Tuesday, May 27, 2014


When my dad remarried, I didn’t just inherit a new mother, I also accumulated a great bunch of aunts, uncles, cousins, and other relatives.  Sometimes it was overwhelming when we all got together.

In particular, my new step-mom had a couple of sisters who were a little younger than I was – just a year or two.  Today I will focus on Donna, the elder of the two, and at some other date I will share a few things about Debbie. 

What I didn’t really know until some time later was that Donna had an older brother (John) who had been killed in an unfortunate accident when he was just a toddler.  He and I would have been about the same age if he had lived and I have often wondered if that didn’t have some influence on future events between Donna and me.

Let me say right off that I was not a very good “nephew” to Donna.  One of my favorite things (being a tormentor by nature) to do was remind her friends that little Donna had a nephew who was older than she was.  For the most part, she was pretty good about it, but when we were teens, she and Debbie went through a stage where they introduced us as their ‘cousins’ (my brother Jim was also older).  Mostly I endured the change but once in a while I would try to embarrass them, resulting in the ‘icy glare’ girls use so well.

Despite my efforts to be a ‘heel’, Donna was always sweet and kind.  We did have a few little spats on the ranch in Utah, but I take the blame for the difficulties (I was on her territory, she was very protective, and I love to torment as noted above).  At that young age, she was way more mature than I would be for several years.

As time rolled along, I discovered something that came as a surprise to me.  In spite of the difficult circumstances and some resistance I may have felt at the beginning, I had grown to love “Little Donna” as much as I loved any of my own brothers and sisters.  She was smart and wise and had a faith that overcame difficult obstacles.    She loved everyone and tried her best to make them comfortable in the circumstances of the day.  

Being a little backward socially, I was very grateful for her help as we grew up and ventured out into the world.  I would even say that over the years Donna became more like a sister to me 
than an ‘auntie.’

Donna is married now and has a wonderful family of her own.  And she continues to show me what it takes to live well in mortality.  

I think of her often as I struggle with personal issues – she is suffering greatly at this time in her life.  Often, I long for the days when we were kids so we could go back to Boulder and be happy-go-lucky friends once again. 

My good friend and ‘little sister’ is a powerful example of what good can come from hard circumstances.  She endures well and will be a guiding light to me and all who know her.

Thanks, Donna, for being much more than my friend 


good people.


This past weekend we took a trip to visit Teresa’s parents in southeastern Utah.  Both are in their late 80’s and suffer from the ravages of time -- especially her mother.

It’s difficult to watch as those we love age and become different from what we are used to seeing.  Memory loss, physical deficiencies, and general loss of ability takes a once vibrant, capable person and leaves them (and us) wondering what has happened.

My experiences with Teresa’s folks over the last 37+ years have allowed me to come to love them nearly as much as I love my own parents.  And I grieve with my sweetheart as we watch her mom and dad change with the advancing years (I have similar feelings for my parents but I don’t see them as much so the pain is tempered).

I mention this because it occurs to me that I have not offered a proper salute to those who have helped shape the person I have become (I will avoid mentioning those who may have led me astray – don’t want to pass out guilt this late in the game;-)).

Oh, there have been some I have written about, like my Dad and Uncle Orson, but I think what I would like to do is remember (with you) some of those who may not even know how important they have been to my earthly progress.  So, in the next few weeks (or months if it takes that long) I propose to remember the “Good People” I have encountered during my sojourn on this ball of dirt.

Hopefully, no one will be offended if they appear on my list and if someone is missed (for some mental reason on my part) please prick my conscience so I can add them in.  My intent is to honor people I love and remember for the help they have given me in the last six decades.

It’s like a ride down memory lane – with a cool Popsicle and no hands on the handlebars.

Thanks for reading and please let me know if I need to fix anything as I go forward. 

(I mean about stories, NOT my personal life – I guess if I was really nice I would ask for those things also – but I’m not!!! :-).

Thursday, May 15, 2014


There was once a king who had a very large kingdom.  His kingship came with all the luxuries associated with being a king. The lifestyle was magnificent.  This king was especially adept at keeping successors to his crown from taking his place on the throne.

One day a sage came to visit the regal authority.  He was a humble man but had descended from a kingly line of his own.  His father had once been king of the land but was imprisoned and died at the hands of another.  The sage understood the workings of politics and had come to offer counsel to the sitting ruler.

On a whim, the king allowed the humble sage to speak his piece.  He reasoned that it could not hurt to listen to one who had been raised in the home of a former magistrate.  

 Surprise accompanied the words that came from the wizened fellow.  The message was not about politics but contained a call for the king to change his ways and begin living a better life.  

A promise was made that if he would effect change amongst his people so that they began to choose a better way there would be a continuing line of rulers to lead the people through the future.  But if the path of the people – and especially the king – did not change, destruction and annihilation would follow.  

And the king would live to see the end.

Angry at the implications, the ruler raged against the sage and demanded that his head be removed from his form.  Escaping to a small cave, the humble man determined to watch and record the things that occurred in the kingdom.

