Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all,

and best wishes for a Happy New Year!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

October 2009 General Conference: Attempting the Impossible

Elder Jorge F. Zeballos of the Seventy counsels us that attempting the impossible, in the case of striving to become perfect, is worth the effort. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are models we should be following.

We are not alone in our struggle. Our Father in Heaven watches over us and helps us because He wants us to be with Him for all eternity.

Through the Atonement of the Savior, we can achieve our greatest potential. God does not expect more than we are able. But He expects no less than that.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October 2009 General Conference: Seeking to Know God, Our Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ

Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke to the saints about seeking to know God, and Jesus Christ.
Deepening secularism in the world arond us makes it ever more important to understand why the Savior's admonition,
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent".
To know God:
He Lives!
We were created in the physical image of Heavenly Father.
The Father and Son have a physical presence.
They speak with a voice. They have faces. The Son stands on the right of the Father.
Cultivate a desire to learn, and humility to be instructed. Eternal truth will be taught to you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

October 2009 General Conference: Love and Law

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke concerning the connection between love and God's commanments.
Confusing between love and law.
Why does God love us so much, and why do we desire that love?

God’s choicest blessings depend upon our obedience to God’s laws and commandments.

In teaching and reacting to their children, parents have many opportunities to apply these laws and commandments.

October 2009 General Conference: The Love of God

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf Second Counselor in the First Presidency instructs regarding the nature and attributes of Heavenly Father and His disciples.
He examines these points:
  • How Do We Become True Disciples of Jesus Christ?
  • Why Should We Love God?
  • Why Does Heavenly Father Love Us?
  • How Can We Increase Our Love of God?
  • Why Is Love the Great Commandment?
  • What attribute should define us as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

October 2009 General Conference: More Diligent and Concerned at Home

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles takes his theme from a passage of Doctrine and Covenants that admonishes the brethren to be "more diligent and concerned at home", and challenges the saints to follow that advice.

First, we should express love for our families -- and show it by our actions. Jesus taught about the link between words and deeds: "If ye love me, keep my commandments".

Second, bear testimony, and live it.

Third, be consistent.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

October 2009 General Conference: That Your Burdens May Be Light

Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy counsels that our burdens can provide opportunities to practice virtues that contribute to eventual perfection.

Our burdens result from three sources in general:

- The nature of the world we live in
- The misconduct of others
- Our own mistakes.

Our burdens can provide opportunities that help us to progress.

Our burdens teach us humility.

We may gain by experiencing through empathy the burdens of others.

The Savior offers to deliver us from bondage.

Friday, October 16, 2009

October 2009 General Conference: Helping Others Recognize the Whisperings of the Spirit

Vicki F. Matsumori, Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency, gave counsel with regard to helping others recognize spiritual insight, particularly our children. Starting from a quotation of a passage from the Doctrine and Covenants, she went on to explain how we can help others benefit from the communications of the Spirit they might otherwise miss. We teach them to understand the doctrine.

First, we teach them to recognize how they feel under the influence of the Spirit.
The scriptures and the prophets teach what this constant companionship feels like. The Lord tells us, “I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.” Enos stated, “While I was . . . struggling in the spirit, behold, the voice of the Lord came into my mind.” Joseph Smith said, “When you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas.” President Henry B. Eyring described the influence of the Holy Ghost as “peace, hope, and joy.” He added, “Almost always I have also felt a sensation of light.”
My favorite description, though, comes from an eight-year-old boy who had just received the Holy Ghost. He said, “It felt like sunshine.”
Second, we do this by bearing our testimony. Sharing testimony helps others feel the influence of the Spirit.

Third, we provide an environment where the Spirit can be felt. This means taking the time and making the effort to invite spiritual feelings.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October 2009 General Conference: To Acquire Spiritual Guidance

Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles offers counsel and advice on obtaining the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Elder Scott asserts that we may not have altogether similar circumstances as earlier stories we have learned of, because the world is changing at such a rapid pace, thus we may want to come to understand the correct principles that govern inspiration, that we may be ready to take advantage of that information as it comes to us.

Elder Scott counsels that inspiration is not subject to a simple formula or technique that would immediately allow us to master the ability to be guided by the voice of the Spirit. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ expect us to exercise faith -- else inspiration would make us dependent and weak.

October 2009 General Conference: Welcome to Conference

President Thomas S. Monson opened the conference with the announcement of five new temples to be built: Brigham City, Utah; Concepción, Chile; Fortaleza, Brazil; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Sapporo, Japan. He quoted words of President Joseph F. Smith as he spoke of temple service and of the spirit world beyond mortality. Said he, “Through our efforts in their behalf their chains of bondage will fall from them, and the darkness surrounding them will clear away, that light may shine upon them and they shall hear in the spirit world of the work that has been done for them by their [people] here, and will rejoice with you in your performance of these duties.

He urged us to pray for those who live in places where the truth is not allowed, and prayed for us all, looking forward to the addresses of the speakers of the conference following.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

October 2009 General Conference notes

Another conference has come, and with it cause to meditate and consider counsel from church leaders.

Text of this conference is online here. If you like, follow me as I review the talks online.

I will do my best to be concise.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Utah Places: Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon is unique, not alone because of the spectacular colorful shapes of rock formations, but also in the scope encompassed in the variety within the park. Through the four seasons, the area reflects a beauty all its own, not to be found elsewhere.

Some of the showiest opportunities are highlighted at NPS web pages, but the park deserves exploration. Just remember, don't take everything you read as the truth. NPS employees obviously don't know everything.

See the wonders of Bryce Canyon. Recommended.

Friday, September 18, 2009

April 2009 General Conference: Unselfish Service

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles admonished the saints to render unselfish service.

Each year tens of thousands of Latter-day Saints submit their papers for full-time missionary service.

Latter-day Saints are also renowned for their ability to unite in cooperative efforts.

Unfortunately, some Latter-day Saints seem to forego unselfish service to others, choosing instead to fix their priorities on the standards and values of the world.

We live in a time when sacrifice is definitely out of fashion, when the outside forces that taught our ancestors the need for unselfish cooperative service have diminished.

