Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Headed On An Experience Of A Lifetime

My nephew is leaving to go on a LDS mission, to the Canada Calgary Mission.  Tonight, Becky and I went to support him as he was set apart as a full-time missionary.  It is a joy to listen to the blessing that is pronounced on the individual (Taylor in this case).  I am so grateful that he is willing and able to go serve the people in the area of Calgary.  It brings back very fond memories to me.  How thankful I am that I was able to go and serve the people of the Netherlands. 
I hope and pray that our boys will understand the importance of serving a mission and learning all that there is to learn.  It literally changed my life and taught me some valuable lessons.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Love At Home

It is such a joy to spend time at home, surrounded by Becky and our children.  It doesn't even matter what we are doing--I just like to be home.
I spoke to a man who told me a little about his 'home life'.  Through his words I could see and feel a lot of pain.  He spoke negatively about the various things that happen there.  I just listened and silently thanked heaven for the blessings that are so abundant in my life.
I watch and try to be as good of a person as Becky is.  She brings me great joy.  
I want my life to be as good as it can be.  I also realize that a lot of what life is depends on me.
I love you, Beck!  Natalie, Laurel, Brady, and Danny--I love you very much!  You five, make it all worthwhile. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Meeting With A Man

Today, a man walked into the church and needed some information. He was an elderly man who needed to find the time that a particular church meeting started. I looked up the information he was looking for in the phone book and drove him there. Once I got him to the correct church building, I walked in with this man and got him settled and then left to go back to church. He was from the Flagstaff, Arizona area. He was a sweet little man. His ethnic background was Navajo Indian. I asked him if he was a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or had he been a member all of his life. He told me that there was a boy in his school class who introduced him to the church. He was six years old. He then wondered what ever happened to that little boy. He told me that because of that young boy, his life had been changed forever. I silently wondered where this man was in his journey of life. I thoroughly enjoyed the chance I got to be with this man and to feel of his sweet spirit.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Moment In Time For The Ages

We went swimming at the Taylorsville public swimming pool, a couple of nights ago.  Music played from large speakers that hung on the light poles around the swimming pool.  One song came on that means a lot to our family.  Every member of our family knows the words to the song and they did so with gusto!
I watched as the people in the swimming pool looked in the direction of our children and our nieces and nephews as they sung.

The song is called 'We Are Young".  This is kind of a bizarre video but our kids have really loved the song.  Try to imagine a group of more than ten people singing this with all of their might.  My heart took a picture and downloaded it forever.

I love my life!  It is more than I imagined it could be.  It's times like these that make life all worth while.

Friday, July 27, 2012

I Love Everything About You

I want to devote this blog post to my sweetheart, Becky.  I hope that this will benefit all who read it even though it is about her. 
I have watched my sweet wife as she has been patient with this knee injury.  For anyone that knows Becky, she is a devoted person.  She loves to help others and she really loves her family.  Because she has been ordered to stay off of her knee, literally, she has missed some things that she so badly wanted to be a part of.  She has missed some family functions.  For months, she has worked on the float for the Days of '47 Youth Parade that she was in charge of and yet was unable to be in attendance.  She has helped plan and carry out Girl's Camp and was unable to attend.  For the most part, it has been a frustrating summer for her but she has remained positive and even done so when people weren't particularly understanding about her ability be in attendance.  I have been so grateful for those people who have provided their time and talents to help 'shoulder' the load that she couldn't carry. 
In the privacy of our own home, I have watched and personally felt of her incredible love.  I am so grateful for who she is and how she carries herself in life. 
On a more personal note, may I mention a couple of things that I really love and admire about Becky?
From the time when we were dating up until the present time, I have been grateful that Becky is who she is no matter who she is around.  She is the same today as she was yesterday and she will be that same person tomorrow.  There aren't very many people that have that ability.  I have loved that so much and I feel grateful to have her in my life.  I love you!
I have a lot to learn from Becky.  She teaches me things that I would not learn from anybody else.  I am a blessed man.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

We Win As A Team

Most people associate the word 'team' with a sporting event or some other group activity. I want to talk a minute about our family as it relates to a team. In my short life I have watched as some families succeed but others don't. I have watched a man and woman work extremely hard, unitedly, to make sure that their family is all that it can be--and do it successfully. On the other hand I have seen it work just the opposite.
I don't think that anyone knows all of the 'in's and out's" of this but many have succeeded in an approach that brings unity and pure joy to their family.
The word 'family' signifies plural. A selfish approach of an individual(s) is not the recipe for success as a family.
Not a day goes by that I don't look at every member of our family and think about what I can do to help a member of our family be everything that their potential dictates. We were all created as successful beings who came from the presence of a loving Heavenly Father. We are divinely created to succeed. It is much easier to work hard, in unity, and to succeed, when we place ourselves in a 'team' environment. Our families are imperative to life's enjoyment and success.
I am very thankful for my family. They mean so much to me. 'I want to spend my life with them through all eternity.'

