When I was a kid my dad used to take the family to Sea Cliff Beach south of Santa Cruz in California. There was a pier there with a cement ship at the end of it. We would go out on the pier and fish. I remember cutting the bait and baiting the hook. We never caught much off of the pier, but I enjoyed it and I know my dad did. Later in life I wished that he was around when I had the opportunity to fish for Salmon and Steelhead. He would have really enjoyed that.
He taught me to swim in the ocean when I was about 7 or 8. He would take me out where it was over my head and he would let me go and then back up. Once I learned how to swim we got half blow up rafts with a rope on the end and he taught me how to body surf. I really didn't like it very much because the water was so cold.
When I turned twelve I remember a church trip to Santa Cruz. It was really funny because whenever I went to the beach I body surfed. When we got to Santa Cruz I started running to the water out of habit. One of the other kids asked me what I was doing and I told them I was going to body surf. It was at that time that I realized my dad had taught me something that most of the other kids had never done. I felt like the king of the world. From then on body surfing became my passion.
As the years went by I went body surfing with friends. I never went snow skiing because my passion was the ocean. It didn't matter what month of the year it was and I never wore a wet suit. I think back now with wonder at my fortune. Someday I want to visit these places again and give it another shot ! :)
The following is a song I wrote that I hope paints a picture in your mind for you. These are some of my greatest memories of the beach and body surfing. Anyone who has a love for the ocean like I do should relate to the words. The pictures all hold great memories for me.
Please enjoy the journey!
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
When we hear about Jesus Christ we automatically think of deity and salvation. He lived just about 2000 years ago and His presence and teachings have not only survived but they are a major driving force in today's world. I don't think that there is a question that He lived during that recorded time. The questions that are asked begin with was He really God's son? Did He walk on water and perform the miracles that are recorded? Did He actually take upon himself mankind's failings through an atonement? Was He resurrected and does He still live today? According to the Bible and the writings and testimonies of His apostles there is no question. However, those writings have gone through translations by men, and in the time in between then and now there have been horrible events perpetrated in His name. There are thousands of churches that exist today all believing in the Bible as containing his word. These churches teach different things and interpret what is taught in thousands of different ways. What is interesting about that is that Christ taught
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Where is this truth and what exactly is it? I want this freedom if it exists.
The definition that we have of truth in Webster's Dictionary is the following:
Main Entry: truth
1 a archaic : fidelity, constancy b : sincerity in action, character, and utterance
2 a (1) : the state of being the case : fact (2) : the body of real things, events, and facts : actuality (3) often capitalized : a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality b : a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true
3 a : the property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality b chiefly British : true 2 c : fidelity to an original or to a standard
4 capitalized Christian Science : god
— in truth : in accordance with fact : actually
There are conflicting things within this definition. I may be simple but to me something is either true or it is not. Some things that we believe to be true may turn out not to be. As we gain knowledge what we believed was true can change. Astronomy is a great example. I had an astronomy teacher tell me one time that 90% of what we learned would be lies. I lamented at wasting my time as I realized that he was correct. If we pick up a science book that is 30 years old we will be amazed how our previous perception of truth has changed. I say that tongue in cheek because I believe that they were not truths that were taught but beliefs. With that said, I cannot help but believe that there are eternal truths that govern all things that are unchanging. We may not know what they are, but I believe they exist.
Either Jesus Christ really was the Son of God and did what he professed or it is the biggest hoax of all time. There is no in-between in my book, because things are either true or they are not. That may seem simplistic, but to me it makes perfect sense. The question is how to determine in our earthly mortality how we might discover these eternal truths, or if it is even possible. I can honestly say that to believe man alone when looking to answers to important questions is not possible. We might be receiving correct answers to questions but how can we know?
Going back to Jesus Christ and the truth of His identity it seems important to see what He had to say about discovering truth. In James 1: 5 and 6 this is what we read:
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed."
Now this makes sense to me. Since I cannot wholly trust answers from man and if there is a God then that is where I should get my answers from. Could it be that simple? It seems to me that if Jesus is what He says He is then this should be a sure fire way to gain that knowledge. It does say that I have to ask in faith nothing wavering. I take that to mean that before I ask any questions I need to consider things on my own. Once I have considered them to be possible and I really want to know then I should be able to ask God according to Jesus's words and receive an answer. How will that answer come? I know there have been experiences where people have seen and talked with angels, but I do not believe that is how we will get these promised answers.
