Monday, December 5, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
I have a tendency to be quick to judge. My personality demands perfection from myself, and at times I demand that perfection from my wife, my friends, coworkers, or family. But...the other day KacyAnn told me a story that has given me a new perspective...I hope it will do the same for you.
She was in her developmental biology class. The teacher began a discussion about genetic tendencies, and how each of us have a tendency for doing something. One boy raised his hand and stated, "my family is genetically prone to alcholism. If we have one drink, we're done for." (As I thought about it, I believe I'm prone to way too much hot chocolate in the winter time - I just bought 4 lbs of it--it was on sale...give me a break).
Then as the discussion moved on, the teacher began discussing homosexuals. He pointed out that they have done studies with children, boy or girl. He said that the some of the boys like to play with dolls, while some of the girls like to play with tonka trucks, and that some of the children have said "I don't want to be a ____ (fill in gender here)." The students were discussing the need not to judge others. We don't know what kind of things they have going on inside them, we don't know what struggles they go through.
Another boy raised his hand. "I'm gay." he said. "I haven't told too many people that, but its true. I have always struggled with it."
King Benjamin teaches us that, "the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord..." (Mosiah 3:19, emphasis added)
KacyAnn was talking to a friend of hers about this later and her friend said, "When you first turned 16 and your father gave you the old junker car as a gift, you didn't care whether the car dripped a little oil or the steering column was a little off. All you cared about was getting from point A to point B."
We accepted our gift to come here and to have a body. A body that may have chronic health problems, be prone to indulgences (hot cocoa notwithstanding), or not function properly. We didn't care, as long as it gets us from point A (this life) to point B (life after this).
Will it be hard to put off these tendencies; be whatever they are? Yep.
Will you be able to do it? Absolutely.
For with God, nothing is impossible.
....Now if you'll excuse me, I am going to go make some hot cocoa.
Monday, August 1, 2011
No matter the cost?
I've thought recently about this need to be right. When I have a disagreement with my wife, I find myself holding emotions associated with anger; because of my need to be right.
To find who is right, one must establish what is right. Humility is the key to opening this door. If one can admit to themselves there is one way, truth and light then they can begin to find what is right.
If we're not willing to accept that, then we're not willing to walk in His ways, and to be about His business. To seek truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
And if we aren't doing that...what are we doing?
Other than filling voids with feasts that come from already malnourished satisfactory?
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Over the last week KacyAnn and I have watched every Harry Potter movie. The other night KacyAnn's arm had fallen asleep, and so she had her arm in the air trying to bring the circulation back.
"What are the books for?" I ask.
"What books?" she asks me.
"I don't know. I just saw that you had your wand out and thought you were doing some potions."
I guess I've been watching too much Potter.
In all of the watching though, I was reminded of something important. We are all innately good. It is our choices that define our character. Leadership, power, money, and the wanting to be right...All can eat away at who we are until we have nothing left. When we have nothing we find vain satisfactions to fill our voids. All because we wanted something for ourselves more than we wanted to keep our child-like humility, submissiveness, and forgiving character.
Maybe there is a little we can learn from the witches and wizards of Hogwarts.
Wands and potions notwithstanding.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
With father's day just passing, being prepared to be a father has recently been on my mind. I remember going to the park as a child and going to the playground and saying,
"Watch me dad! Watch me! Look what I can do!"
Being prepared takes work. From being prepared for a disaster, to preparing yourself to be a star athlete.
You cannot become, without coming to work.
You cannot become a better husband or wife, without working at that.
You cannot become a better employee, better friend, without working to be that.
Heavenly Father knows this. He knows that we cannot abide with Him, unless we abide by his laws. Why then, do we make it so difficult?
Becoming is harder than doing. Becoming an athlete is different than doing athletic activities. Humility is one of...if not the hardest beginnings we can have.
The beginning of becoming is through the gates of humility.
...Maybe this is why we're asked to be like a little child....we could get down on our knees and instead of a list of "to-dos" we could say,
"Watch me Father! Watch me, look what I can become."
