Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bloom where you are planted

In life we are asked to bloom where we are planted. That is to say that we need to be part of what we our community and environment is. We have a unique opportunity to give something to our place of living that no one else can; ourselves. In my home state, we talk a lot of our forefathers who blazed the trails and created cities; it didn’t start like that.  We as a people started stuck in out old ways. We were neither trail blazers nor earth movers. 

Persecution caused us to stand tall or fall. For some, it was the later. We didn’t catch the vision of what we could become and were all too complacent to stay where we were.  The Lord moved us and we created cities and societies that shaped the American continent. To this day, we, the children of a great people enjoy the hard work that was done by so few.

For some the names are forgotten, their name is a street sign or a park. For others though, their stories are told at family home evening and the excitement of their lives of where they were planted by the Lord is invigorating and inspiring. For me in this life it has been a real experience. When I served the Lord in the early ‘90’s, I am increasingly grateful that he asked me to move very little (I served in three areas). As time moved on he asked me to move more and more frequently. I now work in a job that has me moving as fast as a week to as long as a month. I get little time to be with my beloved wife and children.  I almost feel like the soldiers and missionaries of ancient and modern times who see little of their families.

There in this calling of life I have learned that I need to find where I am planted; what is my calling in my ward that is 200 to 700 miles away? How can I serve my wife and children as their father and husband?  To these questions I have wrestled with the Lord to know my place in the world and in his plan. I have been blessed to give blessings to brothers and sisters, give money to the poor and needy, and receive opportunities to be at the temples of the Lord in many parts of the country. For my family though I feel that I am lacking. While I am a provider to my family and work hard to produce a product that is used by everyone who owns a cell phone, I feel that I do not produce a product that can be used for my family’s soul. I struggle to keep a strong relationship with my kids and wife and though there is various avenues of communication there is nothing like having your son sit on your lap and rest his head on your chest.

Here and now my calling is to be a blogger (it’s not an official calling by the ward but…) I take the role very seriously. It grounds me and keeps my skill as a writer strong and well practiced. It has opened opportunities to meet a lot of people and talk about some great experiences.  I am still looking for a chance to combine my skill and my home life because I think that it will soon be time to be a dad that is home more than on the road. I pray daily to know the path so I can be planted at home. One day I will make it but in the meantime I will work hard where I am planted.

Image is found here.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Recipe vs. Alchemy

During priesthood we had the discussion of prayer and our communication with God. The speaker brought up a pint perhaps by accident or in attempts by passing but he said that prayer was like a recipe. To some it is a mechanics skill; opening; thank you; we ask for; closing. Much like a home cook, this is what prayer is like for the young and inexperienced. To the older and more experience, prayer is more like what a master chef would do. There is some jenesequa where you have a full relationship with our Father in such a way that He hears and listens because you hear and listen; the exchange is thorough and complete.

Because prayer is a learning experience, to some this happens early in life. We have heard children talk to go in such a way that the Spirit cannot do anything but carry the message straight to heaven. Under that same breath we have seen others who are much older who, not without lack of sincerity, cannot get out of communicating but through the mechanics, either because of lack of experience or lack of relationship.

In my personal life I have had such experiences. When I first started out as a missionary I had to learn to stay on my knees to know I was communicating with God. It took weeks to really learn to show true appreciation and really listen to get success in the truly ready field that I had not seen in the beginning. There have other times in my life when I have learned that I could say even a few seconds of prayer now and know that the Lord would hear and answer my prayer in seconds.

The Lord's miracles are endless and while he answers your prayers in his own time, sometimes that time is so fast because you have mastered how to talk to the Master; you have developed the trust and love for the Savior that allows us to do as Nephi did, talk to God and receive an answer every time. To say that you are not like the Prophet Thomas S. Monson or the general Moroni or young David, the slayer of the giant, would be correct. You are you and that’s all the Father is asking of you. Talk to him like you would talk to him. Your relationship with God is a personal one. No one can mimic your relationship so you should not attempt to think that you should mimic the relationship of others. Prayer is your way to talk to God. He loves us all in ways that only apply to ourselves; there is only the two of us in that very personal relationship. Prayer strengthens that relationship.

So if you want to know that alchemy of your relationship with Heavenly Father, take some time to really pray and get to know him in a way that only you could ever know. Pray with all your heart and really talk to him. You will learn something about yourself and your Heavenly Father. He cares for you personally and would really like to hear from you. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fedangled Cool Stuff

Last week was the great and powerful day of Oz… ok it wasn’t but like the return of the Lord wouldn’t it be cool? General Conference was last week and it was really awesome! We got to hear young Tommy Monson's voice (he is never going to be old to me, he is too awesome). Now for some it is a time to see if the flesh is weak while our spirits are willing but I discovered this last conference in the spring; tweeting while in conference. I paid so much attention to conference and could not imagine how much I wanted to quote the prophets first. Twitter has changed the ways that I do Conference. I am engaged and really want to share the pearls of wisdom that come from the prophet’s mouth. It was like an online party with hundreds of people that really wanted to engage in the conversation. I will not say that it was all uplifting with the tweets of those that spoke foreign language or the rehash of jokes but for the most part it really was a good conference because many people were eager to share their experience in 144 characters or less.

It seems that technology has changed the way that we look at spiritual things; we blog about it, chat online about it, tweet about it Facebook about it etc. There is no medium that has not been removed from the opportunity to share the gospel. Back in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, I never thought that I would ever see such things when I was involved in Pacman and other 8 bit games.  Technology was still cassettes and then the new thing was CD and DVD. I recall that I refused to buy a CD of a favorite artist because I thought it really was going to go away. Several years later I was buying the CD because the tape that I had was ran into the ground by being played over and over.

The access to the gospel has changed too. Over the last few years I have seen elders show up with their smart phones and such with the scriptures loaded on their apps and it seems that ten years ago that would have been the farthest thought from my mind. I loved my quad from my mission and the more recent quad that I had bought back in the early 2000’s. I shake my head just thinking about it. I mean, really what is next?

The passage of time has done us great things. In the last 100 years we have moved from a society that started to allow women to vote (1919) and wear bikini’s (1950’s) (though is that really an improvement; the idea of smaller and smaller, less and less clothes) to being able to vote online and store photos of those bikinis on our phones. Our agency has is up for grabs and is being manipulated.
Someone once told me that the spirits of yester-year would not want the temptation that comes with all this new fedangled tech and rapid accessibility but when I think of what it has done for the good and focus on those things, I become excited to share my testimony via email and tweet good things about my country and countrymen. I revel in good things and teach my children ways to seek for good things and warn them about the seduction of evil. I don’t know if I could do what my grandfathers did or their fathers before them. My wife says that she is sure that she waited for indoor plumbing before coming to earth and I cant blame her. 

So with all that said I want to encourage you to appreciate what you have, take time to smile, turn off your electronic stuff for an hour and finally be happy, the Lord is with you; when you have done all of that you can turn back on all your seductive cool stuff and listen to a prophets voice again.

Have a good week. 

Image found at