Tim and His Monster – By my 11 year old son Bridger

jisbell22

Image

Writing and artwork by My own amazing 11 year old son Bridger:  (his first blog, no edit)

The kids they all gathered in the corner afraid of what it might be as it drew nearer, a big shadow was cast over 15 of the lockers

Tim hugged Gracie and said if we don’t live I want you to know I love you.

Gracie laughed and said, me too, as she hugged him back.

The monster drew nearer until he came around the corner.

It hopped next to Tim.

It was just a rabbit.

They all laughed at Tim, and even Gracie.

With a shake, Tim’s mom was standing over him and saying, “get up, it’s time to get ready for school.”

Tim got up, got ready and went to the car to go to school.

As he was getting in the car he said, “boy am I glad that was just a…

View original post 14 more words

God’s Laws Can Never be Changed by Man

Image

Many friends I know feel as though the commandments are antiquated, outdated and not relevant in today’s world.  This belief seems to be prevalent in our culture,   Each of the ten commandments have become glamorized through our movies and invade our homes daily through the internet, television and music.  We are falsely led to believe that the only way to have fun and enjoy life is to break the commandments and live a life without rules or restrictions.

This is the greatest lie ever told to mankind.

Happiness, joy, and peace can never be found violating these laws of God.  The commandments are not given to us to restrict our lifestyle, they are given to provide direction and guidance that will bring about that happiness, joy and peace we long for.  Living a life in harmony with Gods law is the only way to find that deep peace that our spirits hunger for.  God’s laws are not meant to restrict us, he has given these laws to enable us to know how to bring about true joy and happiness in our lives.

Those who live the way of the world rush from one placebo to the next in looking for the happiness they long for.  These placebo’s deceive the individual into believing they have found happiness, only for it to be fleeting and without substance or staying power.

Those who do all within their power to live God’s laws find great peace and comfort in abiding these commandments. These individuals are not prone to the heartache that comes as a natural consequence from violating these laws.  They avoid the emotional roller coaster that comes from chasing after one placebo to the next and eliminate much worry and stress from their lives.  As a God who loves his children, these commandments are designed to bring about joy in our lives, God desires that we are happy and have joy, his laws are the road map leading to it.

As society tries to eradicate these laws from our lives, through countless legal actions and maneuvers there are those who desire all to lose hope and chase after these placebos instead of discovering for themselves the inner peace and happiness that can be.  Man continues its assault on God’s laws.  Making a law declaring something legal, will never make it right. Making laws declaring something right as illegal will never them wrong.

There is only one way to true happiness and joy.  All others are a deception.

Love and Trust as Little Children

Image

Children are born with absolute trust and faith in their parents.  We as parents may or may not be deserving of such trust yet it is granted along with love unconditionally by these precious and tender souls.  A child’s trust can never grow stronger than it is at birth, for it is perfect trust.    The trust, love and loyalty of children are given fully and completely. It is in our actions as parents and not that of the child that will alter that trust, and nothing else.

As parents, we can continue to be deserving of that trust so completely placed in us at their birth that can last throughout our children’s lives, depending upon our actions. Our actions and not our children’s are critical for the continuation of that trust.  A child will not stop trusting until we violate such trust, in fact I have witnessed many times how a child continues to trust even after repeated violations of that trust.  Children are forgiving and loving, they desire the same.  As we break the trust of our children, through our actions, words and deeds, it will permanently damage our children and their ability to form trusting relationships as adults.  If we as parents destroy this amazing gift from our children, we create significant road blocks in their lives as they learn to trust others.

We are the first relationship that a child will have in this world, the magnitude of this is lost on so many.  We set the stage for our children and their emotional well being from they day they are conceived.  We determine if our child will feel loved and secure, or if they will live with uncertainty, fear and distrust.

This point has been driven home ever more deeply with the birth of our precious little girl.  The past year we have been more aware of our promises to all of our children, the way we talk with them and our interactions with them.  Unfortunately I have no doubt that as parents we have made some mistakes along the way and most certainly reduced the trust of our children.  Thankfully for us, children are deeply forgiving and loving, they give us more chances to be better and to learn from our past mistakes. 

