This is a compilation of thoughts and quotes that I have found or written recently, as well as many that I've collected throughout the years. Most thoughts are posted randomly, as I feel inspired. A listing of quotes can be found alphabetically (check the 2008 and 2009 archives listing), or by source.

Feel free to suggest additions!


“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7

Friday, December 31, 2010

Why I Keep This Blog

The famed motivator Zig Ziglar once said "Motivation doesn't last, bathing doesn't either. That's why I recommend it daily!".

I agree.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Two Seas in Palestine

There are two seas in Palestine. One is fresh, and fish are in it. Splashes of green adorn its banks. Trees spread their branches over it and stretch out their thirsty roots to sip of its healing waters. Along its shores the children play, as children played when He was there. He loved it. He could look across its silver surface when He spoke His parables. And on a rolling plain not far away He fed five thousand people.

The River Jordan makes this sea with sparkling water from the hills. So it laughs in the sunshine. And men build their houses near to it, and birds their nests; and every kind of life is happier because it is there.

The River Jordan flows on south into another sea. Here is no splash of fish, no fluttering leaf, no song of birds, no children's laughter. Travelers choose another route, unless on urgent business. The air hangs heavy above its water, and neither man nor beast nor fowl will drink.

What makes this mighty difference in these neighbor seas? Not the river Jordan. It empties the same good water into both. Not the soil in which they lie not the country about.

This is the difference. The Sea of Galilee receives but does not keep the Jordan. For every drop that flows into it another drop flows out. The giving and receiving go on in equal measure.

The other sea is shrewder, hoarding its income jealously. It will not be tempted into any generous impulse. Every drop it gets, it keeps.

The Sea of Galilee gives and lives. This other sea gives nothing. It is named The Dead. There are two kinds of people in the world. There are two seas in Palestine.

by Gayle D. Erwin

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Video: "If you've never failed, you've never lived"

Pancakes

Six year old Brandon decided one Saturday morning to fix his parents pancakes. He found a big bowl and spoon, pulled a chair to the counter, opened the cupboard and pulled out the heavy flour canister, spilling it on the floor. He scooped some of the flour into the bowl with his hands, mixed in most of a cup of milk and added some sugar, leaving a floury trail on the floor which by now had a few tracks left by his kitten.

Brandon was covered with flour and getting frustrated. He wanted this to be something very good for Mom and Dad, but it was getting very bad. He didn't know what to do next, whether to put it all into the oven or on the stove, (and he didn't know how the stove worked!).

Suddenly he saw his kitten licking from the bowl of mix and reached to push her away, knocking the egg carton to the floor. Frantically he tried to clean up this monumental mess but slipped on the eggs, getting his pajamas white and sticky.

And just then he saw Dad standing at the door. Big crocodile tears welled up in Brandon's eyes. All he'd wanted to do was something good, but he'd made a terrible mess. He was sure a scolding was coming, maybe even a spanking. But his father just watched him. Then, walking through the mess, he picked up his crying son, hugged him and loved him, getting his own pajamas white and sticky in the process.

That's how God deals with us. We try to do something good in life, but it turns into a mess. Our marriage gets all sticky or we insult a friend or we can't stand our job or our health goes sour. Sometimes we just stand there in tears because we can't think of anything else to do. That's when God picks us up and loves us and forgives us, even though some of our mess gets all over Him.

But just because we might mess up, we can't stop trying like Brandon to "make pancakes," for God or for others. Sooner or later we'll get it right, and then they'll be glad we tried.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Story of Rose

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know.

I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.


(photo by Ken R. Young)

She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?" I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me
a giant squeeze.

"Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked.

She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, have a couple of kids..."

"No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

"I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!" she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends.

Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know."

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, "We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success.

1) You have to laugh and find humor every day.

2) You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!

3) There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding the opportunity in change.

4) Have no regrets. The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."

She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose" (see below). She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.

At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

"The Rose" lyrics:

Some say love, it is a river
That drowns the tender reed
Some say love, it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed
Some say love, it is a hunger
An endless aching need
I say love, it is a flower
And you, its only seed

It's the heart, afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance
It's the dream, afraid of waking
That never takes the chance
It's the one who won't be taken
Who cannot seem to give
And the soul, afraid of dying
That never learns to live

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long
And you think that love is only
for the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snow
Lies the seed
That with the sun's love, in the spring
Becomes the rose

- Lyrics and music by Amanda Mc Broom

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

UP


Being "up" is normally considered to be a positive thing. Here's a poem I wrote several years ago on being
"up".


(photo by Ken R. Young)







Up
In a cloud,
I find myself floating
in peaceful weightlessness,
surrounded by velvety rain
and soothing sunshine.
The sinews and the marrow
are in a joyous rest,
basking
in comatose gratification.

Then,
like a piercing lance
through a fragile bubble,
my suspended animation
is violently disrupted
by a wretched, shrill noise.
The heart somersaults,
the eyelids twitter,
and a familiar yet alien sensation
permeates my body.
Mustering a battle force
strong enough to conquer,
I slowly approach
the monster of my misery.

I churn
with the unsure courage
and unwilling strength
of my newfound awareness.
I stretch forth my noble arm.
My objective: to silence the beast.
Wheezing,
I strike out in one fierce, raging blow.
It is done.
The alarm clock has been shut off.
Groan.
It’s time to get
Up.

by Ken R. Young

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Jabberwocky - Oh Frabjous Day!


Is this a positive, uplifting thought? I think so! It's a fun nonsense story, with great new words, about meeting and overcoming the monster!


'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood a while in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One two! One two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

by Lewis Carroll

Ducks Quack, Eagles Soar


No one can make you serve customers well. That's because great service is a choice.

Harvey Mackay, tells a wonderful story about a cab driver that proved this point.

He was waiting in line for a ride at the airport. When a cab pulled up, the first thing Harvey noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back passenger door for Harvey.

He handed my friend a laminated card and said: 'I'm Wally, your driver.
While I'm loading your bags in the trunk I'd like you to read my mission statement.'

Taken aback, Harvey read the card.

It said: Wally's Mission Statement: To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment.

This blew Harvey away. Especially when he noticed that the inside of the cab matched the outside. Spotlessly clean!

As he slid behind the wheel, Wally said, 'Would you like a cup of coffee?
I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf.'

My friend said jokingly, 'No, I'd prefer a soft drink.'

Wally smiled and said, 'No problem. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, water and orange juice.'

