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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Believing when you don't want to believe

"I lost my job". I came home early last December and told my wife. My daughter comes crawling up to me and I pick her up and hold her while she's sucking her fingers.

"I'm sorry," Kacy says. "What happened?"

What I said next was just a bunch of details about mistakes happen - blah, blah - boss yells at me - blah, blah - never liked me - blah, blah blah. A lot of tears of fear being shed of what was going to happen next. Then I feel something.

*squish* - my daughter, Averi sticks her slobbery finger in my ear and gives me a baby wet-willy.

Thanks, kid.

That was a hard time for me and my family (not the wet-willy). It's interesting how the Lord works in our lives. What he blesses us with at the most unexpected times. To give you background, I was planning on quitting that job I lost a month later, in January. I was terrified to do so because I did not know how we were going to pay for what we needed. Then the next day after receiving the news I sat down and talked to President of the company. He essentially told me that he would pay my salary through January for me to find a job that would give me a good beginning in my career.


Again, I came home in tears. No baby-willy's this time. Kacy and I had been feeling for a couple months that we should move to where her family was in Arizona. I began applying to jobs like crazy and I even tried to get a little creative in the applying process.

While down in Arizona for the Christmas holiday, I was applying to any job I could find. Kacy suggested on Christmas I take a break from the madness. I woke up Christmas morning and felt I should apply to one job. I applied and a few days later was called for an interview.

That has been my job now since the beginning of the year. 

The Lord is here to bless each of us. In our own individual way, a way we may not understand. At times we may feel discouraged and afraid but if we are willing to follow Him, we will be blessed.

Believe in yourself and in His plan. You may have to do something crazy like move to another state...but the blessings of being willing to do His will instead of your own...immeasurable.

Baby wet-willys notwithstanding.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A World Worth Living For

Have you ever sat back and given yourself time to think? Have you thought about how you treat other people? Have you thought about how other people have treated you?

Have you grown a little bit more wise today?

Today, I was feeding Averi. As I watched her hold the bottle and gulp down her milk in about 5 seconds flat - I thought about how I want to do things differently as a parent, and I became a little be frightened realizing that...this world is way messed up, people.

Way messed up.

I thought about how I would teach her about strangers, about why there is war, about the adversary and how he is real - even though you can't see him.

I thought about making good friends, not being a hypocrite, and I can't control everything she will choose to do or to say...

But I can show her why this world is worth living for.

I can show her the importance of: talking to the guy on the street, making food for a family that needs it, loving people who hurt you, and admitting you're wrong even when all the pride in your body wants to defend the opposite,

and how to be Christ-like.

Will I be perfect? Nope.

Will I make mistakes? Absolutely.

But at least she'll know why life is worth living.

To live the laws of God, serve other people, and being willing to change who you are today....

To be a better person tomorrow.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

To Lead with Confidence

Every once in a while I go to the gym. More times than not it's because my wife, KacyAnn is pushing me out of the house telling me I'm "a little fluffy", but I go.

A few weeks ago I went and played a pick-up basketball game at the gym. I learned a valuable lesson that day. Now, let me give you some background here - there is a full court game being played of 5-on-5. After one team wins, 5 other players in the gym form a quick team and go in to play the winning team. The winning team then continues to play until they lose a game or one of their players leaves. Pretty simple, right?

Not today.

The team we ended up forming were as follows: 5 white guys, all under 6'1" with one guy that - - well lets just say he was in his mid-50's and didn't look to be in basketball shape. The team we were up against?

5 Black guys, all over 6'5".


As we started the game, I noticed something strange about one my teammates. I don't remember his name, but for the sake of my story we'll call him - David.

David was walking around to our team introducing himself and saying, "let's go guys we've got this. Let's go."

Yeah-let's just go home and save ourselves the beating that we're about to have put on us by this Goliath basketball team.

We start playing and David keeps passing the ball. To everyone on our team! Mr. Mid 50's would fumble a pass and he would shout, "That's alright man. That's alright we'll get it next time." He would pass the ball to a smaller guy on our team and he would make one. David would say, "I'm comin' to you next time hot hands."

