Monday, January 26, 2015

Called to be a Friend

I got a phone call the other day.

2 days before Christmas, actually.

One of the sisters on my home teaching route was in the hospital.

I've never met her before.

I *JUST* picked her up actually on my route within the last couple weeks actually.  I hadn't had time to meet anyone.

Her husband isn't a member of the church.

And she's in the middle of labor and wants a blessing.

Bishop: "Can you go right now?"

I got a friend because I haven't been able to get ahold of my companion in forever and raced right over there.

In I walked.  This beautiful young lady on my route that I've never met before.

Curled up in pain.   Wanting a blessing.

And didn't know who her home teachers were.

Wow...there is something so special about a woman with child or in childbirth that really just makes you aware that you are standing in the presence of the gateway between this world and that one....

I gave her a blessing and my friend anointed her with oil.

In that blessing?

She was blessed that her family would be sealed by the priesthood in this lifetime.

She's also in the Relief Society presidency.

She's never had a home teacher visit in her time here.  I was the first.  And here she was in labor.

After that it turned out her husband was in the USMC the same time I was in the navy.   And he likes guns as much as I do.

We hit it off.

Yesterday I gave four priesthood blessings to people who needed them (my record is twelve in a row I think and that left me pale and weak because it is physically demanding).  One family was very hurt their home teaching families have never come over and don't know who to call for a blessing and it felt like nobody cared about them.

At any rate, I've realized that...home teaching is what holds the church together.

I've failed in this calling too much too often.  And I'm not going to anymore.  I'm simply called to be a friend, I'm going to be a friend.  My companion today stood me up and not even with a good reason today.  Fine, he needs to repent.  Be more accountable.  I'm going to go and do the work anyways, with or without him and hopefully get him along as well.  Help him find his spark.  But I'm tired of people feeling left out.

I had people in TEARS yesterday with very badly needed blessings.  Did you know by the Aaronic Priesthood you can summon the ministering of angels?  Yes, you can do that as wel and wow when I do that in a blessing....people need that.

So I don't know if I'll be any good but I'm going to do my best but after being there for a fellow vet to bless his wife when he can't yet right in the middle of labor, and being able to comfort her and thereby comfort him...wow...yes....it's time for these things and for me to do these things.

If I was going to make a suggestion though, it would be to let families know who their home teachers are and not visa versa - or not solely visa versa.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

GOT MY DREAM JOB!!!!!!!

Wow, it's been an amazing day. I got my dream job. I'm going to be taking a position at a prison here in the state in mental health. The pay is good for being where I am in this field, as the mental health field does not generally pay that well.

But then, I didn't go into this job for money.

I was worried they didn't want me because it was taking so long. So i called and she thanked me for getting ahold of her. She apologized for the wait and said she was scattered and understood if didn't want to work with someone so scattered. I told her I was quiet during the interview because i was having a hard time not screaming like a little girl and jumping up and down while I was there. I heard the spirit say in the interview "this is it!" To wait this long has been very hard and a severe trial of my faith. I also NEEDED this break.

It has been a hard hard road to get to this point. Hardest thing I've ever done. Even the military nuclear power school was easy compared to this. My partner at school was a PhD from UC Berkeley, and a professor at a university here in the area. He dropped because of the pressure.

 Failure certainly wasn't an option in our situation. I  nearly had a mental breakdown trying to complete this program. Which is fine for anybody I suppose, but when you're a psychologist, that is not allowed to happen. It means you are unfit for the field and are a risk and a danger to others. So you either hold it together, or you pack your bags and find something else. You need to be taking care of yourself.

This job is emotionally and mentally demanding in a way no other than I've ever done.  It's not that other jobs arent demanding it's that...if you're off even a little bit while you're in with a patient it can literally cost a life.

You can't be worried or thinking about things at home while you're in a session with somebody else. Your stress in your life can't carry over into theirs. And when you're under as much stress as I was to keep that from spilling over into everything and hold it together...it was the hardest thing I've ever done.

You sit in rooms full of brain hackers who can see things you try to hide. They pick up on it and.... guess what?  "We have concerns this may not be for you..." and you can't just quit and start somewhere else. But they will drop you to protect the field and patients.

At any rate, I'm going to soon have a house with room for guests, a nice piece of property, my boat and everything else I ever dreamed of. And more I can't write here.

The most important part to me is that I was told this was going to happen and I said that this was going to happen and several recent priesthood blessings. A number of priesthood blessings I've seen come true so quickly has made my head spin recently. It gives me hope. There are so many blessings that I want so very badly that I don't know how they will come to pass. But I now know they will. And I wait and prepare for them.

For now....I haven't just survived.  I have started that climb to the top. I will soon be able to give those I love all I wanted to.  Just as my patriarchal blessing says.

I wait and prepare in the meantime.

I know that there are other blessings coming. To my dear friends and family and readers, this is a sign that the rest of the blessings are coming. Be patient and faithful no matter how hard it is, they are coming. They will come just as surely as the sun rises and sets.

I am patiently and faithfully waiting for my blessings with all my heart and hope you do too.  I am diligently waiting! I can't imagine a world without God's promises and blessings. It is all I have waited for and held on and lived for.

Hold on and be faithful!

I got my dream job. My blessings have and are coming true!  Thank you friends and family for your love, support,  encouragement and prayers and I love you eternally for it. I wouldn't and couldn't have made it without your love, support and prayers.

Hold on and be faithful in the refiner's fire.  Victory is so so so sweet. And. .. it has only begun.  I will see you there and be waiting to see you :)

f.b.vb...







Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Winds of Life


While I've been focused very heavily on a particular few blessings I want *SO* badly - I got told I need to count my blessings.

There's a few blessings I want *REALLY* bad that I couldn't dare hope to dream could come true that...well now...they look like they might have drifted away.  I'm not sure really.  Either way I'm quite powerless, even though I've done everything I could possibly do that the Lord has allowed to prepare for them and hold on to their possibility of happening. 

When I go to the temple, I take my patriarchal blessing with me.  It is in my temple bag and it always gets taken with me.  I pulled it out to read it in the celestial room. 

There are so many blessings in there that I've overlooked in my hyper-focusing on certain wonderful things that I want so so so badly.

But more than that, the blessings I've wanted so badly, the lord showed me that those are icing on the cake because there's some even-more amazing blessings coming.

But I have to build a foundation for them.  I can't get so focused on one blessing that I stop working on all the others.

You can't build a life on a single blessing.  

I hope my blessings come true - at least the way I understand them.  I pray.

I feel like I'm just beginning to understand the atonement, my energy is increasing finally from school, and I'm going back to searching for work now more permanently. I'm finally beginning to understand and feel peace and then...it looks like some very very cherished hopes are being given to another.  I don't know what's going on.

It wouldn't be the first experience like this in my life.  I already watched that once on my mission with my then-fiancee who ended up sleeping with and marrying a convicted and registered sex offender, and getting dumped 142 days before I came home.

Amazing how your sense of direction gets twisted around when you head down that path...

I was faithful and had a knock-out-success of a mission and working to be faithful for and to her, the one who said she'd be waiting for me, that we'd be apart for a time, wasn't there when I came home, like she promised.

So much for promises.

I even got permission to call her and I gave her a blessing over the phone and gave her a warning to choose wisely - or she wouldn't make it.   As things got more twisted around, I got accused of unrighteous dominion and...you name it...because of a blessing that wasn't just inspiration, that's common sense and standard doctrine and teachings in the church and life.  Choose carefully!  Or you won't make it!  It shook my testimony about myself and my priesthood for years.

But then, now that I look at it, while there are some pretty successful psychos in the church, I wasn't the one who was a convicted sex offender, while my companions and I were running 1/5 to 1/3 of the quarterly mission stats in terms of the work in the mission field.

I don't think it was me that was the problem.

Later she found me online and wanted to be friends and I was like, "Why would I want to be friends with you? My testimony has been shaken for YEARS after trying to help you! Are you kidding me???"

That's the thing about chastisement from the Lord - he gives it because he loves us.  He that will not bear chastisement is not fit for the kingdom of the Lord (Doctrine and Covenants 136:31).  I've been chastised by Bishops, Mission Presidents, in blessings.....I've learned to appreciate it because it jerks my attention and gives clarity where I've been missing things.  I so don't want to be lost.  I've seen what happens when we are lost and it isn't pretty.  Even Joseph Smith got some serious ones - but those were very clear and given out of love and concern because of his station and responsibility and the Lord's concern for his soul.

