Wednesday, January 22, 2014

From Humble Beginnings Great Things Can Proceed
With only a handful of students and faculty, the Presbyterian community of Caldwell in 1891 established a college in the desert of western Idaho distinguishing this college as the oldest college in the state of Idaho! 
The founder, William Boone, remained president of the college for 45 years!  Incredible.

When we begin to question the many opportunities for accomplishment in our lives despite our age, it would be well to consider instances such as the above.
In short, we are capable, because of the beneficence of the Almighty, of amazing things well into our old age.
College Of Idaho     The Oldest College In Idaho      Just Up The Street From Our Apartment

Clock Tower On The College Of  Idaho Campus   Caldwell, Idaho

Interesting Keystone Configuration On Arched Window    College Of Idaho

Unique Placement of Keystones On a Rectangular Window     College Of Idaho

Explanation Of The History Of The College Of Idaho

Which Is Which?
It all started with our Caldwell Stake President, President Christensen, owner of an exclusive golf course out in the country, telling me to feel free to use the golf course clubhouse's bathroom when needed as we visit less active members and investigators in that area.

Well, it sounded like a splendid opportunity in lieu of the golf course's outhouse I was using previoiusly.  It sounded great until one day I walked into what I THOUGHT was the clubhouse, greeted everyone with a hearty "Good Morning", introduced myself as a missionary pointing to my name tag, explalined I was there to use the restroom as President Christensen had suggested, and commented on how nice to have the bathroom so close to the entryway.

I bagan to become a bit suspicious when I noticed a blue cloth hand towel near the sink instead of a paper towel dispenser.  Then I was surprised to find a lady standing outside the bathroom door to accompany me to the nearby front door.   But the coup d' grace was the sound of the front door locking behind me the minute I had exited!

When I got to the car, I commented to Norm that I may have just used the bathroom of a private home!  The answer is "Yes, I sure did!" 

Then came the difficult part of calling the stake president and relating what had happened and going the next day to apologize to the owners!  All's well that ends well, I suppose.  I have never seen the stake president laugh so hard especially when he realized that I am only five months into the mission.  What on earth can top this fiasco  during the remaining thirteen months!
Does This Building Look Like A Clubhouse For An Exclusive Golf Course?  Well, Actually, I Discovered The Hard Way That It Is A Private Home!

Does This Building Look Like A Clubhouse For An Exclusive Golf Course?  Well, The Handicap Parking Signs Give It Away As An Official Something.  But To Me It Looks More Like A Modest Cottage On The Manor!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Where Heaven And Earth Meet
Isn't this earth overflowing with magnificient natural beauty? 
Sometimes the wonders of nature just take our breath away as we drink in the majesty of it all..

Likewise there are times when we chance to meet an indiviual whose insight, goodness, and humility take our breath away as we experience magnificent beauty of spirit. 

Comtemplate how good you felt after talking with these people.  Remember how you wished you could be more like them?  Remember how you were motivataed and, yes, inspired to greater heights of selflessness and concern for others?

I sure do love this amazing planet,  It is one of a kind.
Also,I sure do love meeting humble and selfless individuals.  They also are one of a kind. 
And, yes, their presence does take your breath away.
The Greatest Generation
After the bombing of Nagasaki, American Forces were stationed in Japan.
Devastation abounded and responses good and bad prevailed.

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was one of these servicemen who found himself in Nagasaki during this fateful time.  Wondering what he, and a group of like-minded servicemen, could do to help the Jaapanese people at their time of greatest need, it was determined to work during their off duty hours to rebuild Christian churches.  And work they did by contacting varioius ministers and helping congregations repair and rebuild their edifices of worship.

When the time came for them to leave Japan, they were taunted by some of their fellow servicemen who were saying goodbye to their girlfriends.  Suddenly at least two hundred Japanese Christians came to the dock with  farewell gifts and singing hymns.

Some things in this life are good, some are better, and, every once in a while, some are the very best.  Such was the case on this blessed day.
I Shall Return
These famous words of Douglas MacArthur to the people of the Phillipines during World War II arouse feelings of determination, triumph, and overpowering strength.
And return he did with strength of steel to liberate the Phillipine Islands from tyranny and oppression.

In like manner, Our Savior Jesus Christ has promised  that He too shall return to this earth at His second coming. He also will return with triumph and overpowering strenth to liberate us from sin and all the forces of evil.  As the people of the Phlilipines were rescued from the tyranny imposed upon them, we, too, shall be rescued by the Lord and brought forth to live with Him forever according to our faithfulness.

What a joyous prospect of eternal life comes before our eyes and how clearly we see that the gospel of Jesus Christ is most outstandingly the gospel of hope.
It would be well to remember that even in the midst of seemingly overwheming challenges, hope is always shining brightly before us.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sentimental Morning
A few pre-mission pictures remind us of our life before our mission.
It's Been Awhile Since I've Seen Norm In Casual Clothes!

