Monday, June 13, 2011

Depth of the water doesn't matter

I was answering a simple “How is it going?” response in an email from a friend and mentor. I gave him a fairly long, yet honest answer. He had a two line response. This has prompted me to share with anyone listening, so to speak, the lesson.
I have a friend and mentor who is struggling to teach me the lessons he has learned. I say struggling, because I am not an easy student. I hold on to my “self-defeating” dialogues with great force.
He has used the following story several times. I recently used it to describe where I am in life.
“As a young man living in Hawaii, I loved to swim in the ocean. On one occasion, I took a young lady to a part of the coast that wasn’t frequented by a lot of swimmers. In fact, it had a No Swimming sign posted. I asked her if she were a good swimmer and she responded affirmatively. We jumped in and in no time found ourselves in a rip tide, being dragged out to sea.
I understood the situation we were in. We needed a plan to begin working our way back to shore. My friend revealed she wasn’t the swimmer she claimed to be and was afraid of how deep the water was.
I got her to calm down and shared rule number one: it doesn’t matter how deep the water is. It only matters that you stay on top. Then I shared rule number two: A strategy for success. We would swim towards the shore when the waves pushed us that direction. We would tread water when it pulled us back. This would help us keep our strength, and we wouldn’t be fighting the wave, expending energy.
Although it took several hours, we found ourselves on shore, safe.”
In sharing that this seems to be where I am in life, with another friend, moving forward when the waves are working for me, and holding my own when they aren’t, he suggested” The Savior, His Atonement and His Gospel provide the buoyancy….but I guess we still have to dog paddle.”
Well spoken. The Savior provides a plan to return to him. He has followed this plan. He has set the lighthouse to help us, even in the dark. He wants us to succeed. He also shares his love and reminds us that it really doesn’t matter how deep our troubles are, it just matters that we stay on top.
Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet!

I grew up Jimmy Olsen, Cub Reporter of the Daily Planet, friend of Superman! And yes, I had been told Superman was really Clark Kent.
Remember the tag line that opened the show "Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings with a single bound..."
We all used to think Superman was pretty face, but this past week I discovered the speed of the internet! Hang on, cause this one is going fast.
Last Monday I received a call from my mother that she needed to get to the hospital ER. She mentioned that she had called my brother-in-law and was also en route. Well, as she finished dressing, I looked and didn't have his phone number in my smart phone. SO, I called my sister. She didn't answer. SO, I called my other sister, who would have his number in her phone. She did, so she called him, and diverted him to the hospital to assist in a priesthood blessing.
She also posted on the family facebook page that grandma was headed to the hospital and everyone should offer a prayer in her behalf.
My niece, who is serving in Afghanistan saw the post and called her mother in St George, UT. She wondered what was wrong with Grandma. She only had four weeks left, and didn't want anything to be horribly wrong. Her mother, my sister had no idea, and felt bad that she was out of the loop.
Truth-be-told, I had not gone 30 blocks from home, and was still miles from the hospital. From Salt Lake to Afghanistan to St. George, UT in less than 5 minutes.
That's gotta be faster than a speeding bullet any day!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Putter Putter Putt Putt

