Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Humanity... Loss of those loved...

My thoughts have turned to death recently as I read an article of two missionaries who returned from their missions as their family died from CO poisoning.  We also lost a beloved sister in our ward recently due to her bouts with pneumonia and other struggles, and her family are good friends of ours.  To top this off I attended the funeral of my cousins wife who recently died of cancer.  Her and her husband had previously lost 3 of their 6 children in their infancy, and she was 44 years of age.

The funeral was the most spiritual funeral I have attended to date.  What a wonderful life she led, and though the family has struggled through so much already, I feel for my cousin and his three remaining daughters.  The blessings she continues to bring to her three previous children and the family that remains on earth, are tremendous.

I look forward with great anticipation to the reunion of so many when this life ends and we meet again.  That being said there is so much goodness and glory that is being done on this earth.

I want to share my feelings of the power of struggles and trials and how they refine us as individuals:

Each person in this life faces struggles, trials, and tribulations.  These can brings us forward in life or drag us down.  They can lift us higher than we could hope to grow, and allow us to become greater than we ever imagined.  Each of us make the decision to go one of these direction each time we are tried.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My first bout with death

Because I have not heard a lot from people on any specific areas of my life they would like to hear about I will try to take the previous approach to my life and see how I do.

I will take the list of memories that I did one liners on and see if I can expound on a portion of that list based on conversations since I wrote the one liners and based on my memories.

Pet frog gets run over story - Oklahoma, also mice in the bed and hot sidewalks:

Since writing this one liner I have learned that these were at least two separate stories.  The pet I had in Oklahoma was a toad if I remember right to be a little more descriptive.  It had gotten away and somehow gotten into a garage type area of the house.  I am pulling this complete story from memory so hopefully I get this right.  I came out of the house looking for my pet, and saw as a door that had been leaning over against the wall had fallen onto it.  It may have already been killed by the door being on top of it.  At this time my dad drove into the garage, and I tried to stop him.  I can only assume he thought I was just excited to see him, and I imagine he was busy watching me so he didn't see the door laying on the floor.  When he pulled in he ran over the door, and my pet was no more.
I have a few questions as I think back on this:  First why is this significant in my life?  Why does this matter and technically who cares? 

Well these are my personal opinions, but I will try to explain my thoughts:

Why is it significant in my life?  I imagine it is much like the pets others have when they die there is a lot of sorrow and grief that takes place.  I was no different and as a child remember the grief.  As far as I am aware this was my first pet and I can only imagine I was pretty attached.  This was also my first real experience with death.  I believe there comes a point in each of our lives (if we live long enough) that we have to start to face and learn of death and its apparent permanency.  This begins to change as we learn of the gospel and one of the greatest comforts it brings along with it is that death is but a short period of separation and not permanent.  There have been many experiences with this since this time in my life, but I feel this was a traumatic time for me and so it stands out as a moment of growth and significance in my life.

Why does this matter?  I think I partially answered why this matters in my previous comments, but I will expound with a story.  I recently had a family I am close to that had to put down their dog after having had it in the family for many years.  The loss was a strain on the family and some of the activities they take a normal part in were cancelled to grieve for their loss.  I still feel the sting because this happened recently and my children play with their children, the impact of the loss therefore not only affected their family, but mine and my families, and others as well who offered condolences.  I also think facing these kinds of losses helps families to draw closer together and strengthens us as individuals for other losses we may face throughout life.

Who cares?  I guess that question can only be answered by those on the receiving end of this post, but I have hopes at a minimum that it will let my posterity know that this experience happened and that to me it had an impact on my life.

Hot sidewalks:  This also is a memory from Oklahoma and the memory is likely just a hot day where I was out playing and for the first time I realized that the sidewalks were literally hot enough to cook an egg.  I just thought it was a statement people make to say they were really hot, but since then have learned better.  Why does this matter?  Good question, I would have to guess it was around the same time my pet died and I somehow linked the two memories.  Suffice it to say I rarely think of the one without the other.

