Back into the fray…

I’m not sure why I decided that the middle of the year is a good time for “resolutions” …  maybe it’s that my birthday is coming up.  But I think it has more to do with the fact that I need to be keeping track of things better …  So, let’s see if we can keep this going …

First off, I’ll make a plug for my Charity:water campaign …

My birthday is this Friday and we’re still a little below $100 for the goal … please share and help.  I’ll make a concerted effort to keep this being updated!

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Busy, frustration, just venting…

Excuses …

I know it’s been a long time since I wrote.  And yes, it’s because of procrastination pure and simple.  I keep a list of the entries I need to get to and as it grows, my reluctance to catch up on them grows right along with it.  I doubt this is surprising to anyone … but I thought it best to just get that said first.  I’m tempted to leap ahead, but I actually do look back on this as a means of having something like a journal.  I don’t think I will ever be an everyday poster, not like my friend Natalie for example, but I do want to have enough posts to be able to remind mysql and those around me that I am here.  I live.  I might pick my conversations and topics the way I pick my battles, but I think as well.

…Busy…

Lately has been really busy.  Not just the kind of busy where your schedule gets longer than the pad you keep it on, or even than you can manage with RTM but the kind of busy where you find yourself longing to be doing other things.  Almost any other thing.  And that’s the worst kind of busy.  Normally, when you’re focused on the right things, then getting a laundry list of them to do doesn’t so much drive you crazy.  But when you feel like all you’re doing is running from one sub-par pursuit to another — that’s when things grate on you.  And it’s been like that for me in the past few weeks.  I know it will improve, but still …

…Frustration…

I’m trying hard to turn the other cheek, but what happens when the one you’re turning from is doing real damage.  I mean, I know everyone and their brother just knows they’re in the right, and that truth always has more than one side.  But I mean really, in those cases where you have your evidence and the evidence of many others that there really is Wrong in your midst, how do you sit idly by and turn cheeks knowing all that will happen is more and more of your friends and colleagues will be struck.  It’s happening at work right now.  In fact, the main reason I decided to even post this is because I need to think through those thoughts and come back to a more centered me.  I need to remember the words of the Savior when he admonished his disciples to forgive not once, not twice, but infinitely.  He has forgiven us and we need to recognize that every single one of us is a loved son or daughter of our Heavenly Father.

I just wish I knew what to do…  the typing has helped some…

… A Positive Note ...

I have been helping A work on a model home that she is presenting for the Masonic Home of Virginia.  It’s going great.  I think a bit of her eye has worn off on me too, because I find myself able to anticipate what she is going to want in each room.  I will be the first to admit it still amazes me the way she can see the potential — the art — in the everyday and knows just how to bring it forward.  But I’m also glad that I have grown enough to be able to know when and where that mirror is going to hang and to know how to figure out where the center of the wall and the center of the focus point differ.  And for me as helping hands the most important:  how to measure it properly so I put only a single hole in the wall in my effort to slap beauty on the face of the drab.  It’s been fun :)

I’ve also somehow managed to plow through several audiobooks in the last couple of weeks.  This kind of push is usually indicative of the type of small-stuff busy-ness I mentioned above.  I know that I recharge through getting into a book and that I don’t usually have time (or willingness to endure the pain in my eyes) to indulge in reading at home all that often.*  While I don’t recommend this pace of reading, I do have some recommendations that I will get to blogging about.  For now, they will remain on my “todo list” for entries and I promise not to skip them.  Tonight I finished The Last Chinese Chef and got more than a third through The Notebook.  I suspect I will be on to Charleston before the weekend is out…

 

* For those who don’t know, most of my “hard” reading — actual books — is done on airplanes and usually only during taxi, takeoff, and landing.  Afterwards I switch to the Kindle app on the iPad.  During normal times, I listen to audiobooks.  They are almost exclusively what is playing in my car and sometimes for 15 minutes as I lay down to sleep as well.  Since my cornea transplants, I learned to leverage audio to replace my reading habit since my eyes cannot tolerate my contacts for very long periods of staring at a single distance, and I cannot read a normal book at all without them.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Lesson 11: Faith in Jesus Christ

Key Concept

The biggest point in the lesson, and one I think is important as well is that faith is both a motivating force and a belief which drives the motivation.  I know that lots of times we make these same points, and in the church, fast and testimony meeting uses these as fundamental building blocks, but this lesson tries hard not to cloud it.  Faith motivates.  Faith is the foundation for that motivation.  It’s that simple.  And when that faith is built upon the rock that is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, it motivates and supports the most awesome power indeed.  If there hasn’t been a lesson you’ve wanted to share with your family thus far, then this is definitely one to choose.

 

20120318 Lesson 11 Handout

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Lesson 7: What Happens After Death?

Key Concept:

This life is a temporary state where our body and spirit are joined for mutual experience.  The Resurrection, as a part of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, is a gift to all persons and will reunite our bodies and spirits eternally.