Almost stuttering, Harvey said, 'I'll take a Diet Coke.'

Handing him his drink, Wally said, 'If you'd like something to read, I have The Wall Street Journal, Time, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.'

As they were pulling away, Wally handed my friend another laminated card, 'These are the stations I get and the music they play, if you'd like to listen to the radio.'

And as if that weren't enough, Wally told Harvey that he had the air conditioning on and asked if the temperature was comfortable for him.

Then he advised Harvey of the best route to his destination for that time of day. He also let him know that he'd be happy to chat and tell him about some of the sights or, if Harvey preferred, to leave him with his own thoughts..

'Tell me, Wally,' my amazed friend asked the driver, 'have you always served customers like this?'

Wally smiled into the rear view mirror. 'No, not always: In fact, it's only been in the last two years. My first five years driving, I spent most of my time complaining like all the rest of the cabbies do. Then I heard on the radio one day that if you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you'll rarely disappoint yourself. He said, 'Stop complaining! Differentiate yourself from your competition. Don't be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.''

That hit me right between the eyes,' said Wally. 'That was really talking about me. I was always quacking and complaining, so I decided to change my attitude and become an eagle. I looked around at the other cabs and their drivers.. The cabs were dirty, the drivers were unfriendly, and the customers were unhappy. So I decided to make some changes. I put in a few at a time. When my customers responded well, I did more.'

'I take it that has paid off for you,' Harvey said.

'It sure has,' Wally replied. 'My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year I'll probably quadruple it. You were lucky to get me today. I don't sit at cabstands anymore. My customers call me for appointments on my cell phone or leave a message on my answering machine. If I can't pick them up myself, I get a reliable cabbie friend to do it and I take a piece of the action.'

Wally was phenomenal.. He was running a limo service out of a Yellow Cab.
I've probably told that story to more than fifty cab drivers over the years, and only two took the idea and ran with it. Whenever I go to their cities, I give them a call. The rest of the drivers quacked like ducks and told me all the reasons they couldn't do any of what I was suggesting.

Wally the Cab Driver made a different choice. He decided to stop quacking like ducks and start soaring like eagles.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Race














"Quit! Give up! You're beaten!"
They shout at me, and plead
"There's just too much against you now.
This time you can't succeed."

And as I start to hang my head
In front of failure's face
My downward fall is broken by
The memory of a race.

And hope refills my weakened will
As I recall that scene
For, just the thought of that short race
Rejuvenates my being.

A children's race, young boys, young men
Now, I remember well,
Excitement, sure! But also fear,
It wasn't hard to tell.

They all lined up so full of hope
Each thought to win that race,
Or, tie for first, if not that,
At least take second place.

And fathers watched from off the side
Each cheering for his son.
And each boy hoped to show his dad,
that he would be the one.

The whistle blew, and off they went
Young hearts and hopes afire
To win, to be the hero there
Was each young boy's desire.

And one boy in particular,
Whose dad was in the crowd,
Was running near the head and thought:
"My dad will be so proud!"

But as they speeded down the field
Across a shallow dip
The little boy who thought to win,
Lost his step and slipped.

Trying hard to catch himself,
His hands flew out to brace
And 'mid the laughter of the crowd
He fell flat on his face.

So, down he fell, and with him hope
- he couldn't win it now -
Embarrassed, sad, he only wished
To disappear somehow.

But, as he fell, his dad stood up,
And showed his anxious face,
Which to the boy so clearly said:
"Get up and win the race."

He quickly rose, no damage done,
- behind a bit, that's all -
And ran with all his mind and might
To make up for his fall.

So, anxious to restore himself
- to catch up and to win -
His mind went faster than his legs;
He slipped and fell again!

He wished, then, he had quit before
With only one disgrace.
"I'm hopeless as a runner now;
I shouldn't try to race.

But, in the laughing crowd he searched
And found his father's face.
That steady look that said again!
"Get up and win the race."

So, up he jumped, to try again
- ten yards behind the last -
"If I'm to gain those yards," he thought
'I've got to move real fast."

Exceeding everything he had
He gained back eight or ten,
But trying so, to catch the lead,
He slipped and fell again!

Defeat! He lay there silently
- a tear dropped from his eye -
"There is no sense in running more;
Three strikes, I'm out, why try?"

The will to rise had disappeared
All hope had fled away
So far behind; so error prone
A loser all the way.

"I've lost, so what's the use," he thought
"I'll live with my disgrace."
But, then he thought about his dad,
Who, soon, he'd have to face.

"Get up!" an echo sounded low,
"Get up, and take your place
You were not meant for failure here,
Get up, and win the race."

With borrowed will, "Get up," it said
"You haven't lost at all.
For winning is no more than this;
To rise each time you fall."

So, up he rose to run once more,
And with a new commit
He resolved that win, or lose,
At least he wouldn't quit.

So far behind the others now
- the most he'd ever been -
Still, he gave it all he had,
And ran as though to win.

Three times he'd fallen stumbling.
Three times he'd rose again.
Too far behind to hope to win
He still ran to the end.

They cheered the winning runner,
As he crossed the line first place,
Head high, and proud, and happy.
No falling, no disgrace.

But, when the fallen youngster
Crossed the line last place,
The crowd gave him the greater cheer
For finishing the race.

Even though he came in last.
With head bowed head low, unproud,
You would have thought he won the race
To listen to the crowd.

And to his dad, he sadly said,
"I didn't do so well."
"To me, you won!" his father said,
"You rose each time you fell."

And now when things seem dark and hard,
And difficult to face.
The memory of that little boy
Helps me to win my race.

For all of life is like that race
With ups and downs and all,
And all you have to do to win,
Is rise each time you fall.

by Dee Groberg

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

President George Washington Proclaims A Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer


By the PRESIDENT of the United States of America, A PROCLAMATION:

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLIC THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the Service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all Sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed)
G. Washington

Imagine if all our current leaders and the majority of us citizens felt, believed and acted this way...


See some great quotes on thanksgiving at:
http://positivethinkersjournal.blogspot.com/2009/11/thanksgiving-quotes.html

Monday, November 22, 2010

Victory--Victory at All Costs


This is an excerpt from a speech by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, former president of Brigham Young University, Provo, quoting inspiring words from Winston Churchill during WWII:

On 10 May 1940, as the specter of Nazi infamy moved relentlessly toward the English Channel, Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was summoned to the post of Prime Minister of England. He hastily formed a government and on May 13 went before the House of Commons with his maiden speech.

