grace of God would be blindness.

I have watched my immediate family and the extended family be struck by a nuclear bomb in the death of a father, and those that turned to God for protection be held fast among the burning embers all around them, so while they felt great pain, they would not fail.
Mosiah 24:14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
I have watched my baby girl , struggle for life, without air, being afflicted with a rare disease ravaged by chemotherapy with little immune system wherein pneumonia was contracted on top of it all, and as the minutes went by with her lacking air, the doctors telling us that brain damage would occur if not death in addition to the sever life long damage of her lungs because of the saturated fluid in her lungs that made her lungs impossible to detect on an x-ray and they prepared us to be in the hospital with her for many months if not even a year or more. We prayed, trusted, hundreds of people prayed and fasted, I gave a priesthood blessing to her, and I stood in that moment and in the presence and strength of angels I knew that my little girl dying was not my life, and less than two weeks later my baby girl was home smiling, breathing, growing, living.

You will see by these two stories that God is not in the business of sparing his children from pain and suffering. His purpose is to perfect us. To teach us how to become like him. To develop all the attributes that he does that we might one day have a fullness of joy. This requires suffering and the acceptance of divine grace in that suffering so that we might learn all that we can possibly learn.

I have watched many more miracles which I cannot freely share. Not because they are earth shattering, but because they are so intimately sacred to me that I do not know how to discuss them generally. But I share them inside those I love. Together we hold them, we witness of them, we give thanks for them because they guide all that we are and time and time again save us from the destruction of this world.

I watch the miracle of my children, each born of the same mother and father, each seeded with the same DNA, each raised in the same home with the same rules, the same food, clothing, shelter; each dealing with the same imperfections of their parents and yet... from the youngest days of their lives they are vastly different creations, with different strengths, weaknesses, fears, and gifts. Does this not witness to you that they were before they came to earth? Does this not witness to you that this life is simply a momentary stop along an eternal journey of their soul? That before they came here they have been somewhere, learning, growing, becoming this infinitely complex and wonderful soul who is now here for a short time to learn more, grow more in ways that only this temporal, imperfect, rough world can provide them before they again journey on to their next estate to continue their eternal progression? Does this not witness to you of that? I say there is few greater witnesses of the eternal plan than when we look into the souls of another human being and if we look deep enough we will see the journey they are on. One that began long long before their birth and one that will continue long long beyond their death.
Abraham 3:11 Thus I, Abraham, talked with the Lord, face to face, as one man talketh with another; and he told me of the works which his hands had made;
12 And he said unto me: My son, my son (and his hand was stretched out), behold I will show you all these. And he put his hand upon mine eyes, and I saw those things which his hands had made, which were many; and they multiplied before mine eyes, and I could not see the end thereof.
22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
23 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.
24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
26 And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.
I testify that God is real, that he loves us, and that we are in his hands and if we invite him to do so, he will lead us along, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little, until the day that we understand all and have recieved all of his gifts.
Moses 6:32 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good.
Isaiah 28:10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 

Songs to Sing

I really like Richard Hawley's music for a number of reasons, one of them is that I can sing a lot of them pretty well... here are 3 favorites... (the videos are a little odd, i don't watch those, just listen to the music)




Thursday, April 3

sent from a friend, who saw me cry

There is a sacredness in tears.
They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.
They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.
They are messengers of overwhelming grief,
of deep contrition,
and unspeakable love.

-Washington Irving

Quirks and other amazing facts

I am sure there are more... but these come to mind...
  • My favorite color is Yellow, but I do not have a favorite number. I actually have a least favorite number which is the number 7. Not totally sure why, but the number 7 seems a little pretentious to me. Given that the number 7 is supposed to represent perfection in the scriptures - yes, I feel a little bad about not liking the number 7. If I was forced to pick a favorite number, it would probably be 3 or 13 - 3 because it just looks cool for lots of reasons (which I won't tell you right now :) or 13 because it has a three in it and I think it's silly that people think 13 is unlucky so I would want to give it some love.
  • I like the taste of coconut but not the texture, so pina colada = yes, almond joy = no
  • I like waffles but not pancakes.
  • If I want to spoil myself a little, I will put half-and-half on my cereal. 
  • When I get to my hotel when on the road, I will immediately turn up the heat in the room to about 78 and write/read in my jammies. Then when I go to sleep I will turn the temp down to 63.
  • I like many types of music, and can appreciate almost all types, except barbershop which makes me want to fill my ears with cement.
  • When I burp I will often say the word "beer" although I do not drink (my father would say "B.O.")
  • I think the tradition of saying "bless you" after a sneeze is silly, so I don't say it
  • I would much rather be hot than cold
  • I don't sweat unless being very physically active
  • I never had wisdom teeth
  • I think snakes are cool, but I can't stand spiders - would kill them all if given the chance
  • I like to play almost every sport, but only care to watch college basketball and only during March Madness
  • I can wiggle my ears
  • I can raise one eyebrow (the left, not the right)
  • I can raise both eyebrows, just like everyone else, but then lower the centers without lowering the outside (you'll have to see this to understand perhaps)
  • I have a new idea for a novel a couple times a month