Christine and Norm      Temple Square Salt Lake City, Utah  Before Mission

Memories Of  Relaxing On A Warm Summer Day

Friday, January 10, 2014

Owyhee or Hawaii?
Owyhee is an early spelling for the word Hawaii.
The Owyhee Mountains were named for three early (1819) native Hawaiian fur trappers.
Ruby silver ore and much gold were taken from the Owyhee Mountains in the late 1800's making the mining district, at that time, world famous.
Dramatic Explosion Of Early Morning In The Owyhee Mountains    Southwestern Idaho

Calm Winter Morning In The Owyhee Mountains

Pastel Blue Morning In the Owyhee Mountains

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Can It Get Better Than This?
For those of our family and friends who are not LDS, we Mormons believe in the continuous revelation of God to man.  Hence, we believe that the scriptures are an "open cannon" in the sense that the Almighty did not cease to reveal His truths to us with the Holy Bible, but continued with the Book of Mormon.  In fact, In the future, within God's timetable and for our benefit, the Lord will give us further scriptures to assist us in our quest to become like Him and return to Him.

With this in mind, I used to be so surprised when I gleaned a new insight into a spiritual principle, such as the great love God has for us or the magnitude of Our Savior's Atonement.
It took time for me to realize that this is actually the way things SHOULD be! 
Little by little, Our Father leads us all, everyone, on the path into His presence.

I heard somewhere that this process is akin to curtains opening before us just like in the old time movie theaters.  Remember the thrill of the curtains opening, revealing the vast screen, and opening our eyes to the wonder of film right before our very eyes?

Well, revelation is something like that.  The curtains, so to speak, open from time to time revealing a new spiritual truth or greater insight to our minds and hearts.  How unspeakably wonderful.  But then as we continue on, the same thing happens over and over again! 
Each and every day a little or big insight here or there awakens us to a new spiritual truth or a greater understanding of one we're already aware of.

And so, the answer to the question is "Yes, things CAN get better than this!" 
In fact, they DO get better and better each day for each and every one of us as we continue to receive spiritual insights that enlarge and lift us closer and closer to the One who gave us life in the first place.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Wonders Of The World
I've always loved to travel and my greatest joy seems to be getting on the road and "going somewhere."  In fact, when I travel I never want to come home! 
I want to keep going on and on wondering what surprises may be just beyond the horizon and that yonder hill.  As a child, I'd dream about the Seven Wonders Of The World.   Wow!

Experience has shown me that I have seen many wonders of the world through our family travels near home and a bit beyond.
Consider our rides through the country looking for hawks and windmills.
How about dining on McDonald's fare sitting on a grassy slope overlooking the beautiful North Lake Tahoe shore. 
Think of our picnics and swimming at Rancho Seco with our children plus some of the neighborhood children as well.
Remember how quiet we were that night at Fort Bragg when we looked out our tent door observing the racoon opening our food reserve! 
Last, but not least, I'm sure the kids remember our trip to the ghost town of Bodie, Nevada, which only mom thought was the greatest thing on earth.
Everyone else was rolling their eyes and bemoaning their worst outing ever!

Each day there can be some wonder of the world within our grasp.
It just takes a little effort and practice to realize it.

Remember, just one turn of the key brings the wonders of the world right to our front door.

Things Change
Over the years, some things change.  Take a pound of hamburger, for instance. 
When our family was young and our resources limited, I would take a pound of hamburger and divide it into fourths.  There you go, now I had enough meat for four meals - spagetti, shepherd's pie, Texas hash, and stroganoff!

However, things change.

Now that we are empty nesters, I take a pound of hamburger, divide it in half,  add half a pound of ground turkey, and cross my fingers that we are eating more healthily!

Being aware of the various entrances and exits in our lives as well as our changing perspectives, circumstances, and desires, let us enter the New Year 2014 with goals and resolutions well attuned to personal growth and affinity to being of service to those around us.

As our eyes are fixed on the finish line, let us from the "get go" remember that we, no doubt, may miss the mark a fair number of times, but that each little inch of progress is of great significance.

A new day, a new year, and a new beginning shine opportunities before us giving us a sense of hope, energy, resolution, and renewal.

Let the race begin!
One Is Enough
Many times in life one is NOT enough.  Whether it's children, a house, shoes, quilts, trips, you name it, we want more of a good thing and seek after more of that good thing which makes sense.

But, every once in a while, ONE is enough as evidenced by LDS Hymn #128
When Faith Endures words by Naomi W. Randall.

The faith- stirring, heart burning words of this hymn consist of only ONE verse. 
There is a good possibility that a sincere reading will confirm to your heart that indeed only ONE verse testifies quite amply of an Eternal Father worthy of our faith, trust, prayers, and humility.

As the years go by, I am much more deeply convinced of the power of the ONE
Our Father deals with and loves each of us ONE by ONE. 
We are so special  thus filling our hearts with such profound gratitude.

"I will not doubt, I will not fear;
God's love and strength are always near.
His promised gift helps me to find
An inner strength and peace of mind.
I give the Father willingly
My trust, my prayers, humility.
His Spirit guides;
His love assures
That fear departs when faith endures."