Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I don't understand but I'm grateful.

This week my wife and oldest daughter are away at girl's camp. Girls camp Is kind of a scout camp, sans belching and farting at the table. Anyway they left Monday and get back on Friday.
Girls camp serves a dual purpose. First, it helps young women gain a better understanding of their divine role in God's eternal plan. They learn that their responsibilities and opportunities are second to no one and that they are of a noble birthright. It is wonderful time spent and I am grateful they are there.
The second purpose is to help we slugs here at home realize how much we miss our wife and mother when she isn't around to coddle our sorry booties. It's a great reminder and every time I promise myself I am going to do better.
This year however there was a special bonus. As my son and youngest daughter and I sat down to a meal I slaved over last night, (Pollo Loco) I asked my daughter how her older brother had been treating her. She said, "really good Daddy. When you and Mom aren't around we never ever fight." Obviously I was pleased beyond explanation but even now in the glory of my big fat smile I can't understand why. I don't NOT understand like I don't understand high school math, I just don't get why it takes mom or dad or both being out of the house for sibling love to kick in.
I guess it's just one of those things to be appreciated and not over-analyzed. So while I don't even partially confess to know why it happens I am extremely grateful it does.

Monday, November 10, 2008

There is always a choice

There has been a lot of talk lately regarding roll models and examples. It's been said that a good example has twice the value of good advice. I'm a believer. 
Growing up I had a wonderful Aunt and even though I didn't see her more than 4-5 times a year, each time I did I came away just a little better. She and my uncle were unable to have children so any time her nieces or nephews were around she was more than willing to sit down and talk or make us something good to eat. I remember a conversation I stumbled into when all the adults were sitting around talking. I'm not sure of the subject matter but I remember one comment from Aunt Edna and I have never forgotten it. She said "I believe everyone has a purpose on this earth. . . . if only to serve as a bad example." Every one got a laugh and everyone knew it was true. 
We constantly hear that example is the job of a parent, but isn't actually a job for everyone? Seems to me and my Aunt Edna of course, that the choice falls to what kind of example we are going to be rather than if we are going to be an example at all. Just by saying "I am NOT an example" doesn't cut us free from the responsibility we have has humans to our fellow man and that is where we fall down. Too often I am so self absorbed in my own issues that I don't recognize my responsibility to everyone else. 

Yeah seriously, everyone else. 

We all at one time or another expect better things from people. Less anger, a little more courtesy and when we are way out on a limb, general civility and decency to each other regardless of our backgrounds or current state in life. 
Maybe the key to my example issue is to just be a better one myself. Be the kind of person I would like to see other people be. 

Seems like there is some kind of rule about that already.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Preach My Gospel

I came home in 1985 and its been a struggle ever since.
Two weeks ago my second son was set apart as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is good and faithful young man and is following his heart and the example that his older brother set for him 20 or so months earlier. Once a missionary is officially set apart he is never to be without a full-time companion. It has a lot to do with safety. Safety from the temptations of the world and from those thoughts and actions that would deter him from the work he was called and willingly accepted to do.
As with his older brother, it was my privilege to be assigned as his companion for the short time between his setting apart Tuesday evening and his delivery to the MTC (Missionary Training Center) on Wednesday afternoon. That means that I dress and act like a full-time missionary right along with him. It means that we get up early, usually 6:00AM, then we pray and study as a companionship and get about the duties of the day. None of which include TV, Radio, MP3’s or dating. It’s all about the work of the Lord. So Wednesday morning we got after the studying and that is when I realized the struggle could possibly be over.
In our church we are counseled to devote a little time each day to studying those things that will help us build and maintain a better relationship with our Savior. By doing so we become better people. If we know more about Jesus Christ and his desires for our happiness we tend to strive to be more like him. Hopefully that is reflected in the way we treat our fellowman and our general attitude about life and the way we live it. Anyway I have attempted to start a daily study regimen more times than I dare to mention. They have had their success with me but short of just getting up and studying the scriptures I have never found anything that helps and compels me like “Preach My Gospel”. That morning as I sat there studying with my son I realized that the countless people would had told me either personally or in a talk to the masses, that Preach My Gospel was an inspired guide, were absolutely right. He and I studied and the longer we did the more it confirmed to me that this was something that could help me reach my goals of better knowing my Savior and in turn being a better husband, father and friend.
In my many attempts to read and learn on a regular basis I always had limited progress and without question it was my fault. It could be that it was beyond my mental discipline to just read and study. It just felt too much like I was going through the motions. Fortunately for me, it doesn’t feel like that anymore. Preach My Gospel is as simple as I need but provides great depth for the subjects and issues I want to dig deeper into. It also helps me understand ALL of the things that God has given me and the path that would lead me back to Him.
Now more than ever I feel the need for His guidance. I’m only sorry I didn’t listen and act a little earlier.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I'm Still a Guy

It’s been sometime since I have written. I realize that this has been disappointing to the two people who have actually read anything ever posted here, so I decided it was time and figured I even had a topic worth discussion.

