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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Look Ahead and Believe, nothing fearing!

Leave it in God's Hands

     If there is one thing that I have come to learn in my life it is that we can not control every single little detail of our lives. There are so many other variables that are entailed in the outcome of any given situation. Here I wish to share an example that I saw while growing up where things went south even though the guy in the story always did what he could do to help these situations turn out in the positive.

     Growing up I used to watch the older kids in town and in my church and try and be like them. I remember spending lots of time doing this. One of these particular people I would watch had many experiences that to me seemed like pretty hard and awfully hard to face at times. I watched this kid pretty closely while he would play football and in wrestling. For four years I watched him work as hard and even harder than anyone on the football team. He was such a great player and still each year as a team they struggled and would lose a heartbreaking game in the state championship game. The wrestling season seemed to mirror almost the same exact situation. In wrestling as a team they did have some success though, and he was always a big part of that success. He would put in the extra practice time and do everything that he could to become the wrestler that he knew he could become. His sophomore year I watched him get in to the championship match and battle his heart out. In the end with a couple not so correct calls he lost that match. It was hard to see him having worked so hard to have to go through an experience like that. The next two years I saw him go through the same terrible experience in his finals matches at the state tournament.

 

     Wow! Those are some experiences that are never very easy, especially if you are someone that loves your sports, and you are surrounded by people who has those same desires and passions. If you have ever been through something similar to this I am sure that you can add your witness that you also know it isn't easy to handle.

     This guy from the story who is now a man is much the better man because of these experiences. He wasn't ever a person to get down on himself about these situations and worry and fuss over them. The teams in football for years before he got into high school were so dominant, and his was as well. But for some reason the teams he was on never were blessed with a championship win. I don't take anything away from them for this, but I give credit for who they have become because of it. Year after year they came back fighting and being well coached and well taught in the basics of the game. With time and years the football team began to be blessed once again with championship wins. One of the great things that I saw as a blessing from watching this kid was that I also watched him go through similar and comparative struggles on the wrestling mat as well. Now, I am someone that hates to lose! Second in my eyes has always been just as bad as fifth or sixth. From this kid I learned that taking sixth can be just as beneficial as taking first. Life isn't about the place you take, but how hard you try. When it all comes down to it, it is how hard we tried. He had a really hard time it seemed the first year when he lost in the finals at the state tournament. I think it took him a while to get over it. The next year it wasn't near as bad, and didn't seem to effect him for near as long of a time as it did the year before. By the time it got to be the last year that he took second there didn't seem to be near the struggle with it that there was the second time. Only hours after a devastating loss he was having a fun time and laughing and joking around and having a good time with the other guys on the team. To this day he is a happy and positive person that I look up to for an individual that knows how to cope with trials in his life.

     I know that not all trials are the same and some are more attached to our emotions than others. But I also know that there is a common help for all of these trials. I believe that it is all in something higher that we make it through these hard times in our lives. For this kid both of these trials were probably greatly overcome because of great coaches who always kept him and the team positive and motivated to do their best. He also probably received a lot of encouragement from his family at home to press forward. I would imagine that he spent a lot of time looking back on these times and pondering on them and about how he could learn from them.

 

So how did he learn from them?... and how can we do the same!?

     We relate this all back simply to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His coaches would help him to be encouraged and more motivated to do better which in gospel terms can be called having faith that he can do better in the future. Next his coaches would help him to be better at the basics and correct anything that he was doing wrong, and also teach him new techniques to make him better. This is what we call repentance, the process of changing to make bad things good and good things better. Third he would have to make the simple decision to be on the team so that he could even be placed in the situation to win. We often refer to this as two steps called Baptism and Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We make a simple decision and commit to be a part of the team, and then we have the opportunity to succeed as long as we stay on the team, and we all work as hard as we can. Joining the team is like being baptized, and having the opportunity to win is like having the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, or Spirit, in our lives. This now all seems like a system that is complete. But this isn't a complete process or system. At the end of the sports season everything from that season is over, and you have to go through the exact same steps next year to succeed. This is called Enduring to the End. We continue to go through this cycle as long and the season starts.

     In our lives we often will hit a couple cycles in a week or day, and sometimes even in an hour or minute. The important part is to always remember the last cycle we went through and make the point to start it again. We have to join the team and go through these things to win the title.

    We are all hoping and desiring to return to live with our Heavenly Father one day, and be at the top of the podium with him. This is how we can do it.


     As we wind down the year of 2013 I hope that we can all look at the many cycles, processes, or systems that we went through this last year and learn from them. What I would like to invite you to do when you do this is to learn from them, and then Look Ahead and Believe, nothing fearing that the next cycle will be better! I know that it can be, and I learned that when I was younger by watching this great kid who was always a standout example to me about looking ahead for what's good to come.

     Life is full of Cycles, and the best way to get through these different cycles that go on around us each and every day is to get on the cycle and into the process that God has created for us - The Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We can't always control those little details around us, but we can control the little things that we do, and as we do so we will begin to end up on the top.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I will Live as Narrow as His Truth

People in Your Path


     This last Sunday I was sitting in the lounge of my apartment complex  when a lady that works there walks in with two guys that she had been giving a tour of the place to. The one that looks younger hung back in the room that I was in and he asked what I was watching. I honestly hadn't even looked at the TV that was turned on up on the wall, and I turned to see what was on. As I was doing that he said, "You aren't watching it are you." more in statement form rather than in question form. I agreed with him, and we had a small conversation. As we were talking he asked what I was doing as a missionary, and I told him that I go around and spread the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how it blesses families and individuals each and every day. He was overjoyed to find that I was a Christian and sharing God's Word.



     We continued to talk for a couple of brief minutes there in the lounge and then we split ways. Before we did so, we had the opportunity to say a prayer with one another and feel the spirit as we parted ways. This 19 year old boy was enthusiastic and contagiously optimistic about the Gospel and Jesus Christ.



     I think that we can each learn a little from this interaction that I had with him. We can learn to simply talk with the people around us and have a nice conversation and that the Gospel will be brought up in one way or another. We can also learn that Jesus Christ is central to God's Plan of Salvation, and He wants ALL people on earth to enjoy the blessings He so willingly wants to bless us with!