All of this illustrates the eternal principle that we are happier and more fulfilled when we act and serve for what we give, not for what we get.
Our Savior teaches us to follow Him by making the sacrifices necessary to lose ourselves in unselfish service to others. If we do, He promises us eternal life, “the greatest of all the gifts of God” (D&C 14:7), the glory and joy of living in the presence of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

April 2009 General Conference: None Were with Him

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles delivered what was for me, the defining address of the conference.

His special dedication set the tone: is directed in a special way to those who are alone or feel alone or, worse yet, feel abandoned. These might include those longing to be married, those who have lost a spouse, and those who have lost—or have never been blessed with—children. Our empathy embraces wives forsaken by their husbands, husbands whose wives have walked away, and children bereft of one or the other of their parents—or both. This group can find within its broad circumference a soldier far from home, a missionary in those first weeks of homesickness, or a father out of work, afraid the fear in his eyes will be visible to his family. In short it can include all of us at various times in our lives.
To all such, I speak of the loneliest journey ever made and the unending blessings it brought to all in the human family. I speak of the Savior’s solitary task of shouldering alone the burden of our salvation. Rightly He would say: “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me. . . . I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold [me].”

If this opening strikes particularly to your heart, as it did mine, then we are on the same page.

Read it yourself, and see...

Living Notes 3

I have not posted for a while....Sorry. I apologize to those regular readers who anticipate something meaningful. I have had a hard time finding it of late. Need some help.

The man I trusted to do business with has withheld money that I must now argue in court to try to win back, more than nine thousand dollars. It is not my money -- most of it is owed to my employees. But the whole affair bores me. Thievery is so stupid, cheating is infantile, and ultimately leads to a sad end.

My physical condition continues fairly static. I note little progress on the stationary bike, or the treadmill. I am holding my own -- that's all.

We are make progress collecting firewood for the winter, not that I am much help in that endeavor. The stack on the front porch is about twenty percent of ready. Let the cold weather begin. I welcome the snow. At least it will bring a change. I'm looking forward to it. Fall colors are beginning to sow some impresive hues all around the valley.

Seasons change...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Cremation of Sam McGee

For reading around a campfire:

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee,
Where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam
'Round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold
Seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he'd often say in his homely way
That he'd "sooner live in hell".

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way
Over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold
It stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze
Till sometimes we couldn't see;
It wasn't much fun, but the only one
To whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight
In our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead
Were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and "Cap," says he,
"I'll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I'm asking that you
Won't refuse my last request.

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no;
Then he says with a sort of moan:
"It's the cursed cold, and it's got right hold
Till I'm chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet 'tain't being dead -- it's my awful dread
Of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair,
You'll cremate my last remains.

A pal's last need is a thing to heed,
So I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn;
But God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day
Of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all
That was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn't a breath in that land of death,
And I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn't get rid,
Because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say:
"You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it's up to you
To cremate those last remains."

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid,
And the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb,
In my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight,
While the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows --
O God! how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay
Seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent
And the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad,
But I swore I would not give in;
And I'd often sing to the hateful thing,
And it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge,
And a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice
It was called the "Alice May".
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit,
And I looked at my frozen chum;
Then "Here," said I, with a sudden cry,
"Is my cre-ma-tor-eum."

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor,
And I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around,
And I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared --
Such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal,
And I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn't like
To hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled,
And the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled
Down my cheeks, and I don't know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak
Went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow
I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about
Ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said:
"I'll just take a peep inside.
I guess he's cooked, and it's time I looked
"; . . .
Then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm,
In the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile,
And he said: "Please close that door.
It's fine in here, but I greatly fear
You'll let in the cold and storm --
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee,
It's the first time I've been warm.

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Utah Places: Santaquin Peak and Loafer Mountain

Santaquin Peak and Loafer Mountain form the northern end of the Mount Nebo massif. Nebo summits are a long series of weathered rocky ridge, and these two peaks form the north end, before it drops off into Spanish Fork Canyon.

There are a number of ways to approach. The easiest climb is from the road just above Payson, where it turns south to jaunt toward Payson Lakes and Blackhawk Campground. There is a sign at the trailhead marking the departure. The two peaks are only about half-mile apart, so might as well bag them both, while you're there.

There is a trail coming south from Spanish Fork Canyon, just east of the big red barn, but I have never hiked it.

The peaks can also be hiked following trails from Birdsdeye on the east, and this is the route I have followed. Amble up the Bennie Creek trail till it intersects, then turn north to the summit of choice. Santaquin Peak overlooks Utah Valley to the west, and Loafer Mountain dominates the upper Sanpete Valley on the east. Both peaks offer a hiking challenge, especially in winter, and dramatic views all around.

If you enjoy boots-on-the-ground, this is a great hike. Much easier than some of the other Wasatch peaks, with a similar exposure and dramatic views. Overall, an under appreciated and relatively unrecognized hike.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Utah Places: Maple Canyon

Maple Canyon is in the Sanpitch Mountains southwest of Moroni City. More rock climbers from outside of Utah come here than locals. It has a unique feature of deep narrow canyons eroded in a conglomerate rock formation that affords many ideal climbing holds and footrests. Even if you have little interest in rock climbing, it is a spectacular canyon. If you are into this kind of rock climbing, it is Mecca.

The surrounding mountains are worth exploring. There are other excellent places for rock climbing in the nearby canyons. The Maple Canyon area hosts a gem of a public campground that is a nice place to camp. Towering rocks make a dramatic background.

Lots of places to hike and play.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Utah Places: Bear River Bird Refuge

The Great Salt Lake basin forms a drainage for the Bear River as it flows down fom the mountains, and with over 70,000 acres of wetland and marsh area, the Migratory Bird Refuge sees millions of waterfowl passing through or nesting within the boundaries. Bird lovers can watch their favorites, birds of every plumage and hue, passerby or resident. One of the largest refuges of its kind in the country. Worth seeing.

Administered by US Fish and Wildlife.

Bring field glasses.

