Monday, September 29, 2014

Move onward

“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it,—but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.

 —Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Warrior SOS blog link

I'm working on a book titled, Man Down!

Stay tuned....

Also, be sure to check out my Warrior SOS blog.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Below is a video from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland that he gave to BYU-Idaho students on Sept. 24, 2014 about happiness. Here's a link to an article, highlighting some great points in the talk:

Additionally, here is a link to a great article about the science of happiness. It was a recap of Hank Smith's comments at BYU Educational week. Hank Smith is a great instructor. I heard him speak to youth in a meeting earlier in the year.  He was funny and entertaining. More importantly, he is intelligent. His Ph.D. study, as I recall, was on the science of happiness. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Perfect and Perfection

This is a wonderful article by Elder Gerrit W. Gong, titled "Becoming Perfect in Christ." (Ensign, July 2014, pp. 14-19.)

I recommend reading the entire article, but here are some brief excerpts:

A misunderstanding of what it means to be perfect can result inperfectionism—an attitude or behavior that takes an admirable desire to be good and turns it into an unrealistic expectation to be perfect now.Perfectionism sometimes arises from the feeling that only those who are perfect deserve to be loved or that we do not deserve to be happy unless we are perfect.
Perfectionism can cause sleeplessness, anxiety, procrastination, discouragement, self-justification, and depression. These feelings can crowd out the peace, joy, and assurance our Savior wants us to have.
Students beginning a new school year, especially those leaving home for college, face both excitement and concerns. Student scholars, athletes, artists, and so forth go from being a “big fish in a little pond” to feeling like a minnow in an ocean with unfamiliar tides and swift, unpredictable currents. It is easy for students with perfectionist tendencies to feel that, no matter how hard they try, they have failed if they are not first in all things.
Given life’s demands, students can learn that it is sometimes perfectly fine to do all they can and that it is not always possible to be the very best.
We also impose expectations of perfection in our own homes. A father or mother may feel compelled to be the perfect spouse, parent, homemaker, breadwinner, or part of a perfect Latter-day Saint family—now.
What helps those who battle perfectionist tendencies? Open-ended, supportive inquiries communicate acceptance and love. They invite others to focus on the positive. They allow us to define what we feel is going well. Family and friends can avoid competitive comparisons and instead offer sincere encouragement.
Another serious dimension of perfectionism is to hold others to our unrealistic, judgmental, or unforgiving standards. Such behavior may, in fact, deny or limit the blessings of the Savior’s Atonement in our lives and in the lives of others. For example, young single adults may make a list of desired qualities in a potential spouse and yet be unable to marry because of unrealistic expectations for the perfect companion.
Thus, a sister may be unwilling to consider dating a wonderful, worthy brother who falls short on her perfectionist scale—he does not dance well, is not planning to be wealthy, did not serve a mission, or admits to a past problem with pornography since resolved through repentance and counseling.
Similarly, a brother may not consider dating a wonderful, worthy sister who doesn’t fit his unrealistic profile—she is not a sports enthusiast, a Relief Society president, a beauty queen, a sophisticated budgeter, or she admits to an earlier, now-resolved weakness with the Word of Wisdom.
Of course, we should consider qualities we desire in ourselves and in a potential spouse. We should maintain our highest hopes and standards. But if we are humble, we will be surprised by goodness in unexpected places, and we may create opportunities to grow closer to someone who, like us, is not perfect.
Faith acknowledges that, through repentance and the power of the Atonement, weakness can be made strong and repented sins can truly be forgiven.
Happy marriages are not the result of two perfect people saying vows. Rather, devotion and love grow as two imperfect people build, bless, help, encourage, and forgive along the way. The wife of a modern prophet was once asked what it was like being married to a prophet. She wisely replied that she had not married a prophet; she had simply married a man who was completely dedicated to the Church no matter what calling he received.4 In other words, in process of time, husbands and wives grow together—individually and as a couple.
The wait for a perfect spouse, perfect education, perfect job, or perfect house will be long and lonely. We are wise to follow the Spirit in life’s important decisions and not let doubts spawned by perfectionist demands hinder our progress.
For those who may feel chronically burdened or anxious, sincerely ask yourself, “Do I define perfection and success by the doctrines of the Savior’s atoning love or by the world’s standards? Do I measure successor failure by the Holy Ghost confirming my righteous desires or by some worldly standard?”
What excellent questions!

