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Thursday, October 16, 2014

THERAPY

Guess what?

I’m sitting with my beautiful wife, watching people torture her and make her cry.

And I let them do it.

And I pay them money.

All in the name of therapy.

And guess what else?

When we get home, I get to take the place of the therapist and do the evil deeds myself.

It’s not fun, but the ends justify the means (or something like that).

Back on July 25th we took this sweet young thing to the hospital where a very talented doctor made incisions in her knees and replaced the old arthritic bones and stuff for metal and plastic new ones.  And now we have to finish things off by inflicting pain and suffering on her tortured body.

Soon she will be able to get out of a chair without assistance and hike and all the other things she loves to do with her legs.  And on that day, all the suffering will be worth the sacrifice she has made.

Hurray for doctors who know what they are doing.

And hurrah for therapists who can make themselves watch people cringe, cry, and complain and still do their job. 

And stay upbeat and happy.


Thanks to all involved and all who have offered prayers on Teresa’s behalf.  She and I are very grateful.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

PROPHETIC HELP

Just a quick note to express my appreciation to those who participated in the General Conference we had this past weekend.  There were some marvelous messages from men who have sought out what we need to hear.

Here are two in particular that I found very pertinent.

Elder Oaks

Elder Dallin H. Oaks was spot on with his message about contention.  This is especially true, considering the Supreme Court decision to not consider the appeals of 5 states pertaining to same-sex-marriage.  It will take all we have to stay out of the fray in this regard.

Elder Holland

Elder Holland’s message on caring for the poor and needy was provoking (at least to me).  There are many areas in this regard that need to be fixed in my heart.  That whole judging thing is so difficult but I recognize it as a weakness and vow to fix what is broken.



I recommend both of these messages to anyone – member of the Church or not – who would like to understand how the Savior would handle things today.

Friday, October 3, 2014

NOT DREGS

Dregs: the remnants of
a liquid left in a container,
together with any
sediment or grounds.

synonyms
"the dregs from a bottle of wine"
The most worthless part or parts of something.




Also people

Invisible

Worthless

Useless

Pushed aside

Look away

Ignore

Who decides?

Guilt


                       Why them?

Lazy?

Poor?

Uneducated?

What did they do?


What will I do?

The worth of souls is great in the sight of God; 
(D&C 18:10)


HE LOVES THEM ALL

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

THE ASSIST

One of my dreams, as a younger man, was to become a basketball player.  There is a beauty to the game that appeals to me and I loved the competition and comradery I experienced on the floor.  But, alas, I was never very good so my efforts were limited to church-ball and pickup games.

Not my team but they look great.

Today I find that my love for the game has diminished considerably.  Part is my inability to participate with any real consistency.  Yet, I don’t feel the same loss for baseball (another beloved game) so it must be something else.  If I were to guess, I suspect the state of the game has turned me off and driven me away.

NBA, college, and to some extent high school teams have lost the idea of team.  Instead of highlighting the combined efforts necessary to be successful, basketball has become a forum for idolizing individuals.

One of the greatest BUT also one of the most selfish.

Everyone loves Kobe and LeBron because they are such marvelous talents (and they are), but how successful would they be if they didn’t have teammates to get them the ball?


I know, life and basketball are different but I think principles of truth still exist – and one I will not relinquish is the principle of TEAM.

I spent a lot of time with my boys on one of these.

In my mind, the great players of the game were those who invited all to come in and play AND helped them become the best they could be.  Players like John Stockton, Tim Duncan, Bill Walton, and Chris Paul work/worked tirelessly to hone their talents.  The difference between these players and those above (and others) is they intentionally included everyone on the team in the effort to win.  Yes, they were stars, but it was not beneath them to allow others to have success as well.

I’ve been considering the same principles in the lives of people like you and me.

There is a tendency for many of us to reach for ‘stardom’ and, if not intentionally then at least subliminally, we try to push others down in our quest for heights.  It seems more glamorous to have name recognition and the attendant excitement.  But when we look carefully, most of the glamour and hype are short-lived and usually leave us with the bruises and scars that come from selfishness.

It takes a strong person to see the limelight and know they could bask there-in but recognize their abilities are needed for another, less ‘glorious’, purpose.

Joseph Smith Jr.
One such man (a hero of mine) was the brother of Joseph Smith.  Hyrum, the older brother of Joseph, was a capable, talented, dedicated brother who had everything that would make a man popular in his day.  He was handsome, strong, gentle, spiritual, and thoughtful – but he was also very humble.

In later years, there were many who thought Hyrum looked and acted more like a prophet than his brother.  After all, Joseph was known to challenge grown men to wrestling matches (not WWE type) or play baseball or run races with the young boys of the town.  Hyrum, on the other hand, was more inclined to follow the rules of proper adult decorum.

And that’s the rub.  Hyrum was good for Joseph. 

