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Monday, December 31, 2012

HELP, I'M FALLING


The “Fiscal Cliff” is approaching (just hours from now) and still there is no agreement between our “leaders” (not sure how much they lead and how much they just enjoy the benefits of their positions).

It is a very hard thing to run a country with 300+ million people --  So many diverging ideas on how things should work and what should be done.

For example, consider these questions:

Is government welfare assistance a blessing to the needy or are we just promulgating bad habits?


Why do a select few have an excessive amount of wealth while others are suffering the ravages of poverty?


Can an individual or family maintain a sense of community without offering some of their abundance to those who struggle with life?


How can individuals make a difference in the way things are done in each of these situations?


I have my own feelings about the state of our Union and I sense that things are spiraling to something we don’t really want to have.  When nearly half our country receives some form of government assistance, I believe we have created an environment that will eventually destroy all the good this country was made to provide. 

But I also believe that there are people who truly need assistance in order to survive.  Their lives are difficult and require our help.  I’m POSITIVE that government is not the place to put the burden of the needy – government programs are too inefficient and lose track of individuality in the process.  And when assistance becomes impersonal, it also becomes a right and not just a blessing.

There are lots of questions running through my head right now and I guess I will have to ponder and consider what I’m going to do.  What suggestions might you offer?

BTW, Happy New Year – 2013 is upon us.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

PRIORITIES


The world is struggling with what is right and what is convenient.  Sometimes people remember!!!  Here is a blog that reminds us of what is truly essential if we are to get out of this world with a shred of goodness left in us.  Hope you enjoy.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

THE MAYANS WERE WRONG

J

Thursday, December 20, 2012

BIRTHDAY GIRL


Today is my favorite daughter’s birthday.  She is ……… well, I’ll let her tell you the number – just know it is one less than how long Teresa and I have been married.

Beautiful and sweet in a serious sort of way.

Oftentimes she can be a really serious and well-grounded person.  She needs that with the pack of hooligans she must serve in her calling as mother and wife (yes, I include Josh as one of the hooligans).  It is also nice that she can be counted on for doing the right thing, even if it is inconvenient.

But at other times she is not-so-much a serious person.  Like when she is with those same hooligans in the car, going somewhere.  We love that part of her too.


What normally we see from Melissa.
Happy Birthday to my sweet little baby that has grown up to become a wonderful daughter and even better friend.  Thanks for coming to our home to play and making the ride so much more interesting and pleasant.  You are such a vital part of our whole family package – your brothers will testify that this is true.  WE LOVE MELISSA!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

RENEWAL


Kevin and Jenny have purchased a new (to them) home and are so excited for the chance to get out of our little apartment.  It’s a nice house and has lots of room for the whole family but they want to add a couple of things.

For the past few days we have been working on their basement, making a bedroom, bath and some other places.  It has been fun………. Well sort of!!  All those years of experience working on our own home have come in handy. 

The little boys (Hayden and Tanner) are so thrilled to have their own rooms and lots of places to play.  Tanner just runs from room to room, checking things out and playing with the new stuff.  And Jenny is practically glowing for all the changes that she anticipates.  Such a wonderful time – finding yourself in a new home of your own.

Congratulations to our marvelous children for finally making the shift from apartment to house.  We are so proud of them and all they have accomplished.

PICTURES LATER

Monday, December 17, 2012

TRAGEDY


Yesterday being the Sabbath, my sweetheart and I arrived at our ward building a few minutes early and sat in our designated pew (OK, we don’t do that in our ward but people know where we are supposed to sit and they don’t violate our space J).  Glancing around, I noticed that one of our High Councilmen was sitting on the stand.  I queried Teresa thusly:

     ME: Is this High Council Sunday?
     HER: It looks like it.
ME: Would you mind checking the program and seeing who is the companion speaker.
HER: Why, it appears your name is listed in the program today.
ME: (Panic on my face) I’ll be back!!!

I quickly rushed to the foyer and began preparing a message for our meeting.  Fortunately there was some divine help sprinkled my way and several things fell into place so I could get a talk ready.