April 2009 General Conference: Come unto Him

Elder Neil L. Andersen, newest member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, took the occasion as a newly called member of the quorum to bear witness of Jesus Christ, and share the roots of his testimony.

Elder Anderson testified that these are days long foretold by prophets. Regardless of the difficult challenges we face...
...Yet we must not shrink from what is uniquely and singularly found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Only here is the priesthood of God, restored to earth by heavenly messengers. Only here does the Book of Mormon stand with the Bible in revealing and declaring the full divinity and gospel of Christ. Only here are there prophets of God, bringing guidance from heaven and holding the keys that bind in heaven what is bound on earth.
Elder Anderson shared the promise of the Savior's witness:

“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
“And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:25–26).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Body Movement: Voluntary vs. Involuntary

Not quite that simple, it turns out...

Some body movements have both a reflex component and a voluntary component. Many of them are rhythmic movements such as breathing, chewing, and walking. These movements are produced by neural circuits called central pattern generators. When activated, the neurons in these circuits generate a certain pattern of predetermined neural activity that smoothly co-ordinates the contraction of the many muscles involved in rhythmic activities.

These pattern generators free up the conscious mind so that I don't have to send down a voluntary command every time I want to put one foot in front of the other. In this respect, walking resembles a reflex activity. But I do have to issue voluntary commands when I want to start or stop walking, just as I do to pick up my pace to get across the street when the light turns yellow, or to make that little jump up to the curb on the opposite side, or a small sidestep to avoid a puddle along the way. Thus voluntary commands can also modulate certain reflex movements.

This is the effective compromise between the need to free my overworked and already frenzied mind from repetitive movements, and the need to retain some ability to adjust to changes and obstacles in the environment. Or, allow me to walk and chew gum at the same time.

An intriguing question: What actions are thoughtful, and which are mere reflex? Does my conscious know the reality and can I even tell the difference? How much of my day-to-day is really just pre-programmed knee-jerks, going through the motions?

What do YOU think?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tendon Reflex

Tendon reflex, like the patella reflex so often checked by doctors, tapping with the little rubber hammer, is an involuntary response to stimulus that prompts automatic reaction of a limb or body part. Some reflex actions like the patellar reflex operate in a closed neural circuit, called a "reflex arc", that saves time and thought, bypassing the conscious and immediately eliciting a quick response.

The relative health status of some individuals is also reflected in involuntary responses. When the doctor checks my patellar reflexes, watch out!, because some of them are hyperactive. Especially the right leg, which exhibits what is called "tonic" reflex, or just "tone" for short. Too much "tone" means that flexors and extensors are opposing each other too much to allow freedom of voluntary movement. When the doctor taps lightly on the ligament below the patella, my leg responds in a fairly dramatic way.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Babinsky's sign

Babinsky's sign:
A -- normal reflex
B -- pathological response

One of the "stupid pet tricks" my doctors have me perform, again and again, is the positive Babinsky reflex that proves I am brain damaged. It sounds vaguely pejorative, but is actually also known as "plantar reflex", and is commonly used as a diagnostic to indicate neurological compromise. Babinski is the name of the famed French neurologist from whom the technique takes its name.

One of the most amusing things about being tested for a positive Babinsky is that the doctor asks you to take off your shoes and socks -- to determine the status of your brain!

Then they scrape something along the bottom of the bare foot, and watch which way your toes curl. If something is wrong, the big toe and other toes flex upward and outward. The normal reflex is for the toes to curl downward, like the clenching fist.

Some doctors use a tongue depressor or some the blunt little hammer doctors use for testing reflexes. Dr. Brin, my neurologist at the U, preferred to use a key from her key ring.

I can perform this trick on request at any time. Any number of doctors have watched and nodded wisely at the uneducated and uncouth response of my big toe. It seems like a silly thing for learned doctors to be studying on, playing with their patients feet.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Living Notes 2

It is getting more difficult to find something interesting to say.

Not that I find my life boring. I do, sometimes--but that is beside the point. The point being that we have something of mutual interest to share. I take upon myself the obligation to find that something, that particular something, and to write about it. My writing is somewhat of a cathartic remedy--it affords an opportunity for me to express myself, and perhaps to even whine a little. Oh, but not too much. Too much whining is boring to you and depressing to me. So I refrain.
Sufficient to say, I am in a holding pattern -- I am handicapped from stroke damage and shark attacks, but the treatment is keeping these under control. For now.

I am dealing with the mentally unstable condition. Other things are bothersome but not fatal. COME WHAT MAY!

It is worth mentioning that last night, we had a visit from my bishop and stake president. It turned out to be more than a social call. They want me to do a job for the stake. I accepted the invitation to serve, with gladness. I have missed the job of working as the assistant clerk, because I could rub shoulders with some fine people in the ward. Anyway, at least they didn't ask me to be a new bishop or something. More on this later...

I have been performing adequately at PT workouts, but improvements are difficult to assess. Near as I can judge, I am about at the halfway mark as far as fitness and agility are concerned. It is tough to keep on going, three times per week, but I try not to miss...

I am measuring slight changes in sensory capacity, but whether these are real or imagined, the difference is too subtle to measure objectively. One thing I can tell is that I have more sensory definition in feeling my face and forehead. There may be slightly more sensitivity in my abdomen, but the skin still has some areas of numbness, so it is hard to tell. Legs are like posts still. Right foot has lost some ground in the sensory map--there are new areas of dead-feeling skin on the toes not noticed before. Oh, well. Gain some, lose some...

Next instalment:  Living the Life 5

Sunday, August 02, 2009

April 2009 General Conference: The Way of the Disciple

In his Sunday morning conference address, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf; Second Counselor in the First Presidency, describes the way of disciples of Jesus Christ.

Christ brought to us the pathway of discipleship -- the gospel. As we walk in that way, we can experience confidence and joy—even during times of peril, sorrow, and uncertainty.

Many in the world hunger for meaning and purpose to life. We struggle for a livelihood. The world offers all kinds of answers to life's problems, but few of them satisfy. The gospel is the divine formula for joy and happiness.

