Friday, February 27, 2009

Photos coming soon...

Of my trip to Singapore and Vietnam...

A real eye-opener.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Holy Cow, I'm 30!!!

I have been preparing for this day since March 24, 2007. I realized then that I had one year of my twenties remaining. It was a bit of a shock to the system. You get busy, maturing in your marriage, having children, building a career, and all of a sudden WHAM!! You're hit over the head with the realization that time has passed and, whether you feel it or not, you're getting older.

So, from that day to this I have tried to prepare emotionally, psychologically, mentally. While I am sure this is not universally true, I have known people to have a meltdown when they hit the big 3-0. Initially, and at the risk of sounding overly dramatic, I thought I might be headed there, too. But as it turns out, I have experienced some "Ah, Hah!" moments in the past 12 months that have had an effect on this perspective.

1. We are born to age. This statement may appear to be somewhat strange, but it most clearly articulates the concept I have begun to grasp. This life is a proving ground in which we are intended to grow. Real growth does not occur without experience, and experience happens over time. We cannot experience and accomplish all that is needful and desired unless we mature, which comes with age. Case in point. As I type away I have my daughter in my arms and my son playing around me, occasionally demanding that I read to him from the immortal writings of Dr. Seuss. I was not prepared in any way to be a parent ten years ago, let alone 15. Experience, maturation and the wisdom that inherently comes with them comes only with time. To progress in the way in which we are intended necessitates aging. It is natural and right.

2. Wisdom comes with age. While this is not universally true, I do believe that the only way to gain real wisdom is to observe and exercise the intelligent, thoughtful application of knowledge, judgment, and experience over time. I don't think wisdom can be willed, I think it must be earned.

3. There is no end date or stopping point to progression. I had it in my mind that a certain number of things had to be checked off a list by the time I hit 30 in order to feel I had accomplished enough with my life. A few things on that. First, 30 is not that old. Second, progression is continual. I am a big believer in setting goals and objectives and am convinced they are key to success. But I don't think it worthwhile or particularly meaningful to assume that if a certain action does not take place by a certain time, all is lost. Better late than never, and you never, ever say never. I would assert that most people have accomplished a great deal more than they realize at first glance. I certainly feel this way after sincerely taking stock of where I am, and where I've been. Are there volumes of things I still want to do? Of course. Will I ever get them done? Quite possibly. I have more than half my life to do so. Progression is one eternal round.

So, the long and short of it is that I feel good. Life is good. In fact, life is great. I couldn't be happier or feel more grateful for the blessings I have been given. My beautiful wife and precious children fill my entire being with joy and love and light. I am able to provide for their temporal needs and ensure their comfort and well-being. We are surrounded and supported by wonderful family and friends who bless our lives. We are members of the only true and living church on the earth, and sealed as a family for eternity by the Priesthood of God. We know who we are and where we want to be. By and through the Atonement of Christ, we know we can get there. The future couldn't be brighter, or more full of promise. Again, life is good, and I am confident that the best is yet to come.

A few diddies I thought I'd put down, in the vein of taking stock of where my thoughts/ perspectives/objectives currently are. Non-exhaustive and a work in progress. Not posted with the assumption that anyone reading this should/would care much, but more if I put these out there the likelihood that I will act increases.

Qualities I Respect

Calm in the face of crisis
Genuine interest in others
An open mind
Clear communication

What I Hope/Want To Improve

Better maximizing/respecting the precious commodity of time
Devotion to reading
Personal organization
Balance between family/work/church/self
Use of technology to make work/life more efficient
Physical fitness
Willingness to concede that the grass is just as green on this side
Curb my tendency to be critical/sarcastic
Faith to be still and know that God is God

What I Feel Good About

Love for my Father in Heaven and Savior Jesus Christ
Devotion to and love for my family
Relationships with my sweetheart and children
Relationships with family members
Relationships with friends
Strength of testimony
Love of the scriptures
Love of the Gospel
Professional accomplishments
Ability to win friends and influence people
Work Ethic
Capacity to think forward
Capacity to lead
Capacity to learn on my feet
Sense of humor

In The Next Few Years Would Like To...

Continue formal education
Return to Europe
Visit Brazil
Read the Bible, cover-to-cover
Read or re-read great literary works
Play tennis and softball
Attend the theatre

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Beautiful Baby Daughter...

The day we've been waiting for has finally arrived. Our precious Sarah Nicole was born this morning at 8:08 AM. Several things have been remarkable about this experience to me.

Immediately in the first moments of her life I felt impressed by Sarah's sweet and peaceful countenance and spirit. There is no other way to describe what I felt as I watched her come in to this life, be examined and swaddled in blankets and presented to Jilly and me. She seemed to be so small! Weighing in at 7 pounds 11 ounces, Sarah weighs two pounds less than Ryan at his birth. She is petite and soft and mild. She has dark hair and big blue eyes. It was a special and sacred thing to hold her with Jilly, something we did not get to do jointly so quickly after Ryan was born. The three of us had that wonderful moment of bonding in the operating room as we held each other close, and I felt very grateful.