Here was a brother/counselor who could be trusted and whom Joseph knew would always provide good counsel, unfettered by frivolity and light-mindedness.  The Lord even expounded on Hyrum’s attributes and outlined several characteristics that set him apart from other people of his time (see D&C 11):

Hyrum Smith the assist king
1.    He had an honest heart
2.    His judgment was righteous
3.    He had the spirit of revelation (means he could listen to God)
4.    He was loyal to those he loved

In other words, Hyrum was a great set-up man for the Prophet and was in a place where he could assist with the coming forth of the work.

Never – not once in all the years they worked together in the Restoration – did Hyrum rebel or speak against his beloved brother.  Others abandoned the work (even some of their family) and many turned violent against them, but these two brothers were loyal and faithful until the very end.


And the assist always went to Hyrum.




Wednesday, September 10, 2014

MANHOOD

In light of my last post, certain events have interested me and require (well, at least in my own mind) a comment.  The intent is not to persecute but to identify.

Many may be aware of the Ray Rice fiasco that has blown up on the NFL.  For those who don’t, let me summarize.

Ray Rice is a big man who plays professional football.  He has a significant other (not really sure of their relationship now) whom he claims to care for and wishes to protect.  One evening, in a casino, he decided it was his duty to protect her by ‘clocking’ her in an elevator (for those who don’t know the term, ‘clocking’ is a euphemism for striking someone with great force and knocking them out).

The NFL determined said actions were “naughty” and required him to sit out two games. 

Our justice system decided that he was sorry so they took no action. 

All was well for a time.

Recently a video was released showing Mr. Rice in action with his friend/acquaintance/significant other.  He definitely ‘clocked’ her. 

It was horrific.

Anyone who saw the video was appalled…

Suddenly the NFL was disturbed by the actions of one-of-its-own and determined to take stronger action.

My first question is this:

Did they really just realize the severity of Mr. Rice’s actions?  The fact that they knew she was out cold (so cold that Mr. Rice had to carry her out of the elevator and to their room) should have given them some indication.  Video evidence was not really needed to understand what had happened – but until that evidence was “available” the League pretended the action wasn’t all that bad. 

Now Mr. Rice is out of a job and may face other charges.

This ISN’T what I meant when I called my last post Men vs. Women.

I was raised in a family where it was verboten to strike a girl or woman at any time.  My dad taught me that if a girl/woman felt the need to hit me or use physical force on me, my only options were to cover up or run.

My sons were taught the same.

Of course, we also taught our daughter that she shouldn’t hit boys unless they were being ‘naughty.’

My point for this follow-up is to express disappointment in the actions some take towards women.  I am not sexist but I firmly believe it is the responsibility of men to protect women and see that they are cared for in the best manner possible.  Rice was a bully and an aggressor against a smaller and less-able person…..who also happened to be a woman. 

But Rice is not the only one who has performed badly.  The actions of Rice’s employer were nearly as egregious.  The ‘penalties’ the NFL imposed initially were perceived by many (including myself) to be inadequate for the seriousness of the offense.  I guess the money a man can bring to a team is more important than the moral indignation needed to cry out against abuse.

The thought of striking a woman in anger is revolting to me and makes me ill.  The video of the above offense was almost more than I could handle.  If this is where our world is heading, we really are in the last-days.

Let me balance my nausea with a report on what else I see in the world around me.

There are three sons and one son-in-law in our family who are gentle and tender with the women they have committed to love for eternity.  It is impossible to imagine any of the four ever using physical force to control their beloved.  I believe it would break the heart of any one of them to use any form of violence against their spouse.  These are good men and have taken to heart the Savior’s words concerning their relationships with women.  I am PROUD (yes, I know it is a sin, but I am) of whom they have become and how they are teaching their own sons to treat women and girls.
There are more like my sons out there in the world (btw, I am confident my youngest will continue to be a gentleman as he looks for the right young lady to marry).  I like to believe there are more on the good side of this issue than on the other.

Ray Rice may be a wonderful football player, but at this point in his life he is a lousy man!!!


I hope he can change.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

MEN VS. WOMEN

There is a myth that says men need to be changed and women are the ones who can do it.

OK, it’s not a myth, but it also not the full story.  There are innumerable reasons why men progress the way they do while in mortality.  But there are an equal number of ‘whys’ for what guides women to become what they are.

The forces that move us to be our best are gender related.  YES, men and women think differently and feel differently about almost everything.  Gender attributes are essential for the world to work and yet many struggle with these differences.

Gender attributes have been a topic of mockery for – well, forever.

Take, for example, the Victorian image of a woman’s place.  Women were considered too weak and feeble minded to know how to care for themselves or make decisions that might affect their welfare. Many felt that without a “big strong man” to guide her, a woman would be engulfed in the flood of hard choices surrounding her and destroyed.  Or if she did try to fend for herself, she was not really considered a woman – just a female trying to be a man.

