The Blurring Line Between Truth and Lies

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The lines between truth and lies continue to blur in our ever shrinking world as the internet and lightning fast communications relay information at unfathomable speeds.  What used to take weeks or months to debunk are done now in minutes as the integrity of individuals and the truth behind their actions or statements are immediately scrutinized.

While this benefit of the communications age has without question helped call out deception, lies and deceit amongst us, it has also negatively slandered, defamed and destroyed many innocent lies.  We live in a society where many people believe anything they hear without examining for themselves the truthfulness of what is being said about others.  In this new era of worldwide instantaneous communication, it has become the first person tell the story sets the standard for what is the truth of said story.  Once people read something, they automatically assume what they read to be true and never study it further,  The shock factor has become commonplace in correspondence and as often as things written are true, they are also false.

This has led to the proliferation of falsehoods and misrepresentation of facts as truth in our gullible and anxious society to digest more and more gossip.  There are many who thrive upon spreading lies and falsehoods about others.  We have become a society where we want gossip so badly that we blindly believe anything said or written from another as long as they are the first to speak.

I have personally found that truth typically lies within the quietest most silent of individuals.  It is these people with whom gossip is squashed and truth resides.  The ones least likely to be at the forefront as stories spread and gossip builds are the ones whom are the most reliable yet most difficult to get to talk about it. Lives are lost, broken and destroyed as lies and deception are spread.

It has become commonplace in our lives to accept another great lie, that everyone lies and it is alright to tell a lie and cheat. Lies lead to destruction and devastation. They always hurt someone in the end.  Nothing is ever gained positively from lying or cheating, for if the one spreading the lie or cheating somehow “gets away” with it, they still destroy their own integrity and soul.

Lies cause hurt, they destroy and devastate, individuals, families, towns and countries.  They erode trust and the common good within communities.  Before believing in and becoming ensared by gossip, deception, and lies, verify for yourself the truthfulness of things before sharing with another, then speak truth boldly and confidently and be trusted by those whom you choose to share.

“If you tell me the truth, the truth I’ll proclaim.
If you tell me a lie, you’ll be fair game.”
Belva Rae Staples

Look to the Light, and Live!

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We each experience pain and heartache in our life.  These pains can become deep emotional scars that paralyze us from experiencing the joys that are to be found in this life.  Finding joy in the journey can be difficult when the pains and wounds are so deep that despair almost seems inevitable.  These wounds can become chains binding us from feeling anything but sorrow and despair.

Many times these pains come from those we have allowed into our lives, to be part of our life and to share our journey with. It can be from death to disagreements to rejection, anything,  that create this intense pain, sorrow and loss.  Sometimes they are family members, spouses, children, neighbors, friends and even our church leaders.  Whoever they may be, many times this heartache burns deep within our souls and left unattended can crush our ability and desire to press forward.  These sorrows for many create the inability to trust another, to open themselves up to another, to love again or let anyone close.  It affects current and future relationships.  The ghosts of the past haunt the individuals present and future happiness, becoming victims again to the already overwhelming sadness and heartache, thus creating a vicious cycle of sorrow.

One of my favorite speakers/authors Jack Christensen taught me a lesson that has never left me in his talk/book “Healing the Wounded Soul.”  Jack explains that many of our wounds need to be healed from the inside out.  He also explains that many people react through outward behaviors based upon deep emotional wounds.

It was upon listening to his talk that I was able to finally look deep inside of me in an attempt to discover what my wounds were and as I pondered this, I allowed the Atonement of Jesus Christ to work within me to identify the wounds that were causing my sorrow and to begin the healing process. I never fully understood nor comprehended how these wounds, hidden from not only everyone else, but from myself for years had impacted my life.  The freedom that entered my life upon conquering these wounds and allowing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to heal me from the inside out has been life changing. Not only has it allowed me to find true love with my beloved wife, it has also changed my eyes and how I view others who are hurting and manifesting that through their outward behaviors.   I see others differently than ever before.