As we recognize this extremely wonderful, unconditional love and trust from our children, we too can learn to love and trust as they do.  Our children are greater teachers than we could ever become.

Joy in the Wintry Season of LIfe

Image

Winter ice covers much of the country, for some it traps us in our homes and brings life to a standstill, for others it brings wonderment and opportunity.   Winter can be a challenging season for those who live in areas that can grip us in its  wrath, the blinding blizzards, icy roads, power outages and of course, continual snow shoveling of sidewalks and driveways.

I must admit that winter has always been one of my least favorite times of the year.  I don’t particularly enjoy the cold and wet, I despise shoveling and get frustrated with traffic on snowy days.  However as I have become wiser and truly understand how much our attitudes impact our happiness and our satisfaction with life, my beloved wife and I have discovered many wonderful adventures and unique opportunities for our family to spend quality time together during this difficult time of year.

From sledding, to snow shoeing to ice skating and playing on frozen lakes we have found wonderful and amazing opportunities within winter for us to bond and grow closer as a family.  The surprise on our children’s faces the first time we laced up the skates in an outdoor adventure on the ice rink and skated away hand in hand.  Our children laughing and attempting to follow along.  We lapped the rink holding hands while enjoying family time together outside in this amazing earth we live on with our children’s giggles and laughter all around us.  Their smiles as we continued to play together, we held each child’s hand and helped them as they learned to balance and glide on the skates, this of course while trying to keep our balance ourselves.

We followed todays adventure on the ice rink with hot chocolate and then another surprise… a trip to the reservoir frozen over with ice.. we walked gently along the ice watching all the people ice fishing as we made our way across part of the frozen lake.  Our children’s eyes were wide with wonderment as they literally walked on the lake and played.   They explored each crack in the ice and each fishing hole we came across.  We enjoyed some unique and precious family time together, time that we will always treasure and remember fondly. 

We have found that time outdoors, away from all the distractions of the internet and electronics, even during our least favorite season of the year gives us a unique opportunity to connect deeply with our children in ways not possible sitting at home.  I believe much like the lesson my dear wife and I have learned in finding opportunities for growth even in the least desirable season that it creates some of the greatest memories in our family.

So it is also with our lives.  Some of the greatest memories, growth and experiences we obtain in this life come in the seasons of our lives with the greatest obstacles and challenges.   Finding the joy during these wintry seasons of life can bring about a much deeper connection with God and our Savior Jesus Christ, just as they have with our family.

The Hidden Power of Music

Image

I love music, I always have.  I am enthralled with the messages that can only be delivered through the power of music.  Good music speaks to our spirit in a way that nothing else can.  Over the years I have toyed with writing lyrics, some have been pretty decent attempts while others, not so much.  My desire has always been able to share a story through the lyrics that will make someone smile, or touch their spirit in a way that will move them for the good. 

Over the years there have been many songs that have spoken to me.  Many of the Christian artists have particular songs that really touch home with me, yet there are just as many songs outside this genre that have had an important and lasting effect on me in my life. 

Two songs in particular outside of the Christian music genre that have stuck with me over the years are Unanswered Prayers by Garth Brooks in 1991 and Ever Since the World Began by Survivor in 1982.

Unanswered Prayers has been truly a blessing in my life as many of the desires of my heart that I prayed for never came to pass.  At the time they were difficult to accept and it felt as if my prayers were bouncing off the ceiling and not heard.  As I look back upon those times now I can clearly see why they were unanswered..  God had something far greater in store for me than I could ever have imagined at the time.  The happiness in my life would be non existent today had those things that I prayed for been granted so many years ago.   God heard my prayers all those years ago and instead of giving me what I thought I wanted, He put in motion those things that I needed and truly desired yet didn’t know at the time.  He heard the desire of my heart and not to words that I prayed and granted me the unspoken desires.   I am happier today than I could have ever dreamed possible as a result of my unanswered prayers.  He knew better than i what I needed and gave it to me.

Ever Since the World Began is a song that has truly made me realize that our lives impact each other in ways that most of us do not even realize.  The line in the song “how one life touches the other, is so hard to understand” is for me powerful and very thought provoking.  This song also drives the message home for me that we here on this earth have been waiting for our time to come here since the beginning of this earth.  We are pieces of a grand puzzle that all fit together to form the fabric of this existence.  Each interaction that we have with one another impacts many on this earth in one way or another.  We all have a unique and very important role here on earth as part of the big puzzle.  It really drives home the concept of the Butterfly Effect.

