Sunday, June 17, 2012

What Makes a Man a Man

     I was visiting with a lady from our ward the other week, we were over at her house for dinner and we were talking about the good ol' days. Even though she is much more chronologically advanced than I am, we both still knew what the good days were. It came to a point in the conversation where we started talking about heroes from the past. She then said: "We need those kinds of heroes today, we need heroes like John Wayne."
    John Wayne was the man. He is an iconic American actor, who played primarily in western films. He was the ladies man, the lawman, the straight shooter who always got the bad guy. He was the man who could do anything, and the guy you wanted on your team. What made him great was his morals, his code, and his grit. The things that make a man a man. He walked the line, and stood up for what he believed in, and he stood up to in the face of danger, no matter what. He treated women with respect, and never quit at anything. Truly, these characteristics are what made John Wayne an icon. Someone to look up too. When I think of people like John Wayne, I think of my Dad and my Grandpa.
    I couldn't give you an example of anyone more heroic that these two. My whole life I've lived and made mistakes, I always ask myself, "what would Dad do? What would Grandpa do?" I've never seen anything get the two guys down, ever, and I've reached a point in my life where I don't even think it's possible.
   My Dad and my Grandpa taught me so much. I could make a list a mile long and still not be done. They are both simple men, who love their wives, work hard everyday to provide for their families, are right with God, and are as real and straight shootin' as you can get. True heroes. I know if I can only be half as good as they are, I'll be alright.
   As I go on through my life, I thank God for my Dad and Grandpa. They helped make me who I am. I realize that more and more each day. And when life gets tough, I may stumble and fall but I'll never quit, because they never taught me how. . .
   Thanks Dad and Grandpa.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

When The Light Comes On

       DING, DING, DING, DING, DING !!!! We have all been there at some point, and know what it means. You could have been driving down the road, or sitting in park, but when the check engine light comes on it your car, you feel a need for panic! Nobody would blame you, it happens to the best of us. You start to ask yourself what in the world is wrong, what happened, what you have to fix, and you might even not want to drive until that evil orange light goes away! It's very unsettling.
     Truth be told, the 'check engine light' or CEL, can go off for a lot of different reasons. You might have noticed you can usually still drive when its on. Its pretty obvious when there truly is something wrong with the engine. Most of the time, whatever this annoying little light is blinking about has absolutely nothing to do with your engine at all. It's always some sort of sensor that goes bad, an emissions control mechanism, or something that has no real or positive affect on how your motor runs. In other words, sometimes it tells you something is wrong with your engine, when there isn't.
     It's still safe to check it out none the less. . . You could have some serious issues with your powerplant and not be able to tell by ear or feel, and that little light can save your rear end. But what im driving at isn't about if you should trust your CEL or not, but what warning tool we can all use that will never give us mixed signals.
     We all call it by different names: The Holy Spirit, The Holy Ghost, The Great Spirit, El Espiritu Santo . . .  Whichever name you use, it all means the same thing, and all of us have felt it. The Holy Ghost is the third member of The Godhead. Throughout the scriptures it is described as the comforter, one who brings feeling of joy and peace. We know this is true. Another unique attribute of The Spirit is that it also bears witness of truth and light.
       In the Bible, James tells us that if we lack wisdom, we "should ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." This is clear enough instruction. But how is that knowledge given to us? By the power of The Holy Ghost. In the last book of the Book of Mormon, we receieve further truth of this doctrine: "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest
the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Moroni 10:4-5) We learn from these passages that we can know the truth of all things through The Spirit. Thats a pretty big thing to claim, but I can tell you that it's true.
       The Holy Ghost is truly the only thing that can give you confirmation of truth, and be absolutly dead on. It doesn't send us mixed signals, it doesn't tell us our engine is going out when we lose an oxygen sensor, it tells us whats true and whats not. I promise that if anyone out there wants to know the truth, and you ask God, The Holy Ghost will bear witness. And this comes from personal experience, when the Holy Ghost tells you something, you can't deny it.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How To Avoid Being Flipped: DEATH TRAPS