We become disciples by faith in the gospel. As we extend faith, we repent and receive the saving ordinances, and are accepted as members of the Lord's kingdom here on earth. We continue to gain in faith and testimony as the gift of the Holy Spirit whispers truths to our soul, and we are inspired to greater things. These are the first steps along the true way of life and fulfillment. This is the peaceable way of the follower of Jesus Christ.

This is a pathway of patience, requiring long application to win success.

Discipleship is a journey. We need the refining lessons of the journey to craft our character and purify our hearts. By patiently walking in the path of discipleship, we demonstrate to ourselves the measure of our faith and our willingness to accept God’s will rather than ours.
It is not enough merely to speak of Jesus Christ or proclaim that we are His disciples. It is not enough to surround ourselves with symbols of our religion. Discipleship is not a spectator sport. We cannot expect to experience the blessings of faith by standing inactive on the sidelines any more than we can experience the benefits of health by sitting on a sofa watching sporting events on television and giving advice to the athletes. And yet for some, “spectator discipleship” is a preferred if not a primary way of worshipping.
Ours is not a secondhand religion. We cannot receive the blessings of the gospel merely by observing the good that others do. We need to get off the sidelines and practice what we preach

We start here, take that first step. There is no requirement to be educated, eloquent, or intellectual. We do not have to be perfect or well-spoken or even well-mannered.
You and I can walk in the path of discipleship today. Let us be humble; let us pray to our Father in Heaven with all our heart and express our desire to draw close to Him and learn of Him.
Have faith.
Seek, and you will find.
Knock, and the door will be opened.

Serve the Lord by serving others.
Become an active participant in your ward or branch.
Strengthen your family by committing to live the principles of the gospel.
Be of one heart and of one mind in your marriage and in your family.
Have a temple recommend and use it.
Now is the time to have meaningful family home evenings.
Read the word of God.
Speak to our Heavenly Father in earnest prayer.
Express gratitude for the Restoration of His Church.
For living prophets, the Book of Mormon, and the priesthood power.
Embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, become His disciples, and walk in His way.
There are some who believe that because they have made mistakes, they can no longer fully partake of the blessings of the gospel. How little they understand the purposes of the Lord. One of the great blessings of living the gospel is that it refines us and helps us learn from our mistakes. We “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” yet the Atonement of Jesus Christ has the power to make us whole when we repent.
Our Heavenly Father loves us—even with all our flaws! His love is such that even should we give up on ourselves, He never will.
“We see ourselves in terms of yesterday and today. Our Heavenly Father sees us in terms of forever. . . .
“The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of transformation. It takes us as men and women of the earth and refines us into men and women for the eternities.”
To those who have left the path of discipleship for whatever reason, I invite you to start where you are and come to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Walk again in the way of the Lord. I testify that the Lord will bless your life, endow you with knowledge and joy beyond comprehension, and distill upon you the supernal gifts of the Spirit. It is always the right time to walk in His way. It is never too late.
To those who feel inadequate because they have not been members of the Church all their lives, to those who feel that they can never make up for the time they have lost, I testify that the Lord needs your specific abilities, talents, and skills. The Church needs you; we need you. It is always the right time to walk in His way. It is never too late.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

April 2009 General Conference: Be Your Best Self

President Thomas S. Monson counseled in his General Priesthood address about striving to put forward our best.

He cited several sources indicating that we face grave difficulties in this task, and offered his advise on how to be successful. The Lord is on our side -- we cannot fail. It is not a time to fear, but to go forth with courage.

The three key elements for success he enumerates are:
1. Study diligently.
2. Pray fervently.
3. Live righteously.
President Monson suggests that if we study the scriptures daily we will have power to resist any temptation that is put before us. The Holy Spirit will guide us as we study.

Fervent prayer will be answered, as with God, all things are possible. Prayer is the provider of spiritual strength.

Holders of the priesthood may not necessarily be eloquent in their speech. They may not hold advanced degrees in difficult fields of study. They may very well be men of humble means. But God is no respecter of persons, and He will sustain His servants in righteousness as they avoid the evils of our day and live lives of virtue and purity

Reiterating: Temper Tantrums

Like I said, I have them too...

I remember one of mom's expressions " mad I could spit!"

But mom is not alone with this problem. I recall one sister who stormed off to her room on a regular basis, trailing the refrain, "...I'm Never gonna love you again, Never Ever, Never!!!"

To be concluded by the slamming of the bedroom door with an energy and vigor that would shake the dust and shiver the whole house.

Peculiar to this family is the internal antagonism that characterizes family groups. but an expectation that we should somehow be different. A strange idea. We ought to be better.

We remember things from early childhood rather selectively, I suppose. Any suggestion can direct memory to be positive or negative, depending on the particular chosen bias.

Let others comment about their own experience. Each has their own perspective.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Neurology 103: Basilar Artery Thrombosis

I have been studying a series of medical journal articles about basilar artery thrombosis, which is what caused my brain stem strokes.

According to one online journal, Basilar artery occlusion is associated with a poor prognosis. Some patients with partial occlusion have limited ischemic injury and, therefore, a better prognosis, although outcomes continue to be poor.

Those factors associated with poor outcome include decreased level of consciousness, dysarthria, pupillary abnormalities, bulbar symptoms, diplopia, bilateral cerebellar lesions, tetraplegia, and a cardiac cause of embolism. Up to 90% of patients with no such factors have a good functional outcome, while all patients with such factors either died or had severe disability.

The mortality rate is consistently reported at greater than 70%. Recanalization may decrease the mortality rate by 50%. However, the outcome in a recent series of patients with basilar artery thrombosis treated with antithrombotics was similar to the reported outcome in the available series of patients treated with thrombolytic therapy.

tPA treatment was not applied in a timely manner in my case, but I started using Plavix, a antithrombotic drug that may serve to moderate future thrombosis. I hope so, anyway.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Amateur Pshrink VII: Klonopin addiction

Klonopin Addiction and Treatment- K-pin - Kiddie Cocaine – Another Form of Prescription Drug Abuse

Some people become addicted to prescription drugs. Their doctors may not recognize the symptoms as well as those who spend more time with these individuals.

