Saturday, May 12, 2018

Happy Mothers Day!


Moms are in a unique position to affect the future, through their influence with children.

Dads do mean a lot as well, and parents should work together, but mom sets the stage for future years.

So it was with me and my mom. I grew up in a home with six sisters, two brothers, a a gang of assorted others from time to time.

Family units, with mother and dad are integral to the foundation of the Church. In fact some pertinent counsel is formally declared in Church Doctrine – The Proclamation on the Family

HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children.  Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live….
Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners….
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife...

My mom fulfilled this responsibility as fully as any mother could. 

I’m thinking of all the things for which moms are an example for us…

She created my life…
She gave me her love…
She is my teacher…
She is my therapist when I am troubled…
She ministers when I am in need…
She cares for me when I am sick…
She gives me hope that I can survive through life’s hardships…
She taught me about spirituality…
She taught me reverence for sacred things...
She taught me to pray...

She is my mom. All these things and many more…

Mothers inherit the grand tradition of Eve, the mother of all the human family, the one who understood that she and Adam had to fall in order that “men [and women] might be” and that there would be joy. Yours is the grand tradition of Sarah and Rebekah and Rachel, without whom there could not have been those magnificent patriarchal promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob which bless us all. Yours is the grand tradition of mothers and grandmothers, and the mothers of the 2,000 stripling warriors. Yours is the grand tradition of Mary, chosen and foreordained from before this world was, to conceive, carry, and bear the Son of God Himself. We thank all of you, including our own mothers, and tell you there is nothing more important in this world than participating so directly in the work and glory of God, in bringing to pass the mortality and earthly life of His daughters and sons, so that immortality and eternal life can come in those celestial realms on high. (Elder Holland)

When I was growing up, we had a big house with plenty of room for our growing family.

When we were very little, she would come and read stories to us at bed time.

We had closet doors in our bedrooms that were chalkboards, and way before any schoolteachers taught me to read and write, my mother taught me at home.

In fact, when I started first grade in elementary school, this was the source of all kinds of misunderstanding and unhappiness. The teacher could not believe I already knew the first-grade basics. He insisted that I should participate in group activities with the other children.  Before I could understand that different people have different talents at different stages, I was impatient with those who made so laborious things that came so easy to me.  I suspected that some of the kids in our group activities were playing dumb, just to irritate me. 

As I learned to pay better attention, I noticed that my mother had limitless patience with guests in our home, she set a good example for us.

Among so many other things, my mom had an exceptional musical talent. I didn’t inherit any particular talent myself, but I came to appreciate good music, after so much exposure to it.  I recall many musical performances in which she was featured or took part, in groups like the Southern California Mormon Choir, in places like the Hollywood Bowl, and the Chandler Pavilion for Performing Arts in  Los Angeles.

Not to say I was a perfect little boy that never had any conflicts at home.  I have a snapshot of myself from 1956, at our brand new home in Manhattan Beach.  It was not yet landscaped, and it featured a large and deep mud puddle in the back yard. The photo shows me proudly standing in the middle, wearing yellow fuzzy footy pajamas, padding trough the muddy swamp.  I thought it was a fine swimming pool, those antics perhaps in part responsible for my later enthusiasm for swimming. I could not understand why she was so upset about the mud and mess...

But as I said, I was not always involved in such trivial incidents, notwithstanding my mothers teaching.  I remember one particularly acrimonious exchange.. around twelve years old, after which I decided I must run away from home. I grabbed a few provisions, wrote a heartfelt note announcing my intention - it  featured  a bleeding heart that was pierced by a couple of arrows - and I pedaled away on my bike, resolved to never return. I ended up at the playground of the local grade school, riding my bike with some friends. Subsequently I had a disastrous crashing of my bike while climbing up some dirt hills, and tearfully marched home to display my pitiful wounds - to my mother, of course. Who else would wash away the blood and tears, and put on band aids?

One of the occasions that stands out in my memory involved my taking some things that were my mothers property, to sell them.  I used my ill-gotten gains to buy cheap toys.  When she found out about my misdeeds, she let me know she was really disappointed.  It made such a deep impression on me that I was never again tempted to steal.

On many other occasions I was better-behaved, and we had many fun times together.  We took lots of “field trips” with my mom,  exploring places like the nearby tidal pools, several museums and garden areas around Los Angeles and San Diego.  She encouraged us to participate in planting and keeping a backyard garden. We became well acquainted with the local nursery grower, and my mom always gave the birthday gift of one tree to plant.  Our yard was a showplace for flowers and fruit trees.  I’ve never had better peaches than those from our back yard.

We also had a collection of farmyard pets to learn to take care of – ducks and chickens, pigeons, and rabbits, dogs and cats.

Well, I do recognize that some of us, for one reason or another, grow up without our mother’s guiding care. I am sure that throughout our lives we frequently borrow from other moms, because like my mom, many seem to have the capacity to spread out their love inclusively, to a  circle with more than the local family.

