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

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.

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:

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

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

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


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


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"