Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Viewing

It's not often that I endorse a movie because generally there aren't many that really strike me as worthy of sharing.

But it's Christmas time and there is a film we discovered a few years ago that continues to be a favorite for both Teresa and I. It's not a 'real' Christmas movie but some scenes celebrate the season and the intentions are to share feelings that come with thinking and acting like Christ.

We actually came upon it completely by accident when Teresa's sister accidentally left the DVD at a family Christmas party (we didn't realize where it came from for a while but have since confessed our sins to that sister).

Frankly (or Susanly), I was not impressed with the quality of the production when we first started viewing but became enthralled with the message and story so much that I soon forgot my quibblings.



The movie we all enjoy so much is called "the Ultimate Gift."

It's smarmy, predictable, cute, and somewhat disjointed…


There is a marvelous story about change and redemption and becoming something you aren't yet.

If you haven't seen it, rent, buy or borrow (but remember to return)
the DVD and then sit back and enjoy 117 minutes of feeling good about the world and the possibilities that are out there.

Merry Christmas to All.

A few other movies we like this time of year:

The Man in the Santa Claus Suit (TV movie with Fred Astaire)
White Christmas
A Christmas Carol (George C. Scott version)
The Bishop's Wife (Cary Grant)
It's a Wonderful Life (again, not a true Christmas movie but …)
Miracle on 34th St. (Natalie Wood)


And here are a few we would never recommend because they just aren't Christmasy enough!!!

A Christmas Story (just wrong)
    Home Alone (all iterations)

    How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Jim Carrey ruins everything)

    The Santa Clause (and its follow-ups)

Friday, December 16, 2011

What is a Smile

So how come some of us can’t smile when required.

A happy day but the smile just isn't there.

I consider myself pretty happy but whenever our family gets together for pictures I take lots of grief because I am completely incapable of showing a smile on demand.

The usual forced smile look -- OK, not usual but still forced

My wife will poke me and my kids will chide me but no matter how hard I try, my smile in a picture looks pained, forced and totally unhappy. 

I really did enjoy Jamaica and especially with my sweetheart.

It’s gotten so bad that I don’t even try anymore.  So Teresa pinches me or makes fun of me, hoping there might be a small miracle – but nothing good ever happens.

I think my “smile on demand” gene is broken and I am doomed to failure. 

Sure hope the mortician doesn’t have trouble after I’m gone.  That could really be embarrassing.

Anyway, keep smiling (however you do that) and live happy, no matter what your face looks like. 

Pre-loss-of-smile days.
BTW, this is a picture of me when I was 19 so it is possible but I seem to have forgotten how.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Deceptive Practices

I wonder, sometimes, if certain customs or traditions that have come to be part of our culture aren’t started for more nefarious purposes.

The following is not a justification for the practices of fundamentalists or other weirdos and I am not advocating changing the laws that are addressed.  This is just a thought that I believe may have some substance in truth.

I have been teaching the Old Testament this year and as we follow the history of the prophets and their families, we see that many of the ancients chose close relatives (nieces, cousins, uncles) as their mates in order that they might keep the covenant they had made with God to marry worthily (at this point most of my students are grossed out by the idea of marrying in the family-- but who else would Adam’s children marry).  In most cases, there were few if any, other followers of Christ in their vicinity (see Gen. 24).

In our day, it is not only frowned upon, but is also illegal to marry someone who is too closely related (I believe the common gap must be no closer than 3rd cousin).  The rationale is that those types of marriages will result in birth defects and other problems.
I accept that and, again, am not advocating change but just calling attention to another possibility.

Could it also be that this is one of the ways Satan has tried to disturb the order of God’s plan for His children as they come to earth?  The adversary has committed himself to damaging the eternal life of as many of God’s sons and daughters as possible.  Why not limit the range of choices they have in all the cases he can.

Marrying relatives is not the issue here.  It is the deceptions Satan has foisted on the world in an effort to stop/cripple/disrupt the Plan of God.  The challenges are endless and will continue to grow as the time approaches for the “end of the world.”  

Man must be wise in the things chosen to follow and support.

Though some may disagree, I do not believe the call for population control is about not having enough food, space and water.  Never for a moment have I believed that the legalization of abortion has anything to do with a woman’s right to control her body.  And I refuse to accept the false teaching that says two people, no matter their gender, are justified in seeking to destroy the sanctity of the family.  Each of these “doctrines” is simply the work of the great destroyer and his minions battling to destroy the sacred family of God.

As Jacob taught:

O, that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not.  And they shall perish.  (2 Nephi 9:28)

That is the truth and will remain so as long as eternity.  No amount of deception from the world will ever make these things true.

(I know, this is another of dad’s rants and most will ignore but the principle is true even if the subject isn’t exciting)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Aging Well

Last week I took a trip to St. George so I could visit my parents.  They decided to come to Utah for a visit with my dad’s brothers and I couldn’t pass up the chance to see them.