All of the sudden, in the seeming blink of an eye, my family grew by 25%. Now, there are four of us. It will take some time to adjust my thinking, adjust to this new life.

Last Saturday night, I sat on the sofa with Ryan watching the Pixar movie, Cars. I love to be still with him, and as we sat a feeling of wonder came over me as I contemplated how much he has grown in the past two years. He really has become my little boy and brings unabated joy to my life. I thought about how it had been with the three of us and how much I was accustomed to that equation. I felt even a bittersweet twinge as I thought that this would be the last night that we would be just us three. In no way does this mean that I don't feel overjoyed with our little girl, simply that we are closing a chapter that has seen us exploring a new frontier and exceptional life experiences as new parents.

Jill has taught me something, though, that continues to be extremely meaningful. I asked some time before Sarah was born if I would have the capacity to love another child as much as I love Ryan. Her response was profound and insightful. She said that my capacity to love would grow in parallel with the growth of our family, one child at a time. She went further and asked rhetorically if I thought that Father in Heaven loved each of his children equally, or to varying degrees. We discussed the point that one of the great overarching blessings of parenthood is that we can come to better understand the nature of God, who is the Creator and Father of us all. The full depth and breadth of this I will not understand in this life, but I do understand enough to know that my cup runneth over with joy that I have been granted the blessing of marriage, of children, and of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by which I know that the family is the central unit of the Plan of Salvation. I know that my family is bound together by a seal that time cannot wear down and death cannot destroy. Pending our faithfulness, we are destined to return together to the presence of that God who gave us life, to go no more out.

Looking in to my Sarah's eyes, I get a sense of the eternal nature of the spirit. I know and feel that she has been around long before she came in to our family. A few hours after the delivery, after we were situated in our hospital room, I had Sarah in my arms and had that moment where she looked directly in to my eyes and smiled. Our connection was etched in stone, and for a sweet moment Heaven and earth met.

She has me wrapped around her little finger already.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

President Gordon B. Hinckley, The Prophet of the Lord

There are people that have had a seminal influence on my life. President Gordon B. Hinckley, Prophet of the Lord and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1995, is one of these people to me.

Late Sunday night, my mom called from Sandy, Utah to tell me that President Hinckley had passed away just two hours before. My heart sank, and I felt a mixture of shock and disbelief. As I spoke further with her, the tears came. I've heard it said by many that they knew in their hearts that President Hinckley would likely not be with us much longer. At 97, he had lived longer than any other president in the Church's history, and had, since April 2004, been without his beloved companion Sister Marjorie Hinckley. In my lifetime, I have never known a man who worked as tirelessly and with such a fierce and focused work ethic as he did. I recently reread his biography, and now know why and am grateful that I was prompted to do so. President Hinckley is truly one of the great men and servants of God - a man truly molded and prepared by the Lord to lead the Church and the Kingdom of God in this time and season of the earth.

On more occasions that I can count, I have felt the witness and confirmation of the Holy Ghost and know of a surety that Gordon B. Hinckley was the Lord's prophet, called by Him to do His work and govern and direct His true church. Some years ago I had the great blessing of shaking hands with him, of seeing the light shine in his eyes and in his countenance. His teachings, love, and example of discipleship have in large measure shaped the foundation upon which I have built my life and my family's life. I have a deep and abiding love for him, a gratitude for his lifelong service and striving to bless and benefit his fellow man, and respect for his unshakable love and commitment to God. He has shown me and all of us that the Gospel does make bad men good, good men better, and leads us all back to the presence of our Heavenly Father by and through Our Savior Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. As Amos records in the Bible, surely the Lord God will do nothing save he revealeth his secrets unto his servants the prophets. This truth was abundantly evident in the life of President Hinckley.

Feelings are especially tender now, but I know that I will always miss this great man. His ministry demonstrates what the Lord can do with a person's life when he or she puts their life in His hands. His greatness, I feel, was a result of his unassailable integrity, his steadfast faith and faithfulness, his unimpeachable righteousness, his certitude in the face of attack and adversity, his deep-seated optimism, his impeccable humor, and, above all, his willingness to always put God first.

I pay humble tribute to him and am so very grateful for his life, which has eternally blessed mine.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Reflections, Resolutions, And The Like...(Part I)

So, back from the dead. My sweetheart pointed out that I have not posted anything since mid-November. New year, new resolutions, fresh page to start from. This will likely seem like stream of consciousness, but maybe something coherent will come of it.

A Few Reflections

Getting older isn't so bad. This probably sounds funny, but I've been building up mentally and emotionally for the big three-o. That's right woodchuck chuckers, three decades on this green planet. At the beginning of year 29, I immediately thought, "Holy Cow! I have only more year of my 20's, how did THAT happen? What have I done with my life? What am I doing with my life?" But as the year has progressed, I feel more at peace.

Life is good, and it just keeps getting better. I'm married for time and eternity to my best friend and the most beautiful woman I know, I'm the proud father of the most charming and bright-spirited little boy and gorgeous little girl (due in March) in the world. These three are my whole life.