Mice in the bed:  Now how I got this tied into the other memories is a little more baffling.  I assume it was close to the same time in my life, but this happened in Utah, and the other experiences happened in Oklahoma.  We had a home in Utah where some of our items were stored while we lived in Oklahoma, this happened when we came back to pick up some of our things.  We found a family of mice in one of the beds.  I personally believe I like the little vermin and may have bonded with them because of the loss of my other pet.  It may sounds gross but I have always liked mice since. 

I know this is a little odd compared to many of my posts, but being as I am trying to put down memories as a child I can only piece these together somewhat like a puzzle.  The effect may be some strange posts, but the hope is twofold.  First I am hoping to capture memories I have of my youth and second I am hoping to follow the norm for this blog which is that we can overcome any trial or struggle we face, through the help of a Loving Heavenly Father.

The loss of those dear to us whether they be family or pets or friends... They can drain us physically, mentally, and even spiritually.  I share my testimony that there are those around us who care.  They may not be able to put their feelings into words any better than we can, but there is always a shoulder to turn to when times get rough.  I pray that at least one shoulder we learn to rely on be the shoulder of Jesus Christ.  It is even better if we lean on our Heavenly Father, and that of His Son Jesus Christ.  They are 2 individuals we can always turn to even when it seems no one else is available.  These two have been a support to me when I had no one else to turn to, they have helped me through some of the greatest struggles in my life, and I know if others will approach them they will do the same for all of their family here on earth.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The resilience of Childhood

As I have thought about recent posts and the perceptive negative nature of my blog up to this point I felt the need to focus a post specifically on the many joys of my youth.

I have termed this the resilience of childhood, because despite the many down sides to my youth I think often on the memories and the overall comparison between good and bad memories.  I believe that children have the innate ability to see the good in the things around them and to overlook the bad.

I will attempt to describe this through the memories of my youth. 

I will start in Taylorsville Utah where a number of bad things were going on in my life.  I was abused regularly both sexually and physically.  We struggled with a number of issues including regular visits from social services, and threats of being removed from our home.  Some of our greatest years of minimal financial resources, and other struggles also happened during these years.

During this time I have some of my most wonderful memories.  We had chickens, ducks, a few peacocks, horses, goats, dogs and cats.  I remember strong memories of going to the fair and spending time walking around and being amazed at the things people could grow and raise.  I remember Saturday morning cartoons, digging forts, hanging out in tree houses, visiting friends, sledding in the winter, and riding skateboards in the summer.  And a thousand more memories I don't have time to describe here....

The point of all this is that I believe for almost all children the good things (in their minds) outweigh the bad by an extreme margin.  I know I have been classified (rightly so) as a pretty extreme optimist.  And so perhaps this is only my view of the world.  That being said I have rarely seen a child that is not happy most of the time, regardless of the circumstances they find themselves in.  I believe our minds from birth are programmed (for lack of a better word) to see the good around us.  To see the rainbows and butterflies, the clouds and rocks and so many things we start to take for granted as we get older and let the busyness of life take us away from the joys we used to cherish. 

We take too much time looking for how to resolve a conflict, or how to get to the next promotion, how to teach our children the next thing that will make them look brighter than the Jones' down the street.  Sometimes we get carried away in greed, or pride, or other selfishness that takes the focus we used to have on so much beauty and happiness, and turns it into something self serving.

This is part of the reason why I believe Heavenly father instructs us to be as little children. 

Can we let go of the struggles we face and become like a child?  Can we put aside the things that drag us down in daily life, and still accomplish the needs we should care for as adults?  I argue that we can... 

Little children are resilient, they are quick to forgive, they are quick to learn, and they are willing to change.

I write many things about the struggles of my youth in order to hopefully help others.  To allow people to realize that they are not alone in suffering, nor are they as trapped as they may feel.  I hope they will be able to come to have joy like I have found, and better their lives.  These are not easy transitions to make and to many may seem impossible.  On our own some of them are impossible to overcome...  I believe others will be able to turn their situations into such that they can find great joy in this life and for all I pray they will find joy that goes far beyond this life. 

Learning to fly...

I have heard from some of my friends that they sorrow for the things I have gone through and that based on the person I am now it hurts them to see the struggles I have had to face.  This post goes out to you and any others that feel this sorrow. 