I'm not even that great of a catch I think, but...seriously?   Pick someone else but not a recently convicted child molester and don't sleep with him, seriously!

Well, we all have choices to make.  My lesson was simply hat there are no promises or guarantees even when you're trying your best.  

Well...you sit on that fence long enough, you're going to get hit from both sides. And probably succumb to the one that offers more instant pleasure like so many of us do as faith fades and we lose confidence in ourselves and the small acts of faith that make the huge difference become increasingly difficult.That's what happened to her, sadly.  She wasn't doing well when we talked years later either, just as was warned.

This is a warning for myself and a wakeup call to myself as I look back on my life as much as it is a note of caution for anyone.  None of us are infallible.  We need to get off that fence and firmly plant our feet and keep planting them.  I've been on that fence before and it's not a good place to be.

There are dearly loved friends in my life I'm watching have an incredibly difficult time and I am powerless to help them the way I want to and I fear - I tremble with heartbreak - eternal heartbreak - to think that I am watching them go down just as I watched my ex-fiancee go down.  There's more to this story that I'm not sharing about my ex-fiancee, I can say that her patriarchal blessing was true, and her falling confirmed it.  It definitely drew my attention to the inspiration of those blessings.  I still marvel at it years later.

I even got two overtures of suicide from people in my life recently, one asked for help and one didn't.  I pray that nothing happens bad of a permanent nature.  I keep putting their names in the temple and asking others to pray because there isn't much I can do.  I'd be there in a heartbeat if I could, we all know what that powerless feeling is like where we can only watch.  It sucks.

Meanwhile....I keep having to look forward.

Build all those blessings and let the hand of the Lord work.

It's hard.  I feel peace, but it's hard.  And I hope my fears aren't realized and my faith is justified.  I hope I get my blessings. I hope my friends and family are okay.  All I can do is press ahead, and make sure I'm not on that fence myself and pray and build as best I can.

And keep remembering them and praying for them.

An Abrahamic Sacrifice to stand by and watch and leave it in the Lord's hands.  Gosh I pray things don't go south.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Downside of Overcoming ADHD. Awakenings.

I have ADHD.
me!

It made childhood hell.  I won't go into details, there isn't room, but my world has exploded into a world of light and darkness, thrown across the room by someone in a rage at me as a child who people were frustrated with because even I didn't know what was wrong with me. 

Friends were difficult to come by.  Alcoholism at home and violence and childhood bullying, combined with the experiences of a combat role in the military have had quite an affect on me.

Perhaps two of my best memories in the military was during a hostage situation when I was in the line of fire and - when you're in danger with ADHD the world slows down and...I feel calm.  And my shipmates were a bit astonished how calmly I was talking this guy down who had a gun to a kid's head and I was unarmed with nowhere to go and right in the line of fire - hero for a moment I suppose.  I only went in because I knew it was what needed to be done, I couldn't and wouldn't live with myself if I didn't, and would rather die than be a coward - so I said a prayer and said "God, you better let me know if I'm going to get it because I'm going in..."

I remember another car chase and I was on the radio setting up a trap, right off his bumper, weaving in between buildings at night going *way* too fast and my partner said "Dude, you sound so calm like you're having coffe and reading a book instead of doing this - you are too calm for this."

I guess when you struggle with ADHD and every day is just hell - the prospect of possibly "going home" to my father in heaven wasn't an unpleasant prospect. Not at all.

Either way I would "win" - I went home, or I went "home."

At any rate, life's been an emotional roller coaster.  It isn't fun.  I feel sick most days, I have a hard time seeing literally, emotionally volatile....it has only been through pure willpower and trying to watch others around me to gauge how I am supposed to "be" that I finished my Masters in Psychology.

Were it not for my Police and Missionary Experiences I don't think I would have been as successful and perhaps even failed out of the program.  Most things don't come naturally to me.

Until....

I received a priesthood blessing last year and was told that relief was coming.

What relief?

On August 9th after my Masters Graduation, in a park, still dressed from the graduation I found out that Iron Supplements fixed my ADHD.