"I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this Government: 'I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.'"

"We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land, and air, with all our might and with all our strength that God can give us. . . .That is our policy. You ask, What is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory--victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror; victory, however long and hard the road may be." [Churchill: the Life Triumphant, American Heritage, 1965, p. 90]

Six days later he went on radio to speak to the world at large. He said:

"This is one of the most awe-striking periods in the long history of France and Britain. . . . Behind us . . . gather a group of shattered States and bludgeoned races: the Czechs, the Poles, the Norwegians, the Danes, the Dutch, the Belgians--upon all of whom the long night of barbarism will descend, unbroken even by a star of hope, unless we conquer, as conquer we must; as conquer we shall." [Churchill, p. 91]

Then two weeks later he was back before Parliament. "We shall not flag or fail," he vowed.

"We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender." [Churchill, p. 91]

The Monument

God,
Before He sent his children to earth
Gave each of them
A very carefully selected package
Of problems,

These,
He promised, smiling,
Are yours alone, No one
Else may have the blessings
These problems will bring you.

And only you
Have the special talents and abilities
That will be needed
To make these problems
Your servants.

Now go down to your birth
And to your forgetfulness, Know that
I love you beyond measure.
These problems that I give you
Are a symbol of that love.

These monuments you make of your life
With the help of your problems
Will be a symbol of your
Love for me,
Your Father.

by Blaine M. Yorgason

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Endurance: The Prize is Worth the Price

What does it mean to you to "endure to the end"?

How dedicated are you to endure to the end?

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland once said "Nothing very valuable can come without significant sacrifice and effort and patience on our part."

We all have long, challenging roads to follow in this life that will require much from us. So why is it important to keep trying, persevering? Is it worth it?

I believe in the words of the Lord found in the Doctrine and Covenants 64:33-34 which state "Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great. Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind..."

Many scriptures and prophets have told us of the blessings of eternal life, and indicated that we cannot comprehend the glory, the beauty and the happiness available to us in the next life. But we are also told that a price has to be paid in order to receive such great blessings.

There are many examples of those who have endured to the end and paid the price to receive their prize. One such example is found in this poem by Douglas Malloch:

Bill Brown

Bill Brown made a million, Bill Brown, think of that!
A boy, you remember, as poor as a rat.
Who hoed for the neighbors, did jobs by the day,
Well Bill's made a million, or near it, they say.
You can't understand it, well, neither could I.
But then I remembered, and now I know why.
The bell might be ringin', the dinner horn blow,
But Bill always hoed to the end of the row.

Bill worked for my father, you maybe recall.
He wasn't a wonder, not that, not at all.
He couldn't out-hoe me, nor cover more ground,
Or hoe any cleaner, or beat me around.
In fact I was better one way that I knew:
One toot from the kitchen, and home I would go,
But Bill always hoed to the end of the row.

We used to get hongry out there in the corn,
You talk about music, what equals a horn?
A horn yellin' dinner, tomatoes and beans,
And pork and potatoes, and gravy and greens.

I ain't blamin' no one, for quittin' on time,
To stop with the whistle, that ain't any crime.
But as for the million, well, this much I know:
That Bill always hoed to the end of the row!


Do we always hoe to the end of our row? Is that the price of great happiness? Sometimes while hoeing in our row we come across big rocks that make us want to quit. These are the rocks of adversity and they are all a part of the package of life given to us to help us grow.

Another example of one who endured, who had quite a difficult row to hoe, is told by a member of the ill-fated Martin Handcart Company, an LDS pioneer group who crossed the plains to Utah under extreme conditions. Frances Webster was sitting in a sunday school class listening to members criticize church authorities for letting the company cross the plains so late in the year, when he arose and said:

"I ask you to stop this criticism. You are discussing a matter you know nothing about. Cold historic facts mean nothing here for they give no proper interpretation of the questions involved. Mistake to send the Hand Cart Company out so late in the season? Yes. But I was in that Company and my wife was in it and Sister Nellie Unthank whom you have cited was there too. We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that Company utter a word of criticism? Not one of that Company ever apostatized or left the church because every one of us came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities.

"I have pulled my hand cart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said I can go only that far and there I must give up for I cannot pull the load through it. I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who was pushing my cart but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the Angels of God were there.

"Was I sorry that I chose to come by hand cart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Hand Cart Company."


The price to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay. Was his prize worth the price? Evidently so. His was a rugged path that led to a glorious destination.

What God Has Promised

God hath not promised
Skies always blue
Flower-strewn pathways
All our lives through.

God hath not promised
Sun without rain
Joy without sorrow
Peace without pain.

But God hath promise
Strength for the day
Rest for the labor
Light for the way;

Grace for the trials
Help from above
Unfailing sympathy
Undying love.


by Annie Johnson Flint

God supplies us the strength, the help and the love, but we must supply the faith and the perseverance. For a final example of those who have persevered, paid the price and won the prize, I borrow from a talk given by Elder Jefferey R. Holland, when he was the president of Brigham Young University, Provo. He tells of the trials of the early LDS pioneers in their efforts to build the Salt Lake Temple:

Excerpts from "However Long and Hard the Road"

The work seemed ill-fated from the start. The excavation for the basement required trenches twenty feet wide and sixteen feet deep, much of it through solid gravel. Just digging for the foundation alone required nine thousand man days of labor. Surely someone must have said, "A temple would be fine, but do we really need one this big?" But they kept on digging. Maybe they believed they were "laying the foundation of a great work." In any case they worked on, "not weary in well-doing."

But as Brigham Young also said, "We never began to build [any] temple without the bells of hell beginning to ring" (J.A. Widtsoe [ed.], Discourses of Brigham Young [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1973], p. 410). No sooner was the foundation work finished than Albert Sidney Johnston and his United States troops set out for the Salt Lake Valley intent on war with "the Mormons." In response President Young made elaborate plans to evacuate and, if necessary, destroy the entire city behind them. But what to do about the temple whose massive excavation was already completed and its 8' x 16' foundational walls firmly in place? They did the only thing they could do--they filled it all back in again. Every shovelful. All that soil and gravel that had been so painstakingly removed with those nine thousand man days of labor was filled back in. When they finished, those acres looked like nothing more interesting than a field that had been plowed up and left unplanted.