For those who feel physically or emotionally exhausted, start getting regular sleep and rest, and make time to eat and relax. Recognize that being busy is not the same as being worthy, and being worthy does not require perfection.5
For those prone to see their own weaknesses or shortcomings, celebrate with gratitude the things you do well, however large or small.
For those who fear failure and who procrastinate, sometimes by overpreparing, be assured and encouraged that there is no need to withdraw from challenging activities that may bring great growth!
Where needed and appropriate, seek spiritual counsel or competent medical attention to help you relax, develop positive ways to think and structure your life, reduce self-defeating behaviors, and experience and express more gratitude.6
Impatience impedes faith. Faith and patience will help missionaries understand a new language or culture, students to master new subjects, and young single adults to begin building relationships rather than waiting for everything to be perfect. Faith and patience will also help those waiting for temple sealing clearances or restoration of priesthood blessings.
...For those burdened by cares to find perfection or to be perfect now, our Savior’s freely given atoning love assures us:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“… For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28, 30).7

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Government spending and frugality

For three long years I have been going up and down this country preaching that government—federal, state and local—costs too much.  I shall not stop that preaching.  As an immediate program of action, we must abolish useless offices.  We must eliminate unnecessary functions of government.
We must consolidate subdivisions of government and, like the private citizen, give up luxuries which we can no longer afford.
I propose to you my friends, and through you, that government of all kinds, big and little, be made solvent and that the example be set by the President of the United States and his Cabinet.

—Franklin Delano Roosevelt, acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination for President in 1932.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering How 9/11 Impacted My Life

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
—Genesis 6:11-13

I'm reminded of what happened 13 years ago today.  September 11, 2001 will not easily be forgotten. I found myself telling my ten year old about how drastically my life was changed because of that event. We discussed this before he went off to school. To my chagrin, he wasn't even aware about airplanes crashing into the twin towers. Why wouldn't teachers tell young kids about this? Because it's too horrific and could produce a negative impact upon young minds? Perhaps. 

I told him about how I was working as a cop with the Dallas police department when 9/11 happened. My time in the Armed Forces before becoming a police officer had burnt in me a deep love to hate terrorism.  I was studying terrorism books and counterterrorism measures before IED was a household name. 

Opportunities opened up because of a "new" security threat to our nation.  I felt I had what it took to protect others. Soon, I found myself back in the military -- this time the Army Reserves. Then, when the war in Iraq was about to begin, I was given an opportunity to protect US diplomats in the US-led "Roadmap to Mideast Peace." This was a contract with the US State Department. A small group of us were tasked with escorting ambassadors and US personnel into the West Bank and Gaza Strip. I lost three coworkers in Gaza City. 

The Federal Air Marshal Service offered me a position, which I initially turned down. At that time, there was great need for plainclothes, undercover federal law enforcement officers who would fly on commercial airplanes. We were tasked with shooting and killing anyone who tried to hijack any more planes. I told my son, "I lied for a living. When someone asked me what I did for work, I lied."

"Why?" he asked.

"Because what if that person was a terrorist or what if a terrorist sitting near me would hear that."

We wanted the element of surprise.  I still remember being told by several instructors to shoot anyone six times in the back if they ran towards the cockpit, and then to shoot them six more times when they fell to the floor. 

Iraq with the Army Reserves most definitely impacted my life, and the life of my family. All wars are controversial. Violence is and should be repulsive to civil and moral people. Despite the political beliefs or support of intelligence records, the bottom line is US soldiers, airman and Marines were tasked to fight. This has affected warriors and their family members in incredible ways.  

I remember when my good friend was killed. He and I served together in a tight-knit tactical unit years previously. Now we were both in Iraq together, but in different units. My wife knew Johnny too. 

There is nothing glorious about violence. Violence can be addicting, and it's necessary in order to win lethal confrontations, but violence is horrible. I can't stand violence although I know how to be violent. I've been trained to be. But violence and war is not natural. No one should have to endure it. Violent television, movies and video games are an insult to the spirit of God. 

I pray my children will not have to learn war or be involved with anything violent, but the world is violent. People are violent. There are evil people who do horrific, evil deeds. They need to be stopped. Warriors are needed to stop them. Thankfully, everyone doesn't have to be a warrior. Would that I could "retire" from the work of death and destruction and enjoy the rest of my years in peace. But, it is not so. I feel I still need to help protect those who do not have the capacity to protect themselves. Someone needs to be a protector, so while I know how, I will.