A week or so back my son asked me if I had downloaded from iTunes the new Brad Paisley song “I’m still a guy”. Well I finally got around to it yesterday and while I really liked the song and am steadfast in my manhood, I immediately wondered if I had crossed the line. The verse that caused my consternation goes like this:

These days there's dudes getting facials
Manicured, waxed and botoxed
With deep spray-on tans and creamy lotiony hands
You can't grip a tacklebox

With all of these men lining up to get neutered
It's hip now to be feminized
I don't highlight my hair
I've still got a pair
Yeah honey, I'm still a guy

While I never have had my hair highlighted or experienced a spray-on tan I have enjoyed a good waxing, the nasal variety. (check the pic above)

A month ago a friend of mine let me know my nose hair was getting a little unruly. Unruly? Are you kidding me? I have clipped every way I know how to keep the ole olfactory tidy and well groomed. Apparently to no avail. That is where the wax comes in. My friend informed of a method involving hot wax, 2 wood dowels and a tiny bit of discomfort. He had experienced it once before and said it was worth every second. His testimonial along with the free nasal inspection was all I needed.

The next night I found myself breathing heavily through my mouth, nervously awaiting that tiny bit of discomfort I mentioned earlier. As the expert nose-waxer gripped the bridge of my nose with one hand and secured a good foot hold on the chair I was in, she ripped those dowels from my nose like she was pull-starting an old lawnmower.

No further explanation is needed. I now breathe free and easy and have no visible scars emotionally or physically from my first waxing experience. The picture above is evidence of the procedures effectiveness. So while Mr. Paisley may have issue with a good waxing, I believe I’m still a guy, just one with no unruly nose hair.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

What's the message?

Today on the way to work I was engaged in the sports radio discussion of the morning. Turns out a local high school senior, was recently reprimanded physically and verbally by his Coach. As the story unfolds this kid though talented, has a mouth and isn't afraid to use it and has done so with numerous tirades to his coach regarding playing time, his role etc etc. In a recent blowout by a state powerhouse as his defeated team and teammates were leaving the field, he goes off to anyone in ear shot. He was shouting his opinion on the offense being called by his coach. It wasn't mild opinion sharing mind you, it was loud, obnoxious and repeatedly drew similarities between the offense and bovine excrement. What followed was a frustrated coach advising his "no I in team" mascot, that he should think hard about closing his pie hole, only he used terminology not fit for such a blog as mine.

Fact is I don't know the kid and I don't know the coach. I can only go by what I have read. But if this kid is getting in his coaches grill over and over and then proceeds to tell the world and his team mates his oh so important and educated opinion of the play calling, his coach should have kicked more than just his butt off the team.

But hey I'm old school.

Now the coach has been disciplined and the kid and his family have lawyered up. He wants to go play somewhere else now and demands the right to do so. After all the coach did grab his shoulder pad breast plate and shove him, a move that if done as a reward for a good stick or catch would have largely gone unnoticed, and the UHSAA has determined he is right and has given him the okay to do so. What is equally disturbing is that a rival school has agreed to enroll him and give him a spot on the football team.

Clearly I am no Einstein, but am I the only one around that questions the judgment of this decision? In the world I grew up in you respected adults and coaches, at least until you were one. That didn't mean all coaches deserved respect and were beyond reproach, it just meant if you disagreed with a coach you typically tried to work harder for a position or approached him and asked him what could be done to improve your situation. Things were handled civilly or at least attempted. Sometimes it got results and sometimes it didn't. But isn't that the way life is? Things can't always go the way you think it should and when it doesn't we build character by learning how to handle it or how to improve ourselves. Now any punk high school kid with and attitude can work the system to his advantage and we all just stand around and shake our heads.

When are other coaches or school administrators going to stand up and say, sorry we don't tolerate that bovine excrement here, (his words not mine). Get over it. It's time someone with power draws a line in the sand and then have the guts to stand guard and make sure no one crosses. Don't get me wrong, I believe kids need to express themselves and their frustrations but they need to do it in a way that proves they have a brain and not just daddy's deep pockets or his myopic view. We want our kids to be able to function in society and our education system is suppose to help that right? At least to some degree. If we continue to tolerate this idiotic and self centered behavior we are going to see law suits cropping up because our 5 year olds t-ball coach believes rotating positions is a good idea at a young age, when clearly our kid is the best short stop on the team and needs special nurturing.

Man, I used to only get disgusted when professional athletes acted like this, now it's in my back yard.
Great message we're sending.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What is it about a thermos?

My entire life I have loved a thermos. I don't know why and I have no logical explanation for my affinity but as I often say, it is what it is. I bet I'm not alone.