When the Utah War threat had been removed, the Saints returned to their homes and painfully worked again at uncovering the foundation and removing the material from the excavated basement structure.

But then the apparent masochism of all this seemed most evident when not adobes or sandstone but massive granite boulders were selected for the basic construction material. And they were twenty miles away in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Furthermore the precise design and dimensions of every one of the thousands of stones to be used in that massive structure had to be marked out individually in the architect's office and shaped accordingly. This was a suffocatingly slow process. Just to put one layer of the six hundred hand-sketched, individually squared, and precisely cut stones around the building took nearly three years. That progress was so slow that virtually no one walking by the temple block could ever see any progress at all.

And, of course, getting the stone from mountain to city center was a nightmare...toiling and tugging and struggling to pull from the quarry one monstrous block of granite, or at most two of medium size.

The arrival of the railroad pulled almost all of the working force off the temple for nearly three years, and twice grasshopper invasions sent the workers into full-time summer combat with the pests.

The journals and histories of these teamsters are filled with accounts of broken axles, mud-mired animals, shattered sprockets, and shattered hopes.

...right in the middle of this staggering effort requiring virtually all that the Saints could seem to bear, [President Brigham Young] announced the construction of the St. George, Manti, and Logan Temples.

"Can you accomplish the work, you Latter-day Saints of these several counties?" he asked. And then in his own inimitable way he answered:

Yes; that is a question I can answer readily. You are perfectly able to do it. The question is, have you the necessary faith? Have you sufficient of the Spirit of God in your hearts to say, yes, by the help of God our Father we will erect these buildings to his name? . . . Go to now, with your might and with your means and finish this Temple. [Anderson, Contributor, p. 267]

On 6 April 1892, the Saints as a body were nearly delirious. Now, finally, here in their own valley with their own hands they had cut out of the mountains a granite monument that was to mark, after all they had gone through, the safety of the Saints and the permanence of Christ's true church on earth for this one last dispensation. The central symbol of all that was the completed House of their God. The streets were literally jammed with people. Forty thousand of them fought their way on to the temple grounds. Ten thousand more, unable to gain entrance, scrambled to the tops of nearby buildings in hopes that some glimpse of the activities might be had. Inside the Tabernacle President Wilford Woodruff, visibly moved by the significance of the moment, said:

If there is any scene on the face of this earth that will attract the attention of the God of heaven and the heavenly host, it is the one before us today--the assembling of this people, the shout of 'Hosanna!' the laying of the topstone of this Temple in honor to our God. [Anderson, Contributor, p. 270]

Then, moving outside, he laid the capstone in place exactly at high noon.

In the writing of one who was there, "The scene that followed is beyond the power of language to describe." Lorenzo Snow, beloved President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, came forward leading 40,000 Latter-day Saints in the Hosanna shout. Every hand held a handkerchief every eye was filled with tears. One said the very "ground seemed to tremble with the volume of the sound" which echoed off the tops of the mountains. "A grander or more imposing spectacle than this ceremony of laying the Temple capstone is not recorded in history" (Anderson, Contributor, p. 273). It was finally and forever finished.

Later that year the prestigious Scientific American (1892), referred to this majestic new edifice as a "monument to Mormon perseverance." And so it was. Blood, toil, tears, and sweat. The best things are always worth finishing. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?" (1 Corinthians 3:16). Most assuredly you are. As long and laborious as the effort may seem, please keep shaping and setting the stones that will make your accomplishment "a grand and imposing spectacle." Take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow. Dream dreams and see visions. Work toward their realization. Wait patiently when you have no other choice. Lean on your sword and rest a while, but get up and fight again. Perhaps you will not see the full meaning of your effort in your own lifetime. But your children will, or your children's children will, until finally you, with all of them, can give the Hosanna shout.


Let us learn from those before us who have persevered and received the prize for which the paid. Let us look on our lives as a series of problems to be solved, and with faith and perseverance, solve them.

The price is so little for the prize which is so great.


(photo by Ken R. Young)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude


Having a good positive mental attitude has long been a favorite ideal of mine. Promoting a good attitude for a more positive outlook on life is really the whole purpose for this blog. I can't say that I am the best at always allowing the positive to steer my life and thoughts, but like I say, it is an ideal.

Here are some of my favorite "attitude" quotes that I have had for many years:


Your attitude determines your altitude. - Unknown

Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it. - Norman Vincent Peale

Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right. - Henry Ford

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. - Unknown

Nothing is impossible unless you agree that it is. - Unknown

They can conquer who believe they can. - Virgil

It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. - Eleanor Roosevelt

You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses. - ZIGGY, cartoon character

It's not what happens to you that matters, what matters most is how you choose to respond. - Dan Green

I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. - Dale Carnegie

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I'm not one who really gets into cute rhyming poems, but here's a worthy one because of its message:

If you think you are beaten you are
If you think you dare not you won't
If you like to win but don't think you can
It's almost a cinch you won't.

If you think you'll lose you've lost
For out in the world you'll find
Success begins with a fellow's will
It's all in the state of mind.

For many a game is lost
Ere even a play is run
And many a coward fails
Ere even his work is begun.

Think big and your deeds will grow
Think small and you'll fall behind
Think that you may and you will
It's all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed you are
You've got to think high to rise
You've got to be sure of yourself
Before you can win a prize.

Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the fellow who thinks he can.

- C. W. Longenecker

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And, here's some great thoughts on the impact of attitude on life, by Charles Swindoll:

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.

It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company...a church...a home.

The remarkable thing is we hvae a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.

I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our Attitudes."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Circus Elephants and Limitations


An elephant can easily pick up a one-ton load with his trunk, but have you visited a circus and watched these huge creatures standing quietly while tied to a small wooden stake?

While they are still young and relatively weak, elephants are tied by a heavy chain to an immovable iron stake. Then, no matter how large and strong the elephant becomes, he continus to believe he cannot move so long as he can see the stake on the ground beside him.

Many intelligent adult humans are like these circus elephants. They are restrained in thoughts, actions and results. They never move out any further than the extent of their own self imposed limitations. The only chain holding them is their own low self-concepts. Because they have said to themselves over and over that they can't do this and they can't do that, they will never accomplish anything significant.

If self-imposed limitations are holding you back, resolve now to uproot the stakes that hold you. Break the chains of hindering habit.

by Paul J. Meyer

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

5 Pencil Pearls of Wisdom


A pencil maker told the pencil 5 important lessons just before putting it in the box:




1. Everything you do you will always leave a mark.
2. You can always correct the mistakes you make.
3. What is important is what is inside of you.
4. In life, you will undergo painful sharpening which will only make you better.
5. To be the best pencil, you must allow yourself to be held and guided by the hand that holds you.

