Sunday, December 16, 2012

A New Year, A New Title 2013

2004 "A New Journey Begins"
2005 "To Infinity and Beyond"
2006 "What Dreams May Come"
2007 "The Winds of Change"
2008 "I Will Go and Do"
2009 "In the Path of Greatness"
2010 “Just Keep Swimming”
2011 "Stand A Little Taller"
2012 "There And Back Again"

 And the title for 2013 is...

One Day More:  Another day, Another Destiny


More to come soon.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Love One Another, Except When You're Uncomfortable

When Jesus said, "Love One Another" I am pretty sure there were no qualifiers there.

Love One Another... except when you're uncomfortable.
Love One Another... except when you're inconvenienced.
Love One Another... except those who don't act the way you want them to.
Love One Another... unless they drink.
Love One Another... unless they're gay.

He said Love One Another as I have loved you. To each his own, but I truly believe that we have a Father in Heaven who loves us as just that: a father; A father who loves unconditionally; A father who wants us to succeed and grow. We grow through our mistakes. We grow through making our weaknesses stronger. I believe most all of us have a weakness when it comes to loving one another.

I could go on and on with the poor examples of how we fail to love one another. I say "we" with full confidence that I am not above anyone in failing to love all. It's hard, it truly is. It seems like such a simple commandment, but I see the selfishness every day. My heart aches when I see this apathy and disdain. Dear friends, if you fear that you will lose your beliefs because you love someone who is different than you, you are sadly mistaken or simply do not have a sure testimony of what you profess you believe. I promise that if you love your fellow man- no matter his perceived faults- that you will have an increased ability to love more.

Have you ever in your life felt alone, different, sad, depressed, outcast, broken, or simply unloved? We all go through trials in our lives. We all believe and interpret life differently. Go back to that time you have felt one of these emotions and ask yourself if an arm around your shoulder would have done you good. And maybe you actually did have a shoulder out there to lean on at that time. There are people out there right now who are struggling with feelings of despair and hopelessness and I ask you, does it matter what they're struggling with?

When Jesus ministered here on this earth, he didn't help the strong. He didn't help only those who had faith. But rather He inspired faith by loving all. When others shunned the lepers and called them unclean He walked among them and healed them. When the crowd was ready to condemn an adulteress He protected her from their hate which came in the form of stones.

You've heard the phrase, "Love the sinner, not the sin." If you think about it, we have no business judging what we believe to be someone's sins. Sinning is personal, it is between you and God. It is a step in the Atonement and a consequence of receiving a mortal body. When we shut out someone because we believe what they are doing to be wrong, we are forcing on them a judgment that their actions have already condemned them.

In a response to a newspaper editor when asked what the Mormon faith believes Joseph Smith replied:

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; ... If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
All men. Not just the ones we approve of:  all.

The story of the prodigal son is a beautiful one, but the message we often miss is that of the son who stayed and helped his father. The elder son who stayed was jaded by the time his brother came back and instead of welcoming him with open arms, he complained, judged, and hardened his heart against him. He became prideful and was unwilling to love his brother who had returned. I will go so far as to say that the elder son also complained and said horrible things about his brother while he was gone. Can you imagine if that younger brother had heard the things he said about him? What chances then do you think the lost one would return if such utterances fell upon his ears? Listen to the message here, I am not saying that the younger brother wasn't in the wrong, but the question here is: Was the elder brother doing any good by saying horrible things about the one he thought was doing wrong?

I myself am a devout Mormon and am simply trying to do my best at it. To those who have said things that are ignorant, without charity, or simply lacking tact, I implore you to consider that we all have something we struggle with, whether that be loneliness, homosexuality, pornography, anorexia, alcoholism or any number of daily struggles. My point is that we can point fingers and ridicule and make that someone who is struggling feel even more hopeless, or we can follow the seemingly simple commandment to love one another and therefore uplift our fellow man and let him know that he doesn't have to do it alone. I challenge everyone to find someone who needs a friend, a kind word, or simply a smile and to fill that need for them. I promise you will be a better person for it and can truly call yourself a follower of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Daddy

