Snapshots of Life

Monday, August 15, 2005

ATTN: Mr. Devil

One of my favorite stories of President Grant, 7th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, recounts a small exchange he had with temptation. One day he went to his meat cellar to pick a ham that was to be donated to his ward for some type of function. It was Pres. Grant's policy to always give the best to the Lord. As he began to look over the hams to determine which he might give, he had the thought (surely initiated by "Old Nick" as he called him), that he could give the smallest and poorest ham. Afterall, this was a donation and no one would really know, or for that matter care. Just as the thought crossed his mind, he immediately recognized it for what it was and said aloud, as if there was someone there with him, "Shutup Mr. Devil or I'll give 'em two hams!"

I would not be so stupid or presumptuous as to call the devil on. Heaven knows I don't need more influence from the "dark side". But, I'm feeling a bit like President Grant in wanting to tell Mr. Devil to shutup! So, Mr. Devil I put you on notice. Let it be known you ugly, miserable, piece of crap that I hate you! You are a sly one, that's for sure, and you might get me here and there but I am not coming to your side. Your cunning trickery can be clever and at times tempting, and you may even be smarter than me, but you've been exposed by One smarter than you. You can trip me up and prompt me to fall all you want, you cursed beast, but I will continue to get up every time and turn to my Master. I chose Him once and I will choose Him again, and again. I know your plan, you want me to believe that I am a piece of crap like you, and that you don't really exist, but I know better. Just know Mr. Devil that when you bring on the darkness I will go to The Light. When I am deceived, I will try to find sight. When I am bruised, I will seek healing succor. You, my enemy, are not invited to be a part of my life. So, get lost and shutup, you pathetic, evil, loser or I will double my efforts to do good. That's all I have to say to you.

Monday, August 08, 2005

A tip of the hat

This past weekend was great! I had a chance to reflect a bit on the good things about life. It was a busy couple of days, but they were spent in the company of friends. I've had other weekends like it in the past month or so. Some of the friends I haven't spent a lot of time with in way too long, others have been closer lately, all are true friends. The company and laughter of friends is like a Sunday nap - it just feels good (Church at noon does not provide for Sunday naps by the way). Whether it's time spent at a movie, or a concert, or hiking, or talking, or making dinner - it doesn't really matter because I'm with people who have touched my life for good. I am certain that God has had a generous hand in placing great people in my life. I am therefore grateful to God and to my friends for their presence. Most would agree that I am generally a man of few words. What I do say, I try to make count. Perhaps I make up for what I don't say in what I feel. Have you every felt like you couldn't really express how you feel because it would make people feel awkward or uncomfortable? Sometimes that's how I feel toward my friends. There have been times when I have attempted...hopefully it has been enough. People come and people go, things change. I trust that someday I will be able to again meet all those who have touched my life in a place and setting where spirit can communicate to spirit perfectly. Then they will see and know, as I see and know, how they have acted as the hands of God when they were friends to me. So, a tip of the hat to a kind Father and to good friends!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


It has been a while since I last posted and since I don't have anything profound, funny, or secretive to say, I think I will share something that was really exciting for me. Some of you may know that I got tickets at the last minute to President Hinckley's birthday celebration. The tickets came from my sister, who is married to my brother-in-law, who has connections with President Monson. We carpooled to the Conference Center together with my brother-in-law's family. As we got close I heard his mom say something about meeting President Monson. Next thing I knew we were driving down into the garage under the Main Street Plaza - right past security! We parked in front of a beautiful lobby that opens up into the parking garage. This lobby, I discovered, is connected to the Church Administration Bldg. As we walked up to the lobby I recognized President Monson and his wife Francis waiting to greet us. He shook each of our hands and greeted us warmly. We started to load up onto the general authority golf carts that would take us up to the Conference Center, but we soon discovered that there wasn't enough room for everyone. My brother-in-law, sister, and I volunteered to stay back for the next carts. Pres. Monson instructed us to "just tell them you are my guests".

Off went the cart and we stood waiting. Soon the lobby doors opened and people started to come out. First I noticed Bishop H. David Burton and his counselors and their wives, then Elder Oaks, Elder Bednar, Sister Parkin, Sister Menlove, Elder Christopherson, President Faust, and others. This was what I had always dreamed of happening when I would go early to the Salt Lake Temple on Thursday mornings all through High School (knowing that the brethren meet every Thursday on the 4th floor and take the hallway through the baptistry). I couldn't believe my eyes! More carts began to arrive, but who are we to go on a cart before President Faust! Needless to say we stood back quietly to let the authorities go ahead. Elder and Sister Oaks got on a cart and began waving us over saying, "come on, climb on." Who was I to argue? There was very little room, so there I was scrunched up to Sister Oaks and only about a foot away from Elder Oaks' shiny head! I had actually met Elder and Sister Oaks on my mission (another story that is very cool). So, when they asked where I had served my mission I was excited to tell them. Elder Oaks was very nice and said, "no wonder you look familiar." They have a son and a son-in-law that served in Italy so it was fun to talk about how the work is moving forward there.

When we got close to the Center Sister Oaks turned to Elder Oaks and asked, "Do you have the tickets?" To which he replied, "No, I don't, and I'm not sure what they do to people who have forgotten their tickets." I thought to myself that somehow it would probably be alright! Anyway, it was really neat to be so close to these good people and to talk with them a bit. That will probably be as close as I ever come to so many prophets, seers, and revelators.

What made the largest impression on me however, and what I wanted to comment on the most, was seeing Elder Bednar. He walked out and went to his car and then returned to the line to wait there with his wife. I think he caught me looking at him. I didn't mean to be gawking or anything, but I was amazed at his countenace. There was a light about him, a glow, that I have rarely seen before. It was impressed upon me then, more than ever before, what it means to have His image in your countenance.