Sunday, June 29, 2014


I have often secretly and sometimes not so secretly prided myself on my ability to drive on freeways, a skill more often acquired by trial and error than by innate talent and ability. My not so secret proclamation usually didn't go beyond a casual reference to my being in the same league as Daniel Boone with my ability to find my way…

My early driving training took place on the streets of Garden Grove, California, in the 1950’s when that area was noted more for its orange and strawberry production than for its multicultural population.

Besides transforming from an agricultural to a metropolitan area, the only freeway which existed in those days near Garden Grove was the Interstate 5 which consisted of two lanes in each direction and traveled more through farms and orchards than through endless suburbs, office complexes, malls and manufacturing areas.

Therefore, unlike the teens of today who are weaned on a freeway system which now receives daily and hourly attention on radio and television and cars which are equipped with GPS with its trial tested feminine voice directing every turn going to any destination, when I was introduced to the rigors of freeway driving you actually had to know where you were going and the names of the streets you would be traveling on.

Destinations which once took hours to reach can now be reached in a fraction of the time, unless there is an accident or one ventures out at rush hour. Then, of course, the time principles are reversed.

My mind wandered and I was distracted by another ‘walking to school uphill in snow in both directions’ tale. I will try to return to the reason I was talking about my ability to drive the freeway systems which stream in every direction in Southern California today.

…Recently, I was rather surprised to find that I had made a decision on a local interchange which resulted in a rather lengthy detour in order to return to my intended route.

As I was making this half hour correction, as so often happens my mind started multitasking, mainly concentrating on the commuting task and partly pondering the process of decision making which continually confronts us.

The thought passed through my sub-semiconscious brain activity, since obviously I was using all my conscious activity to be alert to traffic situations, that most of life’s choices are more like a fork in the road than an intersection. When we come to a fork we must make a decision, hopefully based on all the information we have at our disposal. If we are to continue going forward we must make a choice. So it is in many situations of life. We continually find ourselves in situations where it not only is imperative that we make a choice, but impossible not to make one. Hopefully we will have previously paid the price so we can properly make these mandatory decisions when they confront us.

The second thought I remember passing blurrily through my mind was that just as a whole half an hour of my life was being spent making no forward progress because of an unintentional decision I had made, many of the decisions we are faced with on a daily basis are totally connected to an intentional or unintentional move we made at a previous fork in the road. It seems possible that during most of our lives, present and future choices will largely be predicated on the accumulation of past choices.

When I had just about finished my self-imposed correctional time and was ready to head in the proper direction again, the thought briefly buzzed past me that sharp departures from choice patterns are usually difficult and punitive, and require present and future changes in life patterns to avoid future penalties.

Once I was again heading in the right direction, my thoughts turned to the obvious conclusion that making a correct first decision was much more efficient than the time wasting correctional processes which attended making wrong decisions or even wasting time with stumbling indecisiveness.

Therefore, I resolved that in the future, a resolve which I have repeated frequently since that day, it might be best before making choices if I would carefully examine alternatives and their consequences and increase my chances of having positive results today and establish firmer foundations to face future forks in my road which would invariably confront me.

It came to me that it was logical that the further I could future the consequences of my current decisions, the probability of choosing correctly increased accordingly.

Perhaps, by looking to tomorrow, next week or next month, I will be less likely to make choices which might appear desirable and pleasurable at the moment, but will ultimately turn into shifting sands upon which future decisions must be made to overcome the mistake and return to the way of happiness.
I suspect that there might even be a tremendous value attached to gaining at least an elementary understanding of the eternities, which might aid us in futuring our decisions into infinity and, thereby, equally increasing our chances of making correct choices.

I was convinced, but frequently find I need conviction renewal reviews. Making wiser, more informed decisions will help me avoid immediate and further frustrations, wasting of time, depressive feelings, sadness, regret and multitudinous other miserable emotions and help me gain a greater sense of self-worth, contribute to a more efficient life and more abundantly fill my days with joy.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


After receiving what I consider to be some very sound advice - I have decided to take a step back on the publication of my Thoughts - which I hope will result in two steps forward. I am preparing to publish on Amazon which will result in a considerable reduction in the price of the book - and will save me a lot of work and headaches on the distribution. I have a few kinks to work out and will notify everyone as soon as the book is available!!

Going this direction will also make the book available as an E Book for those who have abandoned Paper!!

Thank you so much for your patience and support.

As Always - Amor y Abrazos

The indigenous people of northern Mexico have a saying that water in the desert can be found only in shallow wells. The saying arose from the belief that if you stayed out in the hot sun long enough to did a deep well you wouldn't be alive to enjoy the results of your labor.