As we struggle in life and deal with past wounds, as well as the current ones, if we look to our Savior and allow Him to enter our life, He can heal us from the inside out, the way we are meant to heal and thus eliminating the scars that come when we try to heal ourselves from the outside in.  We can find the inner peace and joy in our lives that can never be taken from us.  We can prevent our past from damaging our dreams for the future.  We can reclaim our lives and find joy in the journey as we look to the light, and live.

We The People can make a difference – Pleasant Grove proves it!!

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All too often I hear from friends and family of how one persons voice cannot make a difference, that the system is broken and the individual’s voice doesn’t matter.  I beg to differ, more now than at any time in our history the people have a voice, the problem is that your voice is not used or doesn’t translate into the polling locations for your vote and voices to be heard.  Too many people have become disenchanted with politics and have even given up voting, this appalls me!  I hear often from people I don’t like any of the candidates so why waste my time, they’re both idiots.  The problem here is they have given way to the vocal minority whom do speak out, “When you skip voting, its not rebellion, its surrender!”

This past November’s election I was thrilled when I learned from a friend who lives in this city,  what the citizens in Pleasant Grove, Utah did!  Fed up with the current mayor and having no enthusiasm for the individual who opposed him, they WROTE in who they wanted as Mayor and HE WON!  A write in candidate in 3 weeks garnered 54.89% of the vote in a 3 way race without his name appearing on the Ballot.  He beat the incumbent by a whopping 18.71 points!

When a community, city, state and nation’s citizens become fed up with the current system and when working together they can make a change regardless of the party system and the broken establishment.  Those who say that their voice do not matter are really telling you they are too lazy to do anything about it.  One voice can become two, then three and so on.  Another mayoral race in nearby South Jordan Utah separated the candidates by only 19 votes!  There were almost 10,000 votes in this city!  Your votes do matter, your voice must be heard and each of us can make a difference!!

KUDOS to the citizens of Pleasant Grove for taking action and taking back their city!

http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/north/pleasant-grove/pleasant-grove-voters-kill-public-safety-bond-re-elect-former/article_3c779ec0-46bc-11e3-964a-001a4bcf887a.html

My Hospital Visit with a Dear Friend

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I spent part of evening yesterday visiting with a lifelong friend in the hospital.  His stay was a short one, overnight, yet he works out of town and we don’t visit often, other than the occasional text message or Facebook correspondence. I have known this friend for over 30 years, back to our school days and our lives have crossed paths many times as life has taken us in different directions. I sent him a message Tuesday to let him know that I thinking about him and hoped that the surgery would go well. Late yesterday afternoon after he had gotten to his room he messaged me to let me know how we was. After exchanging a few messages he told me he would love to see me and to come up.  Without hesitation I told him i would be up to visit.

I live about 45 minutes away so the drive there provided me much time to ponder and reflect upon my friend and our lives.  As young men we were both very driven and motivated. Our lives were very similar and we shared similar dreams and ideas about our lives and our future.  The paths we took in life started on a very similar path, we graduated from high school together, we both left to serve missions for our church.  Upon returning we began school, working and started our families.  As life became busy as it often does, we would go years without talking only to run into each other and pick things up where they left off.  Friendships like this don’t ever die, they continue regardless of what life brings.

My friend and I reconnected years ago through a devastating and deeply personal loss of his.  I did everything that I could to be there for him and to help him while knowing I could in reality do nothing.  This was going to take a lifetime and all I could do is love and care for him,which I have tried to do yet I know I have stumbled in this area many times for him.  I wish I could have been a better support for him in his time of need.

We discovered as we reconnected the similarities in our lives with our struggles and challenges we had faced.  We each had very different and unique obstacles before us, yet the pain of divorce, the lies and the deception of ex spouses, the fight for our rights as a father and other challenges were eerily similar.  We handled these issues in different manners, we had grown apart in our social, political and religious views throughout this time when we hadn’t been around one another, finding ourselves in many levels on the extreme opposite sides of some of the most divisive issues our country is facing.

