Sunday, November 09, 2008

Cousin Ruth's Album

A few weeks ago a long time dream of mine came true in more ways than one.

I was in Chicago for a conference. While there, I took an extra day and went exploring Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin where my ancestors lived for generations. One of my Dad's cousins, Ruth, lives in the area so I arranged to visit her and asked her to share any information she had about the family.

When I arrived Ruth produced this old, tattered, photo album that was her parents. Because my Grandpa had moved away from Illinois his primary communication with the family was through the mail. This meant he sent lots of pictures. What do you do with pictures? Put them in a photo album. It seemed that most of the pictures in the album were of my Grandparents.

It was incredibly meaningful to see these pictures for several reasons. First, my Grandparents were divorced and each remarried long before I was around. Second, my Grandfather was in a tragic accident which left him paralyzed making it extremely hard for him to get around or speak. This also happened before my parents were married and thus long before I came around. Finally, because of my grandfather's debilitating condition I didn't know him well until the last few years of his life. My father and my brothers and I took turns for a year or two helping get grandpa cleaned up and dressed in the morning. It was while I was shaving his face, changing his sheets or bed pad, and doing a number of personal tasks for him that I came to know and love my grandfather.

Since my grandfather passed away about 8 years ago, I've often dreamed of the day when I would see him again as a resurrected being in his full stature and be able to embrace him and talk with him freely without the challenges of his injuries. These pictures are so beautiful to me because my grandparents are happy together and my grandfather is in the prime of his life - in his full stature.

This one wasn't in the album but I love it so much I had to include it...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I don’t hate anyone

There has been a lot of backlash to proposition 8. For some reason, much of it seems to be directed at the LDS Church. The LDS Church is accused of promoting feelings of hate toward homosexual individuals. This seems so ironic to me. There is nothing in the Church’s doctrine or action that suggests anything but love and tolerance. On the other hand, those that seem to be speaking out the loudest against the Church seem to be filled with feelings of animosity.
As a member of the LDS Church, here is what I believe and feel:
  • I believe every human being is literally a son or daughter of God. He is the Father of our spirits. We lived with Him before coming to this earth.
  • I believe God loves all of His children and there is nothing any of us can do that would cause him to stop loving us.
  • I feel a deep love for all of God’s children regardless of their actions or beliefs. This is not to say I’m perfect in this, just that it is a guiding principle and something I truly feel.
  • Because I love someone doesn’t mean I agree with them or condone their actions (just ask my kids).
  • Because I don’t agree with someone or condone their actions doesn’t mean I don’t love them (just ask my kids).
  • God is the source of truth.
  • God has revealed truth and continues to reveal truth to His children through prophets. This pattern is evident from the time of Adam to this day.

Some may wonder why, if the Church professes love and tolerance, it doesn’t change its doctrine. Doctrine is revealed to prophets from God (God’s revealed truth about marriage and family are best explained here). Doctrine from any other source than from God is a fabrication of men. Because the Church is unwilling to act against the will of God, doesn’t mean that the Church holds any animosity toward any person. It does not mean that God holds any animosity toward any person. God loves all of His children.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Woohoo - I got a Mac

A year or so ago I decided I was ready to move to the Mac. Unfortunately, my employer refuses to get me a Mac so I did the best I could and stuck and Apple sticker in the appropriate place on the back of my IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad. A couple of weeks ago something terribly wonderful happened. Our home laptop that Kim and the kids use bit the dust. After some research I had decided I could buy a crappy but cheap Dell laptop (my apologies to fans of this inferior system), pay a bit more and buy another ThinkPad (I've been using them for as long as I can remember) or pay even a little more and go for a Mac. Well, I'm sitting here typing away on our new MacBook. It cost a little more upfront but it has been the most no-hassle experience i've ever had. I love this machine! It has all of the little goodies baked in. Everything works smooth and seamless. It looks good. It feels good. Definitely the right choice. Now I have to figure out how to get one of these for work.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008 - thanks for the laughs

So many things I might say. Some of these are frighteningly close to home.




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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

On the Imitation of Christ Four Books By Thomas, a Kempis Thomas

On the Imitation of Christ Four Books By Thomas, a Kempis Thomas: "Be thou therefore always in a readiness and so lead life that death never take thee b "

This is the inscription on the base of my 3rd Great Grandfathers headstone. It is a quote from Thomas a Kempis in his book, On the Imitation of Christ. A footnote on the quote points to Luke 21:36, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."

Friday, August 01, 2008

Weathering the Storms of Life

Thought I'd share today what I learned as I studied my scriptures this morning.

Chapter 18 of The First Book of Nephi in the Book of Mormon relates the story of Lehi’s family taking their voyage to the promised land.

“And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came unto [Lehi], that [his family] should arise and go down into the ship.”

“And … [they] did put forth into the sea and were driven forth before the wind towards the promised land.”

