Terror of the Flames

DSC_7139

“I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”
C.S. Lewis

Westmont High School is mourning today. Over the weekend, Saturday, 22 March,
a 17 year-old fellow student drove to Santana Row around 5pm, parked her car atop the six-story parking structure, walked to the edge, and jumped.

She was a cheerleader, the head of the Red Cross Club at school, and my son’s classmate. Continue reading

Let it Go

letting go2

To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck…
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance…
A time to embrace,
and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-6  

A friend of mine was having trouble walking away from a one-sided relationship (sound familiar?).  Let’s face it, she’s not alone in this dilemma, so I wanted to share our recent dialogue.

With her permission, this is how the conversation went:
Continue reading

Guardian Angels

Stanley Alot Plays Accordion

Stanley Alot abt 1945

1  Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah, the Prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
2  And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.
3  If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.
D&C 2:1-3

We’re on our third and final post in my series on the Blessings of Family History (if you’ve just joined this site and want to catch this talk from the beginning, simply scroll back 2 posts). For those of you  who have been following, thanks for sticking with me. This is where I get to the nitty-gritty of how this blesses us.

Now, there is another promise that is implied and inclusive in this passage, “hearts of the children shall turn to their father.” As our hearts turn to our forefathers, their thoughts turn to us.

President Joseph F. Smith:
“I believe [our family members who have passed on] are as deeply interested in our welfare today, if not to a greater capacity, with far more interest behind the veil, than they were in the flesh. I believe they know more; I believe surely those who have passed beyond, can see more clearly through the veil back here to us than it is possible for us to see to them from our sphere of action.”
(Conference Report, April 1917)

Elder John A. Widstoe:
“Those who give themselves with all their might and main to this work receive help from the other side, and not merely in gathering genealogies. Whoever seeks to help those on the other side receives help in return in all the affairs of life.”
(Utah Genealogical Historical Magazine, 22 (July 1931): 104)

I have a profound testimony of the fact that when you find and do the work for your ancestors, it sets them free to be highly involved in your life. Your ancestors aren’t just casual bystanders. No. They are anxious to bless, uplift, and inspire you.  They are eager to help you succeed in your life. Continue reading

Reluctant Genealogist

the picture

Marianna Gagliani and Graziano Meschi
with Salvatore abt 1888

1  Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah, the Prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
2  And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.
3  If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.
D&C 2:1-3

Okay, part two in our series on the Blessings of Family History work. Now that we’ve (hopefully) established the importance of turning our hearts to our forefathers and their eagerness to have their work done, this brings us to actually rolling up our sleeves and doing it.

When we think of Family History, there are usually two obstacles that prevent us from getting started.

Obstacle 1:  My Family History is All Done
I had this excuse.  My father’s side of the family had traced the Gifford family line all the way back to Charlemagne in 750 AD. The family gave me a binder with printouts, pictures, and pedigrees. What a treasure! Now whenever a lesson or talk was given on Family History, I could raise my chin and nod confidently, Yes, this does not apply to me, for, my family history is done!

Yet, why the confidence? I didn’t do the work. I couldn’t take the credit. My saying, “Gary is the family historian and he does it all,” is a bit like saying, “I don’t go to Church, but that’s okay because Gary goes for me.” Fact is, for our hearts to be turned to our fathers, to forge that welding link that seems so important to the Lord, we need to be personally participating in the work.

Has anyone’s family history been completed? Let’s do the math. Continue reading

Hearts of the Children Shall Turn to Their Fathers

Moroni to Joseph Smith

Angel Moroni Visits Joseph Smith
by Tom Lovell

One evening Joseph Smith was visited by the angel Moroni who repeated a message three times during the night. Part of the message was this:

1  Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood,
by the hand of Elijah the Prophet, before the
coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
2  And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers.
3  If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at His coming.
D&C 2:1-3

This passage is remarkable, but one of the most amazing things about it isn’t in the text itself.  It’s in the date this revelation was given: September 21, 1823.

When we read this passage we know immediately that it has something to do with family history, temple work, and the sealing power of the priesthood. But when Moroni delivered this message to Joseph in 1823, no one knew anything about genealogy. No one had a clue about temples – especially Joseph Smith. He was only 17 years old.

•  It would be 7 years before the Church was organized.
•  13 years before Elijah would visit the Kirtland Temple to fulfill prophecy.
•  20 years later, when Joseph preached at Brother King Follett’s funeral, he had come to understand the significance of family history and temple work, but not in 1823.

In 1823, this revelation made no sense to Joseph. Continue reading

Evil Toys

source: photobucket

Evil Furby

Growing up, I had my fair share of toy malfunctions – and I must say, short-circuited toys have been the source of the creepiest and most scarring experiences of my life.

For example – Furby. My mom and sister will never forget their Furby experience, where they took the batteries out of the furry monstrosity and it still made noise (my roommate shares my distaste for these creatures – she says that Furby’s feathers are woven with Satan’s hair).

There have been plenty of other instances involving Build-a-Bears and Hulk Hands, but the toy that freaked me out the most was my Powerpuff Girls Lanyard.

When I was 4 years old, on an excursion to the Cartoon Network store in the mall, I convinced my mom to buy me this electronic gadget attached to a lanyard. I am not even sure what this device did, all that I cared about was that it was Powerpuff Blossom’s signature pink.

I was so extremely excited to have this – I never got to have Blossom things (my sister was Blossom and I was always Buttercup, I’ll have you know). This was a rare and joyous occasion, and I was ecstatic.

For days, I wore my trusty lanyard everywhere, pressing the buttons on the heart-shaped device to hear the television show’s theme song or different characters’ classic lines and see little images appear on the puny digital screen.

Needless to say, I felt like hot stuff when I wore my handy-dandy Powerpuff Girl Lanyard. I adored this thing with all of my heart, and my post-toddler mind knew it loved me. But as is common with four year olds, I did not stay entertained for very long. The toy soon found itself in the catastrophic depths of my closet and I forgot about it.

Until one night. Continue reading

Just Keep Swimming

dory

Dory in Finding Nemo
Disney/Pixar 2000 Animated Film

Lupus is kicking my butt today. Pain. Fatigue.
It may slow me down, but it’s not going to stop me. I’m taking a lesson from Dory from Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”

There is a purpose in this. I just haven’t put my finger on it. Frankly, I don’t know what my Nemo is – what I will eventually find. Could be the building of my character. Could be instilling me with patience. Maybe it’s developing copious amounts of fortitude.

Or, better yet, my Nemo is the knowledge and experience I am gaining in order to someday help someone else.

Wasn’t that Dory’s journey? Continue reading