Monthly Archives: January 2013

Ah. . .the Sun

It’s been a very long winter already. Almost three feet of snow, freezing rain, humongous icicles, and back breaking shoveling. Add to that gutters falling off and no more places to push the snow to get it out of the way and you can see why this winter has been rough. And it’s only January!

Along with the snow there’s been an absence of direct sunshine. With days on end of cloudy skies, you really start to feel a bit gloomy. Some people are more susceptible to this than others, resulting in depression, sadness, and overall gloominess. It’s enough to make anyone shout “Where is the sun!” 

So yesterday, as I was preparing dinner and some of my kids were working on homework, the sun decided to show itself before retiring behind the western mountains. I quickly called all of the kids to the window where the sun’s glorious rays were streaming in and told them to mimic Timothy Green. So we all stood there in a row, with arms outstretched, drinking in the sunlight and letting it enliven our spirits. 

Sure, it only lasted about 2 minutes. But those 2 minutes were priceless. 

I’m thankful for the sun that not only keeps us from freezing to death, but provides light and hope as well.

Spring can’t come too soon.

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Anxious Load

Music–particularly music that inspires and enlightens–is one of the greatest things about life. I’m constantly amazed at how it helps, encourages, and uplifts me. Despite all of the music that does not fit into that category, there is still plenty of great music out there to truly feed the soul. The hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are certainly classified in that “great music.”

As I was sitting in Sacrament Meeting today after hearing some wonderful and inspiring talks, we turned to the closing hymn which was “How Gentle God’s Commands“.  I think this is becoming one of my favorites. The verse that particularly impacted me today was the third one which says:

Why should this anxious load
Press down your weary mind?
Haste to your Heav’nly Father’s throne
And sweet refreshment find.

My wife and I have been anxious as of late regarding our uncertain future. We’re not sure where we’ll end up living; not sure if the house we’re renting will sell; not sure if our kids will be in the same school boundaries; and not sure if we’ll ever rise above our budget woes we try so hard to improve upon. But as I sang this verse, it became somewhat clear that we just need to focus on keeping the commandments and being as Christ would have us be (or, in other words, more quickly and earnestly come unto the Father). By so doing, we’d be taken care of in the end.

I’m grateful for the hymns; the truths they contain and they peace and understanding they bring.

What To Do When Life Happens

It’s amazing the consequences that Mother Nature can cause, both directly and indirectly.

This past week we had a snowstorm that dumped about 30 inches of snow. As you can imagine, most folks, at some point, were out in their driveways with snow shovels, snow blowers, and snow plows trying to remove all of the white stuff so they could use their cars and get from their doors to the mailbox. 

I started thinking of all of the consequences this event brought with it. You have the retailers who see a spike in sales of snow shovels, snow blowers, salt, ice melt, snow clothing, snow tires, and heck–maybe even hot chocolate. They are happy. On the flip side, you see people suffering from more accidents (which may even cause loss of life), delayed traffic, canceled outings, and higher electrical or gas bills. They are not happy. 

Amidst it all is always an opportunity to help, to serve, and uplift. I’m always impressed with people’s willingness to serve. Not only does it make them feel good inside, it blesses the recipient as well. I saw and heard of many such incidents last week. Once people got done with their own driveways, they moved on to clear someone else’s. My family and I were recipients of such kindness ourselves by a good brother who had probably spent most of the day engaged in bigger snow removal tasks, but who took the time to help us with our driveway (which is rather large and windy and often too big a task for a small blade-equipped 4-wheeler). Just as I personally got done doing as much as I could do before my arms and back were about to breakdown, up came this good man who finished the job with his more than capable tractor. 

And so life is in general. Things happen. They always do. And usually they have both positive and negative consequences. What a blessing to see the positive! To get involved, to help, to feel good, and be a positive force for good. As King Mosiah of old once said “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God.”

The Eagles of Grace

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I went to see THE HOBBIT a few weeks ago with my wife. As the three Lord of the Rings films are my all time favorite, I was anxious to see and experience this new film. While I enjoyed it, one of my favorite parts was scene with the eagles. (spoiler alert)

There’s a standing joke among some that Frodo getting the ring to Mount Doom could have happened much quicker and with a lot less pain and grief if the eagles would just have carried Frodo and Sam the entire way. But that is not what the role of the eagles is.

Just as in the RETURN OF THE KING, the eagles played a pivotal role of grace in THE HOBBIT. Right before Bilbo, Gandolf and the dwarfs were about to be destroyed by the orc chieftan Bolg, just as they had done all they could to survive but couldn’t do any more, and just as they had given their very best effort to stay alive, the eagles swooped down and saved them.

And so it is in our lives. Our loving Heavenly Father extends His grace to us in those times when we need it the most. Whether it be during an extremely difficult trial or during those times we feel we’ve given it our all but it just doesn’t seem to be good enough, grace swoops down and blesses our lives just enough that we can make it through whatever trial we’ve been asked to bear. It’s important to note that God doesn’t take away the trial through His grace. He simply gives us enough blessings to help us through. Afterall, in the scene described above, the eagles don’t end up flying them to their overall destination. In fact, they place Gandolf, Bilbo and the others on top of a large precipice overlooking the land (which, by the way, they would  have needed to climb down from). This is symbolic too I believe. Being dropped off at such a high place, they were able to gain a new perspective. They were able to see more clearly where they were needing to go. God’s grace is the same. It blesses us with a new perspective; sets us upon a higher place so we can get our bearings and continue our journey in life.

I end this post with a scripture about grace that I enjoy. May we all look for the eagles. They likely help us more than we know in our quest to be better and find joy and hope amidst our afflictions.

2 Corinthians 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.