     The best thing that I learned from our short interaction actually came from a phrase that he said.

"I will Live as Narrow as His Truth, but as Wide as His Grace."


     I want to invite us all to think about this phrase as we prepare to enter a new year and as we make changes in our lives from day to day. We must know that to return and live with our Heavenly Father we need to follow His Gospel with the knowledge of His Grace.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Have More Christ In Christmas This Year

Spread the Joy this Christmas Season


     I want everyone to pay attention to the little things that God has blessed you with this season and take a hold of them and cherish them. As you go about the next week I want you to pay attention to those that are around you and picture yourself in their shoes. 
                                                                   - Do they have a job to buy some presents?
                                                                   - Is God in their life and can they see it?
                                                                   - Where is their family today and will they see them this season?
                                                                   - How would you like to be treated this Christmas?

 
 
     I know that the first three questions you can rarely answer for someone that you see for the first time on the street or in a store. So this is really simple what you can do. There is one question that you can control. "How would you like to be treated this Christmas?". So Control what you can. "...be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." - 1 Timothy 4:12

  

     Now you can lend a helping hand, hold a door, give a warming smile, and a sincere hello. It's all about the love behind the action! We each desire to be loved and cared for and especially in this Christmas season. Be like the good Samaritan and help those you see in need. 

 
  
     Christ taught in the most effective way, and that is by example. "For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you." - John 13:15 As you show love and appreciation for the things that you have been given this year and radiate that love to others, you will see an increase in the Spirit of Christ, (that some people call The Spirit of Christmas) in your life and in the lives of those around you. I testify that this is true. We must try to be like Christ and then, as we do so we will help others to learn about him and His gospel. 

     - Because of the Gifts of God will live on this great planet.
     - Because of His love we each have a family.
     - Because of God we have a Savior Jesus Christ.
     - Because of this Great gift of a Savior our sins have all been paid for.
     - Because our sins have all been paid for we can live with him again.
     - Because of this The Greatest Gift of God He Celebrate Christmas!

     Show Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ you love them this year by Celebrating Christ's birth in a humble stable. Help others come to know of this great message and share the Love and Light of Christ with those around you.

"...by Small and Simple things that Great Things Are Brought To Pass..." - Alma 37:6-7.
Put your light on a hill, "...that they which come in may see the light." - Luke 11:33



Saturday, December 14, 2013

So you think you KNOW!?



Knowing is a process of applying Active Faith


  •      Do you know your car is still in the parking lot?
  •      How did you know you would be with your family today? 
  •      Were you sure that the sun would come up this morning?
     Now, are you really sure that you know?

     I venture to say that these things are not a matter of knowledge in our lives. These things are a matter of Sure and Active Faith. Why do I say that?  How can I say that?
 
   


   You might argue that you know your car is still in the parking lot because it is such a safe neighborhood and your car has a great anti-theft system, and to top it all off, you have left your car parked in the same place over 100 times and it has always been there when you went back.




    



     You had no idea if you would be together as a happy and healthy family at the end of the day today. But you figured you were all going to safe places and with good people.





   




     The sun has always come up, every single morning of your waking life and as far back as history could ever reach. It is such an implanted "knowledge" in your head.





     Think of the first time that you parked your car outside in a parking lot in a town where there were many cars stolen that same month. Think about how frequently you would go to the glass doors to make sure that it is still there. How regular would you actually take a step outside to reassure yourself that it was still parked where you left it? These are things that would have gone through your mind as you left your car parked there the first time. After that you no longer worried about if your car was there or not because experiences had proven that it would be there when you went back.

     Do you remember a time when you were young and in just a couple hours you came down with the worst flu you had ever had? How about the day you heard about a friend who's family had experienced a tragic accident? When you came home and the dog had been put down? So many days of your life you had gone to school or work and returned to a nice warm house with a happy healthy family. It has become a regular routine and something you expect.

     
     Has the sun ever not come up in the morning!? It's so easy and simple to feel that we know it will come up in the morning. What if it was dark for three days with all kinds of disasters like it was in the America's at the time of Christ's death?


     I am here to say, "Take a step back and realize, you don't know those things." You might really feel like you do, but they are a simple matter of faith. What I really want you to see is that you have faith, and you act on it each and every day!


     You might be feeling down on yourself and struggling in your beliefs. It might not be as easy as it once was. Someone you know might me in you exact situation, or one similar to it.

     How can you grow and become stronger in your Faith? You have to start by...

  • Realizing what you have 
     See the strength in your faith that the family will be together at the end of the and that the car will be outside when you check next. When you wake up in morning just soak up the shining sun. Each of these things happen in huge part due to Your Faith! You have Faith!
  • See you have Faith in something bigger
     Because of our creator the sun will be up when you are working tomorrow. Because of the police force in the area, your car will still be in the parking lot. Because of your free country your family is gathered at home safe and sound today.

  • Now Exercise that Faith each and every Day!

    You Do Have Faith and You Have a Father in Heaven Who Loves You.
  
It is because of our Faith in Christ that we can one day gain a 
knowledge of Him, and live with Him again.

Please... realize the Faith that you have and build upon it!

 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Feed Before Dark

     This time around I have done something a little different. I have told the story, but left out the connection to the Gospel. I want to have you as the readers post how you would connect the gospel to this story. I am going to start doing this so that you are getting the chance to interact here as well and so you can help one another. Thanks for your support on this blog. I hope you are enjoying it and that this new style will be better.

Sorry I don't have pictures for this story, I hope I can paint a good enough picture in your mind.


Scared and Running Fast

     I had to have been about five or six years old when this story took place. I am going to tell it according to my remembrance and I am sure that some others might not fully agree, but I assure you that my record is the most correct. - (my personal disclaimer)

     When I was growing up we always had about 20 horses or so, and that requires a fair amount of daily feeding. As a young little boy this was something that I had the so called privileged to do after I got home from school in the afternoon and Sundays as well. This particular Sunday I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I must have been busy playing with a game or a dog or something. Maybe I was watching a movie who knows. But... Who could blame me!? I was just a little boy. Well, the horses could!