Amazing that the priesthood blessing I was given told me exactly when it was going to happen and it did - I just didn't know what was going to happen. 

For the first time in my life my brain worked normally - or as I thought it should.

There wasn't the rush of the Aderol - which creates a uphoria about 45 minutes after you take it.  On Aderol found myself "loving" things and "liking" things...like my job which was hell.  I found even arrogant jerks at work to be pleasant people....until it wore off.

With the Iron Supplements...all of a sudden, I could think!  No more emotional roller coasters with my emotions swinging every 15 minutes or faster while I try to look normal on the outside.

Things don't bother me like they used to where it literally feels like my eyes are burning and I have a perpetual headache and find myself squinting or wanting to in order to cope.

You would think I would be thrilled.

I thought I would be.

Have you seen the movie "Awakenings" with Robin Williams?  One of the patients who awoke from a coma of a few decades rather than being excited said he felt used, angry, robbed, cheated and didn't know how to cope with life.

In a lot of ways that's how I feel.

I look back on friendships and relationships where I've been emotionally volatile and it makes me sad.

I feel more like I've failed those around me all thse years because I couldn't do what I'm doing now.

I know peoples' first reaction is to say "But you couldn't help it."

Perhaps, but something so simple that was around me all the time and nobody knew - hell - I probably could have eaten a ground up nail and gotten some benefit.  And all those years...years...decades....of a very very dark world.

All of a sudden I can think and my brain is working and now all of a sudden I find I have to re-learn everything.

Literally, every day right now is new to me.  It is exciting and very depressing at the same time because I can see the errors I've made and my errors in thinking - my struggles in emotional processing. 

I have everyday encounters with people that are the same as thousands over a lifetime, and yet, each one is very vivid to my right now because...they are new.  It is like it is happening for the first time.

I'm learning to listen to others better in my personal life - more than what I do as a counselor.  I am learning to make friends...something I never felt good at doing.  People were friendly, sure!  But making those overtures and being able to put more of myself into things and draw out and focus more on others...it is exciting and depressing at the same time. 

The upside is that my self esteem is improving - I only share this because I'm in mental health and I hope maybe someone somewhere will read it and  benefit from it - we all learn from each other.  I've hated photos of myself for so long that all of a sudden, to look in the mirror and see a man looking back at me and be able to say "He's trying....he's pulling it together....he wants to do better" and not have unkind feelings for the image that looks back at me in a world that began making it known there was no room for "someone like me" as early as two and three years of age.

I remember getting made fun of all the time as a child because I scribbled when I colored - it hurt my feelings! I was doing my best. I don't know what kind of hell hole my parents put me in for pre-school but even the teacher jumped on that bandwagon, and I remember getting smacked on the head with a ruler or my hands smacked with a ruler every time I was out of line - and more.  I actually never colored after that because I wasn't any good at it.  The other month at the Doctor's Office with my daughter I colored a picture to my best ability just to finally feel like I could color - it was pretty darned good!  I even did some fading, shading and blending and I actually folded it up and put it in the family journal and silently flipped the bird to my childhood critics in my head and closed another chapter.

Suddenly, it is as if the world looks different - it does - and while my ability to deal with it is increasing rapidly...I don't know what to make of it many days.

I thought I would be glad.  But now instead, I see clearly all the tangles that I have to straighten out.


So!  Overcoming ADHD?  Yah....I still am.  I got a lot to learn.  And experience.

As soon as I get this job, and get things lined up with work, I'm going to finish my pilot's license and go flying again - my ADHD and meds stopped me the first time.  The world is opening up!  And I do count my blessings. 

But it isn't what I thought it was going to be.
Let's talk about your ADHD

So rarely is it ever what we think it is going to be.

Be careful what we wish for!

I find myself actually sitting with the family and participating in conversations when normally I would go for a walk to clear my head.  I can talk with and to people at work and hold conversations!  Perhaps a small thing to others, big when you have ADHD for 40 years.  I'd rather figure it out now than at 50.  And I'm determined to live at least a hundred so I got at least 60 years left - sixty years to give back and lift and help because I'm beginning to be able to now. 

Amazing right at this time when my eyes are opening I got called to leadership in the ward yesterday, I can't say what it is because I haven't been sustained yet. 

I gave a blessing the other day that said this was going to happen and now it is.  Humbled is the word - not pride - I don't feel worthy.  Why me?  Why now?  The bishop even said that they know I might not be here long but I'm supposed to be there. 

Well...God's in charge.

I am already receiving advice from my fellow "squirrels" (others in an ADHD group I participate in) to not focus on the past and look forward.  Well...life is guided forward by looking at the past and so, this is all very new.  Very strange.  It really is very very strange - wonderful but perhaps the strangeness is even more pronounced than the wonderfulness.  Though sometimes I feel it come back and have to go pop and iron tablet or fry something in a cast iron pan and feel better in a little bit.  Kind of worrisome to think of it coming back but it goes away every time.  Maybe now I'll die of iron poisoning - HAH!

To friends and family who have loved me despite along the way - and to my dad who said "If you want to make your old man happy, do better than I have" - to all you friends and family - thank you for being a friend even when I wasn't able to be as good of one as I wanted - I am learning.  And to my dad:  I am - my victory is yours.  I'm not done yet.  Thank you for that advice.  I took it and am running with it.

Thank you all who have helped me get this far - you know who you are - I love you and appreciate your help and wouldn't be here without you and pray for you always and am eternally grateful.

~Saturday's Warrior - AKA "Abby Normal." 




Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Different Birthday Tradition.

Well....as of today, I turned the big four-oh. 

Now, that's a bigger deal to me than probably many of you. 

Many of you have already hit forty, and those of you who haven't, are probably more concerned with your own lives than my aging. 

In fact, the other night, Elder M. Russel Ballard of the Twelve visited our Stake, and I ended up sitting with the High Priests - most of whom could be my dad.  They seemed to treat my turning 40 like I was still a youngster. 

But I decided not to be depressed about hitting this milestone and instead decided to do something different about it.

I decided I wasn't going to sit and get older while people hand me presents and I felt depressed about getting older.

That's not how I roll.  No.  

"Carpe Diem" and "Never Surrender" and "Always Victorious" and "I have not yet begun to fight" are words I live by.  I had to figure out something different.  

So I got to thinking: what is special about turning forty?

When I was younger while I was in the US Navy, my father (also in the US Navy at the same time I was) told me: "Son, if there's any mysteries in life, you'll probably figure them out by the time you hit forty." 

Well, I don't know if there aren't any mysteries now, but I know some excellent advice has gotten me this far and were it not for friends and family...I wouldn't be alive.  

So I decided for my 40th birthday to give a present to my loved ones - and this is what it was - something inexpensive yet invaluable - some of the best advice I've ever been given and this is it. 

You can listen to it on this link here, or you can read it below.  I have it on an MP3 and I listen to it regularly in my car while I drive.  But I framed it and handed it out for my birthday - the best advice that has changed and continues to change my life in getting me to my fortieth birthday (I've outlived Jesus and Bruce Lee....just sayin').

It was a way to remember my dad - but also now at forty?  I'm now considered middle age - I'm at the age now where I am supposed to have the answers.  I'm supposed to be inspired.  I'm supposed to lead, comfort, counsel, inspire, support.  And so - this for my fortieth birthday was my attempt to begin this phase of my life by doing exactly that - summing up what I've learned that has gotten me this far - and hope it helps and pushes others along. 

So!!!   Here's to forty down, and the twenty-two years of adulthood that led up to it, and may the next sixty be even better because while I feel old now, I know the time will come when forty is going to be young - so I'm going to enjoy it - here it is:

* Embrace this day with an enthusiastic welcome, no matter how it looks. The covenant with God to which you are true enables you to become enlightened by him, and nothing is impossible for you.

* When you are physically sick, tired, or in despair, steer your thoughts away from
yourself and direct them, in gratitude and love,toward God.

*  In your life there have to be challenges. They will either bring you closer to God and there-
fore make you stronger, or they can destroy you. But you make the decision of which
road you take.

*  First and foremost, you are a spirit child of God. If you neglect to feed your spirit, you
will reap unhappiness. Don’t permit anything to detract you from this awareness.