This is perhaps one of the toughest questions in life, and one that we are asked and re-asked throughout our lives.  This lesson aims to provide a firm foundation and real answers to this question and provide the scriptural basis for our reasoning as Latter-day Saints.  Please take the time to ponder the scriptures and the messages in this lesson.  It’s one that will remain with you and serve you will as you journey through this life.

20120212 lesson 7

Class Handout

lesson 7 diagram

lesson 7 diagram

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Lesson 6: Adversity

Lesson 6:  Adversity Can Help Us Grow

Key Concept:  We need to come to see our trials and troubles as opportunities to grow, expand, and learn about ourselves and our divine nature.

Adversity is tough.  There’s no getting around it to be sure.  However, as a popular proverb amongst sailors points out: “We cannot control the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”  This basically means that while we cannot always choose the means by which adversity will come or the severity of it, we can control how we react to each trial as it comes to us.  This is not new advice by any means, but hopefully we can present some interesting ways that it might be met and understood in this lesson.

20120205 lesson 6

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Lesson 5: Mortality

Lesson 5:  Mortality:  A Time to Learn Through Experience

Key Concept:

Mortality is a time for us to gain a physical body, and through it to learn and experience the things that this life has to offer so that we can gain the knowledge, understanding, temperance, and control we need to be able to return to our Heavenly Father.

Many times, we get bogged down in the aspects of our daily lives that require immediate and complete attention.  One of the goals of this lesson is to try and develop ways we can always retain some focus on the greater, more eternal aspects of our lives so that we can become more in tune with those aspects of our natures and allow them to help influence our reactions to different situations.

20120129 lesson 5

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Lesson 4: The Atonement of Jesus Christ

Lesson 4:  The Atonement of Jesus Christ

Key Concept:  Help gain an appreciation for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and its role in enabling us to gain exaltation.  Help everyone to understand that the Atonement is the idea of becoming “at one” with our Heavenly Father and that is was designed from the beginning to help us return to him and overcome the Fall of Adam and Eve (see Lesson 3).

Key Scriptures:

20120122 lesson 4

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Lesson 3: The Fall of Adam and Eve

Lesson 3: The Fall of Adam and Eve

Key Concept:  The fall of Adam and Eve allowed each of us to enter into mortality.

20120115 lesson 3 Presentation and Notes

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Some Nathaniel Philbrick…

I had the pleasure of listening to a lecture by Mr. Philbrick in the winter of 2011 at the Mary Washington Great Lives lecture series I so often refer to in these pages. He presented on Custer and Sitting Bull and I remember being captured by the depth of the subject matter and the ease and accessibility with which it was presented to the assembly. Since then I added some of his other books to my list and recently got through these two. While I can’t say that he is my favorite biographer– a title which is held solidly by Simon Winchester– I affirm that he writes in a manner which keeps attention and delivers a depth of material efficiently and interestingly.

Be warned that he does have a bit of an agenda which can come to the surface from time to time. This doesn’t bother me because I expect that from all writers, but if you’re someone who expects “just the facts, Ma’am” then you might want to keep that in mind.


Title: Mayflower. Nathaniel Philbrick.
Format: Audiobook (Unabridged). Thanks to Simply Audiobooks.
Rating: 2.7

I learned a lot about the conflict of King Phillip’s war which figured prominently in my education in New England but I admit I didn’t know much about. That said though, the bulk of the book reads like a history of the battles themselves and one finds only the occasional nugget of “higher” considerations throughout. The last section however, which covers the history of Plymouth after the region has grown a bit is quite interesting and well handled. Worth it. If for nothing besides the characterization of Miles Standish…



Title: Sea of Glory. Nathaniel Philbrick
Format: Audiobook (Unabridged). Thanks to Audible.
Rating: 2.8

I own to knowing absolutely nothing about the US Exploring Expedition before embarking on this book. To that end I found it both interesting and of immense use in plugging some obvious holes in my understanding and knowledge — especially with regards to expansionism and exploration during the American period of Manifest Destiny. Add to that the founding of Smithson’s famous institutions and it makes for quite a read. Definitely recommended.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Safe Haven…

Title: Safe Haven. Nicolas Sparks.
Format: Audiobook (Unabridged). Thanks to Audible.
Rating: 3.1

I like Sparks. I probably shouldn’t and I am sure that some of you out there are going to insist that I can’t possibly appreciate him but I do. I don’t mind formulaic writing if it has an agenda and does a great job of getting you there. Sparks is like that. Of course I expect the themes to be there, but they are executed well and the plot turns the pages. This was no different. I also admit that I am drawn to the North Carolina shores where most of his pages take place … I guess it gets cold and landlocked in Omaha.

Anyway, Safe Haven did not disappoint. While some of the supernatural elements might turn off some of his devoted readers, and I admit that they gave me a start when I encountered them in this book, I think they do move the story and help to provide the catharsis needed to move Katie/Erin along to where she needs to move. We all have a little magic we count on from time to time and I think it was interleaved well into the story. Perhaps not in the ways Alice Hoffman might work it, but certainly with precision and skill.

Check it out.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS