Sunday, July 27, 2008

I love Sundays!

I love Sundays! They rejuvenate me. I love waking up early in the morning and taking time to study my scriptures. I love arriving at church early and greeting so many smiling faces of people--just like me--who are imperfect, but who are trying to live the gospel to the best of their ability. I love listening to, and singing, the hymns. They help to rekindle the light of the gospel in my life. I love watching my fellow-laborers as they bless and pass the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper--amazed that because of these individual's personal righteousness (imperfect though they may be) I am able to renew the covenants I have made with my God, and be cleansed, purified, and receive the confirming assurance that the Holy Spirit will be my constant companion through the coming week. I love being edified by the speakers, and the Spirit that attends their words. I love attending Sunday school where we can gather together and discuss the gospel of Jesus Christ, and how to apply it into our daily lives, and to again be instructed and edified by the Spirit--whether I'm a "teacher" or "student" the experience is the same. I love attending Elder's Quorum where we, as brothers, can learn what it means to hold the sacred priesthood of God, and how to better live in such a way that we can be instruments in God's hands, and help to bring forth His marvelous latter-day work. I love singing in the choir and sharing my testimony with my friends, and feeling of their special spirits. I love talking about, in casual conversation, the things of eternity. I love taking the time to ponder and pray and gain direction and inspiration for the things I need to do in my life. I love that it is a day of rest from the cares and pressures of the world, so that, although busy, I feel refreshed and reenergized, and ready to do better, and be better in the coming week. I love being able to call and talk to my family, and to visit with friends, and feel the joy that comes loving people and being loved by them. I love that I have a Heavenly Father who cares about me enough to command that I keep the Sabbath day holy, and by so doing, I may "call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord" and that I may "delight [my]self in the Lord" (see Isaiah 58:12-13). I sure do love Sundays! :o)

Sunday, July 20, 2008


So I have been doing an internship at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City for the last few weeks. During our orientation were were told that there are stairs in three corners of the building. The two stairwells on the west side of the building are emergency stairwells--that is to say that an alarm will go off if you go through them. However, in our orientation we were told that we could use our security cards to access those stairwells. Now I haven't had a need to use these other stairwells, except for once when I was asked to take something to the back by the freight elevator. However, yesterday, I was coming out of the lunch room (which is by the north-west stairwell) and I was going to head up to the second floor. I figured that I was right there, so I swiped my card to get access to the stairwell without setting off the alarm and headed up. Upon reaching the second floor I didn't see the little green button that is often on the secured side of the doors to deactivate the alarms, so I assumed (without checking) that this door was motion activated like some of the other doors. Well I was wrong. I opened the door and an annoying alarm began to buzz. I thought to myself: "No big deal--I'll just swipe my card on the other side and that will fix the problem. Right?" Wrong! I swiped my card and the alarm went off, only to go back on again a few seconds later. So I stood there for a minute and kept trying my card. It wasn't working. Some people working around me told me to just go get security. So I walked to the reference desk. They had already called security, but they couldn't fix the problem either. Finally after about ten minutes of the alarm going off, someone got it fixed. Anyway, needless to say, I was quite embarrassed, and I felt bad that all the people on the floor had to listen to the annoying tweet of the alarm while they worked. No one was mad at me or anything, but I think that the next time I want to go upstairs, I'll just go the way I have always gone, without announcing that I have arrived for work. :o)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tender Mercies

My friend Lori has been blessed with a gift in expressing, through her words, many thoughts and feelings that I think we all experience and cherish. Her last post filled my heart with gratitude toward so many people, for than many, many things they do for me. It truly is "magic." Anyway, her post inspired me to share the words to a song I put together, which expresses some similar thoughts, but in a different way. The fact that you are reading this most likely means that you have touched my life in a special way, and for that I sincerely thank you. Every line comes from my own experiences, and I have found that many of these lines are oft repeated in my life. So thank you, to all who daily bless my life, and special thanks to my God who sends His tender mercies to me. Letting me know that he knows my name, and that he loves me. It is my hope that by sharing this you too will be able to see some of the tender mercies of God in your life, and that you too may feel the deep and personal love He has for you.

The initial inspiration for this song came from the words of Elder Bednar when he testified:

"The tender mercies of the Lord are real and . . . they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Often, the Lord's timing of His tender mercies helps us to both discern and acknowledge them.
". . . the Lord's tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ."