There seems to be evidence that wonders of prodigies are produced from sources that are readily available while most of us can spend a lifetime struggling to paint a beautiful picture, compose a beautiful song or write inspirational poetry with limited results.

I have often had similar thoughts about teachers. There seem to be some who have the ability to teach as an art form and don't have to wade through a lot of methodology or research to be able to excite and stimulate students with a great desire to know and understand.

I don't think we can condemn and find fault with the masses that must spend their days digging deeper and deeper attempting to approach what seems to be an inborn gift to others. In fact, I believe their efforts should be applauded. But, never the less, we should stand in awe of those who have been blessed to be teachers, just as we stand in awe of the Beethoven’s, the Michel-Angelo’s or the Shakespeare’s of our planet.

My uncle Owen whom I had the occasion to spend a few weeks of two summers helping during my teen years (as much as a boy bred and reared in the city can help on a cattle ranch), had an innate ability to make others know and understand. When I pause and reflect on those summers spent under his tutelage I can't remember his ever having to show or demonstrate a responsibility more than once. He was never hesitant to instruct me in the use of machinery which my upbringing might have indicated would be beyond my grasp.

I suspect he had a willing student since driving a tractor or a truck or operating a manure spreader in these pre-drivers licensed days was intriguing to a lad barely starting his teen years. However, there was just that ‘something’ in the way he explained and showed me things which made me want to learn and experience the things which he was so adept at doing.

As far as I know, he had never had any formal training on the methods of teaching, but whenever he wanted to show me something, learning and understanding always seemed to happen.

Even though his training was lacking his credentials were valid.

He had an exhaustive knowledge and interest in his subject.

He had an unsatiated desire to expand his knowledge and understand and keep abreast of the new discoveries in husbandry and agriculture.

His willingness to share his knowledge was endless.

He had the patience to accept and look beyond the inefficiencies of those who were not equal to his abilities.

His love for others seemed bottomless, which seemed to give him an added desire to help them to develop and progress.

What he possessed was indeed a ‘Pearl of Great Price’. He possessed the art of being a teacher.

I don't believe everyone is a prodigy of teaching any more than everyone is a prodigy of any of the arts. I believe those who are blessed with this gift, are almost under some divine obligation to use it.

I believe that the rest of us who are not naturally gifted are under just as firm an obligation to do all we can to develop our limited abilities (to spend time digging in heat of the day, if you will) to teach at the highest level we possibly can, because it is indeed holy ground we step upon when we venture into the developing of the thoughts and actions of another.

During those two summers of my developmental years which I spent under the watchful eye of my uncle, one of the subjects I was schooled in was the ‘field’ of ‘seed-ology’. I learned that if a person wanted to grow wheat he had to start by planting wheat seeds and no matter how many barley or oat seeds he might plant the earth would not give forth wheat until it had received a wheat seed. (Did I not indicate that I was bred and raised a city boy?)

In our endeavors in the classroom, I am convince after the many years I spent in front of students, the process of learning will not begin to bear fruit until the teacher pays the price to understand the student. It is contrary to the nature of things to be able to make square pegs fit in round holes.

Therefore, teaching, much like ‘seed-ology’, demands that the teacher have knowledge of the seed, the ground and the nurturing processes necessary for the development of their students.

The teacher needs to learn about the student’s previous educational experiences, their likes and aptitudes in the educational process.

The teacher needs to learn about the student’s environment outside of the classroom where his informal and, some think, his real education takes place.

The teacher needs to become enlightened as to the right stimuli which will motivate each student to come to the point of learning readiness.

The more we learn about our students, the key to helping them learn will be more easily turned. Just as when farmers become masters of ‘seed-ology’ they will have greater ability to maximize their harvests.

“How come the bull she won't give milk?” I guess I must have asked the question, because for as long as uncle Owen lived and whenever we gathered as family, he would remind all who were within the sound of his voice, of my level of ignorance about the ways of farming and ranching by repeating this quote which he claimed to be my exact words.

So I suspect besides learning that a bull is not a she and it is the cow who gives milk, it was also through his art of teaching that I learned that the sweet honey on the table was made by the thousands of bees which had gathered the nectar produced by the flowers which adorned the valley floor which grew from the ground where bees and men are buried.

The educational process likewise has a circle of existence. The person you wish your students to become and that which you wish them to learn will largely be determined by what you as a teacher have become and the knowledge and understanding you have gathered from the wonders of the world.