I have to start this post with an observation and an apology.
This is the third post in as many days. Don't mind me, I just wanted to note that. I am supposed to write for 15 minutes a day what I am grateful,which has put me in a writing mood.
Now for the Apology:
The apology goes out to Lori Snow Olsen.
I was mean and cruel when we were younger. To have ever called you "Putter, Putter, Putt, Putt!" may have been humorous at the time, but I have found that I am much worse. Much worse. . In fact, I am supposed to be cleaning RIGHT NOW but wanted to stop and blog instead.
For the rest of you, when we were a young couple, Lori would seem to putter as she cleaned our home. She went from cleaning project to cleaning project.
You know, be cleaning the living room, take a glass (probably left there by me), into the kitchen, just to start cleaning the sink and then would decide to take the dish towels into the laundry room. There she would start the dryer, and look at the bathroom, which shared the space with the w/d, and start doing the mirrors. She would sigh and lament that it didn't seem like she was getting anything done.
I would call her Putter Putter Putt Putt. Lovingly, of course.
Let me be clear here -- this scenario is illustrative and not from actual memory.
To fix that, Lori created a song and a game. The song and game was "Clean Clean, Like A Washing Machine."
Now, you might think she made this game and song up to get the kids going, but if memory serves me right (which is getting dicey lately) she made it up for me and her. A 30 minute time limit was set and we would go around our home cleaning and singing and get 'er done!
Today I have cleaned most of my apartment -- Spring Cleaning -- and have to chuckle. I am worse than she ever was. I go from room to room to room to room. Good thing my place is less then 700 sq ft.!!
So, Please accept my apology.
Now, if I could only remember the words to that song....

Friday, April 8, 2011

Blow Out Through Your Nose

Lego Truck Wars with Aiden and Parker Olsen
I love that history can repeat itself.
My son and daughter-in-law are spending this weekend on their sixth wedding anniversary. Maybe 5th or 7th.  must be seventh.. Each year Cody spends time and doodles, photo shops pictures in a unique way as a gift to Kimberly. I see six on the wall, & I saw the one he is giving her tonight. I digress.
I wanted to give them a chance to get away, if they wanted. Caveat was they had to take Laney. Stranger Danger era. So, while they spend a night almost alone, I have had a time of my life with grandsons Parker and Aiden. Pizza, Movies, Lego Car Wars, and even baked chocolate chip cookies. Man things. What fun.
Here is History repeating itself.
Lori used to laugh and share the story about when she was a young girl her parents went out for the night. One of siblings, I think it was her sister, stuck pinto beans up her nose and breathed in. Panic! Can't breath! Call for help!
Well, while I was in the kitchen working on the cookies, smell yummy chocolate here, the boys were working on their assignment -- pick up the Legos so was could watch a movie. Panic voice. Crying, "Aiden stuck a Lego up his nose!" Bloody nose from picking at it. What is a Grandpa to do? Chuckle. :)
Calm down Aiden. Get in my lap. Blow real hard into the tissue. No, blow through your NOSE real hard. Chuckle. Let's clean up your face. Chuckle
You know, in some cosmic sense, I knew exactly what to do because of that humorous story Lori would share.
Jammies, a couple of stories, "Little bunny Fru Fru" sung, and prayers, the boys are sound asleep. Now in the quiet of the evening, I have a story to share with Aiden when he gets to be old enought to embarrass him in front of some girl friend.. Chuckle, chuckle. Why wait until he is that old. Chuckle Chuckle

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Will this snow ever stop?

This on is kinda off the cuff. I'm sitting here in my apartment in good old downtown Salt Lake City watching the snow fall. April and snow aren't so uncommon bedfellows. I have been around long enough (old man reference) to have seen snow in April. And May. And June. And July.
I am grateful for the snow-pack. Regret I didn't get to the ski hills this year. But I have had a few experiences with late snow.
As a very young lad, I was with the Olsen and Kirkman clans in the Cedar Breaks park in July when it decided to snow. Between the two families there were  10 kids under 12. We had set up camp, and being the bright boys we were, Stephen and I had set up a big tent, with our father's help, right in the middle of what became a river (exaggeration here) after a freak summer snow storm. Wet, cold, crying ( the girls) we broke camp and found a motel that had a few rooms available. We speak of it today whenever we gather as part of the OK Family reunion. (Olsen-Kirkman)
I also remember the first year I had a job working at a Boy Scout summer camp. I had a job on the waterfront staff at Camp Steiner. Probably 1969. anyway, We were all ready to get into camp the week before the first actual week of camp, to set up, and prepare. The Council canceled the first week of camp because of snow. There was still too much of it to gain access. The camp is in the Unita Mountains, near Mirror Lake. Even then, when we did get into camp we had to shovel snow away from some of the cabins and sheds. As part of the waterfront staff, it was my job to help build the floating docks. The lake is glacier fed. Snow is it's only source. It was coooooooold! Loved it. I was only one of a few that qualified for their
Swimmers Buddy Tag the first week out!
I know there are other spring snow stories in my past, but I have regaled you with enough today. Enjoy the water this summer!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The lights are still on at the church!