We all need to be constantly sharpened. You are a special person, with unique talents and abilities. Only you can fulfill the purpose which you were born to accomplish. Never allow yourself to get discouraged and think that your life is insignificant and cannot be changed. Like the pencil, always remember that the most important part of who you are, is what's inside of you... and act accordingly.

- Author Unknown

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Good Timber



















(photo by Ken R. Young)

The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light
But stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing.

The man that never had to toil
To gain and farm his patch of soil
Who never had to earn his share
Of sun and sky and light and air
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began.

Good timber does not grow with ease
The stronger wind, the stronger trees
The further sky, the greater length
The more the storm, the more the strength
By sun and cold, by rain and snow
In trees and men good timbers grow.

Where thickest lies the forest growth
We find the patriarchs of both
And they hold council with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much strife
This is the common law of life.

by Douglas Malloch


See also: "The Oak Tree: Strength in Roots"
http://positivethinkersjournal.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-oak-tree-strength-in-roots.html

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Who Moved My Cheese?

Here are some great little excerpts from a great little book, about dealing with life's changes and problems, and moving ahead in a positive way. Two little mice, named Hem and Haw eventually learn these life lessons when their "cheese" had been moved from where they were used to finding it:

The Handwriting on the Wall

Change happens - They keep moving the cheese.

Anticipate change - Get ready for the cheese to move.

What would you do if you were not afraid?

Monitor change - Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old.

Movement in a new direction helps you find new cheese.

When you move beyond your fear, you feel free.

Imagining myself enjoying new cheese even before I find it, leads me to it.

Adapt to change quickly - The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese.

It is safer to search in the maze than remain in a cheeseless situtation.

Old beliefs do not lead you to new cheese.

Change - Move with the cheese.

When you see that you can find and enjoy new cheese, you can change your course.

Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to bigger changes that are to come.

The biggest inhibitor to change lies within yourself, and nothing gets better until you change.

Enjoy Change! Savor the adventure and the taste of new cheese!

Be ready to quickly change again and again - They keep moving the cheese.

Ten Commandments of Success


1. You must labor each day as if your life hung in the balance.

2. You must learn that with patience you can control your destiny.

3. You must chart your course with care or you will drift forever.

4. You must prepare for darkness while traveling in the sunlight.

5. You must smile in the face of adversity until it surrenders.

6. You must realize that plans are only dreams without action.

7. You must sweep cobwebs from your mind before they imprison you.

8. You must lighten your load if you would reach your destination.

9. You must never forget that it is always later than you think.

10. You must enjoy the journey, find joy and happiness along the way.

THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD


A Variation on the Children's Story by Watty Piper

I guess I love to hear stories of triumph over a terrific challenge, overcoming, improving, achieving, not giving up. I was reminded the other day of this simple children's story that is so full of wisdom. So, here it is - try reading it with your more experienced, adult eyes and see what you get out of it.

A little steam engine had a long train of cars to pull.

She went along very well till she came to a steep hill. But then, no matter how hard she tried, she could not move the long train of cars.

She pulled and she pulled. She puffed and she puffed. She backed and started off again. Choo! Choo!

But no! the cars would not go up the hill.

At last she left the train and started up the track alone. Do you think she had stopped working? No, indeed! She was going for help.

"Surely I can find someone to help me," she thought.

Over the hill and up the track went the little steam engine. Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo!

Pretty soon she saw a big steam engine standing on a side track. He looked very big and strong. Running alongside, she looked up and said:

"Will you help me over the hill with my train of cars? It is so long and heavy I can't get it over."

The big steam engine looked down at the little steam engine. The he said:

"Don't you see that I am through my day's work? I have been rubbed and scoured ready for my next run. No, I cannot help you,"

The little steam engine was sorry, but she went on, Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo!

Soon she came to a second big steam engine standing on a side track. He was puffing and puffing, as if he were tired.

"That big steam engine may help me," thought the little steam engine. She ran alongside and asked:

"Will you help me bring my train of cars over the hill? It is so long and so heavy that I can't get it over."

The second big steam engine answered:

"I have just come in from a long, long run. Don't you see how tired I am? Can't you get some other engine to help you this time?

"I'll try," said the little steam engine, and off she went. Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo!

After a while she came to a little steam engine just like herself. She ran alongside and said:

"Will you help me over the hill with my train of cars? It is so long and so heavy that I can't get it over."

"Yes, indeed!" said this little steam engine. "I'll be glad to help you, if I can."

So the little steam engines started back to where the train of cars had been standing. Both little steam engines went to the head of the train, one behind the other.

Puff, puff! Chug, choo! Off they started!

Slowly the cars began to move. Slowly they climbed the steep hill. As they climbed, each little steam engine began to sing:

"I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can! I-think-I-can!--"

And they did! Very soon they were over the hill and going down the other side.

Now they were on the plain again; and the little steam engine could pull her train herself. So she thanked the little engine who had come to help her, and said good-by.

And she went merrily on her way, singing:

"I-thought-I-could! I-thought-I-could! I-thought-I-could!"

THE END

This version varies somewhat from the original, wherein the Little Engine pulled her load over the hill all by herself, mustering her own strength. There are good lessons from both of these, either way.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Henry Ford Quotes


1. Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are right.

2. Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.

3. Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.

4. Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars. Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait. The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas.

5. Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.

6. I believe God is managing affairs and that He doesn't need any advice from me. With God in charge, I believe everything will work out for the best in the end. So what is there to worry about?

7. If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.

8. If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own.

9. Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.

10. My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.

11. Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.

12. One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do.

13. Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.

14. The only real security that a man can have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience and ability.

15. There is joy in work. There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something.

16. There is no man living that can not do more than he thinks he can.

17. Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.

18. Time and money spent in helping men to do more for themselves is far better than mere giving.

19. When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.

20. Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.

21. You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do.

22. Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Come On, Get Happy!



Happiness is what we're all about, right? Almost everything we do is the pursuit of our own (and others') happiness in some way or another.

Why then does it sometimes seem so hard to achieve? So elusive?

I believe the answer lies within each of us. It depends on our approach to achieving happiness. Does happiness mean the absence of conflict, trials and sorrow? Or does it mean a successful way of managing the way we deal with conflict, trials and sorrow? We cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to it.