     So It's obviously pretty dark as it gets dark around 4:30 in my home town in the thick of winter. My whole family was around and the older siblings that were married were out at the house as well. It's later in the evening and we are all just sitting around the kitchen table and talking when Dad starts to go around the table and ask the kids if the got their chores done today.

     Ooops! Up to this point in the day the chores had slipped past my energetic little brain and then when Dad started asking everyone about their chores it hit me that I hadn't done mine yet today. Now being a little older I am looking back at this point in the story and thinking, "Come on, man can't you just feed the horses!?". I am sure that you are looking on it the same way. Well let me tell you, my family always looked at it that exact same way. All the kids are giving their answers and feedback to Dad and it gets to be my turn and of course out of reaction from the natural man, I lied and told him that I had fed them. Then he being much wiser asked why they were all pacing the fence line outside. See this created a problem, I already wasn't a good liar and could hardly not tell the truth, and it was especially bad when I was caught red handed. Ok, now we are all starting to think what a ridiculous kid I was!

     Of course I was immediately told to go out and feed the horses. I replied that I didn't want to and I made arguments that my older brother should do it because he is the one that didn't have to feed them all week because of his sports practices after school. To me this made perfect sense, but not to everyone else. I was then told that I had to go out and feed them tonight and there was no way out of it.

     All that sounds pretty easy from an adults perspective on the job. The thing that people didn't understand was my complete and udder fear of the dark. I mean, every single time I stepped outside I thought that something or someone was following me and that I would have to defend myself at any second or run as fast as I could. This idea doesn't and shouldn't excite anyone that is normal, which I was. So as they continued to tell me that it was my job to go out and to feed the horses I proceeded to argue against it. Finally I realized that I wasn't ever going to get out of it and I finally said, "Fine! I'll do it!" I wasn't happy about it, but I decided that I just had to do it.

     Now I have to paint a picture in your mind first of where our house lies and the barn and the shed that I had to feed from. My house lays running from the east to the west long ways, and on the top of a small ridge. about 120 feet up the ridge and a little to the south is our barn, which runs from the north to the south long ways with an opening on either end. Now, down the hill to the south about twice as far as the barn is from the house there is a little 8' x 16' shed where we had the hay to feed the horses. Another 10' beyond that there is a fence that runs the ridge line from the northwest down to the southeast. To feed the horses all I had to do was toss a couple of small bales worth of hay over the fence in different piles. This is the rough layout of things. I will add more details as the story goes on. The only other thing to mention is that it was about 5 to 10 degrees outside and there was around two to three feet of snow on the ground.

     I got bundled up in my snow clothes and headed out to feed. I was taking my sweet time, and I don't know why, that doesn't make sense at all. On my way out to feed I checked the cord that ran to the electricity to the barn to make sure it was plugged in so that I could turn more lights on when I got there. It was unplugged, but I plugged it back in. I turned on the peak lights that were on the western side of the house facing the barn as I stepped out the side door to head to the barn. We had placed these lights to point towards the barn earlier in the month when we had put up the Christmas lights. I took the long walk on the snow beaten path up to the barn and when I got to the closest corner of the barn I started to creep along the boardwalk and then I quickly dashed across the southern open door to flip the light switches for inside the barn and the peak lights that pointed towards the feeding shed.
   
     At this point at least half of the stress seemed to be gone since I had the lights on and I could see what I was doing out feeding. As I went to feed I walked another narrow snow packed path to the shed and and went about my feeding. The whole time I have been so quiet just listening for any noise out of the ordinary that would mean something or someone was out there.

     While walking back towards the barn from the feed shed I thought that I heard a noise. I tried to play it out of my thoughts thinking that my mind was playing tricks on me. As I wondered if it was real I listened more intensely to the noise. I was so quiet and slowly walking. I went a couple of steps and things seemed to be quiet and then I heard it again. Every time that my feet touched the snow I heard some sort of thing coming in contact with some wood. I didn't know what to think and all of a sudden my brain started running a million miles an hour thinking about what it could be. I calmed down a little bit and came to my senses. I was going to take a couple of quicker steps and see if the sound picked up pace with my steps. As I did so it happened. The noises I had been thinking I was hearing were real! Every time that my feet touched the ground, no matter how fast I heard this noise syncing with my footsteps. I knew that I had to keep my cool or whatever or whoever it was was going to make it's move soon.

     I continued to walk towards the barn and trying to stay as calm as possible. I was able to do this so well. I was quite proud of myself actually! I figured that I would simply just unplug the cord in the garage for the barns electricity and then I could have those lights lighting my back path as I went in to the house. At this pint my nerves and brain juices are flowing so fast that you probably couldn't imagine it! I got to the barn and I put my back against the wall facing the south where the boardwalk was. I kept my eyes peeled for anything that might be out there somewhere. I shimmied my way to the corner of the barn and finally everything that I had been holding in this whole time exploded! I took off on a dead sprint for the house! I was scarred to death and I wanted to get inside as fast as I could!

     Have you ever heard of Usain Bolt? Well I probably would have beet him in this distance race even if he had perfect conditions! It was about three seconds and I had flown through the outside door through the garage and into the kitchen door and broke down gasping for breath on the kitchen floor.

     When I had burst through the door into the kitchen the whole family running in from the living room to see what is going on. After a good long breath catching I was able to calm down enough to tell them about what had just happened. I was scared to death and there wasn't anything that you could do to get me to walk back outside. But the good thing was that I had fed the horses and so I was done for the night. I went out into the garage and took of my clothes and came back inside.

     When I came back inside the family was just sitting around and talking when Dad walked in to the kitchen from the front room. The first thing that he said was, "Why are the lights still on up at the barn?". Amongst all of the confusion I had purposefully left the lights on when I left the barn, but once I had ran inside it slipped my mind to unplug the cord in the garage for the lights up there. So easy answer and a good response from me was, "Ok, I'll just step out into the garage and unplug the cord."