“And after [they] had been driven forth before the wind for the space of many days, behold, [Laman and Lemuel] and the sons of Ishmael and also their wives began to make themselves merry, insomuch that they began to dance, and to sing, and to speak with much rudeness… And… [Nephi] began to fear exceedingly lest the Lord should be angry with [them]…”

“Wherefore, …[Nephi] began to speak to them with much soberness; but behold they were angry with [him], saying: We will not that our younger brother shall be a ruler over us.”

Then “…Laman and Lemuel did take [Nephi] and bind [him] with cords, and they did treat [him] with much harshness…”

And “…there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest, and [they] were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days; and [Laman and Lemuel] began to be frightened exceedingly lest they should be drowned in the sea; nevertheless they did not loose [Nephi].”

After four days, they “…were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea…” and Nephi’s “…wrists… had swollen exceedingly; and also [his] ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof.”

“Nevertheless, [Nephi] did look unto …God, and …did praise him all the day long; and [Nephi] did not murmur against the Lord because of [his] afflictions.”

Finally Laman and Lemuel released Nephi and he “…prayed unto the Lord; and after [he] had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm.”

Often in our lives we face adversity. Sometimes we feel that our wrists and ankles are bound by the choices of others or our own choices. Sometimes the pain that comes from wrong choices or sins can be “…exceedingly sore.” The storms of life can be “…great and terrible.” We may feel like we are being “…driven back.” We may be “…frightened exceedingly.” It may even seem that “…we are about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea.”

At these times we must “…not murmur against the Lord…” but …”praise him all the day long.” We must “…[pray] unto the Lord” for his help. Then, in the Lord’s way and time, “…the winds [will] cease and the storm [will] stop and there [will be] a great calm.”

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

2008 Lawyer Family Reunion

5 Years ago I got frustrated with my family. They rarely had a family reunion. So I reserved a group campsite and called everyone and invited them to the reunion. They all (ok, well most of them) said they couldn't come. In the end, they all made it. We just finished the 5th Annual Lawyer Family Reunion. It has become a tradition in the family and for the first time I wasn't in charge (woohoo, hooray, much rejoicing). I LOVE being with my family!

The cousins look forward to hanging out in the mountains for a few days each summer. I think there were about 30 cousins this year.

I can't believe my mom will still come camping with me. Thanks Mom!

Ok, one of us is bending his knees and one of us is on his toes. Any guesses?

How can someone with messy hair still be so beautiful?
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Friday, July 18, 2008

Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet

Yesterday while searching for information on a religious topic, I came across some negative commentary about the leaders of the LDS Church. I felt so bad that these wonderful brethren, some of which I've met personally, were so unfairly and inaccurately represented. I wanted to join the conversation and defend the leaders of my Church that I love and support. This started me thinking about Elder Ballard's recent messages about using the Internet and new media to share the gospel. There was recently an article in the July Ensign by Elder Ballard discussing this. I hope in some small way I'm contributing to the conversation, spreading the gospel and strengthening friends and family through the things I publish to the Internet.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Chasing Girls

Ever since I've known my mother (that would be my whole life...) she has kept a journal. It has become one of the things that I love and respect about her most. From time to time she'll send me an excerpt from one of her journals. Sometimes they are poems, or stories that inspire, other times, they are funny stories of things I did when I was a boy. I always enjoy these stories from my childhood as told through my mother's eyes. It sparks again those tender feelings of a small child sitting on his mother's lap feeling complete love, trust and protection. Here's what she sent to me today. I was 5 yrs old.

Found this while looking for something else. Thought you might like it. Love you, Mom

September 22, 1975, Monday

I was just thinking about an experience that happened earlier in the month. Or was it in August?

On Monday night after Home Evening Mike gave each of the kids a father's blessing preparatory to school beginning, (on Wednesday).

A week or two after school began I had a little discussion with Danny.

"Danny, mommy worries about you when you don't come straight home from school. Will you try to come home as soon as school is out so I won't worry?" "But you don't have to worry mommy," he said. "I'm just over at the Harris' with my friend, chasing the little girls in my class." "I wish you would come home first though so I would know where you were." "You don't have to worry I'll just be over at the side of Harris' yard waiting for the girls to go by." "Well Danny, what do you do when you catch the little girls? You don't hurt them do you? You know to the girls you boys might be scary when you chase them and catch them, like the older boys seem scary to you." "I don't hurt them mommy, my friend pushes them to the ground but I don't hurt them because Daddy gave me a blessing."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Yes, I'm a Man