Teresa told me I did alright but it was a very embarrassing experience (first time ever forgetting an assignment to talk).  I did confess my failings to the congregation and they were kind in their comments after the meeting but I think my efforts were mediocre at best.  Thank heavens (literally) for the tender mercies offered by the Lord in our most inadequate moments.  Hope I never need that kind of help again.

Friday, December 14, 2012

JOKE -- Not Politics

A friend sent this to me and I thought it lively enough to share with all of you.  Hope it tickles your fancy.


The local news station was interviewing an 80-year-old lady because she had just gotten married for the fourth time. The interviewer asked her questions about her life, about what it felt like to be marrying again at 80, and then about her new husband's occupation. "He's a funeral director," she answered. "Interesting," the newsman thought...

He then asked her if she wouldn't mind telling him a little about her first three husbands and what they did for a living. She paused for a few moments, needing time to reflect on all those years. After a short time, a smile came to her face and she answered proudly, explaining that she had first married a banker when she was in her 20's, then a circus ringmaster when in her 40's, and a preacher when in her 60's, and now - in her 80's - a funeral director.


The interviewer looked at her, quite astonished, and asked why she had married four men with such diverse careers.



She smiled and explained, "I married one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

RETURN


Teresa and I made it back safely from Polly’s funeral.  There were so many people there and such a good feeling of love from everyone.  All Polly’s siblings were there except Rex (wife had surgery) so we had a good visit together.

Our trip was uneventful but we did find that our van gets better mileage than we thought.  Good to be home and good to know the truths of the gospel so we don’t worry too much about our family.

Thank God for the Savior and His Atonement.  What peace He brings.

‘til next time.  

Saturday, December 1, 2012

POLLY


I am the eldest of 10 children.  One brother passed away two days after birth and the rest of us have lived in relatively good health for the past 35+ years.  Today marks the passing of the first of our remaining siblings – the youngest of us all – Claire Pauline Whitmer.

Taken at our Parent's 50th Anniversary Celebration.
Polly is on the back row, left end, right behind Mike.

Few details have come this far north but it appears she had a heart attack and did not recover.  She is survived by her beloved husband Chris and her four children.  It seems wrong for someone as alive and excited about life as Polly was to suddenly be gone from our presence.  I know that is how life is ….. but I don’t have to like it.

Polly was born just a month before I came home from my mission so I wasn't around much during her growing up years.  When she graduated from High School she came to live one summer in our home while she earned some money for school.  She and Chris also lived in Utah for a time shortly after they were married.  My recollections of her will always be of a happy, vivacious and very energetic young woman with a heart big enough for all her kids and anyone else’s who would let her love them.  She definitely will be missed.

We Love you Polly and pray that you will have things ready for us when we get there.
Love,
Your big brother -- -Mike

Monday, November 19, 2012

FASHION STATEMENT

Yesterday in church, there was a family in front of us with two little children.  They were adorable and very rambunctious – mom was having a hard time controlling them.  We try to help but sometimes they don’t want to let us (kids and moms).

The little boy was about three-years old and had come dressed in normal church attire but over time had adjusted his wardrobe to meet some new, three-year-old, criteria.  It was so cute that I secretly took a photo of his efforts at originality (I have deleted his face for privacy purposes).  Hope you enjoy – (that tie method is very inviting and looks more comfortable than how I wear them).
I especially like the multi-color arrangement of beads that adorn his neck.



Friday, November 16, 2012

PUPPIES UPDATE


Some weeks ago I was complaining about my feet and how hard it is to find comfortable shoes.  A friend suggested a solution so I blogged about it and thought I might give them a try.

These are the ones I ordered for a trial run—

Sanita Burgundy Clogs from Zappo's


I think they looked fine but after wearing them for ONE day I determined that this pair (not to say others won’t be) isn't for me.  The real problem is that the left shoe/clog was smaller than the right.

Some might wonder if my feet are different sized but I don’t think so.  I have never had a that problem.  IT HAS TO BE THE SHOES!!!!

Since I tried these from Zappo’s, I could send them back with no problem but now I need to decide how I’m going to move to the next trial.  More later!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

SECESSION


Really!!!