     For some reason that didn't seem to satisfy the family and Dad and they were insistent on me going out to the barn and shutting off the lights individually. Ya right!! You weren't about to catch me dead walking outside again after an experience like that. I had just been scared to death and I wanted absolutely nothing with whatever was outside. Their persistence seemed to drive my young boy emotions to a high and I started to feel really sad and scared and I could have started to tear up, I don't exactly recall that part. But I do remember that there was no way I was going to be getting out of it. Once again, after already being pushed to what I thought was the limit and beyond they were going to do it again to me. The only response that I could even think of to try and help my case out was, "Fine, I'll do it!!! But only if Savanah will come with me." They really wanted me to have to do it on my own. This is something you might not ever figure out or understand if you didn't grow up in a bigger family. Who knows? Maybe people in smaller families learn the same things. None of the older siblings wanted me to get babied because they all claim that they never got "off easy". Well so went the argument about whether she would come with me or not. With time they agreed that she should come with me. I remember that she wasn't all that happy about coming with me.

     Once her and I got to the garage door ready to walk up to the barn she told me that that's as far as she would go with me and I sort of got angered and super scared again, but I convinced her to go up to the barn with me. What a long walk that was. I had her walk in front while I had a good grasp on her coat. I was intently listening to the sounds around me to see if I could hear anything again.

     As soon as we got to the corner of the barn where I had sprinted inside from I instantly put my back against the wall and began to shimmy towards the entrance into the barn. The lights were still on and had the area lit up, but I was still so weary about there being something out there or even worse, inside of the barn. When we reached the end of the boardwalk by the one side of the opening of the barn door we stopped for a second. The opening was eight feet across and about 7 feet tall into the barn. I was trying to get my sister to walk over and flip off the lights and then we would both run back. She would have none of that and she stood her ground well. We were both freezing and I was younger and so once again I lost the battle. I was going to shut the lights off myself.

     Inside of my head I was thinking that we needed to have the gate at the end of the boardwalk wide open and my sister to the side so that as soon as I hit the lights off I was going to take off towards the house. To get to the lights I planned on running and putting my back against the wall checking out my surroundings and then taking off as soon as I knew I was in the clear. That's just what I did.

     Instantly I dashed to the other side of the entrance and put my back against the inside wall in the barn. As soon as I did I quickly flashed my eyes around the barn to make sure I was good before I took off. My eyes were running about a million miles an hour and probably skipped over this scene two or three times before they saw anything.

     Straight in front of me and eight feet across the way. On the other side of the wall from where my sister was waiting for me I saw the outer profile of a human being standing behind an upright post in the barn. Instantly everything froze and my heart seemed to stop beating. I heard a raspy voice say, "Nice night little boy".

     I jumped straight in the air and glued myself to the wall about three feet up for what seemed like half of eternity. While I was frozen in position the hooded figure stepped out from behind the post and stepped towards me at the same time that my sister on the boardwalk did. It was then that the hood slipped off to show my second to oldest sister. Both of my sisters joined in what laughter at the scene before them. Just moments later I fell from my glued position on the wall and while out of air I still found the air to still yell at them for the emotions, frustrations, and anger running through my blood.

     We returned inside and the whole family was laughing. Apparently this was all planned and they had even been out on the front porch watching when I ran inside the first time, hence why they seemed to run in from the front living room and why they were so insistent on me going back outside to turn the lights off.

     Through the process of the next several months and years I was able to get over my fears of the dark and no longer have issues with going out in the dark like I did in the past.     

 But only if Savanah will come with me." Haha ya that was an argument of sorts as well for a little bit, and finally they agreed that she would come with me. Savanah is my sister that is a couple of years older than me and so I must have figured she could protect me from whatever dangers were out there.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Weld Your Broken Life Back Together


                                                              A Welded Repentance






     Welding is a process that not many people really know a ton about. There are a couple of pretty simple elements to welding. We need to have two pieces of metal that we to put together first off. After we have these two pieces of metal, we then need to space them a correct amount of distance from one another. Once placed in the correct position it is time to really get down to the actual welding. Whether it is mig, tig, or stick welding it doesn't matter, because the same system works for them all and for the type of metal that you are welding together and what is necessary for certain jobs. At times you are welding aluminum together and at other times you are welding one inch sheet metal into a dump truck bed. No matter what the job is, the same principles are still present.

     We turn on the welding machine and place the end of the stick or wire close to our metal and as we get it close it will "strike and arch". At this instant is where you can be a good welder or more of a poor welder. You must stay calm and not jump, because it will shock you at first when it begins. As you stay calm and begin to move the rod and use the heat that it is producing and the new metal that it contains, you start to actually weld. The metal melts and forms a pool in between these two pieces of metal and you start to work this pool, or what is often called a puddle. You can work this in a number of different directions. For example you can move in a circular motion, a zig-zag motion, or a U shaped motion. While you work this puddle you move from one end of the gap between the two pieces of metal to the other end. When you start moving away from the starting end and getting closer to the other end the first end begins to cool and shrink in size, therefor making the gap on the other end get bigger. This gap getting bigger will make the final process harder, but when you take your time and continue to move you can finish welding the metal together.



     Once cooled you will be able to see a ridged path down the gap that you just filled up. There are a couple things to take into account here to know how good of a welder a person is. The ridged path might be really rough and look terrible, a lot like if a 8 inch twizzler were to stay the same width but be pushed into only a 5 inch length. I hope you get the visual there, if you don't grab a twizzler and try it. At the same time, with this type of a weld you will have deep grooves in the metal right next to the actual weld on either side that are nearly broken clean through the pieces of metal. Now on the other end of the spectrum you will have a weld that is perfectly smooth and would look like on solid and long tootsie roll that was smoothed out a little on the top and looked like glass. This is obviously the more  preferred type of weld to have, because there is also to grooves on the side of this weld when you are finished.


     One more perk that comes with this last type of weld is that when a weld is done like this the actual weld itself becomes the strongest part of the metal that you now have in one piece. If done correctly and with enough heat, once pressure is applied to the metal, the weld will stay strong and one of the side pieces will break instead.



     If a side piece breaks, don't be worried. You can grab your rod and go to work on connecting that back to your other piece again. With time you can end up having one piece of metal that is nothing but welds instead of any of the original metal. This one piece that you now have though, will be much stronger because of the heat and the pressure that has been applied to it. And then followed up with a good cooling process that is best done just setting out in the room temperature. If the metal is placed in water directly after being welded, it will actually be weaker than if is sits out until it can be handled.




