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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.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Wheat bread

"Gross Dad!" I say with a look on my face that would make you think something just rotted in front of me. "I only want white bread! Not wheat."

Recently my 6 year-old nephew, Jayden had about this same conversation with my brother. Replace the word, 'dad' with 'Chad'; and you've pretty much got the gist of it. Chad responds, "have you ever tried it?" "No," Jayden says. "Because it's gross." Chad smiles, probably because he remembered himself doing the exact same thing. "Well how do you know it's gross if you don't try it? It could give you strong 'muss-culls'." Chad says, flexing.

"Nu-uh." retorts Jayden. "And its muscles. Not muss-culls."

"No, it's muss-culls. And you won't know if it's good for you unless you try it."

"Okay." says Jayden. Continuing for the next week to flex his wheat-built biceps.

President Uchtdorf once stated, "There are times when we have to step into the darkness in faith, confident that God will place solid ground beneath our feet once we do."1

Our natural human nature is to escape. To fly away from something new, something hard, something unfamiliar. It isn't until we take that step into the darkness-that we begin to taste of His fruit. That we begin to better understand why and what He wants us to know.

I challenge you to not run away. To have the strength to step into the darkness. To kneel down and ask Heavenly Father to help you.

Come on....try it.

It will help build your muss-culls.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

This is about you

Now, just so you know, this post is about you.

Yes, you. I am talking about you.

I was thinking about you the other day. I was sitting in church trying to stay attentive and avoid "the tap" from my wife. You know, the one where they're wanting to whack you over the head with the hymn book because they can clearly tell you're merely singing every other word until the chorus of the song comes...then you sing a little bit louder? Yeah, that tap.

My mind was off track that day. Because of you, and myself as well; but I was pondering about you.

I was wondering why you don't listen. Why I don't listen. Why do you think you know how to run your life? Why do you argue? Why don't you change?

I was talking about you the other day to a friend. After asking them how life was, and the normal chit-chat, I asked them about how dating life is going.

"Non-existent" they responded.

In asking why, I began thinking more about you. I began thinking about me.

"I don't think the right one is out there." they said.

You and my friend are very similar. You see - there is a lack of faith.

We are here to be tested. To see how we respond to life. For some, it is sickness and for others it's money. For some it is to see where our priorities lay. It takes faith to get married and venture out on your own. It takes faith to repent. It takes faith to admit that you are wrong. I think a trap you and I fall into is that we begin to feel that we're doing everything right, so we don't need someone to give us advice and to help us. What's ironic about that, is that once we stop trying to listen to others, we lose faith in them. God has brought you and I together to edify and uplift each other. Part of that may mean trying what they suggest. Like when Christ asked his disciple to walk on water. Having faith it will work out.

But for some reason, your reason is different than mine. You are afraid to get out of the boat. Why?

"Because I'm not sure what's going to happen."
"Because I don't have enough money."
"Because I don't want to get hurt again."

Reach out to Christ. Do something that will help you grow your seed of faith. Not hide it under a bushel.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

No Juevos

Have you ever wanted to tell someone how you really feel, and then you don't do it?

Have you ever known that if you say you're sorry (even when you may not need to be) that a relationship can begin to heal....and you don't do it?

Why not?

Because you're scared, intimidated, worried, shy, upset, prideful.

You have no courage. You have no juevos.

That's why.

I will always remember the quote from Dr. Jason Carroll of my marriage prep class. We were talking about communicating with others and he said, "It's not 'if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all,' instead it should be if you have nothing nice to say, figure out a nice way to say it."

But doing that takes courage. It takes change.

I find it interesting that people expect people to understand people. But people need training. I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but you needed to learn how to go to the bathroom in a bathroom, just as much as my good dog friend Bella needed to learn that same concept- only outside.

We all need training, to become the kind of people we should become.

How do you do that?

I believe that it starts by being perceptive. Putting yourself in others shoes. If you don't like something, chances are someone else doesn't either. If you like something, chances are someone else does too. I don't mean your favorite color, or sports team, but a behavior.

If you like when you're house is clean, chances are someone else in your house does too. If you don't like the look of dirty dishes in the sink, or the feeling of being stood up for something, chances are someone else thinks the same. Have the courage to be perceptive and clean up. Don't focus solely on your wants and needs. Sometimes your needs are coinciding with those around you. But if you put the blinders of busy-ness, and 'I want things my way'.... you'll have no time to see how you can serve others (including your family).

Have the courage to notice those around you. Have the humility to admit that you can be trained, and when you mess up - go back and seek feedback to be better trained the next time.

Get some juevos, be perceptive, accept that you need training.

Now- if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go walk to my next class...

Oh yeah - I had to be trained to walk too, hmmm.