Sunday, June 19, 2011
The other day I walked over to my kitchen and tried to turn on the light. It wouldn't turn on. I tried again....nothing.
"The kitchen light won't work."
After inspecting what could be the problem, KacyAnn noticed one of the breakers was flipped. KacyAnn said oh, this one is off. And she flips it...
It sparks and ALL the power goes out in the whole apartment. So...luckily I remembered that I still had lights from that time we played glow in the dark ultimate Frisbee a few years ago and so we were able to see and to get things done until the power company came.
Now, why do I tell you this?
I find it interesting how there are times when we all find ourselves in the dark. Be it because of our own choices, or otherwise. But even if someone else has done something to wrong us, we cannot forget that there is ALWAYS someone who can be there for us. And, like the power company, they may not be there right away. But they WILL be there. If we prepare ourselves, then those times may not be so bad, in fact, they may be a bit more bearable.
If we are humble.
If we are willing to ask for help.
And... if we are careful which switches we flip. Sometimes they spark.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Think about it, or next time you look at it, think about it.
We have all these things that we do that make us 'dirty'. It may not be any fault of our own, but by our human nature we just get 'dirty'.
Now, most of the time we can 'clean' all the laundry ourselves. There are times though, that our 'load' gets too heavy. We need something to help us clean our load. A tool that will give leverage, or power---to carry our dirty loads and to have them become clean again.
Ah-ha! The magic of laundry baskets!
Cleaning your dirty laundry-It takes some effort on your part, but you have help.
Same is true of life.
Choices are made, and people get dirty.
But the Savior is here to help us carry our 'clothes'...to become clean again.
Don't ask me which soap to use though...that one you can figure out on your own.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Chad and I have pretty much lived together our whole lives. We shared a bedroom, and then when our basement was finished we pretty much lived alone in the basement together. Chad would call it our "man-pad" because we had our TV, couches, mini fridge, and microwave; and Mom's food storage too---which made food retrieval for 2 lazy boys, very handy.
Conversations with my little brother, Chad, never went quite as I had hoped.
"You shut up ya idiot."
--Yeah, about like that. I was thinking recently about a time when Chad was just entering his teenage "saga" and mine was at it's peak.
(Girls = drive boys nuts! As a teenager)
One night, Chad and I had yelled at each other-and this was like BYU vs. UTAH rivalry game, Lakers vs. Celtics--type of yelling. He went to his room and slammed the door.
I sat there on the couch. Festering in myself and telling myself why I'm right and he's wrong. I was angry, and all I wanted to do was let that anger stir inside me. Then I thought, "go pray with him."
Yeah right! Pray with that?! I wouldn't be able to pray because Heavenly Father likes happy prayers and trust me...I am not happy!
Amulek, while preaching with the Prophet Alma, said unto his people, "Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him."
I walked to Chad's room, opened his door and said, "Hey, would you like to say a prayer with me?"
We continued doing that for about 2 weeks...every night.
Our relationship began to change, our friendship changed,
Our attitudes toward each other....changed.
Find times to pray.
Especially when you feel you have no need to improve.
And especially when you're angry---
Even if he is your little brother.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Have you ever looked through something and seen something different that what your natural eye can see?
For instance, a microscope, telescope, or a glass filled with water?
What happens to you when you learn this new perspective? Do you learn, apply, and grow to be a little taller...a little wiser?
Or do you just say, "that's great to see" and then do nothing about it?
Sometimes you have to really focus to see what you're trying to see. I remember going to look through this massive observatory telescope; I was hoping to see these amazing views and extraordinary pictures....
I saw little dots. Lame
It wasn't until the clouds had moved and the man in charge came up and said,"here let me adjust your view" that I started to see Saturn's rings and one of Neptune's moons.
We all have in our mind-eye what we want to something to look like. In talking to a lot of different people over the years, I've found that maybe it's more about finding within ourselves the humility to turn to the man in charge and say, "I can't see very well."