Therefore, if you wish to advance as a teacher, you must be ever learning.

If you want to be a faithful guide you must be ever elevating your level of living.

In the teaching profession or calling there are few who are naturally gifted, but the many can, through dedication, develop the skills necessary to be lovingly called teacher by someone who has been touched.

The toolbox of the teaching profession is brim full and being added to continually. They who truly wish to approach the effectiveness of the ‘teacher artist’ will return to the box often, making sure their tools are polished and sharpened and, when necessary, pay the price to add to their overflowing stock.

Though it may be true that nature has bestowed on some a ‘Pearl of Great Price’ which seems to allow them an endless supply of water found in shallow wells, the rewards reaped by those who must be continually digging deeper and deeper will be equally as meaningful.

Just as the number of wheat kernels which come from a single seed cannot be counted, the results of the efforts of teaching, whether by one of prodigy or painfully developed, cannot be imagined.

I have no doubt that my thankfulness for having spent the majority of my life being referred to as a teacher will extend throughout all eternity. I also know that whether you have the gift of teaching or have become one through hours of extreme effort, that your heart will likewise swell with gratitude when you contemplate the bounteousness which resulted from your faithful sowing.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


I have talked to the printer and it appears that the best way for me to self-publish my first 100 Thoughts will be to do them in spiral binding. The books will cost $15 plus postage. I have the names of those who responded last week. If you wish to be added to the list or taken from the list reply to me with your desires!!

Shortly after having partaken of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve heard the voice of the Lord and quickly following the counsel of Satan, hid themselves and made themselves coverings of leaves.

Although I am very sure that the omniscience of the Lord included knowing what had taken place, the Lord called out, Adam where art thou? The question seems to be directed at the physical location of our ancestral parents, but considering that Adam and Eve had just gone through a trial of obedience and had chosen to follow the counsel of Satan rather than the admonition of their Creator, I suspect that the Lord might also have been asking that they consider their spiritual situation.

With modern GPS, Google maps and apps which seem to be able to trace our every step, it pretty much takes deliberate and destructive acts for us not to know our exact physical location. But even with all the devices available knowing where we are would be meaningless unless we could link that information with a previously familiar landmark, such as our home or a city.

Likewise, where we are spiritually can only be identified if we are able to compare our present self to what we have been and where we want to be.

Sadly, there are many who have been confused by the cunningness of Satan and have chosen to believe that the reason we are in this mortal sphere is to gain as much pleasure, wealth, power or fame as we possibly can. Because of that confusion it is not only difficult for them to know where they are, much less where they ought to be.

Satan seeketh to turn their hearts away from the truth, that they become blinded and understand not the things which are prepared for them. (Doctrine and Covenants 78:10)

But behold I say unto you that there are many among you…have sinned a grievous sin, in that they are walking in darkness at noon-day…If you keep not the commandments, the love of the Father shall not continue with you, therefore you shall walk in darkness. (Doctrine and Covenants 95: 5, 6, 12)

However, the Lord revealed to Moses His purpose for our existence and, hence, the implication is that it would be well for us to also make it our purpose. As one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words. For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses: 38, 39)

Just as with our physical location we will only be able to judge our spiritual situation if we constantly evaluate where we are with where we were and where we want to be.

There is strong scriptural indication that when, through the process of mortal birth, our spirit body is joined with our mortal body the preferences of our mortal body commands dominance over our spirit body. During that stage of life our choices seem to be heavily swayed toward doing that which will bring comfort and keep us absent from pain. We seem to be naturally prone to yield to the desire to accumulate the material stuff of the world. We seem to be motivated to have dominance over all who surround us. Our own desires take preference over those of everyone else.

Satan, sometimes subtlely and sometimes blatantly will do all he can to convince us that the fulfillment of these desires is our natural and only purpose for existence. He goes forth to and fro upon the earth striving with all his might to keep us from the light whose understanding gives us the true purpose of our probationary state. For they receive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men. (Doctrine and Covenants 45: 29)

If we are allowing the work and glory of God to influence us, we will not tarry too long in this selfish state, but we will begin to know that the fulfillment of our real and eternal progression depends on becoming good and honorable people. If we continue to follow Heavenly Father’s plan we will come to realize that we must likewise be striving to become like He and His Son.

