We Must Stand for Something or We Will Fall for Everything

Just a thought I had today as I ponder the state of our world and more importantly, our country. I know this is long but I do not apologize. These are thoughts that are pressing on my mind. I need to share them and if only one person finds help and comfort in my words, then I have done good.
We are living in a rough time. Many are trying to persuade us to change the way we feel, believe, act and love. Many are justifying their actions by telling us to have tolerance, compassion, acceptance. But in the end, they are asking us to go against what we know to be truth. Wickedness never was happiness…this is as true a statement today as it was many years ago.
Take a look at this…. Ross Douthat, writing for the “Gay Conservatism and Straight Liberation,” in the New York Times, June 28, 2015, Sunday Review section said, “Unfortunately I see little evidence that people are actually happier in the emerging dispensation, or that their children are better off, or that the cause of social justice is well-served, or that declining marriage rates and thinning family trees … promise anything save greater loneliness for the majority, and stagnation overall.”
I find this fascinating that this man, who is a preponing voice in the LGBT community, sees little evidence of greater happiness now that laws are being changed and supposed tolerance is being legislated.
I have found this advice to be true more often than not. It comes from President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (You do not have to be a member of this church in order to understand the value in his words.)
“There are … so many kinds of voices in the world.” We are surrounded by persuasive voices, beguiling voices, belittling voices, sophisticated voices, and confusing voices. I might add that these are loud voices. I admonish you to turn the volume down and to be influenced instead by that still, small voice which will guide you to safety.
Disregard for the commandments has opened the way for what I consider to be the plagues of our day. They include the plague of permissiveness, the plague of pornography, the plague of drugs, the plague of immorality, and the plague of abortion, to name just a few. The scriptures tell us that the adversary is “the founder of all these things.” We know that he is “the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men.”
I plead with you to avoid anything that will deprive you of your happiness here in mortality and eternal life in the world to come. With his deceptions and lies, the adversary will lead you down a slippery slope to your destruction if you allow him to do so. You will likely be on that slippery slope before you even realize that there is no way to stop. You have heard the messages of the adversary. He cunningly calls: Just this once won’t matter; everyone is doing it; don’t be old-fashioned; times have changed; it can’t hurt anyone; your life is yours to live. The adversary knows us, and he knows the temptations which will be difficult for us to ignore. How vital it is that we exercise constant vigilance in order to avoid giving in to such lies and temptations.
Great courage will be required as we remain faithful and true amid the ever-increasing pressures and insidious influences with which we are surrounded and which distort the truth, tear down the good and the decent, and attempt to substitute the man-made philosophies of the world. If the commandments had been written by man, then to change them by inclination or legislation or by any other means would be the prerogative of man. The commandments, however, were God-given. Using our agency, we can set them aside. We cannot, however, change them, just as we cannot change the consequences which come from disobeying and breaking them.”
Now, like I said in the beginning, these are just thoughts that have been weighing on my mind. We must have COURAGE. We must be willing to do that which is difficult, we must be able to stand up against the world and strive to do what is right.
Many of you will say that we believe that fighting for the rights of the few is the right thing to do and I would agree to a point. However, when you attempt to change the laws of nature and the laws of God you are not doing things that are constructive and for the greater good.
Yes! For crying out loud YES!! We should love all of God’s children but we should not have to give up that which WE believe to be true in the name of tolerance and love.
I love the sinners and the saints. I pray for this country and the world daily. I hope for the calm and the peace to return to this nation. I pray for tolerance among the differing factions of race and nobility. Those with money are not evil any more than those without are evil.
Let us all work towards a united cause of love, acceptance and tolerance for that which is sacred, that which is pure, that which is good.
All it takes for evil to exist and flourish is for good men to do nothing. I refuse to do nothing…
Thanks for reading to the end.
God bless US all.

Not My Intention: A Standing Ovation

I’m a Cancer and I love being the center of attention but I do not go out of my way to place myself in the spotlight. Don’t get me wrong. If the chance to be silly or do something crazy comes up, I usually take advantage of it. I’m not an actor or singer, I’m not a comedian and I don’t have the guts to get up on stage so the day I received my standing ovation I was quite overwhelmed and a bit embarrassed.

I was working for a company that specialized in safety products around the Las Vegas, Nevada area. I had been relocated there and my family had not yet joined me so that allowed me time to explore and work long hours. One of my favorite things to do was to go to the grand opening of new casinos.

I was invited to go to the grand opening of a new casino on the west side of town (the name is irrelevant for my story) I arrived a bit early but soon the place was hopping with well wishers and famous people trying to look cool. I had lived in Las Vegas for a short time so I wasn’t the best at these big events. I’m not a drinker, gambler or smoker so I quickly realized I was not in a spot where I could be myself. I felt very out-of-place to say the least. I decided to go for a walk.