Klonopin is classified as a depressant, similar in every respect to alcohol, and similarly addictive to the abuser. The changes in personality and behavior are notable:

• Drowsiness
• Confusion
• Impaired motor function
Impaired coordination and balance.

Some of the less seen side effects of Klonopin use include the following:
dis-inhibition rage
excitement irritability
hangover-like symptoms feeling drowsy
headaches sluggish irritable after waking

This occurs because of Klonopin’s long half-life which means that the medication itself stays in the person’s bloodstream.

The real danger related to Klonopin comes when individuals either mix the drug with another substance. Use of other drugs intensifies the general effects.

The other situation where Klonopin use is dangerous is when use of the drug is abruptly discontinued after long term use. Everyone who utilizes Klonopin long term becomes low dose dependent. Side effects of the drug itself are generally benign, but sudden withdrawal after long-term use can cause severe, even fatal, symptoms. Symptoms of withdrawal include: Anxiety, irritability, insomnia, panic attacks, tremors and DT’s (delirium tremens) which occurs with long term use.

Not only can long term Klonopin use result in dependence, it can also result in protracted withdrawal. This means withdrawal can last for months, years, or even a life time. This only occurs in ten to fifteen percent of cases, however, the risk is real. This results because of brain damage, which is usually irreversible. Some symptoms include: anxiety, insomnia, tinnitus, tingling and numbness in limbs, muscle pain and tension, cramps, weakness, irritable bowel, and cognitive difficulties.

DEA Link on Klonopin
benzodiazepine addiction

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Amateur Pshrink VI: Major Depression

Major Depressive Disorder

Signs & Symptoms

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed
  • More about Signs & Symptoms »

I am currently taking Cymbalta as an antidepressant, Zyprexa sedative and antipsychotic, and Zonegran antiseizure medicine. I was taking Seroquil but quit using it. I was also taking Klonopin but quit using it too. It has some unpleasant side effects.

I take Verapamil, quite a large dose, twice daily, because the calcium channel blocker mechanism seems to prevent my basilar type attacks, as well as lowering blood pressure. I also take Plavix which does something to prevent blood clotting as normal.

Without the Seroquil I was only able to sleep for an hour or two per day. Apparently some brain mechanism that regulates my sleeping was damaged in one of my brain stem strokes.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Reiterating: Silence is Perfect

I reiterate, at the risk of repeating myself.

I am still trying to find the fullest measure of love and life. My choices don't please everyone. I realize that, but it is a catch-22 situation.

The harder I try to please certain others, the less satisfied I am. They define their own arbitrary rules for things that seem axiomatic and standard to me. Truth is not situational or a matter of convenience. That which is true one moment must necessarily be true the next, all else being equal.

I am an advocate of Thumper's Rule -- "IF YOU CAN'T SAY SOMTHIN' NICE, DON'T SAY ANYTHIN' AT ALL".

As a result, I find myself speaking and writing less and less. Perhaps silence is perfection.

Monday, July 13, 2009

April 2009 General Conference: "Man Down!"

President Henry B. Eyring First Counselor in the First Presidency advised in his priesthood address that feeling of responsibility for others is at the heart of faithful priesthood service.
President Eyring asserts,
You will need bravery and you will need boldness because you are enlisted in the Lord’s army in the last dispensation. This is not a time of peace. That has been so since Satan arrayed his forces against our Heavenly Father’s plan in the premortal existence. We don’t know the details of the combat then. But we know one result. Satan and his followers were cast down into the earth. And since the creation of Adam and Eve, the conflict has continued. We have seen it intensify. And the scriptures suggest that the war will become more violent and the spiritual casualties on the Lord’s side will mount.
Almost all of us have seen a battlefield portrayed in a film or read the description in a story. Over the din of explosions and the shouts of soldiers, there comes a cry, “Man down!”

The metaphor is extended -- soldiers rush to the aid of a fallen comrade.
Such a feeling of responsibility for others is at the heart of faithful priesthood service. Our comrades are being wounded in the spiritual conflict around us. So are the people we are called to serve and protect from harm. Spiritual wounds are not easily visible, except with inspired eyes. But bishops, branch presidents, and mission presidents sitting before fellow disciples of the Savior can see the wounded and the wounds.
The wounds of sin are often not perceived as such by the one injured. Satan uses some soporific to deaden the spiritual pain while wounding. Unless there is intervention to begin repentance, the wound can worsen and widen.

You may think, “Maybe the trouble I thought I saw is just my imagination. What right do I have to judge another? It’s not my responsibility. I’ll leave it alone until he asks for help.”

You are responsible to be brave enough and bold enough not to turn away.
you are under covenant, as has been made clear to you, that when you accepted the trust from God to receive the priesthood, you accepted a responsibility for whatever you might do or fail to do for the salvation of others however difficult and dangerous that might appear to be for you.

Jacob in the Book of Mormon described his sacred trust when he moved in difficult circumstances to give aid: “Now, my beloved brethren, I, Jacob, according to the responsibility which I am under to God, to magnify mine office with soberness, and that I might rid my garments of your sins, I come up into the temple this day that I might declare unto you the word of God.”

Now, you might object that Jacob was a prophet and you are not. But your office, whatever it is in the priesthood, brings with it an obligation to “lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees”3 of those around you. You are the Lord’s servant covenanted to do for others, as best you can, what He would do.
Jacob believed the woe of any fallen man or woman he could have helped and did not would become his own sorrow. Your happiness and that of those you are called to serve as a priesthood holder are bound together.

Now, we come to the question of how best to help those you are called to serve and rescue. That will depend on your capacities and on the nature of your priesthood relationship to the person who is in spiritual peril. Let me give three cases which may be your opportunity at times in your priesthood service.

Let’s start when you are an inexperienced junior companion, a teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood assigned with a seasoned companion to visit a young family. Before preparing for the visit you will pray for strength and inspiration to see their needs and know what help you could give. If you can, you will have that prayer with your companion, naming those you will visit. As you pray your heart will be drawn out to them personally and to God. You and your companion will agree on what you hope to accomplish. You will work out a plan for what you will do.