As I drove to the hospital I thought about the irony of this, here was one of my closest lifelong friends I have ever known.  This was a man that I knew without doubt or hesitation I could call on a moments notice for help and he would give me the last shirt off his back or his last meal to help me.  Our friendship has never been threatened or challenged as a result of our differing opinions and beliefs.  While visiting in the hospital we discussed briefly some of these explosive issues, ones that usually would cause extreme arguments, in this case we always respect the others opinion and agree that we will never agree on these issues. There were no arguments, only discussion as we talked about them.  The fact is that he has been one of the best friends I have ever known, certainly the most loyal.

As we talked, a comment he made resonated deep within me, it all revolves around compromise.  He said that if we were the last 2 families left on the earth and we needed to build a home for our families and we only had time to build one home, we would never agree what needed to be in the home, yet we would build one that would meet both of our families needs because our families needed it.  We are very similar this way, we will both put the needs of others ahead of our own.  We compromise.

Imagine the problems that could be solved with compromise, compassion and friendship.  The chasms that separate families, communities, friends, and this nation would all disappear with true compromise and placing others needs before our own.  To my dear friend I say, thank you for the time yesterday and for your lifetime of friendship.  There is no distance too great between those who care for each other.

THE POWER OF CHOICE

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Have you ever noticed that some people regardless of the trials they are facing in life always seem to be happy and always in a good mood?  There are many who have learned that they have a power within them to be happy, no matter what they are facing in life.   They make a choice.

Choices are the most powerful force we have in our lives and ones we alone have total ownership of.  It is through our choices that our lives are lived, our paths are chosen and our circumstances are brought to pass.  Understanding this powerful force in our lives allows us to create the future we desire and deserve.

There are many of us who all too often blame others for our own bad choices and the difficult circumstances we find ourselves in.  While it is true that many of the challenges we face are created by the choices of others, the responsibility for our choices overrides anything that another can do.  I used to blame my sadness and unhappiness on my ex and her choices that led to the demise of our family, until I learned that in the beginning it was MY CHOICE to date her and marry her.  I invited her into my life and in that single act and choice of my own, I allowed the situation that then led to my sadness and unhappiness.  The feelings I felt and the sorrow that I felt were also MY CHOICE to accept them into my life. When I began choosing to take responsibility for my own choices, both the good and bad choices that I alone had made, I discovered a power within me to take control of my own life and stop letting others choices dictate my satisfaction and success in life.

This isn’t to say that I don’t struggle with the outcome and result from choices that others have made that have impacted my life directly, it does mean that I take responsibility for my choices in how it impacts me. I miss my children immensely, the choices of their mother impact my life on a daily basis.  At times the sorrow at not seeing them seems overwhelming.  When I feel the deep sense of loss and imminent despair, I remind myself of the simple rule that has taken me a lifetime to learn, I choose my own feelings.  I choose to be happy for my kids sake.  If I am despondent then what good am I to them?  The more I understand the power in choices, the more I refuse to allow anyone else to choose my happiness or sadness for me.  It is my life and I alone am in control.

There are some who will argue that we don’t choose our circumstances in life.  While on many levels this would be true, this isn’t about choosing what we have been born into, or sickness and disease, it is all about choosing what we are to become and who we are!  Regardless of our own personal struggles, we alone choose how we respond to them.  There is no one else who can make those choices for us. If we choose to break the law that takes us into a prison where we lose our freedoms, the original choice was ours and ours alone.  There are always consequences for our choices.  Choose wisely and we gain success in our endeavors, choose poorly and we create additional obstacles that limit what choices we are able to make.  Our attitude will always be our choice alone!

Sometimes we feel like we have no other choice, that circumstances require the choice we make.  Logically, this may be true, that the wisest choice is obvious and set before us, however the choice to act or not to act upon that logic is ours and ours alone. Every day of our lives are filled with choices, sometimes we even make the choice not to make a choice, regardless we have chosen inaction over action and we are responsible for that choice, or lack thereof.