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

You Are On My MInd

Some years ago, Becky and I received a handwritten letter from a person. In the letter this person expressed their appreciation for the way that we were raising our young children. The man thanked us for being kind and gentle with them and talking nicely to them. He told us that he had watched our approach to raising our children and was grateful for the way we were trying to do it. This man and his wife had already raised their children and so for a letter to come from him, I knew that he knew of the experiences we were going through. We appreciated that very much. The older I have gotten the more grateful I am that he would take a few minutes and pen his feelings that would then encourage and buoy us up in our parenting approach.
I would encourage each of us to do something similar to that. If there is someone who is on your mind and you will take a minute to express your appreciation for them, it will lift them higher than anything else.
I am so grateful for the kind words that come from others. It is those acts of kindness that help get us through the various endeavors that we will pursue.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Focus On The Positive

When I began this blog, on January 1, my original thought was that I would write something that would uplift and help focus on the good things of life. It has been meaningful to me and helpful because it forces me to look at the positive things that are happening in the world that we live. There are many good things happening we just have to look.
Because we all have our freedom to make choices, sometimes that means that the decisions we make are not the best ones possible. That goes for everybody. It becomes very easy to see the horrible things that people do because the media magnifies them and they become all that society can think about. Let me assure you that those terrible things are the minority. Unfortunately, all of the good that is happening simultaneously is not being broadcast so it appears to not be going on. It is indeed! A lot of people choose to spend their time contributing in a positive way to help our world be better. If you find yourself being a pessimist, stop right there and look a little bit closer and you'll see what I'm talking about. You will find the good that I'm talking about and you will feel better about your surroundings. It's a great life!

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Rodeo Is On

There are things that we all long to do. Tonight is the 'Days of 47' rodeo at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah. Nat has wanted to go to this for a few years. Tonight, her and Laurel are at the rodeo and having a great time of it. I love the excitement that comes from somebody doing something they have always wanted to do. A few years ago, my sixty year old mom took the more than three hundred foot jump off of the bridge at Victoria Falls in South Africa with a bungee cord around her ankles. It is still thrilling to hear her talk about that adrenaline-filled jump that she thoroughly enjoyed. I am grateful for the joy that comes from doing something you always wanted to do. It thrills my heart!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Use Your Tongue Wisely

It is a great blessing to be able to communicate with one another and be uplifted in our lives by the words that we speak. Our tongues are also one of the most deadly weapons. I spoke with a woman who is a victim of serious verbal abuse from a former husband of twenty years. Once she divorced him and received some counseling to help work through the various issues that she had her life has gotten back to a semi-normal state and the future looks bright. Her trials were battled through the awful use of the tongue. We have heard it our whole lives but let me say it again. Be a person who speaks kindly and gently, especially to your spouse and children. I want to be a person that Becky and our children can trust without reservation. I want them to feel safe when they're around me. I want them to feel peace and security--PERIOD! Let that be the same for each one of us.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Love At Home

Our girls arrived home from Girl's camp and it was so nice to be at home as an entire family. When we sat around the table for dinner, my heart was overjoyed as I looked at each member of our family and wondered how the time has flown by and everyone has gotten so big. What a rich blessing it is to be a family. Neither Becky and I like that life is cruising by so quickly. It is neat to watch the various things unfold in the lives of each person in our family. It seems important to say that we all need to enjoy things in 'the moment'. You blink and everyone is grown and the memories are what you have to remember. The positive side is that there are always more memories to make. I am thankful to be a husband and a father. Those two titles bring me the greatest joy.

Friday, July 20, 2012

In His Image

I had a conversation with our son Brady.  We talked about how differently our bodies are built--the shape, size.  We talked at length about the way our Heavenly Father intended for us to be.  I told Brady how important it is to realize and better understand the uniqueness of every single person.  He meant for us to be the way we are. 
That leads me to my thought for the day.  If the idea is important enough to the One who created us then how much should it mean to us that we are okay with who and how we are.
We are created in His image.  We all have divine characteristics that come from a divine Maker.
There are things that each of us are dissatisfied with about our bodies but we ought to try hard to be happy and content with who we are!
Brady and I had a meaningful conversation and I hope that he remembers it his whole life.  I hope I will do better and remembering exactly who I am and the blessings that are so freely given to me.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I Hadn't Thought Of That

