‘Daddy, Let’s Play ‘Rough’!


“We sat on the last row, and our only son, a tall, fine young man, walked, at the invitation of the bishop, up the aisle and stood by the pulpit. The bishop spoke about my son and presented him to the congregation for their sustaining vote to his advancement in the Aaronic Priesthood…Later, at lunch, he was telling his sisters about the events of that morning. He said it was kind of scary walking up that aisle and standing up before the congregation all alone with the bishop. But he said, “When they voted, I looked down and saw Dad’s hand higher than all the rest, and I felt all right.” And he was right. I had hoisted my hand just as high as I could get it. He is my son, you see—and that is how I feel about him. The relationship between fathers and sons is a very special one.” (Marion D. Hanks, “Higher Than All the Rest,” New Era, Apr 1979, 6).

Indeed, the relationship between fathers and sons is a very special one. In the birth of of my son I experienced the miracle of life. A singular experience that I will never forget. Holding him in my arms for the first time. Wow! What a rush of emotions it was to see his little face peering up at me! Words cannot express the joy of that moment. Where once there were twain, now there were three. As each of my kids came along my joy heightened as I knew of the goodness that comes from being a father.

The relationship between fathers and sons is often formed in those early years when roughhousing is a common practice. For years I was greeted each day, when returning home from work, with a cry of “Daddy, let’s play rough.” In dedication to all sons and fathers who share a unique and wonderful bond-


Daddy lets Play “Rough”
You would come running and say
As I walked in the door from work
Each and every single day

You’d run and get the blanket
So as your horsy I obeyed
We’d wrestle round together
Laughing as we played

Little boys adore their Fathers
But it’s more important to say
That Fathers love their sons
Even as Memories start to fade

So to you my handsome son
One whose perfect in every way
I celebrate your precious birth
Each and every single day


A Monumental View Of Heaven


Having grown up in the suburbs of Maryland gave me proximity to our Nation’s capital.  In fact, I was born in it.   So, on occasion as a family, mostly when relatives came to town,  we would go sightseeing to Washington D.C.   One of the sites we often visited was the Washington Monument.  Erected in 1884 in commemoration of our first president, it stands 555 feet high, (almost two football fields), and is still the highest building in the city.  It is certainly one of the most famous landmarks of our country. I recall as a small boy playing on the fields surrounding it while Fourth of July fireworks exploded above it in the hot humid air; its white marble obelisk shape silhouetted again the black of the night.  Back in the 1960’s you were allowed to climb the stairway up to the top of the monument.  My siblings and I would enter its doors, then race as fast as we could to see who could get to the top first.  Once there, you have a wonderful view of the entire city as well as parts of the countryside of Maryland and Virginia.  I still recall the beauty of it!

Between the “demands” of high school days, a mission and college, years went by before I found the time to revisit the Washington Monument one hot summer day.  By his time I had become a man, married with a small child.  Fortunately rules had been implemented making the “scaling” of this great monument illegal, thus allowing me the dignity of taking the elevator to the top. When I reached the top for my panoramic view of the area, I saw that something else had changed.  The view!  There, nestled above the tops of the green trees, almost as if it was floating on air, was the majestic Washington D.C. temple. It had been built just a few years before.  The angel Moroni’s gold horn seemed to be sounding to the world “Come to the house of the Lord!” and its white marble seemed to outshine the marbled building in which I stood.

As I stood there that day, my mind started to soak in that sacred edifice and it’s significance in my life.  In it I had made sacred covenants to the Lord to give of all that I had, or would ever have, in building up His kingdom.  It was there that I had entered and promised before Him, angels, and all witnesses that I would love, honor, and cherish my wife, not just for this life, but for eternity.  It was there that promises were made to me that if I would live according to my covenants, my wife, children, and I could “inherit eternal life” together.(Matthew 19:27) It brought to my mind that it represented so much more than the monument I was standing in.  Its spires, that stood reaching to the heavens, represented all of my hopes and dreams as a man. It stood as a monument to my faith in a God, His plan, and of the purpose of my own existence.  In short, it peaked out of the greenery as a reminder that it could give me a glimpse into the eternities.

Now, so many years later, I have a better perspective on the short duration of this “so-called life”. It is temporary, it is short, and it will end sooner than we want or expect.  It is a testing ground of our faith.  It is a battleground for the souls of men.  A visit here is a necessary part of our progression. But, lest we forget our home, we have been provided sanctuaries, places of repose and peace called temples.  They are “monuments” to our God, our Father and our Savior.

I have since returned to the top of the Washington Monument on a number of occasions. But none have been sweeter than that day, when I first saw, from its top, a “monumental view of heaven” from here on earth!