I Corinthians 2 Jesus has some things to say about this:
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
According to Christ if we ask God with real intent and faith then we are promised answers to our question through the Spirit that is mentioned as the Holy Ghost. To me that means that instead of hearing from the mouth of man, the spirit of God will give the answers to our questions through our own spirits which reside in our bodies. If we do what we have been admonished to do here, then we should receive answers to our prayers. That is right, it seems to me that is the real purpose of prayer. It is our way to have a two way communication with God. Are there restrictions on what we can ask God? I don't see any in these instances.
How can we tell whether what we have heard is really the true. Is there some test that He gives us which will solidify our new found knowledge?
In John 17 He gives us an answer.
If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
So once we receive His words then we need to act. Once we do that we will know whether the answers are from God (Who knows all truth) or from our own minds.
This all makes perfect sense to me. If Jesus really was the Son of God then we should be able to test that through prayer as He has taught. We should also be able to ask any question that troubles our mind. If we can do that with faith, not wavering then this should work.
I cannot take personal credit for this bit of knowledge and insight. I have been taught these things from an early age and so I am sharing them with you. These truths are in all of our Bibles and yet how many people take advantage of this wonderful line of communication which has been given to us. If our Father loves us then I see no reason not to believe that He is patiently listening to our pleas and waiting to give us answers to important questions that we have. I have found that if I pray for awhile kneeling, then read out of the Bible for 10 minutes or so and then sit with pencil and paper for about 10 minutes each day I am amazed at what comes into my mind, or spirit and what I write on that paper. Let me leave you with how I have learned to pray.
There are four steps to my prayers. The beginning and end are always the same, but the 2 steps in-between are from the heart. When I pray I use the words thee and thou when referring to God. Many people see this as to formal. I learned to converse in the German language, and with that I learned that thee and thou is the way you address close friends and family. You, is how you address strangers and those that you are not familiar with. Knowing that made a great difference for me. Hear are the 4 steps.
1. Father in Heaven
2. I thank thee ...
3. I ask thee...
4. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Again, this is not set, and I close in the name of Jesus Christ because I have a strong testimony that He did exactly what He professed to have done. I gained that testimony through this process. Good luck with this and may God bless you in your efforts to find truth. I might add that no matter what you have done in your life this avenue is open to you and God understands and loves you more than anyone does. He wants to hear from all of us.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Life in the United States has changed greatly since I was a child. I would like to say that the times have gotten better and that the quality of life has improved, but I would have to say on each one of those points quite the opposite has occurred. We have become technologically minded and slowly but surely, small farmers have been put out of business, and rural land ownership has moved toward the cities. Large food producers have taken over genetically engineering our food. There is very little food consumed which is natural or unprocessed anymore.
When I grew up in San Jose, Calif. there were orchards, and places to run. Now it is asphalt, cars, homes and businesses. There is traffic, lots and lots of traffic. We have built this asphalt society on false promises, debts and empty dreams. Just recently we have been reminded of this with the downturn of our economy. It was about 7 years ago before our latest crash that I was visiting my old stomping grounds. I was heading up into the Saratoga Hills in CA for a concert. While I was driving with my brother-in-law I saw a billboard on the side of the road advertising new tract homes starting at $1,000,000. I was amazed that anyone would think that was a good deal. The thing is, it wasn't up in the hills but it was down in the suburbs. I asked myself at that point how this could continue? It obviously couldn't. Now I am a home owner like so many in the US that has a mortgage that is under water. Fortunately we bought an older home so we haven't lost the equity that some have. Instead of working through things it is often easier and now acceptable to leave our troubles for someone else to clean up. Have things changed. I guess they have since we now believe that society does owe us a living.
What has caused this fiasco? While I was in college way back in the day, I took a Sociology Class. In the class we discussed the importance of the family unit in any society. In studying societies that had fallen, the disintegration of the family was the main cause of their demise. As the years have passed I have watched as moral values have declined and the nuclear family (mom,dad and kids) has gotten to a perilous state. If trends continue 40% to 50% of all marriages will end in divorce. Children in classrooms today are the exception, when it comes to a complete original family unit living under the same roof. There is no commitment anymore to spouse or children. With that non commitment we have become a me first society. That has spawned greed and arrogance as dominant forces in our society.
