Friday, February 27, 2009

Hoof’n’Mouth and Leaders

I don't suppose this happens to anyone else but I again find myself looking rather stupid because my mouth got away from my common sense module. Most of the time I can cover things up with a few choice words OR I can pretend it didn't happen and move on, but this time I have placed the foot squarely (or roundly) in my mouth and it won't come out. Thankfully, I don't notice that this malady has transferred to the next generation of my family so I can only conclude that my sweet wife has been able burn this pernicious fiend from the lives of our children. Anyways, my faux-paux was in my communications with the above mentioned sweetness of my life…I said something that was hurtful to her and it was not take-backable. I mean, I tried to take it back but it was already said and the hurt did not go away when I asked for it back. Being a rather insensitive brute and lacking many of the basic people skills necessary to make it through life without giving offense to many, I have done this sort of thing many times. I expect that someday (probably in the eternities) I will have a sufficiently protective barrier on my mouth to prevent these happenings…but in this mortal venue I am still prone to spew forth these little harmful things. My only hope is that the generosity of soul and largeness of heart contained in Teresa's persona will continue to forgive my weakness of character.

Recently there was a talk given by Hugh Nibley that surfaced on my desk and became the object of my interest. It was called "Leaders and Managers" and shared some of his feelings on the differences between a leader and one who manages. He used as his basic comparison the difference between Amalickiah and Moroni (of the captain variety). Where Moroni was interested in what was right and was seeking to bless all people, Amalickiah was only interested in finding a way to become the 'manager' of a nation. It was very interesting to compare the methods of each man and the results of their efforts, both in their personal lives and also in the lives of those they worked with. I think my main harvest from the experience was to understand that managers are concerned with what they get from their people and efforts and leaders are interested in how the people fare from their efforts. True leaders will do what is right, no matter what the political, business, monetary or other repercussions might be. It is the focus of 'what's in it for me' as opposed to 'how can I bless others.' That is why Joseph Smith, Christ and other great leaders were considered so special. But while Joseph was an excellent leader he may not have been the best manager because he was more concerned for people that he was for status or privilege. He was more interested in the heart and soul of the individual than he was in the status or wealth of his own life. I wonder what would happen if those who manage our country would change their emphasis and try to lead. Wouldn't it be nice to see something like that???

Some time this spring I believe that Josh (and maybe Heather) and I will be heading out on a fishing trip. That presumes that we are all healthy on the same weekend. We'll see!! See you next time.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dumb Movies

It's not often that Teresa and I have a night when we can go out to see a movie, but tonight (Friday) was one. We decided it was to be one of two choices; 7 Pounds or Taken. Joel had seen 7 Pounds and said he cried at the end and I didn't think I was in the mood for an emotional journey so we chose to go see Taken. The reviews were inconclusive so we hoped it might be something mindless or action packed but not too stupid. We were very disappointed!!! What a vapid, unimaginative movie!! Someone is trying to rip-off the Bourne movies and did a really poor job. The camera work was so disjointed that we couldn't see anything happening. The Bourne movies were the first I saw use that style but there were at least some parts where you could tell what Bourne was doing. In this one, it was all a blur and most of the action made no sense. But, sadly, that was not the most appalling thing about this movie: the acting was dreadful. Usually Liam Neeson (the voice of Aslan in the Narnia films) is pretty reliable but in this role he was only the bringer of death to anyone (friend or foe) he encountered. And while he did it All in the name of recovering his daughter (which is not such a bad reason, but carried much too far) it made no sense most of the time. It's one thing to have someone who is the hero and can beat the bad guys but when the 'good' guy never gets hurt and everyone around him dies, it becomes tiresome. All through the car chase scene there were cars pulling up beside Neeson's vehicle and opening up with automatic weapons but all we see is glass flying and goons dying. Not one wound or glass cut on the hero and the little girl in the backseat hardly moved despite all the jumping, skidding, colliding and mayhem during the chase. But when Neeson shoots he always hits his man with a death wound. Injury finally fell upon our hero when he found his daughter and was captured. But thanks to poor plumbing work and some hapless guards, he was again able to overcome all the wicked ones (and the police) and eventually rescue his daughter. At least in movies of this genre like the Transporter, there is a little humor to salve your broken heart. Nothing intentionally funny happened (thought there were a couple of unintentional moments). Sorry for those who might have wanted to see this and I spoiled your movie, but trust me, I have been a true friend. Or maybe I have been out of the movie scene so long I have lost perspective. You decide. Actually, both of us decided that we should have gone home early because it was far too violent for what we should be watching. Repentance time again!!