     The welding process is such a great connection to how we can repent in our lives. We have to do a couple of simple steps no matter what the sin. First we have to realize that we have sinned, or we have to see that a piece of metal is broken. Next we need to see that with the metal broken it isn't a good thing, or in other words, we need to feel bad for the sin committed. Once we realize there is a problem and know that it needs to be fixed, we stop doing that sin right then. Or, we will stop putting stress and pressure on that piece of metal. Once we see that there is something broken, we need to take it to the shop to get worked on. In the Gospel it is called confessing and taking the problem to God so that you can begin to be healed. Now we are going to actually begin more of the fixing. When you have metal broken sometimes you will need to beat it in to place with a hammer and then bend it some more, and tweak it here and there. This is making restitution. We have to do what we can do and then God will make up for what we can't do. You won't ever be able to look at the metal and make it mold back together. Just like by yourself you will never be able to repent of a sin. God now will be able to help you through it because of the Atoning sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. Once you have beat the metal into a pretty good position you will turn on the welder so that we can use the heat and actually weld the broken pieces back together.

      Often we find ourselves with more than just ourselves tied up in a sin and if we do then we need to get both people together to solve the problem and then let the Atonement work once we have forgiven each other and done the things that we can do. These type of breaks are often easier to fix, while sometimes harder. It's like having a metal hammer and the end breaks off of it, so you bring them closer together and then weld them right back together. On a regular occurrence the problem is within yourself, much like if a flat sheet of metal had been worn for years in the middle, and finally had a big hole appear in it. This is so hard to fix because you don't have extra metal or another piece to join it with. You have to just build up the metal with welds from the edges of the metal until you fill the whole in the sheet. When we have big internal sins and problems for long periods of time it will wear and tear on you. There will come a point when the only option you have is to use the Atonement to fill the gaps. It is never an easy fix, but these repentance points will make us stronger once we go through the actual repentance process. You see the sheet of metal will never be able to fix itself or become whole again with out a welding machine, and someone to run the machine.


     It is such a blessing in our lives that Jesus Christ our Savior Atoned for each and every persons sins that will every walk this earth. Because of that we can be made whole, and that is the only way. "For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." - (2 Nephi 25:23) I know that the Atonement is real and that you will be more blessed through it than by any other means. I invite each and every person who reads this post to take this and apply it in your life today. If your life has a broken crack or a thin worn sheet... go to God, pray, find a friend, and get help so that you can become whole again.  

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Backflip of Hope

Backflip




     I grew up skiing since the time that I was just four years old. In our family all the girls learn at the age of three how to ski, and the boys learn at the age of four. Skiing is something that I began to love. I remember when I was in just first and second grade and we would skip one or two days a week it seemed like to go up to the local ski resort. The ski resort is a place where I have learned many life lessons that I will remember and use for years to come. One of the most essential lessons that I have learned from skiing though was through the process of trying new tricks and learning how to do a backflip.
   
     When I was younger I would always try and ski with the older kids. I did this some in part because I wanted to be in the "cool" crowd and be popular. The other reason would be that I saw how they were good at skiing and I wanted to be good like them. Some days they would help me learn new things about how to be better and how to go faster and stop quicker and how to approach a jump. All sorts of different things helped me to learn from them. Sometimes we would go down a run that wouldn't get used a ton and they would build some huge jump and when it was all done they would say something like, "Ok little man, you've got to hit it first to tell us how good it is, and you can have a good fresh landing." I always did it,not always that smart looking back on it now though. I would hike up the hill a ways and then they would just keep telling me to climb higher. Once again, I would always just do it. I loved doing this and I feel like it helped push me to the point of being uncomfortable, or what I like to call, the stage where you learn the most.

     After a while I began to improve greatly and I started to make a lot of progress in the quality of my skiing. Then I started seeing the people that were still doing way more tricks and I knew that I still had room to get better. So I started to push myself the best that I could and I started skiing with them every chance I got.
 



      I remember the day that I did my first 360, I remember the times when I was just young and entered in the big jump contest in the winter carnival. Soon all of the older kids were graduating high school and leaving and with time I got with some kids my age that wanted to be better also. I can't tell you how many wrecks and cuts and headaches and bumps and bruises followed in the next several years, but I can tell you that there were a ton of them! Up to this point I had been focusing on spinning and doing iron-cross and spread eagle type of tricks.



     What next? We decided to go inverted. Now this is where the real life lesson will begin to apply. Every weekend we would get together and build a jump or two and try backflip after backflip. Now I don't know if you have ever had whiplash before, but that is exactly what happens when you under rotate on a backflip. Trust me, I have done it many many times. You are feeling all good about your rotation and then you realize that the tips of your skies aren't going to clear and that they will catch. There is nothing you can do. When your tips hit the snow and go under immediately they stop and your upper body and head take the momentum and speed up until they smash into the snow. If this is a really good powder day then you are going to be ok probably, but when it isn't the greatest day in the world  I'll tell you that it'll get to you. The other option that you have is you can over rotate. This one has a different feeling all together, but still not a pleasant one. It's a lot like if you were to get picked up by the ankles and then dropped from four or five feet head first onto a trampoline.






     So as you can tell, doing a backflip isn't an easy thing to learn. With this process comes a lot of pain and trials, but that was something that I knew when I first wanted to learn how to do one. I can't hardly express the feeling that I got the first time that I actually landed my first backflip. It was like I was as light as a feather and just smooth sailing through the air. The sense of accomplishment is so soothing and peaceful. you feel like you have just conquered the world.






    It's not always like that though. Because there are so many times that you try to do it after you have actually succeeded and you just can't seem to do it again. I think at that point you just get laser focused and you try so hard that you actually end up putting yourself in a bad situation. I would just keep trying and more regularly I would actually start to land a backflip. Still to this day, I struggle with landing a backflip every time that I try, but because I know that I can do them I continue to try until I succeed.


