Monday, December 22, 2014

Don't Judge. Serve.

I'm reading Paul's Epistle to the Romans, and also watching the movie "The Book of Daniel"

First, how Daniel could serve these kings who were unrighteous men and later honored his God is beyond me.

There are kings and those who wish they were kings and who act like they are kings who I could not nor would I ever serve.

And yet, I look at the example of Ammon with King Lamoni, and Daniel with Nebuchadnezzar 

Maybe I am wrong about some things...

There's a lot to think about. 

Normally I read a chapter a day of scripture...

I didn't get very far today before I was able to put Daniel together with Romans chapter 2, and take some stout counsel to myself:

Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou ajudgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
 But we aare sure that the bjudgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
 And thinkest thou this, O man, that ajudgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the bjudgment of God?

 Perhaps that was Daniel's and Ammon's strength?  They didn't judge, they only served?

And what power was there in service!!!  Thousands and thousands more blessed by these examples and even today blessed by their stories. 

I have a lot of growing up to do to reach the spiritual stature of these men.  

But I want to. 

I have endured many pains of heart and spirit in my current station trying to repent and to be faithful, but I do know the joy and peace that comes with such growth and triumph makes it all well worth it. 

I don't know what pains I would have to endure to become like these men, but perhaps my pride may be one of the things I will have to sacrifice...that thing causes me more problems than it is worth I think at times anyways...

Line upon line...precept upon a little...there a little...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Not My Will, But Thine Be Done - Receiving Revelation

Think of something you wanted to know from God and you just...weren't getting an answer.

Can you think of one? 

Me too.

In my case I was *DYING* to receive an answer and comfort and just hadn't been getting anything.  Nothing.  The heavens seemed silent.

After a very emotional day in which I finished by "arguing" with God in my prayers, while I got an answer, I re-learned something today that I first learned at my conversion while seeking to know if the Book of Mormon was true.

When I pray with the attitude and sincerity of "Thy Will Be Done" then I receive answers much much faster.

You can't "take" knowledge from God so much as be open to it and receive it.  You can't force answers from him either - at least I've never been able to.  I've tried and not with any degree of success I'd like to build my life around.

But when I am open to whatever answers that are to be given and willing to use them for my betterment, and am not seeking to impose my will on God but use his will and knowledge to build my life.....things happen much much much faster.

And I feel much more peaceful and enlightened. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

I miss my dad

It's late at night.

I miss my dad.

There's something about having a dad growing up that's of the best things in the world. 

Things weren't always great between us.  There were a lot of problems at home in our family.  But I did have a dad who did a lot for me.

I know those reading this may not be able to relate but these were some of my memories and things I enjoy now from back then - we used to have an old black-and-white TV in the garage and dad would turn on the TV and on would come Star Trek.  He'd work on his stained glass and I'd be over making something out of wood.

I miss Christmas.  He was brilliant and would spend most of the money on dime-store gifts and I'd get a few big things so there were tons of presents, mostly small, but tons and lots of fun to have.

He took me to the store once to get a reflector for my bike and then told me when we got to Toys R' Us (which was new at the time) that it had to be attached to a bike.

I remember him pushing me my first time on my bike as I tried to get strong enough to ride on my own.

I just find myself watching a lot of classic movies from the 1950's and 1960's lately almost as if I wish I could go back in time to childhood to have my dad again. 

Lately the longing seems so much that I might even take a trip to the cemetery today to go talk to him.

It was hard having a dad who was so mortal.  Most of our family has succumbed to alcoholism and my dad was quite open that it took him down as well.  From what I can see in my family I can trace a few wild personalities and some mental illness back to the late 1800's on the Arizona Frontier before things ended up here in Portland that kept getting passed on in our family and dad was the last to fall to them.

He told me "Do as I say, not as I do."   At least he was honest.

After his death he spoke to me through the veil and said to me "Repent of your sins, you don't need them where you're going."

When I got dropped from the Nuke program in the US Navy - I was the top 1% of the academic elite to get into it but got dropped through some fiasco that later turned out to be the divine hand of God - but when I got dropped...I called my dad.  I got busted down in rank from Petty Officer to Fireman - dad said " can't beat your gandpa...he went up three times and down two so I think you'll be fine..." and then told me how grandpa had gone to captain's mast like I did for shorting out the electrical boards on the ship with a firehose as he fought off some other sailors trying to get him for his hazing into becoming a Shellback for his initiation.  Cost the ship power to the guns from that one. In wartime.

But one of the single-most devastating failures and losses of my life and he cheered me on and gave me comfort while I was feeling absolutely devastated - I know now I wouldn't ever be happy as a nuke, I love psychology too much. It really was the Lord's hand in that because I didn't get dropped from that program until a day later when they mysteriously changed their minds to drop me.  And he used the opportunity to get me my law enforcement gig.

I don't know what I'd do if he came back. 

That's the funny thing about death though, is if someone does come back - I think I'd be worried they'd leave again and it might even be worse if they came back than simply stayed gone.

He was so much more meticulously neat than I am.  Everything was organized.  Always.  He was a better painter than I am, he loved painting and I hated it as a kid because he always had me doing it, but he was quite the innovator.  Heck, even my mother is meticulously neat compared to me - sheesh - that gene didn't get passed onto me.  Maybe I have more important things to  Maybe it skipped a generation because my oldest son seems to have picked it up somewhat.  In some ways I feel I must be a disappointment in this regards as a son...