To begin with I want to commend you greatly for feeling this way.  The scriptures describe this as Godly sorrow and it is often shown in a few ways.  The first is for the sins of the people, and it is sorrow for the well being of their souls.  The second is sorrow for the struggles and trials and tribulations of others, and is a sign of love and caring.  In some ways this is the attribute I think of most when I think of the way our Heavenly Father sees the things we face and go through on this earth as we are tested and falter, or even stand through the pain.  In my perspective this is one of the reasons why angels are sent to the earth to comfort us, and why this event is recorded in the scriptures that the angels supported Christ while he atoned for the sins of the world.

Charity or the pure love of Christ is at the heart of this discussion, this blog and for the most part the lives of all who serve our Savior in His church and attempt to bring to others the joy the gospel brings in its entirety.  Charity guides each and everyone of us to make the sacrifices we do for our family members, a child in sorrow, the person we see on the street, or any other countless number of scenarios.  Charity is what is shared with me when people sorrow for my past and sorrows.

With that being said I have commented to my friends that I am extremely grateful for the trials and struggles I have gone through.  These struggles and trials I have faced in my past impact me and my life.  However on a bigger scale similar struggles and trials impact countless others, many of which have buried them deep and do not believe they are worth caring for or even desire to end it all.  They do not know that loving arms await them around the corner, and that their lives can be so much better.  There are children going through similar things as the things I faced.  There are young boys and girls that truly believe they are the cause of family problems and struggles.  There are adults that have buried the hurts of a life full of pain far away so they do not have to face the pain.  Some of these become the next abusers, because this is how they learned to deal with the feelings they face, some become depressed and withdraw from the world.  Others stand and fight, some lose their lives in the attempt.  Others become strong advocates of truth and right.

I will now write from the perspective of a population as I continue my thoughts:

We never know how the struggles of the past will affect those around us.  And so we make the choices for ourselves based on our struggles.  How do I deal with the monsters of the past, how do I cope, how do I make the most of a hard situation.  Each individual faces these questions.

All of us deal with these choices, whether we face the burdens of abuse and hunger, or whether we face the trials of pride and the other cares of the world.  We may face the temptation of having great wealth or poverty.  Both have their trials and every place in between faces the trial of looking up or looking down and determining how to choose to see the world around them.  Do we seek after the wealth and supposed power money brings...  Do we seek after the humility and struggles poverty brings... 

Money is only a single facet of the things of the past and future, but each trial, each success or failure can be viewed through a similar lens. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


I have begun to realize more than ever before in my life that the Lord and Heavenly Father allowed the terrible things that have happened to me in my life to happen so I would be able to understand and help others.

I cannot and should not share many of the details of how this has been made clear to me, and have been instructed to keep certain details of my life out of this record.  But suffice it to say that I have through the spirit been instructed that this is true.

As I think back on my previous posts and and many things that have not yet been noted in my blog, I have on my mind the thoughts of when my family struggled for food, and for a time ended up eating foods left behind the grocery stores that where expired and getting thrown away.  I ended up at around the age of 13 being taken from my home and ended up in the foster care system.  I remained there until I was 18.  I like many have gone through the struggles of being the outcast, and many rejected and even mocked me because of who I was or where I was in my life.  There were a few times I ended up living in homeless shelters.  I did not always have the career I enjoy now, I started out working in fast food restaurants and assembly line work. 

I have been very blessed in my life to be where I am now and to be able to bless others and care for my family in the manner I do.  I intend to give back to others what I can to lift them as they struggle through these things, and others as well.

The things I have shared and will continue to share are for the benefit of my fellow man and to give encouragement and hope.  To spread love for a loving God that would do anything for his children, and wants them to return to his presence.  The things I do I do because of Christ...  I do them in the name of Christ...  He literally saved me as I struggled, and because of this I know he can do the same for all men if they will but let him.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Life saving experiences in early years

There are a few times I had my life saved through divine intervention in my early years.  I want to write about these a little.

The first time my life was saved I was less than a year old and had a bowel blockage that nearly cost me my life.  My grandfather (the same one that delivered me) had become concerned enough that he had placed me on adult strength laxatives every two hours and had tried a number of other things to help. 

