Monday, December 31, 2007

the iron rod

Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked — Helaman 3:29

I've spent a lot of time pondering this scripture lately.  Often when we read scriptures we may understand the basic concepts of the verse.  The implications often seem logical and the consequence of long term value.  The more I ponder this verse however, I recognize by the spirit and from my own observations that the promises are very specific and very literal.  

When we embrace the scriptures and really lay hold upon them, our ability to resist Satan's snares and cunning comes almost immediately—swiftly—promptly.   We very quickly gain the literal power to divide apart or to separate ourselves from temptation.  Our power to swiftly turn away from sin becomes real and acute.

I have seen specific evidence of this in our family and as an individual when entrenched in the scriptures.  When I have been casual in my scripture study the companionship of the Holy Ghost has been weak.  When I have demonstrated diligence and consistency, my ability to resist temptation, enticement to sin, and even the frequency of temptation is greatly reduced, almost immediately.

My most urgent desire is for all whom are dear to me, to lay hold of the word of God so that we all may swiftly and safely navigate across the gulf of misery.  No matter what our challenges, weaknesses, habits, cravings or sorrows may be, we all have a quick and powerful way to peace and true happiness. 

Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me. — D & C 19:23

More Thoughts on Christmas decor

An open letter to Dave, Publisher of The other Drummer

I was going to post another comment on your blog.
I was very disappointed that you don't allow visitors to post photos with their comments. I took the opportunity to enlarge the Christmas inflatable image and was shocked, but not surprised with what I found. I have been a big fan of the "The Other Drummer". Maybe you should change it to "Drumb and drumber". In the future I suggest you be less disingenuous in your postings. Doug

Friday, December 28, 2007

Jake's Big Rollover

So...Grandma and I went down to Costco to hang out with the other old folks down there. Is it my imagination or is Costco like a super-sized senior citizen magnet? Anyway, our mission was to get a Jordan Commons Discount Entertainment Card and some All Bran. One of these items would be a great shopping tip for Liv Simpl ($39.00 buys you $50.00 worth of fun) .

This; so we could send the kids to the movie (National Treasure: Book of Secrets) and so we could watch, as in, baby sit the big Jake (Our first born grandson).

We had previously showered Christmas gifts on Jake with the predestined intent to enhance his mobility skill set.

Once the kids (I love how you can call full grown adult parent-people, kids when you are a grandparent) were gone, we set the wheels in motion and proceeded to over-stimulate the little guy with pediatric entertainment implements. Imagine our delight when Jake rewarded our grand parental indulgences by rolling over multiple times, including front to back and back to front. Did I mention that he did this multiple times?

Of course Mom is jealous and mad at us but, "Hey timing is everything" and this is one of a grandparents rights of passage. We hope you enjoy the premier and Happy New Year. My attorney advised me that I should note that Jake has rolled over a number of times before in the presence of the kids.

p.s. Blogs are great, especially when you preempt your own kid's post. Did I mention "the kids" asked me to email the movie to them so they can put it on their own blog? (Evil Laugh)

To see the actual video you need to go to Jake's Page at (only authorized individuals may access).

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Advent-tures

My wife loves Christmas traditions. She started one tradition the first year we were married.

That was to buy a new Christmas tree ornament each year. It sounded like a good idea to me so we went to the Hallmark store and bought "Our First Christmas, 1978". The next year we purchased one for her and one for me. The following year our first daughter Amy was born and we ended up getting three, which included "Babies First Christmas".

Now I'm no expert on exponential acceleration, nor am I a rocket scientist, but it didn't take me long to figure out the the increasing expenditure for Christmas Ornaments was going to be something akin to my annual cost of living pay increase.

It's now 29 years later, and our Christmas tree is beautifully adorned with individualized ornaments that number in the hundreds. I'm not going to even tell you what happens when the kids get married and grandkids start showing up. I checked with my banker and he said I'd be better off to amortise a new BMW. I suggested a family council to broach the idea, and after 29 wonderful years of marriage learned that traditions are 3 pegs higher on Mazlo's Hierarchy of Needs than food, clothing and shelter. I researched this a little further and found out you can get some pretty good rates on 2nd mortgages.

Another tradition was started after my wife completed sewing the beautiful felt advent calendar. This one has a Christmas tree with negative Velcro. On the bottom of the calendar are neatly crafted pockets that hold special felt emblems of yuletide. You know— like Santa, a star, an angel, a dove and a gingerbread man with a missing eye. Each of these festive characters has positive Velcro sewn on the backside. You get the idea.

Each year the kids have the opportunity to fight, yell and argue about who's turn it is to stick the Velcro-backed daily-decoration on the advent Christmas tree.

This year was no different. As I walked into the kitchen to graze on some German chocolate, mixed nuts and a Clementine. It was was so comforting to know that the advent calendar tradition lives on.

I had holiday dejavu as I heard the kids Amy 27, Brad 25 and Heidi 20, argue about who's turn it was. Circumstantial evidence suggests the firstborn may have taken two turns in a row.

Happy Holidays and may the joys of Christmas traditions never end.

Monday, December 17, 2007

"The Hose" — A reflection from my youth.