And then when the time is right, and the clouds have moved...He will come to you and say,
"Here, let me adjust your view."
And you'll be amazed what you'll be able to see.
Friday, April 22, 2011
To quote the old man of Princess Bride, "Muewidge is what bwings us togeva, today."
Okay, so I'm not getting married for a week...but I'm still going to say some things related to it that are on my mind.
I have been trying to wrap my mind around something...I am not a professional in any field, nor am I perfect in everything I do, and everything I say, but I try to find ways to be better.
Why do we allow ourselves to "leave [our] father and mother...and cleave unto your [spouse]"... and then financial, communicative, or relationship strains occur...and we see people all around us who start to cleave to anyone but--be that friends, coworkers, church friends, pets, anything but that person they chose to cleave to. Interesting, we find anyone (or anything) to bring us those exact feelings that our spouse originally brought.
I understand people change. If I was still the same person I was when I was 15 years old...trust me, I would not be marrying the woman I am marrying in 8 days...but there are three fundamental principles that-if upheld, will keep you cleaving to whom your covenant or vow commits you to...your spouse.
One principle is loyalty. Elder Scott stated, "If you are married, are you faithful to your spouse mentally as well as physically?"1 I always think of KacyAnn's dogs when I think of loyalty. You can see how much they love that family. No matter how many times they're teased (like bottle rockets being shot at them and watching them bark at them when they pop). No matter how many times they do something they shouldn't do, and then they walk toward you with their tail between their legs... and you just know they're sorry. They find ways to enjoy their time with you, even when you know they'd prefer doing something else (usually eating). Loyalty is demonstrated through actions taken, not through words spoke.
Next, is the principle of humility. British nun, Monica Baldwin said, "What makes humility so desirable is the marvelous thing it does to us; it creates in us a capacity for the closest possible intimacy with God"2. If we're not willing to admit that we are wrong, how can we hold that against another? Finding how to improve and admitting you don't know everything, there lies untold power and strength. There sits ability to become more tomorrow than you are today.
Lastly, the principle pure love. You cannot be everything to everyone, but you can be someone to somebody. When you're married, that somebody is your spouse. I hope throughout my married life, my wife can question everything in the world...but never question how much I love her. My theory is--love does not conquer all in a relationship, but it certainly gives you a leg up on those competing for your place.
Do I know everything? Nope.
All I know is...I see a difference between Ryan now...and Ryan 10 years ago.
And it's not just because I got older.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
I love basketball.
I went to the basketball hall of fame....6 times, (It helped that I was living in Springfield, MA for 6 months).
I remember when I was 15 years old. My little brother, Chad and I, were tired of the swing set.
"Dad, I'm too old to swing on those flexible pieces of plastic connect to chains and whenever I go down the slide the little hornets nest gets disturbed and I run away screaming. Can't we get rid of the swing set and get a basketball court?"
(Okay-so maybe that is the worst run on sentence ever; and maybe it wasn't phrased quite the way I'm describing....except for the run away screaming part...but I was only 15 okay?....and the screaming part was mostly Chad...)
"Ryan, we can't throw out the swing set. Each post is cemented three feet into the sand pit with about four feet worth of cement on the post itself."
Now, my compromising skills weren't quite like they are now. So, they probably sounded as follows:
"No Ryan, we can't"
"Ryan, this conversation is over."
Being my teenage self, and trying to find a way to show my dad that I do know everything. I came up with a plan.
"Hey Dad, what if Chad and I dug up the posts and chipped off the cement?"
"You really want to do that?"
".....yes.....and we can give the swing set to Mrs. Jensen's kids. They're little."
"Okay. If you do that, we'll get a basketball court."
I spent that entire summer sweating away, breaking my dad's pick-ax, and chizzling off that cement. But I got the court.
Sometimes compromising takes time.
Sometimes you have to step back, think a little different, and be willing to work.
...Even if it takes all summer.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
I was in charge of the videos for the school. Video announcements mostly.