     I still remember the first time I flipped a motorcycle. It was back in the day of what they call ATC's (all terrain cycles), Just like a quad with only two tires in back and one in front. It was up in Pine, Arizona and I was out in the mountains where I learned how to ride. I can remember climbing uphill in third gear with the throttle wide open. Then all of a sudden the front wheel lifted off the ground and instead of a wheelie it flipped me right over backwards. I got kicked right off the back of the bike and landed on my butt.  I though to myself "well this sucks". I didn't even know what happened really. I got up to my feet and the ATC was still stuck straight up on it's back tires and leaning on the grab bar at the back. I pushed it back over and saw what had caught me. It was a small tree that was almost invisible at the angle I had come, but it was rooted and strong enough that after the front tire had ran it over, it sprung back up and pushed the bike backwards. I was pretty mad that something so small and stupid could put such a damper on my fun.
    I don't know how long it's been now. Truthfully it feels like I've been riding all of my life. I probably couldn't count on one hand how many times I've flipped or some dumb thing like that has happened to me. At the dunes, over backwards, in my backyard, in the dirt, into a creek, over top of me, down a mountain . . Some things just happen when you ride hard. One thing Ive noticed though, is that a lot of the things that make you flip over are some of the smallest, dumbest things imaginable that are the result of a mere coincidence or not paying attention for one second. This is in comparison to what you would expect to cause such an accident, like jumping, wheelies, and everything in that order. I did all that, and I can't remember ever flipping over (OK maybe once or twice). It's always the small things that I'd never expected.
    At the dunes, there are what they call kiddie tracks. When you're younger, you tend not to venture out and ride in the actual dunes and inside the big bowls so you stay closer to flat terrain. What the little kids usually do is ride their dirt-bikes, quads or whatever around in circles or figure eight's and make fun out of a little track. Over time they cut tracks and berms so it becomes like an actual cut out mini race track. You can make em just about anywhere but they are easier to form in the sand. One of the first things you learn when you ride in the dunes is to watch out for these "death traps". Reason being is that you don't know where they are. When you're hauling at eighty miles an hour across the sand, you might see it, but by the time you do, you can't stop in time when you're going that fast. What happens is the berms and all else hit you like a car hitting a speed bump at two hundred miles an hour. It will throw you like a mad bull pretty much. And it's nasty. These and countless other things that seem small and not worth worrying about are the things that will flip you the worst.
     Now look at our choices and the difference between good an evil. If you're one who tries your hardest not to sin, would you up and commit the biggest sin you could. . . . just cause? Of course not. For those who avoid sin like the black plague, it's easy to avoid the huge things that are the more feared and looked down upon. But what about the smaller more unpredictable things? The adversary has been at his job for, well, a long, long time. He knows what he's doing, and he knows how to do his job. He knows that it's less likely for one to jump into deep waters for any good reason, and he puts smaller, much more hidden traps for us to trip on. Even ones we don't see coming, or that are so menial that we cease to recognize their true danger. It is this way that Satan can gradually tie us down and make our temptations worsen until he can trick us into transgression.
    They say it's you're favorite sin that does you in. What we can see as menial and small compared to much larger and deadly sins, could be just the thing that can bring us down. We can't afford to be afraid though. Fear and doubt don't come from God. Faith and courage do. "Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway." -(John Wayne).
    We will make mistakes. We will fall short. We will get hurt. But if we turn our hearts to God and Jesus Christ, and center ourselves on the rock of our redeemer. We cannot fall. (Heleman 5:12)


Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Tetris Wizard

   So the other morning I was stacking wood. I actually was having alot of fun believe it or not. The funny thing was, it took me longer to decide where to put the specific pieces than to move it all. It's tricky, you have to fit them this way and that way, making sure they don't sit wrong and tip over the stack. I even had to redo it a few times before I could get the stack to sit right. It was good for me I guess.
   It made me think of the old game called tetris. It was ironic to me because I really hated this game. It just didn't seem fun to me. You had that small colum and all these different shaped blocks fell down at different speeds and you had to flip them and get them to fit like some crazy jigsaw puzzle. At the end you couldn't have empty spaces because you needed to fit them all and not cross a certain line. Needless to say I was horrible at it. I played Dig-Dug instead. Or Galaga. That was more my style!
   I though about it for a while while I was busy building that stack of wood. I though about that one saying about the pieces of a puzzle, something to the effect of: "We are like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. We are all unique, and have our own special place in the puzzle of the universe. Without each of us, the puzzle is incomplete." Something like that at least . . . 
   We have all heard the saying "God don't make no junk." It's true, He doesn't. We are all His children and He loves each and every one of us. Likewise, there is a place for each and everyone of us in His plan. He doesn't leave one of us out because we don't fit, or throw us to a seperate pile because we have a few too many knots or twists. He has a place for everybody. 
    Think of everyone you know, and everyone you who makes a difference in your life. It's not a coincidence by any means. It is in fact, by divine design. I have people in my life who I know are Godsent. They know who they are and they know how much I love them. I wouldn't be where I am today without them either. We all have these people in our lives, and sometimes we just have to look to realize that God is behind everything. I know sometime's it's hard. For some of us, it's tough because of our situations and circumstances that we find ourselves in. But I testify that there is a God, that He loves us, that no matter how far we wander off we can come back, and no matter how odd or difficult we think we are, God always has a place for us. Wer'e worth alot more than we often think we are. 
   Keep the faith Brothers and Sisters. God Bless!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Standing Outside The Fire

