Forest Man

photo: Huffington Post

photo: Huffington Post

“The purpose of life
is to contribute
in some way to
making things better.”
Robert F. Kennedy

“Are we being good ancestors?”
Jonas Salk


What would you do to save your home?

One man planted trees. His name is Jadav “Molai” Payeng, and his story is a remarkable one.

His home is in northeast India on Majuli Island. Though Majuli is the largest river island in the world, its position makes it vulnerable to flood waters that recede its shores every year. So vulnerable, in fact, that in the past 100 years, Majuli has lost 70% of its landmass, and at this rate, scientists predict that in the next couple of decades the island could completely disappear.

Rather than sit idly by, waiting for powerful river waters to wash his home away, Payeng planted trees. Continue reading



by J. Kirk Richards

by J. Kirk Richards

Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world!
John 1:29



Happy Easter, Friends.





Yet Another Star Wars Rant


I’m finishing up my degree here at BYU, in my third week of classes now, and I have to say my studies are pretty eclectic at the moment. Italian grammar, Welsh grave inscriptions that reference King Arthur, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essays, the bombing of Hiroshima, and Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. My brain is a funny place right now. Not least because every day this last week was a Star Wars day. Good mix.

Every day this week, I went to the fourth floor of the BYU library where they have “Media Viewing Rooms.” I remembered these rooms from before my mission. I remembered them being kind of low tech, with only about 5 chairs total, but you could reserve a room to watch a movie in them for a small group. Before I left, they had dvd players, but no blu ray. Upon remembering this magical little place, I looked up to see if they had blu ray.

The website said they did.

I reserved a room.

Upon my arrival, Monday afternoon, I step into the room and what do my wondering eyes behold? A GIANT SCREEN TV. IT’S BEAUTIFUL. IT’S AT LEAST 3 TIMES THE SIZE OF THE ONE WE HAD AT HOME. IT NEARLY COVERED THE WHOLE WALL.

Needless to say, I was a little excited. I reserved the same room every day of the week (you can only reserve it for a maximum of 4 hours per day, so I was limited to watching one Star Wars film each day).

But then, on Friday, I couldn’t reserve that particular room. No problem, I thought. One of the other rooms will do just fine. So I reserved a different one.

Well, Friday I found out that room doesn’t have a blu ray player, neither can it have one at all because the TV has no HDMI hookup.

“Well,” said the very helpful attendant trying to assist me. “It looks like this won’t work out….You could just use the small theater next door. The person who reserved it didn’t show up, so it’s available if it won’t make you feel weird.”

“Is there anything wrong with it?”

“Oh no,” she said. “It’s just usually for 40+ people, but it should work fine.”



So I watched The Empire Strikes Back in a private theatrical viewing all to myself. “The only improvement would have been if a hunky guy showed up with a large popcorn,” said Mom.

She speaks truth. It was one of the coolest movie-viewing experiences of my life (even without popcorn or a hunky guy). 

Watching the entire series from beginning to end (again), a lot more things jumped out. Like Vader’s sly dealings with the Emperor. Continue reading

Giving Thanks


“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”
Maya Angelou

Ah, the season of Thanksgiving. Yes, I know it’s an American holiday, but the world could benefit from gathering and breaking bread and reminiscing on things for which they are most thankful. The great thing about gratitude is that you don’t need a feast to inspire you, just an open heart and observant eyes.

We touched on this subject in a lesson for one of our investigators here in France. The topic: Faith in God can shift our perspective to see struggles as actual blessings. Continue reading

The Time that is Given Us

Suspended Time  by jlopez

Suspended Time  photo by jlopez

“Time flies like an arrow;
fruit flies like a banana.”
Anthony G. Oettinger

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf,
“and so do all who live to see such times.  But that is not for them to decide.  All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
J.R.R. Tokien,
The Fellowship of the Ring

In honor of Daylight Savings Time (which is tonight, so turn your clocks ahead), I came across a scenario I felt was good enough to share with you.  It went something like this: Continue reading

Farewells and Elmo’s World

Airport Photo3

Lauren’s 4am Farewell at the Airport. Landon is still half asleep.

“‘You’ll stay with me?’
‘Until the very end,’ said James.”
J.K. Rowling,
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

“If there ever comes a day
when we can’t be together,
keep me in your heart,
I’ll stay there forever.”
Winnie the Pooh

After sending Lauren off on her mission, everyone has been asking how I am doing. Well, thank you.  I am doing great now because a few weeks have passed and I have heard happy news and received all sorts of smiling pictures from her.  Now I’m doing great, but if you asked me a few weeks ago, you would have seen tears welling-up at the very question. Continue reading

Are You Overlooking a Buried Treasure?

Hoxne Hoard

Hoxne Hoard displayed in the British Museum, London

Where your Treasure is,
there will your heart be also.
Luke 12:34

Professional farmer, Peter Whatling found his life changed on 16 November 1992 when he discovered a treasure he didn’t know he possessed.

On his farm near Suffolk, England, Whatling somehow lost his trusty hammer in the field.  Not wanting to suffer the loss, he asked good friend, Eric Lawes, to bring over his metal detector and help him look for it.  Lawes was more than happy to help.

As the two friends set about the task of slowly scouring the field, it wasn’t long before the metal detector began pinging and buzzing like crazy.  Must be the hammer, they thought. After a little digging, the men discovered, not a hammer, but remains of an oak chest. Inside the chest were smaller wooden boxes with locks and several fabric sacks.  With a little further inspection of the contents, they realized they had just uncovered a legitimate ancient treasure!

This was the real McCoy, folks.  They were stunned. Continue reading