So, making a quick trip to the library to get a book on CD, I departed.  The drive was long but the book made the time pass a little quicker – although when it was done, I was very disappointed and determined to never read/listen to another John Grisham novel. I hate books where the bad guys win in the end.  So don’t waste your time on The Appeal!!!

So what do people in their 70’s like to do?  Take a look! (OK, some won't upload from my phone but I will try to get them in later.)

But we had a nice visit and I am grateful that I took the time to go down (except for the stupid book – did I mention that I hated it?)

On another day, a few weeks earlier, Teresa and I (with wonderful help from Kevin and Jenny) had one of our “Grandma’s Sleep Parties”.  That’s when all the grandkids who are available come over and ‘sleep’ at Grandma’s house and have fun together.  And Grandma always has something exciting for them to do.  Here are a few shots of the evening.

Old and young, we want to keep in touch.  Someday our roles will be reversed and if we haven’t done enough early, there won’t be anything to do later.  Just saying!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Head Scratcher

Here's a funny (ok, not so funny, actually just sad) example of how out of whack our society has become.

Two young men left a campfire burning and caused the largest fire in Arizona history.  They face prosecution on three counts for causing the burning of thousands of acres of forest land, with all its included wildlife, and destroying many homes.  The law says:

A conviction for each of the offenses charged in the complaint carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison, a $5,000 fine or both.

In another case, a father killed a grizzly bear because he was afraid for the safety of his children and family.  Now he faces these penalties if convicted:

The charge of killing a threatened species is punishable by up to a year in prison, a maximum fine of $50,000, and up to one year of supervised release.

So, if my math is correct, it is pretty much equally adverse to society if you kill a ferocious grizzly bear that is attempting to eat your family or burn homes, trees, animals, and anything else in the way because you were too lazy to put out your fire.
Like I said, it really is sad and odd that we live in such a world.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Yesterday, in our sacrament meeting, one of the speakers made a comment that touched a nerve.  It was one of those nerves that stays hidden until something really sharp gives it a poke (sort of like the funny-bone).

What he said was (paraphrasing):
“Parents need to make sure their children know what is important in their lives.  You can’t just assume they know you have a testimony – you have to tell them often and clearly what you know to be true.”

As I pondered that thought, I wondered if my children and grandchildren REALLY know what I believe.  It seems obvious (to me) that they would know that I have a testimony of the Restored Gospel of Christ.  It is, after all, my chosen profession to teach the truths of Christ as contained in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  But DO they really know???

I hope so!!

I wonder, too, if they know how much I love their mother/grandmother (in fact, I sometimes wonder if SHE knows).  It seems to me that I may not have been as demonstrative in my confessions to my posterity as would be appropriate.

And maybe, just as concerning, do my children (all five of you valiant souls) and my grandchildren (the 12.75 greatest little individuals on earth) realize just how much I adore the people you are and are becoming?

Well, to all of you mentioned above, I offer this two word expression of whether you are important or not.

You Are!!!

And if you ever wonder if I am a true follower of Christ (in my own weak way).

I am (not to be confused with I AM).

Maybe I can show these things better.  I hope so.  Thanks for listening.

Friday, July 29, 2011

No Wingeing

Whatever you read from this point forward (at least in this entry) is not a complaint.  I want that up front so no one thinks I am wingeing – Australian whining – about the events of life.

It’s beginning to look like there is an epidemic encroaching on our land.  Everywhere you go there are people who need to have their gallbladder taken out.  This week it was our little Jenny so we have had Tanner and Hayden with us for the past few days.  They are really fun (except Tanner likes to scream in the high-pitched, piercing way he does) and have been very little trouble.  Jenny is getting better and will probably be back to normal in a few more days.
BTW, she is a lot tougher than I would be.  Way to go Jen.

Hayden wrote his name on our board.

Josh went to China for a work ‘activity’ and has been gone for more than a week.  He Skype’s the kids every afternoon about 5:30 pm (7:30 am China time). They don’t last long but it is fun to see out his hotel window.

The Olympic Birdsnest -- China

The Forbidden City

How kids overcome the sadness of not having their parents around

Good ole Brian went to Boston earlier this week for a convention thingey.  He had to sit on a panel (boring) and schmooze with upitty-ups from around the country. He also discovered he didn’t like… well I don’t want to get him in trouble so I won’t say what he didn’t like.   His sweetheart wasn’t feeling well but her mom came out to help.

It’s girl’s camp season so Heather got to go out with the YW in her ward.  She seemed excited and I expect she is having a blast.  We have Matt and Emma to keep Tanner and Hayden company.  It has been very exciting come bath time.

This trumps Missy's picture of Ellie

Lastly, Missy is doing better and seems to be on the mend.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about then I didn’t say anything.

I guess this is just a normal week in the life old folk and their growing family. 
Sure beats the other option.