(Elder David A. Bednar, "The Tender Mercies of the Lord," Ensign, May 2005, 99)

Tender Mercies
by Spencer Fields

A simple smile, a thoughtful deed.
Encour'ging words in a time of need.
A golden sunrise. Birds in a tree—
Singing their sweet songs, just for me.

An act of kindness. A crust of bread.
Knowing for me a prayer's been said.
Stars in the night sky. Waves on the sand.
A timely phone call. An outreached hand.

They are tender mercies, from God above.
They fill my soul with Heaven's love.
God knows my name; Knows my heart too.
His Spirit whispers: "My child, I love you."

Meeting a friend after years apart.
Seeing God's peace bind a broken heart.
Shoulders to cry on when life seems dim.
Finding joy and gladness, when I trust Him.

Some added strength, assurance too.
Protection, guidance in all I do.
Some selfless service a passing thought.
By the Holy Spirit my soul is taught.

They are tender mercies, from God above.
They fill my soul with Heaven's love.
God knows my name, knows my heart too.
His Spirit whispers: "My child, I love you."

They are not random, they come with care,
That I may know that God is there.
It's in God's timing that helps me see
His tender mercies are meant for me.

Tender Mercies, every day I've found
His tender mercies in my life abound.
God's tender mercies bless me, bless you.
His Spirit whispers: "My child, I love you."

Tender Mercies

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Thoughts on a Temple Marriage

Yesterday I had the privilege of taking wedding pictures for my friends Matt & Chelsea in the Jordan River Temple.

It was a sweet experience for me. I reflected on the many other temple weddings I have been to. My thoughts went to many family members and friends, and what a special thing it is to marry in the temple. Sacred experiences came to my my mind and heart, which I will cherish always. My mind then projected forward to the thought of my cousin Kelsey who will be getting married this coming weekend, and I thought of my sister, Emmer, who will be getting married in 3 weeks. It is simply wonderful. It is beautiful. There is a special peace and ultimate joy which prevails in the House of the Lord, especially at such sacred moments when a man and woman covenant with one another, and with God, to become one. I know that He smiles, tenderly, upon each of us as we prepare ourselves to make, and then keep, such sacred covenants as a temple marriage. I also know that even for those who are denied such blessings, that if they are faithful, they will receive every blessing that our Father in Heaven has in store for those who love him—including a Celestial marriage.

As I was waiting for Matt & Chelsea to come out of the temple I was reading my scriptures and was filled with an even deeper desire to live my life in such a way, that, someday, I may take a beautiful daughter of God into the House of our Lord, and there give myself to her, and receive her unto myself in the way that God has intended. Then I want to, by living the covenants I have made, and will yet make, create from my temple marriage a Celestial one. It is done in the day-to-day things, in being faithful, in keeping the commandments of God, and by loving, and sacrificing, and serving my future wife and family. I know that it will be difficult. It will require something from the very depths of my soul. Frankly, I want it that way. For that which is obtained too easily is valued too cheaply, and salvation is not a cheap experience. Neither is dating, neither is marriage, neither is raising a family. (thanks Elder Holland for teaching me that). I want to be able to serve and sacrifice, and struggle, and, like King David of old, I don't want my sacrifices to be "that which doth cost me nothing." (2 Sam 24:24) As hard as it is to come to grips with sometimes, I know that this applies to my dating life now, just as much as it does to my future family life. I do know that it will be worth every sacrifice and every tear that's shed in the long process that leads to such an eternally important goal. It is worth sacrificing for, working hard toward, and living for. (Even if, sometimes I just want to give up. I know that I won't, because it's too important—it's too vital to who I want to become.)

As these thoughts came to me, I was touched by the Spirit in such a way that really motivates me to be more active. It makes me want to live a better life today—to be more kind, to be more patient, to be more thoughtful toward everyone around me. It makes me want to work harder in school and work, and to magnify my church callings. It makes me want to live closer to the Spirit, that I may be guided in all that do. I need that guidance. I know that on my own, I wouldn't make the type of husband and father that I want to be—but I do trust that God is with me, and will help me. He can do all things, and I, through Him, can be the world's best husband, and the world's best father, even with the many mistakes that I know I will make. I want to so live, today, and always, that when that special day comes for me, I will be the type of person I need to be for my God, and for my queen. For now, I need to be patient, keep the commandments, and keep living my life as righteously as I can, repenting as I go, so that the special someone who will one day complete me, will want to be with me for time, and for all eternity—sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, in the House of the Lord.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Family, Friends, Freedom, and Fireworks

Throughout this last week, I found that I was feeling very alone. I'm not sure why, but I was just kind of feeling a little down. As Independence Day approached I began thinking of all that I have to be grateful for. I thought of my family, and of how wonderful they are. I thought of the good friends I have. I thought of 4th of July celebrations in the past, and had some great memories. It is amazing what good memories can do to fill you with gratitude, and to lift your spirits.