I am no fan of the Obama/Liberal Administration and the way they are destroying many of the liberties of our country, but I wonder if people aren't just “knee-jerking” themselves into more problems.

This article is just one of many that sets out how some people want to solve the problems of government gone badly.  In essence, they are saying –

“Let’s take our toys and go home so we can make our own rules.”


While that might sound enticing, especially considering the events of the last few years, may I offer a look at what the results will be?  I’m pretty sure most people who read my blog will not be surprised when I refer them to something from the scriptures.  Take a look at 3rd Nephi chapter 7 verses 2-4:

And the people were divided one against another; and they did separate one from another into tribes, every man according to his family and his kindred and friends; and thus they did destroy the government of the land.  And every tribe did appoint a chief or a leader over them; and thus they became tribes and leaders of tribes.  Now behold, there was no man among them save he had much family and many kindreds and friends; therefore their tribes became exceedingly great.

So far, so good for the people of that day.  But consider the end result of all they did:

And the regulations of the government were destroyed, because of the secret combination of the friends and kindreds of those who murdered the prophets (OK, this part we don’t seem to have in abundance, but keep reading)…Nevertheless they had come to an agreement that they would not go to war one with another…insomuch that in some degree they had peace in the land; nevertheless, their hearts were turned from the lord their God, and they did stone the prophets and did cast them out from among them (3 Nephi 7:6, 14).

While all the details today are not exactly the same, the course of events is parallel with the experiences of the Nephites/Lamanites just a few years before the coming of the Savior.  And many of our modern prophets have taught us that one purpose of the Book of Mormon is to prepare us for the 2nd Coming of Christ by showing events that will happen in our day.


So, while abandoning a government that is riddled with wickedness may be inviting, I believe we will lose much more than we gain if states continue on this road to secession.


What we really need to do is become the UNITED States of America and stop all the baloney that is separating us from one another.


But I’m just one goofy guy with a keyboard and nobody is really listening.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

COUGAR GEEK


Sometimes we have folks come from colleges in the state to tell us how our students can improve their chances for acceptance in their university.  Last week a young lady from BYU visited with our kids and was very helpful in encouraging them to pursue their further education.


There are sometimes perks for us when these folks come.  We don’t usually request benefits but once-in-a-while they ask for suggestions of what we might like.  Our principal gave them some worthy items that would be appreciated and the following is the result.



What you can’t see is the key lanyard that hangs around my neck.  Now I’m decked out and ready to cheer for my Alma mater.  Maybe you can get some good stuff from your school!!

Friday, November 9, 2012

5000


This may not be significant to anyone else, but today I passed the 5000 views mark for my little blog.  Whoever you are that follow my ranting, thank you for being consistent and getting me to this milestone.

With my other writing for Deseret Connect, I have had nearly 200k views but it still makes me feel good to know that there are a few people out there who enjoy what I write enough to come back and partake.

I just checked and my first blog entry was October 2008 so reaching 10,000 views will probably happen in another four years.  Happy reading to all who participate and come back as often as you like.  Maybe it will start to make sense as I grow older ---- but probably it will get more meandering as I lose my sanity.  Anyways, thanks.
My GGrandma Whitmer lost most of her mind (she scared me when I was a little boy) before she passed away.
 My chances are pretty good for the same experiences.  Yippee!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

SOLACE


An associate shared an email he received the other day from a distraught friend.  This friend is a medical man who has also served in the military and has studied many of the modern prophets’ words concerning the evolution and divinity of the United States.  Many have prophesied that this nation will stand as a beacon of truth to the world when the end seems to be upon us and will stand for righteousness when the world appears headed for destruction.

But the circumstances of our most recent election fly in the face of many of those teachings.  How can The United States of America lead righteously when it seems that the decision makers govern from a position defiant to the laws and teachings of God (think of abortion, gay marriage, drug legalization, etc.)? 

