“Honey, What Do You Do All Day?”


“Patrick came home from work and found his three children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front garden. The door of his wife, Valerie’s car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog. Proceeding into the hall, Patrick found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the rug was piled up against one wall. In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the worktop, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door. Patrick quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for Valerie. He was worried she might be ill, collapsed, or that something serious had happened. He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and sink. As he rushed to the bedroom, he found Valerie still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. Patrick looked at Valerie, bewildered and asked, ‘What happened here today?’ Valerie again smiled and answered, ‘You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me sarcastically what in the world I do all day?’ ‘Yes,’ was Patrick’s startled reply. Valerie answered, ‘Well, today, I didn’t do it.’”

My wife is also the mother of five and it didn’t take me long to discover that she was doing “a lot” during the time I was at work. I once fell asleep on the floor while I was “babysitting” my firstborn who was 18 month old at the time. I was rudely awakened when he dropped a hammer on my head. That incident alone “knocked” some sense into my head regarding the duties that my wife was handling on a daily basis

More than thirty years ago,  Gordon B. Hinckley said:

“…motherhood is the means by which God carries forward his grand design of continuity of the race. Both priesthood and motherhood are essentials of the plan of the Lord. Each complements the other. Each is needed by the other. God has created us male and female, each unique in his or her individual capacities and potential. (“Live Up To Your Inheritance”, Oct. 1983)

I have great respect for women who not only fulfill the divine role of motherhood, but who also contribute via service to the community and to their church. And still others, out of necessity, juggle all the above and work outside the home. Gordon B. Hinckley aptly paid women this compliment. From the above reference address, he said, “God be thanked for the wonderful women of this Church. May he plant in your hearts a sense of pride in your capacities and a conviction of truth, which shall be as a rudder to keep you safe through every storm.”

I’m Speechless!

I picked the 1st of the month to get married because I wanted us to always be reminded that we were the number one couple of all-time! And even though the first fell on a Thursday, like today, which was not the usual day to get married, like a Friday or Saturday; that didn’t matter because we were not the norm anyway, at least in my mind! I’m not sure why I thought we were so unique, I just did! Maybe, it was a good thing, because when you think you have something special, you value it; you don’t throw it away on a whim.

Just this past week a song came on the radio that reminded me of the young years of our marriage. And a sort of vision opened up to my mind. And I saw her sitting in that dingy apartment on Hawthorne Lane. She was all alone with a baby boy. No car, an old black and white TV with a coat hanger to get reception. The room was mostly barren with an old sofa as the mainstay. And a husband who was almost never home. Between school and two jobs, even when I was home, it was mostly just to sleep. And I watched her as she played and loved that baby boy, my oldest son. And I have to tell you; my eyes grew moist while I was driving. And soon, tears started to fall down my cheeks. Then in a moment, I actually burst out crying. And I knew if I didn’t get control, I would start to sob! So I buttoned it up, and I let that vision close as quickly as it came.

She has given me the best years of her life. I don’t know what to say. I’m speechless!

To The Defenders Of ‘The Title Of Liberty’


Words can never really capture the nature and horror of the combat of war. No, it was William Sherman, General for the Union Army of the Civil War who said it best:

“It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell.”

A few soldiers gain fame for their deeds but the names of most who have defended our country and nation,  can only be found on markers in graveyards scattered, not only across our country, but around the world. To those courageous men and women who have stood on the wall, may the Lord be with you. May peace be upon you and may the light of freedom guide your life through its darkest times.

May all of us, when faced in defense of liberty,  have the courage of a great american general who, while defending freedom:

“…tore his coat; and he took a piece of it, and he wrote upon it—’IN MEMORY OF OUR GOD, OUR RELIGION, AND FREEDOM, AND OUR PEACE, OUR WIVES, AND OUR CHILDREN.’ He then fastened it upon the end of a pole…and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his torn coat, (and he called it ‘The Title of Liberty”),  and he bowed himself and he prayed mightily unto God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remaining to possess the land.” (Ref., BOM, page 323)

May the ‘Title of Liberty’ fly over this great country forever, and may the blessings of heaven fall upon all those who are defenders thereof!



Climbing Life’s ‘Old Rag’ Mountains


One of my fondest memories of youth was an annual church event of climbing a mountain called “Old Rag”. The mountain is located in the Shenandoah National Park of Virginia. As a young boy, I looked forward to the day when our congregation took the eight-mile hike up the mountainside. I recall that my favorite part of the hike was to see how fast I could hike it. Could I be the first from the ward to reach the top of “Old Rag”? I would run up the mountain as fast as my legs could carry me. I don’t recall if I ever was the first up, but I know that was always my goal. Not only was my goal to be the first up, but the first one down as well. So upon reaching the summit, I would glance around, sit down for a moment and then get back up and start down. I don’t recall anything about the beauty of the vista which is a shame, because according to published reports, the views found there are apparently the best in the entire Blue Ridge Mountains. I have fond memories of climbing “Old Rag”, but in my youthful exuberance, I missed out on the majestic nature of the climb.  Today, now much older,  I would get much more out of climbing “Old Rag” than I did as a youth. Time and experience have taught me that life is short, and that the “climb” is more about the journey than the destination.

A few years ago a popular song on the radio was called “The Climb”. Among the lyrics were these words:

“There’s always gonna be another mountain. I’m always gonna wanna make it move. Always gonna be an up-hill battle. Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose. Ain’t about how fast I get there. Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side. It’s the climb! Keep on moving! Keep climbing! Keep the faith baby! It’s all about The climb! Keep the faith! Keep your faith!” (“The Climb”, Miley Cyrus)

I quote from the words of Thomas S. Monson:

” I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now.” (“Finding Joy in the Journey”, GC, Oct. 2008)

The purpose of life is more about what we learn through “the climb” than our final destination.  Remember “that the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong.”  (Ecclesiastes 9:11) This life is designed to mold us in order for us to “qualify” for the final destination. Without “the climb” we wouldn’t be fit to reach it. Let us enjoy the “view” as we travel up life’s mountain. Life needn’t be a race back home to Him who sent us. Let us not overlook the wonderful vista God gives us during our journey.

Today, I look back on the wonder of hiking up “Old Rag” as a boy.  It stirs up good memories.  But I also can’t help but think of opportunities I missed of enjoying the mountain’s real beauty.  As we travel along the rocky path of life, we need to pause, and take time to ponder and learn from the view at hand. Sometimes that can be hard when we feel battered and bruised. We want to just “get on” with it! But, with the understanding we have of the plan of salvation, we of all people should know that the journey is the most important part of reaching the summit.

“Old Rag” is still there for me to climb. I could take time this very week to hike it.  Perhaps I will! It’s just a few hours from my house.  Yet, its more likely I won’t. Life is busy. Job, family, church….life! Sometimes life gives us opportunities that come across our path just once. Maybe we should just enjoy the view God’s gives us…today!

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