I have a good job that challenges me, fits my skills, enables me to take care of my family. No ceiling to limit growth.

I'm able to do the things I love, and am able to improve in the things I should do better.

Wisdom does come with age, and greater opportunities come with greater experience.

Part I of be continued...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

On the Mend...

Last week had a few bumps in the road. Our little guy got hit by a nasty one-two punch of a cold and ear infection. His temperature hit 103 degrees more than once. I wasn't alarmed, but I did feel quite concerned and wished I could take away his pain and discomfort. The three of us went through a few very fitful nights and felt pretty weary by week's end.

Echoing what Jilly alluded to in her post. I feel grateful for the advances of modern medicine. Not so very long ago, a cold or fever could lead to pneumonia or a host of other serious illnesses, many of which did not have a cure. I am grateful for the light and knowledge given to man that has allowed him to better understand the human body and how to care for it and to cure many of the ailments that were fatal not so many generations ago.

On a personal level, I was grateful for the opportunity to minister to my son, with the help of a good friend. I was reminded by so doing that prayers are often answered through those around us, and by the magnifcation of their skills, gifts, and talents. I was also reminded that we, if in tune with the Spirit and willing to act, can be the means by which prayers are answered for others. The Lord's love and His tender mercies are manifest in abundance, and my family has been blessed greatly this week with such mercies.

In addition, I was impressed yet again by the character and selflessness of my sweetheart. Night after night, in the early morning hours and throughout the day, Jilly was steadfast, providing the comfort and succor only she could give to sooth Ryan, quite his tears, and help him rest. This is enough of a load, but combined with all the physical symptoms of her pregnancy, the effort required is beyond formidable. I have seen the Lord bless Ryan with what he has needed to heal and I have seen Him bless Jilly and give her strength beyond her own that has made her equal to the task of caring for him. And I know He has made me more than I am alone to serve and provide for them both this past week.

I read today from Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley that "God planted within women something divine that expresses itself in quite strength, in refinement, in peace, in goodness, in virtue, in truth, in love. And all of these remarkable qualities find their truest and most satisfying expression in motherhood." I have certainly seen the application of these truths evident in Jilly's actions during the past several days.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


A poignant sense of how fortunate and blessed I am has been on my mind and in my heart for some time. A good friend gave a talk in church today and stressed how important it is to express gratitude for all that we receive and enjoy. Below is by no means a comprehensive list, but a few especially precious gifts for which I feel enormously grateful.

My Wife Companion

The moments of my life where I have felt the most overwhelming, consuming love have come because of and are connected to my sweetheart. In ways obvious and subtle, the love I feel for her grows daily and I learn to a greater degree what the Prophet Joseph taught: love begets love. My Jilly is selfless, virtuous, resourceful, modest, faithful, steady, creative, wholly committed to her covenants and the Gospel, a wonderful mother, a great beauty inside and out, intelligent, funny, compassionate, genuine, lovely, and my very best friend in the wide world. I depend on her so much, draw so much strength from her faith and optimism, learn from her everyday, and feel inspired by her belief in my ability to do good. I've heard it said that standing beside every good man is a better woman. This is certainly true in my case.

My Son

Ryan is such a delight in my life. I'm just all kinds of crazy about him. I love to hold him close. I love to watch him learn and discover. I love to watch him play with Jilly and my parents and our friends. I love to see him light up when I come home from work. I love to read books with him at bedtime. I love to hear him speak and laugh. I love to watch him sleep. I love to wrestle and tickle him. I love to watch him make people smile. He is a special spirit and I am grateful to be his Daddy.

My Daughter

I realize that several months remain before she will be born, but I have seen and felt our little girl and I look forward to her arrival in the spring. There is a lot unknown for me in raising a daughter, but I feel a great love for her already and am grateful for another addition to our family.


I really have been born of goodly parents. They were recently here and it struck me how intimately and in great detail they know what my little family is about and the things that matter to us. This underscores to me the love they have for my wife whom they have always treated as their daughter, their grandson, and me. They have gone to great lengths to make sure they bond with Ryan as he grows and develops, and their devotion and care mean the world to me. They continue to teach me, and their counsel for me and my family makes all the difference. I see in my own relationship with Ryan and their relationship with Jill and I a type and pattern of Heavenly Father's relationship to His children, and how these relationships help man become like God.


When you are far from family, a strong network of friends is worth its weight in gold. More than at any other time in my life, I am deeply grateful for loving and devoted friends who have become family to Jilly, Ryan and I. Their joys are my joys, their successes my successes, their sorrow my sorrows. Relationships with our friends are deeply meaningful and are a great blessing to me. They add a dimension to my life that is sweet and fulfilling and a great manifestation of how prayers are answered.

Truly, when I count my blessings one by one it not only surprises but reaffirms the perfect love Heavenly Father has for me and for all His children and the countless ways that love is shown. I sincerely feel confused at the grace by which He so fully profers me. When I think about how I might express gratitude for all these blessings, I determine that the only possible way is to do unto others as has been done unto me, to carry on the legacy of love of which I am a part.