Wednesday, April 2

tsunami inside

There surges a tsunami inside of me,
that always desires to break free,
A passionate flame, or empathy's cold,
emotions greater than most could hold,
A calm outer shell, shown to the world,
til someday with one, all is unfurled,
Decades of strength, laid out in the past,
shows to the world, how mountains can last,
I sit among men, talking figures and facts,
but inside my heart, bleeds from attacks,
I breathe in great effort, labored but sure,
holding you safe, that which is pure,
Being seen I am not, in front of their eyes,
being heard I am quiet, in spite of my cries,
Grant me a moment, of calm when I must,
rest in the arms, of a heart I can trust,
In the embrace, pain flees from me now,
replaced by a love, that heals me somehow,
A gentle reprieve, just a taste, just a drop,
on knees while in tears, I pray you won't stop,
I believe without knowing, fixed on my dream,
not a care in the world, or so it would seem,
And deep in my chest, way down in my heart,
I know that nothing, will keep us apart,
But today is not that, and I will not rest,
til I've paid the full price, passed every test,
So sleep I do seek, to escape until dawn,
where slumber prevents anything wrong,
In this dark hollow, I forget all my needs,
recharging enough, for next time it bleeds.

Tuesday, April 1

Looking Back...

I grabbed a bunch of old pictures from my mom. 
Here they are... (in very random order)

My dad was awesome, there are no words I can adequately give to capture my feelings for him, only intensely deep feelings, private, powerful feelings. Here he is with my little sister Kimberly. I don't know where we are, somewhere in Nevada I assume (possibly Idaho)

My older sister Corinna giving Crystal a piggy back ride.

This has to be the MOST awesome picture of my brother Todd ever!!! If I were him I would totally use this as my profile picture everywhere :)

My sister Crystal panning for gold.

I just LOVE Todd in that hat! I guess what is happening here is that Crystal is going to carry Kimberly for a while. I'm sure that worked out ok :)

Kimberly

Todd and Crystal

Kimberly

Todd and Crystal

Dad and Kimberly

Kimberly and Crystal




Me and Crystal

Corinna, me, and Crystal


I don't remember anything else about this trip, 
but I totally remember laying in this river.



I really really really love this picture. Todd, Crystal, me

I like this one too... I should use this one as my profile pic! 
Corinna, Crystal, Todd, me

One of our last family pictures before dad got sick. I really love this picture. 
I will try to find a clearer version of it sometime.

My mom at the garden tomb in Israel. You can see these pictures are in no particular order. Deal with it :)

My mom in 1968 after graduating with a degree in fashion merchandising and modeling. Beautiful woman wouldn't you say!

Lobster for date night :)

Love this picture, they just look great! Love my mom's hair, really, look at that color, just beautiful!



This is one of my all time favorite pictures. Taken in Disneyland (one of my favorite places) on the 'It's a small world ride.' Not one of my favorite rides.



Todd and I in a couple of my dad's jackets. We both still have the jackets in our closets. I need to find some occasion to wear it, and my dad's boots that are also in the closet. 

My mom is an awesome grandmother, here with my nephew.

and with my two nieces

My dad bought and sold heavy equipment, 
every time I see one it reminds me of dad.

I love these old time pictures. I wish our family would take one every year, 
they are so stinking fun to do and look at forever!




Aunt Anita, Uncle Gene, Grandma Rose, and mom

Miss Salt Lake City, a.k.a. mom




beautiful!!! how would a guy not want to dance with her?

I am more of a dog person, but mom looks great!



Mom, Aunt Anita, Grandma Rose, Uncle Gene

Dad

Adorable!!!


Aww...


Dad was in the army :)

Mom looks amazing in this picture!!!



Christmas eve, we got our gift from the Savior, this year it was a picture of Jesus. Dad had lost his hair because of the chemo, and also brain surgery to try to remove the tumor.

I totally remember those jammies, wish I still had them, in my size :)

No idea what to say about this picture, EXCEPT another AWESOME picture of Todd, another one he could totally use as his profile pic!

Great picture of dad! I remember the walkie-talkie's too :)





I LOVE a good watermelon!!!

Apparently we brought a crib camping during the years my little sister was a gnome :) I am pretty sure she wasn't in the KKK.

LOVE this picture!!! LOVE my jacket!!! Love Todd's outfit - we would grab these rackets and sing "Old Man Tucker" all the time. I never have forgotten this song and have sang it to my kids. Yes they thought I was nuts when I did :)
♪ ♫ Old Man Tucker wuz a fine ol man,
He washed his face in a fryin' pan; ♪ ♫
♪ ♫ Combed his hair wid a wagon wheel
And he died wid de toothache in his heel. ♪ ♫

♪ ♫ So, git outta de way for Old Man Tucker,
He's come too late to git his supper. ♪ ♫
♪ ♫ Supper's over and breakfast cookin',
Old Man Tucker standin' lookin'. ♪ ♫