Whatever the plan, you will watch and listen with great intensity and humility during the visit. You are young and inexperienced. But the Lord knows their spiritual state and their needs perfectly. He loves them. And because you know He sends you to act for Him, you can have faith that you can sense their needs and what you can do to meet your charge to help. It will come as you visit face-to-face in their home. That is why you have this priesthood charge in the Doctrine and Covenants: “Visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties.”

And then you have an added charge which takes even greater discernment:

“The teacher’s duty is to watch over the church always, and be with and strengthen them;
“And see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking;
“And see that the church meet together often, and also see that all the members do their duty.”

You and your companion will rarely receive inspiration to know the details of the degree to which they are meeting that standard. But I can promise you from experience that you will be given the gift to know what is well with them. And from that you will be able to encourage them. There is another promise I can make: you and your companion will be inspired to know what changes they could make to begin the spiritual healing they need. The words of what you are charged to have happen in their lives will almost certainly contain some of the most important changes the Lord would have them make.

If your companion feels an impression to urge change, watch what he does. You will likely be surprised at the way the Spirit guides him to speak. There will be the sound of love in his voice. He will find a way to tie the needed change with a blessing that will follow. If it is the father or mother who needs to make a change, he may show how it would lead to happiness for the children. He will describe the change as a move away from unhappiness to a better and safer place.

Your contribution during the visit may seem to you small, but it can be more powerful than you may think possible. You will show by your face and manner that you care for the people. They will see that your love for them and the Lord makes you unafraid. And you will be bold enough to bear your testimony to truth. Your humble, simple, and perhaps brief testimony may touch the heart of a person more easily than that of your more experienced companion. I have seen it happen.
Whatever part you play in that priesthood visit, your desire to go to the people for the Lord to help them will bring at least two blessings. First, you will feel the love of God for the people you visit. And, second, you will feel the Savior’s gratitude for your desire to give the help the Savior knew they needed.

He sent you to them because He trusted that you would go feeling responsible to urge them toward Him and toward happiness.

As you grow a little older, there is another opportunity which will come to you in priesthood service. You will come to know your fellow quorum members well. You may have played basketball or football or shared some youth activities and service projects. With some you will have become close friends.

You will recognize when they are happy and when they are sad. Neither of you may be in a position of authority in the quorum. But you will feel responsible for your fellow member in the priesthood. He may confide in you that he is beginning to break a commandment which you know will do him spiritual harm. He may ask for advice because he trusts you.

If you succeed in influencing one away from a dangerous path, you will never forget the joy which came from being his true friend. If you do not succeed, I promise that when his grief and sadness come, as they will, you will feel his pain as if it were your own. Yet if you tried to help, you will still be his friend. And, in fact, for years he may talk with you about what good things there might have been and how grateful he is that you cared enough to try. You will comfort him then and invite him again, as you did in your youth, to come back to the happiness which the Atonement still makes possible for him.

Living Notes

Life is tough.

Nothing can be more difficult than what I have experienced in the past year. I can say this from my own subjective point of view. But that is my basis for judgment.

Good thing it is that I can only describe the experiences in words. You do not want to go there yourself, take my assurance.

In any case, we do not have the prerogative to determine the limits or bounds of our own lifetime, except under the most extraordinary circumstances. God knows and manages these parameters. When it is my time for the end of life, I will be summoned, and I will go.

Until that day, I stay in the race...

Next instalment:  Living Notes 2

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Sensory Inventory XIII

These signals are not all functioning properly in my body. The neural network that is supposed to do the work of transmitting signals through my brain is partly dead or dying. Cells that used to be in the loop no longer carry any signals, so like a little child, I am teaching my body to send the signal through parts of the brain that are still living.

This process is frustrating, because not only is it agonizingly slow, but also ensuing strokes can undo all the work I have done for months, and more. All in a matter of seconds.

Not that I am griping.

Yes I am.

It is patently unfair. Tedious and tiresome. Long and uneventful, with short meaningful episodes that tend to be filled with despair and horror.

I think death would bring welcome peace.

Much of the sensory map of my body seems to be fairly static for the past few weeks. But I am concerned about a growing proprioception faultiness in my hips that throws me off balance betimes. It catches me at odd moments when I let down my guard, and I awkwardly stumble and teeter to keep from falling.

If it continues to get worse, I will consult with the neurologists again. But that is a tough choice, when they want something objective to evaluate, and I have only a feeling to offer.

Toes on my left foot have come to life, after a fashion -- they hurt, most of the time. Right foot, pretty dead. Legs - not much tactile sense. Abdomen same. The consistent thing is not much change to report. If things are changing, it is very slow.

Slow seems to be the order of the day.

Rehab progress 35

I am performing as well as can be expcted at my PT sessions. Up to a half mile in fifteen minutes on the treadmill, with very minimal noticeable exertion. I will start increasing the pace, as my balance and equilibrium hopefully continue to improve. By my estimate I am equivalent to the level of performance I was at after recovering from the first stroke for two months. At that point I had another stroke, so I am not hoping for a repeat of that sequence.

I am having other problems, though. Lack of ability stops me at every turn. I cannot do all the things I want to do. I am suffering from mental depression that makes everything look that much more difficult. And I have seeming insurmountable troubles with running my business venture,.

I suppose these things will work out. They always do...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

April 2009 General Conference: We Are Doing a Great Work and Cannot Come Down

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf Second Counselor in the First Presidency counsels priesthood bearers to tend their responsibility with unswerving dedication. He illustrates with a story about an airliner crash caused by a simple single distraction that resulted in the loss of many lives, even though the fault was only caused by a burned-out light bulb, and inattention to the details that matter most.

President Uchtdorf cites the story of Nehemiah, commissioned to strengthen the city walls, would not come down in the midst of his task and be distracted from what was important.
As the work continued, Nehemiah's enemies became more desperate. Four times they entreated him to leave the safety of the city and meet with them under the pretense of resolving the conflict, but Nehemiah knew that their intent was to do him harm. Each time they approached him, he responded with the same answer: "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down."

What a remarkable response! With that clear and unchanging purpose of heart and mind, with that great resolve, the walls of Jerusalem rose until they were rebuilt in an astonishing 52 days.