Memories such as going to a park as a family and spending all day there, then watching the fireworks on top of the car—and being afraid that they would fall on me.

Memories like the many times we, as a family, would go sit on the roof of the house to watch the fireworks in the distance, or if not the roof, we'd stand in the stairway and watch them from the window. I remember learning one year, while standing on the stairs, that light travels faster than sound. :o)

Memories like going down to Morgan Hill with all the extended family and having a pot luck at Uncle Dwain's and Aunt Shannon's, and then watching the fireworks down there.

Memories like working with Uncle Calvin for hours on the 3rd of July one year—just to get the flag pole up in the front yard so we could do a flag ceremony the next day. Doing those flag ceremonies with Olin or Brandon playing the bugle. :o)

Memories like the San Jose Stake 4th of July Breakfasts, where I was able to dress up in my scout uniform and help with the flag ceremonies for a few years.

Memories like these from July 4, 2004, a Sunday afternoon where we had a nice, quiet evening as extended family came and visited, when we were surprised to find our neighbor and friend Julio bringing his horse over for the kids to see. (Plus the excitement of "The Great Tie Race" which consisted of three separate races. (And if I remember correctly, each of us won a round). This video (below) captures some of that:

And these memories from July 4, 2005.

Then there was July 4, 2006, where I was at school, and because my dorm building was in the fall-out-zone I got a free ticket to the "Stadium of Fire." Gratefully my friend Kyle was able to join me, and we had a grand time:

Last year was a good year. I spent the morning and afternoon with friends, and then watched the fireworks from various locations around BYU campus.

As these memories filled my mind and heart, I found that I wasn't so lonely. I began to think of the many people who have so much less than I do. I began to appreciate the many things that I enjoy, and I realized that a large part of why I enjoy them has to do with the freedoms that I have, as a citizen of this great nation.

I became very grateful for my forefathers, both my direct ancestors, and all those of their neighbors and friends who paid a price, some of them paying the ultimate price, so that I could live and be free. So that I could have the ability to gain an education, worship as I please, and make something of my life. I became grateful toward my Heavenly Father who has given me his laws, that, when followed, will grant me more freedom, and make me happy.

As this happier attitude began to fill my thoughts, about mid-week, I got excited for this year's Fourth of July Celebration, though I didn't have any set plans at the time. As it turned out, I ended up spending the 3rd of July with some amazing people: Kyle, Steph, Kaven, and Kim. We headed down to Provo Center Street and walked around the "Freedom Festival."

After a little bit, we headed back to Kyle's and Steph's apartment for smoothies, games, and our own little "fireworks" show. (The fireworks show, being something I had never done, as they are illegal in California). More pictures and video clips will be forthcoming. It was a great evening.

I spend most of the fourth of July with Kyle, Steph, and Kaven. While the night before we had some fun with our own little show, we descided to let the professionals handle it this time. We found a nice spot, laid out some blankets, sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed the show—followed by games (while we waited for everyone else to vacate the area, so that we could then vacate in peace.) As Kyle put it, in essence, "It's amazing how much better a mood some good fireworks can put you in." I couldn't agree more. They are like big booms of sparkling happiness. Again, more pictures will be forthcoming.

Anyway, this is really long for a blog post, so if any of you are still reading, thanks for taking the time to see how I'm doing. Thanks for letting me indulge in my "walk down memory lane". Wow, I'll try to keep these shorter in the future. Anyway, I'm doing well, I'm happy, and grateful for all that I have. I don't feel lonely anymore, as, instead, I feel that my life must be one of the most blessed lives. I'm surrounded by so many loving people (even the ones that are far away). I have basic freedoms which allow me to choose my destiny. I have the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am happy. I am humbled to be an American. I am humbled to have the friends that I have. I am humbled to have such a wonderful family. So here is to family, friends, freedom, and fireworks—which help keep me going, keep me smiling, and keep me happy.