I began staying at school for 12-14 hours a day.
I was editing videos for teacher's classes, for student's projects, for the announcement of the ballroom dance team, for the basketball team's game on Friday. I was always doing something for someone. (Living on Wendy's combo meals and Mt. Dew...ah, the glorious life of a high metabolism).
One day, my adviser Mrs. Sheen walked into the room I was working in.
Sheen was one of those super tough teachers. She was very intimidating until you began to know her. Then you saw how much she really cares about students becoming and not just doing.
"Why are you still here?" she asked.
"I have to get this video done for the french teacher." I replied.
"Why do you have to do it?"
"Because, (looking at her with the classic teen "I know what I'm doing" look) it's my job."
"It is not your job to be walked on, it is your job to serve."
I've thought a lot about that through years since.
I serve until I feel I'm being used, that I'm being walked on, then I discuss it with the person to help them understand that although I look like Superman---I in fact am not. None of us are.
We serve others because in service to others, we find ourselves. "Whosoever shall lose himself for my sake shall find it."
Whether that is in your job, in your family, or in your daily life.
You serve without want. You serve to become who you know you should be.
To reach your potential...
Avoid being walked on though, trust me--if there is one thing you want to avoid in life, that one thing is what I learned from Mrs. Sheen on that day....
Friday, April 8, 2011
She was kind, easy to talk to, and a great church going woman.
Her local church leader would come visit her at least once a week. He would talk to her for while and share spiritual thought or two with her.
"Is there anything I can do for you, Karen?" He asks.
"No, I'm fine thanks." She would respond.
This church leader noticed that things seemed to be consistently taken care of: garbage taken out every week, lawn mowed, pets fed (yes, even the 3 stray cats that would come by daily), dishes washed, clothes hung to dry....it was all done.
"Can I help vacuum or dust?"
"No, it's fine. Sally did it."
On his walk home one day this church leader thought, "Who is this Sally person? She's doing everything, and she's putting me to a little bit of shame as Karen's leader."
He found out some time later that Sally had moved Karen into her house.
"That's IT! I have to meet this Sally woman."
As he walked into to Sally's home, he noticed pictures on the walls. Grand kids, late husband, marriage photos, they were all there. Sally was not a part of this man's faith, and as he began speaking to her, he couldn't help himself-he had to ask,
"Why did you move Karen into your home? Why do you shovel her walk, take out her trash, and feed those 3 stray cats for her?"
Sally looked at him a bit puzzled.
"Well...she needs it. It's what you do-isn't it?"
Isn't that interesting--for some we have to be given a position or an assignment to be a friend and a neighbor, and then we don't do it.
Sally did those things because that's who she is. She just does that.
I think that is the heart of conversion.
It is not just to do....it is to be.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
I have always loved superheroes.
I have been intrigued by how they are so willing to help other people because they recognize that is who they are. It is in their nature to serve, help, and save. They don't do something and then expect reciprocity, they do something and if someone reciprocates-I applaud them.
Reciprocity is something to be valued. Not something to expect.
One of my church leaders from when I was a youth told me this story once. He said he was way outside of town on a date. They were at an area called Nutty-Putty caves and they were going there for a date and then heading back home in the late afternoon for the local school dance.
"My tire blew out." He said. "I didn't have tools, or a spare. We were stuck."
(Now-I didn't ask him this, but I wonder if that made the date a little more awkward.)
He told me that he wasn't sure what to do, and he knew he needed someone to help him quick.
"It was getting dark, and I wanted to at least get my date home." He stated.
He told me that he said a prayer. Nothing huge, he just asked for help and he promised that if they could have help, he would do everything he could the rest of his life to stop and help others who were stranded.
He had decided that reciprocity was something he valued.
"No more than 10 seconds after that, a truck pulled over. He hooked my car up and towed me home."
I've heard countless stories since then of this man helping others. From older women stranded in a blizzard, to ladders falling from a construction truck.
I can know what you value by what you do, more than what you say.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
I recently read something that made me think.