Or does it mean being content with what we have and counting our blessings more often than our problems?

Finding joy in simple things?

Focusing on what really matters?

Taking good care of our physical and spiritual needs?

Loving and giving service to others?

Having realistic expectations from life, ourselves and others?

A combination of all the above?

Easier said than done? Sure it is.

Worth pursuing? Sure it is.

Those who know me know that I am a quote-monger. I love to collect and share them. So here I must share what I think are some of the best quotes on happiness:

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Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. - Sir James Matthew Barrie

Don’t Worry. Be Happy. - Bobby McFerrin

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. - Abraham Lincoln

Everything you need for a happy life is within yourself. – Unknown

That load becomes light which is cheerfully borne. - Ovid

Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling. - Margaret Lee Runbeck

The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. - Benjamin Franklin

The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions, and not on our circumstances. - Martha Washington

Health and cheerfulness mutually beget each other. - Joseph Addison

The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well being becomes. – Dalai Lama

It is only possible to live happily-ever-after on a day-to-day basis. - Margaret Bonano

Be happy. It's one way of being wise. - Colette

Happy people plan actions, they don't plan results. - Dennis Wholey

A great obstacle to happiness is to expect too much happiness. - Bernard de Fontenelle

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. - Buddha

Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it. - Fyodor Dostoevsky

May we never let the things we can't have, or don't have, or shouldn't have, spoil our enjoyment of the things we do have and can have. As we value our happiness let us not forget it, for one of the greatest lessons in life is learning to be happy without the things we cannot or should not have. - Richard Paul Evans

If you want to be happy, put your effort into controlling the sail, not the wind. - Unknown

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I found this great quote from a blog by Mormon Guy that I thought worth sharing:

"When I was struggling to see the good things in life, I often listed the good things that God had done for me. I counted my blessings, outlined the talents and gifts He had given me, and named the people who loved me and supported me. I tried to see difficult things in life with an optimistic spin.

But, as time has progressed, I’ve realized that true happiness in life doesn’t come from blessings, talents, gifts, or even people. I could have all those things and feel awful. True happiness is linked to my knowledge of God and my actions in life.

“And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it” (Mosiah 2:41).

Today, my life is amazing. I’ve learned the truth about happiness – that it’s based on making good decisions in life. Today I’m truly, sincerely, and completely happy. My life is not amazing due to the things I am given by circumstance or others. Life is amazing because of what I do with what I get. Because of how I think and see the world. Because of the changes I have made. Because of who I am."


------

Those are great insights from someone who has learned well how to be happy. So I say to you and to me:

Come on, get happy!

See also:
Pharrell William's "Happy"
Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy"
The Science of Happiness

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Inspired at General Conference - Oct 2010



So much is said in two days during the LDS General Conference that is uplifting, inspiring and instructive. No two people would mention all the same things that touched them or that they felt to be noteworthy.

That being said, here are some things that touched me:


14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet by Ezra Taft Benson: quoted by two of the speakers separately, Elder Claudio R. M. Costa and Elder Kevin R. Duncan, these points are guideposts for anyone who believes in the latter-day restored gospel.

“First: The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.

“Second: The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.

“Third: The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.

“Fourth: The prophet will never lead the Church astray.

“Fifth: The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.

“Sixth: The prophet does not have to say ‘Thus saith the Lord’ to give us scripture.

“Seventh: The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.

“Eighth: The prophet is not limited by men’s reasoning.

“Ninth: The prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.

“Tenth: The prophet may be involved in civic matters.

“Eleventh: The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.

“Twelfth: The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.

“Thirteenth: The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency—the highest quorum in the Church.

“Fourteenth: [Follow]...the living prophet and the First Presidency...and be blessed; reject them and suffer.”

Elder David M. McConkie:
"How to be Effective in Gospel Teaching"
1. Immerse yourself in the scriptures
2. Apply in your life the things that you learn
3. Seek Heaven's help
4. Act in accordance with spiritual promptings

President Uchtdorf: You gotta love this guy - he always speaks to me:
"Focus your life on things that matter most".
"Reduce your speed when experiencing turbulence"
"We would do well to slow down a little"
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" - Leonarda da Vinci

"4 Key Relationships:"
1. God - we need to have quality time alone with him
2. Family - family love is spelled T-I-M-E.
3. Fellowmen - serve others
4. Ourselves - get to know yourself better

Pres. Boyd K. Packer: Huh, funny, for some reason his talk wasn't at all explosive or insensitive to me. On the contrary, I was inspired by his forthrightness, and especially took comfort from his promise of how we will be assisted in our life struggles, all in the simple words of:

"Angels will guide you".

I noticed the plural tense. There are many angels, both earthly and heavenly, that are there to guide us. We need to notice them and rely on their assistance.

I have since found some very inspiring messages from those who understand and appreciate the full meaning of Pres. Packer's talk, interestingly, on a blog titled (Gay)Mormon Guy. You should check it out at gaymormonguy.blogspot.com, "President Packer's Talk...", October 7, 2010 entry.

I may not struggle in the same way this guy does, but I also support Pres. Packer.

Elder Richard C. Edgley: "Faith is a choice. It must be sought after and developed."

Elder Richard G. Scott: "When protected through self-control, righteous character will be protected through eternity."

"You get what you pay for in faith and obedience"

Pres. Henry B. Eyring: "Trust God" - so simple, so powerful.

Sis. Mary N. Cook: "Make sure you have both hands on the rod"

Elder Dallin H. Oaks: Re: Joseph Smith - "He could do nothing save he was humble and faithful."

Pres. Monson: "Sincerely giving thanks unlocks the doors of heaven."

"Notice that the Savior gave thanks (when feeding the multitude) and a miracle followed."

Elder David A. Bednar: "Keeping the commandments and performing the holy habits of praying and reading scriptures are pre-requisities tto receiving the Holy Ghost."

Joshua 1:9 - "Be strong and of a good courage. Be not afraid..."

Elder Per Malm: "Beware of the things that can destroy from the inside out." (example of the hollow tree)

Elder Mervyn B. Arnold told a story of a cow that broke through a fence into a wheat field and died from eating too much and bloating. After so many attempts to keep the cow out of the field, and finding the cow dead, the boy cried out "You stupid cow!" (How many times have I felt that way in trying to prevent my kids from choosing wrong, and yet sometimes to no avail, it seems. I guess we all are stupid cows sometimes...)