 

  As I have spent this time skiing and learning to do different tricks I have learned a number of different things. This Backflip lessons has to be the most influential though. Because of this connection in real life experience I know that I can return to live with my Father in Heaven. I know this because I know that I was there once, and that gives me hope that I can be there again one day. Once I had done the backflip, I knew I could do it again no matter how many times I failed. Now I know that no matter how many times I fail in life or make a mistake or sin, that I can overcome it and I can be with My Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ again. This must start with a knowledge of where we have come from. I know that I lived with God before I came to earth and so it gives me the daily hope that I can return to Him and the faith that I need to do it.





     I want to invite each of you to take a look at your life and the great things you have done and the amazing places that you have been.
     Next I want you to evaluate if where you are currently at can improve so that you can get back to those points and beyond.
     Once you have done this, take action! The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a Gospel of hope and peace that requires Active Faith. 


         

Saturday, November 16, 2013

It Gives Life Eternal

Grace

I see the Joy inside you
Every time that I'm around you



                     I look back and see
                   Just how it used to be



             Now I look up, and now I see
         How God is helping both you and me





He's right there beside us
In the very storms around us




First you need to believe
He was sent here to save you and me





Then we work a little harder
Because of the Love of our Heavenly Father



When you lay down your head at night remember
What he did to heal her



He walked by, and what'd she do?
She stuck out her arms and said, "I love you too"



She stretched forth her hands and had the faith
And then was healed by His simple grace


It's easy and it's beautiful
And it gives life Eternal

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Enduring in the Garden


     Early morning, older kids are gone to work and we have just had breakfast. Dad comes in and says to us, "Let's go weed in the garden."

     This was a pretty typical thing to hear on a cool summer morning when I was a younger kid. I'll be honest with you, at the time I sure hatted to hear it. And it still slightly makes me cringe. Now this wasn't just any typical garden. Being from a big family we needed a big garden to help feed us all. We had two actual garden plots aside from the raspberries and rhubarb that we grew. One was about 40 x 20 and the other was more like 40 x 60. So as you can see we knew that when the day came to weed the garden we knew it was going to be an all day type of chore. Dad would usually go out and work some before he would ask us to join him right after breakfast and sometimes even before breakfast. I believe that he would do that so that he could show us what he wanted the finished product to look like.

     This is where the bad part came in to play. Dad was gone a lot when I was younger and we (the kids) seemed to neglect the garden a bit when he was gone. We would water it because that part was easy. The weeding we rarely even thought about doing. When Dad would finally be home for longer than a few hours before he left again or on a Sunday these were the days we definitely had to work outside in the garden if we weren't gone else where. This you might find funny, but I found it kind of fair, we would give each person a couple rows to do for their part. The older you were the more that you had to weed.

 

     Myself, I usually had only about two rows and sometimes only one. I worked so hard but I had a couple problems that I faced. Since while Dad was gone I didn't bother to go out and weed, the weeds were growing quickly and so big. You know the saying... "Growing like a weed"? That's not just some old man's crazy thought up saying. It is real and comes because of how fast weeds grow. Plants take a lot of time and nourishment, and weeds take just a little water. So, because I didn't weed my rows, in just a couple weeks the weeds I had to pull were four foot tall with a tree stump for a root (or so it seemed to me at that young age). So what better thought than the one my brother and I had. We had an old machete that we liked to play around with and we figured we would put it to good use. How convenient right? We get to play and work at the same time. It was like we were in the jungle or the forest. We would get all our might and chop the weeds down at the ground and when we were done we would loosen up some dirt and cover the bases of what was left. Now if you were half blind and knew nothing about weeding you could walk on by and think that we had done a grand old job. Then Dad would come home...

     So here's a man that grew up eating from a garden, he weeded that one and has had one ever since. He comes home typically late at night. This is when he would do his first check on the garden. It would appear all nice and freshly weeded at midnight with only a half moon. I imagine he would be some what pleased and go get some rest for the night. The next morning was the problem. He would go out and check the rows for good to see how well we did. So from what you already know we know how he found in my rows. They would look halfway good and great in my eyes. It was then that my Dad began to get frustrated with me it seemed and get me out there a working. He would tell me and make it obvious just like I knew inside that I had to get the whole root out of the ground or I hadn't done my job. So I would spend a couple more days out in the garden slowly digging around each root and then pull them out with my hands. I would try a thousand different strategies and with time they all would work. I got the roots and finally my row would look all nice and pretty just like his.

     This is the process that I remember happening week after week, month after month, and even year after year when I was younger. It never was my favorite to go and work in the garden for a full day at a time. I had sticks to break and some bike jumps to make. It was never my dream to be out in the garden all day for a couple days at a time when I was a young boy.

     But it was those long days and the ones to come that would teach me one of the most important lessons about life that I would love to have learned a lot sooner in life than just recently as I have been looking back and pondering all these stories.

     In the following years from these experiences my Dad had a change in situations and could be at home a lot. Now it was so much harder to get away from the garden. It seemed to me that I found myself out there working with him and my siblings so much more than usual. Now we were catching the weeds when they were just grown up about a foot and some times two. These were the years where our garden really began to blossom. I can't ever remember just how many bags of corn and potatoes we harvested, but I can tell you that it was a lot. Once we started seeing that it was better to weed when the weeds were smaller than four foot tall and a big old root Dad started to see that we could use some extra knowledge.

     He was finally able to get his point across that if we were to just go out on a weekly basis and sometimes more often and weed the garden we wouldn't have these problems. He always said that the plants would grow so much better and the garden would look more presentable.  When I remember him starting on this strategy I was getting older. Now I had a job out of the house all summer long and I was rarely home for a day when a could do a lot. I still had my part but not nearly as much as if I was right there every day.

 

     Dad always set the good example, he would go outside and start his day by working in the garden. Every time I saw him doing this I thought that he was sort of crazy. The weeds were small and sometimes seemed to even be non-existent. He would do this so frequently that the garden always appeared to be freshly weeded and the harvest was so much more successful.

       This brings to my point where we relate this to our lives. We can have the gospel in our lives and have some good seeds planted, but if we can't just let it sit for weeks on end and only give it water. We will end up with these huge weeds and problems in our lives that seem so hard to get rid of sometimes we don't even try. But if we follow my Dad's example, often we will go out and work in our life garden.