Music is a powerful tool that impacts our emotions.  It can either inspire us to greater heights or depress to new lows.  Music can unite people together as well as tear asunder.  The music we listen to and learn to love has tremendous power in our lives and can influence so  much of how we view the world and how others view us.

The Inequality of Equal Rights

f1-not-equal-sign

Lately there has been much said regarding equality and equal rights.  The irony behind the arguments is those crying the loudest for equality in fact do not desire equality at all, they desire preferential treatment under the law.

As I have watched this debate continue on I am flabbergasted with the hypocrisy of those screaming the loudest.

  • The LGBT movement wants equal marriage rights under the law while denying others the right to exercise their personal religious beliefs that oppose such unions.  Business owners are being forced do perform services that are contrary to their own beliefs against gay marriage.  We trample on one set of beliefs in favor of another persons, this is being driven by those very individuals using the equal rights banner as their mantra.
  • The pro choice movement is nothing about choice, it is about murder.  Pro choice has nothing to do with civil liberties as they deny those very same rights to the child whose life they destroy.  The pro choice movement are also typically the ones who will use science to cry global warming yet deny the science regarding a human fetus.  This group also claims pro choice while eliminating a fathers right to choose.
  • The gun control group screams that for the safety of all they want to eliminate guns in our communities citing examples of gun violence conducted by criminals who already are under gun restrictions, yet refuse to recognize the plethora of examples of reduced crime and lives saved as a result of gun ownership.
  • Those who support redistribution of wealth and the welfare state to aid many who cannot or will not support themselves wish to deny the rights of those who work hard to excel and achieve.

The equal rights groups do not desire equal rights, they desire the right to control others and in effect create mass inequalities.

I believe that all individuals should be treated with respect, dignity and love.   I believe that charity that is forced is not charity but a tax.  I believe that an individuals right to happiness should be preserved but should not step upon another’s rights to their own beliefs.  I believe all should be served equally by the government and that the government should never coerce another to violate their own personal beliefs in doing so.

For equality to ever exist in our society, all persons rights and beliefs must be protected, not just those claiming equal rights.

 

Overcoming Fear with Belief

Image

Fear is probably the single biggest cause for failure in our lives.  It is most often accompanied by worry and doubt.  When these are present in our lives we cripple our ability to excel and thrive.  We create our own obstacles and stop our progression.  Fear will usually cause a fight or flight reaction.  More often than not, the majority of people will fly.  They run and hide from the fear instead of fighting it.  While hiding from our fear, we begin to doubt ourselves and worry about the future.  Instead of taking control of our future, we cripple it.

I understand that many of us have some real fears in our lives, these can be more challenging and difficult to overcome.  We also each maintain many fears that are not only self created, but unfounded.  We may fear for a family member and their  struggles, or a fear of losing a job that we already have.  This creates many times a self fulfilling prophecy, we fear we will lose our job, the worry and doubt in our abilities that accompanies the fear impact our abilities and performance in our job and we then create our own dismissal from our employment as a result.  We bring to pass our own fears into reality.  We may fear getting ill and the worry and doubt that accompanies it as we hyper focus on it in turn truly makes us sick, again we fulfill our own fears.  These are just a couple of examples that lead to the fulfillment of our own self imposed fears.

Conversely, hope and belief can create an opposite effect.  As we hope for a better life and believe that we deserve one, when our actions align with those beliefs we will open doors for ourselves that will lead to our own success.  The old adage, if we can dream it, we can achieve it,..  this is true yet belief must accompany the dream for us to achieve those dreams.  I have many acquaintances whom believe that they do not deserve anything better than what they have achieved or been given.  This becomes true for them as they never move beyond what they have.