This morning in an effort to eradicate a recent invasion of fruit flies or D.melanogaster for those of you looking for the specific genus, my lovely wife was going thoroughly through the pantry with her patented hot liquid Lysol to clear the little fly freaks. It has been quite an ordeal, but that is blog of a different color and one for another time.

Anyway as the shelves were cleared and as I entered the kitchen I spotted it. There majestically perched on the back of one of the pantry shelves, now unhidden by the blue lake green beans, was my thermos. It was given to me by a close friend a year or so ago for leading him across the treacherous waters of the San Francisco Bay in a kayak as he swam from Alcatraz to San Fran. It was filled with some an incredible hot chocolate mix and the taste was worth remembering but that isn't what was so endearing about it. It was the thermos. My very own cool silver bullet thermos. I could put anything I wanted in that baby from now on. It was sleek and heavy duty and frankly I looked important just packing it around.

Now before you confirm your thoughts of the past that I am totally crackers, think again and remember when you were just a pup. Back then they had some pretty cool lunch boxes, complete with a themed thermos to pack your PB&J, Cheeto's and apple in to elementary school. My first thermos was a Peanuts version. It had Snoopy and Chuck on it and it had a cool blue lid. Yeah the whole lunch box was nifty but the thermos was the keeper. I was always happy to bust that bad boy out and plop it down on the wall mounted fold out lunch table at Forbes Elementary. It was almost like pouring your koolaid or Tang or whatever you got out of the house with into that self contained screw off cap made you an instant "wheel" and the envy of all the kids who were eating school lunch or had to brown bag it.

If your like me you try and hold on to those little moments of glory. They serve as great memories to build self esteem.

For being such a big deal back then, I don't see a lot of combo lunch boxes anymore with the specialized thermos. I am sure they are out there somewhere, probably being packed to 1st grade by some lucky little toe headed kid. He no doubt is counting the minutes until Sponge Bob makes his lunch room appearance and all the kids think to themselves, I gotta have one of those thermos's.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Something to that Royal Army

So once in a while you have an experience that at the time seems to carry great impact. You feel it and you appreciate it, not understanding fully how it will effect your future. I had such an experience last Sunday evening and now after about my 4th "Holy Cow" I thought it was time to share it. Sunday evening was just like any other. Around nine a clock we head over to the ward house for a little ward prayer. It is something I look forward to. We have been drawing record crowds and that obviously speaks to the kind of feeling the kids get being around one another and gaining a little spiritual muscle as they prepare for the week, and I am no different. I appreciate the boost. We usually sing a hymn, have a thought and kneel while someone prays in behalf of the group. I should say at this point that we had a new kid playing the piano, I'll call him Curtis, and he had some obvious enthusiasm for our hymn that night. It was "Behold a Royal Army" hymn #251 for those of you following along. As I sat there I could tell something was different. Take a note, I'm not the king of spiritual sensitivity but there was a stirring that was quickly filling the room, one that even I could feel. We sang all three verses and with each verse this feeling grew. Something about singing Victory, Victory through him that redeemed us, was just having an incredible impact on me. After it was over I wanted to sing it all over again. I looked around and couldn't tell if anyway was feeling the way I was, but the way I felt it didn't matter. I was hooked. I hummed it or whistled it the rest of that evening, wrapped up the day in normal fashion and went to bed.
I naturally assume that experiences like that disapear in the rigors of our daily lives once we reengage on Monday. Just another great experience to chalk up to Sabbath Day observance. Not so.
Four different times this week I have been at some kind of personal cross-road. Some decision needing to be made. Nothing that is going to make much difference to anyone else but 4 that would surely make a difference for me. Each time as I sat thinking, Behold a Royal Army came to me and each time with the same level of feeling and impact it had on Sunday evening. Each time it pointed me in the better of the directions I had to choose from. I haven't had my mind on that song all week. Its not like I had been singing it so it was a natural process of thought. No, it was a gift. A gift 4 times over in fact, and what a difference it has made. It made me thankful and it made me humble and I had a distinct feeling that someone cared. It was quite a feeling. I have never really considered myself much of a soldier but I sure do now.

Behold! a royal army,
With banner, sword and shield,
Are marching forth to conquer,
On life’s great battlefield;
Its ranks are filled with soldiers,
United, bold and strong,
Who followed their Commander,
And sing their joyful song.


Victory, victory,
Thro’ Him that redeemed us!
Victory, victory,
Thro’ Jesus Christ our Lord!
Victory, victory, victory,
Thro’ Jesus Christ our Lord!

And now the foe, advancing,
That valiant host assails,
And yet they never falter,
Their courage never fails;
Their Leader calls, “Be faithful!”
They pass the word along,
They see His signal flashing,
And shout the joyful song.


Oh, when the war is ended,
When strife and conflict cease,
When all are safely gathered
Within the vale of peace,
Before the King eternal,
That vast and mighty throng
Shall praise His Name forever,
And this shall be their song.