Morals as a whole have gone into the sewer. No wonder marriages are failing at such an alarming rate. A PG13 movie and possibly a PG movie today would have been rated R a few years ago. R-rated movies would have been rated X not long ago. Raw sexuality is available for all ages on any computer which is hooked up to the internet. People are arrested all of the time for distributing child pornography. I bring this up because it is such a heinous crime. There was just a case locally where this was being done from a public library computer. Human kind is stretching the limits on how vile and immoral we can become, and there is an overall complacent acceptance. That line continues to inch out so why do we wonder where commitment and sacrifice have gone. Gay rights have been taken to new levels in many states. We think that we are the first society to embrace the practice. Gays have existed in every society and in just about every era. I believe that all people should have equal rights in most areas with the exception of the family. The definition of a family as husband wife and children should not only be preserved but fully protected as it stands. Society depends on this unit to exist and to thrive. What we call progressive ideas are often very old practices that have never brought true happiness. It doesn't matter what I say on these matters as to the convincing of others, but I can tell you that if we were to take our society today and try to implant it within itself just 20 to 30 years in the past, there would be a major social upheaval and rejection of our "progress state" would be certain. With all of the moral decline we have, we are slowly sinking into oblivion, while day by day, week by week, and year by year we continue to blindly accept our state. How long will it take for us to perish as a society? I do not know, but we are certainly on track and not slowing the process down.
Is there hope? There is about as much as there is with a runaway train on a downhill slope. When the crash comes, it will be tremendous and many will die. The survivors will pick up the pieces and they will start over. Hopefully they will have learned from the mistakes that were made. I kind of doubt that there will be lasting progress. I look at us and what we could have learned from history. We haven't, so how can we expect future generations to? We are so into our progress, money and things that we lose interest in what will truly bring us happiness. We actually believe that we are different from previous generations. Technology changes, but people, their needs and vices don't. With our technological arrogance we either do not believe that people will always be the same with the same needs and vices, or we ignore it for convenience and comforts sake.
I believe that mankind is one family. I believe that we are all brothers and sisters in that sense. None of us are perfect or better than one another. We all make errors in this life. It is what we do to correct these errors that truly defines us. How do we know what is right, and what is wrong? I believe that we have had a light within us since birth whispering to us what fits within those parameters. Since we are not having a lot of success as a society right now, I am of the opinion that we are not choosing between right and wrong very well. As things remain as they are in the world I do not see us upgrading our position. Since we cannot depend on overall improvement it is my belief that we still can and will find true happiness by interacting positively within our own life sphere. There is always hope for individual and family progress and the attainment of joy. Admitting that we are wrong and then moving to change ourselves is always a step in the right direction.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Freedom is something I have been thinking a lot about lately. There have been so many different notions about the word throughout history. Here is a definition I found on the internet. It is quite lengthy.
/ˈfridəm/ Show Spelled[free-duhm] Show IPA
1. the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint: He won his freedom after a retrial.
2. exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
3. the power to determine action without restraint.
4. political or national independence.
5. personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery: a slave who bought his freedom.
6. exemption from the presence of anything specified (usually fol. by from): freedom from fear.
7. the absence of or release from ties, obligations, etc.
8. ease or facility of movement or action: to enjoy the freedom of living in the country.
9. frankness of manner or speech.
10.general exemption or immunity: freedom from taxation.
11.the absence of ceremony or reserve.
12.a liberty taken.
13.a particular immunity or privilege enjoyed, as by a city or corporation: freedom to levy taxes.
14.civil liberty, as opposed to subjection to an arbitrary or despotic government.
15.the right to enjoy all the privileges or special rights of citizenship, membership, etc., in a community or the like.
16.the right to frequent, enjoy, or use at will: to have the freedom of a friend's library.
17.Philosophy. the power to exercise choice and make decisions without constraint from within or without; autonomy; self-determination.
The last definition here is one of the most interesting to me. I am a religious person as far as my beliefs are concerned. I believe that Jesus Christ was the literal Son of God and that through his great sacrifice we can be forgiven of our sins and thus return to He who sent us. Life is a test, and we work at it from moment to moment. To succeed we need to find joy and happiness.
Whether Christ was the Son of God or not the concept of CHARITY which He taught is the greatest concept of freedom ever given. This to me is also our path to joy and happiness that is everlasting.
Freedom is all of the things mentioned above but to me the most important concept of the word lies within ourselves. That is why Charity is such a powerful principal. To always think of others before ourselves is a foreign concept in the world today. We have come to believe that we should get something tangible in return for every effort which we put forth. Even if it is just a pat on the back, there should be something. Right? Charity tells us that our love for our fellow man should supersede all other values or principles. Sometimes it becomes difficult to know how we attain those heights when we live in a world where this is a foreign concept.
I firmly believe that all people are inherently born with a knowledge of what is right and what is wrong. I also believe that at a very early age our pure vision is skewed by the environment within which we live. If we act against those feelings enough it is possible to extinguish that light. That is why children who have not been indoctrinated by the world may see a difference in the color of someone's skin but not in their humanity.
No matter how hard we try during the early stages of life we are going to make many mistakes while we are growing and learning. When I say mistakes I am again talking about going against an inherent goodness and light which is within all of us. As life continues on we search for answers to life's most important questions. Where do we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going when this life is over?