Today, I went to the admissions office at the University of Utah. I was stunned at how young some of the kids look that are currently enrolled. My mind raced at the reality that a year from now our oldest will be walking on campus at a university and some forty year old dude will go home and tell his wife how young the kids were walking around campus.
It brought a refreshing youthfulness to my heart. I feel proud that these kids are moving on to the next level of education so as to prepare and build a solid foundation for their future.
I am grateful for knowledge. It is exciting to learn new things and to be taught by those who have educated themselves and are then willing to teach those of us that could use a little bit.
Life is a great big school. Learning enriches the mind and is invigorating to the soul.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Heads Or Tails?

The other night, our oldest boy Brady was tossing a coin in the air. As he flipped it he watched it closely as it spun end over end. He would then catch it in his hand and ask me to guess whether it was heads or tails.
The odds of many things in our lives are just like that, heads or tails.  The choice is ours to make and its either going to be a good choice or a less than good choice.  The reason I say it like that is the difference between many choices in our lives doesn't always come down to good or bad--black or white.  There are oftentimes choices that are better than a particular one but both are good, nonetheless.  Common sense is the key in all of this.  I believe that many times we are on the right track but we get caught up in being so 'letter of the law' that we miss good opportunities to make correct and sound choices.
Sometimes its not as cut and dry as heads and tails but Brady tossing the coin allowed me to look closer, and from a different perspective.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

One For The Money

When our kids were younger and much smaller, Becky and I would each grab an arm and a leg and we would recite while swinging the kid up and down: "One for the money. Two for the show. Three to get ready and four to go." We would then hoist them high into the air and catch them before their feet could hit the ground. We would watch as they laughed and giggled with pleasure. My parents did that to me and I'm sure it happened with them too.
I watched this exact thing happen with two young parents and a young child. My brain was flooded with those fond memories of a day long since passed. I could see the big smiles on our kid's faces. They really got a kick out of that. We enjoyed watching them.
Each day presents an opportunity to make good memories that will last a lifetime.
"One for the money. Two for the show. Three to get ready and four to go." Such a small memory brings back many others just like it. I love my life and I love the opportunities that lie ahead.

Monday, July 16, 2012

On A Night Like Tonight

We gathered as a family to conduct our Monday night Family Home Evening. This night was different from most. We gathered in our bedroom so that Becky could remain seated with her knee elevated. The four kids were all situated on our bed and I sat on the floor next to the chair that Becky was seated in. We talked about standing up for who you are and for what you believe. Becky taught about the reference to President Thomas S. Monson's 'Mormon Message" on standing alone.
We went around the room and each shared personal experiences when we had to have courage to stand for truth and right even when it wasn't the most popular thing to do. It was mentioned that sometimes you do it good and sometimes you fall short. It was apparent that each one of us needs to be strong and then prepared to stand for the right.
We sang together and we prayed together. On this night, our family was buoyed up and taught by the Holy Ghost the truths that change us, for the good, forever.
My heart was stirred (and my emotions, too) by the wonderful examples that our children are to me. I love them all so much and I want them to know that what they do is exactly what is expected. This was a night to remember.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Feeling Good

I love good stories.  May I share one with you. 

"Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur rules at life, basically.

We've written about the fun he's had with fans in Oakland and Kansas City, but this is an even more personal and touching story.

Houston's Tammy Blanchard Robertson posted this note (along with the photo above) on the Royals' Facebook page on Wednesday, and, well, I'll let her tell the story.

Dear Jeff Francoeur,
Just last night my husband, daughter and 7 year old son attended the Royals vs Astros game here in Houston. My husband was born and raised in KC and our family lived there for 5 years before we were transferred to Houston.
Last year my son was diagnosed with Autism. Going to large stadiums that are really loud are out of my sons comfort zone, we told him we were going to see the KC Royals and he was instantly excited.
We made sure to get to the game early so that we could find our seats before the stadium filled up. We were lucky enough to get to the stadium while the Royals were having their batting practice.
My husband told our son that he should call you over and that you may autograph his cap for him. As my son yelled with hope in his voice, you came jogging over to us. My son was so excited when he saw you coming over that he fell while trying to climb over the seats to the front row. It is rare that we see our son get excited over anything to do with sports as Autistic children tend to be more interested in books, and computers rather than sports.
Our son stared up at you with tears in his eyes, you took the time to coddle him, ask his name and make him feel special.
We just wanted to say thank you for not only taking the time to come over to see our son, but for signing his hat, and posing for a picture with him. It is truly a day that our son will never forget. You are a true role model, this was a day our family will always remember."