I was chatting with a girl online tonight and she was talking about her father: she called him "daddy." I mentioned to her that I thought it was sweet that she called him "daddy" and she said, "You know, I really appreciate the relationship I have with him. I think there has to be a real trust there for a child to call their father daddy." This is so true. I have been pondering all day what to write about my daddy and then it came to me. Of all the things I have been taught by him, what do I value most? Well, I was called into work today because we are afraid that someone... uh, internal, might be stealing jewelry from the store and we had to take inventory of every single piece in the place. Why was I called in? Because of my integrity.
Where did I learn integrity? I learned it from my dad.
When I was about 10 years old my family took a trip to Disneyland. It was my first time to the Magic Kingdom and the night before I couldn't sleep because I was filled with anticipation of what adventures were awaiting me. We arose plenty early to dad's ever familiar and sometimes trite, "rise and shine kiddie winkies, daylight's-a burnin'!" We were literally the first ones to the park. I knew I was in for some fun that day, but little did I know, I was going to be taught a lesson that would exist as the framework to my character. The ticket kiosks had yet to open, but my father was first in line. As we stood there we both examined the ticket prices and I could tell he was adding up the total cost of admission for our family. The ticket prices were divided into two or three pricing tiers. My dad promptly asked, "Jacob, how old are you?" Only months earlier had I reached the decade mark.
I proudly replied, "Ten!"
He verbally calculated, "So that's 3 adults and two children." I noticed the price of adults was ten dollars more than the price of children. Ten dollars to a ten-year-old might as well be $100. So my little brain strategized.
"Dad, I could tell them I'm nine so we can save some money." My dad's reply is forever imprinted on my brain.
"Son, we must always be truthful. I'm not going to sell my integrity for ten dollars."

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Seeing People as People

Ever read something that makes you want to be a better person? Recently I read The Anatomy of Peace by The Arbinger Institute and came away with a desire to do and be better.
I always thought I saw people as people and not objects, but according to the book, in a few cases, I would make a choice that made people come off as objects. I highly recommend the book, especially because I cannot explain exactly what it is about, you simply have to read it. In it, it talks about making choices that either allow us to see people as people or it puts us in a box and therefore the other person becomes an object. Something I noticed immediately is that I have a HUGE "must-be-seen-as box". My whole life I have maintained an image when in public. And not to say that I made anything up, but I have always had to be the best at everything I do and I always had to be right (but I realize that even when I am right, it doesn't have to be public), and I always had to be the spiritual leader. And if my image were ever slipping, I would find a way to correct that image. I have been striving for this ideal so long that I have sometimes forgotten to be human, so when I messed up, I would take it very hard.
When I read this, my conscious mind kept arguing with me and would use gospel quotes such as "be ye therefore perfect". However, I think that quote means so much more than we let it.
I think this is why I have so much trouble on first dates. I concentrate on making sure the date goes well that I forget to relax and just be me. I've had a lot of great first dates... and not so many second dates.
Also reading this book, I realized that I had truly already forgiven my ex-fiancee for what happened. It was good to know I don't carry that around anymore.
Now I am concentrating on being just me. If I mess up, I correct the mistake and move on. I don't feel as much pressure as I used to to maintain my "perfect" image. And most importantly, I'm more free to be me.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A New Year, A New Title

2004 "A New Journey Begins"
2005 "To Infinity and Beyond"
2006 "What Dreams May Come"
2007 "The Winds of Change"
2008 "I Will Go and Do"
2009 "In the Path of Greatness"
2010 “Just Keep Swimming”

And the title for 2011 is...

2011 Stand A Little Taller or

Be Ye the SALT of the earth.

It's time to stop whining, time to stop feeling sorry, time to stand a little taller, time to make more of an effort, and time to utilize all the gifts I've been given.

"Let us stand a little taller, if you don't, you will never strengthen yourself."
— Gordon B. Hinckley

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

And my Ending is Despair Unless...

And my ending is despair
Unless I be relieved by prayer


These are some of the last lines in Shakespeare's The Tempest and in fact, some of the last lines he ever wrote. Currently I am starring as Prospero in a local production of The Tempest and never before did those words ever truly mean anything until tonight. I have found lately that I get discouraged easily, especially when I start thinking about everything that is happening, or could happen right now. I realized this evening that one of Satan's tools is discouragement or despair. That is what he is currently using to try and bring me down. And it would be my ending, except for the fact that my burdens are lifted when I go to the Lord in prayer. There was an ultimate sacrifice made so that our ending would never be despair. Now I don't know if Shakespeare was inspired or if he was even a religious man at all, but I do know that he knew there was a power in prayer that could lift one's soul. I am grateful for prayer and that my trials can be made easier through the Lord's sacrifice.