My mom is like that. Though my family made a pretty substantial group, we always had more – sometimes many more - that were welcomed around our dinner table.  She hosted a Cub Scout den for a number of years.  And served in numerous other Church callings.

Well, my mom is eighty six now, and we seldom have the excitement and misadventures I so enjoyed growing up.  But she still makes an effort to express love for everyone. And is still my most effective therapist.

On one recent occasion, she was sitting in the foyer during church.  She noticed one very little boy acting out, so she captured him with a big hug and held  quiet him on her lap.  He was suddenly still,  gazing up into her grandma smile, and he asked her, “How did you get those cracks in your face?”  She really DID crack up over that!

I send roses to her on Mothers Day as a token of my love, recognizing I can never repay all that I have enjoyed or been blessed with, because of her.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Prayers for Easter Peace

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things...  (Philippians 4:4-8)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentines

Indeed, a day for rejoicing!  After spending half the time since Sept 4 in one hospital or another, today I have found a new place to call home - at least for a while.  I have relocated to an assisted living facility in Salt Lake City.  It is named rather fancifully "Le Chateau de Brickyard".

Monday, January 01, 2018

Happy New Year!

Best wishes to all, for a happy and prosperous New Year!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Glad Tidings

Good things can come our way, even from people who are thoroughly confused about most everything.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Thanksgiving revisited...

Book of Remembrance

In the First Presidency Message this month, President Eyring reminds us all to recognize, remember, and give thanks to the Lord for all His the bounteous blessings.  Eyring quotes from President Kimball,
Please follow the counsel you have been given in the past and maintain your personal journals. Those who keep a book of remembrance are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives. Journals are a way of counting our blessings and of leaving an inventory of these blessings for our posterity.  (Spencer W. Kimball, "Listen to the Prophets")
This blog fulfils two purposes for me.  It serves as my personal editorial page, and as my personal Book of Remembrance.

Though I don't always express it in obvious ways, I am ever grateful for Heavenly Father's providence.

In the Book of Mormon, Alma testifies,
...All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.  (Alma 30:44)

In the Doctrine and Covenants, we have further prosaic testimony about the nature of God and His creations,
  He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.
  And again, verily I say unto you, he hath given a law unto all things, by which they move in their times and their seasons;
  And their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and all the planets.
And they give light to each other in their times and in their seasons, in their minutes, in their hours, in their days, in their weeks, in their months, in their years—all these are one year with God, but not with man.
  The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God.
  Unto what shall I liken these kingdoms, that ye may understand?
  Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.  (Doctrine and Covenants 88-41-47)

The banner of this blog, a photograph of Mount Timpanogos, represents my reverence and gratitude for Heavenly Father's magnificent creations.  He has blessed us beyond our ability to receive it.

I borrow a beautiful photo of a Columbine in blossom, from my long-time Internet friend Dave Kennison.

 Another beautiful glade of flowers on the Wasatch Plateau, photographed by my sister Beth.

The very earth upon which we stand, the air we breathe, the beauty and freedom of the hills, the trees and flowers, even the rocks and flowing waters.  All of it testifies of the great love that our Heavenly Father blesses us with.

For all these blessings, and many more, my heart overflows with gratitude.  My life has been filled with many good things, and I am joyful and thankful.   

And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances, not with much laughter, for this is sin, but with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance—

Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth;

Yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards;

Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;

Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.

And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.

And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments. (Doctrine and Covenants 59:15-21)

Institute for Banana Ballistics Research

Yesterday, I stuck a ripe banana in my pocket.  I wear utility scrubs, they have lots of pockets.

Anyway I was summarily  interrupted from my intention to assimilate the comestible portion of said fruit by an urgent and immediate call of nature.

My response was not a timely one, and as I neared, the objective spot, I peed my pants and made a big puddle on the bathroom floor.

This led to my first discovery of formal physical science, hereafter to be known as "Porcelain's Law".  The law simply states that, in the spirit of Occam's Razor, there exists a proportional direct relation between the distance to the bathroom and the propensity to make a puddle on the floor.

This principle was tested and demonstrated through exhaustive empirical research methods.

In fortuitous serendipity, as I mopped the floor, my banana dropped out of my pocket, and I subsequently drove over it with the wheelchair. I was presented with observational results of the kinetic energy released, and the characteristic ballistic function of hydro static force generated in the dispersal and pattern of subsequent banana-like ejecta.

Then I had the opportunity to clean walls and wheelchair as well as mopping the floor to dispose of  the experimental detritus.  In addition to a load of laundry.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Walking in Darkness

I don't feel like I belong here any more.  I am all alone in a very dark place.  I am no longer someone who matters.  Love is gone, no hope, nothing left but feeling shame to be so worthless.

Why do I even ask why?

People help me in my helplessness, but it makes me feel even more worthless and hopeless.  I have no escape.  No place of refuge...