Elder Russell M. Ballard: "It begins with prayer. Sincere, fervent and constant communication with the Creator. Fervent prayer is key to finding strength."

Philippians 4:13 (Paul) -"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

As always a great conference. These are messages of strength and guidance from some wonderful, earthly angels. Listen and live.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Quit! Excerpts from "Winners Always Quit"


I love these messages of how to be a good quitter, from "Winners Always Quit" by Lee J. Colan and David Cottrell.


Sometimes, in order to do the right thing, you have to quit doing the wrong thing:


Quit Taking a Ride . . . and Take the Wheel
"Be the change you want to see in the world. - Mahatma Gandhi

- Be a driver, not a passenger. A Driver has the uncanny ability to deal successfully with the unexpected, the unusual, the extraordinary.
- Positively dealing with the unexpected by looking for solutions, not excuses, is the choice you need to make.

Quit Getting Comfortable . . . and Explore the Edge
"If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living."
- Gail Sheehy

Areas that are most significant to us, and where we have established our most comfortable and successful patterns, might hold the greatest danger when contemplating a change. Yet such areas are where the greatest potential benefits may lie, waiting to be discovered.

Quit Analyzing . . . and Follow Your Intuition
"The primary force is intuition. In that deep force, the last fact behind which analysis cannot go, all things find their origin." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

To make good decisions quickly and intuitively, you need to:
- Avoid obsessing over details,
- Be in tune with your surroundings, and
- Keep a clear focus on your objective.

Quit Managing Your Time . . . and Manage Your Attention
"Only one thing has to change for us to know happiness in our lives: where we focus our attention." - Greg Anderson

- Saying yes to one thing always means saying no to something else.
- Create laser-like clarity by saying no to low-priorities.
- Create a “stop doing” list.

Quit Showing Interest . . . and Commit
"The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence, regardless of his chosen field of endeavor." - Vince Lombardi

- Action converts interest into commitment.
- The antidote to worry is purposeful action.
- People naturally gravitate to those who are committed to achieving a goal.
- Life’s rewards go to those who let their actions rise above their excuses.

Quit Moving . . . and Be Still
"Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen — that stillness becomes a radiance." — Morgan Freeman

- You need to carve out your own mental space in today’s hyperactive world.
- Listening to your inner thoughts is a good way to find out what you’re thinking.
- Getting into your mental space regularly can tell you a lot about how others see you as well, which has a lot to do with whether you will achieve your goals.

Quit Striving for Success . . . and Seek Significance
"Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value." — Albert Einstein

- Wise people know that true success, and life’s greatest satisfaction, lies in helping others. That is where significance is found.
- Look for ways to invest your 3 T’s — time, talent and treasure — in other people.
- Live in your sweet spot by answering: What am I absolutely passionate about? Which tasks am I really good at?

______

See also:
Sometimes Quitting is Good: Excerpts from "Winners Always Quit"

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.


Good men always have great things to say. Martin Luther King was a very good man. Here's some of his best quotes:

There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.

True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.

Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated.

I submit to you that if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

I say to you that our goal is freedom, and I believe we are going to get there because however much she strays away from it, the goal of America is freedom.

Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.

I am not interested in power for power's sake, but I'm interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.

We must combine the toughness of the serpent with the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart.

The greatness of our God lies in the fact that He is both toughminded and tenderhearted.

Life at its best is a creative synthesis of opposites in fruitful harmony…truth is found neither in the thesis nor the antithesis, but in the emergent synthesis which reconciles the two.

Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.

There may be a conflict between softminded religionists and toughminded scientists, but not between science and religion. ... Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power; religion gives man wisdom which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary.

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.

The beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold.

The time is always right to do what’s right.

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves.

This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind.

When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality.

Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.

I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind's problems. And I'm going to talk about it everywhere I go.

I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. And the beautiful thing is that we are moving against wrong when we do it, because John was right, God is love. He who hates does not know God, but he who has love has the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of ultimate reality.

When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows.

We all have the drum major instinct. We all want to be important, to surpass others, to achieve distinction, to lead the parade. ... And the great issue of life is to harness the drum major instinct. It is a good instinct if you don't distort it and pervert it. Don't give it up. Keep feeling the need for being important. Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be the first in love. I want you to be the first in moral excellence. I want you to be the first in generosity.

Only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars.

When people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory.

Like any man, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mental Feng Shui

Some great advice here, though I can't figure out how the spelling "Feng Shui" gets pronounced "fung shway". :)

ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to . As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

THREE. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

FOUR. When you say, 'I love you,' mean it.

FIVE. When you say, 'I'm sorry,' look the person in the eye.

SIX. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone's dreams. People who don't have dreams don't have much.

NINE. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

TEN. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

ELEVEN. Don't judge people by their relatives.

TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, 'Why do you want to know?'

FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

FIFTEEN. Say 'bless you' when you hear someone sneeze.

SIXTEEN. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.

EIGHTEEN. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

NINETEEN. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

TWENTY-ONE. Spend some time alone.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Excerpts from "The Other Side of Heaven" by John H. Groberg


I love the inspirational messages of this true life experience told by John Groberg. A real primer for how to survive the storms of life!

John's experience of survival begins here as he was thrown off a small motor boat into the stormy open sea:


As I flew through the air, I remember thinking, “This can’t be happening! This isn’t right!”

I remember the sensation of falling, falling, falling through hissing winds and stinging salt spray into the boiling cauldron of an angry sea…As I sank blow the water, I still seemed to be falling, down, down, deeper and deeper. The pressure was almost unbearable; my lungs seemed ready to burst. When would it end? And how?

For a moment I thought again, “This can’t be! This isn’t true! …this isn’t supposed to happen!" But it was true and I was there, and I knew I had better stop complaining and start swimming.

Even as those thoughts filled my mind, another giant wave roared over me and I sank again…As I rose above the surface the second time, I began to swim. It seemed almost useless as the unbridled fury of the sea threw me here and there and pulled and tugged me in every direction and appeared unsatisfied with anything short of tearing me to pieces.

I began to despair …and found myself once again underwater.

As I came to the surface the third time, swimming and actually staying above the water seemed more plausible. There was extra help and I was feeling it. I sensed that if I put forth all the effort I could, things would be all right.

I swam steadily. I knew I must not panic or swim too hard. Land was far away, and I needed to float as much as possible and swim hard only to keep above the surface. The squall was moving on, and I sensed that the waves were gradually lessening in intensity and that the wind was not quite as strong.