     In our lives we each have a garden for the gospel seeds. We must nurture them and help them grow in every way we can. We have all the tools we need to do the work we just need to learn the process and the timing. When you think about this story you can see the sins and trials that we have and how they are the weeds that cause the problems. And when these weeds are bad enough the yield or harvest is just meager. We all want as much from the gospel as we can have. So how can we do it?

     My Dad taught me the great principle of Enduring to the End from these long days in the garden. If in our lives we are to go out with faith that our harvest will be great we will go and pull the weeds out so that the weeds can grow and change. This change in the garden is simply called repentance. We then add the water and some sun. Be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. And now what do we have? We have a prospering garden with only one missing step. We need to Endure in this process! We must on a regular basis go and pull the weeds out of our lives and freshen up our soil, followed by some water and some sun. It is only when we do this that we can get the harvest that we wanted when we first bought the garden seeds. One thing that you never see is what's under the surface in the garden. Some time you are happy because you are going to get all of these great surprises and other times the harvest seems like it will be so small. Then when you dig it up you find that there is more than you ever thought.

     We must apply the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, and most importantly we have to Endure to the End, the part that sometimes you hate to hear and it really makes you cringe. It is when we go through that process that we can see the blessing of Eternal Life and gain our Exaltation.

    Can I leave you with an invitation?......Please begin this gospel process where you last left off.

     I know that when you apply the gospel in your life you are going to see your life enhanced and the blessings will begin to flow from heaven into your life in abundance.
     

Friday, November 8, 2013

See the comment for the relation to the gospel. Today it's nice and simple.

That'll make a blister!

I wanted to put something on a little more lively and up beat today so I thought I'd write a poem.
I hope that you'll enjoy!
 


 Post Holes


Let's use a post hole digger
     For me it's been a while
     
You use the real elbow grease
     Now that's the western style

Some people think it's best to use a backhoe when you can
     They say the diggin' sure goes quicker
     
It won't make a farmers tan
     That's more like a city slicker

It doesn't help to build a man
     When you sit and pull a lever
     
It's when you really get a grip
     And hold on for forever

That the ground begins to move and shake
       It really starts to tear

Now you pull it out and make it clean
     Next you put a post in there

When the job is done 
     and you've tamped the post

You start to feel the burning in your shoulder
     But then you notice what hurts most

It's not your muscles on your back 
     Or the back of your right arm

You look down and see the blister
    You earned that one day on the farm  
     
     

Thursday, November 7, 2013

How can you help me...?

     Feel free to make comments on all my posts and ask me questions when you want. I want this to be more of an interactive blog. Tell me what you think and what you would like to hear about next.
                              Is your world dark and spinning? Have you given it your all?



    

     After suffering from many concussions through the course of a year and a half I found myself sitting out my senior wrestling season. I had wrestled since I was just a boy and it was quite the family sport. I loved wrestling and still do.

     Watching something you love go on and not being able to be a part of it is something that is so hard to do, and not well understood by others until they have had a personal experience with it. This is the beginning of my experience that has begun to mold and effect my life.

     Week in and week out I sat on the side of the mats and the edge of the room. I wanted in and bad. Every time I tried to take it on though I found myself in worse shape than before. Each time I did this I was more determined to get better and relax so that I could wrestle for the end of the season. Right after Christmas break I was feeling a lot better and not near as bad as before. I started practicing and slowly with time I began to integrate back in to the scheme of things.

     First week back we had a dual with two of the neighboring towns and these would be my first matches of the season. Great way to come back slowly with just two matches. The matches went well and in my favor. I was feeling really confident with coming back in to the season full fledged. Just a few days later was one of the biggest tournaments of the year in Vernal Utah. That weekend wasn't nearly as kind to me. After a couple of hard matches and some hard knocks to the head, I found myself sitting out of the rest of the tournament once again on the side of the mats and hurting in the stands.

     It was in those long hours that weekend that the thoughts of not being able to wrestle at state my senior year really began to ring in my ears. And from that day forward I was on the constant relax with the thoughts running through my mind back and forth on if I would make it back. I wanted it bad! I had been blessed enough to take state my junior year and I wanted to repeat my senior year.

     Week after week I was barely improving if at all. The principal and the head sports man at my school had talked and determined that I wouldn't be wrestling unless I was able to get cleared by doctors in order to come back for the rest of the season. ( This was at the beginning of the crackdown on concussions that is spreading across the states. ) Every waking moment I thought this through in my mind. I knew that my state was serious and that multiple concussions can put someone into a coma pretty easily. This didn't thrill me all that much.

     One night here I am, I find myself quickly sitting up in my bed at home. I am drenched in sweet and awakening from a frightening dream. I had just been wrestling in my state finals match in the events center when everything went black. Next thing I see is me getting carried off the floor on a stretcher and the crowd in a quiet hush. Not a pleasant thought and certainly not on to dwell upon.

     I moved this thought to the back of my mind and started to look forward to being able to wrestle at state anyway. This is my hard headed side coming out of me! A couple of weeks pass by and I am slowly improving, although it doesn't seem like it very much. I was able to get to a couple of doctors and get cleared to come back for the end of the season. My coach and I still felt that it would be best to wait and not come back until the regional and state tournaments since I already had enough matches to get me in to the regional tournament. This we figured to be a wise idea for my condition and for the physical shape that I most definitely wasn't in. When I practiced we tried to keep it smooth and calm so as to not cause more jerking motions to my head than necessary.

     Just about a week before the regional tournament one of my sisters comes up to me and tells me that she has something she needs to tell me. She then proceeded to tell me all about the dream that I had about a month earlier when I woke up in a cold sweet. When she finished her story she said that she had had this dream a couple of weeks ago and for a couple of days she was to scared to tell her husband because it seemed so real. Because she loves me and cares about me she told me about her experience and encouraged me to think about not finishing out the season. In the next short period of time I received a few more of these experiences with other sisters. This was something that really took me back and made me sit on my heals about making a decision to wrestle or not. Once again, my hard headed side took over and I said that I would wrestle and finish up the season.

     Regional weekend, I had a couple of rough matches that I was able to pull through, followed by a finals match that didn't end as well. I was worn out, had taken second place and felt discouraged. But I still had hope as I knew there was still the state tournament and that the state tournament is what matters most.

