Author Archives: Nathan

Make it count

“We should certainly count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count.”

– Neal A. Maxwell

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What the world needs

“The world has enough beautiful mountains and meadows, spectacular skies and serene lakes. It has enough lush forests, flowered fields, and sandy beaches. It has plenty of stars and the promise of a new sunrise and sunset every day. What the world needs more of is people to appreciate and enjoy it.”
-Michael Josephson

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Gratitude

Thought for today:

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
– Melody Beattie

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Bring my daughter to work day

Thanks to homeschooling I was able to bring my oldest daughter along with me to some focus groups in Tampa.  She got to see some of the more interesting things I do,  I had company on the six hour trip, and she completed her work.  It was a great learning experience. 

Now that’s what I call bring your daughter to work day.   

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Here she is with the lights dimmed during one of the sessions. 

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Special Visits

I always enjoy the special visits I get when working from home. 

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You, You, You

I really like this Facebook post from Elder D. Todd Christofferson:

“Today’s culture tells us to think first and only about ourselves. Society tells you that you’re the most important, that you deserve the best of everything, that it’s your life. They want you to believe that your life should be all about you, you, you.

It’s quite a challenge to get out of this box and think about other people. It’s sometimes a stretch for us to think as the Savior did—blessing everyone that we interact with and not worrying about what others think of us.

One of the biggest challenges in my own life has been learning to get outside myself. I have learned that we should really only be concerned about what the Lord thinks. That allows us to focus more on others and their needs—to be of service.

If I were young again, I would try to worry less about what others think of me. I would try to see myself as the Lord sees me. What higher praise can come to a man or woman than the Lord telling them, “Well done my beloved son, my beloved daughter, in whom I am well pleased”?

Wouldn’t you love to hear Him speak those words to you?”

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Bath time bliss

I’m thinking she enjoyed her bath. 

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4 year old wisdom

Quote of the day from my 4 year old: “I went super fast in slow motion.”

Eww

My two year old has started using the word “eww”. It first happened in response to seeing her brothers dirty diaper. Then she said it when she saw my teenage daughter draw the symbol for The Flash on her hand (yes, she is a bit obsessed).

She used it a few more times so we were convinced it was her response to things that just didn’t look right.

The other day I came home from early morning basketball practice with my older kids and quickly showered so I could go to work. She found me in the closet getting dressed. The next thing I hear is “eww.”

Not sure what to think of it now.

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The Broken Man

This is why I go to church.

I have been thinking lately about this scripture:

Proverbs 3: 5-6

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

What does it mean to have this kind of constant trust and dependence on the Lord?

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to spend an hour with a man I’ve known for several years. It was a quiet hour without a lot of interaction, but it touched me deeply.

Each year the little children aged 3 to 10 present a Sunday program where they sing and share short messages with the congregation.  It is one of the best Sundays of the year because we get to feel of the children’s innocent, sincere faith.  My friend and his wife have faithfully taught a group of these little ones every Sunday for as long as I can remember.

After getting my own children situated for one of their last practices, I found my friend sitting by himself in the chapel pews watching while his wife and the children settled in the choir seats behind the podium. He struggled to speak, but greeted me with a warm smile and handshake.

I met this man several years ago when he was early on in his battle with Alzheimer’s. The effects of the disease are more apparent now. He becomes easily disoriented and confused, and has a difficult time carrying on a conversation.

No one asked me to sit with him or expected it of me. His wife had placed him there within view so she could keep an eye on him while attending to the children. Initially I was planning to go to Sunday school and listen to a well prepared lesson from the New Testament, but when I shook his hand, something inside told me to stay.

The children began their practice with a song. He became excited at the singing and smiled while humming the tune. At the end of the song he leaned forward and pointed directly at his wife.  She didn’t see him immediately so he waited a minute then pointed again.  She finally saw him and returned his pointing with a smile and curt wave. Beaming from ear to ear he tapped me on the shoulder and said: “Do you know her? She’s my wife. She smiled at me.”

I told him I did know her and that she is a wonderful woman.  He smiled again and looked up at her repeating, “she is wonderful.  She’s my wife.”

As the hour went on the pattern continued.  He hummed along with the songs and made comments about how energetic and excited the children were.  Then he pointed again. Each time she smiled back and waved he proudly proclaimed that she was his wife.

At one point he struggled to ask me for directions to the bathroom.  I tried to point out the way but he was confused, so I got up and led him out of the room.  His wife stayed seated but was looking at me intently. I could see the concern on her face, a concern that has come from countless hours of worry for him.

I made a gesture to reassure her that he was OK and waited for him to come out to make sure he found his way back.  He was agitated as we took our seats and struggled for a minute to find his wife. I could see panic in his eyes until finally, with a sigh of relief, he pointed and said, “there she is, there’s my wife.” With that knowledge he settled down and was able to enjoy the singing once again.

The hour came to and end and I had to say goodbye. As I thought about it, I am sure I could have learned something wonderful from the Sunday school class but instead, I was taught by this broken man. Barely able to have a conversation, and unable to find his own way anymore, he found comfort in his wife’s smile. As long as he knew she was there he could enjoy what was going on around him. I can’t imagine a better example of complete trust and dependence.

Because of this disease he will never know what that moment meant to me and I’ll never be able to share that with him.  His wife will continue to struggle and make hard decisions, maybe even wondering if it is OK to bring him to church as often as she does.  I hope she keeps bringing him because everyone there can learn something from this broken man.

The truth is we are all broken in one way or another. For some of us, like my friend, the wounds are obvious. For others they run deep inside the hidden crevices of our souls. God uses broken, imperfect people to help His broken, imperfect children.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said:

“The Church is not just for perfect people, but it is for all to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him.”The Church is for people like you and me. The Church is a place of welcoming and nurturing, not of separating or criticizing. It is a place where we reach out to encourage, uplift, and sustain one another as we pursue our individual search for divine truth.”

The most important lesson I learned this past Sunday did not come from the pulpit or an eloquently prepared lesson. It certainly did not come from the example of someone near perfection. It came from one of the weakest and most humble. It came from a man who is painfully succumbing to the grips of a disease that will never let him go. But even in this state, there is something all of us can learn from having him around at church. I am just grateful God opened my eyes to see His divine truth in the form of a quiet, broken man and his precious wife.

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