As most who have visited Las Vegas know, it is very hard to find a place to be alone. When you are in these  big casinos, there are always places full of people but this night was different. I walked down a back area and into a game room that looked as if it was eventually going to be a place to drop off kids while mom and dad gambled.

I was having fun messing with some of the games. I played a few but couldn’t get my eye of the large, round contraption in the center of the room. I walked around it several times and kept staring at the different things this machine offered. On one side was a guitar. The next side was a booth with a microphone in it. On the third side was a bass guitar and finally…drums. It looked as if you put in the money and then you and three friends can create a concert.

I scanned through the screen to see the song list. I knew most of them. I read the instructions and then I decided that, since I was alone in this side of the casino, it wouldn’t hurt to maybe play a song or two. No need to be embarrassed if I screw up because no one was going to hear me right?

I pulled five dollars out of my pocket, found the change machine and got some tokens. I then sat at the electric drum set on the one side of this machine. I went through the songs again and found a few that I knew I could play. I put the token in and made my selection. The machine recognized that I was going to play the drums so it instructed me to play and it would fill in the other parts of the song.

AC/DC was a great choice I thought. Not to hard and something I could have fun playing to. The music was spot on and the machine added all the parts so as I played I began to feel as if the band was with me playing. It was so cool.

I jumped up at the end of the song and exchanged more money for tokens so I could play something else. I found a great song by Journey and then one by Boston. Each time I played, the computer filled in the other parts and the singer as well. This was so much fun!.

Now, feeling completely confident, I decided to play one of my all time favorite songs. I knew this one the best having played it in my basement for years. We’re Not Going To Take It by Twisted Sister. I put in the money and it counted it down. I was to start. So, being totally wrapped up in the moment I counted it down with the computer.

“One! Two! One, Two, Three, Four! And magic. The drums sounded amazing and soon Dee Snider was singing at the top of his lungs. The band had joined in and I actually became the drummer for Twisted Sister. A dream come true. This machine was so real sounding that I lost track of reality and slipped into another world. As I pounded away and the music played on, I sang with the band. I was having the time of my life. This was better than any slot machine.

I kept playing but didn’t notice the crowd that had formed in the room behind me. I just kept going until, as the song came to an end, the audience that had gathered, erupted in a standing ovation. Their cheers startled me and I jumped up turning around to see about fifty people cheering me on.

I took a bow and thought about running for the door then one guy yelled out, “Hey, what else does that thing do?”

I asked if anyone sang or played bass guitar or lead guitar. Three people hesitated but after some prompting from their friends, they stepped up and took their spots on the different sides of the machine. I explained the rules and then put the money in and selected four players. We then selected a few songs that we all knew and suddenly, we were a band. We sounded great. I was actually surprised.

People tossed money at our feet and we played for about an hour or so as the crowd cheered us at the end of each song.

I really can’t explain the elation that came to my heart that day. I knew that when I woke up I hadn’t intended to perform in front of a room of fifty or so strangers but I will never forget my standing ovation and the fun we all had.

Ovation

Being Santa

I was eighteen the first time I put on the red suit. My mom decided that it would be fun to have me play Santa at our family Christmas party. Of course, I got voted down and the same old, smelly guy that had done it for years was retained and did the appearance. I really don’t know what the reason was that I didn’t get to do it other than I was still pretty young.

Now that I had the suit, mom and I figured we could use it. We stopped in on a few families in our church and I was able to visit with them. I sure enjoyed giving back to those who had helped me and the joy on the kids faces was so rewarding.

Putting on the suit seems to transform your heart. All your worries, stress and fears just melt away and this joy… no, this intense level of jolly hits you and your heart swells.You have a new high and it’s not drug induced. You find a happiness that cannot be described. A twinkle comes to your eye and your cheeks get all red. Your belly laughs become deeper and more genuine. You actually jiggle like jelly at times, or so it seems. It truly is joyful being Santa.

That same year I was blessed to be granted permission to go and visit some of the sick children at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah.

As I visited with the children I felt bad that I couldn’t stay longer. I felt that my visit was actually helping these kids feel better. Staff, parents and patients alike were genuinely pleased to see Santa. I would walk up to doctors and nurses and ask about their days and I felt as if they were happy I was there. Just for a moment I felt I had given them some kind of relief from the stresses of their jobs. Even if they knew that I was just helping the real Santa, their day seemed less stressed because of the memories Santa invokes. Childlike innocence rushes forward and a giddy sensation tends to follow most adults when I approach them as Santa.