In recent years the tide has turned towards highlighting the dents in the male armor.

Currently, the male gender is portrayed as bumbling, ignorant, selfish, desire focused, and lazy (Homer Simpson?).  Because he is such a flawed creature, women have determined that they don’t need ‘one’ and can do just fine on their own.  Or if they do decide to marry/cohabitate, it is only so they can satisfy some urge for companionship, parenthood, or support.  The result is a culture where men can be friends but not really equals with the female sex.

What happened? 

How did we let the relationship between such complementary individuals become so distorted and messed up?

I suppose there are many reasons and I won’t try to delineate all of them in this essay. What I will do is mention something that I have considered for some time and feel can help the chasm to be bridged.

The differences between men and women are not accidental.  Each is ‘wired’ in ways that help them fulfill their specific roles in the world.

Men are generally imbued with a desire to work, protect, and support those they love.  It is in their nature to stand guard over families and make sure they have the necessary things to prolong life and happiness.

In most cases, women have an innate desire to comfort, teach, and protect those in their care – and often even those who aren’t.  They seem to have more patience with the little things and can often see beyond the immediate circumstances.

These are generalizations – but also truths if you look closely enough.  Yet, there always seems to be a need, by some, to ridicule and demean these essential differences.

If you are still with me and haven’t labeled me as a misogynist or an idiot, I will continue.

The crux of the matter points to what happens when we overemphasize or under-utilize the differences between males and females.  Men begin to think they only need women for sexual or entertainment purposes and push away the natural desire to find a permanent mate.  Women become frustrated with ‘manhood’ as it is portrayed (and often practiced) so they venture out on their own, trying to meet the needs of womanhood by other means.  The end result is a society that values neither men nor women and makes a mockery of the eternal nature of both.

It was never meant for the genders to battle between themselves for the crown of leadership.  The test for both genders comes down to honoring the differences and melding them into a synergistic whole, much stronger and greater than an individual could hope to become.  Men were meant to love, honor, and care for women and women were meant to love, honor, and work side-by-side with men for the everlasting benefit of each other, family, and the world.  The loss of these values has been a great hindrance to the growth of peace in the world and happiness in the home.

Having said all the above, I do have a solution that should work

It is so simple that it will not be a surprise to anyone.

In the words of a great man…..

STOP IT!!!

To eliminate the battle between men and women, both parties have to stop being selfish.  Stop expecting something from the other gender not being given by their own.  Things like faithfulness, respect, fidelity, exclusivity, LOVE, time, more respect, attention, consideration, and who knows how many others.

Stop with the selfishness.

Stop with the lustfulness.

Stop with…… you fill in the blank.

When we, as humans and mortals of different genders sincerely make an effort to change, there will be a transition from the current state of things to something more acceptable to our senses and desires.

And it will make our God much happier.


Watch and see.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

HASTEN THE WORK

Brigham Young once said:
Every discovery in science and art that is really true and useful to mankind has been given by direct revelation from God, though but few acknowledge it. …We should take advantage of all these great discoveries.


As you consider what has happened to our world since Brigham’s day, you will note that there have been stunning improvements to the state of our living.

No longer do we ride horses or trains when we travel: we make our trips in comfortable automobiles and airplanes.  Our homes are heated and lighted by clean, efficient energy sources that flow to us through wires and pipelines we seldom notice in our daily activities.  And our food comes from all over the world so we can get whatever we want, despite the seasons of ripening.  The wonders of science have made our lives so much better than our ancestors.

With many of these scientific discoveries we have also seen a corresponding improvement in the art we encounter.  The rise of motion pictures opened the way to some of the most entertaining and uplifting stories man has ever known.  Television brought those same stories right into our homes, and with the Internet, we can even have them in our pocket or purse if we desire.

God has blessed us with amazing things and we are much the better for those improvements.


Or are we??


Those same improvements listed above make up some of the great plagues of modern times.  The rise of pornography and violence in the media has been exponentially abetted by the technology that should focus on bringsing goodness. Just the other day some may have witnessed the horrific beheading of an American journalist posted on the “friendship” sites of Twitter and Facebook.  Everything that is available for good can also be used for wickedness – and it seems today to be more inclined to the side of wickedness.

What to do??

The only thing to do is take back the impetus for correct usage of these God-given gifts.  Spend time using them to do what they were designed by God to accomplish.

I hear some of you saying:  OK, Mr. Smartguy, what is their purpose?

I believe they were destined and designed by our Father in Heaven to do what EVERYTHING 
He gives us is expected to do.

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. 
(Moses 1:39)


Automobiles came into existence to improve the means by which mankind could spread truth.

I bet some pioneers would have loved to have this for a 'wagon."
Airplanes fly so the seeds of truth can be planted in lands where the message has not been sown.