*  You cannot communicate with God unless you have first sacrificed your self-oriented
natural man and have brought yourself into the lower levels of meekness, to become
acceptable for the Light of Christ.

*  Put all frustrations, hurt feelings, and grumblings into the perspective of your eternal
hope. Light will flow into your soul.

 *  Pause to ponder the suffering Christ felt in the Garden of Gethsemane. In the awareness
of the depth of gratitude for him, you appreciate every opportunity to show your love
for him by diligently serving in his Church.

*  God knows that you are not perfect. As you suffer about your imperfections, he will give
you comfort and suggestions of where to improve.

*  God knows better than you what you need. He always attempts to speak to you. Listen,
and follow the uncomfortable suggestions that he makes to us—everything will fall
into its place.

*  Avoid any fear like your worst enemy, but magnify your fear about the consequences
of sin.

*  When you cannot love someone, look into that person’s eyes long enough to find the hidden rudiments of the child of God in him.

*  Never judge anyone. When you accept this,you will be freed. In the case of your own
children or subordinates, where you have the responsibility to judge, help them to
become their own judges.

*  If someone hurts you so much that your feelings seem to choke you, forgive and you will
be free again.

*  Avoid at all cost any pessimistic, negative, or criticizing thoughts. If you cannot cut them
out, they will do you harm. On the road toward salvation, let questions arise but never doubts. If something is wrong, God will give you clarity but never doubts.

*  Avoid rush and haste and uncontrolled words.  Divine light develops in places of peace and
quiet. Be aware of that as you enter places of worship.

*  Be not so much concerned about what you do,but do what you do with all your heart,
might, and strength. In thoroughness is satisfaction.

*  You want to be good and to do good. That is commendable. But the greatest achievement
that can be reached in our lives is to be under the complete influence of the Holy Ghost. Then he will teach us what is really good and necessary to do.

*  Be grateful for every opportunity to serve.  It helps you more than those you serve.

*  The pain of sacrifice lasts only one moment. It is the fear of the pain of sacrifice that makes
you hesitate to do it.

*  And finally, when you are compelled to give up something or when things that are dear to
you are withdrawn from you, know that this is your lesson to be learned right now. But
know also that, as you are learning this lesson,God wants to give you something better.

~Thus, we prepare all the days of our lives,and, as we grow, death loses its sting, hell loses its power, and we look forward to that day with anticipation and joy when he will come in his glory.
 

I am forty now.  Time to put all that good advice and wisdom I've learned from mistakes made and foolish youth to work more consistently.   I'm about to begin my dream career and other good things lie ahead of me. 

I'm just getting started. 

Oh, and I did buy my wife an AWESOME set of earrings on an outing today - they were gorgeous - silver and sparkling abalone seashell with a sparkling stone in them cut into the shape of a leaf and in three parts so they flash as she moves.

I'm turning forty - it is my time in life now to give.  In the future, I want others to look forward to my birthdays more than I do and I think perhaps I shall keep giving gifts in the future for all other birthdays. 

But to some of my dear readers who are friends and family who have helped me make it this far - thank you and I love you for your help in my life, you are always thought of, and this entry and advice is dedicated to you.

~Saturday's Warrior - AKA "Abby Normal"

Friday, January 2, 2015

Moving On - Now What?

Well....

The holidays are over. 

Next up is my birthday just around the corner.  I know nobody else cares about anybody else's age, but the big 4-0 seems to be a milestone of some sort.   They say life begins at 40 and 40 is the new 25, and here I am, going on 40 and about to start my dream career.

Where did life and love and all that jazz go?

What happened to childhood?  I mean, here it is, 4:30 am and I'm up thinking about stupid things that happened when I was in school - those embarrassing things that never got resolved, you know?  That you never got to explain?  The ones you're sure everyone else remembers just like you when they are awake at night - except everyone else remembers the stupid things you did...you know the ones I mean?

I'm not scheduled for work next week at the mall where I'm working waiting for my job to come through with the prison psyche job.

It was fun, got some exercise, didn't have to deal with any of the nonsense of the psyche field with passive aggressive behaviors and having to second guess myself every time just to complete a program...got a bit more in shape....but now?  Well....things are slowing down.  I'm becoming more of a part of the company...the differences in behavior are beginning to show up where it's becoming unavoidable where I begin to be affected by the office politics....