Nehemiah refused to allow distractions to prevent him from doing what the Lord wanted him to do.

Like Nehemiah, we have a great work to do, and must not be distracted from our duty. Unlike him, there is room for improvement. Our focus must be on the task at hand.

Friday, June 26, 2009

April 2009 General Conference: This Is Your Phone Call

Bishop Richard C. Edgley, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, spoke directly and with some force in issuing a "phone call" to priesthood holders, calling them to action in support of financial and employment challenges facing church members.
Quoting from Gordon B. Hinckley:
“I am satisfied, my brethren, that there is enough of expertise, of knowledge, of strength, of concern in every priesthood quorum to assist the troubled members of that quorum if these resources are properly administered.
“. . . It is the obligation of the priesthood quorum to set in motion those forces and facilities which will equip the needy member to provide on a continuing basis for himself and his family.”3
In October 1856, during a general conference, President Young learned that two handcart companies, the Martin company and the Willie company, were traveling late in the season and would face harsh winter weather on the plains of the western United States. He stood at the pulpit as a prophet of God and declared:
“Many of our brethren and sisters are on the plains with hand-carts, . . . and they must be brought here, we must send assistance to them. . . . This community is to send for them and bring them in. . . .
“That is my religion; that is the dictation of the Holy Ghost that I possess, it is to save the people. . . .
“I will tell you all that your faith, religion, and profession of religion, will never save one soul of you in the celestial kingdom of our God, unless you carry out just such principles as I am now teaching you. Go and bring in those people now on the plains.”4
As a result of President Young’s call to action, wagons with teams of mules, men to drive them, and flour and other supplies were immediately sent to rescue the people stranded on the plains.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Extra Sensory

I have as little sense of motion as those who supposedly thought the earth was the center of all.

Perhaps it is.

Yet it remains, the same phenomenon that has been observed for generations of time.

I pointed out one time to a group of elders that on that Super Bowl Sunday, millions of people would experience the same illusion, believing that they are "watching" a football game. They were not watching the game per se, but a televised facsimile of one. You might be wont to assert that this is a distinction without a difference, but physical presence can be important, even vital at times.

Our world is dominated and filled with forces we cannot sense. Yet we believe in them, and even use them without thought. Electricity and magnetism are so integral to our machines that we don't give a second's thought. But they would cease to run without that unseen force.

Maybe seeing is believing. But not seeing can be a sure thing too, at times.

From the writings of Alma, in the Book of Mormon:

"...And now as I said concerning faithafaith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye bhope for things which are cnot seen, which are true." (Alma 32:21)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

April 2009 General Conference: Counsel to Young Men

President Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke to the young men of the Aaronic Priesthood about the future.

The Aaronic Priesthood ordination was done by the hands of an angel, who announced himself as John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament. The angel explained that he was acting under the direction of Peter, James, and John, the ancient apostles, who held the keys of the higher priesthood, which was called the Priesthood of Melchizedek.The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel, the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeable to the covenants and commandments.

There are some things to understand.
The priesthood is something you cannot see nor hear nor touch, but it is a real authority and a real power.
When Packer was five years old, he had polio. It made him very self-conscious. He knew that he could never be an athlete.
He said it did not help a lot when he read about the man who went to a doctor to find a cure for his inferiority complex. After a careful examination, the doctor told him, “You don’t have a complex. You really are inferior!”
I learned that you should always take care of your body. Take nothing into your body that will harm it, such as we are counseled in the Word of Wisdom: tea, coffee, liquor, tobacco, or anything else that is habit-forming, addictive, or harmful.
Read section 89 in the Doctrine and Covenants. You will find great promises:
“All saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;
“And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
“And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.”
And then this promise: “And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them.”
You may see others who seem to have been given a more perfect body than yours. Do not fall into the trap of feeling poorly about your height or weight or your features or your skin color or race.
Your gender was determined in the premortal existence. You were born a male. You must treasure and protect the masculine part of your nature. You must have respectful, protective regard for all women and girls.
Avoid pornography and narcotics.
Talk to parents; talk to the bishop. They will know how to help you.
Do not decorate your body with tattoos or piercing to add jewels.
Do not run with friends that worry your parents.
Lucifer and his legion of angels tempt you to do things and say things and think things that would destroy. Resist every impulse that will trouble your spirit.
You are not to be fearful. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that “all beings who have bodies have power over those who have not.”

And Lehi taught that all “men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil.”
I made mistakes, not intentionally, but I made them. I once foolishly thought maybe I was baptized too soon. I did not understand that the ordinance of the sacrament, administered by you of the Aaronic Priesthood, is in fact a renewing of the covenant of baptism and the reinstating of the blessings connected with it. I did not see, as the revelations tell us, that I could “retain a remission of [my] sins.”
If you have been guilty of sin or mischief, you must learn about the power of the Atonement, how it works. And with deeply sincere repentance, you can unleash that power. It can rinse out all the small things, and with deep soaking and scrubbing, it will wash away serious transgression. There is nothing from which you cannot be made clean.
With you always is the Holy Ghost, which was conferred upon you at the time of your baptism and confirmation.
You young men should not complain about schooling. Do not immerse yourself so much in the technical that you fail to learn things that are practical. Everything you can learn that is practical—in the house, in the kitchen cooking, in the yard—will be of benefit to you. Never complain about schooling. Study well, and attend always.
“The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.”
“Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.”
We are to learn about “things that are above, and things that are beneath, things that are in the earth, and upon the earth, and in heaven.”
You can learn about fixing things and painting things and even sewing things and whatever else is practical. That is worth doing. If it is not of particular benefit to you, it will help you when you are serving other people.
The certainties of the gospel, the truth, once you understand it, will see you through these difficult times. Your generation is filled with uncertainties. A life of fun and games and expensive toys has come to an abrupt end. We move from a generation of ease and entertainment to a generation of hard work and responsibility. We do not know how long that will last.
The reality of life is now part of your priesthood responsibilities. It will not hurt you to want something and not have it. There is a maturing and disciplining that will be good for you. It will ensure that you can have a happy life and raise a happy family. These trials come with responsibility in the priesthood.
Some of you live in countries where most of what you eat and some of what you wear will depend on what can be produced by the family. It may be that what you can contribute will make the difference so that the rent is paid or the family is fed and housed. Learn to work and to support.
The very foundation of human life, of all society, is the family, established by the first commandment to Adam and Eve, our first parents: “Multiply, and replenish the earth.”
Thereafter came the commandment, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”
Be a responsible member of your family. Take care of your possessions—your clothing, your property. Do not be wasteful. Learn to be content.
It may seem that the world is in commotion; and it is! It may seem that there are wars and rumors of wars; and there are! It may seem that the future will hold trials and difficulties for you; and it will! However, fear is the opposite of faith. Do not be afraid! I do not fear.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