The ‘Spiritual’ Dog Whistle


A ‘dog whistle’ is silent to the human ear, but emits sound in the ultrasonic range which both dogs and cats hear; the sound of which can be used in their training. The fact that we, as humans can’t hear the sound, doesn’t invalidate the fact that the sound is being emitted, the proof of which is the ability for dogs and cats to hear it and respond. If not properly educated, the user, as well as observers, would think that a ‘dog whistle’ is useless and is a hoax. Yet, those that have used it to train animals, know that it is real, even though they have never heard the sound that comes from the whistle.

When it comes to the ‘spiritual’ dog whistle used by the Lord to communicate, primarily through the Holy Spirit, some scoff and say it is not real. But simply because they have not heard it, doesn’t mean it is not real. Only those who are ‘in tune’ are made partakers of the training that comes from the Lord’s ‘spiritual whistle.’

The scriptures are full of examples of the Lord communicating His will to individuals, as well as nations, through a ‘spiritual’ dog whistle. Sorryful will be the time when mankind walks unaffected by the voice of the Lord, which permeates the universe with guidance, peace, love, and intellectual education. May we not scoff and take lightly the reality of the Holy Ghost, and it’s influence upon this world. It is real, even if we don’t hear it’s voice.

queen muffin

Love Has A Special Flavor Of Its Own


A few years ago my sons and I helped a poor elderly woman and her bed-stricken daughter move from one apartment to another. She was a patient of my wife, who is a home health care nurse.  Since that time, this woman has talked often about the service that we gave to her. She had no one to help her, and was so happy that my wife “volunteered” her sons and husband. Since then, this kind woman has given muffins to my wife almost every time she stops in to see her, which is often. My wife made the mistake of telling her that we love them, which is true. This elderly woman now goes down to the local Costco, and buys muffins by the bulk. Several weeks ago she bought 60 muffins and gave them to us. We barely had room to freeze them. No sooner do we get low on the muffins, then my wife comes home with a new batch. If I don’t eat at least a muffin a day they will soon overwhelm our freezer. I feel they have become like “Tribbles”, the fictional small, soft ,and gentle animal that appeared in numerous Star Trek episodes. The “Tribbles” multiplied so quickly that they soon endangered the Starship Enterprise. This past week my wife received a phone call every day from this patient wanting to know if I am enjoying the muffins and which are my favorites so she can buy more of them. She has now dubbed my wife and I “The Prince and Princess of Muffins.”

This past week my wife and I were in the car shopping when this patient called. After a twenty-minute conversation that centered entirely around how many muffins we were eating, what types were the tastiest, and how many more this patient was going to buy that week, my wife told her she had to go. After she hung up she smiled at me and called me “Prince Muffin.”  I certainly enjoy the muffins, as does my wife. We have been tempted to tell this kind lady that we can get the muffins as we too are members of a wholesale food company. Yet, we hesitate to do so because it is clear that this patient loves buying, talking about, and giving us these muffins. The reality is that this woman and her daughter, who is bedridden, derive great joy in serving us. They can’t do much under their circumstances, but what they can do, is show their love to an empathetic nurse and her husband by giving them muffins. I am humbled by their service! And although my wife and I can afford to buy muffins, somehow when I eat the ones given to us by these kind women, I more enjoy and savor the taste,  because love has a special flavor of its own.

Spencer Kimball counseled us:

“I know (a) man who has never given thought to himself. His every desire was for the protection and pleasure of those about him. No task was too great, no sacrifice too much for him to make for his fellowmen. His means brought relief from physical suffering; his kind work and thoughtfulness brought comfort and cheer and courage. Wherever people were in distress, he was on hand, cheering the discouraged, burying the dead, comforting the bereaved, and proving himself a friend in need. His time, his means, and his energies were lavished upon those needing assistance. Having given himself freely, by that same act he has added to his mental, physical, and moral stature until today he stands in his declining years a power for good, an example and an inspiration to many. He has developed and grown until he is everywhere acclaimed, loved, and appreciated. He has given life and in a real way has truly found the abundant life. There is great security in spirituality, and we cannot have spirituality without service!  (Chapter 8: Selfless Service,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, (2006), 79–88. (“The Disciple, #124, Oct. 7, 2007)

Like the man above who spent a lifetime serving others,  this woman and her daughter stand as an inspiration and an example to me of how one can serve, even in the hardest of circumstances.  Indeed, they have taught me that serving has no bounds and does not descriminate.  All of us can serve our fellowman, regardless of our station in life.

I am happy,  humbled, and feel honored to be dubbed “The Prince of Muffins” by these Christian women, and humbly accept offerings  from them,  who I consider “Queens” of King!

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