Our escape from the subtleties of Satan and the precepts of men will largely be determined by our willingness to be enlightened and edified by the amount of light (truth and knowledge of God) we are willing to receive and how much darkness we can cast off. That which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness. That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. (Doctrine and Covenants 50: 23, 24)

What a grand key the Lord has given us to help us know if we are actualizing our purpose for being on earth. That which doth not edify! If the choice we are making does not make us better and more honorable than we have been and does not form a foundation upon which we can build attributes and characteristics of Godliness, we need to be reconsidering the course our thoughts and actions are taking us.
What a grand promise the Lord has given us; that we will not be restricted in the amount of light we can receive if we but continue to walk in his light.

And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things. Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God.

What a grand plan our Heavenly Father has given us which includes a magnificent challenge, which undoubtedly will still lack completion long after this we have laid this mortal down.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


I am compiling 100 of my Thoughts into a book - as of yet I don't have a price - but I want to get an idea of how many books to print - if you have an interest in buying one please send me a reply to this Thought.

Our son Sean and his friend Peter joined us this last week for lunch at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. Besides celebrating our son’s birthday and enjoying a wonderful lunch together we were blessed with a view of the Pacific Ocean while we were eating. I was able to record in my journal that it was a wonderful time. The visiting continued when we returned home as Kathleen shared her two volumes of remembrances of our cruise of the British Isles last summer. Since they are leaving for England and Scotland in a couple of weeks they seemed to really enjoy the books she had prepared from our trip. Well, to tell the truth, Peter seemed to have a lot more interest than Sean. Perhaps because he is fewer generations removed from the Motherland.

Kathleen also spent time pointing out a lot of ‘treasures’ which we have accumulated during our 50 plus years of marriage and were passed down to us from our deceased parents. Before they left Peter was referring to our house as a museum. Kathleen calls it a storage unit. Interestingly, even though there had been quite a few ‘oohhs’ and ‘aahhs’ during the day, when they departed they only carried out a very small box of rather insignificant items.

It has been a virtual ‘pulling of the teeth’ experience as we have tried to unload the ‘treasures’ of our now called ‘museum’ on our children as they come to visit.

As the hand of refusal was raised time and again the vision of our children gathering, after our time on earth has passed “as if it were a dream,” with a gigantic dumpster and a Deseret Industries truck parked in front of the ‘museum’ doing some kind of sorting act that goes something like: dumpster, truck, dumpster, Cevin, truck, dumpster, truck, Sean, dumpster, dumpster, truck, truck, dumpster, Troy, dumpster, dumpster, truck, truck, truck, Brendan, truck, truck, dumpster, Rynn, dumpster, dumpster, dumpster, truck, truck, truck dumpster, dumpster, Erin. This rotation will then be repeated until the dumpster is spilling over and the Deseret Industries truck is full and the Museum is empty.

As the time for this virtual vision to turn to reality shortens, my caring about what happens to the stuff also lessens. But it does make me think about what the real value is of our being on this beautiful planet. It seems that the real value of our lives is that which we take with us and not what we leave behind.

The comfort I had enjoyed in my parents’ ‘museum’ during my formative years, ended when I left ‘all that’ with a small bag of stuff and Kathleen and I started our own accumulating. However, what I didn't leave behind were all the parent tapes which could be turned on and played for the rest of my mortal life and I anticipate beyond. It was that I took with me.

My formal education was spread over several states and many of my mortal years. I probably sat in more than 100 classrooms and lecture halls and never thought of removing one item of the stuff which adorned those locations. However, what I was able to remove was a vast array of thoughts and views of what the world is about and what we should be doing while we are residents of this world. I took from those years a thirst for learning, a quest to understand and references and resources which have been able to be called upon in moments of need. It was that I took with me.

My career as a teacher in the Education System of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints spanned more than 50 years. I had available to me libraries of books, media presentations, desks, pictures, lesson plans and all the other stuff which were deemed essential to create a teaching and learning environment. When I finally turned the magic markers over, the total of stuff that I left with were my files and a few books. However, I also took with me memories of students some of whom have now joined me in the senior phase of life. If teaching really is the best way to learn, I took with me a treasure trove of repetitious learning and the memory of being able to share what I had learned. It was that I took with me.

When I stand at the ‘Pearly Gates’, I really doubt I will even be tempted to look back on the scene as my progeny play dumpster, truck, mine. I suspect I will be counting the blessings of all that I had the privilege to learn and anxiously be looking forward to asking all those unanswered questions and getting on with the quest of filling in all the blank spaces in my knowledge bank. It is that which I shall have with me eternally.