     The week before the State Tournament, I practiced very little this week and tried to be in the best condition possible for the weekend. Here again my coach and I had many discussions on what I should do. It all came down to the decision that I would wrestle.
 
      Tournament time! My first match wasn't anything to hard. I was able to pull off a win in a timely manner and therefore not get winded or knocked around very much. The second round match was much like my first round match. These two matches was already more wrestling that I had done in the previous weeks.

 

     Now I was in for the semi finals round. I was sure nervous, I didn't even know if I would make it this far and I was sure blessed to have done so. I was going to be wrestling a really good wrestler who had had a great season and proved himself on many occasions. As I stepped out on to the mat to wrestle this guy I knew that I was in for one heck of a battle. And a battle it was! Every second of every period was a grueling brawl. We were going at it head to head, wrestling like I had never wrestled before. I felt as though I wasn't there for half of it. We just kept going at it. All match I was just barely holding a lead by a point or two. The end of the match came and we were both so exhausted that we collapsed to the ground until we were able to collect ourselves to get up and shake each others hands.

 

     Friday night was over and I was in the finals. I was tired and physically beat. That night and through out the next day I relaxed as much as possible and I watched and encouraged my team mates in the wrestle backs on Saturday. At some point on Saturday, it must have been just before the finals round I talked with my coach and we were talking about how I was feeling and how I was going to wrestle. We came to a solid decision that if I couldn't take the pain, it wasn't worth the trials that would come from more complications from concussions and so I would throw in the towel and end the match, if need be.

     Finally in the Finals! What a battle it was. I was wrestling the same kid that beat me in the finals the weekend before at the regional tournament. He was so quick on bottom and hard to keep down. At the same time he was rock solid and hard to take down or get away from. I was in for a good long match. To be honest, I had no idea the way that this would go. It was tight the whole first round. At times we were both close to getting take downs, but neither of us could capitalize and score. By the end of the first round it was still 0 to 0. Second round was equally as hard. By this point things were becoming a daze to me and I was just reacting more out of habit than acknowledgment. We get in to the third and final round and everything is going so quick. We were just hitting one move after another, and never a stopping motion for a rest, not even for a moment. He was in great shape and I was just hanging in there. I think the score at the beginning of this round was like 2 to 2. During this round I had scored a couple more points and we were finally both on our feet again and the score was Me - 4 Him - 2. We had about twenty seconds or so left in the match and I knew that I could win the match if I could just simply endure to the end still trying to score, but not in a way that I gave him an easy opportunity to score. This is just what was happening and then I remember I swept to the left and slapped his knee for a fake shot and he sprawled as soon as I hit the shot.

     A chin to the head and I am drifting off. Things are getting grey with the events center spinning around me. All things are turning to a blur, and he has taken me down. The score now reads Me - 4 Him - 4. He had me. I felt as though I was a by stander, just watching myself in awe at how I was losing in the final seconds in my senior year with my whole family there to watch. I remember laying there on my stomach, face in the mat looking back on what coach and I had talked about earlier that day and the dream that my sisters and I had earlier in the season. I knew that I needed to throw in the towel. I couldn't take it anymore. I was just gaining enough sense to tell the referee that I was calling it, when the crowd really became a total low humming or buzzing noise. I was slipping in and out of it. In the midst of all these thoughts and the blurring sounds with the masking grey fog that seemed to be as real as the mat that my face was in, I heard someones voice. The first time I couldn't pick out what they were saying very well, so I listened once more as they repeated themselves.

     "Short Time! Short Time! Push it Tenor! Push it!". These are the words that I heard my coach amongst all the commotion going on about me. I wasn't going to throw in the towel. I was going to push it for the last couple of seconds or whatever he was meaning by short time, and if then I couldn't pull it off I made a promise to myself that I would throw in the towel. I knew that before I could do that I had to give my all for the last few seconds. As I moved to get out of the pin hold he was putting on me I began to stand and get away. In desperate measure he tried to through me in a head lock, and I did just what I had always been taught to do. I sagged my hips and pushed on his back.

     2 points take down, 3 seconds to go! I was up by 2 and my opponent had gave his last move. I did it, I pulled through in the final seconds. I slowly got up and walked to the center of the mat not thinking about much other than the pain I felt. I shook my all worthy opponents hand and had my hand raised. I was turned around and shown to the other half of the stadium and then released.

    

     I then began my thankful walk to the side of the mat to gather with my coaches. I remember swaying just a little bit, a lot like a buoy would sway after a lake just calmed down from a storm, right before the lake goes calm and turns to glass.

     Into my coaches arms I halfway fell as I reached the outer circle. He had said that I had wrestled well and he was proud of me.

 

     The other coaches right along my side were there to help me. They took me to the side and helped to evaluate my condition. I remember the care that they had for me that day and the love that was shown to me. For these things I will be ever grateful! Of these things I haven't mentioned my most prized lesson from this grand life experience.

     Is your world dark and spinning? Have you given it your all? That day in that events center with my face in the mat and the world coming down around me I found the way to get out of a dark and spinning world when I thought I had given it my all. Just as I was feeling down in the worst way you could imagine I heard voice that told me that I could. I had all my thoughts against it but this was a voice that I had come to trust. I acted on the call to move and this has blessed me ever since. In the moments following the lowest seconds I had faced there I was able to conquer all that I had come for. What had seemed so far away and out of my reach had become real and tangible to me as I acted when I was against it.

     From this I have learned that no matter how far life has you down, no matter how far you have gone and no matter what you have done... You can come back from it. Now it doesn't mean I never suffered from the problems that came from these decisions, it means that I was able to make it through them and still reach what I had shot for. I still have issues on a regular basis from the concussions, I would rather not have them. I would have rather learned this lesson another way if I could know it as well as I do now. I remember the moments and I can say that I have learned from them, but I have not forgotten what got me there. These are the things that have built me into the man I am today. I know that for each and every person in this world there is always a way out of their personal most dire situation. That way is The Atonement of Jesus Christ. He has been through it all and he is there beside you when you're down. He loves you and He cares for you. He wants to live with you. So please take His help and listen to the spirit! I know that when you do you will have treasures of knowledge that can bless you just as this one is one of my greatest treasured lessons.