There have been many problems with the nuclear reactor in Japan. When the problems first came about, 50 workers volunteered to stay and help get things under control. They stay despite the danger of incredible radiation exposure and the time away from family, they stay because they know that is where they need to be.
Can you stand where you need to be?
I think of the story that was told of the men that were helping to carry a piano. Five of the men were carrying the piano and one less able man was carrying the stool.
Afterward one man turned to another and said, "How wonderful is that. That fragile man filled to capacity his ability."
"What are you talking about?" voiced another. "All he did was carry a stool."
"Ah, yes." said the man. "For there lies the wisdom that so many miss. If you have the power to move a piano, don't reach for the stool."
It's natural to find ways to escape the hard things. From moving across the country to letting go of a friend. Those "pianos" of our life that need lifting, and we decide to move the stool.
We turn down help with our "piano" and hope that the stool will suffice and still bring the harmony and sweet sounds that a piano can bring.
I hope next time I see a police officer, EMT, sewer worker...or piano stool mover, that I can remember their ability to stand where they are.
They stand where they are needed.
They sacrifice their strength, and at times their lives, for the need of someone else.
Because they were taught that.
Because they felt that it is right.
Because when the test comes for them to choose what they need to do, they choose what they chose so long ago.
No matter how hard that choice may be.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
She had heard a roommate talking about her. Saying things about how she is too young to be getting married, she's just a baby and can't handle that kind of responsibility.
That phrase, "too young" has recently caught my eye.
I've found there is a difference between "mature age" and "biological age".
We all know of that person in high school that was just older. You looked at them and although they were your same age, sometimes a year or two younger, you knew they were just older.
That is how my friend is. She graduated from high school at age 16. Started college just before her 17th birthday, and now she's a year from graduating and if things go as planned for her, she'll be done with graduate school by age 22.
There's a difference there. Most 22 year old girls are barely graduating college, some debating missions, others' still trying to find what kind of person they want to be when they grow up.
We have no ability to judge someone based on what we think. If everyone listened to every wind of voices telling them what they think should be best for them; we wouldn't have 19 year old boys going on missions, 24 year olds translating ancient books, or 19 year old seniors in college getting married.
That must be why the scriptures talk about not judging those around you. Judging shines pride. I think the only judging we should sweat about is the time we will be judged after this life.
He knows our intent.
He knows our heart.
He knows our "mature age".
Sunday, February 20, 2011
I work and work,
To show you I'm the greatest,
To show you no shirk,
I climb up the ladder,
And then right back down,
To have you just tell me,
My feet were off ground.
I realize that someone's perspective is off,
Is it me? Is it you?
Which one deserves to be scoffed?
I think that depends on which way you choose,
Whether that be-towards me or towards you.
I will be the best me, despite you think that is odd,
The one whom I care about most is---
Saturday, February 12, 2011
People need people to need themselves.
Being independent is an interesting thing. We either shy away from it and depend on others (family, friends, government) to help us in every way; or to contrast, we become so independent that we begin to believe that we cannot rely on anyone else to do anything for us, and that we are ultimately the only ones that can bring that happiness to us. T0 quote Boyd K Packer,
“The principle of self-reliance or personal independence is fundamental to the happy life. In too many places, in too many ways, we are getting away from it..."(Boyd K. Packer, Conference 1978)
I think we're missing something...I think we're missing...the innate need to be independent while dependent.
Not one or the other, but both.
I've found that when a person learns to be independent with their own personal growth (spiritually or physically), and they find the balance between dependence and independence, this is when the most growth happens.
When a mother of 5 is stricken with cancer and she begins to understand that she needs to be strong (independent), but she also needs friends and family to step in and help with making the family meal (dependent)....
That is when change and growth happens.
You independently lift weights, but you depend on the spotter, or on the machine pulleys to keep you from crashing the weight down and hurting yourself.
You can't solely depend, and you can't solely be independent.
I should be better at this. Although I feel that my spirituality is independent to me....
