Tuesday, November 19, 2013


I've been on a reading kick lately. I've plowed through most everything that Issac Asimov wrote, and I'm working my way through Ian M. Banks, Harry Harrison, Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, Philip K. Dick, Orson Scott Card  and a bunch of other lesser known Sci-Fi and Fantasy writers. It's so much fun to see the imagination of others at work. It's even more fun seeing the older works by authors like Asimov and Harrison and how they saw the future from the emerging technological world of the 50s and 60s. Great fun that.

I get a lot of enjoyment out of reading these types of books and it is always good to spend a quiet hour or two just letting my mind run away with the visions of what I read.

I'm grateful that there are creative people out there who want to share their talents.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Still thinking about the Atonement

After the experiences of yesterday, I find I am still quite caught up in thinking about the Atonement and our need for a Savior. Today, however, rather than focusing on our desperate need for an avenue to repent of our mistakes, I am more closely reminded of the healing and help that can come through applying the Atonement in our lives. It is a gift that gives so much vitality and support...and something I'm still learning about every day.

Can you ever express enough gratitude for such a gift?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Atonement

At the end of a very, very long Sunday....all I really have to say is that I am continually reminded how grateful I am for a Savior and all of the myriad blessings that flow from the supernal gift of the Atonement.

There isn't anything more I could say that would have any more meaning.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Getting into shape

This coming summer Caleb and I will go backpacking at Philmont scout ranch. 10 days of backpacking where we'll cover a minimum of 50 miles, and potentially quite a bit more. I'm very excited....and very out of shape for it. Oh, I'm in pretty good physical shape. I work out every day (except Sunday) and I keep myself pretty fit....but I'm certainly not in the kind of shape I know I'll have to be in to be able to do that kind of backpacking and not feel like I'd like to die at the end of each day. It's a different type of exercise and a different type of shape you need to be in.

So, I've been slowly working my way into the kind of physical shape I know I need to be in. One of the activities I've been doing is running, specifically with the intent of trail-running. I don't get to do it more than once a week, but the rest of the days I spend in training for my Saturday trail runs. Today was a big milestone for me. It sounds silly, but I finally have gotten my legs into enough shape that I was able to run down the mountain. Usually I run up, then walk down; going down is much harder on your legs than going up. Up is more tiring but down is more wear and tear. But, today I ran down and was able to maintain a decent pace (actually, a pretty solid pace) and do it pain free.

So, today I'm grateful that my old, rapidly decaying body still has something left in the tank. I'm also grateful that I've had the wisdom to continue to take things slow and not expect too much. A good day overall.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Tonight we didn't have a lot to do. Nowhere that we needed to be tomorrow, nothing pressing on our weekend schedule. So what did we do? Not much. We sat in bed and watched a couple of movies....and we were both totally okay with that.

Today I'm grateful for the small moments of respite, when we can just decide to do nothing....and feel good about it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Music in my life

I sing with a college choir out of MCC. It is one of the things I really enjoy. Tonight I was reminded of one of the reasons why I enjoy it. The details are unimportant, but it was re-emphasized to me how much passion and love for music the people around me in the choir have. From the director to all the voices, there is a great love of music and a desire to do our best as a group...it's really quite amazing. It can lead to some tense moments, some disagreements, and even hurt feelings, but it all stems from a desire to make something beautiful and from a deep passion for music.

For all the difficult moments, the end results are truly rewarding and I'm grateful that I get a chance to associate with such wonderful musicians.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I'm grateful....really, I am

Today, I did not have fun. I went to the "lab" to get some blood drawn for some bloodwork that needs to be done prior to my annual appointment with my nephrologist. I also have a bit of "bio-measurement" test that I'm supposed to do for my health insurance that is also supposed to be done at the same lab, so, why not kill two birds with one stone? I head over to the lab near my house that I normally go to (which was also listed by my health insurance company as one of the labs that does the measurement stuff they require), but they inform me they can only do the bloodwork, but not the measurement stuff - I have to go to another site for that. So, after I get stuck and they drain me of 3 vials of blood, I head for another location where I can get the health insurance stuff done.

After they take me back, I find out that they need to take blood as well for a cholesterol test. Fantastic. Now I get to be stuck a 2nd time. If I had know that I would have just gone to that location first. Oh well, that's why I have two arms. So, they measure me up (6' 4", 215 lbs) and then the nurse proceeds to stick my other arm, and promptly misses the vein (which I warned her about BTW - but they never believe me). So, then they call in the site expert and he decides to stick me again in the first arm that got stuck and just pick a different vein. So, now I have 3 new holes in my arm and I'm a bit peeved at phlebotamists in general.

