la la land

My Night In ‘La La Land’


I hate to be late to a movie! So it was that when my wife and I arrived to see ‘La La Land’ at the theater, the lights had just gone down. My eyes were still trying to adjust to the darkness when I caught my foot on the stairs going up to the back row. Normally I would just put my hand out and catch myself but seeing as both hands were gripped around the 126 ounce drinks I had purchased, I was headed for a face dive into the carpet landing half-way up. In what seemed like slow-motion, I extended my elbows, and caught myself before I did a face plant. As I did so the impact jarred my elbows, loosening my grip on the drinks, and I saw them tumble and roll out of my hands. I quickly picked them up while still on my knees and found to my surprise that not a drop of soda was lost. A true testament to my manhood! In our younger years my wife would have burst out laughing and we both would have rushed out into the hallway and laughed our heads off of how I had made such a fool of myself. However, when I surveyed my wife’s face that night, it had the look of terror on it and her concerned question of, “Are you alright Honey?” said more about my age then her concern. To be old!

We settled in our back-row comfortable VIP seats to watch the highly praised, and Oscar touted “La La Land.” It didn’t take long for me to be grateful that I had not chosen Diet Coke as my beverage of choice, but rather Mr. Pibb, the hard stuff! Because the opening musical number of the movie, featuring a packed highway full of singing, dancing, stranded commuters, left me longing for the last musical I attended with my wife, Les Miserables, of which the title speaks for itself.

It wasn’t long before the war to stay awake began, and no matter that I had an IV of Mr. Pibb infused in my system, it was a battle I lost. Soon I found myself in my own private “La La Land” where everyone sings like angels, dragons fly, and knights in shining white armor abound. Me thought I saw the Wicked Witch of the West, Steve McQueen riding his motorcycle in a scene out of ‘The Great Escape’ and oddly Red sitting by an oak tree from ‘The Shawshank Redemption.’ Later I saw my home from childhood, which brought back wonderful memories, and my old dog Bullet who was romping in the woods with me. None of it made any sense, but it was interesting. I don’t know how much time went by in my “La La Land” but I was awakened with a gentle nudge by my wife and I groggily got up and left the theater as the credits rolled.

When my friends find out I have seen ‘La La Land’ they excitedly ask me what I thought of it. I look very pensive and reply, “I found it refreshing!” They nod, smile and say, “Interesting perspective!” as they walk away.

In my mind, there is no need for further explanation, because it is obvious to me that anytime a man can get a two-hour nap in the late afternoon of the day, it can’t be anything but ‘refreshing.’

ronald reagan cowboy hat

Wise Words From A Great American President

“In 1962, the Supreme Court in the New York prayer case banned the…saying of prayers. In 1963, the Court banned the reading of the Bible in our public schools. From that point on, the courts pushed the meaning of the ruling ever outward, so that now our children are not allowed voluntary prayer. We even had to pass a law just a few weeks ago- to allow student prayer groups the same access to school rooms after classes that a Young Marxist Society, for example, would already enjoy with no opposition…

The 1962 decision opened the way to a flood of similar suits. Once religion had been made vulnerable, a series of assaults were made in one court after another, on one issue after another. Cases were started to argue against tax-exempt status for churches. Suits were brought to abolish the words “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, and to remove “In God We Trust” from public documents and from our currency. Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience…without God there is a coarsening of the society, without God democracy will not and cannot long endure…If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.”(pg 529-530, America’s God and Country, William J. Federer)

-August 23, 1984- Spoken at the Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast, Dallas, Texas by President Ronald Reagan.

Wise words from one of America’s great presidents!



When Bright Lights Turn Into Shooting Stars!


I don’t think there is anything as painful as losing a small child to death. Be it to an accident, sickness, or losing them at birth; there is an emptiness created that cannot be filled. For some of us, death has knocked at our doors, but has left our children in our homes. When that happens, you get just a glimpse of the pain and agony associated with such a loss. Then straightway the door is shut, shielding us from ‘the width, the height, the depth, and the misery’ of such a tragedy. For my nephew and his wife, that door stayed open this past week when their young daughter, Brighton, stepped through it and into the arms of a loving Heavenly Father. From all accounts, her cheerful heart and bright disposition blessed the lives of all those who knew her. While her arrival in heaven is certainly a blessing to them, the loss of her company here carries with it an excruciating pain that often cannot be completely healed in this life.

However, the grand “Plan of Happiness” revealed in these the latter-days, does offer hope in that it teaches that there will be a glorious reunion of loved ones in the next life, and that this life is merely a stepping stone in our eternal progression. Perhaps we will never fully understand, in this life, the will and mind of our Father in Heaven when it comes to these tragedies; or why it is that some are taken from us long before their time. However, latter-day revelation on the subject does offer words of great comfort.

“…little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten.”

And certainly no greater comfort can come to a parent of a child who dies than the words given to a modern prophet:

“And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven.”

We mourn the loss of Brighton, but we have great hope that through the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, she is alive and well on the other side, and that her spirit, with all its individuality, lives on to bless the lives of those who have gone on before us.

Time is simply a measurement given by man to gauge the events of this world. But in the eternities, time is endless and through our understanding of the plan of salvation we learn that some of God’s greatest spirits come for just a short period of time to this earth. Simply put, some of God’s brightest lights are shooting stars, who light up our skies for the briefest of moments; leaving us with tender memories never to be forgotten, and ones that are forever etched in our hearts.


The Message On the ‘Other Side’ Of The Stone


Almost all headstones list the date of birth and death of the person, or persons, that lie beneath. As I recently visited the grave of my Mother, deceased, and my Father who is still living, I couldn’t help but take in the message they were sending to me, and my siblings, by the engraving found on the ‘other side’ of the stone. As a bride ‘adorneth herself with her jewels,’ (Isaiah 61:10) so too my Mother went to great lengths to let us kids know, that we were paramount in her life. As my Father has often told me, my Mom sought no other worldly recognition than that of being a mother. She enjoyed it to the fullest and us children were the beneficiaries of it.

What does it say to the world when on the ‘other side’ of the stone there is a list of the children? What does it say to the children of that family? As I knelt in the snow by her graveside last week on a wintry day, I couldn’t help but contemplate the simple, yet profound meaning ascribed to such an inscription. My parent’s gravestone is not unique. There are many stones with the children’s named etched that dot that cemetery, and others throughout the world. I have seen them, and the message sent is powerful and clear. It brought to my mind the words of the Savior found in Luke, chapter eleven.

“If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”

Knowing the powerful love that my parents have for me and my siblings makes it all the easier to understand the great love that God has for each one of His children. What is the message on ‘the other side of the stone?’ That day as I knelt there by her graveside, I didn’t need anyone to ‘spell it out for me,’ because it already was, and I was looking at it!

Subscribe to Free Daily Message
Popup By Puydi