April 2009 General Conference: Lessons from the Lord’s Prayers

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles teaches about prayer, using the Saviors prayers from the scriptures for example and instruction.

The Lord’s Prayer is recorded twice in the New Testament and once in the Book of Mormon. It is also included in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, where clarification is provided by these two phrases:
  1. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,” and
  2. “Suffer us not to be led into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
The clarification on forgiveness is supported by other statements of the Master. He said to His servants, “Inasmuch as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive you.” In other words, if one is to be forgiven, one must first forgive. The clarification on temptation is helpful, for surely we would not be led into temptation by Deity. The Lord said, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.”
Though the four versions of the Lord’s Prayer are not identical, they all open with a salutation to “Our Father,” signifying a close relationship between God and His children. The phrase “hallowed be thy name” reflects the respect and worshipful attitude that we should feel as we pray. “Thy will be done” expresses a concept that we will discuss later.
His request for “daily bread” includes a need for spiritual nourishment as well. Jesus, who called Himself “the bread of life,” gave a promise: “He that cometh to me shall never hunger.” And as we partake of sacramental emblems worthily, we are further promised that we may always have His Spirit to be with us. That is spiritual sustenance that cannot be obtained in any other way.
As the Lord closes His prayer, He acknowledges God’s great power and glory, ending with “Amen.” Our prayers also close with amen. Though it is pronounced differently in various languages, its meaning is the same. It means “truly” or “verily.”12 Adding amen solemnly affirms a sermon or a prayer. Those who concur should each add an audible amen to signify “that is my solemn declaration too.”
The Lord prefaced His prayer by first asking His followers to avoid “vain repetitions” and to pray “after this manner.” Thus, the Lord’s Prayer serves as a pattern to follow and not as a piece to memorize and recite repetitively. The Master simply wants us to pray for God’s help while we strive constantly to resist evil and live righteously.

April 2009 General Conference: Temple Worship

Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles offered counsel regarding temple worship for the saints. He asserts that faithful temple worship can be the source of strength and power in times of need. When we keep the temple covenants we have made and when we live righteously, we have no reason to worry or to feel despondent.

To gain more benefit from temple attendance:
  • Understand the doctrine related to temple ordinances, especially the significance of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
  • While participating in temple ordinances, consider your relationship to Jesus Christ and His relationship to our Heavenly Father. This simple act will lead to greater understanding of the supernal nature of the temple ordinances.
  • Always prayerfully express gratitude for the incomparable blessings that flow from temple ordinances. Live each day so as to give evidence to Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son of how very much those blessings mean to you.
  • Schedule regular visits to the temple.
  • Leave sufficient time to be unhurried within the temple walls.
  • Rotate activities so that you can participate in all of the ordinances of the temple.
  • Remove your watch when you enter a house of the Lord.
  • Listen carefully to the presentation of each element of the ordinance with an open mind and heart.
  • Be mindful of the individual for whom you are performing the vicarious ordinance. At times pray that he or she will recognize the vital importance of the ordinances and be worthy or prepare to be worthy to benefit from them.
  • Recognize that much of the majesty of the sealing ordinance cannot be understood and remembered with one live experience. Substantial subsequent vicarious work permits one to understand much more of what is communicated in the live ordinances.
  • Realize that a sealing ordinance is not enduring until after it is sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. Both individuals must be worthy and want the sealing to be eternal.
Those who live far away sometime avail themselves of opportunities more often and more faithfully than those of us who have a temple but a short distance away. Make regular temple attendance a habit.

Sensory Inventory XII

Proprioception (pronounced /ˌproʊpriːəˈsɛpʃən/ PRO-pree-o-SEP-shun); from Latin proprius, meaning "one's own" and perception) is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body. Unlike the six exteroceptive senses (sight, taste, smell, touch, hearing, and balance) by which we perceive the outside world, and interoceptive senses, by which we perceive the pain and the stretching of internal organs, proprioception is a third distinct sensory modality that provides feedback solely on the status of the body internally. It is the sense that indicates whether the body is moving with required effort, as well as where the various parts of the body are located in relation to each other.

My inner sense of proprioception is somewhat compromised, because my inner ear sense of balance signal to the brain are poorly received, if at all. This give me some advantage in that I do no get dizzy -- but neither can I sense that I am bending over the same way most do it. I get visual cues from seeing the world around me, and can receive proprioception signals that tell me how my ankle and hip joints are situated with respect to the rest of my body. The rest is just some kind of magic. It works much better with all the senses firing together, let me assure you. I stumble a lot, because I do not effectively sense where my feet end up, or I forget inbetween steps. It is just another challenge I deal with.

Other sensory impairment continues as before, with some modifications. I can feel some touch on the bottoms of my feet now, but not much on the top. The left foot always sends pins-and-needles sensation like it is asleep. My hands are fully sensitive now most of the time, which is a great relief. My midsection and thighs continue to feel like sheathed in leather.

A slight diminishing in the degree of proprioception sensitivity in my hips has worried me. Sometimes it feels like before, when I could not stand up with my eyes shut. I talked to the neurologist about it last week, and he checked what he could, but it is a difficult issue to address objectively, and I may be stressing about not much. Anyway, it is something I will be paying close attention to over the next few months. Could be indicative of new Shwanomma -- new tumor development -- or regrowth of the tumor on my spinal column.

We'll see...