With that said I am at a point in life where I would like to experience this concept of Charity as much as possible before the end of my time here.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not
itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked,
thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
I believe that is how I will experience the purest freedom of body and mind that is possible. To get to that point can be one of the greatest mysteries of all. Some have turned to religion, while others have turned to seeking inner peace though meditation or possibly losing ones self in service. Some people think that they can get there through drugs of one kind or another, or even by indulging in whatever base desires or emotions lead them. Some think that money is the answer. It has nothing to do with happiness. The key is a balanced life, coupled with a clear mind and a desire to do for others.
Words cannot express fully what a person feels as shown here, only doing can help us to understand if what is said is really true. Test the good ideas by trying them out in your life. As we do that we can see first hand how we feel and whether the feelings are lasting or fleeting.
Life really is to short, and finding the answers sooner rather than later help us to make the most of what we have! I believe that we can be free even in the most desperate situations in life. Whether we are bound even unto death our minds can still provide us with freedom, love and hope. I truly believe that.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
The thought of death terrifies some people. I have had occasion to consider death at different times in my life and it has never taken on the appearance of the Grim Reaper with his scythe. The concern of death to me is that I will miss the person that has passed on.
When I was eight years old my Grandpa Johnson took me off to the side and told me that when he died and I walked by his coffin he would wink at me. The day soon came and we were filing by his open casket. I was not concerned that he had died, I only wanted to see him wink. My mom finally had to separate a disappointed little boy from his grandfather's casket. What a great gift he gave me, as I look back on it.
As I rounded the corner on 50 and have had some life changing experiences, death and the thought of it have become more preeminent in my order of thinking. The thought of my wife dying before I do worries me more than my own demise. Insurance has become more important an issue so that my beautiful companion is taken care of in case I pass on before her. Much of my calmness concerning death has to do with my understanding and faith in an afterlife. I do not know what it would be like without that.
Living here on this earth is a different story for each of us. Some have it easier according to our definitions than others. I know that there is misery and suffering beyond our imagination on this earth, and I am happy that I have not had to deal with that. I have also come to realize that human emotions and values are spread over a spectrum of endless points. We are a complex race with a certain amount of time here on this earth. What are we supposed to do with it and is there a point to our lives? Again, I believe that there is, and I feel that I understand what that purpose is. However, for those who do not have answers to these questions there is only birth and death. We live and then we die. What we do in between along with how and why those things are, or are not important, remains a mystery to them. That would be difficult for me to live with. I am the type of person that is continually looking for answers to questions.
I love to look at the past now to see where we have come from. Finding people that have been truly happy, and then discovering the reasons why, build my faith in what I personally believe. How can we contemplate life and death and look at this world as as "per chance" and not as a creation of a divine being? I find it difficult and disappointing when I find someone that is truly an atheist. I feel bad for them, but also for all of those that they negatively influence. At the same time I can understand why they do not believe in a higher power. There has been so much blood spilled and suffering, that to believe would take some mighty answers with a convincing source. Fortunately for me I have experienced that. For that reason I am writing this in hopes that someone else can experience what I have.
Here are words of a prophet that greatly influenced me. A prophet a person designated by God to deliver His word. The prophets name in this case, is Moroni. Here is what he said on how we can attain answers to our questions.
" Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."
There are answers to all questions. We just need to know how to ask them and then how to receive the answers. The quote above came from Moroni, who lived about 400 AD on the American continent. His people had just been completely annihilated. He wrote this promise at the end of a book named after his father, "The Book of Mormon".
I would never push this on anyone. But I can personally testify that at the age of 18, I put this to the test. I received an answer to my prayers that was absolutely and unequivocally undeniable. I remember it like it was yesterday. Did it make me perfect and have I lived a life without shame? No. I have never claimed to be better than anyone else on this earth. However, I have answers to questions that I would have never had. Good luck on your journey here. If this helps you then I am happy. If it does not then I wish you well. One thing we all have in common ---- "Everyone lives and Everyone Dies." The questions are, what happened before we came here, what is the purpose of the part in-between, and is there more that comes after this life?
Monday, March 1, 2010
As I have been thinking about life lately I have thought a lot about my blessings and how "Footprints in the Sand" has been so much a part of it.
Found on Footnote.com
As we begin life we are completely dependent on others. I have just experienced the birth of my 11th grandchild. First with my own children and then with their children I have witnessed this miracle many times. It never ceases to amaze me. I look at these little ones and see perfection. We have been fortunate to have healthy children with few deficits. As I look at them I marvel at their tiny features and how perfectly formed they are. I find their movements and their crying especially to be beautiful. I see the love that their parents have for them and the hope for a grand life. If only all children could come into this life with such love and expectations. However, that does not always happen and trials in life often times begin at birth.