Asked for advice on what to share with his friend, I responded in the best voice I could muster (considering my own despondency with the results of this election).  These were my suggestions:

First, I believe in a God who will protect and preserve those who are seeking to put forth the truths of eternity.  There will be hard days and difficult decisions disguised by unfathomable deceits, but there will always be answers that will be based in the Faith we have in Christ.

Second, I already know who is going to win this battle.  The forces of evil (yes, I’m thinking of some who currently govern our country) will have their day of glory and celebration, but in the end, the works of God will be victorious and all will find peace.  There is no doubt who will lose!!!

Thirdly, while I am confident that God will win, I am not completely privy to the process by which He will attain victory.  I suppose there could be some part of the Plan of Salvation that includes the election of some who are now in positions of power.  Or, it is possible that the current circumstances are a way of setting up the nation for an experience that will result in even more changes for the better.  I DON’T KNOW!!!  But I have faith that we are not abandoned.

Anyway, that was my response to my associate’s query of how this could be happening to the greatest nation in the world.  I will not despair nor will I cease to try for changes that I believe will improve our world.  We are children of God and He has not sent us here to fail.  My grandchildren deserve the best we can offer and that is not in their field of vision today.  With a little work, it will be again one day.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Depression or WHAT?


Here it is, the day after the election and I’m moderately depressed.  Not so much so that I need medication but enough that life has a hopelessness that pervades my interior regions.

Not sure which is me, but both seem sad.




I really thought Mitt Romney had a good chance to begin a change in the way our country is being led.  And, I guess he did have a chance but it wasn't as good as some of us had hoped.  It seems that a majority of our friends and neighbors want to have a government that is more involved in our personal lives that I would like. 
I think he would have made a good/great President.


When Clinton was elected for the second time I had a little more hope because he had signaled that he was willing to let go of some of the most egregious parts of his political plans so he could build a coalition with the other side to get things done.  But I have seen nothing in the workings of the current president (or his cohorts in the Senate -- you listening Harry) to indicate that he gives one iota of thought to what is good for the country or for the place he will have in history.
Our country is sort of like this plane -- headed for trouble.


My only hope is that the people of our nation will eventually recognize bad government and decide it is time to make changes.  Of course, maybe they have decided that a “freedom based” government is old fashioned and bad for their lives.  Then the decisions of the current electorate make a little more sense but my personal feeling of hopelessness increases. 


Samuel the Lamanite -- just before the chapters listed below.
If things continue on the current road, I believe we may see a recurrence of the experiences described in the Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi chapters 6-7.  And the one good thing about that might be the coming of the Lord (for the Second time)


Don’t worry, tomorrow I will be better and the sadness of this experience will dissipate.  Hope you have a better day and can see a bright future ahead.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Normalcy



Only one more day until the election for this cycle is completed (unless people try to do tricky things to extend the time).  Maybe I’m becoming cynical towards these things but it sure seems like there has been an inordinate amount of “evil speaking” on the part of many candidates.  I think it makes the process seem less needful because of all the hatred going round – the adversary has really taken hold of a lot of hearts and turned a good thing into a bad one (read 2 Nephi 2).
Interesting Headwear for the ladies

One happy circumstance from the past few days was a busy day on Saturday. 

Bryce and Jenny doing their thing.
Teresa made a reservation with the Family Canning Center and invited all the families to come package some food for their storage shelves.  Bryce and Aubrey were introduced to the ‘hard’ work of canning and seemed to have a good time.  And our shelves should be a little more complete than they were before.


Immediately after we finished, Josh and I headed out for Strawberry Reservoir to do a little fishing.  I had been up two weeks before with my friend Jeff Hill and Josh really wanted to have a last outing before winter sets in. 

Turned out that we had a pretty good day and Josh won the prize for the best fish.  It was nice cutthroat, about 22-23”, and gave a good solid fight before he could get it in his float tube.  We both had pretty good success which engendered a pleasant ride home.  I do love catching (and releasing) those little fishes.
Big Cutthroat Trout and bigger smile



My littler effort - with no smile
Please remember to get out and vote so our country can still be free.  I hope you will consider more than party as you punch your ballot – look for someone who will make a difference in how our lives are going.  God Bless America.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Two Sons


Saturday Teresa and I were invited to attend a little meeting with our two eldest sons.  Josh met a lady on one of his business trips who had some connections with the state chapter of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and she invited him to come speak.  She also asked if Brian would consent to be there and share some of his experiences.  Both agreed so we chose to tag along and act as beaming parents.

It is always interesting to see your children in a different environment.  Our perceptions are based on what we see in them growing up and the few times we watch them interact with friends and such.  To see them as “normal” people is often eye opening and unusual.

Josh spent his time helping the young folk (college age) understand that ‘innovation’ in not starting a new company but it has a lot to do with examining the world around you and finding better ways to do things.  He was very confident (with a tough crowd – they were ready to go home after a long weekend) and patient as he shared some really good thoughts about business and ways to improve things.  Sure hope some of those kids listened.

Josh speaking on innovation to a group of tired college students.
He finally got them to wake up but it was difficult.
Of course, Brian spent most of his time sharing the journey of the last few years with his company, Instructure.  We even learned a few things we hadn’t known before so the message was fascinating.  And the growth of his company is such a fantastic story that he really had them on the edge of their seats (so to speak)

Casual Saturday dress for Brian as he shares about Instructure and  Canvas (their product).
Everyone wanted to get a piece of him after because he is 'famous.'
You will notice, from the photos, that Brian is playing the part of the ‘entrepreneur’ and Josh tried to stick to the ‘businessman’ mold.  Not what you would have expected from them when they were younger but….


Proud parents will always be grateful for their sons and daughters as they succeed.  But we are exceptionally proud of all our children because they have grown up to be such fine, moral, loving people.  It’s just fun to share it with others from time-to-time.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Who's Driving This Mess?


I know I have written twice already this week but I came across something I really felt needed to be shared.

Sir Winston Churchill
In the years leading up to the Second World War, Winston Churchill tried to warn the British that appeasement to the demands of Hitler was not the proper tactic to take with a madman.  But Neville Chamberlain had the ear of Parliament and spouted his pacifist plans sufficiently well that most of Britain ignored Churchill and his warnings.  The ensuing years proved Winston Churchill correct and when he became Prime Minister of England, his place in history was cemented. 

Just before war was declared between Britain and Germany Churchill recited a poem that, I believe, has great pertinence to our present day situation. 

Our government is in the process of trying to appease and satisfy enemies who are set on destroying our nation and much of the world as we know it.  The efforts of our leaders have been dismal (particularly in the last 4 years) and we are closer to a great war than at any time since those days in the late 1930’s.

The First nuclear bomb, preparing for detonation
With the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the fear caused by the terrorists who hold them we need someone like Churchill to help lead us out of this mess.  It might be well if we were to consider the value of the message from this little poem as we evaluate who would best help lead our nation out of the quagmire we currently populate.

Anyway, here is the poem.  It is written by Edwin James Miliken and was shared by O.S. Card here (you didn't really think I was that smart to come up with this on my own did you?).



Death and His Brother Sleep
By Edwin James Miliken

Who is in charge of the clattering train? 
The axles creak, and the couplings strain.
***
At every mile we a minute must gain! 
Who is in charge of the clattering train?
***
Only a Man, but away at his back, 
In a dozen cars, on the steely track, 
A hundred passengers place their trust 
In this fellow of fustian, grease, and dust. 
They cheerily chat, or they calmly sleep, 
Sure that the driver his watch will keep
***
A hundred hearts beat placidly on, 
Unwitting they that their warder's gone;
***

For the pace is hot, and the points are near, 
And Sleep hath deadened the driver's ear; 
And signals flash through the night in vain. 
Death is in charge of the clattering train!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Those Little Puppies





Scary looking and not very nice!!


In my mind, feet are the ugliest part of the human body (on the outside -- there's lots inside that is disgusting).  Maybe it’s because they are so overworked and trodden upon (bad humor), but they just aren't very attractive. 

(My grandson, Logan, says when he makes people he will get rid of noses but I sort of like the personality they give to the face).

Aren't those nasty looking?
Why do women torture themselves with these things?

Maybe that’s why my feet hurt all the time.  Them little ‘puppies’ realize they just can’t compete with hair or eyes so they make you remember them by hurting all the time. 


Once in a while they will lay off a bit if you get a really comfy pair of shoes but as soon as you switch to the dress variety, back comes the misery.  And since I teach in a suit and go to church in a suit, dress shoes are what I wear most.


For years I have been searching for something that will satisfy the vanity of those dastardly appendages at the end of my legs and seldom have I been successful.  Usually it’s a case of “anything that looks good is uncomfortable and anything that is comfortable is really ugly” (like the feet they are on).  


But maybe there is hope in sight.



I have a friend who is also a teacher and is on his feet a lot.  He, too, feels the wrath of his ‘foot bones’ and has looked high and low for relief.  According to him, this is the solution to all my troubles:








The thought of wearing ‘clogs’ grates on my manhood (sort of like guys who played soccer in high school – you know, it was a ‘girls’ sport) but desperation works on us until we either give in or die from pride. 


I believe I will try a pair of these for my Temple work and see how they feel.  If there is a big difference, THEN I might give them a try at school.  My reasoning is that in the Temple I will be able to sit and rest if things get too bad but I can’t always do that in class. 


Besides, people in the Temple won’t laugh at me for wearing clogs.

Anyone with experience in this type of footwear can share their feelings and ideas --- please!!!


I’ll let you know how things go.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Testimony vs. Conversion

LDS Conference Center


We just finished another conference weekend and I am stoked about some of the messages.  I know, I always get excited but this time I REALLY MEAN IT!!!


There’s this really cool Apostle named David A. Bednar and whenever he speaks I sit up and take notice.  We shouldn't have favorites but his messages always seem to strike a chord in my heart (sort of like when Neal A. Maxwell was with us…only different). 

Elder Neal A. Maxwell


















Elder David A. Bednar

Elder Bednar’s message was about the difference between having a testimony and being converted.  There are many people in the church and in the world who have a testimony about basic (and deeper) doctrines but who are not converted for one reason or another.  They know principles and doctrines are true because the Holy Ghost has witnessed to them but their lives are not in conformity with the truths they know. 

Peter was part of the focus of this talk
It seems such a silly thing because we lose so much when we know one thing and do another but isn't that how our lives go!!  I suppose the reason we are here for this experience is to see how much we are willing to obey before we are taken back to Father. 

I have pondered this circumstance in my own life and find that there really are things that I know are true but I just haven’t gotten around to living them yet.  But I have also noticed that each passing year adds a little more to my ‘obedience cup’ and I am much different than I was in my younger days.  I take hope in that process because it is the way God looks at each of us – He isn't expecting perfection today but He is expecting BETTER each day.
I commend to you the entire message linked above so you can see how Elder Bednar’s message might affect you.  I hope you will see the truth and let the Spirit help you become what you really want to be.


I suspect that as I study more of the talks I will comment again, so get ready.  See you next time.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Just testing

Some may remember that I received an I-Pad for Father's Day from Brian and Paula.  I want to see how hard it is to blog from the I-pad vs. a laptop.  So far, it is lots slower and lots harder.  I give up and will post when I have my laptop with me next time.

I know, I'm a loser but this really stinks.  Bye for now.
Slight edit so I can see better -- maybe helped some of you also.  MW

Thursday, September 20, 2012

One




It’s been a little while since I posted.  I guess getting back to school has been busier that I thought.  We are now into week four and I am really having a good time with this year’s crop of students.  Don’t know that they are any different than previous years but something seems to have clicked with this group.







Or maybe I’m putting more effort into my preparation and teaching.  We are studying the New Testament and my summer was spent looking up doctrines and principles that I could teach from this wonderful book.  It is so much fun to study the life of Christ and see how He taught those He loved. 


One thing has become abundantly clear!!  Whenever Jesus taught, He always focused on one person and taught to the needs of that soul.  He didn’t get hung up on all the outside things – just the needs of that single person.  No one was outside His circle of caring.  I guess there is a lesson for me in there.  Hope it takes someday!!

Until next time.