      Country music has always held a special place in my heart for as long as I can remember. To me, it's as real as it gets. Real people, singing about real life. Brad Paisley quotes in one of his songs: "You're not supposed to say the word 'cancer' in a song, and tellin' folks Jesus is the answer, can rub em' wrong. It ain't hip to sing about tractors, trucks, little towns, and Momma . .  yeah that might be true. But this is country music, and we do. . " -("This Is Country Music" by Brad Paisley).
      To me, listening to good country music is like reading the book of Proverbs. There's good advice everywhere! Walking the line, keep on keepin' on when you feel like you're going through hell, standing up for what you believe in, loving, living, and giving Jesus the wheel. One of the songs that I love is called "Standing Outside The Fire" by Garth Brooks. In it He talks about taking chances, and how some of us let fear of failure keep us from reaching our full potential and living life. And even how we sometimes look at others who set their goals high and fail, but go on to succeed eventually and thing that the risk is not worth it.
We call them cool
Those hearts that have no scars to show
The ones that never do let go
And risk it the tables being turned

We call them fools
Who have to dance within the flame
Who chance the sorrow and the shame
That always come with getting burned

We call them strong
Those who can face this world alone
Who seem to get by on their own
Those who will never take the fall

We call them weak
Who are unable to resist
The slightest chance love might exist
And for that forsake it all

 Standing outside the fire
Standing outside the fire
Life is not tried it is merely survived
If you're standing outside the fire

There's this love that is burning
Deep in my soul
Constantly yearning to get out of control
Wanting to fly higher and higher
I can't abide standing outside the fire

      How many of us let the fear of striking out, keep us from playing the game? We feel like were doing the best we can, but inside we feel like we can do better. We can always do better, and nothing is stopping us from reaching our full potential, except our own self doubt, if that be the case.
       For me, I've never been able to settle for less than what I know is the best I can do. I know I got that from my Dad, and throughout my life, it has taught me a lesson. We don't have too sit to the side while we watch others reach their full potential. We CAN accomplish anything we put our minds too. 
      And of course, our Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to be happy. And He wants us to reach our full potential. He's always there for us. And with Him, "nothing shall be impossible." -Luke 1:47  
       So next time you think you're not good enough to live up to your full potential, remember that even if we fall short, our Savior Jesus Christ is there to help us make up the rest. We can do it. Trust in Him and He will help us. "So don't you sit up on the shoreline and say you're satisfied. Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance that tide" -("The River" by Garth Brooks).

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


      Do you remember the days when electric guitars first made their big debut? Neither do I! So i did some research and found out. Get this: they was invented around 1931 and used primarily for Jazz music. Can't imagine what else it got used for after that era. . . oh wait. Pictures of Elvis, The Rolling Stones, and all those guys are popping into my head. Its utilization took off! Who would have though you could get so many different sounds from such a simple thing. It wasn't so simple . . .
     When I got my first guitar, I remember my Mom said. "Hey don't you like this one." I did, I liked all sorts of different kinds. My favorites were the "V" shaped one's, like you see a lot of professional guitarists play, or the really cool crazy lookin' ones that guys can just shred on. But at that point in my musical studies I didn't need something like that. What I didn't know then, I do now. Every single one, no matter what, feels and plays completely different. From a Fender Stratocaster to a Gisbon Les Paul. You wouldn't think would ya?
     Mostly, the raw source for the type of sound you produce comes from the pickups. Small, magnetic, box looking things that sit right under where you pluck the strings. Basically, they are a magnet with metal coil wrapped around them and metal pole receptors fastened on. The whole idea being to pick up the vibrations from the metal strings via magnetism. The different combinations of the metal and magnet is what makes the different and unique sounds. And of the many different recipes that manufacturers have for building pickups, there are two types that are most popular for electric guitars.
     First, the single coil pickup. It was the first developed and is still implemented in world famous guitars today. True to it's name, it has one coil mounted on the magnet. They tend to have a twangier, duckier sound to them. When  I played with friends and in bands, I was always given a hard time because my guitar sounded too twangy. I didn't care though because that's how I liked it! The only downside to single coil pickups, is that because of the single coil on them, they tend to pick up stray radio frequencies that come out through your amplifier as an annoying buzzing sound. It could get very irritating at times, because sometimes you'd play very detailed and particular parts but they wouldn't sound right amongst all the hum and extra noise. 
    For this purpose was the humbucker invented. Essentially, it's two single coil pickups that share one magnet at their base. The key is the two coils instead of one. This way, they both pick up the string signals, but the radio frequencies they also create cancel each other out. That's how the name "humbucker" came about. To buck the 'hum'. With two coils, that annoying buzzing sound no longer manifests itself, and you're left with a clear, crisp, and much louder signal! But, now that were all tech'ed out on six strings, let's look at something a little more righteous . . .
    If you look around the world, there's about four hundred thousand or so different denominations that preach from The Bible. It is the word of God, no doubt at all. For years and years it has baffled even the smartest scholars, to how such a diverse group of men and women over such a long period of time could compile a record so coherent and correct as the Bible is. There's no other answer than it is the word of God. But why are there so many different denominations that seem to teach so many different things that all have scriptural backing from the very same book? There's all sorts of different doctrines that can be brought out, and so many different other ideas as well. But how can we know what's truth and what's not? By the mouth of two witnesses. -Mathew 18:16
     Just like an electric guitar pickup, the key is two. Two coils - two records. The other record I'm talking about is The Book of Mormon. Another testament of Jesus Christ. It's the record of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and their dealings with God. And the American prophets and their testimonies. With the Bible, we read the word of God. But with The Book of Mormon and The Bible as one, we can know the exact word of God.(Ezekiel 37: 16,19) No more stray radio frequencies, no more half truths, and no more loopholes. They complete each other and allow us to hear what God wants us too hear. 
    I know the Book of Mormon to be the word of God, and I know that it only adds to the Bible of the truths that we already treasure. Together, they teach us in perfect clarity, God's word. I know both record's to be true, because the Holy Ghost has bore testimony to me, and I cannot deny it. I know that if we want true clarity, we must have not only one, but both records.
    God's word never ceases.