....I'm not sure that it is....
So I'm trying to be more independent....
While being dependent.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
We all have ideals.
Notice, I did not say idols, I said ideals. Ideals are what you believe to be the perfect scenario.
Keeping in touch with your best friend since high school, growing old with him and building a house next door. Ideal.
Graduating college with a job set in place with a starting six-figure salary. Ideal.
Children have thousands of ideals. Jayden comes over to grandma's house with the ideal situation that he's going to have thousands of toys, lots of games, and a plethora of movies.
Yes. A plethora.
Each of our ideals may vary. There is a problem that confronts us though, when ideals are not met. We can become very upset that someone or something was not ideal.
Whether it's hitting traffic when you weren't expecting it, someone leaving you, or spilling food all on yourself during your date with that "perfect person". We can begin to take offense to someone or something...because our "ideal" was not met. A lot of the time, no one knows what our ideals are.
None of us are mind-readers, (breaking news to all you X-Men fans) and we cannot completely know what others' ideals are 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We must talk.
Communicating brings about our ideals.
At least...that's my idea.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
She told about how her mom became older and she eventually was in an assisted place. Her mom was getting ill and was going to die. She asked if she could take her mom and she would take care of her until her mom passed away. They said she could.
"I would go outside with her every-a day" she said.
"I would push-a her-a wheelchair and we would enjoy the sun together." (think about that)
"Why did you do that?" I asked.
"I wanted to make-a her life, to be-a happy."
That is where true conversion lies. You do it because you are. You go out everyday to teach because that's who you are. You love your family and help them become better, and love everyone you come in contact with because that's who you are. Christ loves us because that's who He is, He is love. He cannot not love us.
...and he wants us to live the laws and ordinances...and to have us live true religion, because he knows that when we do that....
Our life...will be-a happy.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
The other day I was sitting in class during a break we had a guy came in hoarding 4 candy bars and probably like 100 cookies.
"What the heck?" I said.
"Go check it out. The vending machine is broken outside and it gives you 3 of everything!"
So I go out there and sure enough, I press D7 for a Kit-Kat...I get 3 Kit Kat. I press B3 for a pink cookie, I get 3 pink cookies. I couldn't contain my excitement! It was awesome!
After all, it's the machine's fault it's broken. Not mine. I shouldn't have to be punished for my choosing to get a candy bar and I get 6. It's the machine's fault, not mine.
I called KacyAnn after class to tell her about my new found treasure. As I was telling her, I realized that what I had done wasn't the best choice.
I justified, "Yeah but I gave most of the candy away to fellow classmates. I'm like Robin Hood. I take from the rich and give to the poor. College students are as poor as they come."
My choice effected other people.
Be aware of yourself, what you are doing, how you are speaking.
Oh...and broken vending machines.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Arizona in December is nice. Orange trees are fun to see.
Watching how Heavenly Father blesses you?
Nothing short of miraculous.
I realized something over my past week and a half in Arizona. Something that I've found needs to be re-emphasized to me every now and again until I get it. Until it sinks in.
I was in Arizona with KacyAnn's family. I had a lot of fun, including watching bottle rockets be launched at and chased by one of the dogs named Bella.
But that was not where I learned this lesson. I learned these lesson's from the one on one moments. From helping KacyAnn with wedding decisions, to talking to Brianna about not letting grades define who she is. Or doing the dishes to show Andrea and Cole in some small way how appreciative I am that they're allowing me into their family and to be with their daughter.
Life is not happy when life is about me. Life is happy when life is not about me.
I've had many experiences lately in my life (be them extrinsic or otherwise), that repeat this.
Life is happy, when life is not about me.
It's interesting to look inside yourself. I find that you'll always find a knot that needs untying. They may be knots of pride, being content, or not a willingness to listen. At times it maybe large knots, but other times they are the smaller-tighter knots.
Those knots that require...Someone else. Someone who knows how to untie any knot.
Because when life is about Him. Then life stops being about me.
Then...life is happy.