Fun Saturday - not

Somehow backing the truck up to a tree stump, gearing it down into 4 Low, hooking a chain between the truck and stump, and tugging it out made me feel like a real man. In hind site, that's really weird. I can't think of a whimpier way to remove a tree stump. No sweat, little mess, no exertion. Just push on the gas a little and out it comes. At least the first two did. The third one (above) actually required some digging, chopping roots with an axe, repositioning the stump with a handy man jack, and then a really good tug with the truck (which left some divots in the asphalt). The noise and commotion even lured two neighbors from their air conditioned homes to come and partake in the manliness (apparently you can feel more manly by just standing on the curb watching such an undertaking and making helpful comments to your neighbor about getting a better angle on it, etc.). I guess there was one little bit of manliness when I picked up that 150lbs of stump and root ball and hurled it into the back of the truck. It could have been right out of a Louis L'Amour book: Dan squatted down and grasped the gnarled stub of a tree - left hand on the dirty roots, right hand around the sappy trunk. In one fluid motion he lifted the massive stump from the dirt and hurled it easily into the back of the truck. One small drop of perspiration made its way down his brow. He wiped the sweat away with the back of his hand, the breeze rustling through his hair, and muscles rippling beneath his shirt. He knew before the day was over he'd have to use them.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Is it rigged?

OK, here's the question we've all been waiting for:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Starting the day off right

What is the perfect start to your perfect day? I think understanding this goes a long way toward having lots of perfect days. I don't know that I have it completely figured out, but over the last few years I've discovered how I really like to start my day.

  • 5:20am - Wake up, look over at my wife and be amazed (yet again) at how beautiful she is when she sleeps. You can see the warmth and the softness in her cheeks.
  • Head down stairs (take care of nature - it's like clockwork...) brush my teeth, study my scriptures (I love it) and pray (I love it).
  • 6:00am - Get some exercise (head to the gym and/or go for a run). Put on my headphones and get into the zone - the General Conference Zone.
  • 7:15am-ish - Hit the shower and throw on my suit.
  • On Salt Lake days, catch an 8am bus and read the Book of Mormon all the way to work.
  • On Orem days, go home and putter around the house until the kids get up, say family prayers, make people breakfast and inevitably be late to the office because I can't stand to leave my little ones.

Anyone else have the perfect start to the perfect day figured out?

Oh, and here is my favorite breakfast.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tips - You know like money

Today my good friend Brad introduced me to a new service called TipJoy ( The basic concept is if you like something or someone you can leave them a $.10 tip through PayPal. You have to transfer $5 into your TipJoy account to start tipping. I can see some powerful implications to these $.10 micropayments. Anyone feeling generous? Click the TipJoy button at the end of this post to send me a tip.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fiery Furnace - Again

Daniel and me hanging out at camp Friday night.

A sweet dutch oven dinner in the works.

Hanging out in the cafeteria.

Posing between fins of the furnace.

I don't honestly know how many times I've explored the Fiery Furnace. Two answers come to mind: a lot and not enough. It is definitely one of the most beautiful places in southern Utah. In my opinion it is the best part of Arches National Park.

As I was starting to get ready to take the teachers quorum down this past Friday, I couldn't stand the thought of not bringing Daniel along. He loves the Fiery Furnace, camping, and hanging with dad and I love the Fiery Furnace, camping, and hanging with Daniel. I asked him if he wanted to go and he was packed and ready before I was.

I think it has been two years since the last time I took him through. He sure has grown. He was climbing everywhere the older young men were. In fact, he went places some of them didn't. I had to tell him he could only go places if he could get there on his own. I thought that would slow him down. I also thought it unwise to get us both stuck somewhere. He was absolutely amazing. I showed him some tricks for pressure climbing and getting up cracks and he was off.

One of our favorite adventures was climbing through a boulder pile in the first slot canyon to the left after you pass by skull arch. You climb up and over the first part of the boulder pile and then we went down under the boulders for about 200 feet. It is quite an experience to squeeze between giant rocks with thirty or forty feet of boulders above you. We crawled in between the huge rocks, sliding on our bellies, positioning our shoulders just right so we could squeeze through. Then we emerged out the other side of the boulder pile that blocks the canyon and continued on a bit further.

Can't wait to do it again.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Snowshoeing to the saddle

The group I run trails with may seem hard core at times. I guess what I mean is we run the same trails throughout the year. One of our favorite trails (up Dry Canyon to the Big Baldy saddle) gets quite a bit of snow during the winter. We try to keep running up it to keep the trail open but after a while the snow gets quite deep and it becomes an exercise in post-holing your way up the mountain. This year we decided to strap snowshoes on our backs, run as far as we could and then put on the snowshoes and keep going. I now have a new addiction - winter trail running/shoeing. Here's why.



On the Saddle SW



365 Gratitude version 2.0

For some time I've wanted to do a more general blog. I have several blogs that are very niche. The problem with that is I often have things I'd like to blog about that don't fit the niche. So I've decided to upgrade my 365 Gratitude blog to be the place where I write about whatever seems blog-worthy and use labels to categorize topics. So, welcome to 365 Gratitude version 2.0.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Day 1 (again): He that spared not his own Son

I'm grateful for today for a Heavenly Father that was willing to offer up his Son as a sacrifice for the rest of His children.

Romans 8:32
He that spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

1 Corinthians 2:9
...Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.