He showed confidence in others, and they did what was needed to win.

Toward the end of this game we needed only 2 points to win the game. Because of my "fluff" I was a little late getting to that side of the floor. David tossed me ball at the top of the 3 point line and said, "Game winner right here baby."


We ended up playing 2 more games in a row that night until David and I had to leave.

I wonder how much different the world, our jobs, and our families would be...if we just expressed more confidence in each other, our coworkers, and loved ones...

I bet more people would perform above their perceived potential. And probably knock down the winning shot a lot more than we realize...

"Game winner. Right here baby."


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Being a baby

I'm sitting in a quiet hospital room right now after an eventful couple of days. While mother and baby are sleeping, I sit and reflect. From "Ryan, come home from school now and we're going to the hospital." to me thinking, "What have I done to my wife she's going to die!" to now, "Oh she's such a cute little girl."

I was talking to a great mentor of mine the other day and he said, "the labor room of the hospital and the celestial room of a temple are the two most sacred places I can ever be. It may not feel the same for the mother, but for the father, it can bring you very close to Heaven."

I felt that.

It's true that you can't really know what it feels like to be a father until you are one. But why can't we do other things in our lives to feel that close to Heaven?

God holds you in his arms just like I held Averi Belle in mine. God sees us as if we were babies. He sees how we sometimes look around everywhere, trying to understand what is happening; that life is hard and confusing. He knows the times we are hungry, when we are tired, and most of all...

He knows we need to be clean.

When you're unclean, you feel uncomfortable. Getting older, you tend not to cry out and let everyone know your weaknesses. You and I tend to stop "being a baby" and we instead look to our own ways and think we can handle it. When we have our Father and Brother looking at us and wanting to say as KacyAnn says to Averi:

"Are you having a rough day today? What can I do to help?"

But we forget that.

We don't listen. We don't repent. We just complain that our life sucks and we don't let our Parent take care of it.

Maybe we should be more of a baby. More needy for love, more reliance on our Parent,

More willing to grow into the person we can be.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

We talk too much

"There's too much talk and not enough do."
I have few things in life that can really twist my 'annoyed' strings. One of them I realized one day while I was preaching the Gospel in Boston for the LDS church. I was in a brand new area where my preaching companion had been for quite some time. He knew the area better than anyone I had ever met. He was constantly telling me things I needed to do to help this area and he was constantly working with different church members to get them excited about helping us with the work we were doing. One day as we were walking home for lunch I was feeling pretty dejected. I was thinking of how we were constantly talking to people about the importance of doing something, and we talked about it all day long. But on this one afternoon walking home, it hit me -

There's too much talk and not enough do.

Do you realize this? Do I realize this?

I think talking is good. Talking gets us thinking, it gets ideas flowing, but it isn't until we act that we actually see the "fruit of the labor." It's like telling your mother that you want to plant a tree in her yard for her but never going outside to plant it. Just saying, over and over - I should plant a tree for you outside.

A similar process applies with repentance. We can talk ourselves out of repenting, and we can constantly tell ourselves we don't have anything to repent of, but it isn't until we act and truly go through the process to repent, that we discover the power of Christ's Atonement.

Doing righteousness has it's blessings, yes. But doing righteous for the sake of receiving blessings can make us less grateful for those. The Lord knows what blessings we truly need, and we can't do something "expecting a specific blessing for that."

My brother pointed this out to me and gave an example. He has just started school, and was married about a month ago. He was very worried about finances but said he had faith that God would help him. In the past month he said, "I've received a pay raise at work, my school funding came in, and I have enough money to purchase a better car so my wife and I can save money on gas and constant repairs. But these are things I didn't know I needed. God did. I was merely doing what I have been asked to do through God's Prophet and He has blessed me in the way He expected, not what I expected.

We talk about what we should do.

But we need to do what we've been talking about.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Progression Succession

One of my favorite quotes is "People are in favor of progress, it's the change they don't like." I think the reason I've come to love it so much is because it always begs the question..."Why is that?" 