Cinematic presentations were inspired by God so that His work could reach more of His children.

Definitely something that makes us better. 

Television broadcasts a signal to enhance the knowledge of God throughout all of His creations.
How many channels do we really need.

Internet connections have one major purpose – the teaching of the Doctrine of Christ to the children of God.


Like all of God’s children, we have the right (agency) to choose what we will do with the blessings He offers.  Some will choose to improve their lives and the world and others will find ways to be destructive.


I choose the primary and true purpose for all of these marvelous achievements.


That’s how the work will be hastened and shared with more and more of our brothers and sisters.


How will you use the wonderful blessings we have received from our loving Father in Heaven?



Look here for suggestions.
#ShareGoodness





Wednesday, August 13, 2014

JOURNALS

Why do people keep journals/records of life?

What do they expect to happen with the sensitive materials they gather as precious books of history?


My first journal started when I was 12 years old.  Someone gave me a little diary and I thought it would be fun to record a few things.  I didn’t write every day but I put enough in the book to know it felt good to write.


One day my younger brother found my writings and read a few of the entries.  After perusing my words, he immediately went outside and told all the neighborhood kids that his brother “loved Bonnie Dees” (I had written that but …… well, what 12 year old boy doesn’t love a little girl once in a while?).  I was embarrassed by the revelation and swore to never write anything that personal in a book again.


Fast forward 47 years.


The fear of discovery is gone and through these many decades I have intermittently shared my thoughts about life, love, and a multitude of topics.  At present I have six volumes of thoughts recorded in journals of some sort.  That doesn’t include this blog (which I consider a form of journal writing).  My schedule for writing is not consistent but I have recorded enough that I believe my posterity will get a flavor Grandpa Whitmer and what his life was like.


I would suggest that we write for several reasons. 


Reason 1 – Written records give those of our family who haven’t been around us as much (grandchildren, greats, etc.) insight into some of the thoughts and concerns of our lives.  Who knows but what they might get a glimpse of why they are such as they are from our experiences.  Or possibly they will think differently about some of the actions they saw from us if they know what we were thinking at the time.  Journals open doors to enlightenment.


Reason 2 – No one wants to be forgotten or remembered incorrectly.  The older we get, the more chance our offspring’s offspring will know less and less about who we are.

 
One of the great regrets of this life is that I have no written record of my Grandpa Whitmer and the experiences of his life.  As a boy I thought of him as a gruff, grumpy old man who had little tolerance for loud, obnoxious grandsons.  Stories told by my dad indicate that my perception is incomplete and I trust that he is correct.  But, oh, how I wish I had Grandpa’s words to tell me.  I suspect I would really like him and recognize more of myself in how he lived.

NOTE: My dad did write a short history of his parents and family on the Family History site and I was delighted to learn more about some of the early days of his life.  Things like that are so important to our children – I don’t want to cheat my posterity any more than I already have.


Reason 3 – Journals are a wonderful place to practice writing with intelligence.  Some of the early attempts in my life are very embarrassing – my grammar and style were atrocious.  And the things I worried about – whoa baby!!, I was such a self-centered brat.  But even those offerings are appreciated because they reflect who I was at that point in life. 
As I have aged and hopefully matured, my methods of transmission have improved and relieve some of the stress readers experience when writing is unintelligible (though my handwriting seems to be digressing).  My journals have become a place to practice my writing in addition to being a way to share what I hope for my posterity and what joy they bring to my life.


Here are a couple of other regrets/suggestions that I would share.


What I wouldn’t give to have some writings from my dad and mom to help me see how they became the special people they are today.  Their record of progression would invite hope for me and my children as we witnessed, through their eyes, the challenges that changed and blessed their lives.  I’m hoping there are some hidden documents that will, one day, appear to shed light on the mysteries of their sojourn on earth.


And lastly, as I read through some of the things I have written, I am extremely embarrassed.  There were events and experiences that I recorded that show just how dumb and ……. well, just stupid I can be.  You know what I’m talking about.


My protective first inclination is to cover up all the missteps – I even did that a few times when I was younger.  Experience has shown that those humiliating times when ignorance prevailed need to be left alone.  Everyone needs to know that Grandpa wasn’t perfect.  But they also need to know that Grandpa overcame the humbling events that he got himself into.  There has to be redemption.


The stories of our lives are mundane to us – we lived them – and they often seem worthless and irrelevant to anyone else.  Those same stories, shared with people of our lineage, become great documents of discovery and love.  


I believe in writing our own personal story.
It might be a journal.
For some it is a blog.
Others do scrapbooking.


Whatever it is, the effort will be rewarded by the love the succeeding generations of your family feel for you as they read your experiences. 


Please take time to write.  Let them know you care.  The eternal gift will be more than you can imagine. 


Now, pull up a clean document in Word and get busy!!!