In retrospect, the blue sky I remember was probably more of a hazy brownish gray. Whether there were clouds in the sky wasn't important because it was a beautiful summer day in Azusa, California in the 1960’s. The weather was mostly beautiful and conducive to my explorations and mischief where we lived in a small track home an hour or so from the beach.

Summer was my favorite time as a young boy and we were allowed to play for hours, often left to our own devices. I was probably eight or nine at the time and loved the many adventures available to us daily.

Some time before, we (my brothers Terry and Trevor and I) had discovered that there was sand under the topsoil. We had a trampoline that was dug into the ground, which we jumped on by the hours. I get tired of thinking how many hours we jumped and had seat wars and tried flips (scars to prove it). We also spent many hours underneath the trampoline making great excavations with matchbox tractors, and graders, and caterpillars, and cars, and trucks. Soon we discovered there was sand.

We had hit pay dirt. Sand and more sand; there was a never-ending supply. Sand was great for highways, roads, and experiments and fabulous with magnets (we sifted great quantities of iron ore from it with our magnets).

Dad seemed annoyed that our excavations were so intrusive that the trampoline structure was potentially unstable (which in fact we knew it was). But back to the story:
One day, after Dad had gone to work and Mom was out of sight we started building great highways in the planters of flowers in the beautiful front yard. The front yard that my Father worked endless hours to make beautiful. The details of the yard were intricate down the exotic dichondra grass.

This road building however was important stuff. We understood this as our little house had been consumed by a new superhighway months before.

Well everyone knows that to build highways one needs mortar and nothing builds mortar like soil and WATER. Soon the garden hose was turned on and water was carefully obtained for our ambitious project. But as is the case with boys—it wasn't long before we became bored with the construction project and moved on to better this case HIGH PRESSURE WATER DRILLING.

Now I had done some drilling before on the side of the house where less important landscaping took place. But this was front yard central. It is still amazing to me how if one takes a hose, turns it on to full blast and inserts it into the ground how easily it will drill into the ground.
On this particular day some uncontrollable impulse overtook me. And before I knew it the I was able to push the hose, running full bore into the ground great distances. Each time I pulled it out, I measured how far it had disappeared into the ground with my hand. Like a driller adding a new length of pipe each time I continued while a bubbling cascade of water oozed out of the hole.

I remember the very distinct thought “I wonder how deep I can get it down into the ground”. I also remember my brother helping me feed the hose farther, and further into the ground...This was GREAT FUN!

Then it happened. It seemed odd that the water ceased to bubble up from the ground. I could feel the water running through the hose. But what seemed even odder was that the hose didn't seem to want to come back up. Not to worry I thought, I'll just pull harder. But as I pulled with all my might my mind began to fill with panic. What if I can't get it out?

Time is an interesting thing especially when you are trying to remember years ago...but it seemed like hours passed and my brother and I pulled and pulled. It became clear this we were going to lose this tug-o-war with the earth. Finally we got the shovel out and started digging. Our hole seemed pretty deep to us but it was not deep enough.
By now my panic was replaced by fear. Oh, Man am I gonna get it. What am I going to do? I don't remember what my brother said, but I want to believe it was probably something like. "You're in trouble now!"

I wanted everything to be all right but soon realized it wasn't going be. I was in a real fix. So I started thinking. Soon I had devised and implemented a plan. You know, I knew if wouldn't work, but in my own mind I fantasized ‘well...maybe Dad won't notice or maybe he won't know it was me”. Deep down, so to speak, I was wrong. What I did know for sure was that I didn't want to be around when Dad came home.

I was hiding somewhere when I first heard him call and wanted to believe all was well...but I knew better. As I think back I can't help but laugh, but I wasn't laughing then. Too this day I can only imagine the look on my Fathers face as he grabbed the end of the neatly coiled hose, (which I had carefully removed from the faucet and carefully coiled on the ground, surrounding the 3/8” drill hole – so he wouldn't notice). I envisioned him pulling it until it stopped with a jerk.

It was kinda hard to explain how the hose got there and got there so securely...but I tried my best. He sternly asked me how deep it was. This was a difficult question. I wasn't sure if I would be in more trouble if I said it was really deep (probably about six or more feet) or if I said just a little.

I chose the later, which proved to be a mistake, as the carefully and recently washed shovel was out again. This time my Dad was doing the digging. I remember the looks on his face and the sound of his frustrated muttering. As the hole got to about four feet, I felt panic again and was given further interrogation. My answer was not convincing and it facilitated the last straw.

Soon I saw the shovel spiraling through the air like a boomerang and watched in shock as my Father stormed to the garage. Storming is kinda like marching. I think he learned it in the army. But in a flash he was back quickly, this time with a knife. How I know that I’m not sure, because I’m sure I was staring at my frayed shoelaces.

I still remember how that hose looked sticking up freshly cut from that deep damp hole. Dad didn't say too much more so I laid low for a while. But I forgot to tell you. That was the day I discovered there was sand under the top soil and water didn't bubble back up from sand like dirt.

The sand, it was everywhere, lots of it. We lived on an old river bed. The question was how to get to it?