Side note - this is not unusual. When I had my shoulder surgery they stuck me 9 times in different places trying to find a vein, then the IV came out when they moved me to the surgery table and had to stick me AGAIN. So, not only was I jacked up from the surgery, but I had 4 huge bruises on my hands, forearms and the crook of my arm from where they had failed to stick a vein.

HOWEVER....all that being said....I am still grateful for modern medicine. I would be in a lot worse shape than I am if it wasn't for competent doctors that have been able to keep me functioning in what resembles a reasonably healthy human shell. My family has also benefited immensely from having modern medicine inflicted on us. I kid, but really, even the bad experiences I had today remind me that for all the bad experiences, there are about as many miraculous things (can you use that word to describe the outcome of science and research?) that have been provided by the dedicated practitioners of the medical profession.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Jealousy and pride

Caleb and I went on a short hike today. When I was younger I would go to Squaw Peak and run up and then back down, my goal being to never have anyone pass me either up or down. There were only a couple of people that I ever ran into that could beat me. I did it all the time and it was a lot of fun, but I haven't really climbed Squaw Peak for years. So...today I took him down there to see how it would go. 

Dude beat me up to the top (easily) and then back down (easily). 

I wasn't terribly surprised, I kind of expected it, but there was a certain amount of jealousy that he could move better and faster than me now, although he still has a ways to go before he can match what I was able to do at my peak. I wish I could still move like that, but I'm too old and broken down. So there is the jealousy. At the same time....man that kid makes me proud. It's so much fun to watch him get bigger and stronger. I know he's going to surpass me in every way eventually, and I couldn't be happier about it. 

But that doesn't mean I don't get to complain about it.

Today I'm grateful for a son who makes my life more interesting.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Singing hymns

I love singing songs of worship. I love singing in general, but there is just a little something extra when the songs I sing involve praises to the Lord. There are a lot of hymns that I enjoy singing, but one of my favorites is "Where Can I Turn For Peace" - it was the message of that hymn that helped me most in my tie of need. Beyond that, when you sing about the things that are most meaningful to you can access an extra layer of emotion that can make your singing just that much better.

While I'm grateful for my talent and love of singing, I'm especially grateful that there are so many wonderful songs of praise that allow me to worship through music.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Time out for women

My wife got to go to Time Out For Women yesterday evening and today. I love the fact that she has these kinds of opportunities to go and be spiritually fed. I love the fact that she wants to have these kinds of opportunities. She comes back so excited and the time we spend together talking about what her thoughts were during the meetings is a really good time.

Today I'm grateful for a good wife who loves the Lord. That's a true blessing.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fun with my favorite little girl

Tonight I got to go on a daddy-daughter date with my favorite little girl, Sabrina. She's been bugging me about it for a while, and I figured it was high time to have another one.

First we went to dinner. I asked her what she wanted and she said Chick-fil-A...not the most special of locations, but, what the heck. Then we went down to the animal adoption shop in the mall and played with a kitten there named Lance. Sabrina could not get enough. We were in that little room with the cat for a good 30 minutes. She tried to start crying as we left without adopting the cat (yea, right...like we were going to adopt it!), but I nipped that in the bud pretty quickly and no tears were shed.

We then went to Dillards and swung by the cosmetics section where Lisa Cullimore was nice enough to not only put some light make-up on her (lip gloss, light blush, and light eye-shadow) but also to give her a little gift box of perfume and lip gloss (Thanks, Lisa!). We then went over to all the fancy little-girl's dresses and picked one out that she liked and went to try it on. We took a picture and sent it to mommy.

She was in heaven the whole time. In fact, when she got home I told her to go run and take a shower before bed, and while she was showering Gavin went in to brush his teeth, she did nothing but chat at him in pretty excruciating detail about every little thing she did that night, and at one point even exclaimed "I was in heaven all night!" That is never a bad thing to hear.

Anyway, I'm very grateful that I have a daughter that loves me and still wants to hang out with me.

That's pretty darned cool.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Surprising opportunities

Tonight at my choir we were talking about auditions for an upcoming performance of a requiem from Mozart. Apparently not many people are trying out for the bass solo part. I have been thinking about it, and now I'm thinking I'll actually audition for the part. Even after years of study and practice I still have a fairly large amount of fear of singing solo in public. In a choir, not a problem. Solo - still pants-wettingly terrified.

However, I know I have been blessed with a talent and I haven't made the most of it in a long time, so I'm going to go ahead and put my terrified britches on the line and give it a shot.

So, oddly enough, I'm grateful today for opportunities to scare the heebie-jeebies out of me.