It's about time to move on. 

But....move on to what?


For the past twenty-two-years my life has been one adventure after another.  Always something different. 

I've been a sailor.
A nuclear engineer.
Police officer.
English Teacher.
Waiter in Japan.
K-9 officer.
Search and rescue.
Done wildlife preseervation
Went to flight school
Played trumpet on international TV
Taught genealogy
Served a mission
Driven trucks.
Been a mechanic on cars
Built my own busines
Been ain insurance agent
Worked in a mental hospital
Treated sex offenders in a private clinic
Finished my masters in psychology
Gotten married
Had 3 kids
Worked for some psycho company before I got fired....

And that's just the stuff I remember off the top of my head without thinking....

And now what?  To settle down?  Is that what they call it?  Where I go to the same job for the next twenty years?  Buy a house and never move again? 

While my wife's health fades and gets worse with her muscular dystrophy and my kids get older and we don't have the help we need?

Is this it? 

End of the line?

Now I get pigeonholed while I try to work for some retirement and pay off my student debts?

Read facebook and see the same stuff over-and-over?

Grow old and watch young generations do the same stuff we thought was SO AWESOME while thinking "put some clothes on and get a job!"? 

Sometimes it feels like life is just...passing time.   Waiting.

I know it is my dream career but I feel like the day I walk in there it will be the...last day of my life. 

This is it.

Facing Forty is a strange juncture.

My dad told me if there were any mysteries in life I'd figure them out by forty.

Well...

Now what?

You know what annoys me?  Is when I was young, all the grownups who thought they were so smart because they had something smarter to say than my dad - who acted like their advice was SO much better than his - that they were SO much wiser.

Now I look back with some annoyance at the pathetic posturing of adults who had to impress a child by upstaging his father....

That's one of those things you think about at 4am that goes around in your head....

What's next, I guess is the question...now what? 

Why did I even write this? 

Moving on! 

Now what?

Monday, December 29, 2014

What IS the Book of Mormon?

The Book of Mormon is actually a record of the scattering and the gathering of Israel.

I know I'm a member of the church now of 20 years and should know this.  But the more I study the Book of Mormon and the scriptures, the more I realize what is in this book has been missed by the world at large. And even myself.

I've taught this hundreds of times as a missionary, but only now is its significance understood by me which is why I'm writing this.

Anyone who believes the Bible - and who has read and understands it - knows that the scattering of Israel and its gathering were prophesied and played a prominent part in both the Old and New Testaments.

The Book of Mormon begins around the time of Jeremiah with a prophet in Jerusalem named Lehi, who, with his family, were led away from Jerusalem before its destruction and captivity.  They kept the commandments of God, lived the laws that were given, and made a record of their days.  The Book of Mormon is an abridgement of those records.

But it is not only a record of the scattering, or a part of it, that occurred around 600 B.C. 

It also contains a record - a first-hand account - of the confounding of the languages and scattering at the Tower of Babel.

It also contains a record of the civilization of one of the sons of King Zedekiah, heir to the throne of David, who was taken into captivity at the time of Jeremiah and Lehi, which son - Mulek - escaped the fate of the conquest of Jerusalem.

It also contains an account of Christ visiting his lost sheep - a branch of the house of Israel - here in the Americas - after his resurrection.

If anything, the coming forth of an ancient record which bears witness of: the scattering of Israel, the gathering of Israel, the resurrection of the Savior, the events at the tower of Babel and even much that transpired in the Garden of Eden - truly is a sign of the last days.  Of the gathering and restoration of the kingdom.

Now, while the book is an abridgement, there is sufficient detail that a skilled reader can put together much to see that this book was not just some fictitious invention of a delusional con-artist.  There is sufficient on the geography, economy and political affairs to see that this is an actual historical account - but being an abridgement, one must read diligently to put the pieces together but, I testify, they are there.  

It really does round out much - but not all - of the Lord's scripture we have been given.  There isn't a single place in the Holy Bible that tells us how to baptize specifically or how to administer the bread and wine from the Lord's last supper - which is spelled out specifically in the Book of Mormon. 

Lastly, this is my favorite scripture from the book:   10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good. (2 Nephi 33).