There are people all about who are doing the best that they can.  While reading in the various newspapers around the country, I come across articles that lift my spirits and remind me that the future is bright!  There are a lot of great things going on.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

It's A Blessed Day

Today is my dad's birthday.  I am thankful every day to have a dad who has always wanted to be a good husband and father.  Thank you for being involved in my life and taking the time to teach good solid principles.  I have always watched my dad very carefully.  It has been a real treat!
I am trying to learn from my dad and I am confident that if I will try to do the things the way he does I will be in good shape.
I am a boy richly blessed to have a mother and father who strive to live and love one another in harmony.
Thank you very much!  I love you.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Truth Download

I really love it when something hits me and makes me feel good.  From the time that I was a young boy, religion has played an important role in my life--a central role.  I was taught in a home the good things of life and I saw and felt the truth.  I was taught to gain a love for the scriptures.  I gained a natural love for the Book of Mormon.  It spoke plainly and I felt of the power of that book.  As a full-time missionary I learned of its truthfulness, for myself, and then I spent two years teaching and testifying to people the truth that I had found for myself.  I was reading in the Book of Mormon and a scripture 'popped out' at me.

"Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."  (Ether 12:4)

Guidance and a clear direction are very important to me.  As people, we all get that from different sources.  I am grateful to good parents who showed me the way.  I still had to choose but they helped me.  I give thanks to Becky for wanting to go the same way.  She is a great source of strength and unconditional love.
The 'lights' came on again for me just like they have many other times before for which I am most grateful.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Will Somebody Really Listen?

I have found it very interesting how many people there are who spend their lives with nobody to listen to them. I knew a young man when I was a teenager who never did feel validated by his parents because they were both so busy talking that they wouldn't listen to anything that was going in his life. His important accomplishments were only important to him. Last night, our oldest son Brady and I were shooting some hoop on the driveway. Brady loves basketball. It is also a time that I enjoy a great deal because it gives me some alone time with him to visit and talk about life. He had kind of a rough day and so the combination of that for him and a lack of patience on my end had a lousy outcome. We ended the night with tears because when something didn't go his way it saddened him. Once that had happened all he wanted was some love from me and I told him that there was nothing to cry about. I realized afterward that I had errored in judgement. I apologized and we ended the night on a better note. He needed me to listen and then show forth some extra love. Each of us has or will be approached by someone in real need. In that time of need, I hope that I will stop, listen, and then show an increased measure of love.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I'm Not Surprised

When I got to work, this morning, there was a basket neatly wrapped with an assortment of treats and goodies from my good friend at work and his wife to give to Becky. She has hurt her knee and we have felt love from a few people who trully care about us, and we can feel it. I have said it many times but I will state it again. There are a lot of really good people out there who are sincere in their approach to love and look out for those that they really care about. I have a long way to go on perfecting this particular characteristic in my life. I will probably spend a lifetime trying and hopefully I'll get close to mastering it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's Nice To Meet You Too

I was in the store and I ended up having a conversation with a man who needed somebody to talk to. I like to visit and I come by that naturally from my dad. He asked me several questions about life and my opinion on a few things. I answered them honestly and thoroughly. One thing really struck me hard. He said that it was nice for him to meet me. I haven't ever really given that comment any attention before. I replied that it was likewise nice to meet him. You may be wondering why that was such a big deal for me. It's very simple. We are all children of a God. He loves us and the reality is that we are spiritual children of Him. That makes us all related in an eternal perspective. This man is an eternal relative of mine and it was so nice to find him a stranger but after talking to him I found a brother indeed. What a neat principle. I was touched and deeply moved, in my heart by that reality.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Turn Here

When was the last time you came upon a sign with the word 'Detour' printed on it? It is quite often, these days with all of the construction that is going on. We live in a time when the necessities of people that live around us need our assistance, sometimes at the most inconvenient times. I am reminded about this concept whenever I see a 'Detour' sign. May I suggest that when the 'detours' of life come that we are willing to confront them with patience, realizing they there is quite possibly something very valuable that we will learn along the way. These detours come unexpectedly and they knock us off guard but we can overcome the frustrations that come with these particular times. Be sensitive to your feelings and be willing and courageous to act on those feelings. So the next time you see the sign, remember that a detour might be needed, from you to help encourage and lift somebody that needs your help. Be ready and be prepared for the times yet to come.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Come Back

As I was sitting in church, today, the thought came to my mind that there are many people who struggle with various things in this life.  Those challenges range from health to struggles with children.  Even marriages have issues between husband and wife.
In the Bible, we are taught by the Savior, Jesus Christ.  One of my favorite passages of scripture calms my heart and stirs within my soul the reality of hope.