When I walked into dad's garage to clean out his place after his death, I could tell it was his because he had egg cartons laid out with all his tools and bits and screws and pieces sorted into everything - he was always sorting things.  I still have a couple things of his that I carry around that I haven't touched and left the way he organized them in my computer case. 

All three of us, me, dad, grandpa, ended up in Asia in the navy and developed a taste for that part of the world, the food, the culture, its beauty.  If I only had three lifetimes. I pray the Lord soon gives me my most desired blessings - the desires of my heart that I won't write here but that my patriarchal blessing mentions in this regards to Asia.  I wait.  Soon.  I pray.  And I pray it comes soon.  I know my father would love my blessing.

I even got some sardines to try them, he always loved sardines.  I never did have them but...not sure where he acquired that taste though.  He was more in Southeast Asia while I was in East Asia so maybe that's where it came from with the food.....he just seems to be on my mind lately...

I miss you dad...

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Making Christmas as a Dad

I just think people over think things in the gospel too often like the Word of Wisdom or even Santa Claus. (The Word of Wisdom is my least-favorite topic to discuss in the gospel, but I might add Santa Claus to that list).

I grew up Catholic and that's quite a bit different than being LDS and we have Santa and all his miracles and wonders in the Catholic church (Of course! Where do you think the Saints, like Saint Nicholas come from? ;) 

And now I am Santa to my children. 

I am the tooth fairy. 

And the Easter Bunny.

And I have literally felt that magic when I make those "miracles" occur in my children's lives - the money that shows up for a missing tooth with a letter from a fairy - that bit of magic...and isn't that a miracle? 

How many of us have been down for a time and some stranger has helped us - they were normal everyday people but decided to help but remain anonymous and came at exactly the right time and secretly helped when we needed it - isn't that a miracle even though they were normal people? 

And then we've seen those who were helped get up and bear testimony while somewhere the "secret Santa" was in the congregation watching the person they helped but they don't know who to thank sob with gratitude in such a hard time of their lives. 

Whether we call the magic of a surprise gift "Santa" or anything else this world needs a bit more magic - a bit of some secret blessings and I think - I *KNOW* for me as a child and even now still as an adult - calling it Santa is a wonderful thing. 

I know there isn't a physical Santa now - but the magic I felt as a child is as real to me in my memory now as if it happened today. Those moments of wonderment in such a cruel cruel world that doesn't care about you and takes it out on a child with a hard childhood who is different - to think there was a miracle that came to see me personally from thousands of miles away - from someone good - something somewhere out there - is a wonderful wonderful mystery to me still. 

 Now to share that mystery for my children and to feel that magic as I make it for them....I'm not going to take it from them. 

Or even the really good Santa's at the mall who blow my kids away by guessing their age and just playing it

We can all use a little more Santa Claus and need to stop overthinking the magic and wonderment of the season - or the magic of the atonement and the gift of Christmas - and calling it "religion" and pretend to be enlightened when really we're just over thinking the gospel and intellectualizing the spiritual.

I think we miss out on things when we do that. 

I Get people's intentions in not wanting to "mislead" their children about Santa (better not have the Tooth Fairy come over either then.  That's just the kind of deception that sends children into a life of crime and straight to hell, the Easter Bunny is even worse and they will probably use meth just to see if rabbits really can talk).

But some of that magic at least for me was one of the best things I ever got to enjoy as a child.  There is a family tradition in Santa Claus in my family going back +100 years. My dad met Santa and helped him set up my train set. His dad talked with Santa and helped him set up my dad's train set. And oh! The wonderment that my dad got to see him and talk to him!!!  Did your dad meet Santa?  Mine did, and he talked to him and helped him set things up.  My dad is pretty special that way.  Coolest dad I know with things like that going on.

I know what it is now....but I still remember the magic and will always remember it as and experience it as a miracle.   I even got a card from Santa once, addressed to me personally.  How, with all those children in the world, did he have time to write me a card so nicely?  I felt very very special and I remember the card and the letter as if it were today, still.

And even though I know...somewhere I still want to almost ask my dad if he was still alive "Did you REALLY see Santa? What was he like???" 

Because I experienced it all because I believed....and that magic carries with me still.  And now, I get to make it for others.

But that's....just me.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Gift

As I continue to repent of my sins and recover from a family legacy of troubles and break a cycle....gosh is it hard to lead a family while breaking a cycle - to be the one - I am coming to realize that my life is important,
that I am loved,
that I can be loved,
that my life has a purpose,
that I haven't blown it all because of my sins,
that God knew I would sin and would need to learn from those mistakes,
and that I could learn from them,
and that I can do this,
and that he will help me,
if I but listen to his spirit and learn and study...

Life looks a lot different lately.

More than repenting as I draw closer to my Savior, I am healing. 

And this gift - this video - really made me cry because I so badly want to be better, am trying so hard and realize that my shortcomings can be healed and I can overcome them...and I can have that hope for those around me that they can have that love as well. 

In the faith...we aren't strangers, we are simply long lost brothers and sisters here together...

I know I'm not perfect, and that's not what I need to be, what I need to do is learn and heal and hope and what this gift is all about so that we can have that life he has promised us so abundantly .

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Last Days: By President Benson

This is better news and info on the last days and what is really happening and going to happen than you'll find anywhere else unless it is another apostle speaking.  I love listening to the prophet's speak.