There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel. (Proverbs 20:15)

If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.
(Doctrine and Covenants 42:61)

O how great the plan of our God! For on the other hand, the paradise of God must deliver up the spirits of the righteous, and the grave deliver up the body of the righteous; and the spirit and the body is restored to itself again, and all men become incorruptible, and immortal, and they are living souls, having a perfect knowledge like unto us in the flesh, save it be that our knowledge shall be perfect.
(2 Nephi 9:13)

And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; (Doctrine and Covenants 89:19)

Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. (Doctrine and Covenants 130: 18, 19)

Sunday, June 1, 2014


I don't see it very often when I go into the garage, but every once in a while I glance at the mouth piece of a long ago lost dream sticking out of a broken corner of the trumpet case sitting on the top of a cabinet. The reason the mouth piece is in the trumpet is because it is stuck solid. I hadn't ever imagined that the day would come when trumpets would be built with the mouth piece permanently attached to the trumpet body and this old piece of my youthful fantasy would be in vogue. Besides the fused mouth piece, the valves are frozen in a position so as not to allow any air to flow past them and the bell of the horn is badly bent. The latter being a reminder of our eldest son’s childhood. I would like to report that the spit lever works just fine, but rendered non-functional because of the stuck valves blocking the passage of air.

Not that it will ever happen, but I have often wondered if a master craftsman might be able to put this shining piece of my youth back into operational order. I am sure that there are those who have mastered their craft to the extent that they could bring back the trumpet’s luster and restore its functions and sweet tones.

There are times in this ‘golden’ phase of life I am going through when I can really sympathize with that bent and frozen trumpet. There are days when I wonder if parts of me will ever again function in the way they were intended to, days when it almost becomes a stretch of my faith, that somehow this corruptible flesh could become incorruptible once again. (1 Corinthians 15:50-57)

As Paul indicated to the saints at Corinth, just as in the case of what would be a miraculous restoration of my trumpet, the miracle of my personal physical restoration can ultimately only come through the miracle of the Atonement wrought by the Lord and Master, Jesus the Christ.

Besides the visible part of my being there is also a larger part of me which is rarely seen by those I daily stumble past. A part of me which hopefully, unlike that part of me with frozen joints and withered muscles, if it could be seen, would seem to have much more of a glow than in earlier days when it was being bounded about by a stealthier structure.

I am well aware of the Christian teaching of the principle of repentance, which relies heavily on going through steps of penitence and I have of necessity put those steps into frequent use during my life. I am likewise grateful for the Savior and his willingness to recognize my halting repentant steps and his sacrifice in the garden of Gethsemane and on Calvary’s hill. I am also very grateful for my fragmented understanding of the Jewish teaching that our lives should be spent in preparing ourselves to return to live once again with God. This is much like looking at the Old Testament teaching ‘do not unto them,’ versus the New Testament teaching ‘do unto them’ only having the positives and negatives reversed.

Put in a simple and concise way, we can either spend our lives overcoming our evil natures or we can spend our lives putting on positive and loving attributes.

One of my all-time favorite romantic movies is ‘Somewhere in Time.’ A young writer, Richard Collier (played by Christopher Reeve), moves through time and falls in love with a beautiful young woman (played by Jane Seymour) and eventually chooses to sacrifice everything to return to her.

In our own real life drama, if I have at least begun to understand how the Master Craftsman goes about unsticking, unbending and shining us, our task has a lot to do with putting off negative aspects and putting on positive traits and, thereby, preparing to return to be with our Heavenly Father who sent us into this preparatory state.

If I close my eyes I can hear the beautiful young woman pleading that Richard return to her. Likewise, there are times when I close my eyes and hear my Heavenly Father pleadingly saying, ‘return to me.’

I suspect I have spent far too many days trying to eliminate those negative choices which have led me into sticky situations from which I needed to extract myself. I also suspect that by wiping the grime from those missteps will clean me up a bit and make me more presentable before my Heavenly Father. However, I don't think I will thereby gain the luster necessary to dwell in His glory once again.

Since the true meaning of the word Sacrifice is to make holy, I wish I had spent fewer days of my life bumping and crashing through mishaps and subsequently wiping away grime, and more of my time concentrating on thinking of ways to make myself sufficiently holy that I might be able to return to Him.

One of the beautiful things about the penitent path I have stumbled through and the speedy path provided through applying the principle of making my life a sacrifice in preparation to return to Heavenly Father not only unspotted, but holy, is coming to the understanding that everything we do in life whether it is putting off the negatives or putting on the positives, will be counted in our favor by our loving Heavenly Father whose only wish is that we be able to return.

One of the unanticipated blessings which I have gratefully received is that as my preparation to return to Him has become more of a sacrificial (making holy) process the veil of forgetting has become more of an opening curtain of remembering.