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

For those that lose their way in life and the hope that they once possessed dwindles, there is always hope no matter what the situation currently is.  The invitation from our Heavenly Father is "Come back!"
Ours is the responsibility to spread that 'good word' and help to lift the heads that hang low with hearts and minds filled with anguish and distress.
We can do it. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

We Play And Have Fun

Tonight, we went to Orem since my mom and dad were in town.  It was a great time to be together and to enjoy one another's company.
The older you get, the more different family members are but I found tonight to be a great time and we all seemed to have a lot of fun.
This entire year I have focused on many different things as I post a daily blog.  Family has come up a lot and there is good reason for that.  Our families should be an important part of our lives.  Sometimes that is difficult to do but I would like to suggest that we all make a conscientious decision to strengthen the relationships we have with our family members.  Even if it's something small and insignificant.  The thought counts.  A brief phone calls expresses that you cared enough to make an effort.  Our families are important.
It was a nice time and we laughed as we spent time together.  What a night.

Friday, July 6, 2012

What Phase Am I On?

Our family enjoys playing card games. There are many games that require some sort of 'scoring' system to keep track of who wins at the end of the game. When Becky and I play we never keep score. We just like to play games to have fun and enjoy each other's company. Several years ago, we had an evening where we invited our friends over to our home to have an evening of games. We pulled out Phase 10 and began to set up to play the game. Our good friend asked if we had a sheet of paper to keep score on. Becky stated that we never kept score. Our friend looked at Becky and asked. "Why even play the game?"
We have laughed about that moment in time. We're just funny that way. I already know that Becky is a great person and I don't need her to beat me at a game to prove her worth to me.
It is my opinion that life is the same way. Who is really keeping score? I believe that I am in charge of keeping track of how I do and not anybody else. Becky and I do have responsibility to teach and give guidance and direction to our children.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

We Will Go On

It is a fact that when our wives and mothers are 'down for the count' the house just doesn't feel quite the same.  That's how it feels at our house.  Becky injured her knee and it has a potentially lengthy recovery time.  I am so grateful for those who take the time to inquire about how she is doing.  Those are our true friends, for which we are eternally grateful.
I want our children to know how much I love and adore them.  They are such great kids, who are trying to do what's right every single day.  I love all four of you.  Thank you for all that you do.
With the combined effort of our family, we are able to see this 'hick-up' through and all will be well. 
Families are amazing and we are so grateful for ours!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Birthday, America!
What a rich blessing it is to live in a land of freedom.  I am thankful, on this day, for the blessings that I have.

I love our national anthem.  Whenever it is sung, tears come to my eyes and I am filled with gratitude.

"Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"

(Francis Scott Key)

May God continue to bless this land that we love.  If we do our part, I know He will do His.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I'll Go, Even Give My Life

I talked with a friend who told me about the news of the death of a cousin, in Afghanistan. My heart felt saddened by his loss. I have thought about this man's ultimate sacrifice. I can't help but think about the happiness I feel to live in the land of the free. We are so blessed. Tomorrow, we celebrate the birth of this country. Those freedoms come from men and women who both live and died. To each one of them I give my sincere thanks!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Modern Medicine...Thank You

I spent some time in the hospital and how thankful I felt to have doctors and nurses who were trained and schooled to deal with the various ailments that our bodies sometimes endure. There was one particular nurse, Tyanne was her name, who took the time to get Becky comfortable with the excruciating pain she was feeling. She was detail oriented in her job and did it very well. I have to tell you something really funny. A male nurse came into the room because he was given the task of starting an 'IV'. It has always been difficult to find good veins in her arms and so normally she has to get pricked a couple of times in order to get the 'IV' in correctly. After several minutes of examining both arms, the man told us that he wasn't comfortable with doing it and that he would get somebody else to do it. Not even a minute later a female nurse came in and promptly looked at Becky's right arm and began to quickly prep her arm and in no time had an 'IV' started and that was that. There are always people who are very good at their jobs and can do specific things very well. I was so grateful for that nurse and her expertise. We live in a wonderful time. We are so blessed with so many different things. I am so thankful to live in this time and I hope that you are too.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

My Faith Brings About Peace

There was a time when I heard a young man as he spoke of his experience as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He spoke of the kind of young man he was throughout high school. He said that at that time his faith was a part of his life. After serving a mission, he learned that his faith was his life. My faith is my life and the peace that I receive from the knowledge that I have is remarkable, even life-changing. I am so grateful for all that I have in my life!