For those who know him, Larry H. Miller, the owner of the Utah Jazz and many other businesses passed away today. He suffered from type 2 diabetes and had a rare, incurable, disease that calcified his blood vessels. Despite what some may think, he was a good man who did much for his family, his state and his religion. He will be missed because he was an honest, good-hearted man who tried his best. His last request was to go home and spend his the week with his family. Wouldn't it be nice to know when you were to leave so you could spend your final few days with those you love most? God bless the Miller family and may his memory be sweet to all who knew him.

Friday, February 13, 2009


I have come home early from work so Teresa can go to the doctor so I thought I would take some time to catch up. Sadly, my sweetheart has been ill for several days and doesn't seem to be getting better. She can hardly sleep at night and she is miserable all day long. And with a houseful of kids that can make the days really long. Looks like it's going to be a difficult Valentines day for this little girl.

The topic of prayer has been on my mind for the past few days and I thought I might share some insights I have had as I studied. There are two talks by Elder Bednar that have helped me as I have considered the efficacy of my own prayers. They have come in the past two conferences and are excellent for firming your mind on what can be done to make our communications with God better. They are called "Pray Always", and "Ask in Faith." My most important discovery is that I have not been focused correctly as I pray each day. My daily offerings to Heavenly Father need to be more organized and direct and less of the wandering discussions I have had in the past. If my days are to be better and my heart is to be given to God, then my prayers must reflect my desires to have His help in deciding what I should do. Not that I need to wait on every decision, but I do need to be committed to His work more than my own agenda. When that happens, my agency and my will are His to do with as He wishes. And the end result will be greater joy for me and those I love. I don't know how clear that is but it has given me something to work on for a while. Try reading and pondering Elder Bednar's words and it might make more sense.

Gonna be short today so I will see you next time.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Curses, foiled again!!!

Last Monday, when I went to work, I was not completely well from a bout with….something!!! After my classes I felt terrible so I decided to make an addition to this little blog thing. Imagine my surprise when I tried to access my blog and the K-9 content blocker put on by the Church stopped me from getting to my site. I had noticed that there were updates to our network systems but those are usually innocuous and don't have much effect on what I do. Sadly, this particular update seems to have completely restricted me from any access to blogs of ANY type. O, the inhumanity of all this protection. I understand why the Church wants to be careful, but I sure wish they were a little more generous in letting us participate in web blogging. After all, didn't Elder Ballard encourage us to use all the media available to share the gospel message? How am I supposed to do this if I am blocked from all blogging? I know, some may think that doing this at work is not a good use of time, but I also spend a fair amount of time on my laptop at home so it would be convenient to have access. Oh well, I guess I can learn to deal with this blow to my efforts.

Thanks to Brian for his recent post telling us to make sure and link to things to support our blogging. As you will notice (above) I have taken his advice and linked to the talk used to justify the existence of this blog. My only problem will be to remember to add the links as I write. Sometimes I get so involved that I forget to give good references to the material I quote. We'll see how I do.

Today I came home from work, not feeling well again (I think I'm just looking for sympathy), and was greeted with a problem in the downstairs bathroom. It seems one of the daycare kids has tried to flush something down that really wasn't meant to go down. If this sounds eerily familiar, you have probably read Melissa's adventures with Gavin and toilets (scroll down to Nov. 12, 2008 entry). Anyway, I took the toilet off and looked to see the problem…and, voila, nothing. There was nothing in the bowl or anywhere else. In fact, when I put things back together, the unit worked just fine. Was this just a ploy set up by my wife to get me busy and working? Or was it a mysterious occurrence that fixed itself when I disassembled the commode (by the way, why are these things called that? They really aren't commodious and they don't offer any space except for sitting.)? So, now I have to go to Home Depot and find the parts to put things back completely so the kids can take care of themselves again. I don't know if I have ever shared this with anyone, but, I HATE PLUMBING!!!

There have been many distractions since I started this and I have finally decided it is time to give up for now. I will try to get some more written asap. Bye till next time.