I recently made an off-hand comment on face book about the late sunset of the second day of Daylight Savings. I commented how nice it was to be past 7 p.m. and still be light outside.
My niece, a young mother of two beautiful girls, replied “you don’t have children to put to bed!”
NO I DON’T!! Lucky me. I remember those days. Trying to convince  young children that despite the light, it really was night time and time for bed. AND, it only gets worse as the summer wears on and it remains light until 9:00 and beyond.
I don’t rightly remember what I did as a parent. I know I was usually covering a meeting for the city council, or county, or a ball game at the school. OR, I was selling something across the kitchen table, or drawing circles on a whiteboard. It probably wasn’t fair, but that’s the way it worked out. I know we had to beg, bribe, compromise, and often wear the kids out so they dropped in their tracks.
Daylight Savings isn’t kind to young parents.
My mother reminds me that I had a curfew delegated by some fancy spotlights at the church at the end of the street. There were three  large spotlights that lit up the steeple. They would turn on at dusk. When I was a little, little kid, probably the range of my niece’s girls, my mother said she compromised one March evening that I had to come to bed when the lights turned on. That was good enough for me. I remember checking the lights when I heard her call to come in. “the lights aren’t on yet,” would be an occasional reply.
I learned what a great compromise I had made as the dark nights of winter rolled into the long nights of Daylight Savings summer. She would call, at what should have been a decent bedtime anytime of the year, and I could yell back, “the lights aren’t on yet!” Trapped, she had to let me stay out to play “kick-the-can” or “No Bears Are Out Tonight.” (I know many of the yunguns have no idea, but these were elaborate games of tag.)
Oh yea, the long days of summer. Only problem was those games of kick-the-can turned into nights to mow the lawn, pull the weeds in the garden, and other adult-type chores.
There was those summers in Arizona. Late-night softball tournaments. Mmmm, the memories of long summer nights.
Photos: Granddaughter Faye is learning to read. She does a pretty good job for a three-year-old.
Parker had his Fifth ( Yes 5) birthday party. Big piece of Red Robin Mud Pie!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

This ought to be a no-brainer

Where should I go to get help about using the resources of the LDS Church as well as the internet, youtube, and more should probably be the internet, right?
During the past four years I have been an very "non-participating" active member of my church. I am LDS, so going to church is a "high priority" for my future "desitnation." :) I coined a phrase many years ago about people who were "less active" in church going -- but still had testimonies of their beliefs -- as "non-participating" rather than a more cruel "inactive". For the past four years I have faithfully attended church, but have sat on my hands in auxiliary classes, kept my voice silent and have primarily sat in a seat challenging others to dare to get to know me. In fact, I even had someone ask me "do you dare teach a class?" To which I challenged "do you dare ask me?"
It was right after this I approached a member of my Stake Presidency to "mentor" me. I asked that we meet once a month outside of our regular assignment and discuss the gospel. Our first month we assigned each other to study the prayers of Book of Mormon prophets.. This was a revealing exercise. This brought a discussion as to how the LDS Church is embracing the internet. It has launched several websites, initiatives, and allows people like me to blog about my beliefs without trying to proof-read what I share.
I have made a new friend -- MMM Middleage Mormon Man    and I know there are others out there. Looking at many of my posts, they have a refective, religious tone about them. Anyway, Between now and March 6 I am doing some research -- so if you can share with me, I would love to give you credit when i turn in my report. Until then -- Be grateful for all you have, who you know and where you are!