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Northern Stars

      When I was kid, I remember watching Tony Hawk land the 900 on TV. It was by far, the most amazing thing I had ever seen. It was unthinkable that someone on  a skateboard could launch off the side of a half pipe, spin two-and-a-half revolutions, and then come down and land back on the board. In 1999 he was the first ever to land this trick in competition at the X Games, and it was a big deal for action sports. People said that the ground shook that day. It made a huge impact because it took his sport to the next level.
      Ironically that same year, Travis Pastrana, who is also an action sports legend, praised skateboarding and Tony for moving action sports forward as it did. Something he said his sport (freestyle motocross) could not do. In 2006 he landed the first double back flip on a dirt bike in X Games history. It was about the same feeling and just as magnificent as when Tony hawk Landed the 900! And this time, the ground really did shake!

     The accomplishments that these two men made were legendary. But they didn't happen overnight, and they weren't one-shot deals either. It took Tony Hawk eleven tries to land the 900 in competition before he finally landed it. And for Pastrana, he had landed double back flips riding a motorcycle on his ramps at home, into a foam pit, or on dirt. But never of the height, or the setting in competition where it counted. Falling short performing that feat at the X Games meant serious injury or death. Either one of them could have quit, or given up, let someone else do it, or walk away. But they didn't, and that's what made them great.
     Were faced with choices like this each and every day. Life has a tendency to suck (for lack of better words). One day were bulletproof, and then the next were broken. We find ourselves down for the count, but we have all have the choice to get back up. . if we want too. We can choose to get back up, and we can choose to keep trying when it seems like everything is pinned against us. It's never a matter of what we can and can't do, it's a matter of what we want to accomplish and if were going to do what it takes to get there.
      Before we came to this earth, we knew we would pass through the veil and forget everything up to that point. We knew we chose God's plan and that meant coming to get a body, and be subject to not only joy and happiness but also the pains and trials that came with it. We knew this life wouldn't be easy, but we knew it would be worth it. There are things we have to go through, that just don't make sense. . We fall short, we miss chances, we make mistakes, and we screw up. . several times even! Thats just how life goes sometimes. But with the help of God and our Savior Jesus Christ we can turn those mistakes, and shortcomings all into lessons. There wouldn't be any point to life life we couldn't!
      We learn and progress by making mistakes and learning lessons. When Thomas Edison was asked if he felt like a failure after falling short over nine thousand times when inventing the light bulb, he replied: "I now know definitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp." After the ten thousandth attempt, Edison accomplished his goal. He never let failure hinder his dreams, he only used it to push himself further.
     If we trust in our Savior, who went below the imaginable to give us this priceless gift, we can move past anything that tries to hold us back. That "when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down. . " (Helaman 5: 12) It's all about building our foundation on the rock of our Savior Jesus Christ, so that we can turn our shortcomings and mistakes into northern stars that lead us in the right direction.