As the story was related to me.  He showed up one day to see how things were going and placed a hand on my head and appeared to be silently praying.  After being with me this way for a few minutes he turned and stated that I would be ok and left.  About 5 minutes later I had a bowel movement and have never struggled with a blockage since.

Missionary experience

Yesterday I had a wonderful missionary experience with the Sister missionaries, a sister from the stake and a sister that is preparing to go to the temple.  We met at temple square to support and help the sister get more prepared for the temple experience.

We started by meeting with a couple of sister missionaries from temple square and headed to the south visitors center.  There we looked at the temple model and talked about why we go to the temple and had a wonderful time.  As we were getting ready to leave and go to the north visitors center I noticed one of the temple kiosks were not responding I called an Elder I work with to come meet me and sent the others on ahead.  We got the machine working and I went back to meet with the sisters at the Gods Plan exhibit on temple square.

I could tell the sister we were there helping was having a wonderful spiritual experience, and following the presentation went to see the Christus statue and talk about Christ.  After the talk the sister missionaries and the sister from the stake all left to talk in another room while the sister preparing for the temple and I had a nice talk about testimony and Christ.

The experience was wonderful and when the sisters all got back we took some pictures and then I headed back to work.

I share this because the gospel brings joy into our lives like nothing else can.  The prophet king after who I am named King Benjamin taught in the Book of Mormon, "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings you are only in the service of your God."  I believe the greatest happiness in life comes to men/women then when they are serving their fellow man.  As we bring others nearer to the Savior and God (our Heavenly Father), we are blessed with joy because we gain the knowledge that we will be with them throughout eternity.  These blessings become unfathomable if we think on them for long.

As I think back on the happiest moments in my life I believe they are found when I have served and brought joy to others.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The early years

I am not sure about portions of my younger years.  So as with previous posts, I will have to do some research prior to describing some of these.  Many of these I can share as recalled from my own memory though.  These are a few things that stand out in my life while I was still young.  I will simply relate these as stories as we progress with future posts.  Some have had little impact on my current life, but show some of my attributes that I had at a very young age.  Others greatly impacted my beliefs and the person I am today.

Here are 1 liners about some of the things that came to my mind and that I remember:  I would like your opinions on which of these to focus on first since I cannot concentrate on them all at once.  It also allows you to drive the content of my posts to some degree.  Please post your comments about what you would like more details about and I will try at some point to cover all of these, and would like to focus on the highest interest items first.

Pet frog gets run over story - Oklahoma, also mice in the bed and hot sidewalks

Oklahoma at an older age living with a pastor and his family and attending school with their children for a week or so.

Memory of Texas and driving and looking at lights -

Montana with family from Pinesdale - trip where we almost slid over a cliff (first remembered near death experience), and hit a bird while driving.  Can also discuss time while living in Montana

Idaho and family from there -

Family in Southern Utah and staying with them - 

Shopping for houses - house with big back yard and swing set off of redwood road -

Christmas experiences - The following is a comment from my dad -
"I like the part of your second Christmas. We bought you a pair of gloves. You put them on and with your hands in the air you ran squealing around the house."

Falling through railing from balcony and landing on head on concrete - early home in Taylorsville - house and stairs to upstairs apartment.

Walking to Aunts house naked -
Running naked onstage at a Chinese restaurant - 

(I kind of sense a theme that I didn't like clothes much)

Home where oldest sister was born - helping dad with construction work - big back yard

Memory of house in Kearns and basement - Mom selling Melaleuca products.

Visit to family with pool and memories of first sexual abuses.  

Female relative starts babysitting different relative from above - continued sexual abuse. covers a few years.

Move to house in Taylorsville - horses, goats and other animals. some of the activities - mud pits and holes, cartoons watched, pole vaulting and high jumping and hurdles, newspaper deliveries.  Activities enjoyed as a boy.

Waking up in the middle of the night to help with newspapers.

It is worth the time to state that these are in no chronological order and some of these relate to more than one period of my life.  I will delve into more detail as I continue to describe the events and memories of my childhood.