As we navigate our way through life we are given some tools to work with. Some are blessed with more tools than others. For some the navigation comes easy to begin with. For others, it doesn't. I have found through long experience that all of us have deficits. Some are hidden and so we begin to believe that we might be alone in our trials. There has never been anything farther from the truth. There is not a person born on this earth that will not have to face monsters in his/her life and make choices that will have negative effects on themselves and others. The very best of us is not perfect. To think that you are is in itself a major obstacle that needs to be overcome.
Some trials involve sickness and deformities. Others are brought on by those around us. Then there are those that we bring on ourselves by our decisions and actions. Regardless of how they happen trials are a part of everyone's life. Why does it have to be this way? There must be a purpose to these trials. I do know that I would not be the person that I am without my own personal trials. Could I have been a better person had I not brought many of these trials on myself? There is not a doubt in my mind that is true. Because of that I work to with those that are younger than I am, trying to help them avoid those same pitfalls. Some will listen while others need, and are destined to experience things on their own. I will always tell people that it is better to learn from others negative life experiences than to experience them yourself. The physical ailments or any number of trials that are brought on by external sources are often considered unfair. They are, but that does not factor them out of our lives. We must choose then just how they will effect us. Will we grow from them and turn them to our advantage, or will we succumb to them with discouragement in defeat.
Death comes to all. It is a part of life. We do not generally choose when it will happen. There are so many different beliefs as to what the hereafter will bring. I have my own feelings concerning that. All of these things are important aspects of our existence, the trials we face, and how we then deal with life. Saying that I want you to know that I believe we are placed on this earth to learn and to grow through our own free agency. I also believe that there is a hereafter that will go on forever. Our time on this earth then is very short, but meaningful. The decisions we make here will pave our way into an eternal future.
How do you view the trials in your life. Are they roadblocks or opportunities. Do you hunker down and feel sorry for yourself, or do you stand up and change. I can honestly say that I have done both, many times. As life goes on I am trying more and more to understand life and what I am confronted with. I believe that God can and will direct us if we have the faith to let him.
Out time here is short. Use it wisely and try to actually be thankful for your trials, realizing that through them you will understand life better than most. Look at these lessons as eternal and realize that it won't be long from now that they will end, but the lessons learned will stay with us forever.
Last of all keep your head up. Realize that you are far from being alone. There is nothing that you have done in this life or you have gone through, that has not happened to others, both good and bad. If this gives just one person hope then I am happy that I have shared it with all!
Thursday, January 28, 2010
I think about time lost in a day. There are so many quotes about time and the preciousness of it. Don't waste your time. If you use every moment in time to do good then you will be happy. Don't let a moment of time slip by because you can never get it back again. The moment that time goes by it becomes the past.
I remember finding cocoons when I was a kid that were open. There was nothing in them and I always wondered what had come out of them. Is there another dimension where time has a different measurement. If we could take time and plan each moment then we could really have fulfillment. However to do that would take to much time and would allow for no spontaneity.
I have thought about what it would be like to look into the future and I have decided that it would not only be pointless but it would also scare me. Imagine going back a year in your life and seeing what happens in your life up until this point in time. Think about all of the trials you have faced, as well as sickness and despair. I don't believe I could take it. And yet as time happens one incident at a time we deal with it and are usually strong enough to continue on, leaving our moments in the past.
When I look at my family I remember when my wife and I were young and newly married. Now my children are older than I was then and they have children. Time then can give us posterity. That can be the greatest gift of all if it is important to us. My wife and children are beautiful to me so time in this instance has been good to me.
My body is slowly growing older and it seems that I have more ailments, aches and pains. In this instance time is against me. Who created time, or has it always just been there? When we measure it by our seasons it makes me wonder how many countless measurements there may be on other worlds with different seasonal rotations.
A question that has been asked time and again throughout the existence of this world would be is it possible to travel through time. If so, how would we manage that? Would it be in a machine or through a black hole in space. Can we change our past or future. How fast do we need to go to travel faster than time. Did you know that the sounds that we hear have already happened. Did you know that the light that we see in the sky is very old light? The stars that we see might not even be there. We might be looking at an object that hasn't existed for thousands or millions of years.
All of these things are related to time. Well time marches on and with it we all travel together on this earth. We are all going in the same direction and for some it is easier than others. We need to realize that time holds all of us captive. We do not know how long it will be relative to our existence but I do know that the time that we have is a gift. I am hoping that I can make the most out of it and then move on!