I remember as a young man starting out in my career for a whopping $4.75 per hour.  I was happy because it was not the grocery store where I had been working prior for a mere $3.25 an hour.  I had taken a step forward and I knew in my heart and believed unequivocally in myself that I would excel in this career and do very well for myself.  I exceeded the expectations of everyone around me and created through hard work and my self belief tremendous success in my career.  My success in my career became an anchor in my life and a road map in overcoming obstacles and challenges.   Each time fear would show its ugly head I would fight it, face it and conquer it.  I never allowed the doubt to accompany the fear and each time worry would enter my mind, I eliminated as soon as I was able to clearly identify why I was worried. 

We can can achieve anything we want in this life with hard work and belief in ones self.  In order to do so we must eliminate fear, doubt and worry from our lives.  The future is ours to design and create.  What we choose to bring with us will determine the level of success and happiness we achieve.

Lifes Construction

Image

We are each a work in progress.  Our futures are determined by the quality of the products with which we build our lives.  I see all to often the heartache that comes from allowing inferior building blocks to be used in the construction of our lives.  While this world spirals out of control with an eat drink and be merry attitude we are reaping the outcome of such behavior and the resulting inferior product which could be achieved.

This attitude creates a dynamic within ourselves that destroys our own futures as we fill our minds with a false methodology for happiness and success.  Success and happiness cannot be realized with this mantra.  Any structure built to last will have undoubtedly utilize the highest quality materials.  If we built structures with and eat drink and be merry attitude, the structures would fail as they would be rapidly built with sub par products and poor craftsmanship.  We are doing this to our own lives as we look no further to the future than today.

As we put into our lives, quality products from education, morals, character and discipline, with a focus on building something that will stand the test of time, we will surely find more happiness, peace and joy. The strength that comes from the quality we value in our lives will chase away the inferior design and building which society is currently prone to accept as the norm. 

More and more lives will continue to degenerate as we continue to use corrupt, weak and worthless materials to build our own futures.  Those whom survive and remain standing will either build originally with the aforementioned quality, or will undergo a total renovation, often painful, of their lives to replace the corrupt principles with ones we are each worthy to possess.

Voices from the Dust

IMG_1663

 

I am fascinated by our ancestors and the civilizations that came before.  I reflect often upon the people, the cultures, and the influence that these ancient societies have had upon our present day.  Like voices from the dust, the writings, architecture, art and the many clues left behind allow us to create a picture of what their lives were like.  The social, economic and political cultures within these ancient peoples are constructed based upon the relics they left behind.

This also brings me to pondering much about my own personal ancestry and my family members whom proceeded us.  I am oftentimes in awe of the strength of character shown by many who came before. The trials and challenges that they were faced with often provide me with an inner strength as I face my own challenges.  I have read as much as I can get my hands on of my pilgrimage ancestry crossing the ocean by ship, the storms and difficulties they encountered as well as those who crossed the plains as they settled west in the United States.  Many of them left journals detailing their accounts of hardship in search of a better life.  Journals that have provided insight into the people from which I descend.

We are the recipients of the sacrifices made by those who came before.  Our lives are inextricably intertwined to our ancestors as well as the ancient civilizations that have left an indelible mark on this world in which we live.  We have been given much knowledge from the past, some serve as guidance for us while others serve as a warning to prevent us from the same disastrous  fates as those civilizations that have been destroyed.  While I greatly fear that we as a people have failed to heed those warnings, I also fear what impact our society will have upon future generations.  How will our actions shape the lives of those who come 100 years, 500 years, 1000 years from now?  Will the knowledge we leave behind be used for guidance or will our generation serve as the warning voice to future generations?

As a think personally upon the legacy that I wish to leave for my posterity, I pray that it will be one like my ancestors have left me.  A voice of faith and hope driven by a strength of character that will provide my posterity the wisdom needed to overcome any challenges and obstacles they may endure in their lifetime.  100 years from now what will they say about me?  Will I leave behind a positive impact, or will it be a warning on what to avoid so as not to duplicate my mistakes in life?  I am certain it will undoubtedly be a combination of both.

I do pray that my legacy to my great great grandchildren will be one of inspiration and a source of strength and wonderment, much like I have gained from my ancestors.  I pray that they will learn from my mistakes and gain courage from our fortitude in facing challenges with dignity, grace and courage.  I pray my  voice will  rise from the dust in love, strength and courage to those left behind as a testament to my faith, my love and my compassion for my posterity.