I remember far to well the fear and worry that came to my mind as I was asked to visit one young girl who was not doing well. The nurse told me she didn’t have much time and wasn’t sure she’d see Christmas morning. Could I do this? I wondered to myself and I worried that I wouldn’t do a good enough job. What do you say to a child who is in this condition?

I walked into her room and didn’t feel right being boisterous and loud. Instead, I approached her gently. I took her frail hand and got down on one knee. Tears filled my eyes as I thought about how sick this little baby was. I called her name softly and patted her cheek. She opened her eyes slowly and looked into my eyes. It took a minute for her to recognize Santa but once she did, oh boy! She was thrilled and perked up with a huge smile on her face.

I pushed aside my emotions and went about my work. The raw feelings just waiting beneath the surface. I knew that it wouldn’t take much to spark them and I’d start to cry again so, I ignored them and decided she needed me to be the best Santa I could be.

We talked briefly about her and her family. We talked about playing in the snow and making snowmen and snowball fights. We talked about what she wanted for Christmas and even though I don’t remember all that was said that day, I knew I needed to take the time to get to know her.

The hospital had informed some of the parents ahead of time that I may be stopping by. Her mother had graciously provided a present for me to give to her and as I handed this gift to this child, her heart filled with wonderment and joy…the tears flowed openly now. I couldn’t stop them.

I spoke to her of Jesus Christ and we talked about heaven. She said she knew that God was real because He had been with her many times. She told me how He had talked to her one night when she was alone and scared. I told her that if it wasn’t for Jesus Christ being born I wouldn’t have a job. I don’t think she cared about that or about my jokes. She was just happy for a moment to not be thinking about being sick. She was gracious and smiled as I told jokes but she was focused and slowly coming to the reality that she didn’t have much time left on this earth. Her level of maturity far exceeded my own.

I hugged her for a long time and then kissed her head. I thanked her for being so brave and so good. I encouraged her to say her prayers and then I hugged her dad and finally her mother. Her mom whispered a thanks in my ear but I knew who had been blessed by this visit. My heart was full to overflowing as the Spirit of God filled the room and testified to me that this little one would soon be hugged by Jesus.

I reassured the mom that this was God’s plan. I told her how I didn’t think this was fair but that it wasn’t for me to understand God’s purposes. I encouraged her to hold onto her husband and her family and that they would be a great source of strength over the next few days. I can’t explain why this little one was having to go through this trial but I knew it was for us to witness and that this was how we were to grow. This was to be a lesson for all of us. Nurses, doctors, parents and even Santa.

As I walked out of the hospital that day I knew my life had been changed. I had met a child that was going to be with God and that she was innocent and pure. I am grateful that this memory is still so vivid in my mind. She reminds me of an innocence and purity that I want to have in my own life. I decided that day that I would always try my hardest to carry that love and faith with me into every visit as I played Santa.

I have come to the knowledge that Jesus Christ is the very Son of God. That God lives and together they want us to be happy, to have joy, to strive to be good to our fellow-man. We must hold onto these lessons. Patience, love, kindness and striving to have purity are goals we should work on. Love in our homes and a deep sense of love for our family is vital. I know that it is OK to have faith and trust in the Lord.

I don’t put on that beautiful red suit as much as I’d like to these days. I would love to play Santa as much as I could during December and perhaps even more than that. But what I have gained from being Santa is a determination to carry with me that same feeling of trust in God, that same desire to be pure and ready, that same testimony that Jesus Christ is why we have Christmas and Santa believes in Him. I strive to carry with me the same feelings and testimony as I play Santa and I try to have the Christmas spirit with me all year-long.

May you have the Spirit of Christmas with you all year as you remember Christ is the reason for Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

 

 

 

First blog post

I look down at my hands and realize I’m not a writer or a person who does this professionally. I’m just me. A man who drives truck and has an opinion.

I have been driving various types of delivery vehicles for twenty eight years now. I have seen some stuff and while you are behind the glass of the windshield, you do a lot of thinking. I decided to write this blog so I could document my thoughts. Kind of a truckers journal. I’m not sure if it’s going to be entertaining or of worth to any of you but then it could.

I’m open to suggestions and thoughts you may have. Hopefully you will keep your thoughts clean and we can have a good experience together. I will tell you that I am a Christian but I’m not the most perfect person in the world. I do have my faults so please, have patience.

OK, climb aboard and let’s get this trip started. We’ve done our pre-trip and now we are off. We’ll stop for fuel, some snacks and a quick potty break and then it’s onto the open road. Buckle up, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

Glad to have you aboard.