The next several years saw wars and death greater than could have ever been considered.  One rebellious usurper after another raised forces to overthrow the king and take away his power.  One battle, in particular, was especially fierce.  The proud ruler himself was wounded, almost unto death, and more than 2 million of his people were destroyed.  It was the beginning of the end.

From his sick bed, the king remembered the words of the sage.  He wondered if it was too late to change the course of his kingdom by implementing the counsel of the wise old man.  He approached his latest challenger and sued for peace.  He was ready to willingly give up his own kingship if it meant the end of the war.

A message was sent and the response came back.  The challenger agreed -- but with one slight amendment to the treaty.  While agreeable to ceasing the useless slaughter, he required the king allow the challenger to take his life as part of the pact.

One life to save a whole society of people.

The king considered the offer.

In his mind, he had much to lose.

But he was old and giving his life would save countless people who were depending on him for protection.

It was too much.

He could not sacrifice his life for the benefit of so many others.  He ached to live – even though it was a life of sadness, pain, and misery.  

Death held great fear for him and he could not overcome his selfishness.

And his whole kingdom was destroyed.
Not one soul was left alive.
Even his enemies were killed.
At the end, he was the last man standing.
His desire to live left him completely alone.
(See Ether 13-15 for more details)

Another king in another time faced the same decision.

He chose to offer up His young life to His enemy and prepare a way for His people to find safety.  Death had no sway in His life.  It held no fear because He had chosen to live a life focused on goodness.  He willingly shared His kingdom with any who chose to join Him.

And His kingdom will go on forever and ever.  There is no end to the number who will enjoy the benefit of His sacrifice.  

He will never be alone.

Which King to follow today?
Is it really that hard to know?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Quite a gap in entries lately.
Guess I‘m too busy – or maybe too distracted to keep this up-to-date. Here are some things that I have noticed over the past several weeks.

As much as we like to think our world is enlightened and moving forward, there are still reasons to believe we have a long way to go.

For instance, why would someone who believes in a God (Christ, Allah, Buddha, whomever) want to kidnap little girls and sell them into slavery?  I’m pretty sure there is no God that has that as part of his philosophy/teachings (except that one guy who THINKS he is the god of this world) (and no, I'm not speaking of Obama).  For all our advances in science, medicine, government, and everything else, we still have to overcome the beast inside if we are to live in peace.

Here’s another thought that I find current.

Disagreeing with someone for their political, religious or other views is not hate-speech or bullying.  Promoting the idea that disagreement is a form of repression is the epitome of bullying and seeks to demean the whole idea of a free society.

Yet, when it comes to some political and social discussions many want to eliminate all dissension from the stated “correctness” that has been identified by a small minority.  If you are not of the same ‘mind’ then you are wrong and your dissenting opinion is really ‘hate-speech’ or ‘bullying’ (see here for how Minnesota handled the bullying problem).

Last thing!
If you live in Salt Lake or surrounding areas you might want to check out a new product found at Harmon’s.
My son works there and brought home some ‘Brownie Bites’ that are really good.  The two flavors we tried were salted caramel and peanut butter.  Both were delicious (and very fattening) but I would pick the salted caramel if I had to choose. 

GREAT!!  Another product to expand my waste-line??!!!

Friday, May 2, 2014


Some time ago I read an article that talked about the crisis of faith suffered by one of the world’s great heroes – Mother Teresa.  In the article it was noted that this loving, self-sacrificing woman had gone most of her life wondering if there really was a God.  And if God is real, why did He not make himself known to her?  Pointedly, she stated:

“I am told God lives in me — and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul… I want God with all the power of my soul — and yet between us there is terrible separation…. I feel just that terrible pain of loss, of God not wanting me, of God not being God, of God not really existing.”
The work of this valiant daughter of God was exactly the work the Savior called us all to do.  There is no doubt in my mind that her life, spent in blessing others, will be recognized by the God she so faithfully obeyed – even as she was uncertain of His existence.

She exercised faith despite her misgivings.

While I have never doubted the existence of our Heavenly Father or His Son, there have been times when I have wondered if I was worth the effort They were making in my behalf.  The myriad weaknesses and defects that are my ‘baggage’ continually give me cause to my own worth in this mortal experiment/training session.
(Yes, I am hyper-critical – but who isn't? L I guess that’s part of my ‘baggage.’)

Then I receive a little nudge to remind me that things aren't as bad as I imagine.  Usually it comes as a thought assuring me that my status is known and the effort expended on both sides of this whole process is well spent.

I believe that is the peace of the Spirit.

It can be missed if we aren't careful

In mortality, Mother Teresa may not have recognized the validation of her work as she served her God so faithfully.

I guarantee she does now!!

The scriptures teach:
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1, Alma 32:21).

  Paul and Alma were onto something.

In spite of her doubts, Mother Teresa became a towering example of the principle.

She really is something special.

Thanks to a wonderful older sister.