From children to adults, if I was a social scientist for a living I would study this topic like mad. I remember times when I was younger, one of my siblings would do something and my parents would scold them and they would respond with "Sorry, I won't do it again." Then they do it again, and again, and again.

We all do it, you and me alike. But with all these short falls, there's gotta be a way to strive toward perfection. Let me share with you a few principles I've found to help in loving not only the progression, but the changing that coincides to it.

1. Stop thinking you are right about everything. You're not. Admit it. Move on.

2. Listen to others. Believe it or not, most people know a lot about a lot. From cars to relationships, they have something that can help you progress. Listen to feedback, suggestions, and anything someone tells you. Do you have to do all of it? Of course not. But it never hurts to try new ideas. If you don't think that's true, go back to Step 1.

3. Read what others have to say about things you are involved with. Yes, the scriptures are very good  tool to have and to read. But did God not bring us here with different talents and abilities so that we could 'edify and uplift one another'? If you're a parent, read parenting books. If you're a teacher, read how to teach better. If you're stressed about finances, read financing books. The list goes on. But if you don't think you need to do that, then go back to Step 1.

4. Trust that others may see things you don't. I remember growing up, I heard a church leader say "a wise man learns from his mistakes, a wiser man learns from the first wise man." How many times have you tried to warn a child, friend, or parent of something that you can see is taking them down a wrong path; and they do nothing? Are you happy when that happens? Now, on the flip-side.....has that child, friend or parent ever been you? If you don't think so, go back to Step 2. And if you still don't believe so after that, go back to Step 1.

5. Have humility in your heart. Notice I didn't just say have humility. But in your heart. Pray for it, read about it, find it in others. Humility is key to progression. It excites the mind to the world of possible changes it can achieve. Don't think you need humility? Go back to Step 1.

Start one at a time. 

Pray for guidance.

You will be amazed at the changing that can happen.

Whether you like it or not.

Don't believe me? Go back to Step 1.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Watch out! Someone may need you!

"When you practice perception, you practice following the spiritual promptings."

A few Sunday's ago, I was sitting in a church class with a couple of friends of mine Jared and Marcus. Jared has a cute little daughter, Launa that we were watching (being distracted in class) as she climbed in and out of chairs, through our legs, and Jared trying to stop her from eating random something's from the floor.

As she was climbing through the backs of one of the chairs...I noticed something. Each time she would stick her head through the back of the chair and smile at Marcus and I behind her; she would bring her head backward and Marcus would put his hand between Launa's head and the top of chair to prevent her from hitting her head. Then Marcus would move his hand, and as soon as Launa went through her smiling-distracting us boys from the lesson routine, there again, was Marcus and his hand. Marcus was perceiving. 

Having perception means not only that you are aware of your surroundings and what is happening, but you act on what you see as well. Like Marcus, you see something happening in your life and you do something about it. Perception takes practice, I'm sure that for some like Marcus; he has naturally been that way a majority of his life. He saw a child playing in a chair and because he has had so much practice with perception his mind didn't need to go through the thought process "This child is not going to know that if she puts her head up too quickly while still under this section of the chair, she will bump her head on the chair and that may not feel very good." No, he naturally did this. Launa never noticed that she had a possibility of bumping her head on the chair.

I think that our Heavenly Father is amazingly perceptive. He see us (his children) and he notices when we are going to bump our heads before we know we are going to. He has a higher perspective, and therefore He knows whether to help, or whether a lesson will be taught. Or both. 

How perceptive are you in your everyday life? How am I? Do you notice the people around you, or do you have blinders on from being so focused on the task in front of you? Have you noticed another's body language while you are talking; maybe about something that is personal to them but they won't tell you? Do you watch for the stressed one at work and try to help? Or have you done what I've done and thought you're too busy to help.

When you practice perception, you practice following the spiritual promptings. You begin to prioritize with the Spirit in mind, instead of your own agenda. 

I challenge you to be perceptive. If you're like me who needs a little more practice, next time someone is talking to you ask yourself two questions: 1. What can I do to help this person? 2. How can I see from their point of view?

Try it.

Or you may never know what you are able to see.