It's good to get out of your comfort zone....or so I'm told anyway.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Working with the young women

There are many things that I do in the church that provide a lot of joy and satisfaction. I won't provide a comprehensive list, suffice it to say that right near the top of the list is working with the young women. The young women in our ward are truly exceptional. There is a wonderful spirituality and willingness to serve. They are the type of young women that I want my daughter to watch and emulate, and I can think of no greater compliment. They are wonderful daughters of God.

Boy am I grateful that I get to work with them.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The ability to work

Sitting here thinking about what I'm grateful for can sometimes surprise me. Today is one of those times. I don't often think about my work as a great blessing. Oh, sure, there are some great aspects of my jobs that are blessings, for example, being able to work from home is at the top of that list. However, I rarely appreciate just how much of a blessing it is to actually be able to work and to have a job that provides what we need. Not a lot extra, but enough, and that's just fine.

So, amid all the other things that are fairly constant in my life, and as much as I might not enjoy every moment I spend working, I'm still very grateful for my jobs.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Awesome kids

Sabrina is quite the kid. She told me yesterday that she wanted to give the lesson for FHE. She does this on a fairly regular basis, she gets so excited about what she learns in primary and just needs to share. So, we invited some friends over for dinner and then had our FHE. Her lesson was on testimony; she had an object lesson as well - it was pretty dang cute. It was also extremely gratifying to see my 7 yr old daughter having such a love for the gospel. It is so much fun to see their excitement and their love of sharing with others.

So, yep...I'm grateful for my daughter. She's a great little gal with a bright future.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sundays are always good

So, here was the schedule: 6:30 bishopric meeting, 8:30 church, 12:00 ward council, 1:00 count tithes and offerings, 1:30 BYC, 2:00 head home (briefly) and give the wife a kiss, 2:30 choir practice, 3:00 change clothes and chat with the kids a little, 3:30 start dinner, 4:00 eat dinner, 5:00 play "Mexican train" with the kids and convince Caleb to make snickerdoodles, 5:30 call a friend to borrow some brown sugar because we don't have enough, 6:00 help Caleb make the cookies while the kids start getting ready for bed. 6:30 eat some cookies, 7:00 take a plate over to the friends as a thanks for loaning the sugar, 8:00 come home and sit down to finish a few things on the computer and write this post, 9:00 crawl into bed and watch a little TV with the wife, 10:00 (or thereabouts)...sleep.

Now, that might sound like a long day, and in many ways it is. But it is also a great day. During all of those activities I get to be with wonderful people (friends and family) doing wonderful things (generally spiritual) and mostly just enjoying a day unlike any other.

So, yes, I'm grateful for Sundays. They're my favorite day.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A good kid

We got to watch Caleb play with his volleyball club today, they didn't win much, but they are still learning. It got me thinking about the fact that he's really a good kid. Together we go hiking, we geek out on cars, we enjoy games (video and board). He's essentially a mini-me....and I love it. It's good to have a son that isn't just your son, but also your friend. I'll share more specific stories at another time, but for now, I just need to express the gratitude I have for having Caleb as my son.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Grateful for a patient wife

It seems that November is a month when a lot of people choose to express their gratitude. With all of my inconsistencies of late, why not jump on board the bandwagon. With a bunch of other people posting daily, it will serve as a good reminder to me to not be quite so lazy about it myself.

Let's do this.

Today I am grateful for my wife. But not just for any reason, and not a reason that you would find typical. Let me explain. My wife loves me and she loves our kids. She also wants to make sure that I have good relationships with all of our kids. She knows that I have difficulties occasionally and knows exactly what those difficulties are, but here's the thing: she never harps on me about it. Every once in a while, if we're talking together about difficult things and she can tell that I'm open to it, she'll mention something. Never in a blaming or accusatory way, but in a "this is what you do" kind of a way. She is very careful and knows that if she were to jump on me all the time it would only cause anger and hard feelings. So, very patiently and very carefully she has tried to help me see where I can improve.

Over the last week or so I have come to realize just how patient and careful she is. I have finally begun to notice for myself what she has been talking to me and warning me about. This is where she's been trying to get me for years, but she knew I'd have to get there on my own if I was going to stand a chance of making a change. I now see very clearly where my shortcomings lie and what their effect has been. I have no idea how to fix them, I have no idea how to go about changing the habits of a lifetime, but I'm now in a place where I realize that I must change. I'm ready to try anything, to get whatever help I need.

So, thank you, my dear, sweet, patient, loving wife. I don't know why you put up with me, I will never really understand how you are able to be so patient with me...but I'm inexpressibly grateful for your love and your patience.