After a few hours of exhaustive swimming towards the closest island, John was able to take momentary rest on a rock just below the water's surface. He related that to the bit of support we all need:

We all need assurances from time to time, such as a word of encouragement, an expression of love and confidence, or a rock to stand on in the midst of a sea of trouble. All these things, if heard or felt even for a moment, give us courage to go on, to move forward.

Sometimes the Lord calms the storm, and sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms his child.

So often in life we think that because we have done things in a certain way, certain results should follow. But life is like the ocean. Sometimes we get caught in squalls and storms and things don’t go the way we think they should, even when we think we have done right. But God can find us in the eye of a storm and give us courage to swim in rough water. We learn lessons from storms that we cannot learn from calm seas.

“Know… that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” (D&C 122:7)

The Lord’s promise to us personally is that if we do what is right, He will give us peace no matter what the environment. I know that to be true. That peace may not come in the way we think or how, where, or when we think, but in the eternal scheme of things, it will come in the way best for us and we will yet praise His name for things we do not now understand.

When we find ourselves in these squalls or storms, we should remember we don’t have enough energy to complain and still keep our head above water. Our duty is to swim, not wonder or complain. We need to get to shore and must leave the reasons for the storm with the Lord. If all the effort we put into asking ‘why’ were used in swimming, a lot more of us, with His help, would reach shore.

If we sincerely try to do our duty, and work hard and are patient and prayerful, and, above all, have unrelenting faith in God, we can accomplish whatever He desires, for God always comes through.

Amen.

See also Part 2, Excerpts from John Groberg's "The Other Side of Heaven"
for more excerpts from this book.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

John Groberg Quotes From “The Fire of Faith”


These quotes come from a great, inspiring book, written as a sequel to "The Other Side of Heaven", which was made into a movie. A lot of good stuff here.

Warning: These thoughts may cause spiritual stirrings of the heart. :)

PS- I had the opportunity today (8/5/10) to meet the author, Elder John Groberg, and his wife. That was huge for me since I have received much inspiration from this humble man's writings.


More than anything else we should be concerned about meekness, or our standing in God’s sight. If that standing is as it should be, nothing else matters. If it is not, nothing else counts.

Once a decision guided by the Spirit is reached you must not hesitate, but must move forward confidently with all your might.

I doubt there can be happy life without love, and the more honest the love the more fulfilling the life.

Quoting the simple truth: “man’s extremity is God’s opportunity”.

I didn’t want to be in such a hurry to “get things done” that I delayed getting the most important thing done – developing good, trusting, loving relationships with others.

One of the ways of experiencing joy is to be in a turbulent, painful situation, like a rough sea, and then finally have it end as you arrive and come to shore. Then absence of pain and turbulence is real joy.

Neither time nor place nor circumstance is of any consequence – only goodness of heart, pureness of purpose, strength of faith, and tenderness of love.

We teach and in turn are taught; we care for others and in turn are cared for; we love and in turn are loved; we forgive and in turn are forgiven.

Any inconvenience or sacrifice asked of us, if cheerfully given, is always repaid in ways we can not begin to comprehend.

I suppose one of the tests of our faith is to do what we know is right and not have things turn out the way we thought they would. It takes a lot of faith to know that whatever He makes of our feeble efforts is His business, not ours. I am sure that over time every ounce of obedience on our part is used in the best way possible by an all-seeing, all-knowing, and all-loving God.

After we are sure people understand what is expected of them, often our best help is to just leave them alone.

Greatness is sincerely loving others with all your heart.

Eternal beauty is ageless. Only mortal beauty fades. If all we see is mortal beauty, we really see nothing. However, if in mortality we can learn to see eternal beauty – the beauty of purity of character, the beauty of love, trust, and obedience to truth – then we see beauty that does not fade. Such beauty is not diminished with time, for where that beauty is, time is no more.

The fires of trial can consume as well as refine, but the choice is ours. Not the choice of what tests or trials will be thrust on us, but the choice of how we will react to them – the bright fire of faith or the darkness of despair.

Even though there were many problems to solve, the answers seemed clearer and simpler. They centered mostly on being more obedient, having more faith, and thinking of and serving others with more desire.

The only eternal satisfaction in life comes from understanding God’s goals for us, and then with His help, relentlessly and tirelessly pursuing and achieving those goals.

Spiritual success is an inward thing. It is knowing God’s will and doing all we can to achieve it. It is knowing that the Lord will do the rest when we have done our best. It is sincerity of purpose and honesty of effort that counts.

I wondered if anyone could truly enjoy such smoothness without having first experienced roughness. I became a little uneasy as I sensed the danger of actively seeking smoothness rather than letting it come in its own natural cycle.

If we have and assignment to help others find their way to safety, we had better let our lights shine so that others can see and be guided; we must never assume that our light doesn’t matter or that no one will be watching us. Often people need to see our light the most when we least feel like lighting it or when we feel no one will be looking for it.

What we know counts only to the degree of fervor with which we accept and act upon that knowledge.

When we understand the true power of love and faith and prayer, we will be amazed that we weren’t more aware of them and didn’t use them in better ways. They contain powers that cut through the apparent limitations of time and space and allow good to be accomplished and blessings to be given as needed.

I understood that God was pleased with past efforts. The countless voyages, the many storms, the challenges, the repetitions, the triumphs, the disasters, the good times and the tough times – all of these were important parts of a symphony He was creating.

God is the great composer and the great conductor. He orchestrates our life. If we will practice and learn our various parts, especially the deep ones – the ones that are repeated over and over again, the ones that often seem to have little meaning, the ones that at times seem boring, the ones that hold everything else together – He will make a beautiful symphony of it.

Sometimes we might think we are doing these things for others, that no one ever notices, or that our efforts are not important; but the fact is that in everything we do we are but practicing for our symphony. God has composed it and will masterfully conduct it, but we must play it.

Occasionally we may be given a solo part to play, which will be fun, even exciting, but mostly we will be asked to practice the repetitious drones of the basses until we get them just right, for until they are brought into proper tune, the rest – the solos, no matter how dazzling they may seem – cannot reach their full potential.

------

For excerpts from John H. Groberg's first book, "The Other Side of Heaven", see 

Excerpts from "The Other Side of Heaven", Part 1
and  
Excerpts from "The Other Side of Heaven", Part 2
.