Thursday, November 26, 2009


"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others." --Cicero 

Did you hear about Jerry? He has cataracts. He's a little older, I suppose. Youth do not usually have to deal with that kind of ailment. They seem to be a product of the aged but I'll stop stereotyping because my dog is on the same cataract cruise line.

Jerry must be grateful. He is a free bird this year, literally. Jerry is a turkey. He won't be butchered  for the feast of men happening today. Jerry would probably be smiling--barring his beak and the peculiar, gelatinous, red-colored, flesh that surrounds it. Is that what creates that distinctive gobble sound?

Anyway, as we take a walk in Jerry's tracks, we can see that a being far above him has shone the light of providence and delivered him from his certain fatal destiny. No, Jerry will not land on a platter this year. Rather, the hopes of new life have dawned into sight for him. This is so, even amidst those pesky cataracts.

 For added perspective, the President of the United States pardoned a turkey named Courage yesterday from its would-be deathly dinner.  Apparently, the sentiment of his name payed off. Courage weighs 45 pounds and will spend the rest of his life in Disneyland, no joke--Google it. Needless to say, both Courage and Jerry are grateful. Thanksgiving has brought new life and the meaning of gratitude has taken on a new luster.

So, here it is, Thanksgiving 2009. What can we learn from our friends Jerry and Courage? Perhaps we can raise our sights above any grudges we hold or any flaws of our own and be grateful towards that Pardoning Hand that continually offers us new days and years to look toward, even amidst the cataracts of life. They may just be blessings we haven't looked to see into yet. Mercy extended begets mercy extended; sacrifice begets sacrifice; a smile begets a smile. Truly, gratitude is the lens cleaner of life. This virtue helps us really see all that we have been given and who matters most in life. It is quite the trail of discovery. You can't Google that, I promise!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Church Supports Nondiscrimination Ordinances - LDS Newsroom

Hey everyone,

Just thought I would post the link to this news release. The Church's support on these ordinances has brought mixed reviews--mostly among Latter-day Saints. This baffles me a bit. The passing of these ordinances represents the support of basic human rights. It does not, however, link to the support of the moral issues surrounding the group it addresses. The statement made by the LDS church clearly illustrates this balance. There is a link to the actual statement in the LDS newsroom page.

Those of the LDS faith who stand against the Church's support of these ordinances are missing out on some of the foundational principles taught by the Lord, Jesus Christ. The greatest of these is love. Love is the catalyst by which people change for the better. We should show love towards all by kindly living correct principles and reflecting correct moral values. We do not support practices contrary to Christian principles but we do support people and their potential to change and improve their lives as they desire to. Christ invites ALL to come to Him and walk His path.

It is no wonder to me, now, that in the recent General Conference of the LDS Church, that many of the remarks from the presiding Church leaders were focused on love and its practice in our lives. I will post a few of them but invite you to pay particular attention to the remarks of Elder Oaks in his "Love and Law" address. He directly addresses the relationship between public issues and religious positions. Here are the links to a few:

"What Have I Done for Someone Today" President Thomas S. Monson

"The Love of God" President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

"Our Perfect Example" President Henry B. Eyring

"Love and Law" Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


"So long as we live among men, let us cherish humanity" --Andre Gide

Go with me to a job interview. It is here you sit, knee to knee, with a corporate superior (we'll call him Mr. Mo-Betta-Den-U). It is here you are resolute in making yourself known and telling this guy what you can do for his enterprise. You're set. The credentials scream "I'm your man!" and the resumé says, "Man, I look good."

The questioning begins...

"Well,  Mr. subordinate, (that's you), "tell me of your greatest strength."

You reply with a series of marketable answers followed by this concluding declaration: "I'm a people person."

It just seemed like a good thing to say--a good way to seal the deal, right? Yes, a good way to say "I'm a powerhouse with a bit of cliché on the side."