Choices are one of the most powerful forces upon us in our lives.  It is through our understanding and mastering of this limitless personal power that will create the life we envision for ourselves.  When we take responsibility for our choices, both past and present we can take tremendous power over our lives and responsibility for ourselves.  We are in control of our choices and therefore over our own destiny and futures.   Our lives are a mirror image of the personal choices we make, what we see in the mirror staring back at us come from all the choices that we have made.  If we don’t like what we see, change how make your choices.

TENDER MERCIES – A Fathers Heartache part 10

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I have never seen my children on the first day of school.  I don’t know what that is like to see the excitement of the first day of school, their new teachers, classroom and friends.  Most often I am unable to find out how the first day of school went for almost a week, when they come to visit.  They aren’t allowed to phone, the only time I find out sooner are those occasions when I can get to the school for lunch with them.

I seldom get the opportunity to take my kids to school, maybe two or three times a year I get this treat to pray with them in the morning before school and wish them a good day as they head off to class.  Most people take these moments with their children granted as a regular occurrence, for me these are tender mercies and opportunities to experience a wonderful time with my children.

Today was such a rare wonderful opportunity to experience this moment in time with them.  This morning was extra special as I was able to wake them and get them ready for school, take them, pray with them and see them off. Today,  I got the extra special treat of picking them up from school on the same day.  Days like this are rare, I treasure them and realize the blessing that they are.  These moments with my children are what keep me pressing forward everyday.  I try not to focus on the issues my ex creates in her controlling nature and enjoy the moments that are mine.

My children attend a school with a year round track schedule and today was the first day back to school from being off track for the past 3 weeks.  With Veterans day this year falling as my holiday I was able to spend the weekend, an extra weekend with them and take them to school today.  As I watched their excitement and nervousness at going back to school after this break, I reflected upon this day and the similarities it must have to an actual first day of a new school year.

I have missed out on many opportunities, ones that I will never be able to get back with my children, today was a gift from God, an opportunity to experience ever so slightly something I have yearned to experience with my children for a lifetime.  Although today wasn’t an actual first day of school, I am grateful to have this opportunity to have as close to one as I have ever experienced.

The Teachings of my mother

 

Nearly all of the teachings that I hold closest and dearest to my heart were taught and instilled in me through my mother.  She is a anchor in my soul to the things that make me the man I am today.  My faith, trust, hope, compassion, service, gratitude and many other traits all come from what my mother taught us while we were young men growing up.

In our home as children, we were taught the power of prayer and of God’s love for us at the footstool of our mother, her example of true faith and perseverance through difficult times has provided a tremendous example and strength for me in my life.  I have throughout my entire life leaned upon these teachings to enable me to excel in life and overcome the many challenges and  obstacles that I have endured.  In my darkest hours I have always been able to turn to my Father in Heaven and my mother to see me through these times.   I remember often as a young child finding my mother on her knees beside my parents bed in supplication to our Father in Heaven for well being.  This example of her devotion and faithfulness has been burned in my soul and strengthened me often.

My mother has always shown us to be of service to others and to show compassion and kindness to all.  I have learned from her teachings to serve and help others that I encounter along life’s path.  I have learned and come to understand the truthfulness of the scriptures that “when you are in the service of your fellowman you are in the service of me” (the savior) from her example and untiring devotion and service to those around her, especially her family.  My dear mother always placed others first and especially her kids.  I know that there have been numerous times. too many to count when my beloved mother has gone without to make certain that her children had what they needed.

I have watched her through the depths of sorrow, at the loss of my father particularly, as she expressed her undying gratitude her Father in Heaven for the time they shared together and to those who have sustained and supported her throughout these many years.  No greater example of dignity and courage could ever be taught than that of my dear mother through this time.

As I look back upon my life, and the teachings and examples that have been the greatest impact in creating the man that I am today, I understand and fully realize that it has been the teaching of my dear beloved mother in my life, her strength and example have burned deep in my soul.

Thank you mom for all the amazing and wonderful examples of faith and what a true Christian life looks like.  I pray that I may provide the same example to my children as you have been to yours.  We love you mom!