Say goodbye to all of your previously attained merit. Mr. Mo-Betta-Den-U has no need for a filler statement amidst your already-displayed worth to his company. Trust me, he has made the assumption and already believes that you are a people person.
What does it mean to be a "people person"? We say it often. I've heard it used on both sides of the people spectrum. I've heard those who use it in the context that they really like to communicate, soak in the power of personality, and cultivate worthy association. On the reverse, I've met some who tell me that they just don't like people. Interaction does not seem to be their forte. Their resort stands in the world of "me, myself, and a good strong video game" (bloggers don't count, wink). So, if one is not a people person, what is he? I've yet to come to a conclusion on this.

When it comes down to it, I believe in being a people person. I am simply issuing warning against one becoming a trite stereotype who loses originality, ingenuity, and impact in the face of overuse (see, "cliché"). I would argue that the people we regard as "people persons" do not readily recognize themselves as such. To me, a people person walks within the realms of reality carrying a smile on his or her face--but only if they desire to.

In my opinion, the world is full of people persons. Are we not all people? However, please remember to leave this fact out of that job interview!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Just a Reminder...

In the spirit of the Sabbath day, I had a thought light upon my mind just a few moments ago  from Neal A. Maxwell. He is known by many for his service as an Apostle of the Lord. Speaking to a group of priesthood brethren in 2004, Elder Maxwell referenced Psalm 147:5. It reads,

 "He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names."

In this vein, Maxwell bears this witness, 
"I testify to you that God has known you individually, brethren, for a long, long time (see D&C 93:23). He has loved you for a long, long time. He not only knows the names of all the stars (see Ps. 147:4; Isa. 40:26); He knows your names and all your heartaches and your joys! By the way, you have never seen an immortal star; they finally expire. But seated by you tonight are immortal individuals—imperfect but who are, nevertheless, “trying to be like Jesus”!"

Yes, to grasp eternity, that is the longing. To some it may be a new concept, to others a mystery, to others a question, and to others still, a farce. To you, dear reader, I implore: step out of the noise and forces of time and ask the questions. What is your beginning and what is your end? Listen for the eternal echoes and watch for light that gleams beyond the stars who have their times and seasons. The answer will press upon the very limits of mortal comprehension and transcend the boundaries of beginnings and ends. Eternity knows no bounds and, truly, lives within each of us.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

A Few Good Laughs...

I am a huge advocate for Calvin and Hobbes. I have been known to sit for hours reading the adventures of Calvin and his lively stuffed tiger, Hobbes. It makes me laugh quite loud at times. Watterson somehow captures the mentality and outlook of boyhood. I often remember those days through these comics.  Here are few strips to enjoy on this Saturday Morning. Click on the image for a larger view.

Monday, November 02, 2009


We are counseled in scripture to remember our fathers. Nephi invites us to have "a love of God and of all men" (2 Nep 31:20). Further, the great work of the latter-days is the turning of hearts, even that "the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers" (D&C 2:2).  Yes, we are all in this together.

As an example, a young Gordon B. Hinckley said the following upon his call to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

"…I have been thinking about the road that led here. I know that I have not come that road alone, and I feel very grateful for the many men and women—the great and good men who are here today, and the small and obscure, but, wonderful people, many of whose names I do not remember—who have helped me. It is the same with each of us in the Church. No man proceeds alone. We grow according to the help given us by those who teach us and lead us.”
 I would like to make the point that all of us, in our various situations, are the result, largely, of the lives that touch ours….It was Emerson, I think, who was asked what book had had the greatest influence upon his life, and he said he could no more remember the books he had read than he could remember the meals he had eaten, but they had made him. Likewise, all of us are largely the products of the lives which touch upon our lives…
 Indeed, there is great value in looking back through the corridors of our lives and seeing those who have been an influence. Who has made you? There will be many. We may not remember names and we may not remember faces. We may only remember a person's presence, a kind word, or an unspoken example. All in all, we are nothing without each other.  In turn, as we remember our forbears let us also carry a pioneering spirit that will make the way clear for our children that we may turn our hearts to them.